Thiruvananthapuram | Keraleeyam, the mammoth celebration announced by the Left government to showcase Kerala's progress, achievements, and cultural heritage to the world, had a vibrant start on Wednesday, the state's formation day.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the week-long event by lighting the traditional lamp in the presence of prominent personalities from different walks of life, including diplomats, cultural icons, industrialists, ministers, and people's representatives.
With 42 venues, 25 seminars aimed at shaping the future of New Kerala, exhibitions, food festivals, and grand art performances, the festival showcases Kerala's commitment to secularism, unity, and unique culture, according to the government.
During his speech, Vijayan elaborated on the southern state's notable accomplishments in various fields, including the cultural renaissance, land reform, people-centric planning, poverty amelioration, universal literacy, accessible public healthcare, housing provisions for all, and so on.
Urging people to be proud of being Keralite and celebrate the spirit of the southern state, he described "Keraleeyam" as the "mahotsavam" (great festival) of the state and a new step in its history.
He announced that the event would be conducted every year as part of the state formation day, which falls on November 1.
The event would be held annually for all the people who are proud of themselves as Keralites, to share their happiness in it with others, and to announce this to the world, he said.
"Kerala has its own unique identity in all fields, including the socio-cultural and political sectors. But, unfortunately, we never realise this. That has prevented us from presenting ourselves to the world. This should be changed," Vijayan said.
Further detailing the significance of the programme, he said Kerala is a state which has made incredible achievements in various fields and can boast of immense possibilities and potential.
"But the world has not realised these achievements and possibilities in a deserving manner. The Keraleeyam is envisaged to showcase this transformed Kerala, which is leaping towards a knowledge economy, before the world," he said.
The history of the state would be recorded before and after the celebration of Keraleeyam, the CM added.
The venue of the event was rich with the presence of acting legends including Kamal Haasan, Mammootty, Mohanlal, Shobhana, diplomatic representatives from the UAE, South Korea, Norway, and Cuba, prominent industrialists, and so on.
However, the opposition Congress boycotted the event, alleging it was an extravagance as the state was reeling under an acute financial crunch.
Local BJP workers organised a march here in protest against the state government's alleged extravagance.
Earlier in the day, Vijayan in his Kerala Foundation Day message, said that modern Kerala was constructed through the organised struggles of the working class and peasantry, who steadfastly upheld the ideals of the national movement and the renaissance movement.
On this occasion, let's commit ourselves to taking Kerala to new heights and safeguarding its status as a beacon of democracy and secularism, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah also extended 'Kerala Piravi' greetings to the people of the state.
"Greetings on the special occasion of Kerala Piravi. Known for their diligence and the rich tapestry of their cultural heritage, the people of Kerala embody resilience and determination. May they always be touched by success and continue to inspire with their accomplishments," Modi said in a post on X.