Four Rajya Sabha Picks: Recognition For Ambassadors Of Indian Culture From The South

Four Rajya Sabha Picks: Recognition For Ambassadors Of Indian Culture From The South

by Ujjawal Mishra - Saturday, July 9, 2022 09:23 AM IST
Four Rajya Sabha Picks: Recognition For Ambassadors Of Indian Culture From The SouthRajya Sabha nominees: Ilaiyaraaja, PT Usha, Dr Veerendra Heggade and V Vijayendra Prasad

The President of India nominated four persons to the Rajya Sabha on 6 July.

Background: The President, on the advice of the central government, gets to nominate 12 eminent personalities from the fields of science, art, literature, and social service.

  • With this year's nominations, the representation of south Indian states in the Rajya Sabha gets a lift.

  • The four personalities nominated are: Dr Veerendra Heggade, PT Usha, Ilaiyaraaja, and V Vijayendra Prasad.

Dr Veerendra Heggade is the dharmadhikari (hereditary administrator) of the Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala in Karnataka — a temple that has Shiva as its main deity, Vaishnavite priests, and a Jain household for administrators.

  • Dr Heggade has served in this role for more than five decades, as he took the mantle from his father at the age of 20, on 24 October 1968.

  • Under him, the Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala became an example of how a temple that is not bogged down by state interference can become much more than just a place of worship.

  • He has been a recipient of the Padma Vibhusan (2015), the third-highest civilian award, and Karnataka Ratna (2007), Karnataka’s highest civilian honour, among several other national and global accolades.

  • His interventions in preservation of temple architecture, education, health, nutrition, and rural development make him a noted and influential figure in the state.

Ilaiyaraaja is a musical genius reverentially called 'Isaignani' by millions of his fans across the world.

  • He has composed more than 7,000 songs and provided film scores for more than 1,400 movies.

  • A composer with a staunchly dharmic worldview, he rose from a humble background and reached the zenith of his field with brilliance and hard work.

  • Walking on the Bhakti path, Ilayairaaja has often revealed that he draws his strength from the Kollur Mookambika, Tamil Shaivism, and Adi Shankara.

V Vijayendra Prasad is best known for his work in the first 'pan-India' movie, Baahubali. He is a celebrated storyteller who worked on movies that showcased Indian history and culture in all its glory.

  • His recent works include Baahubali 1 and 2, Manikarnika, and RRR, which have received accolades worldwide.

  • His work has been instrumental to the shift in the Indian film industry in terms of scale and reach, defying language barriers.

  • Prasad, along with his son S S Rajamouli, could be credited for ushering a cultural renaissance in the film industry.

P T Usha has been an inspiration for millions of sports lovers in the country.

  • Beginning her career in 1980, Usha went on to make her mark in international sports tournaments such as the 1985 Jakarta Asian Championships, where she won six medals — five gold and one bronze, and the 1986 Asian Games at Seoul, where she bagged four gold and one silver.

  • She lost a medal at the 1984 Olympics by 1/100th of a second.

  • Usha, hailing from Kerala's Kozhikode, has broken many records and emerged as a pioneer in women's sports in India.

  • She returned to the field after a hiatus owing to her marriage in 1991.

  • She hung up her boots in 2000 and launched her academy, Usha School of Athletics (USHA), where she trains future medal winners.

PM Modi took to Twitter to make the announcements and shower praises on the nominees.

'Sabka saath, sabka vikas’: The four picks ensure representation for various under-represented groups.

The nominated members include a woman, a Dalit, and a member of a religious minority (the Jain community).

Political play: The decision has come days after the BJP, at its national executive meeting in Hyderabad, identified south India as the territory for its next phase of growth.

  • The saffron party has been traditionally weak in southern India, barring Karnataka.

  • As the party has largely reached a point of saturation in terms of Lok Sabha seats in north India, the southern states make for the logical next step for expansion from the point of view of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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