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Bust of Hindu saint Basaveshwara to be installed on Albert Embankment

London SE1 website team

A proposal by former Mayor of Lambeth Cllr Dr Neeraj Patil to install a bust of 12th-century Indian social reformer Basaveshwara in Albert Embankment Gardens has been given the go-ahead by Lambeth Council.

Bust of Hindu saint Basaveshwara to be installed on Albert Embankment

The application was approved without debate at Tuesday night's meeting of the borough's planning applications committee.

Lib Dem committee member Cllr Brian Palmer had asked that the application be handled according to the usual procedure but, as no objectors had registered their intention to address the meeting, the chair, Cllr Diana Morris, urged that the committee should move straight to the vote without hearing from planning officers or debating the application.

Last year we reported that the Indian state of Karnataka had given approximately £400,000 towards the cost of the sculpture.

Dr Patil proposes to install a bust of Basaveshwara with two faces: one facing towards the Palace of Westminster and one facing towards Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens (formerly Spring Gardens). The bust and interpretation panels would be cast in bronze and the plinth would be made of granite.

"Basaveshwara was a 12th-century philosopher and social reformer," wrote Dr Patil in his foreword to the planning application documents.

"He fought against the caste system and slavery. He was a great humanitarian..

"He believed in and fought for a world in which there was equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, caste and social status."

Dr Patil continued: "He advocated the modern British values of democracy, freedom of speech, tolerance and equality of opportunity as far back as the 12th century."

He added: "We therefore consider it fitting to have the statue of one of the pioneers of the World's largest democracy erected in front of the World's oldest democracy, the Palace of Westminster, which is the mother of all democracies."

The proposed site of the sculpture is Albert Embankment Gardens, the green space next to the Peninsula Heights apartment block which counts Lord Archer among its residents.

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