The septuagenarian seer has set up educational and charitable institutions, apart from spreading the message of Sri Basaveshwara
Karnataka government has selected Sri Basavaliga Pattaddevaru, senior seer of Bhalki Hiremath, for the prestigious Sri Basava International Award. Minister for Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar will present the award at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bengaluru on August 18.
The septuagenarian seer has spent over five decades in the Lingayat religious institution in Bidar district. He has set up educational and charitable institutions, apart from spreading the message of Sri Basaveshwara and other sharanas of the 12th century.
A child rescue centre and adoption agency he set up 18 years ago, has raised, educated and offered for adoption around 75 children so far.
Now, the Hiremath has 20 children at the centre. They would be given for adoption. The centre has 10 physically challenged children and children with special needs, too. Some have been trained in schools for special children. Some have been sent to the Adi Chunchangiri School for the Blind, and the National Residential School for Deaf and Dumb in Bengaluru.
The centre was set up in 2003 when an abandoned baby from Ujani village near Aurad in Bidar district was adopted. The seer moved court to adopt the child. The Central and State governments later recognised the centre as an authorised Central adoption resource agency.
Each year, the seer celebrates his birthday as ‘Day of the Blessed Children’, along with the rescued children.
The seer set up Hiremath Sansthan Vidya Peetha Trust that now runs a series of schools and a residential pre university college. Students of Sri Channabasava Pattaddevaru residential PU college have been making it to rank lists in board and CET examinations. Students have got seats in IITs and the best engineering colleges in Karnataka. They have been included in higher percentile groups and got admission in medical colleges across the country.
Sri Basavaliga Pattaddevaru, senior seer of Bhalki Hiremath, with students of the schools run by the mutt in Bhalki. | Photo Credit: GOPICHAND T.
The education society now runs 25 schools and colleges in Bidar with over 15,000 students, and employs around 1,000 teachers.
Born Shivaraj Kadode in a small village near Aurad, he moved to the mutt when he was around 19 years old. He was selected to the post from among three young students in Bhalki. Sri Channabasava Pattaddevaru, the centenarian seer, chose him to head the institution.
The seer has served as chairman of the overseeing committee for construction of the Anubhava Mantapa in Basava Kalyan.
The seer has published scores of books in Kannada, Maratha and English about the lives and contribution of sharanas.
Five years ago, he gave up administrative responsibilities and anointed Sri Guru Basava Devaru, his junior seer. Since then, he has concentrated on spreading the teachings of Sri Basaveshwara and other sharanas. The seer, who gives sermons in Kannada, Marathi and Telugu, has been touring Maharashtra and Telangana. He has inspired the setting up of Basaveshwara Mandala and Vachana study groups in the neighbouring States.
The mutt was in the forefront of the agitation for recognition of Lingayatism as a separate religion. The seer spoke at the first ever rally of the associations that urged the government to consider the Basava faith as a separate religion.
He told The Hindu, “It is true that some petty politics was played over the issue by some leaders. But we are not involved in that. My stand is clear. We want Lingayatism to be recognised as a separate religion, and we will get it, sooner or later.”
The mutt has attracted high-profile visitors, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The seer, however, maintains that he is not as politically active as some other seers.
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