The Defence Minister laid the stone for the proposed Pandit Karuppan memorial complex in the city.

Though democracy continued to be India's greatest strength and its lifeline, small communities tend to get marginalised in the democratic process, said the Union Defence Minister A. K. Antony here on Sunday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of the birth centenary celebrations of Pandit Karuppan, poet and social reformer, organised here by Akhila Kerala Dheevara Sabha at the EMS Memorial Town Hall.

Emotional links

Mr. Antony, who laid the foundation stone for the proposed Pandit Karuppan memorial complex in the city, recalled his emotional links to the Dhevara community and the role he played, as a former Chief Minister of the State, in making the community a strong social force.

In a democracy, small communities, vis-à-vis the larger and more influential ones, tended to be ignored and it was time we reflected on this problem, he said. The Minister wondered whether it would be possible to make some concessions on the reservation front.

He said that the Dheevara community had become a strong and organised social force and recalled the role played by Pandit Karuppan as a great social reformer.

Mr. Antony said that since his childhood he had been linked inseparably with the Dheevara community and had tried to help the community in his role as a political leader. However, he described himself as one who would not take a decision on any demand without weighing the options. He said he had many critics as he tended not to take a decision as quickly as others did.

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