Budget 2019: Who is Lord Basaveshwara? Who was quoted by FM Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech

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Updated: July 5, 2019 3:18:40 PM

Budget 2019 India: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today invoked the name of 12th century Karnataka seer Lord Basaveshwara as a moral guide to convey the Modi government's philosophy of public service.

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Union Budget 2019 India: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today invoked the name of 12th century Karnataka seer Lord Baswa as a moral guide to convey the Modi government’s philosophy of public service. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often invoked the name of Lord Basaveswara in his speeches to convey his vision. Who is Lord Basaveshwara who has so much influence on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision and thinking? Modi has often cited the example of an assembly organised by the seer in the twelfth century as one of the shining examples of India’s age-old democratic traditions and principles.

Nirmala Sitharaman quoted two principles of the Karnataka saint who has deep influence on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These are Kayakave Kailasa and Dasoha. While Kayakave Kailasa means work is worship, Dasoha refers to giving back to the society.

Prime Minister Modi has often challenged his ideological rivals, the Congress and left leaders for crediting India’s first Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru for establishing democracy in the country following independence from the British in 1947. PM Modi cited the example of Anubhav Mandap organised by Lord Basaveswara as India’s age-old tradition of free speech and democratic values where anyone was allowed to come and speak.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi often acknowledges and refers to Lord Baswa’s role in promoting democratic principles long before the concept of democracy had taken root in the western world.

While addressing the National Youth Day and Sarva Dharma Sabha at Belagavi, Karnataka through video conference in January last year, Prime Minister Modi said: “I still remember that at a time when Prime Minister of Britain had mentioned the Magna Carta. But, in a way, long before the Magna Carta, Lord Basweswara had introduced us to the first parliament.”

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PM Modi often highlights Lord Baswa’s decision to allow anyone, including women and poor to come and speak at Anubhav Mandap. He often praised the 12th century Karnataka saint for allowing even those men and women to speak who were ostracised and boycotted by the society because of doing something wrong.

“Lord Basaveswara had given the concept of democracy and equality to the world in the 12th century. He had developed a system called ‘Anubhav Mandap’ where people of all kinds, poor, oppressed, persecuted and excluded people could have aired their views. Everyone was equal there,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in January last year.

Highlighting the principles of free speech espoused by the Lord Baseswara, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said: “Women from every section of society used to express their ideas. Some of them were not even expected to come in the midst of the so-called civilized society of that time. But even those women used to come to Anubhav Mandap and express their ideas. It was a very significant attempt for women empowerment in that era.”

This is the influence of 12th century Karnataka seer on Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he took time out from his busy schedule for publicly dedicating the statue of Lord Basaveswara in Britain during his visit in 2015. In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also dedicated the translation of Lord Basaveswara’s teachings in 23 languages to the public.

Lord Basaveswara was a devotee of Lord Shiva and related to Lingayat tradition practiced in Karnataka and other southern states. He allowed anyone to worship Lord Shiva without any discrimination on the basis of birth, caste or gender by wearing a neckless of Lord Shiva. He also rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals practiced by the society in his time. He spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanas.

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