TRIVANDRUM: Malayalee staff members are important for the smooth functioning of any office in Delhi or Mumbai, President Ram Nath Kovind said today at a civic reception hosted in his honour here.
Addressing the gathering here, the President spoke about an "an uncommon and important identity" of the coastal state.
"In Delhi and Mumbai and other cities, no hospital and practically no government or corporate office can function smoothly without the contribution of Malayalee staff members," the President said.
Lauding the role of the Malyalee community in the development of India, Kovind said it has become the global face of India.
"This is true in so many ways. Being a coastal state, Kerala has led Indian engagement with foreign countries and cultures. It has been at the frontier of trade," he said.
He said Malayalee migrant community is the backbone of the work-force of so many Gulf states.
"And it faithfully sends back remittances to help in the development of Kerala and of India," he said.
The President also shared his personal experience, saying his home in Kanpur is rented out to a man named George who hails from Kerala.
"The irony -- happy irony I should say -- is that part of my home in Kanpur is now occupied by a very nice and straight-forward person from Kerala, Mr George. He has been our tenant for the past 10 years, and he is the best tenant anybody can hope to have," he said.
Recounting his maiden visit abroad to Ethiopia, Kovind said people there are emotional about the impact of Indian school teachers on their lives three to four decades ago.
"A large number of those pioneering school teachers were from Kerala," he said.
He said two thousand years ago, Roman ships used to come to the Malabar Coast followed by merchant ships from Arabia and then from Europe were attracted to the ports of Kerala in their search for spices.
"They wrote of the efficiency and ethical practices of the ports. And praised the honesty of the administrators they met here in Kerala. In the 15th century, the Chinese explorer Zheng He was repeatedly drawn to Kerala and made several voyages to this state," he said.