Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The birth anniversary of the noted Goan philologist and scholar, Msgr. Sabastião Rudolfo Dalgado was celebrated with much vigour and vision by the Dalgado Konknni Akademi (DKA) on 8 May, 2011. The day-long programme consisted of three segments: ‘Sod-Vavr’-achi Kam’sall (workshop on research), Kovi Som’melon (poets’ meet) and Kadamborinchi Uzvaddavnni (release of novels).
            ‘SOD-VAVR’-ACHI KAM’SALL
            Dr. André Rafael Fernandes, author of a well researched book on tiatrs, When the Curtains Rise... Understanding Goa’s Vibrant Konkani Theatre, was the resource person who guided a select group of writers and potential researchers on the various subtleties and nuances of pursuing research. The main concern in the workshop emerged to be the documentation and preservation of cultural products through various multimedia. “This workshop is primarily organized as a fitting tribute to Msgr. Dalgado who was himself a great scholar and researcher and also to highlight the need for research oriented work in Romi Konknni,” informed Jose Salvador Fernandes, the secretary of DKA.
                In his address the President of DKA, Premanad Lotlikar informed that many schemes were formulated by DKA to facilitate research in Romi Konknni but there were no takers as potential researchers had no proper guidance (and hence the need of Dr. Fernandes) and direction. Mr. Premanand Lotlikar added, “Writers in Romi script have immense intelligence; some of the pioneers in the Konknni cultural milieu were from the people who utilized the Romi script like the new form of drama – tiatr, the first cinema to be produced in Konknni and the first Konknni audio cassette tape.” He at the same time lamented that, “contribution of writers and intellectuals in Romi script was being tried to be swept under the proverbial carpet.” Dr. Fernandes too, had something similar to say on the same topic. “There are vested interests in the Konknni language…one script is mahapatok (a grave sin),” he said. For a fragmented Goan society which is blissfully unaware of its own innate inherent cracks, the statement of Dr. Fernandes should jolt one to reality.
Young Briget Coelho reciting her poetry
            The one-and-half hour session of poetry recitation was presided over by the noted Konknni poet Yusuf A. Sheik who also recited some of his poems. There were poets of all age groups: from small kids to youth to the very wise and old. The poetry rose to great heights in the departments of rhythm, rhyme, thought, expression and presentation. Many topics were covered ranging from mothers to mothers-in-law, greed of money to traditional occupations and a true love lost.
            Some of the poets like the young  Levin   
Fernandes, Watson D’Souza, Selza Lopes, Gigirose Fernandes and the more seasoned Cyril Fernandes, Matthew D’Souza, Menino Almeida, Gracy D’Souza held the entire audience spellbound through their vivid and animated words, flourishing hand movements, quivering lips and depth of thought. This truly was the highlight of the day. DKA has plans to organize such poets’ meet every two/three months due to the immense response and talent, informed Premanand Lotlikar (during the concluding session).
Book release of Todd Zodd by Pandharinath D. Lotlikar
            Yusuf A. Sheik had a very interesting observation to make at the end of the session. He said that it has become a fashion among Konknni speakers to quote a poet or a writer from other languages. He suggested that our own poets and writers should be quoted in speeches and writings and given their rightful place under the sun. They too create beautiful and meaningful poetry, he observed.
            On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Msgr. Dalgado, the DKA also released two prize-winning novels in Romi Konknni taking their overall sum of publications to 19 (more are in the pipeline, we were told). One was penned by Pandharinath D. Lotlikar titled Todd Zodd and the other was Willy Goes’ Kantto. The books were released at the hands of Rev. Fr. Santana Carvalho, the parish priest of Pomburpa (Devache Matechi Firgoz). Premanand Lotlikar, Jose Salvador Fernandes and Yusuf A. Sheik were the other dignitaries on the dais.  
Book release of Kantto by Willy Goes
            Speaking on the occasion of the release of his novel, Pandharinath D. Lotlikar thanked DKA for the good encouragement they have given him. Initially a writer in Devanagori and Romi, Pandharinath D. Lotlikar gave a shocking reason for turning to Romi completely, “I used to write in Devanagori and Romi but Romi has more readers and I receive encouraging feedback.” He also talked about two kinds of Zodd. One was about zodd or bonds that need to be forged amongst the Konknni community and the other zodd was pelf. Willy Goes also spoke.
            “The future of Konknni literature,” remarked Yusuf A. Sheik during the poets’ meet, “is bright indeed since even small children composed such beautiful and eloquent poetry.” We’ll say Amen to that!

(A version of this article appeared on Gomantak Times, dt: May 11, 2011)

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