Staff Correspondent

MANGALORE: Governor H.R. Bhardwaj called upon the people of various communities in the State to be united among themselves. He said that Karnataka, particularly its coastal region, had a great tradition of syncretism.

Mr. Bhardwaj was speaking at the inaugural function of the Mangalore Dasara celebrations at the Sri Gokarnanatha Kshetra in Kudroli on Tuesday.

Hailing the Kudroli temple, started by social-reformer Narayanguru, as an “ideal centre of spiritualism”, he said that the nearly one century-old temple had always stood for the unity of various religious and caste groups. Spiritualism was not the same as religiosity but stemmed from the idea of ‘Dharma’. And, the idea of Dharma encouraged a life of righteousness not mindless rituals, he said. Expressing concern over the communal conflagrations in the State, he said that the people here would not allow the ideology of hatred to destroy the State’s secular fabric. “Our salvation lies in living together as Indians and not as followers of a particular religion,” he said. Calling for a distinction between one’s religious identity and national identity, he said, “Religion is a deeply personal matter between me and my creator. It is not for public consumption. This is my view as well as the view of the Constitution.” Describing Hinduism and Islam as the two eyes of India, he said that other religions formed the rest of the country’s face. “Can we allow this image of our country to be defaced?” he asked. The Hindu society saw reforms after Islam entered the country. The basic principles of all religions were the same and all scriptures preached a life of spirituality, fasting, charity, and pilgrimage, he added.