New Delhi, July 19: The government on the occasion of Guru Purnima on Tuesday felicitated about 40 members of parliament who have an "academic background".
Speaking at a gathering in parliament premises, Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar paid glowing tributes to gurus or teachers and hastened to add that "today's function would also send out a right message about parliament".
"In both the houses we have over 50 members of parliament with academic background. Similarly we have good number of doctors and over 300 post-graduates," he said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too was invited but could not attend. BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi also missed the occasion as he is abroad, Javadekar said.
The MPs who were felicitated included the following: Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi, Rajeev Gowda, K.V. Thomas, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, Thokchom Meinya (all Congress), Subramanian Swamy, Faggan Singh Kulaste, Ravindra Pandey, Jitendra Singh, C.P. Thakur (BJP), Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Sugata Bose, Saugata Roy (both Trinamool Congress), Chandumajra Singh (Akali Dal), P.K. Teacher (CPI-M), and P.J. Kurien (Deputy Chairperson of Rajya Sabha).
Javadekar said changes in the existing education system can come with focus on four points: Education for all, quality education, education that is affordable, and an education system that is accountable but also respectful to the teachers.
In a lighter vein, he said, "I ensured good attendance of media for this function by requesting Subramanian Swamy to tweet because all of you follow his tweets religiously."
Swamy belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Earlier in the day, he tweeted in his inimitable style: "On Guru Purnima, advice to Indian media: You have been so wrong, so often, and for so long. Improve!!"
In his brief remarks at the function, Karan Singh stressed on the importance of teachers (gurus) in Indian culture.
"From time immemorial we have cherished the saying: Swadeshey Pujyatey Raja, Vidwan Sarvatra Pujyatey (a king is venerated only in his kingdom, but a learned man is venerated everywhere)".
Guru Purnima is generally regarded as an occasion to reflect on the role one's guru plays in one's life and to show respect and gratitude to him.
The occasion is observed on the full moon day (Purnima) in the Hindu month of Ashadha -- i.e. June-July period -- and is popular in India and Nepal.
Javadekar, known for being amiable and soft spoken, was elevated to the cabinet rank on July 5 and given the responsibility of Human Resource Department by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Each of the felicitated MPs was given a DVD on Mahatma Gandhi and a Tulsi plant.