Karnataka: The Aroma of Humanism

Sandal wood

During my first visit to Mysore in 1980, I was amazed by the tranquility and salubrious chillness pervaded everywhere. My lungs were filled with the aroma of sandalwood.  I actually traveled from a remote village in Kolar district to Mysore city for the first time in my life.  I remembered the song ‘Gandhada Gudi’, praising Karnataka as the country of sandalwood. On my landing in the city I experienced the meaning of that song.  The divine aroma of sandalwood!  This divine aroma symbolizes unity, peace, harmony and collective progress, for me and millions of people across the state. Those days, no one hated anyone. Quarrels and differences were never blown into anger. Our opposing  opinions and varied stands never developed into divisions. We actually thrived in diversity. Indeed we then revered our diversity, by wondering God’s creativity. We celebrated the differences with joy. Thus the aroma of humanism was pervasive and nurtured our cultures with colors of joy.

However, today we have lost that aroma. Nature is polluted, the streams are burning, love has turned into lust and greed, and science has become a tool for squeezing nature for profit accumulation. All the aroma of sandalwood is waneing day by day.  Today even the clothing becomes an issue of division. The aroma of humanism has been replaced with hatred, anger, enmity, and greed.

The world has started recognizing the truth that healthy nature, love-centered humanism, and justice-oriented science are the foundations of civilizational progress and sustainable future.  Saints, scientists, corporate, wise individuals, and those who love humanity and nature, strongly believe that nature, love, and science combined can save our planet and ensure security for future generations. Our forefathers, grandparents, historical leaders, and saints lived for this cause only. Many of them even shed their blood and even yielded to stand naked to uphold this truth. We could not forget the commitment and sacrifices of our beloved Akka Mahadevi.

We must ask ourselves, how come we lost the aroma, how did the  stink of hatred become a part of our lives? There are efforts to alter and blockout the historical facts of our history. Also there are efforts to mix poison into our minds. It is a sad fact that the soil that raised sandalwood is spilled with the precious blood of people like Pro. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh.

We must be vigilant and not fall prey to those who try to deceive us by changing the facts of history.  We need to be cautious of groups who teach us wrong and promote evil culture. We should  not allow the dark forces to fill our glorious history with poisonous ideas. Attempts to destroy original history is not a recent phenomenon. Even in the past it has been the dirty game of the dark forces. We have to recall the memories of how these evil forces burnt and destroyed Basavanna’s Vachanas, and thus tried to erase Karnataka’s history of love, integration and inclusive progress.

Election becomes a routine. Leaders come and go, but the wisdom of human civilization never get shattered. To restore and sustain the aroma – the aroma of humanism – we need progressive leaders who could blend science with justice, protect nature from the heartless looters, and assure a safe and greener planet for our children.

We love Karnataka because it is a land of biodiversity, not just in terms of plant and animal species but also in terms of thoughts, philosophies, and expressions. Let us strive to restore the lost pride of our state and embrace the values of peace, unity, harmony, and collective progress.  Before choosing our leaders, it would be better to read the words of Kranti Yogi Basavanna.

” Thou shall not steal nor kill 

Not speak a lie;

Be angry with no one,

Nor scorn your neighbor 

Nor glory in thyself.

Nor others hold you to blame;

This is your inward purity.

This is your outward purity.

This is the way to win our Lord.


Let our leaders have these virtues!

Let us wish that our rulers possess both inward and outward purity!

Rajkumar, South India Volunteers Alliance for Commons – (SIVA)

[email protected]

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