Statutory Recognition for Lingayat Religion under Article 25 of Indian Constitution
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All religions preach unity of the humanity and universal love. But at the same time they tend to put their native communities at a superior position than the others or such was the mistaken interpretation of followers of the religions. Like the Jewish community believed that they are the God's Chosen Ones or the Vedic Brahmins belief that they are born out of the ear of Lord Brahma the creator of the universe. Hence the religions blinded the community conscience with elaborate rituals and strict norms which were essentially administered by the priestly classes for millennia.
This brought about, over thousands of years, a need to reform and restructure and re-orient the religions towards humanity as opposed to a particular community. To cleanse Jewish faith, Christ preached unconditional human love which later became Christianity. To cleanse vedic system, Mahaveer Jain and Goutham Buddha preached selfless love and purity of work and that became Jain and Buddhist religions respectively.
Though the prophets aimed to cleanse the earlier religious practices, they became religions on their own because the earlier religions did not accept the reforms suggested by the prophets.
One such revolutionary prophet is Basaveshrwara who is also referred to as Basavanna or Basavaraja who lived and brought about revolutionary religious change in 12th century in Karnataka. He was the prime minister to a kalachuri chalukya king called Bijjaladeva. Born to brahmin parents, he rejected the thread ceremony and hence brahmanism in to to. He rejected all the vedic institutions like temples, worship of idols, caste system, brahmanic supremacy and astrology. He preached, practiced and professed purity of work, equality among all living beings. He founded a council of thinkers called `Anubhava Mantapa' through which revolutionary thoughts for social and spiritual change originated. Anubhava Mantapa, perhaps the worlds first parliament system included people from all walks and all communities. It included women from all backgrounds. Never before Basavanna women were freely and equally involved in process of forming the public conscience. Basavanna also gave religious initiation to all communities and women. The entire movement came to a tragic end when the vedic people conspired against Basavanna when a inter caste marriage between a brahmin girl and a dalit boy was organised.
in subsequent centuries due to lack of education as a result of brahmanic restrictions on education, Basavanna was projected as being a reformer in vedic tradition and the community was fooled into believing that they were a sect of vedic shaiva's called Veera Shaivas. This could succeed since the community had no education which can bring historic information.
Even records of census in the British India since 1901 till 1941 show lingayat as distinct a religion as hindu or Jain or Buddhism. However later this record has been deleted unilaterally by the government in subsequent census. and all lingayats are referred to as adherents of hindu religion. but at the same the time the courts have refused to see hindu as religion and have ruled that hindu is a way of life. a way of life cannot be treated as religion. also another anomaly is that the government recognizes Jainism and Buddhism as separate and independent religions in hindu fold. but treats linagayat as a caste but not religion.
Hence the petition to urge the government to recognise Lingayat as a religion with Basaveshwara as its Prophet and the Vachana Literature as the constitution of the religion.
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