Lingayat pontiff Maate Mahadevi passes away

Chennabasaveshwar P

Bengaluru, Mar 14: Basava Dharma Peetha president Maate Mahadevi passed away at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Thursday. She was suffering from respiratory issues and was undergoing treatment for the past few days in Manipal hospital.

Maate Mahadevi's final rites to be conducted tomorrow afternoon. Her mortal remains to be kept for public viewing at Basava Mantap in Rajajinagar.

Maate Mahadevi was one of the prominent faces of movement for separate religion status for Linagayat community. Last month, she was part of renewed call for separate religion and grant of minority status for Lingayats. Lingayat organisations threatened to vote against the BJP if this was not acceded to. Some groups also want quotas for their community.

The agitation is being led by Lingayat pontiffs like 102-year old Shivalinga Shivacharya Maharaj of Ahmedpur in Latur, Mate Mahadevi and Basavlinga Pattadevaru Bhalkikar.

Following initiation in 1965 by Lingananda Swami, Maate Mahadevi began writing vachanas, a form of didactic poetry. In 1966 she received her Jangama initiation as an ascetic in the Lingayat order of wandering mendicants. In 1970 she was installed as a jagadguru in the Lingayat community, the first time a woman had been placed in that position. She held the 12th century woman poet Akka Mahadevi, who also wrote vachanas, as her role model.

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