He was speaking after inaugurating the concluding ceremony of the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Shri Ayyan Kali organized by the Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha.
Speaking on the occasion, he said: "Ayyan Kali was a man who dedicated his life to the struggle against casteism and to achieving equality amongst all the people of India. Ayyan Kali and other social activists commenced the struggle against untouchability which then culminated in the freedom movement adopting it as one of its major goals under Mahatma Gandhi."
"Ayyan Kali's life was an incessant struggle and he never had any formal education. But he knew the value of education as well as women's upliftment. It is because of reformers like Ayyan Kali and Sree Narayan Guru that people of Kerala were able to develop their progressive outlook of today which is much admired across the country," Mukherjee added.
"Persons of all castes, religions and regions are equal partners in the building of our country," Mukherjee said.
He called for ensuring equal opportunity to all people to realize their potential and develop their talents to the full.
He further called upon people to invest their energies into the removal of all vestiges of disabilities from the lives of the Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Backward Classes. He said we must ensure creation of a society in which minorities can live in peace and do not have to fear or suffer deprivation.
Mukherjee said: "We must help people overcome the handicaps they have suffered for years, and fight against every kind of deprivation, humiliation or lack of ability to take advantage of the rights under our Constitution. This is a duty we owe to leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Ayyan Kali who fought many obstacles and hurdles to achieve their goals."
"Ayyan Kali's courage and steadfastness will be an inspiration to the people of our country for generations to come. Ayyan Kali's life and message will remain relevant as long as prejudice and bias exists in society," he concluded.
--ANI (Posted on 21-12-2013)