Basava (Kannada: ಬಸವ) (also known as Bhakti Bhandari Basavanna (Kannada: ಭಕ್ತಿ ಭಂಡಾರಿ ಬಸವಣ್ಣ ) or Basaveshwara (Kannada:ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರ), (1134–1196)) was an Indian philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer in what is now Karnataka, India. Basava fought against the practice of the caste system, which discriminated against people based on their birth, and other rituals inHinduism. He spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna used Ishtalinga, an image of the Śiva Liṅga, to eradicate untouchability, to establish equality among all human beings and as a means to attain spiritual enlightenment. These were rational and progressive social thoughts in the twelfth century. Basaveshwara is undoubtedly one of the pioneer’s of Indian Democracy. He created a model Parliament called the “Anubhava Mantapa,” which not only gave equal proportion to men and women, but also had representatives from different socioeconomic backgrounds. The carvings of the model Parliament can be found across many temples in south India. He was a man ahead of his time, who believed that conflict should be resolved through debate and not violence. He advocated mercy towards both humans and animals.