What is the News?
The Veerashaiva Lingayats are demanding inclusion in the Other Backward Classes(OBC) quota category.
Who are the Lingayats?
- Lingayats are classified as a Hindu sub-caste called Veerashaiva Lingayats.
- They are essentially followers of the 12th-century philosopher Saint Basavanna who was against the caste system and Vedic rituals.
- They are a dominant community who make up nearly 17% of Karnataka’s six crore population.
What is the current controversy?
- Currently, Veerashaiva Lingayats have been provided 5% reservation under a special category called 3B.
- However, a sub-sect called the Panchamasali Lingayats are demanding reservations under the category 2A. This category currently provides 15% reservations to backward castes. Panchamasali Lingayats are basically agriculturists who account for nearly 70% of Lingayats.
- Hence, Karnataka CM has directed the chairman of the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission to conduct a study. The Commission will submit a report on the social, economic, and educational status of the Panchamasali community to determine their inclusion under the 2A category.
Characteristics of Lingayatism:
- The Lingayats are strict monotheists. They enjoin the worship of only one God, namely, Linga (Shiva).
- Lingayatism rejects any form of social discrimination including the caste system.
- The Lingayats always wear the Ishtalinga (a necklace with a pendant that contains a small Shiva Linga). They believe that they will be reunited with Shiva after their death by wearing the lingam.
- Lingayats are not cremated but are buried in a sitting, meditative position.
Source: Indian Express