Tradition and development should go hand in hand, said the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology A. Raja while distributing awards to artistes at a function organised under the aegis of the South Zone Cultural Centre and the Regional Cultural Centre, Salem, here on Sunday.

Stating that culture should be preserved, he said that at the same time changes should not be ignored.

Exhorting the people to ensure that culture does not divide the people, he said that the government was promoting different cultures.

Pointing out indigenous communities like Todas and Badagas have for long lived in harmony with nature, he said that the state and central governments will ensure that their cultures along with other communities like Kurumbas are protected.

The hallmark of India was unity in diversity.

The Khadi Board Minister K.Ramachandran said that culture helps identify communities.

The government has taken steps to protect the interests of folk artistes.

The Nilgiris Collector Archana Patnaik who presided said that the diverse culture of the state should be given due importance. The Coonoor MLA A. Soundarapandian, the District Revenue Officer S. Kuppuswamy and the former whip B.M. Muarak also spoke.

The Assistant Director, Regional Cultural Centre P. Hemanathan welcomed the gathering.

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