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A group Jangams ,moving in street of Mohali city near Chandigarh , 17 th May 2022

The Jangam or Jangamaru (ಜಂಗಮರು) are a Shaiva order of religious monks. They are the priests or gurus of the Hindu Shaiva sect.[1] Jangamas are also gurus of Veerashaiva' sect Jangamas are disciples of Lord Shiva as mentioned in Basava Puranas. A visit of a jangam to a house is treated as the visit of Lord Shiva himself and the jangam shall be given good alms and the jangam blesses the natives. The Jangam is the wandering holy man in Virashaivism. The meaning of word Jangam is 'moving linga' and considered superioir to 'sthira linga'. Jangama is one who is endowed with true spirit of Agamic knowledge, and has sacrificed his life for giving Samskara or good character building practices in all sections of the society including all Sudra castes without any discrimination.

Jangama is a community which has people who are engaged in professions like priestly hood, religious preachings and some in various kings courts as advisors and some designated positions in various parts of India, mostly in southern India. Priests who make poojas to lord mallikarjuna in srisailam & Varanasi belong to verrashaiva Jangam community.


According to the Hindu history of India, Goddess Parvati had claimed that she had given birth to Lord Ganesh (elephant-headed Deity) when she died as Sati (previous incarnation who died by self-immolation). She told Lord Shiva. that he too should also create a similar lord. Lord Shiva proceeded to cut his thigh and his blood spilled on the lifeless statue known as Kusha which immediately came alive and was thereafter referred to as Jangam. The term 'Jangam' (or) 'Jangam Sages' in Himalayas, Kashi and Kumbh mela (or) 'Jangam Sadhu' in Hindu Temples (or) Jangam in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat (or)'Jangam Ayya (Acharya, full form of Ayya is Acharya)' Swamy, Tata,in Karnataka Priestly Section (or) 'Jangam Veerashaiva Pandaram' is Tamil Nadu Priestly Section and Kerala Priestly Section (or) Jangam Jogi in Haryana (or) 'Jangam Baba' in North India (or) Jangam Deva in Andhra Pradesh (or) Jangam Guru in Nepal are the different names given to the wandering Shivite (Hindu worshippers of Shiva) mendicants who are believed to be descendants of the original 'Jangam'. They function as priests or Guru for all those Lingayaths who follow the Shivite cult. In most of Shiva temples the Jangams perform the Pooja (prayer and worship of Shiva) as per ParameswarAgama. The Jangam priests may preside over all rituals however special regard is given to marriage rites in Lingayatism and Shaivism section of Hinduism.

Veerashaiva jangam worship is centred on the Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.[2][3] The jangam always wear the Ishtalinga held with a necklace.[4] The Istalinga is made up of small blue-black stone coated with fine durable thick black paste of cow dung ashes mixed with some suitable oil to withstand wear and tear. The Ishtalinga is a symbolism for Lord Shiva.[5] It is viewed as a "living, moving" divinity with the devotee. Every day, the devotee removes this personal linga from its box, places it in left palm, offers puja and then meditates about becoming one with the linga, in his or her journey towards the atma-linga.[6]

Jangama Acharya (Ayya) in Telangana State[edit]

Jangams hold intellectual history refers to the historiography of ideas and thinkers. The history cannot be considered without the knowledge of humans who created, discussed and wrote about in and other ways which were concerned with ideas. Jangam community were traditional religious mendicant class were considered auspicious in early time but during the colonial period were reduced to poverty. Most Jangama Devaras (Devullu)falls under priestly class of Agamic practices and understand difficult ideas, subjects and use knowledge to expand services as government advisors and political advisors.

[7] Jangama is one who is endowed with true spirit of Agamic knowledge, and has sacrificed his life for giving Samskaras ( good character building practices in all sections of the society including all Sudra castes without any discrimination .

