Thursday, October 21, 2021

What is the Story Behind Lingayat Issue and Is Lingayat a Hindu Religion?

What Exactly is the Lingayat Issue? The Lingayats are demanding a minority status for the Lingayat Religion, creating an uproar. But is Lingayat a Hindu Religion? The Lingayat issue received support from the Karnataka Government but now it’s up to the Central Government to decide on the Lingayat status.

Karnataka State government gave a nod to the Nagamohan Committee’s suggestion to give Lingayat religion a minority status under the state’s Minorities Commission Act, Section 2D. The central government will decide the fate of the proposal, now.

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The Lingayat and Veerashaiva community are very dominant in northern parts of the state of Karnataka, comprising 17% of the total population of the state. Out of 224 seats in the state assembly, 100 are dominated by the community.  A total of 9 Chief Ministers of Karnataka have been from this community.

Lingayat Religion is Separate from the Veerashaiva community

While both communities are worshipers of Shiva; Lingayats are followers of Basavanna, a saint philosopher who repudiated the supremacy of The Vedas and its ritualistic worship and the Veerashaivas worship Lord Shiva and practice Hindu customs. The Lingayats consider them to be a part of Hinduism. But the Veerashaivas hold that their community was established as a religion by Shiva himself and Basavanna was a saint belonging to this community.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the Apex of the Lingayat Issue

The community is divided on the Lingayat issue. Certain members of the community demand that both Lingayats and Veerashaivas be declared as religious minorities. However, others in the community demand a Minority status for the Lingayats only. The Nagamohan Committee recommendations only include Lingayats and not the Veerashaivas.

Lingayat Issue – a Political Move by the Congress to Overpower BJP?

The Lingayat issue is a dangerous move for Congress too as many of its Veerashaiva leaders stood against the move. Congress’s main objective was to divide the votes that BJP needs for winning the elections. But it might not go as planned for the Congress party as many think the community would still support the BJP in the upcoming elections.

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