Pics: Dayanand Kukkaje
Daijiworld Media Network - Bengaluru (SP)
Bengaluru, Apr 12: NRI entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Ronald Colaco has once again exemplified the spirit of harmony and humanity by re-constructing and donating an ancient 700-year-old temple at Singrihalli completely built in dressed and carved stones. A programme to install permanent idols of deities, Sri Madduramma, Sri Maheshwaramma and Sri Gangamma, at the re-constructed temple at Singrihalli, was held on March 26, in the gracious presence of Padma Vibhushan Rajarshi Dr Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari, Shri Kshetra – Dharmasthala, and other dignitaries. The Kumbhabhisheka programme of the holy tower of the temple was also held on the occasion.
The old temple of Sri Madduramma at Singrihalli that was demolished in February 2017
The now reconstructed new temple by Ronald Colaco. One of the side walls is painted to depict the story of how Sri Madduramma Devi landed as deity in Singrihalli village
Ronald Colaco, being a Christian, on an earlier occasion had got the Lord Muneshwara temple constructed and donated to the people of Bovi Palya of Jala Hobli, Bengaluru North Taluk, some 20 years ago on the request of the village people where Colaco had been to offer them drinking water facility. This noble act of charity had created a history in the country to become the first non-Hindu to fully build and donate a temple. This was published during 2003, by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, government of Karnataka, in one of their monthly magazines ‘Janapada’ under the caption ‘Ronald Colaco’s act of charity is the classic example of communal harmony’. Now, by providing this temple, Colaco earned the distinction of creating great history in India of being both the first and second non-Hindu to completely build two temples and present them to the society.
Addressing the gathering Dr D Veerendra Heggade hailed Colaco's generosity and hailed him for undertaking the complete reconstruction of a temple that is backed by hundreds of years of history. "By his action, Colaco has become a link to the tradition of religious harmony. He has upheld the values of religious harmony. The initiatives undertaken by him are models for others in the society at large," he said.
Dr Heggade also appreciated Colaco, who strongly believes that the essence of all the religions is the same and for advocating the religion of humanity. "In spite of being a Christian, he has extended huge assistance to a number of Hindu temples, besides churches, mosques and thereby upheld the values of communal harmony and national integration. All the religions want the general well-being of everyone. His charitable service activities are aimed at achieving this objective," Heggade lauded.
"For the society that has been getting polluted, it is important and imperative to maintain religious and social harmony," he added.
He said that the world has progressed in several sectors but the society needs religious harmony. He noted that every religion has some who are not righteous, some who are violent, some who are extremely fanatic and some who are broad minded good human beings. He said that Colaco, who has a sublime personality, has done the noble deeds in Singrihalli and elsewhere. For any work to fructify, large and pure-hearted philanthropists like Colaco are needed, he added. Even though Colaco is spending for this temple as well as for his various social and charitable activities during a long period of time, he has been successfully making great deposits simultaneously in the heavenly bank account. His expenditure here in this world has converted into his profit in heaven, he stated.
Dr Heggade stated that a brave and valiant man does not fear death. "Those who have given up everything are not afraid of anything. For a person who is generous and altruist, money is like grass. Such people feel that assets which cannot be donated or used for philanthropic activities, are worthless. Such people can never feel that it is enough if it serves their purpose, and if they are comfortable. But Colaco is one among them who has always been involved with social service activities," he pointed out.
He also appreciated Ronald Colaco's wife Jean Colaco and son Nigel Colaco, for their active involvement and their generous nature. It is Nigel Colaco who had shouldered the complete task of reconstruction of this temple, as usual, like that of a Holy Rosary Church at Yelahanka, Judiciary Advocate Bhavan near International Airport, Konkan Bhavan in Bengaluru, international standard government high school in north Bengaluru and such other gifts of charity of his father to the society.
