Thontadarya Siddalinga Swami no more

Gadag Tontadarya Mutt seer Sri Siddalinga Swami passed away in the early hours of Saturday. “The seer did not come out of his room till 9 am this morning. It was later found that he had passed away,” said Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy while offering his condolence.

Sri Siddalinga Swami was one of the most revered Lingayat seers in Karnataka and was known for his powerful oratory skills. He had slammed the Veerashaiva-Lingayat seers for opposing the Siddaramaiah-led government’s decision to grant minority status to Lingayats. 

The 'Green Swami'

With his death, Karnataka’s environmental movement has suffered a setback. Focused on propagating Basava philosophy initially, Siddalinga Swami shot to fame with his struggle seeking preservation of the biodiversity-rich hill range of Kappatagudda in Gadag district. His relentless fight against the mining giants earned him the laurel ‘Green Swami’ in Northern Karnataka region.

Rich in deposits of Gold and Iron, the verdant hill ranges of Kappatagudda was the most sought-after place for mining contractors when mining was at its peak in Karnataka. 

At the same time, the hill range is home to several rare and unique medicinal plants and herbs. Realising the perils of mining and rampant destruction to the biodiversity-rich Kappatagudda, Siddalinga Swami launched a massive public campaign in Gadag which went on to receive support from various quarters. In fact, the swami launched a hunger strike demanding the government to declare Kappatagudda region a conservation reserve. 

His persistent fight to safeguard the environment of the region paid rich dividends with the state government declaring 17,872 hectares of forest at Kappatagudda as Conservation Reserve in 2015. Located close to the Western Ghats, the hill range has dry deciduous forest and has endangered fauna. The region was identified as one of the few places in Asia to have high wind velocity and many energy firms had established windmills along the hill range. 

Also, Siddalinga Swami created a revolution by welcoming members of the 'Jatava' community of North India into the Basava Tatva. He was a recipient of the Rajyotsava award and Basavashri awards given by the state government.
 


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