The Siddaganga Mutt seer, Shivakumara Swami, passed away at 11.44 am on Monday and his cremation will be performed on Tuesday at 4.30 pm.
Shivakumara Swami, who passed away this morning after battling with a lung infection in Tumakuru, was a revered seer of the Lingayat-Veerashaiva faith and was the Lingayat religious head of Sree Siddaganga Mutt. The ‘walking god’, as the 111-year old pontiff was fondly referred to, had been on ventilator support for the past few weeks.
President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy condoled his demise. PM Narendra Modi said, “I have had the privilege to visit the Sree Siddaganga Mutt and receive the blessings of His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu. The wide range of community service initiatives being done there are outstanding and are at an unimaginably large scale.”
Karnataka government has declared a three-day state mourning and one day holiday for all schools, colleges and government offices in the state. The Siddaganga Mutt seer passed away at 11.44 am today and his cremation will be done on Tuesday at 4.30 pm.
Born in 1907 in Veerapura village of Ramanagara, he was considered as the most esteemed adherent of Lingayatism and was well known for his philanthropic activities. He founded the Sri Siddaganga Education Society Trust, which runs close to 125 educational institutions in Karnataka – from primary schools, school for the blind to colleges of arts, science, commerce and engineering.
Recalling the idea behind his focus on education, he had once said that education is the debt to be paid by the present generation to the future generation. He was conferred with the third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, in 2015 and the Karnataka Ratna in 2007 for his contribution to the society. He was conferred with an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by Karnataka University in 1965, as a mark of recognition of his humanitarian work.
The demand to confer him with Bharat Ratna has again gained momentum after his demise. Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said, “I request the government of India to give him Bharat Ratna. He is worthy of getting the title. Such a great man from Karnataka, it is worth to bestow the Bharat Ratna on him.” Last week, Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy recommended the seer for the Bharat Ratna. BJP Karnataka president BS Yeddyurappa also said that their party would request PM Modi to confer the award on the seer.
His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu lived for the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. He devoted himself towards alleviating ills like poverty, hunger and social injustice.
Prayers and solidarity with his countless devotees spread all across the world. pic.twitter.com/AqgOLgqTrn
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 21, 2019
Among his countless followers are a slew of national leaders. BJP president Amit Shah and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi have visited him in the past. Taking note of his illness, PM Modi in his tweet had said, “His Holiness Dr. Sree Sree Sree Sivakumara Swamigalu is a remarkable personality and has positively impacted crores of lives through his outstanding service. The entire nation is praying for his speedy recovery and good health.”