Prof Radhakrishna, an eminent educationist, writer, columnist and former president of All India All Colleges Principals Forum, who was an English lecturer for Ronald Colaco at Sheshadripuram College, welcomed the dignitaries and the audience. He also quoted selected Psalms from the Holy Bible and Bhagavath Geetha and explained the similarity in teachings of Words of God. Prof Radhakrishna hailed Colaco as an exceptional and great human being in the country who really follows the religion of humanity, and being a true Catholic Christian, living true to its principles. He further explained about various charitable services extended by Ronald Colaco by naming a few temples such as Lord Muneshwara, Lord Chennarayaswamy of Hoysala era, cold water drinking facility at Kateel temple, Sooryanarayana temple, Gokarna, etc., Yelahanka church, some mosques, roads, hospitals, government high schools, police stations, taluk offices, court hall, panchayat offices, Samudhaya Bhavans, etc., besides the present temple being inaugurated. He also stated that he must have done some ‘Punya’ that he got connected to the Colaco family. He also praised Colaco’s wife Jean Colaco as an excellent rare human being supporting fully her husband’s social and charitable activities. He also commended Nigel for having shouldered all the construction and completion of such charitable works, including the temple.
Dr Ronald Colaco was felicitated by the villagers on the occasion. Acknowledging the honour, he said that the temple has been built as per the request of the villagers. "People should love religion, culture and language and trust each other. Religion or caste-based politics is not right as the essence of all religions is ‘Love one another, Love thy neighbor as you love yourself and help one another’, thus, one and the same," he said.
"I have built the temple as per the wishes and dreams of the people here. The temple, which was small, has been now transformed into a large temple and also I relocated a few occupiers of surrounding lands in order to create a good and open environment in the middle of this village. Even though I follow Christianity, like me, my family also hold all the religions in high esteem and thus have backed me for such causes. Even our society has also been encouraging for such activities. Our Archbishop Peter Machado, has also profusely appreciated me for this initiative. Former Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras too had praised me for donating Lord Muneshwara Temple some 20 years ago," he recalled.
Colaco pointed out that he and his family believes in co- existence of people of all faith and there is only one Lord God of the universe, but different people name their God differently according to their religion of faith. Further, he stated, “The religion of humanity should be practiced first because all the religions preach us to love one another and help each other. There is no need to nurture hatred or enmity in the society. Everyone must have the right to live in harmony. We should be careful not to fall prey to religious division conspiracies. Many of the political parties, for political advantage, indulge in religious political polarization. A healthy state or government should stay away from religious affiliation and activities and only concentrate on overall economic development, law and order, employment and welfare of its citizens. Only then we can achieve the desired all-round progress and prosperity, communal harmony and an environment for every citizen to live in peace and dignity," he stressed.
He requested the people to maintain the area in and around the temple clean and neat. "As many as 95 youngsters from the village have been appointed for taking care of cleanliness here. No one should feel ashamed to pick a broom and clean the temple. If there is a need, I can come one day to sweep the area here," he offered.
Member of Parliament, Bache Gowda hailed Dr Veerendra Heggade profusely for his various social reforms and rural development activities, besides his contribution in the field of education. He also praised Colaco for carrying out various charitable and rural developmental works for several villages around.
MLC S L Bhojegowda, while applauding for the noble gesture of donating such a beautiful temple, appreciated Colaco for undertaking several charitable activities in the state, which the governments in the past could not undertake.
Special officer on duty for the chief minister of Karnataka, Sridharamurthy, speaking on the occasion, explained in detail the importance and the history of the Singrihalli temple and said that probably it must have been Sri Maddurama Devi’s desire that this temple reconstruction has to happen through Vishwamanava (universal man) Ronald Colaco only, who happens to be a Catholic Christian.
Speaking on the occasion, the MLA Dr N Narayanaswamy, spoke very high about Dr Ronald Colaco, for his various charitable and humanitarian services and applauded for distributing food grains to all the families of the several villages during Covid-19 pandemic, besides his donating of government schools, taluk office buildings, panchayat office buildings, borewells to several villages, court halls, public roads, etc.
Dr Arathi Krishna, speaking on the occasion, spoke very high about the great, well known personality of Ronald Colaco in Middle East, Europe, America, Australia, Canada and other countries as well as his social, charitable and humanitarian services for a long period of time. She said that it must have been the desire of God that such a great temple had to be re-constructed by only Colaco, with the backing of his wife Jean Colaco, Nigel and Randal.
Head of Alva's Education Foundation, Dr Mohan Alva, and social worker Surendra Heggade, the chairman of BIAAPA, Ravi, were present on the auspicious occasion. District in-charge minister R Ashok, visited the temple and paid obeisance to the deities.