On April 29, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, unveiled translated volumes of Vachana, penned by 12th century social reformer Basavanna and other saints in 23 Indian languages to commemorate the 883rd birth anniversary of Basavanna. PM Modi also released the digital version of the work at first ever national level celebration of Basava Jayanthi in New Delhi.
- This event coincides with golden jubilee of Basava Samithi, which has been actively propagating Basava philosophy and the teachings of other saints of 12th Century across the world. Basava Samithi was set up by former Vice-President of India, Dr. B.D. Jatti in year 1964.
- The translation of 23 Vachana volumes, edited by esteemed literary scholar late M M Kalburgi was commissioned by the Bengaluru based Basava Samithi. More than 200 people were involved in the translation work. Rs. 2.5 crore was spent on this activity, out of which Rs. 1 crore was contributed by Karnataka State Govt.
What is Vachana?
The literal meaning of Vachana is ‘that what is said’. In context of Kannada literature, it is a prosaic text written in rhythmic style which flourished in 12th century. It was prominently used by Basavanna and other saints for spreading social awareness and bringing equality in the society.
- Basavanna was a 12th-century statesman, philosopher, poet and asocial reformer during the reign of the king Bijjala I in Karnataka, India.
- Through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanas, he spread social awareness and strived to bring equality in the society.
- Basavanna was against superstitions, rituals and discrimination of any form.
- As the chief minister of his kingdom, Basavanna introduced a public institution which was referred to as Anubhava Mantapa(translated as “hall of spiritual experience”). This institution welcomed men and women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds to openly discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life.
At inauguration of International Basava Convention, PM Modi hailed Anubhava Mantapa as first parliament of India.