Jewels of Konkani who Bid Adieu in 2010

Dec 31, 2010

When the year 2010 began it ushered in a new decade of the mew millennium.  Now that we are closing on this year to make way for another year with the same passion and fervor,  one cannot help but recall that the year 2010 has rendered a big blow to Konkani music,  literature, art &  culture with many Konkani stalwarts bidding adieu  to this world within a span of a year.  Their death has left a big vacuity in the field of Konkani literature, art  and culture, a loss that cannot be filled by any one as no one can step into the shoes of these men who made a difference to Konkani  language and culture through  their multifarious contributions in assorted fields of Konkani.  Their death is a big loss to the Konkani world,  the loss, which cannot be quantified for its sheer enormity.   But the rich bequest  left behind by them is sure to inspire  generations of Konkanis,  to continue in the footsteps of these prominent personalities who have enriched and enlivened  Konkani  literature, art and culture.

Wilfy Rebimbus

First it was ‘Konkan Kogul” Wilfy Rebimbus who bid adieu to this world on March 9, 2010 and with his demise the golden era of Konkani music  came to a standstill.  Though Wilfy was ailing for sometime his death came as a rude shock to his numerous fans spread across the length and breath of the country, cutting across the barriers of regions and  religion. 

He was a talented person who showed his class as a gifted music composer, a lyricist, playwright and short story writer.    Wilfy,  who composed millions of Konkani songs and also a few Tulu songs,  was responsible for keeping the pennant of  Konkani flying high at a time when everyone derided him for trying to make a career out of   Konkani music.  His death  at the age of 67 has caused an unbearable loss to the Konkani world, as there is none who can come even close to his  unique talent and commitment to Konkani.  The Konkani world is yet to come to terms with the death of this legend, who lives in the hearts and minds of people through his humungous contribution to Konkani music and theatre.   

Within a month of Wilfy’s death  renowned gumot artiste Joachim Pereira breathed his last at the age of 75.  He was a strong linkage between the fast disappearing  traditional Konkani music instrument ‘gumot’ and   the  modern Konkani community.  Having inherited this talent from his father, Joachim made it a mission of  his life to preserve and promote the only Konkani instrument and succeeded in his efforts by continuing from where his father had left.   He has bequeathed this tradition to his son Joel Pereira, who continues this family tradition, much to the delight of Konkanis who bemoan the gradual disappearance  of this priceless inheritance.

Konkani theatre got another jolt in April  15, 2010  with the passing away of Gregory E D Souza, popularly known as “Shri Giri” in Konkani theatre.  Shri Giri enriched Konkani journalism, theatre and  literature through his exemplary  talent.  It was Shri Giri who had introduced Wifly Rebimbus to Mumbai Konkani enthusiasts way back in 1967, making him a pan-India personality.  Shri Giri authored more than 25 Konkani plays, that include some popular plays like “Bavullen Ful”, “Kaloka Patlo Uzwad”, “Kalki Raat”, “Adhunik Saunsar” “Zadthi” etc.  Through his plays on diverse topics of relevance  he  created social awakening in the society.  Konkani world is poorer by the death of this illustrious son of Konkani,  who has rendered enormous service to  Konkani people.

Konkani world lost Hattiangady Venkatraya Kamath popularly known as H V Kamath to his fans and admirers,  at the fag end of July 2010, at the age of 90.  Known for his honesty, selfless service and friendly nature, Kamath’s  service  encompassed myriad fields.  After retiring from Syndicate Bank he served as the trustee of Kasturba Medical College Trust, Manipal Institute of Technology Trust and Manipal College of Hotel Management Trust.  He also served as the President of Basrur Sharada College Trust and Konkani Bhashodhara Trust, which publishes Konkani monthly magazine “panchkadayi”.  

Joachim Pereira, Victor Rodrigues, and Denis Peris

Percy Urwa, Sunny A Dsouza and Sri Giri

The death of “Konkani Sahithya Samraat”  Victory Rodrigues Angelore,  in July 2010, was another shock to the Konkani community,  which was trying to come to terms with the loss of many Konkani stalwarts in the last few months.  Though Victor had undergone a major surgery and was recuperating, his death at the age of 67 rendered a big blow to Konkani literature.  A painter by profession he showed his caliber and blossomed as a prolific Konkani writer, playwright and novelist, short story writer and humorist of repute.   He had written about 22 novels, six plays and two biographies.  He became a household name after his novels were serialized in Konkani Weekly “Poinari”,  for years together.  He also authored “Boilayke Daiz”, a book on traditional home medicines in Konkani.

This book which has seen four editions so far has found a place in every Konkani household, a testimony to his extraordinary talent.   He was bestowed with many titles that include “Konkani Sahitya Samrat”, “Century Writer”, “Kadambari Samrat” and “Saankal Kaniyancho Raai”.  Though he is no more he lives amidst us through the rich legacy he left behind.

Ravindra Kelekar and Santhosh Kumar Gulwadi

Konkani world lost another prized treasure with the passing away of Ravindra Kelekar in August this year, at the age of 85.  Rightly called ‘the father of Konkani literature’, he  made every Konkani proud on being the first author writing in Konkani to be the recipient of the prestigious and highest literary award Jnanpith Award for the year  2006 (presented to him in July this year).  He contributions to Konkani language and literature is unequaled and incomparable.   

He was a multifaceted personality, a Gandhian,  freedom  fighter, Konkani scholar, linguist, creative thinker and was primarily responsible for brining dignity and respect to Konkani language.  He pioneered the Konkani movement and was instrumental in establishing the Konkani Bhasha Mandal.  He authored about 100 books in Konkani language and for two decades edited a Konkani magazine “Zaag”. 

