Sep 5, 2009
Being born and brought up in the family of agriculturists and teachers, Prof. Wilfred D’Souza also followed the noble profession of teaching. He was the third generation teacher following his grandfather, Sebastian D’Souza (1877-1963) and father, Lawrence D’Souza (1915-2000).
It was through his determination to succeed and achieve greater heights, hard work, perseverance and dedication that Prof. Wilfred not only became an exemplary teacher in the Milagres College, Kallianpur, but also rose to become the Head of the Department of Commerce and Member of the Board of Studies in Commerce, Mangalore University. His interest in research prompted him to undertake the study of the Saraswats and Christians of coastal Karnataka that resulted in publishing his research work titled: “History of the Mudarthas”. Prof. Wilfred’s knowledge as a commerce teacher prompted him to deviate from traditional agricultural family background and venture into business.
Eventually, Prof. Wilfred achieved the greatest height of his career when he was elected as Lions Club’s District Governor (District 324-D4) in 2005-06.
Born on 24th September 1946 in Moodubelle in an agriculturist family, Wilfred had his initial education in his native village and higher education at the MGM College, Udupi. Taking the example of his grandfather and father, Wilfred also decided to join the teaching profession and became a tutor in Commerce in the Milagres College,Kallianpur in 1967. As he was keen to carry on in his teaching profession, Wilfred acquired postgraduate degrees in Commerce (MCom) and History (MA) from the Karnataka University, Dharwad and became a full-fledged lecturer of Commerce in the same college. He underwent NCC training and was given the additional responsibility of commanding the NCC (Army Wing) for 12 years. His capacity for hard work and insight into the complexities of office functioning brought him more responsibilities, and for some time he was also in charge of the College Office.
It was while assisting late Dr. P. Gururaja Bhat in his research work on the history of Tulunadu that Wilfred developed an interest in history which prompted him to acquire MA degree and later to do research and write a book on the “History of the Mudarthas”, the family clan to which he belonged.
According to Wilfred, every family has its own history, but it is rarely written. In the absence of proper records, writing of family histories involves plenty of research demanding patience, labour and expenses. Being a Commerce teacher, he considers late Dr. P. Gururaja Bhat as his ‘guru’ who ignited research instinct in him that helped in writing this book. Wilfred also says that he took up the task of doing research in the history of the Mudarthas chiefly due to the encouragement of Bishop Baptist Mudartha of Allahabad, who had come to Belman, his native village in 1991, and introduced him to the Mudartha families who gave him access to their family records and provided valuable information.
Wilfred could not carry on both the tasks of teaching and research simultaneously as he had to move from one village to another and even to Goa to trace the origin, migration and diffusion of the Mudarthas. He took leave for one year (1993-94) from the academic work and did a lot of field work visiting places where the Mudarthas lived. He had to make several trips to the villages of Goa such as Assagao of Bardez and Anjuna to trace the ancestors of the Mudarthas. In his research work in Goa, Retired Judge, Justice Robert D’Souza, a noted historian of Goa gave Wilfred valuable guidance to know the history of Assagao in general and the source of the Mudarthas in particular.
In the “History of the Mudarthas”, published in 1996, Wilfred traces the origin of the Mudarthas to the Saraswati Brahmins of Kashmir who gradually migrated to Goa as early as second century BC. He says that the names of those Gouda Saraswat Brahmins who are the forefathers of the Mudarthas are not known. However, their surname is believed to be ‘Prabhu’ from the male side and ‘Shenoy’ from the female side.
According to a legend, one girl from the Shenoy family of Calangute got married to a boy from Prabhu family of Assagao and their family later got converted to Christianity during the middle of the sixteenth century.
According to Wilfred, the original Goud Saraswat settlers of Assagao were known as ‘Mudras’. When the Portuguese carried on their conversion activities, the Mudras fled with the idols of their families to the North and settled down in different parts of Southern Maharashtra. Those who remained in Bardez were converted to Christianity and came to be called Mudots. The earliest Mudots who migrated to the South during the famine in 1591 and settled down first in Balegundi of Belman were called Mudarthas. Gradually, some of the Mudarthas moved towards Shirva and Belle. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries most of the Mudarthas changed their surname into D’Souza.
Wilfred has divided the book into four main parts-The Mudras and Mudots of North Goa, The Mudarthas of Belman, the Mudarthas of Belle and the family trees that trace the genealogies of the Mudarthas and D’Souzas in different villages. Among the Mudarthas of Belle, Wilfred’s uncle, Immanuel D’Souza (popularly known as Monnu Master) was a well-known personality. He was a teacher for a long period in the Church School and had a large family of 13 children out of whom four boys have become priests-two of them being Bishops and two daughters have become nuns.
He lived a long and happy life till the age of 101.
While in Milagres College, Kallianpur, Wilfred decided to use his spare time profitably and in 1972, with sufficient business and technical knowledge started a business in steel furniture in Udupi under the name, ‘Wilson Industries’, which has gradually developed into a leading business firm. Presently, managed by his elder son, Wilson, its branches have spread to Mangalore, Kundapura, and Brahmavar. Besides being occupied in academics and business, Wilfred rendered his service to society in various capacities. At different times, he worked as promoter, member, director, convener, co-ordinator and office bearer of more than 50 Associations, Clubs, Societies and similar organizations in social, cultural, sports, financial, business, religious and educational fields.
Wilfred joined the Lions Club of Udupi in 1983 and became its treasurer in 1987-88, President in 1997-98 and Secretary in 1998-99. He was also the editor of ‘District Directory’ and ‘Lions Today’ for three years. During his Presidentship, the Lions Club of Udupi was adjudged as the ‘Best Club’ in the District and bagged 56 District Awards and 4 Multiple Awards. He is also the recipient of 12 International Awards including International President’s Excellence Award and Supreme Extension Award. Along with his wife Winifred, Wilfred attended International conventions held at Miami, USA in 1989 and Hong Kong in 1992 and 2005. He climbed to greater heights in the Lions Club Movement when he became the Regional Chairperson in 2001-02 and eventually the District Governor in 2005-06.
Besides being an excellent teacher, successful businessman and a member and office bearer of the Lions Club Movement, Wilfred D’Souza is a friendly, warm and generous person. As the President of the Lions Club, Udupi, he not only donated generously to social causes, but also spent considerable amount of money on various social service activities during that year. He has donated 40 cents of his land and 100 chairs to Lions Seva Bhavan of Moodubelle.
Wilfred has a happy and contented family with wife Winifred, whom he married in 1971. Winifred has been giving unstinted support to Prof. Wilfred in all his endeavours. Besides being the Managing Partner in Wilson Industries, she is also an active member of the Lioness Club of Udupi. They have been blessed with three children-Wilson with B Com and LLB degrees looks after the family business, Wilma with B. Arch degree was working in Geneva, Switzerland and presently married and settled down in Sweden and Welwyn is doing his engineering course at Manipal.
After serving for 33 years as lecturer and later as Reader and Professor as well as the Head of the Department of Commerce in the Milagres College, Wilfred retired from teaching profession in 2000. In spite of his retirement, Wilfred is busy in his business ventures and social service. He is a multifaceted personality who could manage three professions simultaneously-as a Professor of Commerce, as an Agriculturist and Businessman. His research work, “History of the Mudarthas” is a fine research work on family history. His rise from humble beginning to greater heights in academics and business is an example to the youngsters who wish to attain success and fulfilment in their lives. Prof. Wilfred D’Souza is the best example of the third generation teacher who rose to greater heights in academics, business and social service.
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