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Speakers

Vice President, KPCC
Secretary, Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha
Journalist
Moderator

Date & Time

Wednesday Wed, 18 Jan 2023

Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bangalore, Karnataka 560071 India
View Map

Contact

+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

As Karnataka inches towards the Legislative Assembly Elections which are slated to be held in April/ May 2023, the role of religious mathas or Hindu monasteries will once again become noteworthy in the State. Leading politicians across political parties will make it a point to make a beeline to and hold meetings with notable seers representing a wide variety of caste groups in Karnataka. While certain Brahmin and Lingayat mathas have a historical salience, the rise of mathas of other backward caste and Dalit groups in the State over the past few decades has coincided with the widening and deepening of the democratic process in Karnataka. Undoubtedly, these religious institutions have played a prominent societal role with most of them using their spiritual cachet to run charitable establishments such as schools and hospitals but a provocative perspective is that the association of a matha or mathas with a particular caste group is also the culmination of the linkage between politics and caste, as the caste matha subsequently begins to be patronised by eminent politicians fulfilling the main purpose for which it was formed.

This panel discussion proposes to examine this intricate connection between politics and Hindu monasteries in Karnataka. They will discuss if mathas can be deemed as political institutions as they are often, subtly or overtly, involved in bargaining for the community’s interests. Is it redundant now to merely categorise mathas as religious institutions? Do the religious pontiffs leading these mathas have the influence to substantially sway the community’s votes either in favour of or against a political party? Since many of the recent mathas represent backward castes and Dalits, can we argue that they have helped in the process of legitimising backward caste and Dalit aspirations and, in the process, contributed to widening democracy in Karnataka?

Karnataka will be going in for Assembly elections in the middle of 2023. The Bangalore International Centre has organised a series of talks – Karnataka Votes 2023 – that highlights the various elements of state politics, its culture and history that are often unique to this state, and affect the voting pattern. This is the second session in the series.

Speakers

K V Aditya Bharadwaja

Journalist

K V Aditya Bharadwaj describes his interest as “the culture of politics and the politics of culture”. He has over a decade’s experience reporting on the state’s politics, culture, crime and urban affairs. He is presently Deputy City Editor, Bengaluru at The Hindu.

B L Shankar

Vice President, KPCC

Dr. B L Shankar is a member of the All India Congress Committee and the Vice President of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. He has been the Chairman of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath and the Karnataka Legislative Council. He has co-authored the book, The Indian Parliament – A Democracy at Work with Prof. Valerian Rodrigues, Professor & Chairperson, Centre for Political Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

G B Patil

Secretary, Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha
G B Patil  is a small scale industrialist, senior leader and national general secretary of Jagathika Lingayat Mahasabha, an organization that works towards the welfare of the Lingayat community.
He is also President of Rashtra Kavi Kuvempu Vedike, an organization that promotes the works and literature of the famous Kannada poet Kuvempu and the Founder Secretary of Uttar Karnataka Nagarikar Abhivraddi Sangha, an organization that works towards the development and upliftment of the citizens of North Karnataka.

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed

Journalist

Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed is an award-winning journalist with Frontline newsmagazine and is based in Bengaluru. His article on Syed Ahmed Esar published in Frontline magazine is available here.