New Delhi, 6th July 2022: Dr. D. Veerendra Heggade, the Dharmadhikari of of Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala has been nominated to the Rajyasabha. He was nominated to the Rajyasabha on Wednesday 6th July 2022; the others nominated include Olympian P.T. Usha, screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad and music composer Ilaiyaraaja.
In his tweet, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announcing the nomination said: “Shri Veerendra Heggade Ji is at the forefront of outstanding community service. I have had the opportunity to pray at the Dharmasthala temple and also witness the great work he is doing in health, education and culture. He will certainly enrich Parliamentary proceedings.”
Dr. Heggade is a prominent philanthropist with unparelled service to mankind for over five decades. He is the Dharmadhikari or hereditary administrator of the Dharmasthala Temple, an 800-year-old religious institution. He took over the reins of managing Manjunatha Swamy temple and the education institutes managed by the Shree Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Education Trust at the age of 20, following the demise of his father Ratnavarma Heggade. Heggade belongs to the Pergade dynasty of Tulu Lineage. His family are the hereditary trustees of the famous Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy temple, which lies in the state’s Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. Born on November 25, 1948, Heggade succeeded as the Dharmadhikari at the age of 19 as the eldest son and the 21st person from his family to become Dharmadhikari of the temple.
Heggade is also credited with introducing a rural development project in coastal Karnataka called Shree Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP). It initially impacted 600 villages and 6 towns. The project focuses on improving agriculture, technology transfer, housing, alternate energy, income generation, microfinance, education, health and women empowerment. It has now grown across leaps and bounds, it presently has 50 lakh members across the State in more than six lakh members. It is known for introducing micro-finance scheme to its members to help the rural economically poor sections of society.
Sri Heggade established the Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) at Ujire, near Dharmasthala, to train rural youth on various skills to make them self reliant through self employment. This later has spread its tentacles with branches spread all over Karnataka. The Union government replicated this successful model and established Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) across the country.
Dr. Heggade also runs a series of educational institutions in various cities of Karnataka that is focused on imparting quality education. The educational institutions run by him include schools, arts and science degree colleges, medical, dental, engineering and management institutes.
For his contributions to the society, Heggade has been conferred with various awards over the years, including Karnataka’s highest civilian award, the Karnataka Ratna award in 2009 by the Government of Karnataka and Padma Vibhushana, by the Government of India.
Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Dharmothana Trust led by Dr. Veerendra Heggade is actively engaged in the renovation of temples and other monuments of historical, architectural, and religious importance. Determined to salvage and restore monuments to their pristine glory and bring them into the mainstream of life, Shri Veerendra Heggade established the trust. Dr. Heggade is a connoisseur of an ancient temple, Architecture, historical monuments, and antiques, he has promoted Dharmothana Trust for the renovation of historical buildings in the state of Karnataka. Till date projects of 250 plus monuments have been completed covering 25 districts of Karnataka and the trust has spent over Rs. 2600 Lakhs. It is worth noting that 40 Jain temples have been renovated by the trust.
Responding to Sri Narendra Modi, Dr. Heggade has said -“I thank you, Shri Narendra Modiji, for the gesture. It is an immense honour to be nominated to one of the most prestigious offices in the country. I thank you for your continued faith in me, and your recognition of my activities. I consider this prestigious nomination to be an opportunity to widen my scope of service to the entire nation. May Lord Manjunatha Swamy bless you with success and good health”. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service