Resolution demanding separate resolution passed by Lingayats
The Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha passed a resolution declaring that Veerashaiva and Lingayats were the same but did not fall under the Hindu Dharma. The resolution has demanded sperate religious status to Veerashaiva-Lingayats as an entity. Incidentally, Wednesday's resolution has repeated the stance taken decades ago by the Mahasabha.
The Mahasabha which acts as an umbrella organisation of the community met on Wednesday and passed the resolution that also asks all members of the community to not discuss the row in public anymore.
"Veerashaiva-Lingayat faith is not part of Hinduism. Those who follow the philosophies of Ashtavarana, Shatsthala, Panchachaara and perform Lingapuje by holding the Linga on their palm are the same and hence Veerashaiva and Lingayat are the same. The Mahasabha has decided to do everything in its capacity to ensure that the Veerashaiva-Lingayat faith is accorded separate religious status," said the resolution.
The meeting was held in Bengaluru and saw prominent community leaders including politicians cutting across party lines take part. Senior Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa is the president of the Mahasabha while Municipal Minister Eshwar Khandre is the secretary-general.
The five-point resolution has urged community members to refrain from making any statements, for or against, in the issue. "The Mahasabha has decided to call a meeting of seers, experts and leaders, those for and against the issue, to resolve differences. The sabha will also take into confidence members who have drifted apart due to the difference of opinion. Until that time members of the community should refrain from making any statements about the issue in public," the resolution read.
The resolution's first point on Veerashaiva-Lingayat being the same is reflective of a 40-year-old resolution that was passed by the same Mahasabha declaring both entities as same. Many leaders who are demanding a separate religious status for the community but are opposing the idea of both entities being different, refer to the resolution passed 40-years-ago by the Mahasabha to support their claims. Lingayat woman seer, Mathe Mahadevi had also accepted the Mahasabha's resolution passed 40 years ago but has taken a U-turn now declaring Veerashaiva and Lingayats as separate entities.
The meeting, as well as the resolution, comes at a time when pontiffs of various mutts were indulging in personal attacks over the difference of opinion. The Mahasabha hopes to fight for separate religious status for Veerashaiva-Lingayat communities as a single entity but with the crux of the issue being whether these communities are the same is likely to make matters difficult.
Meanwhile, the political parties in Karnataka have refused to take a singular stand on the issue. The lack of a clear stance also stems from the fact that leaders within parties are divided over the Lingayat-Veerashaiva row.