Shelter SC/ST kids, Kharge urges seer
By Our Staff Correspondent
TUMKUR, APRIL 1. The Home Minister, Mr. S.Mallikarjuna Kharge, appealed to Sri Siddaganga Math here on Sunday, to provide more educational opportunities to children of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Inaugurating an 18-suite guest-house for pilgrims at the math to mark the 94th birthday celebrations of Dr. Shivakumara Swamiji of the math, Mr. Kharge said he felt sad to learn that of the 6,816 orphans accommodated in the math's boarding home, only 308 were from the Scheduled Castes and 255 from the Scheduled Tribes.
He said the poorest among the weaker sections belonged to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and hence he was surprised to find that only 4.5 per cent of the inmates in the home were SCs, and 3.7 per cent STs, although the math claimed to have preferred orphans from poor families. He urged the swamiji to rectify this discrepancy by accommodating more children from these sections.
Stating that all over the world, a person's religion had been freely discussed, he said in India, the caste of a person had been prominently referred to. Political leaders always exploited caste system to their advantage, he said and appealed to swamijis to ``obtain freedom from the clutches of their respective castes and eradicate the ills of casteism'' by uniting people.
Stressing the need to provide social justice, Mr. Kharge cautioned that the country would have no future if some sections of society remained neglected.
Mr. Kharge said the conversion theory had gained wider credence following the continued negligence of certain sections of people in the caste-ridden society. Modernity and education had enabled these sections to think and seek solace under different religions.
Mr. Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Culture and Tourism, conveyed the message of the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B.Vajpayee, to the swamiji stating that he should start the math's branch in New Delhi, for which the Centre would extend support. Responding to this, Mr. Kharge said the maths had stopped their service at the village level. They should go to hamlets and serve the poor there, instead of looking towards Delhi.
Mr. Ananth Kumar said Basaveswara founded the ``Anubhava Mantap'' in the 12th Century, which had come to be regarded as the first democratic Parliament in the world. England, which is considered the ``mother of all democracies'', had not even thought of this concept. However, he regretted that New Delhi and Bangalore had become battlefield for political parties, and hardly any useful discussions were held in Parliament and the Legislature.
The Governor, Ms. V.S.Rama Devi, who could not attend the function, said in her message (which was read out by Mr. P.S.Puttashankaraiah), that the swamiji should continue his services longer ``to the benefit of the mankind''. In her absence, Sri Gangadhara Swamiji of Bailhongal (Belgaum) inaugurated the celebrations.
Mr. Ananth Kumar laid a foundation stone for a Rs. 2-crore prayer hall. Dr. A.B.Malakaraddi, Mr. T.B.Jayachandra and Ms. Rani Satish, all ministers, Ms. B.S.Dakshayini, President of Tumkur Zilla Panchayat, Mr. G.S.Basavaraju, Mr. G.Puttaswami Gowda, MPs, Mr. H.M.Revanna, Mr. S.P.Muddahanume Gowda, Mr. S.Shivanna, Mr. R.Narayan, Mr. C.Channigappa, Mr. N.Veeranna Gowda and Mr. M.D.Lakshminarayana, MLAs, and Mr. S.Channabasavaiah and Dr. Shivayogiswami, MLCs, spoke.
The math felicitated Mr. Gopala Srinivasan, Director, TVS Electronics Limited, Chennai, Dr. M.M.Kaluburgi, Mr. Balawant Sinha and Mr. Chickaveerappa, on the occasion.
Mr. T.K.Nanjundappa, Secretary, Siddaganga Education Society, welcomed the gathering. Sri Siddalinga Swamiji of the math conducted felicitations.