Indian Scholar Who Criticized Worship of Idols Is Killed - The New York Times
Who killed Dr Malleshappa Kalburgi?
Many believe Dr Kalburgi made many enemies within his own Lingayat community - an influential Hindu sect that dominates life and politics in Karnataka - with his outspoken remarks about its traditional beliefs and practices.Former Karnatak University vice-chancellor M M Kalaburgi, who had run-ins with hardliners, shot
As Raghu Karnad writes perceptively in The Wire website, Dr Kalburgi's murder may have more to do with the "fine rivalries and high political stakes within Lingayat caste politics".
Dr Kalburgi was a scholar of the vachana verses, the founding literature of the Lingayats. Vachanas are like daily rituals, helping people to lead their daily lives.
He had "frequently riled the Lingayat orthodoxy" with his interpretation of the verses and had received death threats from conservative members of his community.
"What Dr Kalburgi was giving was a liberal interpretation of the verses, which was more cosmopolitan and modern in its approach", says an expert. This, writes Karnad, had "implications not only for the theology of the Lingayat establishment, but for its enormous political and financial power".