Mangaluru

Where Mahatma is idolised, literally

Gandhiji’s statue is installed in a shrine in Mangaluru and puja is offered thrice daily

What do the legendary Tulu Nadu folk heroes — Koti and Chennayya — have to do with Mahatma Gandhi? Little, one might say. But the tallest figure of the Indian freedom struggle has a special place in Brahma Baidarkala Garodi, the shrine dedicated to the twin heroes in Mangaluru, for October 2 is a special day here.

A statue of Gandhiji was installed on the premises of the shrine on December 15, 1948. Since then, puja is offered thrice every day. There is a special puja on October 2.

It was the fascination for Gandhian principles that inspired the then members of the managing committee of the Garodi, Narasappa Saliyan and Soma Pandit, to install a clay statue of Gandhi. They also installed a clay statue of Sree Narayana Guru to show the mutual admiration the two had for each other, says J. Kishore Kumar, manager of the Brahma Baidarkala Garodi Kshetra.

“We cherish the bonding the two had,” says Mr. Kumar, speaking of Sree Narayana Guru’s and Gandhiji’s zeal for social reform. The initial clay statue was replaced with a granite one, five years ago, and was installed in a separate shrine. Puja is offered at 6 a.m., 11.30 a.m. and 7.30 p.m. every day. “Special puja is offered on October 2 every year,” says Mr. Kumar. A similar gesture to Gandhiji is seen in Balashettihal in Hunsagi taluk of Yadgir district in north Karnataka. A small shrine built in the village back in 1949 by Hampanagowda Sahukar, an influential local man, sees a new coat of paint and puja every Gandhi Jayanti.

(With inputs from Ravikumar Naraboli in Yadgir)

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 5:03:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Mangalore/where-mahatma-is-idolised-literally/article25102183.ece

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