Telangana officially formed on 2 June 2014. Average Population in Telangana would be 35,003,674 and Jangama population is less than 1% that is of 318,775. The beauty of Jangama and its community; they hold sthirathvam in 33 Districts of the entire Telangana state. And out of priestly culture they work as doctors, engineers and software professionals. Origin of Telugu states are dotted with Shiva temples, each with its own deep rich history. The ancient name of Telugu state is Trilinga Desa, meaning The Land of Three Lingas Borders of Telugu State Kaleshwaram (Telangana), Bhimeshwaram (Coastal Andhra) and Srisailam (Rayalseema).

In Telangana, Jangam Ayya stands in Backward Class category BC A, S.NO:6 and they also stands out to be in OBC List included year 2016.

OBC means Other Backward Class collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are Educationally or Socially Disadvantaged. At present, there are 112 castes in the OBC category in Telangana and they were divided into four groups – A, B, C and D depending on their backwardness with a total of 25 per cent reservations in education and employment.

Jangam Lingayat or Jangam Thambiran or Jangam in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala[edit]

The Veerashaiva Jangam called as Jangam caste is composed of respectable people. Pandaram or Thambiran is surname(Title) of Jangam people. The name pandaram is from Tamil word meaning storing place of valuable jewels, navarathna. They are generally stored in the Lord Shiva temples. In ancient days jangamas were placed to maintain the jewels of Lord Shiva temples and palaces in Tamil Nadu. Jangam Lingayath Pandaram (True Lingayat) in Tamil Nadu are Land holders, Traders, Sanyasis or Monk in (Arunachalesvara Temple) or Priests or Guru and Managers of richly endowed Lord Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu. Many Jangam live in Tamil Nadu, specifically, and in Vellore, Cuddalore, Virudhunagar, Sivakasi, Aruppukkottai, Dindigul, Pattukkottai, Theni, Dharmapuri, Madurai, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Erode, Tirupur, Villupuram, Arni and Coimbatore, Pudukottai, Salem, Kanchipuram, Thiruvellore, Trichy and Chennai (Madras) districts. In Kerala, specifically Palakkad, Kollam, Kottayam districts.[8] The Jangam is the holy man in Virashaivism. The divinity of the Jangam is reflected in many narrative stories in the Purana's and other collections, and in which the Jangamas are actually depicted as Shiva.

Historically (in Tamil Nadu), Jangam Lingayath pandaram were known as "Virashaiva Jangam" and also called as ardent worshippers of Shiva. "Linga Pooja/ Lingadharanam" and "Kula Deiva Pongal" (at Bramma Mugurtha Time) are the main (must) ceremony in the marriage among Jangam Lingayats Pandarams. Most of Hindus cremate the dead, but in Jangam Lingayat Pandaram, the dead are buried. "Mootcha Deepam" and "Linga Pooja" are important rituals in funeral.The dead are buried (must be) with their Ishta linga in their hand in a simple sitting cross-legged dhyana position. Unlike other Hindus, whose functions are presided by Brahmins, in jangam lingayat pandaram tradition 'Jangam Bhandari' (Jangama purohit)a Head priest specifically for jangams will preside the marriage and also funeral. Jangam lingayat Pandaram have faith on "Kuladeiva kovil" and Lord Veerabhadra and believe they are "Shivanneen Kulanthaikal".

Jangam or Jangama or Jangam Ayya (Acharya) (the priest hood section of Veerashaiva Lingayathism) in Karnataka[edit]

Veerashaivism contains two sections, one the ancient race of Veerashaiva jangam ( the priests at Srisailam and Kedarnath since before the times of Adi Shankaracharya) and the Lingayat which constitutes all different working classes who later joined the society after they changed their way of life as lingayatism, a sect of Hinduism. Jangamas wear Ishtalinga on their chest hanging through a thread in Karnataka. After death they are buried in Dhyana-Mudra with Linga in hand or they have given Samadhi or called Lingaekya or merger in god Linga. They believe in formless god in form of Ista-Linga and no other idol. The Jangam Lingayat or Jangam are known as Lingayath or True Shivavatari or Movable Lingam or Jangam Sage or Jangama or Lingayat Priest or Jangam Guru or Guru/ Jangam Ayya (Acharya) in Lord Basava Period of Veerashaiva[Lingayath ]Religion] and Lord Shiva temples in Karnataka. The lingayata movement and vachanas form an integral part of Karnataka lingayata community. The main names related to the movement are Basavanna, Allama Prabhu, Akka Mahadevi, Dohara Kakkaiyya, Haralayya, Aaydakki Lakkamma, Madara Chennayya and many others. This movement had many philosophies attached to it, example: work is worship 'kayakave kailasa', dignity of labour, gender equality, no caste discrimination, considering one's body as temple, importance to transition, change, movement (bodily worn linga) in contrast to something that is stationary (temple)- 'sthavarakkalivuntu, jangamakkalivilla'. Vachana chaluvali or movement was similar to bhakti movement in vaishanava community where sharanas or jangamas wrote and sang philosophical songs in local language Kannada. This is considered an important stage in Kannada literature.

