Thiruvananthapuram: Declining standards of probity in public life threatened the foundations of the nation, Vice-President Hamid Ansari said Saturday, stressing that it was time to introspect how far the country has succeeded in realising the basic goals it set out six decades ago.
"It is said that introspection is an incentive for action. When we adopted our Constitution on January 26, 1950, we solemnly resolved to secure for all citizens justice...Liberty of thought...Equality of status and opportunity and fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and nation's unity...
"Sixty three years later, we need to assess the extent to which this has been realised," Ansari said delivering the memorial lecture dedicated to social reformer and freedom fighter Vakkom Abdul Khadar Moulavi here.
Recalling Dr B R Ambedkar's observation that the country would be entering a life of contradiction if political equality was not compimented by economic and social equality, he said it was time to introspect " how far have we succeeded in resolving this contradition ?"
Despite achievements, including its emergence as a robust democracy and a strong economy, "our nation building agenda is yet to be completed and formidable challegnes still confront us," he said.
He noted poverty, inequality and unemployment remained the major obstacles to the country's development aspirations while "declining standards of probity in public life threaten the very foundations of our republic."
At the function, Gandhian and social activist P V Rajagoal received from Ansari the Professor N A Karim award for outstanding public service, instituted by Vakkom Moulavi Foundation.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was among those who spoke on the occasion.