Vice president of All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha and former minister, S S Patil, stoutly argued that the Veerashaivas are not Hindus. “We never embrace, nor are the followers of, Hinduism. Ours is a separate religion, and hence, we fall under the category of religious minorities,” he advocated, speaking at a press conference organized here on Monday January 18.
“Just like religions like Islam, Jainism and Sikhism, Veereshaivism is a separate religion. Veerashaivas, a religious minority community, needs to be given facilities that are due to them as per the country’s constitution,” he argued.
Claiming that there are about two crore Veerashaivas in the state, he termed it unfortunate that in the last census, the number of Veersahaivas was wrongly arrived at 49 lac. He announced that the Mahasabha will create awareness all over the state and educate the people properly, to ensure that this blunder does not get repeated.
Patil said that the union government has been urged to allot a separate code for the Veerashaivas. Once the code is allotted, the Veerashaivas will be able to get the religious minority tag. At present, a large number of Veerashaivas are getting themselves grouped under different sub-castes of Hinduism during the census, with the aim of bagging certain facilities. Once a separate code is allotted, the problem of mentioning sub-castes gets solved, he noted.
He informed that the centenary celebrations of the Mahasabha and of the ‘Shivayoga Mandira’, set up by its founder, Hangal Kumaraswamy, will be organized for four days from April 8 this year, for which, President, Prime Minister, various religious heads and national level leaders will be invited. He added that he will be undertaking the tour of the state and hold district-wise meetings of Veerashaivas, to give fillip to the preparations for the centenary celebrations, registration of memberships, formation of different committees and to streamline the organizational aspect of the Mahasabha.
He strongly asserted that anyone who sports the ‘Lingam’ on his body and follows the ideals preached by Basavanna, including the dalits, are to be regarded as Veerashaivas and that Veerashaivas never get converted to other religions under any circumstances.
State president of the Mahasabha and retired IPS officer, S S Pavate, general secretary, B S Vageesh Prasad and various other functionaries were present.