Jangam Jogi or Jangam: From the Region of Haryana[edit]

Jangam Jogi are folk musicians associated with region of Haryana. Jangam is a style of devotional music dedicated to Lord Shiva by Jangam community from Haryana. Their instruments are small and portable (being travellers) like dafli, khanjari, khartal. Jangam Gāyan: Devotional Music and Folk Music of India: Jangam Gāyan is a narrative sung by the Jangam and is performed in the temple courtyards of Lord Shiva temples to huge gatherings. Sometimes, there are public performances in village squares. The members of this community are wandering mendicants and earn their living mainly by performing the element in Lord Shiva temples. The Jangams are also live in Shiva the state of Haryana in India. The community is concentrated in and around Kurukshetra, the great battle field of the epic of Mahabharata and in the historical town of Thaneswar which has been a strong centre of the Pasupati (Lord Shiva) tradition of Shaivism. Besides, they also move as itinerant religious mendicants in the adjoining states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir in north India.

Historical background of Jangam Math in Nepal[edit]

In the 9th century, the king Narendra Dev of Lichhivi dynasty has described the Jangam Pratishthan, which is available in stone inscription in Anantlingeshwor temple, in which he has addressed the name of the Chancellor of Jangam Pratisthan and explained rights and duties performed by the Pratisthan. With this evidence, we can say that Jangam community was present in Nepal before the 9th century. The king of Karnatvansh Shri Nanya Dev became ruler of Mithila state (Northern Bihar) by expanding his dynasty in the 11th century. During the period Veerashaiva Jangam were the Rajaguru of the King Nanya Dev. After ruling the Mithila dynasty for 240 years, King Harisingh Dev Mall became the king of Nepal Mandal and established the capital at Bhaktapur City. Devi Tula Bhavani was the deity they worshiped and they started spreading the religion of veerashaivism in the region. When Malla Vansh (dynasty) was established in Nepal Mandal Veerashaiva religion had started. The veerashaiva philosophy was being popularized by the disciples. It establishes that Veerashaiva religion section of Hinduism had its roots since the 9th century. There is a Jangam math in Bhaktapur. There is a stone inscription belonging to Nepali Year 692, which explains the role of Hari Singh Dev Mall of mallavansa, who renovated the Jangam math in Bhaktapur. With this, we can say that Veerashiava Religion was established in Nepal in the 13th century. There are many stone writings and Tamrapatra available in jangam math in Nepal.

Jangamwadi Math, Jangambari, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh[edit]

Jangamwadi Math is the oldest Math among all the maths of Kashi, Kashi Vishwanath Temple Uttar Pradesh, India and is also known as Jnana Simhasana or Jnana Peetha. Jangam means knower of Shiva, wadi means living place. One among the five of the holiest shrines for the Veerashaivism Lingayath religion.It is one of the oldest Mutts in Varanasi. Literature dates it back to Satya Yuga – first of the four Yugas in Hindu timeframe. The documented historical records date it back to 8th CE, however, it is hard to verify the exact date. It is said that Raja Jaichand donated land for this Mutt that has seen an unbroken lineage of 86 Jagatgurus. Present Peethadhipati or the guru of the Peeth is Shri Jagadguru Chandrashekhar Shivacharya Mahaswami. The Mutt has seen women Gurus like Dharma Guru Sharnamma.

