LONDON: Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda paid tribute to Basaveshwara at an event here, saying the 12th century Kannada social reformer fought for the eradication of caste discrimination which still prevails in India.
The event on Friday was organised by the Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in the UK that has erected a statue of Basaveshwara on the bank of the river the Thames.
A former mayor of the London borough of Lambeth and Chairman of the foundation Neeraj Patil welcomed the former prime minister along with MP Kupendra Reddy on behalf of the Indian-origin and Kannada communities.
Members of the two important Kannada diaspora organisations - Kannadigaru UK & Sandalwood UK, joined Gowda on the occasion.
"Basaveshwara fought for the eradication of caste discrimination and social justice in Indian society and unfortunately India still remains divided along caste and religious lines and this must end, there is no place for discrimination in the modern world," said the former premier.
Gowda paid tribute to Basaveshwara for his contribution towards democracy and social justice in India.
He said "I am extremely delighted to see the statue of an Indian philosopher in the backdrop of the British parliament overlooking the river Thames. This makes every Indian and Kannadiga proud".
The project was approved by the planning department of the London borough of Lambeth and subsequently by the British Cabinet minister for culture media and sports as per the Public Statues Act, 1854.
The Basaveshwara statue and its vicinity is the intellectual property of the Basaveshwara Foundation.
The Basaveshwara statue erected at the Albert Embankment is not only the first statue to be unveiled by an Indian prime minister in the UK, but is also the first conceptual statue approved by the British Cabinet in the vicinity of Parliament.
It is located at Albert Embankment in London opposite the British Parliament.
The approval was given as a mark of respect to Basaveshwara for promoting democratic ideals, social justice and gender equality during the 12th century. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had unveiled the statue in 2015.