Centre Rejects State’s Request to Grant Religious Minority Tag to Lingayat/Veerashaiva Community

Prelims level : Art and Culture Mains level : GS1: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
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  • The Union government on Monday told the Karnataka High Court that it has rejected the recommendation of the State government to grant religious minority status to Lingayat and Veerashaiva community.


  • The Centre has taken a stand that Lingayat/Veerashaiva community is part of Hindu religion.
  • The Centre has said that a similar request was considered earlier and it was observed that Lingayats were always classified under Hindus since 1871 census, the first official census of India
  • Further,the Centre has claimed that all members of scheduled caste professing Veerashaivas/Lingayat religion would lose their status if is treated as a separate religion

About Lingayats/Veerashaivas community:

  • Lingayats are followers of 12th-century social reformer Basavanna and his vachana (verses) philosophy.
  • Their beliefs, practices and faith are different.
  • Veerashaivas worship Lord Shiva, the one mentioned in Hindu mythology. However, the Shiva that Basavanna referred to in his vachanas (verses) is not the Hindu god Shiva but the ishtalinga (formless God), which people of the community wear around their neck.
  • Veerashaivas are a sub-sect of Lingayats and ardent followers of Lord Shiva. They preceded Basavanna, the founder of Lingayatism.
  • Veerashaivism has its roots in the Vedas and Agamas, and Veerashaivas do not worship any god other than Shiva; they can be found spread across Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

About Basavanna:

  • Basavanna was a 12th-century social reformer. The revolution that Basavanna led came years after the Buddha.
  • It was Basavanna and his contemporary Sharanas who launched a very strong spiritual, social and religious rebellion against Brahminical hegemony.
  • Basavanna had declared that “work is worship”. He gave women equal status in his movement through the vachanas (verses).
  • In order to take the social movement closer to the people, Basavanna and all the other Sharanas voiced their concerns in simple Kannada vachanas so that even lay people could comprehend them.
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