Doha, Apr 19: India has one of the highest number of migrants world over. Approximately 31 million Indians live outside the country for various reasons. While most of the people opt to migrate to the United States, the Middle East has been popular among the masses and the source of livelihood for millions of Indians. India has the maximum number of migrants in the Middle East.
Being situated in the western coast of the Indian Peninsula, the then Mangalore did not stay behind. Before the turn of the 20th century, mostly labourers from Mangalore used to travel to the Western Ghats to work in the coffee plantations every year. Then at the turn of the 20th century, the then Bombay became attractive for the skilled and the unskilled with better wages and lifestyle.
With the oil boom in the seventies, oil rich Middle Eastern countries became the talk of the town for job seekers. People migrated in millions with the hope of improving their lives, little aware of the harsh conditions here. However, hope for a better tomorrow is what made them stay back. Many thrived but most had to endure hardships. Unknown man was dwelling in an unknown land.
Armed with better education and skills Mangaloreans too landed in the Middle East in the thousands. Known for their commitment, trust and hard work, Mangaloreans became the first choice wherever they landed. Qatar was no different. Some of them were instrumental in beginning or helped begin and run some of the famous businesses here.
In the good old days, prior to the digital revolution, communication back home was difficult. Calling a loved one needed preparation and time. Back home people would travel miles and wait for hours to get connected. Here in Qatar we used to go to Qtel (known as QNTS earlier) and wait for our turn for an hour or two, to get connected to our loved ones through a cheaper PP (person to person) call.
This situation isolated us from getting connected to our people, our language and our culture. As our Mangalorean Konkani Catholics’ culture is unique in nature, there was a need to re-create the domain of our culture here in Qatar. The influx of our people in greater numbers and their needs, sorrows, and joys made it more than necessary to do something urgently. There was demand but no supply. A leader or a group had to emerge to take the initiative and the mantle to sooth the distressed, to shelter the displaced, the care for the sick. Help the community to feel at home in this far away land, know each other and build a greater family of friends.
Then, the year 1992 saw the arrival of the group, bonded and not self-centred, willing to serve and shoulder the burden of caring at the hour of need. They realised that with the new found camaraderie, they could do many things, and would do anything to bring the community together. Little did they realise then that their humble desires and apt ground work would one day grow up to be a giant organisation to be popularly known as MCC, Qatar, one of the largest and best organised club of Indians in Qatar.
Thus MCC came into being as the first cultural and sports club of the people of Karnataka in Qatar.
The journey had begun. 12 people assembled as founder members including Lawrence Vas, who was chosen to lead, thus becoming the founder president. There was no formal club as gathering of people with any intent was forbidden by law.
However, later when people were allowed to gather as groups, conduct and participate in sporting events the group made the best use of it. They met regularly for weekly meetings every Friday at 11 am. In the morning there would be a game of cricket followed by lunch. It was a matter of great satisfaction as every member made it a point to attend the weekly meetings despite various hardships.
They celebrated every year the Nativity Feast (Monti Fest with Noven Jevaan) a family feast of the Mangaloreans
In order to pursue its objectives of attaining greater heights in caring and serving, there was a need for a strong, charismatic leader. There was one man who was ever smiling, ever willing, ever loving, affectionate and helpful, best suited for the job than anyone. He is none other than our second President Felix Lobo. Lobo led from the front. His house became the club’s house. The Lobos embraced MCC cadre with all their heart and all their might.
The ball had started rolling. There was a need to formalise the group and have an identity. So, the group baptised itself as ‘Mangalore Cricket Club’ and thus MCC Qatar came into being. Sooner, it was registered with the ICC under the aegis of the Indian Embassy. Rest is history.
Over the years MCC has grown from strength to strength, from a handful of good hearted people to the current registered membership of around 500 (both families and individuals). Today, MCC takes pride in itself for being one of the oldest and most dynamic socio-cultural clubs not only in Qatar but also in the entire Gulf region and is very popular throughout the world for its many activities.
Lawrence Vas: 1992 – 1994
Vas, a man loved by all, was unanimously chosen by the group to lead them. A man with no controversies, along with Jerald D’ Mello, not only ran the informal club, but also envisioned a future for the club to be a forum, a place for all to gather to know each other and be of help at the hour of need, to the needy. As many started to notice the activities of the group and gather together to share at events like the nativity feast and the game of cricket, that it was felt there was a need for someone who can help them make the group grow.
Felix Lobo: 1994 – 2003
Lobo, a visionary himself was burning with the desire of bringing Mangaloreans together. It was a perfect blend when he was invited by the group to lead them and help grow as a club and do greater things. Since the club could not be baptised as Mangalore Catholic Club, it was decided to name it as Mangalore Cricket Club. Lobo remained at the helm as President for 9 fruitful years and gave MCC a solid foundation. He started many popular programmes such as the ladies throw ball tournament, Annual major cultural events of acclaimed and popular konkani artists, Christmas party, etc. The annual picnic had become a much loved outing. Lobo, a cricket enthusiast built an incredible cricket team that won the Division B championship in 1996 and the club became a part of Division A, the following year. To help the club grow in the right direction, the club got its constitution.
Vivian D’Souza: 2003 – 2004
Vivian D Souza who served as vice president under Lobo succeeded him as president. Being a people’s man, actor and comedian even in life is loved by all. During his tenure of nearly one and a half years, he managed to bring in many persons under the MCC umbrella.
Richard D’Souza: 2004 – 2006 and 2010 – 2012
D’Souza, a well-known Toast Master, was known for his excellent leadership and mentoring qualities and innovative ideas. He brought about more transparency and professionalism to the club. He ensured that the club functioned democratically and every member of the executive committee was encouraged to develop in the role they had accepted and work through sub-committees. The club got its patron saint in St. Joseph, the worker’s Patron and its slogan “Yeya Ek Kutaamb Bandiyan’. The club had a new beginning. A multifaceted person, he initiated many activities such as talent competitions, grand celebration of ‘Monti Fest’, the first Mangalorean day, sports competitions. The clubs newsletter Sugandh was started. Club’s website was launched. Konkani books were donated to the ICC library. Blood donation camp and beach cleaning was done. MCC participated in other club competitions and won accolades. In association with the Toastmaster International’s Doha Toastmaster club, a speech craft programme was conducted with the objective of training its willing members in the art of communication and leadership and the ‘Konkan Toastmasters Club’ was launched. During his second tenure, D’Souza along with Founder Member Jerald D Mello, were instrumental in organising the first ever international event ‘Soad 3 International’ singing competition in association with renowned ‘Mandd Sobhan’. During this time, D’Souza had the honour of receiving a trophy for the club from the President of India, Mr Pratibha Patil, for the excellent service rendered by MCC in Qatar for the promotion of Konkanni culture and language during the International Konkani Celebrations in Mangalore, organised by Mandd Sobhan.
Norbert Corda: 2006 – 2008, 2014 – 2016
Corda who took over the reigns of the club, brought about the sharing and caring aspect to the Club. Again, a people’s man, he succeeded in doubling the membership of the club in the two years of his stewardship. He took great care in continuing the legacy of the club and built good relationship with the other clubs of Karnataka. Along with the executive committee, a committee of advisors was installed for the first time. During his second tenure, he conducted a Finance seminar, participated in Environmental Awareness drive jointly organized by Ministry of Environment and ICC for all clubs and secured third place for his active participation, Throw-ball team emerged as Champions successively for two years. MCC participated in Kabaddi and Kho-Kho tournaments organized by other clubs and won.
Alwyn D’Souza: 2008 – 2010
Alwyn D’Souza enhanced the human touch in the club’s dealing. With the induction of 35 member ‘Jumbo Committee’, he demonstrated one of the finest quality of a leader by delegating the responsibilities. A good musician, D’Souza worked tirelessly to enhance the quality of the musical and cultural programs. Under his leadership, MCC organized first volley ball tournament for the Indian clubs, organized Women’s day for ladies with medical talk and conducted a drama workshop. D’Souza had the honour of meeting the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh during his visit to Qatar.
Sunil D'Silva: 2012 – 2014
Though he has been with the club since 1992, he has always been an active member carrying out different positions in the committee and shouldering lot of responsibilities finally accepted to be the President. D’ Silva is a man loved by all. Very serious in his approach to his responsibilities and easy with the masses, he was an apt choice to be president. D Silva, as president carried on all the usual events of the club with renewed vigour. The club’s membership base kept growing as well as the club’s popularity. He saw to it that it remained one of the most popular clubs of Karnataka. He made it a point to attend other clubs’ activities and members’ participation in them and thus was quite popular among the clubs. Throw-ball team emerged as Champions once during his time. During his term, Archbishop of Bangalore, Rev. Dr. Bernard Moras was invited to visit Qatar. During his visit MCC showed its gratitude for his exemplary service by honouring him.
Prakash Noronha: 2016 – Present
Noronha was elected president in 2016 as the 8th president of the club with a big responsibility of planning and implementing the silver jubilee celebrations of the club. It was decided that “Gulf Baila Naach” first Gulf International Baila dance contest would be the best way to to conclude it. The celebrations were year-long and all usual activities were celebrated with the flavour of the jubilee celebrations. The inauguration of the Silver Jubilee celebration was done by lighting a lamp by Bishop Gerald Lobo, of Udupi Diocese during the Monti fest celebrations in Sept 2016. He organized the educational seminar for students, successive blood campaigns with more than 75 donating blood. MCC team won the annual throw-ball tournament, Kho-kho tournament, and were runners-up in the Volleyball tournament. He conducted Women’s day for ladies with medical talk. His greatness is his humility. A serious and dedicated person, he did it quite easily. He continues to build relations with other clubs of Karnataka by constant interaction and by attending other clubs’ activities. He is very popular among other clubs because of his friendly nature. Throw-ball team emerged as Champions during his first year term.
Even though the presidents lead the club to its present glory by presiding over, behind this success there was a whole lot of dedicated people who have spent tons of hours and have stood solidly behind these presidents. It’s impossible to name all of them. However, it is worth mentioning some of the outstanding contributors to this phenomenal success.
The Founder Members:
Lawrence Vas, Jerald D Mello, David D’ Souza, Michael D Souza, Patrick D’Souza, Late Jerry D’ Silva (Jerry Kulshekar), Vincent Monteiro, Richard D’Sa, Wilfred Pinto (Sannu), Mark Mendonca and others.
Though Mr D’ Mello did not assume any club officers responsibility, he was instrumental in the club’s success. He remained solidly behind every president, attending to every need, being there where others were not able to at all the time. His burning ambition to make the club great internationally by staging international events gave birth to the idea of presenting the ‘Soad 3 International’ singing completion and the ‘Gulf Baila Naach’ the international dance completion for the clubs. He took on himself the burden of entertaining international celebrities attending MCC programs, building and nurturing the volunteer group. His house has always been the place for Noven Jevaan cooking and was open to any activity that may require a private space. D‘Mello, as a member of the advisory committee, took keen interest in following up the club’s activities, ensuring that the club’s constitution is followed, and strived to improve on the quality of whatever we do. Whenever MCC accomplished a landmark event, he would celebrate with all. He lends a big hand in helping MCC grow as a family as well as seeing MCC does well financially.
Riana Pinto was part of every executive committee since 2004 taking different roles. Caring for everything is her mantra. Being part of not only planning activities, she would be there at the forefront during any program to ensure that everything goes as planned. None would have her stamina in following up with others to ensure that everything is done on time.
