Our Clean Up Australia Day activities, 5 March, 2017

Sydney, 5 March, 2017

It was great and fulfilling to participate in Clean Up Australia Day activities today.

I joined with with friends from Basava Samithi, Sydney, one of the members of the umbrella body, Federation of Indian Associations of NSW, at Angle Park, Chipping Norton, NSW. The combined activity was organized by  FIAN secretary, Satish Bhadranna.

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I was particularly pleased to see participation from kids and younger members of the community, who took part in clean Up activities so enthusiastically. I was very happy to be asked to give away certificates to them.

I also went to Satyam Ghat, Haigh Park, Bridges Road, Moorebank, NSW 2170 to show my support to Sewa Australia volunteers doing Clean Up activities. It was enlightening to discuss community things with Mr Rajesh Venkataramaiah and Vijay ji there.

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Dr Yadu Singh

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Sydney Indians met and interacted with Former Karnataka Chief Minister, Mr Jagadish Shettar!

Mr Settar and community

On Wednesday, 30th April, 2014, members of Sydney’s Indian community, particularly from Karnataka, met and interacted with Former Chief Minister of Karnataka, The Hon Jagadish Shettar, at the home of Hemanth Raju in Glenfield, NSW. Mr J Shettar and CommunityHemanth is the current President of Basava Samithi, Sydney.

Approx 50 people were present. Prominent among them were Hemanth Raju, Paramesh Halaradhya, Satish Bhadranna, Mallikarjun Ramanahalli and Chidananda Puttarevanna.

Mr Shettar was in Australia to take part in “6th International Sharana Samskriti Sammelana” meeting in Perth recently. He visited Sydney after this meeting, before travelling to Melbourne and NZ.

He has a vast record of public service in Karnataka. He was a lawyer by profession, before entering Karnataka Assembly in 1994. His family members and he has been long term Jan Sangh/BJP members/supporters. He was an active leader of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) during his student days. He has also held the position of Karnataka BJP President at one stage.

He served as Speaker of the Assembly in 2008-9, Minister in various Karnataka Govts at various times, and was the Chief Minister from 2012 to 2013. Currently, he is the Leader of Opposition in the assembly.

He is a senior leader of BJP, with a lot of influence, following and support in Karnataka.

Our interaction with him included topics of Indian Governance, Karnataka Politics and Indian Mr J Shettar and Yadu Singh talkingelection. He felt that a minimum of 20 MPs from Karnataka will be from BJP. He was confident that NDA (National Democratic Alliance) will form the next Govt at the centre and Mr Narendra Modi will be the next Prime Minister of India.

We enjoyed home-cooked and typical Kannada food, prepared by various members of the community.

We were very impressed with his down to earth nature and simplicity. We enjoyed his sense of humour.

It was indeed a great pleasure to meet Mr Jagadish Shettar!

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/2nd May 2014

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Basava philosophy is as relevant today as it was 800 years ago!

Coming in contact with people who follow Basava philosophy in Sydney 4 years ago, I became a formal member of Basava Samithi, Sydney more than a year ago. I have attended Basava Jayanthi events and taken part in many of their community events, including “Clean Up Australia” day events.

Basava philosophy takes the name from Sree Basaveshwara, who was born in 1134 in a Brahmin family in Karnataka, India, and was later the Prime Minister in the court of King Bijjala. He was also known as Basavanna, which means an elder brother. He died in 1196.

ImageHe was a progressive leader andfought against the dreaded practice of the Caste system, which was based on people’s birth, thus discriminating against people from lower castes. He was also against rituals in Hinduism. He preached eradication of untouchability and establishment of equality of all human beings and genders. His Vachanas (teachings) became an invaluable source of knowledge and were instrumental in spreading social awareness.

There is no doubt that his ideas and thoughts were rational and progressive way back in the twelfth century.

Sree Basava is regarded as one of the pioneers of the concept of Democracy. He created a model Parliament called the “Anubhava Mantapa,” which not only gave equal proportion to men and women, but also had representatives from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

He was a man ahead of his time. He believed that conflict should be resolved through debate and not violence.

He was a statesman who practised what he preached. An example of this was that he ignored societal rules associated with the caste system. He allowed untouchables to have lunch at his residence. He praised and supported the historic marriage of a Brahmin woman and an untouchable man. When King Bijjala asked Basava to agree with the caste system, and agree with the punishment given to the above-mentioned couple (Haralayya and Madhuvaras), Basavanna strongly opposed it, saying that they both followed Basava philosophy, and the rules of the caste system were not applicable to them. Basava chose to quit King’s Court in Kalyana, rather than accept Caste based rules and punishment to the couple.

Basava philosophy is not based on Manu dharma, or its distorted current version, of Hinduism which discriminates people based on their birth. Veerashaivism, based on Basavanna’s teachings has no place for, and fought against the caste system. He spoke against the importance of rites and rituals, fasts, and pilgrimages in the contemporary society. The excesses of polytheism were deplored and the idea of monotheism was encouraged.

Unlike prevalent beliefs in Hinduism, which permit only males to participate in the Upanayana Christening) ceremonies, both men and women from Basava community participate in these ceremonies. This practice was begun by Basavanna himself, who refused to undergo Upanayana, because it discriminated against women. This is another example of practising what he preached.

He was a humble man. Using wit, he said that the cow does not give milk to the one who sits on her back, but she gives milk to the one who squats at her feet. He believed in humility and propagated humility.

He admitted high and low alike into his fold, without discriminating anyone.

“Let them not say, O Lord Whose is he?,

Whose, O whose?,

Let them say rather, “He is ours, He’s ours, He’s ours,

O Lord Kudalasangama say that He is the son of Thy own house”

-Lord Basaveshwara

He declared that engaging in work itself is heaven, thus elevating the meaning and value of labour, without discriminating any particular work or putting any special value on any type of labour.

It will not be out of place to quote what has been said about him.

Mahatma Gandhi said this in 1924:“It has not been possible for me to practise all the precepts of Basaveswara which he taught 800 years ago and which he also practiced… Eradication of untouchability and dignity of labour were among his core precepts. One does not find even shades of casteism in him. Had he lived during our times, he would have been a saint worthy of worship”.

The Speaker of the British Parliament, Rt Hon John Bercowt said 21st of Jan 2013: “It’s amazing and extraordinary that Basaveshwara professed, campaigned and advocated genuine democracy, human rights, gender equality way back in the 11th century even before anyone in United Kingdom had even thought about it”.

In honour of Basava, President of IndiaAbdul Kalam inaugurated Basaveshwara’s statue on April 28, 2003 in the Parliament of India in New Delhi.

Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms. The Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh was in Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka to release the coins only a few years ago.

The British Cabinet Minister for culture, media and sports has approved the planning permission to erect the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames at Lambeth in London.

From his thought, actions and teachings, there is no doubt that Lord Basaveshwara was a great philosopher, statesman and a social reformer.               

Today, Basava followers constitute 17% of the total population of 61,130,704 (2011 Census) in Karnataka and are the largest community followed by the Vokkaligas in Karnataka. They are dominant in approx 100 of the 224 assembly seats in Karnataka, and nine Karnataka chief ministers have come from this community. Hon B. D. Jatti, Vice President of India was from this community.

Finally, Basava philosophy is a progressive and philosophy, which is as relevant today as it was 800 years ago. It is  relevant Image

not only in Karnataka but also throughout India.
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(I have read and used material from multiple sources including Wikipedia)

Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/11th April, 2014

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