New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday night hailed the celebration of B R Ambedkar's birth anniversary by the United Nations, terming it as a "matter of great pride" for India.
"It is a matter of great pride for India that Dr. Ambedkar's birth anniversary was observed at @UN & several people joined the celebrations," he tweeted.
For the first time, the UN celebrated the birth anniversary of Ambedkar with a top official describing the noted Indian social reformer as a "global icon" for marginalised people and voiced the world body's commitment to work with India to fulfil his vision.
"On behalf of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), I commend India on celebrating this important anniversary at the UN," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in her keynote address at a special event organised by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN to commemorate Ambedkar's 125th birth anniversary for the first time at the global body.
Clark who is Chair of the UN Development Group, addressed a packed audience of diplomats, scholars and Ambedkar's followers and said the occasion commemorates the "legacy of a very great man" who understood that "rising and persistent inequalities" pose fundamental challenges to the economic and social well-being of nations and people.
Emphasising that Ambedkar's ideals are as relevant today as they were 60 years ago, former New Zealand prime minister Clark said his work on the empowerment and inclusion of excluded groups, reform of labour laws and promotion of education for all "made him an icon for marginalised people in India and in other countries".