Civil rights activist and scholar, Anand Teltumbde was honoured with the Basava Rashtriya Puraskar by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. A total of 75 people were awarded in the ceremony that was held at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
Anand Teltumbde was awarded for his commitment to social justice and equality through his activism and writings.
On Monday, Teltumbde had to take a permit to travel from the National Investigation Agency to attend the award ceremony. Teltumbde was accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case and was charged with the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. On November 18, 2022, the Bombay High Court granted regular bail to the activist.
Teltumbde said that it is not a personal award for him and dedicated it to the various “faceless activists” like him who are trying to improve the world.
He also took a jab at the BJP government and said, “A Kannadiga friend remarked that Karnataka would be the first to honour me before my home state. I said that Maharashtra has indeed bestowed the greatest honour by sending me to jail. I am deeply grateful to the Karnataka government for this prestigious recognition.”
He also talked about Basavanna, the 12th-century Lingayat social reformer and praised his progressive works that rejected all forms of social discrimination.
“Basavanna’s vachanas exude a remarkably progressive ethos, echoing the lineage of Lokayata, Buddha, and Marx. He vehemently opposed social disparities, ritualistic practices, and even the veneration of deities, while extolling the virtue of compassion,” he added.
Others who received awards include Dr. N.G. Mahadevappa from Dharwad, the writer Na. D’souza from Shivamogga, Jinadatta Desai from Dharwad and Gandhi Sevashram of Gujarat among many others.
CM Siddaramaiah congratulated all the awardees for their lifetime contribution in their respective fields and clarified that the government will never interfere with the selection of awardees which is decided by a selection committee.