Demand for Lingayat religion gets fresh momentum in Kalaburagi

A large number of people arrived for the Lingayat rally in Kalaburagi on Sunday.  

The demand for religion status for Lingayat gathered fresh momentum on Sunday with another large mobilisation of community members in Kalaburagi. It was the fourth rally in the last two-and-a-half months after Bidar, Belagavi and Latur (Maharashtra) pressing for the demand.

Lakhs of community members from different parts of Hyderabad Karnataka region as well as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana thronged the city in thousands of vehicles and public transport systems.

Holding saffron flags and banners, wearing white Gandhi caps imprinted with social reformer Basaveshwara’s image, playing traditional drums, singing Vachana compositions of Basaveshwara and other Sharanas (reformers) of the 12th century and raising slogans, the community members marched from APMC Market Yard through the Supermarket and Jagat Circle to Nutan Vidyalay Grounds where a public meeting was held.

Traffic movement in the area came to a standstill for hours as large number of people filled the streets. Police personnel were found struggling to handle the crowd and vehicular movement. The demand for recognition to Lingayat as a religion reverberated in the air with slogans being raised through loudspeakers installed in a vast area spreading over kilometres of land.

Heads and chief administrators of over 20 Lingayat mutts and institutions, including Mate Mahadevi, Sharanabasappa Appa, Tontada Siddalinga Swami, Nijagunanand Swami and Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana participated in the rally.

Community leaders cutting across party lines, including Ministers Sharanprakash Patil, M.B. Patil, Vinay Kulkarni, Basavaraj Rayaraddi and Basavaraj Horatti, B.R. Patil, former IAS officer Shivanand Jamdar, addressed the gathering.

“We have been an independent religion since in 12th century. We are now simply demanding for Constitutional recognition. We will not rest till our demand is met,” the Medical Education Minister [Sharanprakash Patil] declared from the dais during his opening remarks. His declaration received an overwhelming response from the crowd. Mr. Shivanand Jamdar reasoned how Lingayat was an independent religion. He clarified that the Lingayat mobilisations in the recent times were not directed against any religion or any religious head, but for Constitutional recognition alone.

“Veerashaiva and Lingyayat are not one and the same. Vedas, Upanishats, Agama and other ancient Vedic literature form the basis for the Veerashaiva sect whereas Vachana literature composed by Basaveshwara and other social reformers of the 12th century is the basis for Lingayat religion. We are an independent religion and Vachana literature is our religious text,” Mr. Jamdar said.

The gigantic stage that accommodated a large number of seers and community leaders was named after renowned scholar late M.M. Kalburgi who, through his in-depth research, had provided ideological justifications to the demand for religion status for Lingayat. A collection of scholarly articles on Lingayat religion authored by Dr. Kalburgi was released by Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil.

Rashtriya Basava Sene

Rashtriya Basava Sene, a united national organisation of Lingayats, was launched on the occasion. Mines and Geology Minister Vinay Kulkarni was declared its founding president.

“We need to build a new India. Ours is a tradition of Anubhava Mantapa. We will take a special membership drive to expand the base of the sene. All Virakta Mutts will be its offices,” said Mr. M.B. Patil.

He said that Veerashaiva was one of the several sects within the fold of Lingayat. “If Veerashaivas want an independent religion tag for their sect, we don’t have any problem. Let them make an attempt for it. But, we are opposed to their demand for a Veerashaiva-Lingayat religion. These two are different. I ask them not to go with the term Lingayat in their efforts to get religion status for their sect [Veerashaiva],” he said.

Mr. M.B. Patil and Mr. Vinay Kulkarni, one after the other, declared that the next mobilisation of Lingayat would be held on November 5 at the Nehru Maidan in Hubballi, on November 19 at the B.R. Amedkar Stadium in Vijayapura, before a national conference on December 10 in Bengaluru for which over 20 lakh people will be mobilised.

Heads of various Lingayat mutts and institutions spoke.


Meanwhile, a resolution condemning the killings of M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh (hailing them as well-known Lingayat personalities) and demanding the arrest of the culprits involved in these crimes was adopted at the rally.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 11:35:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/demand-for-lingayat-religion-gets-fresh-momentum/article19748439.ece

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