Bangalore: Karnataka's popular Lingayat pontiff Shivamurthy Muruga Sharana of Bruhanmath at Chitradurga, about 200 km from the state capital, will honour Pakistan's celebrity student and education activist Malala Yousafzai with the Basavashree award soon.
"In recognition of Malala's bravery and outstanding contribution to the cause of education in Pakistan, the Murgha Math (a religious institution) has decided to honour her with our prestigious award named after the 12th century social reformer Basavanna," spokesman of the math, C.T. Jayanna, told IANS Wednesday.
The award, which carries a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh and a memento, is given to honour people for their contribution to society following the principles of Karnataka's legendary poet Basavanna.
"A formal letter with an invitation has been sent to Malala so that she could visit our math to receive the award during the Sharana Samskriti Utsav in January 2014," Jayanna said.
The 16-year-old Malala from Mingora town in Pakistan's Swat district became prominent after she survived an assassination attempt Oct 9, 2012 by Taliban gunmen while she was returning home on a school bus. She had led a movement for girls' right to education and dignity in a male-dominated society.
"Swamji (pontiff) spoke to Malala a fortnight ago and conveyed the math's decision to honour her with an award. She was gracious to accept our invitation. We look forward to host her along with her father (Ziauddin Yousafzai)," Jayanna said.
It is the first time that the Lingayat math has decided to honour an international personality like Malala who shares the social values and the spirit of education the institute has been propounding over the past three centuries.
The math has been engaged in social, religious, educational and cultural activities, rendering services known to have spurred development in the southern state.