President of India in Gwalior; Delivers The 4th Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture

Gwalior: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, delivered the 4th Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh today (February 11, 2018).

Addressing the gathering, the President said that Dr Ram Manohar Lohia dedicated his life to the welfare of the people, and struggled relentlessly for the deprived sections of society. For Dr Lohia, the definition of weaker sections of society included Dalits, tribals, women and backward castes. He suggested providing them “special opportunity”. Dr Lohia had said that if it were a choice between “equal opportunity” and “special opportunity”, then “special opportunity” should be chosen. There can be talk of “equal opportunity” only when everyone has equal access to education, employment, livelihood, etc.

The President said Dr Lohia could be called the Sant Kabir of Indian politics due to his endless striving, ceaseless political journey, and courage to abandon everything for his beliefs, and ability to speak the truth directly. The President said that Mahatma Gandhi, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Dr Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyaya all dedicated their lives to the welfare of the last person in society. All of them emphasised a holistic and grounded agenda, rather than alien solutions to India’s problems. Though their methods had some differences, their goal was the same – to give equal rights to all the people of India, with a special emphasis on traditionally deprived sections. Today, the President said, there is need to take inspiration from these great heroes of our history and to bring a smile to the face of the last person in the last line of our society. Such efforts will be a true tribute to Dr Lohia.

Earlier in the day, the President graced a function, as chief guest, to declare Gwalior as a “Divyang friendly district” and to distribute artificial limbs. He also addressed the convocation of Jiwaji University, before returning to Delhi.

Speaking at the function to declare Gwalior as a “Divyang friendly district”, the President praised the Government and NGOs for their efforts to make life better and easier for our Divyang fellow citizens. He urged people to increase awareness and sensitivity about disabilities. Addressing the convocation of Jiwaji University, the President emphasised that education needs to cope with the challenges as well as opportunities thrown up by technology and the era of artificial intelligence. In this regard, the role of university teachers was very important.