Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Basaveshwara on the banks of the River Thames on Wednesday, 18 April, as part of his ongoing UK tour. Modi garlanded a statue of the 12th-century Lingayat philosopher and social reformer.
Land for the statue was secured by the Basaveshwara Foundation on the river’s Albert Embankment during the tenure of Neeraj Patil, the former Mayor of the London borough of Lambeth and the chairman of the Basaveshwara Foundation.
Following the ceremony, the Prime Minister tweeted, “On his Jayanti, I bow to Bhagwan Basaveshwara. He has a special place in our history and culture. His emphasis on social harmony, brotherhood, unity and compassion always inspires us. Bhagwan Basaveshwara brought our society together and gave importance to knowledge.”
On his Jayanti, I bow to Bhagwan Basaveshwara. He has a special place in our history and culture. His emphasis on social harmony, brotherhood, unity and compassion always inspires us.
Bhagwan Basaveshwara brought our society together and gave importance to knowledge. pic.twitter.com/akJPVyuH5D
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 18, 2018
Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah also paid tribute to Basaveshwara on Wednesday, by garlanding his statue at the Basaveshwara Circle in Bengaluru. However, he was met with protests by the World Lingayat Mahasabha, who urged Shah to clarify his party’s stand on the Karnataka government’s recommendation to grant separate religion status.
ಆಚಾರವೇ ಸ್ವರ್ಗ, ಅನಾಚಾರವೇ ನರಕ ಎಂದಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಅಣ್ಣ ಬಸವಣ್ಣ. ಕರುನಾಡು ತನ್ನ ಆಚಾರ ವಿಚಾರಗಳೊಂದಿಗೆ ಮತ್ತೆ ಸ್ವರ್ಗದಂತಾಗಲಿ ಎಂದು ಆಶಿಸೋಣ. ಕಾಯಕ, ದಾಸೋಹ, ಸಮಾನತೆಯ ತತ್ತ್ವ ಬೋಧಿಸಿದ ಮಹಾನ್ ಮಾನವತಾವಾದಿ ಜಗಜ್ಯೋತಿ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರರ 885ನೇ ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಸಂದರ್ಭದಲ್ಲಿ ನಮ್ಮ ಆಶಯಗಳು ಅಕ್ಷಯವಾಗಲಿ, ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು. pic.twitter.com/NPveYNvjnI
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) April 18, 2018
Congress leaders, including party chief Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, also tweeted on the Basava Jayanti.
My tributes to Basavanna on the auspicious occasion of Basava Jayanti.
ಬಸವ ಜಯಂತಿಯ ಶುಭ ದಿನದಂದು ಮಹಾಕಾಯಕ ಯೋಗಿ ಬಸವಣ್ಣನವರಿಗೆ ನನ್ನ ಭಕ್ತಿ , ಗೌರವ ಪೂರ್ಣ ನಮನಗಳು
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 18, 2018
On this #BasavaJayanti I believe the best way to remember & honour Jagatjyoti #Basavanna is to follow his advice. I took oath as CM on Basava Jayanti in 2013 & have implemented Basava’s vision in my actions.
As Basavanna said Kayakave Kailasa. (Action/ Work is Paradise) 1/5
— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) April 18, 2018
Following the Congress party’s recommendation to grant separate religion status for Lingayats and Veerashaivas who follow Basava Tatva, the demand is one of the issues on the political agenda in this election.
Lingayats are followers of the 12th-century poet-philosopher-social reformer Basaveshwara, who rebelled against established Hindu traditions by defying the caste system and vedic rituals.
In their bid for a separate religion status, Lingayats were eager to dissociate themselves from Veerashaivas, a Shaivite religious tradition, whose followers adhere to the vedas. Lingayats, on the contrary, do not believe in rituals or the vedas.>