Jangamwadi Math and its association with Mughals[edit]

1.'Akbar and the Goswamis of Jangam Bari Math of Benaras1

The Goswamis of Jangam Bari Math of Benaras belonged to the Shaivite sect of south India. This sect had various Shiva Temples at benaras, Arial, Piryag and Gaya. Since its foundation during sixth century A.D., this ancient Math has been enjoying imperial grants and favours. The oldest document of land grant to this math was made by a Hindu Raja, Jainanad Deo, ruler of Kashi in V.S. 631/574 A.D. of 800 paces of land in favour of its head priest Malik Arjun Jangam. Malik Arjun Jangam was the title of the head priest of this Math. This Math attracted the attention of emperor Akbar during 1566 A.D. Akbar issued a farman dated 973 A.H./1565-66 A.D. granting 480 bighas of land in the name of Arjun Jangam the head priest.

2.Jahangir's Relations with Goswami's of Jangambari Math of Benaras2

Jahangir came into contact with Jangamas, when he was in revolt against his father during 45th regnal year of Akbar i.e in 1600 A.D. at Allahabad. He made Allahabad his imperial seat and acted as an independent ruler. During this period he issued a farman to Malik Arjunmal Jangam with the seal of Sultan Salim. The farman dated Mihr Ilahi 45 R.Y/September, October 1600 A.D. It was addressed to the āmils, jagirdars and karosis of pargana Haveli Banaras, confirming 178 bighas of land as grant in favour of Malik Arjunmal Jangam. It was also ordered to the officials that the grant was exempt from all types of taxes. It bears the seal of sultan Salim on the top. It also appears from a document that the property rights of the Jangamas were also protected by the Mughal government.

2.Aurangzeb's Relations with Goswami's of Jangambari Math of Benaras3 Aurangzeb carried on the traditions of his forefathers in granting favours to Hindu religious communities, a continuity underscored by his dealings with the Jangam, a Shaivite group. The Jangam benefited from Mughal orders beginning under Akbar, who confirmed their legal rights to land in 1564. The same Jangam received several farmans from Aurangzeb that restored land that had been unfairly confiscated (1667), protected them from a disruptive local Muslim (1672), and returned illegally charged rent (1674).

Jangam or Jangam Deva or Jangam Ayya (Acharya) in Andhra Pradesh[edit]

At present, Jangam follows the Hindu history of Jangam i.e., according to Hindu history of Shiva they would live by Religious priestly performance (by priest, religious prayer, prayer for healing, and Guru). Jangam or Jangama is one who is endowed with the true knowledge, sacrificed his life for the society, and avoided all the worldly happiness and attained the divine happiness. Jangam, a Sanskrit word, etymologically means that which moves. When this word applied to a person, in the context of Lingayath religion, it symbolizes a man who moves from place to place preaching moral and religious values in Shaivism, Veerashaivism and Jangama dhyana section of Hinduism.

True Jangam[edit]

Jangams are factually considered as movable lingas. Jangam is considered a human linga shrine. Jangams are divided into Virakhtas or celibates, Samanyas or common Jangams, Ganachans or managers, and Mathapatis or Beadles.Pancha peethadhishas represent five faces of Shiva and Pacha ganadhishas are the highest class of Jangams, dedicate themselves to celibacy. They are not allowed to celebrate marriages. They are comparatively a small body and move about the country accompanied by their disciples. The Samanya Jangam is the ordinary Jangam who had the initiation performed on him. He is a married man, who conducts marriages, begs, serves in a temple or lives by agriculture. When a Jangam goes begging, he wears a garter of bells called Jang below his right knee, and carries a cobra cane. Mathapatis or beadles and Ganachans or managers are Jangams who hold rent-free lands. They are considered rather inferior to the regular or Samanya Jangams.

The two main categories of Jangam are 1) Sthira 2) Chara. Sthira Jangama: is a person who, staying in math (mutt) i.e., has to carry on mass education, preaching to the local people, and giving them the necessary guidance to achieve spiritual progress called Jangama dhyana, and to perform certain rites and rituals concerned with birth, marriage, death, holy communication on special occasions etc. Chara Jangama is one who constantly moves around, preaching as he goes, without settling himself at any particular place and without accumulating any property of his own.

