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PM Modi to unveil philosopher Basaveshwara’s statue during UK visit

New Delhi(PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the statue of 12th century Indian philosopher Basaveshwara, who was one of the pioneers of the idea of democracy, during his UK visit next month. Modi, who is travelling to the UK in the second week of November, will unveil the statue on November 14, 2015, on the banks of River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth.

Narendra Modi

Former Mayor of London Borough of Lambeth, Dr Neeraj Patil, the architect behind the statue had met the Prime Minister on March 24, 2015, and extended an invitation on behalf of the British Indian community to unveil the statue during his visit to London. The Prime Ministers’ Office accepted his invitation.

Prime Minister Modi, during his radio talk ‘Mann ki Baat’ today, said he was honoured to be unveiling the statue of Basaveshwara during his visit to London. Basaveshwara (1134-1168) was an Indian philosopher, social reformer and statesman who attempted to create a casteless society and fought against caste and religious discrimination.

In an attempt to create a casteless society and eradicate caste discrimination and untouchability, he solicited the marriage of an upper caste bride with a lower caste bridegroom and paid a heavy price for this. He created a model Parliament ‘Anubhava Mantap’ that had equal proportion of men and women, people from all socio- economic backgrounds and encouraged people to debate and discuss various issues.

India has recognised Basaveshwara as one of the pioneers of democracy and his statue was installed in the Indian Parliament in 2002 during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. India had also released a coin and a postal stamp as a mark of respect for Basaveshwara and his contribution to Indian society.

The Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organisation, led the deputation before the Lambeth council on January, 2010, and pledged to donate 250,000 pounds for lease of land to erect the statue. The Government of Karnataka had allocated a grant of Rs 3 crore in the budget 2010-2011 for the statue.

Basaveshwara shares a conceptual relationship with Britain because he preached British values of democracy, freedom of speech, equality of opportunity and tolerance way back in the 12th century. Basaveshwara’s statue will be the first Indian statue approved on the conceptual basis in the vicinity of British Parliament.

The other Indian leaders’ statues that have been approved and installed in London are that of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore.

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