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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced to nominate some prominent personalities to the Rajya Sabha. One of the big names that have been announced is that of 73-year-old doctor Virendra Hegde. Hailing from the Jain community, Doctor Hegde is the Dharmadhikari of the Dharmasthala temple in Karnataka. He has also received many awards for his charity and social work. These include Karnataka’s highest award, Karnataka Ratna. Apart from this, he has been awarded the Padma Bhushan in the year 2000 during the rule of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2015 during the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Who is Virendra Hegde?
Virendra Hegde was born on 25 November 1948 in Bantwal Taluka, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka. He is the eldest son of Dharmadhikari Ratnavarma Hegde. He is the genetic trustee of Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatha Swamy Temple located in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. Despite being from the Jain community, Virendra Hegde’s family is also a trustee of many Hindu community temples. Virendra Hegde comes from Digambar Jain community. He has three younger brothers- Harshendra, Surendra and Rajendra. Apart from this, he also has a sister Padmalata. Virendra Hegde’s wife is Padmavati Hegde. They have a daughter named Shraddha.
For what reasons have you been in the news?
Virendra Hegde is known for carrying forward the nearly 600-year-old tradition of the Jain community. Not only this, he has also made an important contribution in the promotion of art and culture. To spread naturopathy, yoga and moral education, 400 high school and primary teachers affiliated with the shrine teach 30,000 students every year in these subjects.
Not only this, since 1972 till now, he is also conducting mass marriage programs every year in Shri Kshetra Dharmasthala. Thousands of couples have been married through these programs. Apart from this, Hegde has also opened marriage halls in many other cities including Bangalore, Mysore for the poor. Virendra Hegde is also known for promoting rural development projects in the coastal region of Karnataka. His contribution has led to the development of 600 villages and six cities in different areas. In these places, Hegde has started projects related to agriculture, technology, women empowerment, education and health. Hegde is also running programs related to promotion of solar energy in villages of Karnataka.