(Eds: Corrects year in 13th para) Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 21 (PTI) The teachings of social reformer Sree Narayana Guru were eternally relevant as the evils which he fought against continued to exist despite passage of time, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday.
Narayana Guru was a reformer who brought about a progressive turnaround in Kerala's socialhistory, he said after unveiling a statue of the 19th century spiritual leader as part of commemoration of the centenary of his proclamation 'We have no caste'.
The eight-feet tall statue, first to be set up by the state government, was sculpted by Unni Kanayi for the Cultural Affairs Department and unveiled at the Observatory Hills here.
'Guru was a reformer who brought about a progressive turnaround in Kerala's socialhistory. He tried to rid the society of social evils. Despite the passage of time, social evils continue to exist, which makes Guru's teachings eternally relevant,' Vijayan said.
The Chief Minister said there were isolated incidents in which people practice social evils ranging from sorcery to bias against women.
'Even many educated people engage in such practises.They are yet to understand that true enlightenmentis all about humanity When Guru said One Religion, One Caste and One God, he never meant a separate religion, a separate caste or a separate God. He gave importance to humans and humanity.Guru's views on humanity were beyond religion and caste,' he said.
Minister A K Balan presided over the function attended by minister Kadakampally Surendran, Mayor K Sreekumar, MLAs V Sivakumar, V K Prashant and O Rajagopal and others.
Sculptor Unni Kanayi was felicitated during the event.
Meanwhile, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan visited the Shivgiri Ashram of the Guru and paid respects, marking his 92nd death anniversary.
Narayana Guru died on September 20, 1928.
Khan said the contribution of Guru in creating awareness about education, equality, and human dignity can neverever be forgotten.
'He was not only a great spiritual leader but also a great social reformer and his impact on the lives of the people of Kerala and through people of Kerala on the lives of people of India, the positive impact which he has made, shall be remembered with gratitude. We are indebted to him,' he said.
The late spiritual leader was revered for his Vedic knowledge, poetic and literary proficiency, non-violent philosophy, and his efforts in paving the foundations for social reform in Kerala, Khan said, adding Narayana Guru was the first non-Brahmin in Kerala to consecrate a Shiva idol in 1888.
'We as a nation, we shall always remain indebted to him,' Khan said.
Sree Narayana Guru was born on August 22, 1856 in the hamlet of Chempazhanthi near here.
He was born into a backward Ezhava family, in the caste- ridden Kerala society.
Gurudevan, as he was known among his followers, led a social reform movement and revolted against the caste system and worked on social equality which transformed the Kerala society. PTI RRT VS VS VS VS