BENGALURU: Lingayats are spread across Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and other states. “Historically Veerashaiva-Lingayat is an independent religion founded by social reformer Basaveshwara in 12th century and was never a part of Hinduism. On the contrary, it fought against values of Hinduism based on Manusmriti, which were anti-human values,” Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy said.
The move to get a separate religion tag for the Veerashaiva Lingayat community is clearly aimed at denting BJP’s strong Lingayat support base as BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa is opposed to the demand for a separate religion tag for Veerashaivas and sees the community as part of Hinduism.
Countering Yeddyurappa’s stance, Rayareddy said, “Veerashaiva and Lingayats reflect Hindu culture, but are not part of the religion. They are not part of the Hindutva being propagated by Sangh Parivar, especially RSS, to which Yeddyurappa belongs.”
Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism found their separate identity, because of failure of Hinduism, which was primarily about birth-based caste system and superstition, he said, adding that Lingayat-Veerashaiva philosophy is progressive and scientific.
Siddu bullish on the demand
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah initiated the political push for the separate religion tag for Lingayats on June 15 while addressing Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha in Bidar. He assured that he is ready to recommend to the Centre to make Veerashaiva-Lingayat a separate religion if the entire community evolved a consensus on the issue.
He also asked the leaders of Sabha to decide whether they wanted the religion in the name of Veerashaiva or Lingayat. He had also said that the government would consult the leaders of the community and arrive at a name before making the recommendation to the Centre.On July 20, a huge convention of Lingayat community took to the streets in Bidar demanding independent religion status for Lingayats and expressed their discontentment over a section of the community arguing that Lingayat community is an integral part of Hinduism.