Vokkaligas, Lingayats Gets Share in Reservation

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    Context

    • Recently, the Karnataka Cabinet decided to categorise the two dominant communities, Vokkaligas and Lingayats, as “moderately backward” from the “backward” category in a move that could increase their share in reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC).

    About

    • Karnataka currently has 32% quota for OBC, and 17% and 7% quota for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, respectively, taking the total to 56%.
    • The Panchamasali sub-sect of Veerashaiva Lingayats has demanded inclusion in the 2A category which has 15% quota from their current 3B category which has 5% quota.
    • The Vokkaliga community, which is currently in the 3A category, will be moved to a newly-created 2C category with 4% reservation. And the Lingayat community, which is in the 3B category, will now be in a new 2D category with 5% reservation.
    • The Cabinet ensures that there is no sub-categorisation of the Lingayat community.
    • It was decided on the basis of recommendations of the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, which had submitted an interim report to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on December 23.
    • The increase in reservation from the one granted currently to these communities — 4% for Vokkaligas and 5% for Lingayats — via redistribution of the EWS quota will be based on the population of various communities assessed by the Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes.
    • Karnataka government will petition the Centre to approve the hike in the reservation by including it under Schedule 9 of the Constitution.
      • The Ninth Schedule contains a list of central and state laws which cannot be challenged in courts.
      • It became a part of the Constitution in 1951, when the document was amended for the first time.
      • It was created by the new Article 31B, which along with 31A was brought in by the government to protect laws related to agrarian reform and for abolishing the Zamindari system.
    • Lingayats are considered the most populous community in the state, followed by Vokkaligas.

    Who are Lingayats & Vokkaligas ?

    •  Lingayats:
      • The term Lingayat denotes a person who wears a personal linga, an iconic form of god Shiva, on the body which is received during the initiation ceremony.
      • The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. 
      • Lingayats had been classified as a Hindu subcaste called “Veerashaiva Lingayats” and they are considered to be Shaivites.
      • The emergence of the Lingayat sect can be located within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.
    • Vokkaligas:
      • The agricultural communities of south Karnataka are called Vokkaligas. People belonging to the Vokkaliga community are known as Okkalia of Utkala Kingdom.
      • As a community of warriors and cultivators they have historically had notable demographic, political, and economic dominance in Old Mysore (region).
      •  It is believed by some historians that the Rashtrakutas and Western Gangas were of Vokkaliga origin. The Vokkaligas occupied administrative positions in the Vijaynagar Empire.

    Lingayat separate religion demand

    • The theological base of the demand lies in 20th century scholarship of the Vachana movement, a movement which is given liturgical (considered holy) respect among significant sections of the Veerashaiva-Lingayat sect.
    • This scholarship on the Vachana movement emphasised the movement as a 12th century revolution led by Basavanna against inequality and Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism).
    •  The political and religious leaders of these sections, that is, those who view Basavanna as the founder of the sect/religion and reject the Vedas and the Agamas, now call themselves ‘Lingayats’ and take pains to show that they are different from the rest, whom they call ‘Veerashaivas’ as the latter accept the authority of the Vedas and do not give importance to Basavanna in their Guru-parampara.

    Reservation provisions in India for OBC

    • The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
    • The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
      • It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
    • The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)].
      • The Constitution refers to the term ‘backward classes’ in Articles 15(4), 16(4) and 340(1). 
      • Articles 15(4) and 16(4) empower the State to make special provisions for any socially and educationally backward class of citizens
    • In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the central government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
    • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was previously a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

    Source: IE