President calls for social action to eliminate evils (Second lead)

July 7th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

Tirupati, July 7 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Monday called for strong social and community action to eliminate social evils like dowry, child marriage and female feoticide. Inaugurating the platinum jubilee celebrations of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), the governing body of India’s richest temple, she also underlined the need to educate people on the harmful effects of alcohol, drugs and intoxicating materials.

“Addiction is spoiling our people, including the youth and also destroying family life. They should be educated on civic duties and how to be good citizens. Institutions must contribute in the efforts to create progressive societies,” she said.

Patil arrived on a two-day visit to the temple town Sunday and participated in a series of programmes marking the ‘Amruthotsavam’ or 75th anniversary of the TTD.

While launching the devotional channel of the TTD, the president expressed hope it would be an important medium for developing a devotional attitude and for inculcating humane qualities of caring and compassion in all people.

“Our ancient scriptures have taught us tolerance and truth, extolled us to always perform our duty. When every human being practices dharma, by dharma I mean duty, society will be free from a number of social evils.”

Patil, who offered prayers along with her husband Devi Singh Shekhawat at the Lord Venkateshwara temple on their 43rd wedding anniversary, said, “I have prayed for peace and prosperity of not only Indian people but people of the world. Unless there is peace, there cannot be prosperity, and unless there is prosperity there can’t be stability. And stability comes from good thoughts. Devotion gives you strength of spiritual mind and thoughts of doing good for others.”

“If we want to have victory over evil forces, the mind should be filled with good and spiritual thoughts,” Patil added.

The 24-hour Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel aims to propagate devotion towards Lord Venkateswara and Hindu religion.

The President, who also inaugurated the Venkateswara Oriental College building, said the institutions should inculcate values among students to make them good citizens.

She said education was the most important tool for empowering the people of a country. “In a fast emerging knowledge based society, I call upon the children and youth of our country to study and acquire as much knowledge as possible for an enlightened future for themselves and the country.”

Lauding the services of the TTD in providing amenities to the pilgrims, the president noted that it had also done considerable work in the social field. “It is the responsibility of the governing body to serve the God and alongside also serve the humanity,” she said.

She noted that the TTD took up social initiatives in the field of education, medical treatment and rehabilitation of the physically challenged and the economically backward.

Earlier in the morning, temple priests and TTD officials accorded Patil and her husband a traditional welcome when they reached the hill shrine. They participated in special ‘archana seva’ prayers as the priests blessed the couple amid the chanting of Vedic hymns.

TTD chairman Karunakar Reddy presented ‘prasadam’ and ‘Srivari dollar’ to the president and her husband, who spent 15 minutes in the temple.

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