President Ram Nath Kovind today remembered Dr Ram Manohar Lohia as 'Sant Kabir' of Indian politics and said he had the courage to abandon everything for his beliefs. Delivering the 4th Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture here today, Kovind said that 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. "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,' Kovind said. "He suggested providing them special opportunity. Dr Lohia had said 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. The President said that Mahatma Gandhi, Dr BR Ambedkar, Dr Lohia and Deendayal Upadhyaya 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, he said. "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," he said. He said there was a need to take inspiration from these great heroes to bring smile to the face of the last person in the last line of society. He termed such efforts as a true tribute to Dr Lohia. Earlier in the day, the President, at function, declared Gwalior as a "Divyang friendly district" (disabled friendly district) and distributed 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 differently-abled citizens. He said the government was also making efforts to provide jobs to Divyangs by increasing the reservation for them from three to four per cent. Addressing the convocation of Jiwaji University, the President emphasised that education needed 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, he said. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also addressed the Lohia Memorial Lecture series and recalled Dr Lohia's contribution to the society, especially in politics, education and culture. Earlier in the morning, Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and others welcomed the President at the Gwalior airport.
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