Vice President M. Hamid Ansari has expressed concern at the deepening fault lines in society based on religion, caste, language, region, ethnicity, and economic status that are potential threats to the nation’s unity and progress.

Delivering his address, after conferring the First Sree Narayana Guru Global Secular and Peace Award 2013 on Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor here on Tuesday, Dr. Ansari said the teachings of Sree Narayana Guru had assumed greater importance since it showed the path to follow in order to overcome the myriad challenges for building a peaceful, developed, and harmonious society.

He said the great social reformer had propagated the message of social justice and equality, secularism, freedom from expression, and empowerment of the poor and the marginalised through socio-economic uplift and education. These were the same tenets that came to be enshrined in the Constitution of India. “While much has been done in the past six-and-a-half decades to achieve social justice, economic development, and political empowerment, more remains to be done to make India a modern, progressive, and harmonious society,” he said.

In his acknowledgement of the award, instituted by the Sree Narayana Dharma Samithi, an organisation under the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, Dr. Tharoor said that the people of Kerala should blame themselves for failing to spread out Narayana Guru’s message on world stage since they were not sufficiently aware of his greatness and the impact his teaching had in shaping up modern India.

The function was presided over by Governor Nikhil Kumar, who was all praise for Dr. Tharoor’s contribution towards secularism. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Dr. Tharoor was Kerala’s contribution to the world. He recalled the manner in which Dr. Tharoor made his debut in politics, going on to win the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat with a thumping margin.

Samthi president Manu Pushpangadan, Congress leader G. Subhodhan, and Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar attended the function.

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