The ideal of secularism and brotherhood championed by Mahatma Gandhi is the urgent need for the nation today and the DMK regime's Dravidian model embodied all such lofty principles for the common good of all sections of people, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin said on Monday.
"Mahatma Gandhi epitomised all lofty humanitarian principles like secularism, equality, brotherhood, simplicity, honesty and discipline and he is among the great national symbols that should be reminded often to people," he said in his Independence Day address after unfurling the tricolour from Fort St George, Chennai.
"These are the urgent and necessary ideals for the nation today. We are administering the Dravidian model government which encompasses all such ideals. Social justice, equality, self respect, racial rights, state autonomy, love for language". The DMK regime functioned on such humanitarian ideals, he said.
"Only unity would protect the country and to emerge victorious from the attack of external forces, unity within the nation, among the people is very essential and ensuring that alone could be a true tribute to freedom fighters," he said.
Making an announcement which was much awaited by government employees, he said that on a par with the Union government, the Dearness Allowance for state government employees, pensioners and family pensioners would be increased to 34 per cent from 31 per cent effective July 1, 2022. This would benefit 16 lakh employees and entail an additional expenditure of Rs 1,947.60 crore, he said.
Stalin also announced a hike in pension for freedom fighters and their families. The Chief Minister said the DMK regime is second to none in honouring the freedom fighters and listed initiatives including building a monument (fort) for Kattabomman in southern Panchalankurichi.
In 1972, late chief minister M Karunanidhi had given away a contribution of Rs 6 crore from Tamil Nadu to the Centre while the Union government received a total of Rs 25 crore from the states. During the 1999 Kargil war, Karunanidhi gave away Rs 50 crore contribution from the state to the Centre when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
CM Stalin traced the sacrifices of freedom fighters of Tamil Nadu from the 16-17th Centuries to the mid 20th Century when the nation attained independence.
Stalin referred to stalwarts from various regions and different eras and faiths, including Khan Sahib Maruthanayagam, Quaid-e-Millath, Pooli Thevan, Kattabomman, Maveeran Sundaralingam, Veeramangai Velunachiar, Kuyili, Marudhu brothers, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar and 'Thatha' (grandfather) Rettaimalai Srinivasan.
He recalled that it was Karunanidhi who secured the right for Chief Ministers to hoist the tricolour on Independence Day in their respective states.
A nugget of information he shared from the past, immediately after the independence included social justice icon Periyar E V Ramasamy's demand that the country be named as 'Gandhi desam.' This was after the assassination of Gandhi in 1948.