If there is one personality who is an inspiration to every youth of this land, it must be undoubtedly Swami Vivekananda. Millions and millions have been influenced by his life and his noble mission. Incidentally, Anna Hazare’s path of social reformation is an influence of this great saint. That being the case, it is my firm belief that we should bring Swami Vivekananda emotionally nearer to everyone and wherever it is possible. Government of Karnataka got an opportunity recently and it was done exactly what it was expected to.
Everyone knows that Belgaum City is a historical town. All India Congress Committee Conference that was held in 1924 here was presided by none other than Mahatma Gandhi. And that was the only time that Gandhiji presided a Congress session ever. Very few know another significant feature of this City. In 1892, Swami Vivekananda, when he visited Belgaum for over a week stayed in a house. This house went on to become a centre of attraction for all the social and political leaders during the freedom movement. The road on which this house is situated is also named after him.
In fact, Mahathma Gandhi during his visit in 1924 stayed in this very own house. Many other eminent personalities also drew inspiration after their visit here. The entire house is a place of great historical importance and sanctity. And incidentally, this year happens to be Swami Vivekananda’s 150th birth anniversary year.
Unfortunately in these days of real estate “allurement”, the historical value takes a backseat to commercial craving. One third of this house is owned by Ramakrishna Mission of Belgaum. But the owner of the remaining 2/3rd of the property had his own ideas. Infact, the authorities of Ramakrishna Mission of Belgaum requested the owner to sell the remaining portion of the property to them so that entire property could be preserved. But the owner had refused the request saying he neither had an idea to sell it nor alienate it. A few days later, an advertisement in a vernacular daily made the intentions of the owner clear when he had announced his intentions to demolish it. The Ramakrishna Mission authorities were flabbergasted and the Swamiji of Ramakrishna Ashram communicated to me the sinister design of the owner to demolish and probably come up with a commercial complex.
Being aware of the importance of the holy place, I immediately swung into action and instructed the officers to act. In less than 24 hours the Government Order was issued as per the provisions of concerned laws (Karnataka Town and Country planning act 1961) declaring the house as a "heritage site". The restoration and maintenance of the house will be taken up by the authorities concerned immediately and this place will soon become a centre of Inspiration in its real sense. Of course, the present owner will be compensated monetarily. He will be paid the guidance sum of the property by the Government itself.
I think that was the minimum one could have done from the Government’s side and I am happy the Government did it.