President Droupadi Murmu on Monday paid glowing tributes to religious preacher and social reformer Swami Dayanand Saraswati, saying that founder of Arya Samaj had taken initiatives to eradicate superstitions and evil practices prevalent in Indian society during the 19th Century and showed the path of modernity and social justice.
Addressing a gathering of Arya Samaj founded by Swami Dayanand in Tankara town of Morbi, President Murmu said the light spread by Dayanand Saraswati dispelled the darkness of stereotypes and ignorance.
"Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati ji took the initiative to remove the superstitions and evil practices prevalent in 19th-century Indian society. He showed society the path of modernity and social justice. He strongly opposed child marriage and polygamy. He encouraged widow remarriage. He was a strong advocate of women's education and women's self-respect. The light spread by him dispelled the darkness of stereotypes and ignorance. That light has been guiding us since then and will continue to do so in the future too," the President said.
Murmu was speaking at a programme to celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati in Tankara.
She also drew parallels between the 19th-century social reformer Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Mahatma Gandhi, saying that their lives and their writings keep inspiring not only Indians but the entire mankind.
She added that both the seer and Gandhi were born in Kathiawar or the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and that both men led successful campaigns of social reforms.
"This land of Kathiawar has given birth to many mahantam saputs (greatest of good sons) of Bharatmata. In generations after Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Mahatma Gandhi was born in this very region. Swamiji took up the task of social reform and wrote the immortal book entitled Satyarth Prakash for satya ki siddh karne ke liye (establishment of truth). Mahatma Gandhi, on the other hand, sought people's participation in politics, provided it moral compass and wrote an autobiography called My Experiments with Truth," President Murmu said.
"These two books have been guiding not only the citizens of our country but humanity at large and will continue to do so. Lives of these two great men born in Kathiawar will continue to inspire all citizens and mankind," she added.
The President noted further that in his book 'Satyarth Prakash' (The Light of Truth), Swamiji protested against the salt law introduced in British India and subsequently, Gandhiji launched a march for mounting civil disobedience to the law and inspired Indians to come together and fight against British rule.
The President also came out in praise of the Arya Samaj, noting its invaluable contribution to women's empowerment by establishing schools and higher educational institutions for girls and also its efforts to remove discrimination and superstitions from society.
The President said the Arya Samaj will complete 150 years next year and expressed confidence that it would continue to move forward to implement Swamiji's vision of making a better world. (ANI)