The 12 th century poet, philosopher and social reformer, Basaveshwara was the first to profess and practice democracy and equality and Mahatma Gandhi had several similarities, Minister for Finance and Health T. Harish Rao said here on Sunday.
It was Basaveshwara who introduced the concept of Parliament to discuss gender and social discrimination, superstitions, rituals and spiritual ideas by inviting representatives of all sections of the society irrespective of caste, creed and religion. He also fought for women’s education, empowerment and equality and founded Lingayat faith open to all castes and communities.
Speaking after laying foundation stone for construction of Basava Bhavan on the one-acre land allotted by the State government at Kokapet here, he said it was Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao who had decided to celebrate Basava Jayanti officially since 2016 and had also installed his statue on Tank Bund. Besides, the life of Basaveshwara was also included in high school syllabus.
The State government had also sanctioned ₹10 crore for the construction of Basava Bhavan, Mr. Harish Rao said and hoped that it would be a centre for unity and self respect of the followers of Lingayat faith. He stated that the government would invite Chief Ministers of neighbouring States for the inauguration of the Basava Bhavan.
On the demand for inclusion of Lingayat community in the Central OBC list, Mr. Harish Rao said that the State government had adopted a resolution and sent it to the Centre and pursuing the matter. He noted that the government had also named a lift irrigation project to provide irrigation facility to Narayankhed, Zaheerabad, Jogipet and Sangareddy after Basveshwara.
Earlier, Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy said it was Basaveshwara who had performed inter-caste marriages first to profess equality in the society. Ministers P. Sabita Indra Reddy, V. Srinivas Goud and Md. Mahmood Ali, MP B.B. Patil, MLAs Hanumanth Shinde and Ch. Kranti Kiran, former MLC Karne Prabhakar, representatives of Lingayat community participated.