Janaki Nair (Professor Emerita, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; ICAS:MP Fellow)
The Twentieth Century Career of a Mysore Matha
This talk will trace the history of one of Karnataka's (formerly Mysore's) most important Lingayat Mathas (Lingayat monastic institution) in the 20th century. It follows the important phases of its existence, as it moved from an embattled existence in the early 20th century to become an assured representative of the Sadara Lingayat community (a subcaste of the Lingayats, a dominant caste in Karnataka) in the first decades of the 21st century. What were the imperatives that compelled the matha to leave behind its pre-occupation with battles over honours to enter the field of education, and later mimic the roles and duties of the state itself? Does the frame of 'divided sovereignty' adequately illuminate its current place in the political firmament of Karnataka?