Demographic distribution[edit]

The community is distributed throughout India and also in Nepal. However, they form a significant proportion of population in the southern states of India mainly Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, PUNJAB and Gujarat.

Ancient Jangam Tradition[edit]

In Jangam community, the male child after the initiation (Ayyachar) will be handed over to the custody of Jangam (Guru). The child will be brought up under the shelter of Jangam (in mutt/math) and by his blessings he, too, can become a Jangam (Guru) of any of the maths. Jangam priests live in ‘maths’ and guide their followers in Hindu religious and spiritual matters.

Main Tenets of Jangam[edit]

The Linga is tied to the womb in the 8th or 9th month of mother's pregnancy for the prospective child. Linga wearing ceremony to the child is thus performed before the child takes birth.

Lingayath or veerashaiva jangam worship is centred on the Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.[9][10] The jangam always wear the Ishtalinga held with a necklace.[11] The Istalinga is made up of small blue-black stone coated with fine durable thick black paste of cow dung ashes mixed with some suitable oil to withstand wear and tear. The Ishtalinga is a symbolism for Lord Shiva.[12] It is viewed as a "living, moving" divinity with the devotee. Every day, the devotee removes this personal linga from its box, places it in left palm, offers puja and then meditates about becoming one with the linga, in his or her journey towards the atma-linga.[13]

Veershaiva Jangams celebrate a Hindu festivals, namely, Deepavali, Shivrathi, Ugadi, Nagarpanchmai, Kollipaki Adi Jagadguru Renukàcharya jayanti etc. Among these festivals Shivratri is an important one. On this day all elderly people observe fast and they perform Bhajanas (Prayer) in praise of 'Lord Shiva'.

Jangam Theology[edit]

Jangams are Hindus by religion, they follow the tenets of Veershaiva Lingayat section. They wear, Linga on their body, the Linga is always cased in a silver box called 'karadige', ‘Gundagi’or 'chouka' or 'Sajai' which is tied round the neck by a thread called ‘Shivdhara' They worship the Linga daily after taking bath, smear their forehead with ‘Vibhuti' and do not touch food without offering 'Niyvedya' to the 'Istalinga’.

The Lingas are divided into two types called "Jangam Linga" called as chara or movable Lingas and "Sthavaraa Linga" called as sthavara or immovable Lingas. Further, Lingas are known as Jangama and Sthavara. Jangam or chara Lingas are those that appear on the neck of the Jangam Lingayats who tie a Linga to their neck to their life of Jangam. The Lingas housed in Garbhagrhas and carved on walls of temples belong to Sthvaraa Lingas as mentioned Agama shastra of Veera Saiva Theology.

Burra katha[edit]

Ancient Jangam Burra katha or "Jangam Katha": Religious Folk Dance in ancient Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Jangam Katha is a special folk dance of the Andhra Pradesh state. Jangam Katha, is a special Dance of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Jangam or Jangam Deva or Jangam Ayya (Achraya) and it observes tales from the Indian Hindu history. In the performance, the main artist (Jangam or Jangam Deva or Jangam Achraya) narrates a religious Hindu story, plays music and dance on the tunes. The co-artists beat drums and speak to him, enriching certain events in the story. Currently, Jangam Katha is called as Burra katha, Tamboora Katha and Saradha Katha Jangamayyala kathaalu

Veeragase Dance[edit]

Jangam Verragase Dance dance is to be mainly performed by the Jangams also called as Maheshwaras. The performers of Veeragase Dance are also called "Lingadevaru". Veeragase gets its term from the Hindu lord – Veerabhadra. It is performed in Hindu shrines in South India at important gatherings by Jangams.

“Ancient Jangam Veeragase Dance" or Veeragase Dance is performed by (minimum) two or more artists and usually Veeragase Dance has to be an even number. The person who narrates the story take turns in the performance, progressively these stories have included the story of Veerabhadra who is the other avatar of Lord Shiva. Jangam Verragase Dance is a real religious vigorous dance based on Hindu lord veerabhadra stories.

