Rtd. IAS officer calls Pejawar pontiff for debate on Lingayat row

Lingayats were never Hindus: Jaamdar

Rtd. IAS officer calls Pejawar pontiff for debate on Lingayat row
Retired IAS officer S M Jaamdar who is spearheading the movement for a separate religion tag for the Lingayat faith, challenged Pejawar Mutt pontiff Vishwesha Tirtha Swami to a debate on why Lingayats are different from Hindus.

Vishwesha Tirtha Swami, who heads the influential Brahmin mutt, had remarked earlier this week that Lingayats should stay within the Hindu religion as its followers also worshipped Lord Shiva.

“This is the second time in the past three months that the Pejawar Mutt Swami has commented on the Lingayat movement. He should know that Lingayats were never part of the Hindu religion in the first place,” Jaamdar told reporters here Friday.

“Unlike the Hindu Shiva, the Lingayat Shiva is formless. Our Shiva is not worshipped in temples and there are no priests. Our concept is that of Ishta Linga, which is one’s own body," Jaamdar said.

"The Hindu Shiva is one of the Trinity (along with Brahma and Vishnu), whereas there’s no such concept for Lingayats. There are Gods in Hindu puranas and Vedas, which Lingayats don’t accept," Jaamdar added.

"The Hindu Shiva has wives and sons. Our Shiva is not a family man. There’s no concept of heaven and hell or rebirth in Lingayats,” Jaamdar explained. “The Pejawar Mutt swami should know this. Else, let him fix a time and date for a dialogue on this,” he added.

The movement for a separate Lingayat religion has gained momentum over the past couple of months, with several leaders from the ruling Congress supporting it. The BJP, which depends on the Lingayat vote base, has not supported the movement.

Jaamdar criticized the Sangh Parivar for discrediting the Lingayat religion movement. “We are not the enemies of the Hindu religion,” Jaamdar said. “But the Sangh Parivar is making us look so. Why are they scared? No one objected when Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism became separate religions,” Jaamdar pointed out. Watch DH video: Lingayat, Veerashaiva, Hindu: So Who's Who? 
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