Special Correspondent

It will be presented to him on April 1 when he turns 100

  • The pontiff heads 125 educational institutions
  • He is revered for helping thousands of poor students

    BANGALORE: The Karnataka Cabinet on Thursday decided to honour the nonagenarian Siddaganga Mutt pontiff Shivakumaraswamy with the Karnataka Ratna award, the highest civilian award of the State. The seer is revered in the State for helping thousands of poor students to pursue education.

    Kannada and Culture Minister H.S. Mahadeva Prasad told presspersons after the Cabinet meeting that the award would be presented at a special programme to be held in Bangalore on April 1 when the seer turns 100.

    The award, a golden plaque of 50 gm, is being given to the seer in recognition of his social service. He has been providing free food under the math's Akshara Dasoha scheme to 8,000 schoolchildren from poor families. What makes this programme socially significant is that nearly 30 per cent of these children are destitute.

    He heads 125 educational institutions. He started a Sanskrit college long ago and launched Akshara Dasoha in 1930 for 80 students.

    The award was first given to Jnanpith Award winner Kuvempu in 1992. The other recipients of the prestigious award are thespian Rajkumar (1993), former Chief Minister S. Nijalingappa (1999), scientist C.N.R. Rao (2000) and musician Bheemsen Joshi (2005). The award will be given only to those who are aged above 60. The Minister said the Cabinet had also decided to allocate Rs. 5 crore for the centenary celebrations of Dr. Shivakumaraswamy. But the swami had expressed a wish that the funds should be spent on the building of the math to provide more benefits to poor children.

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