Chennai, India -- Buddha's ideals are the need of the hour to eradicate casteism and establish an egalitarian society, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister K Anbazhagan has said.
Inaugurating the celebration of the 2550th anniversary of Buddha's Mahaparinirvan by the state government, Anbazhagan said Buddhism was not a religion but was preached as a way of life to emancipate the exploited class in the country.
Buddhism and Jainism were followed by Tamils in the Sangam age, he said and the idols of Buddha were found in many places in the state. The state government would take steps to collect and excavate all the Buddha idols, he said.
Buddhism was a progressive and humane ideology, which was destroyed by the followers of Vedic religion who wanted to protect casteism and enslave others, he said.
"Whoever struggles for humanism, a ray of Buddhist light is seen in their ideology. This is the reason why Buddha's ideals were accepted by social reformers like E V R Periyar and Ambedkar", he said.
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, in his felicitation message, said Buddha taught love and his teachings were universal and against casteism. Describing Buddha as the `light of Asia' and `sun of wisdom', he said Buddha's teachings were simple enough to be followed by all.
PMK president G K Mani said a solution could be found to the Sri Lankan Tamils' problem, if the Buddhist rulers of the island followed the teachings of Buddha.
CPI leader R Nallakannu said it was regrettable that Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka were supporting war and opposing peace efforts.