TUMAKURU: With Shivakumara Swamiji turning 110 on Saturday, his devotees are demanding that he be conferred with Bharat Ratna — the country's highest civilian award.
He was conferred with the state’s highest civilian award ‘Karnataka Ratna’ during the H D Kumaraswamy-led JD(S)-BJP coalition government in 2007, on his 100th birthday. “He is above any award. However, such awards have significance,” remarked Koppal Nagaraj, a former banker and a devotee of the seer. “He has been providing free food, shelter and education to over 8,000 students every year for over half a century. This apart, thousands have received value-based education across 125 institutions,” pointed out C V Mahadevaiah, a hotelier.
KPCC president and Home Minister G Parameshwara recently wrote to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to recommend Swamiji’s name to the Centre for the prestigious award.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi should propose the seer’s name to the President, said advocate Shivaraja B Nanjappa. In 1965, Karnatak University had conferred honorary doctorate on Shivakumara Swamiji, while the Union government had presented him the country’s third highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2015.
The centenarian seer, on the eve of his 110th birthday, said: “When there is unrest in the whole world, India is capable of leading the world to achieve global peace.” However, the question is whether the Prime Minister will take a call to propose his name for the country's highest civilian award this time or time it out politically.