Tamil Nadu remains a source of inspiration and strength for her to carry on the struggle for social emancipation and economic independence, said Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Sunday.

Addressing a function organised by All India Babu Jagjivan Ram Samtha Movement to felicitate her, Ms. Meira Kumar pointed out that though India had attained political independence, social emancipation and economic independence continued to remain a challenge to the country.

“You have participated in the freedom movement. At the same time you also fought for emancipation of society from caste system and discrimination,” she said recalling her association with Tamil Nadu since the days of her father.

Expressing concern over fragmentation of the Indian society on the lines of haves and have-nots and casteism, she said India was lagging behind economically despite its natural resources and calibre because of the fragmentation.

She also stressed the need to “dump” the baggage of the 17th century mindset to move ahead in the 21st century.

“The Parliament guarantees laws to transform and make an egalitarian society. But these laws will mean nothing if the mindset of those who are going to implement them remains unchanged,” she said.

Chief Justice of the Madras High Court H.L. Gokhale said Ms. Meira Kumar had possessed all the qualities to preside over the Lok Sabha.

“It is not an easy task. She handles it with great quality of patience and a smiling face,” he said adding that women in the country had high expectations of her.

Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker R. Avudaiappan said Meira Kumar’s philosophy, convention and ideology would be a guiding principle for the entire country.

Former Governor of Orissa M.M. Rajendran, who presided over the function, urged her to take steps to ensure that the women’s reservation bill and Lok Pal bill would see the light of the day.

Former IAS officers V. Selvaraj and A. Balraj, Chennai Port Trust Chairman Subash Kumar, IAS officer Christudas Gandhi and president of the Jagjivan Ram Samth Movement M. Kuppusamy participated.

“Alagiri yet to meet me”

Ms. Kumar said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers M.K. Alagiri was yet to meet her on the issue of allowing him to speak in Tamil in Lok Sabha. Talking to reporters at the Chennai Airport, Ms. Kumar said so far Mr. Alagiri had not met her.

“I can take a decision only after meeting him,” she said.

Asked about the resignation of MPs from Andhra Pradesh over the Telangana issue, she said she would soon take a decision on it.

Pointing out that some of the resignations were not as per the required format, she said she had asked them if they were really keen on.