President unveils Karunanidhi’s portrait in TN Assembly

President Kovind unveils Karunanidhi’s portrait in Tamil Nadu Assembly

Kovind also spoke about some of the landmark ideas like the abolition of the Devdasi system, widow remarriage

President Ram Nath Kovind addresses the commemoration of the 100th year of the Madras Legislative Council in Chennai. Credit: PTI Photo

Hailing the Madras Legislature established in 1921 of “sowing seeds” for a representative democracy form of governance, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said the legislative body became the “fountainhead of many progressive legislations” which were subsequently replicated across the country.

Inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Madras Legislative Council under the British regime, Kovind also unveiled a portrait of five-time Chief Minister and late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi at the historic Assembly hall. Chief Minister M K Stalin presided over the gala event which the principal Opposition AIADMK boycotted. 

Dwelling into the history of the MLC, Kovind said the Legislative Council enacted many forward-looking legislations and also underwent many changes in its early decades and noted that the spirit of democracy remains the guiding light of the state legislature. 

“It would not be wrong to say that this legislature became the fountainhead of many progressive legislation which were subsequently replicated across the country to empower the weaker sections of society and strengthen democracy,” Kovind said in his address.

The Madras legislature had sown seeds of a fully representative democracy form of governance which were realised after Independence, he said, adding that people had a platform to turn their dreams into reality in the Justice Party, which won popular mandates in the initial phase. 

Kovind also spoke about some of the landmark ideas like the abolition of the Devdasi system, widow remarriage, mid-day meals in schools and distribution of agricultural land to the landless that transformed the society. “The concept of the welfare state has taken deep roots in this legislature irrespective of who rules here,” he said.

On Karunanidhi, Kovind said his mother tongue, Tamil, was the object of worship for him. “Tamil, of course, is one of the greatest and the oldest languages of humankind. The whole world takes pride in its rich heritage. But it was Karunanidhi who ensured that it was granted official recognition as a classical language. Kalaignar was a leader in a class of his own. He was among the last links we had with the stalwarts of our national movement,” Kovind said.