Context: The Prime Minister of India paid homage to Lord Basaveshwara and greeted the people on the occasion of Basava Jayanthi, the Birth anniversary of Lord Basaveshwara.  

About Basava Jayanthi:

  • Basava Jayanthi is an annual event celebrated in the honour of the birth of Vishwaguru Basaveshwara.  
  • Global Basava Jayanthi – 2020 is being held digitally, connecting followers in India and abroad.  

About Lord Basaveshwara:

  • Early life: Born in 1131 AD, Lord Basaveshwara was himself a Brahmin.Also known as Basavanna, he was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka, India.
  • Social reformer: From socio-economic prejudices and untouchability to gender discrimination, he waged war against all ills.
    • Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.
    • Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas
  • Sharana movement: Preaching egalitarianism, the movement was presided over by Basavanna.
    • The movement, which was too radical for its time, attracted people from all castes, and like most strands of the Bhakti movement, produced a corpus of literature, the vachanas, that unveiled the spiritual universe of the Virashaiva saints.
  • Anubhava Mantapa: Also known as the “hall of spiritual experience”, a new public institution introduced by Basavanna, where the Sharanas(men and women), drawn from different castes and communities, gathered and engaged in learning and discussions..
  • As a leader:  Basavanna developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva. 
    • This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
  • He laid the foundations of  democracy, which prioritises, and promotes the rights of a person, standing on the last rungs of the society. 
  • Kalyana Rajya: He established Kalyan Rajya in Karnataka, same in meaning to today's welfare state.
    • During her 2019 Budget speech, the Finance Minister of India invoked Basavanna before announcing welfare schemes for youths.
  • Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms.
  • In November 2015, the Prime Minister of India inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames at Lambeth in London.
  • Extensive work has been done on the digitization of holy Vachanas of Basavanna, which was started in 2017.

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1618510