Sharana Mela to be held in Koodala Sangama in north Karnataka

Social activist Medha Patkar to be honoured with Basavatmaje national award

Sharana Mela, an annual gathering of Lingayats, is scheduled to be held between January 12 and 14 at Koodala Sangama in Bagalkot district, the holy place where 12th century philosopher and reformer Basavanna is believed to have breathed his last.

Addressing a media conference in Kalaburagi on January 6, Ravindra Shabadi, State convenor of Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha, and other Lingayat leaders, including Prabhuling Mahagaonkar and R.G. Shetagar, said that the event would be organised in compliance with the revised COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Karnataka Government.

“The event, organisation of which had started in 1988, attracts lakhs of people. This time, we will decide the size of the crowd to ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. We strongly believe that public health is more important than any political, religious or cultural activity,” Mr. Shabadi said.

Boost to Lingayat religion campaign

The Lingayat leaders said that the Sharana Mela would see the participation of all Lingayat groups and pave the way for the unity of all Lingayats under a single umbrella to take forward the struggle for independent religion status to Lingayats. They held that the decision of Basava Dharma Peetha, in the backdrop of a Supreme Court ruling, to discontinue Linga Deva as the signature of Basavanna’s vachana compositions and, instead, use the original signature ‘Koodalasangama Deva’, was a great leap forward for the unification efforts.

Late Mate Mahadevi, former head of the Peetha, had, in her book Vachana Deepti, replaced ‘Koodalasangama Deva’ with `Linga Deva’ as the signature of Basavanna. The State Government banned publication of the book and seized the printed copies. Subsequently, Supreme Court upheld the State Government’s decision.

“The decision of Mate Gangadevi, who succeeded Mate Mahadevi, to stop using Linga Deva and return to Koodalasangama Deva is a great boost for the Lingayat unification efforts. Now, all groups are ready to come under a single umbrella and fight for independent religion status for Lingayats,” Mr Shabadi said.

The three-day congregation is designed to accommodate different sessions including a yoga camp, Ishtalinga Diksha, collective prayer, deliberative sessions on Lingayat religion, cultural performances, felicitation and distribution of awards to achievers. Seers of different Lingayat mutts in Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and scholars of Lingayat religion and vachana literature, apart from the followers of Basavanna and other Sharanas [reformers] of the 12th century Sharana movement are expected to participate in the event.

Activists Medha Patkar and C.T. Bevanur would be honoured with Basavatmaje national award and Sharana Kayaka Ratna State award respectively during the event.

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