The Former Mayor of London Borough of Lambeth Dr Neeraj Patil met the Hon Prime Minister on 24th March 2015 and extended the invitation on behalf of the British Indian community to unveil the statue during his next visit to London.
The Hon Prime minister expressed his special tributes to the 12th century philosopher and said he is a great admirer of Basaveshwara and his teachings. He thanked the British Indian community for their efforts to get the planning approval for the Basaveshwara statue in the backdrop of Big Ben bell and British Parliament.
The Hon Prime Minister of India Sri Narendra Modi was requested to unveil the statue during his next visit to London, which is expected to happen in June/July 2015 after the British General elections in May 2015.
Basaveshwara, 1134-1168 was a 12th century Indian Philosopher, social reformer, and statesmen who attempted to create a casteless society and fought against caste and religious discrimination.
In an attempt to create a casteless society and eradicate caste discrimination and untouchability he solicited the marriage of an upper caste bride with a lower caste bridegroom. He paid a heavy price for this. He created a model Parliament called as “Anubhava Mantap” that had equal proportion of men and women, people from all socio-economic backgrounds and encouraged people to debate and discuss on various issues.
The Government of India recognized Basaveshwara as one of the pioneer of democracy and a statue to mark of his commemoration was installed in the Indian Parliament in 2002, during the period of tenure of Prime Minister Sri Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The Government of India has also released a coin and a postal stamp as a mark of respect for Basaveshwara and his contribution to Indian society. A deputation to erect the statue was heard by the full council on 19th Jan 2010 by Lambeth Asian community and subsequently approved by the planning department of the The London Borough of Lambeth on 4th April 2012.
As per the Statue’s act of 1854 of United Kingdom an approval from the Cabinet Minister for culture is mandatory.
Considering the conceptual relationship between United Kingdom and Basaveshwara the British Cabinet Minister for Culture Jon Penrose approved the planning application to install the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of River Thames on 3rd July 2012.
Basaveshwara shares a conceptual relationship with Britain because he preached British values of Democracy, freedom of speech, equality of opportunity and tolerance way back in the 12th century and the Speaker of British Parliament Hon John Bercow paid tribute to Basaveshwara in the British Parliament and said,
Its 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. (Rt Hon John Bercow on Basaveshwara, 21st of Jan 2013.)
Basaveswara’s statue will be the second Indian statue approved on the basis of conceptual relationship to Britain after Buddha. The other Indian leaders statues that have been approved and installed in London are that of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore.