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Mangalore: Konkani Sahitya Academy going the BCCI way?

Mangalore: Konkani Sahitya Academy going the BCCI way?

Special Correspondent
Pics: Brijesh Garodi
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore

Mangalore, Jun 18: Two days back Kasaragod Chinna was forced to resign as president of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy following the directive of the Chief Minister asking all academy presidents except Madhyama Academy to resign.

Ever since the formation of the Congress government in the state it was expected that the office-bearers of various academies will tender their resignations as these appointments are generally considered as ‘political appointments’. But somehow Chinna held on to the post for nearly one and half months and was finally shown the door though he claims he resigned from the post.

Kasargod Chinna (File Pic )

But Chinna’s resignation has led to a rat race among many aspirants for grabbing the post of the president and also the post of 10 nominated members and 3 co-opt members of the academy which is for the asking. Though none of the members have tendered their resignations so far, it is only a formality before they do so, according to the circular sent by the government. Ironically, it has now come to light that there is hectic lobbying going on to get a prominent businessman from the Catholic community nominated as the president of the academy for the place vacated by Kasaragod Chinna. Mandd Sobhann, a Konkani cultural organization is said to be in the forefront in proposing the name of this businessmen whose knowledge of Konkani and contributions to Konkani literature, art or culture is questioned by many. Many other aspirants have also started lobbying at their own levels for the 13 posts as members (10 nominated and 3 co-opted) of the academy. It is said that members of a prominent organization had been to Bangalore and stayed put there for a couple of days to meet the minister for Kannada and Culture Umashree and other office bearers of the department for lobbying for the post.

In another significant advert, eminent Konkani writers have put forth a demand that only eminent Konkani writers of repute with at least two books of creative writing to their credit should be appointed as president and people with literary background should be made office bearers of the Academy. Henry Mendonca Pernal, eminent writer, editor of and also president of Konkani Writers Forum says “only Konkani writers of credibility and reputation should be appointed as president and office bearers of the academy. According to Kendra Sahitya Academy a writer with at least two creative books to his credit can be considered as a prominet writer and I wish similar criteria should be used to nominate persons for the academy. Such writers should have at least two published books to their credit dated back to three years so that some pseudo-writers don’t get an opportunity to take advantage.”

As president of Konkani Writers Forum (KWF) Henry wrote a letter to chief minister Siddaramaiah on June 10 even before Chinna tendered his resignation. In this letter Henry points out that out of the 14 members in the existing academy (including the president) there is not even a single member who is well-versed with Konkani literature leave alone be a writer of any repute. He also pointed out that the academy was filled with people associated with active BJP members and well-known Konkani writers were not made part of any of the programmes conducted by the academy in these two years. Henry also is critical of the manner in which the academy functioned in these years saying “none of the existing members should be given another chance as they have been a part of the conspiracy that insulted the entire writers’ fraternity”.

Though academies are said to be apolitical it is an open secret that the appointments to various academies are always loaded with political affiliations. It is for this reason lobbyists are working overtime to ensure that their own candidates are nominated for the plum post of president and members of the academy. Though there has been a demand that these posts should be given to preeminent and apolitical people, little has been done to bring about any changes. Rather academies have become tools in the hands of the government to fill in party loyalists and people with high political connections or to rehabilitate some old guards.

Young poet and writer Venkatesh Nayak concurs with Henry’s views saying “In the last two years Konkani Sahitya Academy did not involve any writers in any of its activities. It was sad to note that the president and members invited their own people, people known to them and their acquaintances. Many important organizations which have been toiling for promoting Konkani such as Kavitha Trust, or Konkani Writers Forum were kept away from its activities intentionally. I feel the academy should consist of a proportionate representation of Konkanis who have contributed to diverse fields like art, culture, theatre, literature etc”.

Basti Vaman Shenoy, president of World Konkani Centre and also former president of the academy opines that any Konkani activist well known in the field of literature, art and culture can be appointed as president and nominated as member of the academy. “I strongly feel that any Konkani who has contributed significantly to the Konkani movement or to Konkani mainstream is entitled to be nominated to the post. Such a person should be known to the people through his contributions to Konkani. Konkani Sahithya Academy is for the development of Konkani in diverse fields of art, culture, literature and folklore and need not be confined only for writers. At the same time I am against anyone getting into the academy by sheer money power or political connections”, he points out.

Konkani writer Stephan Quadros who has a number of books to his credit in Konkani, is of the opinion that a well-known literary personality with administrative capability should don the role of president of the academy. He says, “Our past experience has shown us that great writers need not be good administrators. Therefore it is necessary to opt for a literary person with administrative capabilities so that the academy is able to work for the betterment of Konkani. We have to identify such a person and nominate his name for the post”.

It is not that there is a dearth of people with creative talent as writers and administrative capabilities. Melvyn Rodrigues, Central Sahitya Academy award winner has been running Kavitha Trust successfully for the past several years organizing several programmes for promoting Konkani. He has invited national and international personalities from various fields through Kavitha Trust and has been doing wonderful job showcasing even his administrative capability. Senior Konkani writer Edwin J F D Souza has created quite a flutter in Konkani literature and has also demonstrated his administrative talent by being a member of the Central Sahitya Academy and as Executive Director of the Konkani Institute. There are many more people who are blessed with these twin talents and it is only the question of identifying them.

Henry Mendonca points out “it is only cynics who say that creative people don’t have administrative talents. We have amongst us many people who are multi-talented and capable of handling the responsibility given to them just as they wield their pen in doling out creative literature”.

There is no denying the fact that local MLAs and party leaders have a big say in nominating people for the academy post. Congress leader Ivan D'Souza agrees. “It is no secret that these appointments have a political overtone. Apart from people who are well known for their involvement for the progress of Konkani we want someone who projects our party ideology and works in that direction. The various programmes of the government should be implemented. Otherwise there was no need for Kasargod Chinna to resign. He resigned because we asked him to do so. We will nominate someone who has worked for Konkani and who is acceptable to the Konkani speaking people. We will form a committee to look into matter and take their opinion before finalizing the names”. He denied having any knowledge about the hectic lobbying being carried out in favour of a businessman from the Konkani community by certain organizations.

Roy Castelino, president of Konkani Prachar Sanchalan, who is said to be a top contender for the post of academy President and whose name is proposed by Mandd Sobhann denied he has personally lobbied for the post. “My name is being proposed by Mandd Sobhann and they have informed me about it. It is true I had been to Bangalore in connection with the proposed Mandd Sobhann museum and we visited the ministry of Kannada and Culture. That cannot be equated with lobbying”.

Roy also commented that the word ‘Sahitya’ is a misnomer and academy should have been named “Konkani Academy”. When asked whether would propose changing the name if he becomes president he answered in the negative saying he would work for the betterment of Konkani as a whole.
Young poet and writer Wilson Kateel puts it succinctly: “If anyone feels that he or she is qualified for the post of president just by participating in some stage programmes, he is mistaken. We need someone who can represent Konkani and not cut a very sorry figure if and when he/she is asked to be a part of the dialogue on literature, art or culture”.

Since lobbying plays a crucial role there is every possibility that Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy will look and become more and more like Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) where non-players like businessmen or politicians become the president and rule the roost. As a result the game of cricket has suffered and players also have not got a raw deal. A similar fate awaits Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy if the mantle is handed over to people who are neither known for their literary activism or for their administrative capabilities.

Press Meet

A press meet in this regard was called on Tuesday June 18, wherein H M Pernal, president of Konkani Writers' Forum demanded that only writers of repute be made president and members of the academy.

"The Konkani Writers Forum has 120 writers as members and is the only registered body of Konkani writers in Karnataka. Recently, after the formation of the the new government, chief minister Siddaramaiah had directed presidents of all academies to resign, but Kasargod Chinna did not do so. We then submitted a memorandum to the CM, after which Chinna had to resign. We thank the CM for his quick response," he said.

"Except for the first two terms, the presidents of Konkani Sahitya Academy have come got the coveted post through influence or other means. Kasargod Chinna is not even from Karnataka, and though Kerala too has Konkani academy, he has managed to get the top post here," he said.

"In the coming days when the new team of the academy is formed, it should be ensured that only writers are elected president and members," Pernal urged.

Marcel D'Souza, Konkani Writers's Forum secretary, Jochim Pinto, treasurer, members Raymond D'Cunha and Violet Pereira were present.

Comment on this article

  • Baptist d Souza, Mangalore

    Sun, Jun 23 2013


    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • B.Pereira, Bejai,Mangalore

    Thu, Jun 20 2013

    Melwyn Rodrigues or Stephen Mascarenhas(Hemacharya)would be the
    right person to be the President of
    Konkani Sahitya Academy.Both are
    great writers and good administrators.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ramesh Pai, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 19 2013

    Karanataka Konkani Sahitya Academy is a State body of letter like Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi which is Premier Central body of letters. As such only writers of repute should be appointed as President and Members to this body. For music , dance, drama Govt has other Academy's in state like Sangitha Nruthya Academy, Nataka Academy, Yakshagana Academy under Kannada and Culture department which consider and give representation to all the languages including Konkani. In the past Kasargod Chinna served as a member in Natak Academy, representing konkani dramas. Similarly V G Pal reprsented tulu dramas in Nataka Academy. As such konkani musicians, dramatists should claim their right in these academies instead of fighting with writers. For the sake of getting Presidents post in the Sahitya Academy , renaming it as Konkani Academy is wrong. Pressident and Members to the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy should be Sahitis ed on pure merits.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sujay D'Souza, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 19 2013

    Mr Roy Castelino has done lot good to Konkani through Prachar Sanchalan. He has selflessly spent his time, money and energy for the cause of Konkani. He is the one who donated land to Kalangan where KOnknai activities are performed in a grand scale. Konkani Sahitya Academy is for the entire development of Konkani and not only for the literature. We have seen how Mr Eric Ozerio organised the programmes for the development of all the aspects of Konkani and not only music. He published anthologies and supported literature. Academy needs a good administrator with vision and Mr. Roy Castelino can be the perfect choice. Konkani writers should ask for themselves how many programmes they have organised for the development of literature through their organisation before criticizing others.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Stany Dsa, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 19 2013

    Hello DOCTOR Sujay, will you accept a business as president for your Doctors' association ? If yes, tell me...we can accept a BUSINESSMAN president for Konkani akademy

    DisAgree [8] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    What a stupid idea? How can this writers claim that only they should lead Konkani Sahitya Academy? 'Sahitya' I mean literature does not belong only to 'writers' it belongs to 'readers' also.Therefore any sensible Konkani 'reader' also can become the President of Academy. Is there any law or supreme court judgement that only writers should become 'President'? Cant a lady like Meena Rebimbus who is not a writer, but a singer be considered for this position?

    Till today, no lady has become the President of Konkani Academy. So I strongly propose the name of Meena Rebimbus, wife of late Wilfy Rebimbus for this position. Lets a lady get a chance this time. Fellow readers, please vote for my proposal. And dear 'present generation' konkani writers, please improve your 'product quality'. Most of the write ups of these new-gen writers, needs polishing. It is not easy to be your reader, dear writers.

    Please awake, bring some change, bring some variety. Till then make Meena Bai as President. Mr. Roy ji aapka building constructions bahut achha hai..aap tho gentleman aadmi hai.. Ye Konkani politics se thoda dhoor rehna aap ke liye acha hai...Lets support Meena Bai.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lydia D'cunha, mangalore,India

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    Appreciate all who have raised voice for an eligible president and members for Konkani Sahithya Academy. Atlast we have learnt to talk boldly. This will set a good example for overlooking the eligibility and contribution of writers and people who have worked for Konkani. It would be nice to remind ourselves that we are in Democratic Inida.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Kiran VSA, Udupi

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    Konkani Academy deserves a person (male or Female) passionate about Konkani with sufficient contribution to promote the language throughout the state. Businessmen can support the academy and help its cause further. Hope Govt listens. good move.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Andrew L D Cunha, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    L N Rego-ನ್ ಸಾಂಗ್ಚೆಂ ಬಿಲ್ಕುಲ್ ಸಾರ್ಕೆಂ. ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿಚಿಂ ಸಂಪನ್ಮುಳಾಂ ಆನಿ ದುಡು (ಲೊಕಾಚಾ ಟೆಕ್ಸಾಚೊ)ಕೊಂಕ್ಣಿ ಭಾಶೆಚಾ ಫುಡಾರಾ ಖಾತಿರ್ ಯೋಜನಾಂ ಬಾಂದುನ್ ಸಾರ್ಕ್ಯಾ ರಿತಿನ್ ಗಳ್ಸುಂಚೊ, ಕೊಂಕ್ಣೆ ವಿಶಿಂ ಸಾರ್ಕೊ ದಿಷ್ಠಾವೊ ಆಸ್ಚೊ ವೆಕ್ತಿ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿಚೊ ಅದ್ಯಕ್ಷ್ ಜಾಂವ್ಕ್ ಜಾಯ್. ಉಂದ್ರಾಂಚಾ ಧಾಂವ್ಣೆಂ ಜಿಕ್‍ಲ್ಲೊ ಬಾತಾಂ ಪೋಲ್ ಕರ್‍ಚೊ ಕೊಳಿಂದ್ರ್ ಜಾವ್ನ್ ಉರ್‍ನಾತ್ಲ್ಯಾರ್ ಪುರೊ!

    DisAgree [6] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prakash Kumar , Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    CHINNA CONTRIBUTED A LOT FOR KONKANI... what a joke, he has done nothing for konkani or our samaja. By directing or acting in few dramas and movies etc, it don't prove he has done something good for anyone, go to kasaragod and ask about him with kannadigas or konkanis they will give a clear picture about him.....

    DisAgree [3] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    Its utterly shocking to hear about the rat race for the Academy leadership. Academy is instituted in the interest of Promoting language, Art and related activities. The leadership should go to the one who has worked for the cause not because he is a business man.If the business man is qualified with the relevant qualities then the post will carry its dignity. We are sad to note that few people who have taken Language as profession think they are rule makers, on that context i humbly request all the aspirants work for the betterment of the language not for fame. You may win the rat race, still you are a rat!

    DisAgree [7] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • KA D'Silva, Dubai

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    If we keep on fighting, I am sure the day is not far our neighbouring state (Kerala) will appoint Malyalee to head Konkani Sahitya Academy !!!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Raymond, Kundapur/Kuwait

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    When we making lots of effort to form Karnataka sayithya academy in Bangalore, Late Minister & MLA Blasius D’souza said” Academy President should be choosen who involved in Konkani Literature work”. I feel this should happen instead businessman or political leader.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Jun 18 2013



    DisAgree [16] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • John Tauro, M'lore / Kwt

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    In the interest of language, arts, literature, sports and culture it is imperative to depoliticise all academies and sports organisations. These should be made fully autonomous without any kind of political interference and must be strictly headed by personalties with expertise in their respective fields, so that change in political leadership should in no way effect the smooth functioning of these bodies.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Alphonse Mendonsa, Pangla/Abu Dhabi

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    I have been following up closely on this issue and now learnt that Roy Castelino has been nominated for this post which is going BCCI way for which I am totally against. As the post requires some one heavily involed in konkani Literary and developmental work and not merely organizing stage shows. Currently the post are given to the business interests than to the real genuine literary personalities. Konkani Writes Forum is the only one to a proper candidate and I am sure our new CM and Cultural Ministry takes into consideration this issue seriously. Even if they give post to the business interest people, we should object and make sure that this will not happen and should protest strongly and get it changed to the personalities like Melwyn Rodriques, Edwin JF DSouza or Valli Vaga who are true leaders of konkani. I hope our dream will be fulfilled. Well done HM by bring this issue in open so that an appropriate candidate is proposed and get elected. All the best for the Konkani Sahitya Academy and Konkani Writer's Forum.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charles D'Mello, Pangala

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    Konkani Sahitya Academy...must have a president who is a Sahithi and not a business man. He need not be politically affiliated. If one has a political affiliation shall have a negetive mark while making the ion. All the members must be Konkani Sahithi's not any useless persons who are not even speaking Konkani...!!!???

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prakash Kumar, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    Friends there were better choice than chinna, but can't understand why he was appointed as president, who has done nothing for Konkani Sahitya Academy or for samaja. Let us appoint someone better who is really worth.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Agnel D'Silva, Katapadi / Dubai

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    while the race is hot and every one is busy trying for thier own luck, please dont forget the genuine and silent workers who have contributed emmensely for litrature.
    One of that perosn is Kum. Catherine Rodrigues of Katpadi who has contriubuted all three major languges of our region Kannada, Tulu, Konkani.
    appreciate the concerened authorities will give her a chance to serve in any of the Sahitya Acadamies.

    DisAgree Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Stany Dsa, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    This is the perfect example of how some of the organsations going Indian Cricket Board way. This is dangerous for demorcracy. I urge Konkani writers to get united and fight the cause. Do not allow any businessmen or politicians to enter the Academy

    DisAgree Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Robert D Souza , Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 18 2013

    First KWF president should unit all writers.Today most of the konkani writers are unhappy with him.
    Criticism is always not a solution.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

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