The Feet of the Jaṅgama. Identity and Ritual Issues among the Vīraśaivas of Karnataka


The Vīraśaivas, known also as Liṅgāyatas, are a large community counting today more than ten million people and living in the South Indian state of Karnataka and southern Maharashtra.1 For practical purposes and clarity sake, they will be described in this paper by the term Vīraśaivas, the first reason being that the association representing the community is called Vīraśaiva Mahāsabhā, and the second being that the term Liṅgāyatas has been used to describe one part, though large, of this group of people and, of recent, has become the label for a political agenda by one faction internal to the group itself.

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