Social reformers of the 18th and 19th century laid the foundation for the country’s freedom movement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday.
“Our society was unique because social reformers arose from it time and again to reform society, and fight social evils. It was their reformation movements in the 18th and 19th century that laid the foundation for our freedom movement in the 20th century,” Modi said at a public meeting here, about 140 km from Bengaluru.
Participating in the centenary celebrations of Shivarathri Rajendra Mahaswamji of Suttur Math here, Modi said saint Basaveshwara had shown the path of social reform centuries ago.
“I had the great fortune of unveiling Basaveshwara’s statue in London recently (November 14),” Modi recalled.
The 12th century Kannada poet-social reformer launched the Bhakti (devotion) movement during the reign of the Kalahuri dynasty in the region that later became Karnataka.
The prime minister, who arrived here on a two-day visit to the southern state, visited the Avadoota Datta Peetham and was felicitated by its head Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji.
“Our sages and saints do a lot of work for society, which is not fully appreciated. They worked for the spiritual development of the people. Majority of us have no idea how much social work they have done for the people,” Modi said.
Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, central ministers Anantha Kumar and D.V Sadananda Gowda were present on the occasion.
Modi will inaugurate the 103rd Indian Science Congress on Sunday on the University of Mysore campus and address a gathering, including a galaxy of scientists, Nobel laureates and hundreds of students from across the country.