Congress President Sonia Gandhi highlighted the need for people to rededicate themselves to the values that reformer Narayan Guru cherished.
Speaking at the centenary celebrations of Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara temple founded by Narayan Guru, Ms. Gandhi said, “As we remember Narayan Guru during this momentous occasion, let us collectively rededicate ourselves to the values he cherished and ideals he propagated.” The reformers philosophy had a great relevance even today, she said.
In her brief address, Ms. Gandhi said Narayan Guru’s philosophy and thoughts greatly influenced social reformers from different faiths. Leaders such Mahatma Gandhi, Ravindranath Tagore and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were under the spell of Narayan Guru’s egalitarian philosophy. The reformer was not opposed to religion but to certain practices. “There is no better interpreter of secular philosophy than Narayan Guru,” she said.
Kudroli Gokarnanatheshwara temple, she said, was a visible symbol of social reform. Ms. Gandhi praised senior Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary and members of temple management for espousing progressive values. Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada region has been microcosm of multi-ethnic nature. It will be our scared duty to protect and promote this composite heritage. “Nothing can be taken for granted,” she said and asked people to raise voice against those who “inflame passion” and who “subvert lofty ideals”.
Ms. Gandhi arrived at the temple at 6.10 p.m. She unveiled the big plaque marking the centenary celebrations. She spent around 20 minutes at the main temple and also the place where “Nava Durga” idols have been installed. She also moved in a new glass lift installed on the temple premises. She symbolically launched the Mangalore Dasara celebrations.
Earlier in his address, Mr. Poojary recalled the services of the Gandhi family to the nation. “It is because of sacrifices by this family that the country has reached this level.” Members of the Gandhi family have been target of terrorist activity. “I will pray god to give you strength, power and long life …,” he said.
A personal touch
Sonia Gandhi revealed a “personal connection” she has with the Kudroli Gokarnanatheswara temple.
During her address, Ms. Gandhi said her husband Rajiv Gandhi was at the temple (on February 8 1991) for when it had been renovated. “My presence among you has special and personal meaning for me.” This temple was the most historic and sacred place of worship located in a picturesque spot. “I am privileged to be with you this evening.’
Incidentally she recalled that her husband was assassinated three months after his visit.