Bengaluru: The debate on a separate religion tag for Lingayats/Veerashaivas seems to be getting shriller.
Over 30 Seers of Lingayat Mutts met here on Thursday and passed a 5-point resolution to press for minority religion status for the community on the lines of Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.
After a 5-hour marathon meeting, a delegation comprising Lingayat pontiffs and some Ministers of the State hailing from the community, submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Siddharamaiah urging him to recommend to the Centre to accord minority status to Lingayats.
The meeting, held under the aegis of the newly formed forum ‘Lingayat Mahasabha’ was also attended by political leaders, scholars and former bureaucrats. The Lingayat Mahasabha, according to its co-ordinator and former bureaucrat Shivanand Jamdar is ‘an unofficial and apolitical umbrella organisation of religious heads, intellectuals and leaders of all political parties belonging to the community’.
The Lingayat Mahasabha, after 5-hours of deliberations, decided 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. These should not be used in the name of ‘Veerashaiva’ they argued.
It was also resolved to urge the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha to implement the decision taken seven decades ago in Davangere to change its name as Akhila Bharata Lingayat Mahasabha.
The meeting also directed heads of Virakta Mutts (who consider Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma) to propagate Basaveshwara’s philosophy on a war-footing.
After the meeting, Shivanand Jamadar said “All religions in India are born in the context of Hindu culture. But there are key differences in ideology, practice, belief and tradition. That is why Lingayats should be declared a minority religion just like Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. This decision has been taken unanimously.”
The forum also resolved to seek a separate code for Lingayats in the 2021 population census. Ministers M.B. Patil, Basavaraj Rayareddi, Sharan Prakash Patil and Vinay Kulkarni, JD(S) leader and MLC Basavaraj Horatti, MP Prakash Hukkeri, MLAs Ashok Pattan, D.G. Shantana Gouda and Raju Alaguru, MLC Kondajji Mohan and Women’s activist Pramila Nesargi were among those who attended the meet.
Those absent included Ministers H.K. Patil, Eshwar Khandre and S.S. Mallikarjun who are associated with Veerashaiva Mahasabha. Siddalinga Swami from Gadag’s Tontadarya Mutt, Shivamurthy Murugha Sharana from Chitradurga, Mahanta Swamiji from Ilkal Chittaragi Mutt, Basavalinga Swamiji from Balki, Basava Jaya Mrutyunjaya Swamiji from Kudalasangama Panchamasali Peetha and Siddharamaiah Mahaswamiji from Naganur Rudrashi Mutt are prominent among the influential Mutts who were present at the meeting.
However, some prominent seers, including those of Suttur Mutt, Siddaganga Mutt and Balehonnur Mutt were not present.
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.
The five resolutions
Declare Lingayat Dharma as an independent religion.
Recognise Basaveshwara as the founder of Lingayat Dharma and Vachanas as Lingayat religious texts.
Seers of Virakta Mutts should propagate Basaveshwara’s principles or else step down from their position.
Lingayat religion, its philosophy and Vachanas should not be used under the nomenclature of ‘Veerashaiva’.
In keeping with the 1941 resolution of the Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha, it should be renewed as Akhila Bharata Lingayat Mahasabha.