Karnataka: Not Hindus! After Lingayats, Vokkaligas want religion tag


Most strikingly, woman seer Mathe Mahadevi, who helmed massive rallies in North Karnataka seeking separate religion status for Lingayats, did not attend reportedly because of ill-health. "Depending on the review, we will let the community know of the government's decision", said Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The State-level convention of the Lingayat Mahasabha, after five hours of deliberations, chose to adopt a resolution recognising 12th century philosopher and social reformer Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma, and vachanas as the religious texts of the religion.

In a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, the Lingayat seers requested the State Government to secure minority religion status to the Lingayats on par with Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

They insisted that the nomenclature should be "Lingayat" and not "Lingayat/Veerashaiva" as demanded by the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha. These should not be used in the name of "Veerashaiva" they argued.

The convention directed heads of Virakta mutts (who consider Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma) to propagate Basaveshwara's philosophy on a war footing. But there are key differences in ideology, practice, belief and tradition. It will then be sent to the Centre, asking it to give separate religion and minority status.

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Backed by Water Resources Minister MB Patil, Transport Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy and Congress leader Vinay Kulkarni, pontiffs of various mutts including the Tontadarya Mutt's Siddhalinga Swami, Sirigere Mutt's Taralabalu Shivakumara Swami along with experts, scholars and activists took part in the seminar.

However, both leaders have been politic - leaving the decision to Vokkaliga community religious leader and seer of Sri Adichunchanagiri mutt Sri Nirmalananda Swamiji.

Those absent included Ministers H.K. Patil, Eshwar Khandre and S.S. Mallikarjun who are associated with Veerashaiva Mahasabha. Insiders said the respected Suttur and Siddaganga pontiffs were given invitations to attend Thursday's meeting, but both declined, as did pontiffs of pancha peetha.

The Seers met Chief Minister Siddharamaiah at his home office "Krishnaa" later in the evening and presented a memorandum on the resolutions passed during the meeting.

Recognise Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma and Vachanas as Lingayat religious texts. The problem is that Veerashaivas are the 38th subsect of Lingayats.