Separate Religious Minority Status to Lingayat and Veershaiva community

March 20, 2018


Lingayat movement and Veer-shaiva movement are religious philosophies that emerged with the teachings of Basavanna and his nephew Channabasava in 1000-1200 CE. Indian Constitution clubs both of them as a subset of Hindu Religion considering their worship of Shiva. However, they have been asking for distinct religion status for themselves.



Lingayat religion and Veer-Shaiva movement has been given religious minority status by the Karnataka state by accepting the recommendations of Nagamohan committee. However, the Veer-shaiva community has been opposing it and has threatened to cause "holy war". They allege that this will lead to division of community. Now Ministry of Home affairs will examine the religious minority status. 

Teachings of Basavanna:

  1. They are worshippers of Shiva

  2. They oppose caste system and child marriage.

  3. They reject feasts, fasts, pilgrimage and sacrifices.

  4. They supported widow remarriage.

Difference between Veer-Shaiva movement and Lingayat: (As per Gauri Lankesh editorial)



Impact for recognition as separate religion:

  1. Schedule castes of Lingayat and Veer-shaiva community may lose reservation benefits if Centre decides, as the teaching of Basavanna reject caste system. This was the main reason for UPA Government to reject separate religion status to Lingayats in 2013.

  2. It might lead to further division of community.

  3. This will open pandoras box as other religions like Buddhism, Jainism which are seen part of Hindu religion will start demanding separate religion status. 

  4. It will impact politics and will lead to more competitive politics in the state which might shift the electoral discussion from development to populist measures like doles. 

Benefits of recognition as separate minority religion:

  1. The Lingayats will be able to avail the benefits under

    1. Article 25 (Freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion),

    2. Article 28 (Freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions),

    3. Article 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) and

    4. Article 30 (Right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions) of the Constitution, according to community leaders.


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