Lingayat issue failed to become a historic movement: Kannada professor

Bengaluru: Literary critic and former Kannada professor in Bangalore University Basavaraj Kalgudi has said that the granting of separate religion status for Lingayats could have become a real movement, “but it did not because the common man was not bothered about it”.

While taking part in a discussion here on Saturday on whether the Lingayats and the Veerashaivas belonged to the Hindu community or not, he said the controversy could be seen from three angles – political, religious and economical.

"The first scenario could be taken as an obvious case to earn minority community status for their political benefit. The real argument on the status of the Lingayat community centres around the intellectual people and the saints. The common man belonging to the community is not really concerned about this issue." he added.

As for the religious angle he said, "It could be explained in a simple sentence. The issue is between the Hindu and the Non- Hindu. The community argues that the rituals and the philosophy they follow is completely different from the ones followed by the Hindu community or what is called as 'Brahminism'," he added.

H.S. Shivaprakash, poet, playright and Professor, Theatre and Performance Studies, JNU, said, "Today the debate is about whether it is Lingayat or the Veerashaivas. I looked up for more than 40 thousand vachanas in which the word 'Lingayat' was mentioned only 67 times while 'Veerashaiva' has been mentioned 120 times. But the word 'Sharana' occurs more than 4,000 times. The identity marker is 'Sharana' and neither 'Lingayat' or 'Veerashaiva'. The latter is related and based out of caste, but 'Sharana' is based on the behavioural aspect." Ashadevi, Kannada professor in Maharani Science College said, "In the beginning, I was thinking that it would turn out to be a historic movement, but it turned out to be a failed one." 

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