Basaveshwara’s teachings against caste and gender discriminations still valid

The birth anniversary of Basaveshwara, the 12 century reformer, was celebrated in Mangalore and Udupi on Friday.

In Udupi, scholar D. Keshav Bhat said that though Basaveshwara was born a Brahmin, he was put off by the rituals. Though he had deep knowledge of Sanskrit, he chose to write his vachanas in Kannada so that people could understand the nuances of philosophy and religion. His vachanas showed people the way to lead a virtuous life, Mr. Bhat said.

Jaganathappa Pansale, president of Mahajagadguru Basavanna Charitable Trust, said Basaveshwara believed in a philosophy of “live and let live”. He started Anubhava Mantapa, where philosophers could freely discuss matters of philosophy and religion. He believed in social justice, gender equality, and was against caste discrimination, Mr. Pansale said. Kumara, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said that the ideals of the saint-philosopher were relevant at all times.

Addressing a gathering in Mangalore, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim said celebrations of reformers such as Basaveshwara, Kanakadasa and Puradaradasa were getting restricted to the community the reformer belonged to and not much discussion was done on their contribution to society. He said it was unfortunate that not many people turned up for these functions. Mr. Ibrahim said these reformers fought against caste discrimination, dowry harassment and other social evils. These problems still persisted and their works were still relevant, he said.

Suma Arun Manvi, founder president of Akkamahadevi Veereshaiva Mahila Sangha, said Basaveshwara showed how people could take up social responsibility. The function was organised by the Department of Kannada and Culture and the Karavali Veerashiva Kshemabhirudhi Sangha.

Rudramuni Mahaswami from Gurupura Jangamatha said religious institutions failed in pointing out the faults of people and bringing society on the right track.

In Udupi, Prasanna Madhavagudi, Mahabaleshwara Bhagwat and Purnima Bhat Kulkarni sang vachanas. Pranesh Rao, Deputy Secretary of Zilla Panchayat, Vijaykumar Shetty, Chief Planning Officer, Prabhudev Mane, Deputy Superintendent of Police, and Ankush, Assistant Director of Kannada and Culture, were present.

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