Kolkata: Praising the Malayalee community for its contribution to the development and growth of West Bengal and the metropolis in particular, Governor M K Narayanan on Sunday said the state shares with Kerala the philosophy of inclusiveness.
Inaugurating the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of Calcutta Malayalee Samajam, attended by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the Governor said, "In West Bengal, caste has rarely been a matter of concern while in Kerala it existed earlier, but has waned over the years."
Appearing in a very enthusiastic mood and wearing the traditional Malayalam dress, Narayanan said, "I am a Malayalee first and Governor of West Bengal second."
"As a humble Malayalee and not as a Governor of the state, I request Chief Minister Buddhadebjee to stay after the formal inauguration and enjoy the rich cultural heritage of Kerala," the Governor, who was accompanied by his wife at the function at Rabindra Sadan, said.
A smiling Bhattacharjee readily agreed and stayed on to see some of the presentations.
Speaking on the occasion, Bhattacharjee said that both states have achieved a lot in poverty alleviation and wiping out inequality.
"Some separatist and sectarian forces are trying to destabilise the country, but these two states have never encouraged such activities," he said.
The function was to be attended by Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and Home Minister K Balakrishnan, but they faled to attend owing to the Sabarimala stampede.
A one-minute silence was observed at the beginning of the function to pay respects to those who died there on Friday night.