‘Benefits of economic growth should reach all segments of society’

President Pratibha Patil on Friday emphasised the need for giving women access to tools of empowerment such as education, health and skill-building.

Addressing a large gathering after dedicating the Parnasala, a lotus-shaped, 91 foot-high white marble monument to spiritual leader Karunakara Guru, the founder of Santhigiri Ashram near here, the President said women had great potential in bringing about changes in society.

“By spreading education amongst them, not only is an individual educated, but rather the seeds of progress for the next generation are planted,” she said.

The President highlighted the importance of the family in creating a society of tolerant and caring individuals.

‘Sustainable society’

Calling for an equitable and sustainable society, Ms. Patil said the benefits of the country's economic growth should reach every segment of society, so that individuals could have a life of dignity.

Praising the Santhigiri Research Foundation for its efforts to promote traditional systems of medicine, Ms. Patil felt that the popularity of naturopathy, Ayurveda and other Indian systems provided a good opportunity for their revival and for addressing the issues of proper standardisation and registration.

This was possible only through research and development of plants and other ingredients used in Indian systems, she observed.

Referring to Karunakara Guru's close association with nature and his emphasis on keeping the environment clean and pure, the President said each individual could contribute to reducing the impact of global warming through optimal use of the earth's resources.

The President, in her 20-minute speech repeatedly reminded her audience of the relevance of Karunakara Guru's teachings in modern society.

Governor R.S. Gavai and Kerala Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were present.

Earlier, the President offered floral tributes and prayed at the Parnasala.

She also had an audience with Her Holiness Sishyapoojitha Amritha Jnana Thapaswini, Guru Apparent of the Ashram.