Jangama dhyana[edit]

Jangama dhyana is a meditation technique, which has been practiced by various Jangam sages over the centuries. Jangama means 'eternal existence' and dhyana means meditation. Hence Jangama dhyana is Meditation on the Eternal Existence of the Self. Jangama dhyana is an ancient Jangam meditation technique which involves concentrating the mind and sight between the eyebrows.

Jangam Dance, Indian Folk Dance[edit]

Jangam Dance is an Indian folk dance performed in the honour of Shiva in Hindu Temples. Those who perform this traditional dance are called Jangam dancers. The term Jangam has been derived from the movable emblem of Shiva. Jangam is a sub-caste of the Veerashaiva community called [Veerashaivism religion] under Hinduism. The Jangams Acharaya migrated from Karnataka and Andra Pradesh Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu states of India to disseminate the Shaivaite cult and to act as priests for performing religious rites in Lord Shiva and Hindu temples. While performing Jangam dance, the dancers recite verses of Girija kalyana on the mythological marriage of Siva and Parvati. The recitation is done in a ritualistic hypnotic monotone. As performers, they entertain Hindu people during religious and social festivals. Their dramatic presence is heightened by their headgear, a brass band with the image of a snake and peacock feathers flashing in the air. Their narrative and rhythmic movement is embellished by bells, gongs, manjim or cymbals, and chhenna or percussion sticks, weaving the most incredible musical patterns.

Jangam history[edit]

Jangam: Born out of Lord Shiva's Thigh and Religious priestly (by priest, religious prayer, prayer for healing, and Guru): Jangam sages, who claim they originated from a part (thigh) of Lord Shiva's body. Jangam claims that he is born out of the thigh of Shiva. Hindu history has it, Shiva wanted to give some donation to Brahma and Vishnu but when they refused he became so angry that it led to his creating the Jangam Sages.. Jangam or Jangama over the generations have been able to maintain a distinct identity over generations. What sets them apart is their attire and the rituals that they follow. The Jangam sages go from one place to another and explain the different saints the story of the holy union of Lord Shiva and Parvati. With the Shivpuran (Lord Shiva) on the tip of their hand, enacting the epic tale for them is nothing but a piece of cake. Hindu history has it, Lord Shiva had blessed them with immortality but declared that they would live by religious begging in Lord Shiva temples (by priest, religious prayer, prayer for healing, and Guru ). Another version is that Lord Shiva at his wedding created two recipients of his alms, one Jangam, from the sweat of his brow, the other Lingam, from his thigh. These Jangams accept alms from devout. The jangams meanwhile suggest, they don't earn more money, a month. They do so by religious Prayer (The chanting of mantras) begging (by priest, religious prayer, prayer for healing, and Guru) in Prayer in Hinduism. At present, The 21st Century, Still now they (some Jangam) follows the Hindu history of Jangam i.e., according to Hindu history Shiva had blessed them (Jangam) with immortality (i.e., entire world is destroyed by nature or some other factors to destroyed the nature, Jangam will Live) but declared that they would live by Religious Begging in Lord Shiva temples (by priest, religious prayer, prayer for healing, and Guru) (The Lord's Prayer) after some religious event completed by them in Prayer in Hinduism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russell, R. V.; Lal, Hira (1995). The tribes and castes of the central provinces of India, Volume 1. Asian Educational Services. p. 222. ISBN 81-206-0833-X.
  2. ^ Lingayat: Hindu sect, Encyclopedia Britannica (2015)[verification needed]
  3. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  4. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  5. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  6. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  7. ^ "Jangama". Lingayat Religion. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  8. ^ Reddy, S. S. (2004). "Jangam". In Singh, Kumar Suresh; Bhanu, B. V.; Anthropological Survey of India (eds.). People of India: Maharashtra. Popular Prakashan. pp. 830–838. ISBN 81-7991-101-2.
  9. ^ Lingayat: Hindu sect, Encyclopedia Britannica (2015)[verification needed]
  10. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  11. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  12. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]
  13. ^ Citation error. See inline comment how to fix.[verification needed]

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