Mirati, West Bengal, Oct 23 (IBNS) President Pranab Mukherjee celebrated his first Durga Puja at his ancestral village Mirati in West Bengal's Birbhum district after assumption of the office of President.
Mukherjee participated in Puja celebrations and met villagers at his ancestral house.
Besides celebrating Puja, the President inaugurated the school Building of Mirati Junior High School at Mirati on Oct 21.
While addressing the gathering, Mukherjee called for a concerted effort to achieve cent percent literacy in the country.
He said that expenditure on education during the 11th and 12th Five Year Plans has been stepped up.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has played an important role in spreading education, Mukherjee observed.
The President also called for proper upkeep of existing institutions along with opening of new ones. He said that it was not possible for the government to do everything for spread of education.
He said initiatives at personal and community level are also required. "For this, people will have to come forward and join such initiatives."
Even during the earlier days, benevolent persons had made significant contribution in spread of education. In this context, he referred to the valuable contribution of former West Bengal Governor, Sir Hiren Mukherjee and Educationist Dr Biresh Guha.
On Oct 22, Mukherjee attended the felicitation function by Kirnahar Shib Chandra High School, Kirnahar.
Speaking on the occasion the President, a former student of the school, said: "We learn every moment bit by bit from the society, people, teachers and the guardians and in this way we nourish and enrich ourselves."
Paying glowing tribute to his school and his teachers, Mukherjee said they have kindled inquisitiveness in his mind and he had immensely benefited from that during his working life as a Member of Parliament, Minister and representative of the country at UNO and other international forums.
The President also took part at an interactive session with the present students of the school.
Replying to the questions put by them to him as an alumni, Mukherjee said that first of all one should try to be a good individual as he or she would be valuable to family, society and country.
He advised the students to build character and to have dedication and commitment.
He recalled some of the incidents during his school days.
Mukherjee also formally released a souvenir on this occasion.
Earlier, the President paid floral tribute to late Shib Chandra Sarkar who had donated land for the school and his father late freedom fighter Kamada Kinkar Mukhopadhyay.
Mukherjee unveiled a plaque to mark his visit to the school on Tuesday.
He also went round an exhibition entitled 'Pranab's School ---- School's Pranab' and signed in the Visitors' Book.
The exhibition displays photos of the registers recording Mukherjee's admission in the school and marks obtained by him in different class examinations.
The exhibition also presents to the viewers his reminiscences in the centenary souvenir brought out as part of centenary celebrations of the school.
A photo capturing the mood in the school on the day of his swearing in as the President is also on display.
The President studied in the school from class V to X and passed School Final examination from the school in 1952.
Mukherjee will return to New Delhi Tuesday evening.