HUBBALLI: Lingayat is an independent religion with its own culture, tradition and a sacred book, said Vishwa Lingayat Mahasabha national president Sanjay Makal.
Addressing a convention on ‘Lingayat an independent religion’ at Sanskrutik Bhavan on Sunday, he said Lingayats are not Hindus. Lingayats believe in non-vedic culture and the religion was born out of the practices of Jagajyoti Basveshwara, who instituted it as he was dejected with the ‘varna system.’ Makal said if Lingayat becomes an independent religion, it would get Central government aid up to `300 crore, which can be used to uplift the community and the religion would get global recognition.
Expressing anguish over the status of Lingayats in Hinduism, he said: “Hindus consider us as shudras even though we follow Brahminic tradition.” He called upon Lingayats not to visit places like Dharmasthala and Tirupati, but instead go to Ulavi, Basava Kalyana and Kodalasangam which are considered holy places of the community.
Saying that a legal battle should be fought to get a separate religion tag, Makal urged Lingayats not to register themselves as Hindu or Veerashaiva in government records.
Siddalinga Mahaswamiji of Gadag Tontadarya Mutt said Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life.
Lingayats used to register themselves in their community name before 1956. But that practice was stopped later, he added.