Besides the above, many more members were and are always there for MCC as strong pillars. To name a few: Ronald Saldanha - taking care of budgets and control of costs, William lobo-stage setting and decorations, Sports field: Jerald Rebello, Rocky Cutinho, Dilip Rodrigues, Oliver Pereira, Cyril D’Souza, John Britto, Alexis Castelino; Cultural Secretaries Norbert Pereira, Edward Sequeira, Reena Castelino, Prabha Rego; long time secretaries Benjamin Rebeiro, Jessy Mendonca, all round supporters Ivy & Valentine Rosario. Volunteer heads namely David D’Souza, Michael D’Souza, Sabinash D’Souza, Jossy D’Souza, Roshan Pinto, Melwin Pinto and Christy Lobo along with their team of volunteers have ensured all arrange ments and facilities were in place for the success of every event.
MCC executive committee is also strongly supported and guided by the current Advisory members: Jerald D’Mello, David D’Souza, Alfred Sequeira, Henry D’Souza, Richard D’Souza, Rocky Fernandes, Franky Quadros, Norbert Corda, Sunil D’Silva and Jessy Mendonca
In its quest to involve every member in its activities, MCC has programs galore for all. Programs are organised for women and children too. A typical yearly calendar of activities would look like the following:
- The Feast of Nativity (Monti Fest):
Celebrated on first Friday after September 8th. 3 hours of cultural program and entertainment is presented to showcase local talent. Winners of different competitions and academic achievers are feted and felicitated including members of community doing social service serving as Catechists, Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers, Doctors, Hospital Ministry, mortuary service, have been honoured. Food will be cooked in a traditional way at home by members and served to all present for the program. The program is open for members and non-members and attended by nearly 700 people.
- Ladies Throw-ball Tournament: Ladies throw-ball tournament is conducted for non-student ladies since 2001. It has become one of most popular tournaments of the expat clubs in Qatar. MCC also fields a team and has won the tournament in the year 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015 & 2016 and are presently the reigning champions. Whenever MCC missed to be champions, they were the first runner-ups.
- Dabazo – Annual mega cultural event: This annual mega cultural event is conducted every year featuring professional / popular Konkani artists from India. This programme while giving the much needed cultural touch to the masses here in a foreign country, gives recognition and support to the artists.
- Easter and Children’s Christmas parties
- Mangalorean Day
- Talent competitions
- Annual picnic
- Participation in Independence day and Republic day celebrations conducted by ICC, Rajyotsava day organized by Karnataka Sangha.
- Blood donation camp, beach cleaning, educational talks, health awareness talks, talk on investments, etc.
- Participation in tournaments organised by other clubs such as volley ball, kabaddi, kho kho and cricket tournaments. MCC has won several times the kabaddi and kho-kho tournaments.
MCC came into being with a concern for the less fortunate. And this spirit of giving was one of the priorities for the club and its members. Whenever there was a distress call from back home, be it for medical assistance, be it for education, or housing, the members would pool in along with the club and render their helping hand. Every year, from its earnings MCC will donate for noble causes. MCC on the other hand is a charitable organisation working to bring a smile on the frowning faces.
MCC is in the forefront in recognising the service rendered by some of the great achievers of our generation, who some time made a difference to our life and have taken the Mangalorean name to international levels.
- Bishop Dr Gerald Lobo – Bishop of Udupi Diocese
- Felix Lobo – for his dedicated service to the community in Qatar
- J R Lobo – MLA, Mangalore South Constituency
- Lawrence Pinto - GVOM co-founder
- Raymond D'Souza – Mr World Bodybuilder
- Dr Edward Nazareth – Orthopaedic surgeon, HOD, Fr. Mullers Medical College, Mangalore, writer
- Melvin D’Cunha – MCC Bank Chairman
- Eric Correa of Souharda Foundation for building and distributing houses to the poor
- Roy Castelino – President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy
- Walter D’Souza (Nandalike) – writer, journalist. Managing director of Daiji World web portal.
Other than above, many members were recognized for their outstanding service to the community. Many social political figures and theatre artists were honoured jointly along with Karnataka based organizations during their visit to Qatar.
The phenomenal growth of MCC would not have been possible unless for the hard work of the successive executive committees, active participation of the members and the exemplary leadership of its presidents.
While celebrating its silver jubilee this year, MCC remains ever grateful to its well-wishers and supporters for their unrelenting support, generosity and encouragement.