Terming veteran politician and prominent Lingayat leader Bheemanna Khandre ‘a born fighter’, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Mr. Khandre had fought tirelessly for the inclusion of present-day Kalyana Karnataka in Karnataka State.
“Bheemanna Khandre is a born fighter. He is a cooperative campaigner and educationist as well. He was at the forefront of the movement for the unification of Karnataka. He was among the leaders who fought to include present-day Kalyana Karnataka, earlier known as Hyderabad Karnataka, in the Karnataka State. He was also a freedom fighter who fought the British under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. He has led a meaningful life by serving society,” Mr. Siddaramaiah said at a public meeting organised to commemorate the birth centenary of Bheemanna Khandre in Bhalki, Bidar district, on Saturday.
The event was jointly organised by Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva-Lingayata Mahasabha and Dr. Bheemanna Khandre’s Birth Centenary Celebration Committee.
“Bheemanna Khandre worked hard to spread the Vachanas literature composed by the 12th Century Sharanas (reformers and poets) throughout the State and beyond. He is a committed follower of Basavanna. The Sharanas led by Basavanna had fought for a horizontal society without any hierarchy of discrimination. Our society is vertical with so many castes and classes forming hierarchies of discrimination and inequality. Basavanna and other Sharanas fought against it and attempted to create an equal society. As long as there is discrimination and inequality in the society, the Sharana thoughts remain relevant,” Siddaramaiah said.
Terming Indian democracy as a result of the hard fight of Basavanna and other Sharanas in the 12th century and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the modern age, Mr. Siddaramaiah called upon the people to protect democracy by uprooting socio-economic discrimination.
“Ambedkar had warned against the resurgence of regressive forces to continue their hegemony. Political equality and democracy cannot be protected unless social and economic inequality is uprooted. Uprooting the socio-economic inequality is a prerequisite for the democracy to flourish,” he said.
Senior Lingayat leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily, Bheemanna Khandre’s son and Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre, Law Minister H.K. Patil, Energy Minister K.J. George, Industry Minister M.B. Patil, Assembly Speaker U.T, Khader, seers of different Lingayat mutts, including Shivamurthy Shivacharya Swamy of Sirigere mutt, Basavalinga Pattadevaru of Bhalki mutt, Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamy of Suttur, and Channa Siddarama Panditaradhya Shivacharya Swami of Srisailam mutt, were present.
All India Congress Committee president Mallikarjun Kharge who addressed the gathering earlier had left the stage before the Chief Minister arrived.