Address by Congress President at the 105th birth anniversary
of Sri Shivakumara Swamiji, Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur
Saturday, 28th April 2012
His Holiness Dr. Sree Shivakumara Mahaswamiji,
Sree Sree Shivarathri Deshikendra Mahaswamiji,
Dr. Sree Sree Balagangadharanatha Mahaswamiji,
Sree Sree Siddhalinga Mahaswamiji,
I am honoured to be here in the hallowed premises of the Siddaganga
Mutt as we celebrate 8o years of dedicated service of Sri Sri Shiva Kumara Swamiji to the cause of humanity.
It is a privilege to congratulate the revered Swamiji on completing 105 years, on having witnessed 105 springs of nature, of life in its varied hues and colours. May Swamiji continue to inspire lakhs and lakhs of people across this state, across our country and indeed across the world in the cause of education, social service, philanthropy and spirituality.
The Sri Siddaganga Mutt, with its recorded history of over 600 years, is truly unique. Its achievements in the field of education are outstanding. Thousands of boys and girls from poor families are given free food, shelter and schooling. Its colleges and institutions of higher learning have acquired a national reputation.
Over the past centuries, Karnataka has given birth to many radical social reformers who have transformed the very fabric of our society. Foremost amongst them is Basaveshwara who advocated the cause of a casteless society, who championed the cause of equality of opportunity, and who fought tirelessly for social justice almost nine hundred years ago. His teachings have had a profound impact on millions, including the Siddaganga Mutt, and continue to resonate even today.
Education is, no doubt, about academic learning. It is, no doubt, about acquiring the qualifications to ultimately find security and fulfilment in life. But surely there has to be something more basic to education if it is to serve as an effective instrument of nation-building. That something is values.
Education must inculcate a respect for the wonderful diversity of our society. It is this diversity that has given us strength. Beneath it lies the continuity and unity of our great nation. An open, participative, representative democracy is its anchor. Nothing exemplifies India's diversity better than Karnataka itself, where people belonging to different cultures, believing in different faiths and speaking different languages have lived and worked in peace and harmony with each other through the ages. Education must instill in our youth a deep respect for our secular heritage and traditions, so that we can stand up to the forces that seek to divide us, whatever form they may take.
Education must lead to a deep sensitivity to social justice. It is education that has led to the empowerment of weaker sections of society that is so very apparent in many parts of our country, especially Karnataka. Nevertheless, the sad reality is that there are still so many of our countrymen and women who face discrimination, who live in poverty and deprivation. Now that primary education has been made a fundamental right, it is for all of us to ensure that the right is asserted and enforced.
Education must develop what Jawaharlal Nehru used to often speak about---a scientific temper. This is a spirit of ceaseless questioning and relentless inquiry. Indeed, we had ancient centres of learning, individual thinkers and philosophers in our country whose work led to path-breaking discoveries. We also have great cultural, spiritual and intellectual traditions based on the wisdom, learning and experience gained over the millennia. True education combines respect for these traditions with a progressive, contemporary outlook that meets the challenges of our times.
Swamiji’s life mission is an embodiment of this. The insititutions he has inspired and created seek not only to provide young people with a conventional education but places equal emphasis on character-building and moral values. The students who emerge from these institutions will, I have no doubt, be well-suited to meeting the challenges of adult life and contributing to nation-building and a better society.
Swamiji exemplifies hard work and self-discipline. That he perseveres in his mission even at this age is a remarkable lesson in itself. For Swamiji “work is worship”. Each one of us would do well to imbibe this spirit and make it part of our own lives.
Over the centuries we in India have had the special blessing of being shown the right path by sages, reformers and teachers of different faiths and persuasions. We are privileged to walk the path that they have illuminated for us. Swamiji has shown us the path of selfless service, of righteousness and universal brotherhood.
Friends, let us continue to derive guidance and inspiration from his life, teachings and works.