CHENNAI: 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 here 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 the people, he said in his Independence Day address after unfurling the tricolour from Fort St George.
"These are the urgent and necessary ideals for the nation today. We are administering the Dravidian model government which encompasses all such humanitarian ideals", the Chief Minister said.
Social justice, equality, self respect, racial rights, state autonomy, love for language are the founding humanitarian principles on which the DMK regime functioned, Stalin said, adding development should be based on such principles and it should also lead to societal growth.
The Dravidian model is all about seamless economical, educational, and societal growth, which also brings under its fold the growth of (progressive) thought and work processes, the Chief Minister further said.
"I am desirous of fulfilling the aspirations of every single individual of Tamil Nadu. I am involving myself everyday in that initiative", 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.
Toeing the federal pitch and unity in diversity line, Stalin said 'let us make prosperous India, a union of states,' through states that are self-sufficient in all sectors.
Making an announcement which was much awaited by government employees, he said that on a par with the Central 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 announced a hike in pension for freedom fighters from Rs 18,000 per month to Rs 20,000 per month and family pension and special pension to descendants of iconic leaders of the freedom movement from Rs 9,000 to Rs 10,000.
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.
The DMK had always been determined in its full committment to patriotism.
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 mid 18th Century to the mid 20th Century when the nation attained independence.
Stalin referred to stalwarts from various regions, 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, was the demand of social justice icon Periyar E V Ramasamy, who wanted the country to be named as 'Gandhi desam.' This was after the assassination of Gandhi in 1948.
Stalin also inspected the guard of honour by Tamil Nadu police.
Top officials of tri-services and Director General of Police C Sylendra Babu accorded a ceremonial reception.
The Chief Minister unfurled the national flag from the ramparts of Fort St George in the presence of military personnel, police and state officials.
Stalin conferred the state government's Eminent Tamilian Award (Thagaisal Tamizhar Virudhu) for 2022 on veteran CPI leader, the 96-year old R Nallakannu.
The award, with a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, is in honour of the Left leader's 80 years of service to the poor, ordinary and marginalised sections of people and his participation in the freedom movement, the citation said.
Stalin also gave away several other state awards under various categories to awardees.
It includes the APJ Abdul Kalam Award for significant contribution in the fields of science, humanities, students welfare and Kalpana Chawla Award for women for their courageous services to help people.