Dr. Veerendra Heggade Gets Karnataka Ratna Award

By Team Mangalorean Bangalore

BANGALORE, January 13, 2010: The Karnataka government has announced a Makara Sankranti gift to Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Dharmadikari Dr. Veerendra Heggade by giving him "Karnataka Ratna" award for the year 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the humanity.

The State Government headed by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced this award here on Wednesday.

The Karnataka Ratna award for the year 2008 has been given to Kannada writer De Jaware Gowda, former Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University. Kannada litterateur and winner of the Padma Shri D. Javare Gowda observed a dawn-to-dusk fast in 2006 seeking classical language status for Kannada.

Dr. Javare Gowda, who is known as "De Ja Gow" in literary circles, said he chose Sarvodaya Day for his protest as Mahatma Gandhi had advocated supremacy of the mother tongue.

Dr. Javare Gowda, who had threatened to return the Padma Shri if the Centre did not accord classical language status to Kannada by January 1, 2006, said he decided against the move in anticipation of a positive reply from Dr. Kalam. Because of his protest, the Kannada has been granted classical status by the Centre on November 1, 2008.

Noted Kannada writer and Jnanapeet award winner late Kuvempu was the first recipient of the Award in the early 1990s during the S Bangarappa regime.

Dr Heggade runs several primary schools, college, engineering institutes, nursing and medical and dental colleges across the State. He also recently announced that the temple would build houses for the flood affected people in north Karnataka.

Some of the awards won by Heggade are:

Padmabhushan Award 1999-2000, Government of India
Honorary Fellowship of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (FRCPS) of Glasgow, Glasgow University, the UK, 2005
Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award, 1994
Karnataka Rajyotsava Award 1985, Government of Karnataka
‘Rajarshi’ title honour from President of India, 1993
Honorary Doctorate from Mangalore University, Mangalore, 1994
Shri Chandrashekhar Saraswathi National Eminence Award, 2003
Kannadiga of the Year Award from ETV Channel, 2004

History of Dharmasthala:

Dharmasthala, located in Dakshina Kannada district, about 300 km west of Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, has not just remained a source of inspiration to the devout but has been propagating the meaning of Dharma to encompass the advancement of society at large. It has played a proactive role in bettering the lives of poor communities far and wide. Established about 600 years ago, the temple has been managed by a Jain family. Millions of pilgrims visit Dharmasthala temple every year to seek the blessings of Lord Manjunathaswamy.

Now, the present head of the temple is Dharmadhikari Dr. Dharmasthala Veerendra Heggade. Born on November 25, 1948, Dr. Veerendra Heggade, son of Shri Ratnavarma Heggade, assumed the responsibilities of the temple at the tender age in 1968. Since then he has carried the family heritage to greater heights. Dr. Heggade rapidly grew into the responsibilities of his office and started to transform the charitable work of the temple into a modern rural development institution, which touches the lives of people with a transformational directness that is unique. His remarkable service to mankind for the last four decades won him several awards and accolades from across the world.

Dr. Heggade has left no field/activity untouched. He and the temple management reach out to the needy people in Karnataka and other parts of the country through charity, empowerment, knowledge-building, finance and technology. Dr. Heggade initiated a wide range of works and has set up schools, medical, dental, engineering, business management and, law colleges and hospitals throughout the region. Dharmasthala is also engaged in several other works such as preservation and promotion of art, architecture and culture, with Dr. Heggade taking an abiding interest.

Because of Dr. Heggade’s yeoman service, Dharmasthala has become well-known beyond its neighbourhood. Under the present regime, the temple has become not only an abode of peace but also a philanthropic institution for the poor and the needy.

In the early 1980s, Dr. Heggade conceived two institutions - Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP) and Rural Development and Self-employment Training Institute (RUDSETI). Both were established in 1982. While SKDRDP was set up to serve the people in the rural areas, RUDSETI was established to offer training to unemployed youth to take up self-employed venture through entrepreneurship. Both institutions aim at poverty alleviation through sustainable livelihood programmes for small and marginal farmers, landless labourers, women and educated youth, with the target group largely from weaker sections.

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