In October 2010, another  rare gem in Konkani Music  Denis Peris bid farewell to this world.  His untimely death at the age of 65 was like a bolt from the blue, a big loss to Konkani music world close on the heels of  the death of Wilfy Rebimbus and Gumot artiste Joachim Pereira.  It was Denis  Peris who had shaped the music career of his younger brother  famous singer-composer Melwyn Peris and along with his other sibling Albert Peris, the trio had carved  a niche for the Peris family in Konkani music field.  Denis was also a key member of Wilfy Nites during its initial years. 

In the   last month of this calendar year,  December, Konkani community lost three precious jewels.  Journalist/writer Santhosh Kumar Gulwadi passed away on December 7, 2010 at the age of 72.  Though well known as the editor of Kannada Weekly “Taranga” he also authored  a Konkani book “Ta Ta Tinganna”, a compilation of Konkani lullabies.  He also published a Konkani book on poetry and books for children.

The death of ‘Percy Urwa’, renowned Konkani and Tulu playwright Percy D Souza at  the age of 60  on December 10, was another big loss  to  Konkani theatre.  Percy who was active in the Konkani movement in the 70’s and 80’s had authored many popular Konkani and Tulu plays and his death is a huge loss to Konkani theatre.  Just 3 days before Christmas another shining star in the crown of f Konkani art, literature, theatre and journalism Sunny A D Souza left this world, at the age of 73.  He had more than 30 Konkani plays to his credit including popular plays like “Bhangar Piklam”, “Rakthachi Jalik Dukam”, “Magon ghetlo Khuris”  etc. “Hasanatlo to piso”, was one of his popular plays staged repeatedly in Mumbai.   He was a regular columnist to Konkani papers like “Poinari” and “Kutam”  who wrote with felicity  and its regular readers are sure to miss him. 

We have no doubt lost these prized jewels in the shining armor of Konkani art and literature.  Whimpering is not the solution or not going to alter the happenings.   While trying to come to terms with the reality of their loss, the best way to pay our respects to these departed souls is to continue the good work initiated by them to take Konkani to greater heights of glory and popularity.  If these eminent personalities have been able to stir the consciousness of a Konkani writer, dramatist, music personality, literary talent etc., Konkani is sure to flourish and blossom in the days, years  and eons to come. 

by Florine Roche
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Comment on this article

  • susheela Rodrigues, mangalore/Rome

    Wed, Jan 05 2011

    Thanks for the article, which is a wonderful tribute for the jewels who have passed in 2010. These are the people who touch our hearts and pass on messages through their lyrics and playwrites. Very thoughtful of you to bring these people into the limelight even though they are gone. Congragulations......Susheela

  • Stanley R.D'COSTA, Mangalore

    Tue, Jan 04 2011

    A tribute to konkani legends is really commendable. But one should remember his days are counted in this world. So let us do our best in this world to uplift the society and our own brother n without any selfish motive.

  • Sunil D'souza, Mangalore/Qatar

    Mon, Jan 03 2011

    Thanks for the article Florine. These jewels have given lot for us to preserve in konkani. As mention by Mr.Max, These people should have been honored in the konkani convention but the organizers were very busy in attract the politicians of different parties. No surprise if they start a political outfit in the near future.

  • Max & Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston,Tx

    Sun, Jan 02 2011

    Wonderful tribute to the deserving Konkany stalwarts that have gone for their heavenly rewards during the year 2010. The Konkany society owes a great deal of gratitude to these friends who have dedicated so much for our culture. These people should have been honored in a special manner at the Konkany Convention that took place in Mangalore recently so that their families would have been truly inspired.

  • Antony Pereira, Bejai, Mangalore

    Sun, Jan 02 2011

    Even though we lost Jewels of Konkani who bid adieu to us their rich contributions to Konkani is alive. Let us thank God for the that. Fr.Vincent Lobo OFM Cap name & contribution is not figured in the article. Laam Jeeo Konkani.

  • Pankaj Nadkarni, Dubai

    Fri, Dec 31 2010

    Continuing their work will be the true tribute to the memories of these sons of mother Konkani.

  • isidore dantas, goa/mumbai

    Fri, Dec 31 2010

    I am in need of contact of Arthur Rasquinha who has acted in the Konkani movie Tisri Chit.Please help


    Fri, Dec 31 2010



    Fri, Dec 31 2010

    Nice article, thanks to the writer and daijiworld. we will remember u through your great works as long as v live. May new year 2011 bring u many blessings.

  • George Olivera, Mysore

    Fri, Dec 31 2010

    Among the jewel of konkani who bade adieu in 2010, I would like to add Fr.Vincent Lobo OFM Cap, who passed away a week ago. He was the founder-editor of Sevak which has 15'000 copies as for now. He shouldered the responsibiliy of this magazine from 1958 to 1970. He had authored many articles and books on Relgious literature in Konkani.

  • Guru Baliga, Mangalore

    Fri, Dec 31 2010

    Thanks Florine for great article.

    "It is wrong to mourn when men like these die,
    Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar

    Thu, Dec 30 2010

    ದೈಜಿ, ಉಪ್ಕರ್ ಕೆಲ್ಲೊ ಥುಮಿ ಉಗ್ದಸ್ ಕದ್ನ್ ಸೊರ್ವನ್ಸೊ. ದೆವ್ ಬೊರೆ೦ ಕೊರು೦ ಥುಮ್ಕ. Thanks Florine.

    Wishing everybody a Happy & Prosperous New Year with choicest God’s Blessings.

  • Sampath, Mlore/Blore

    Thu, Dec 30 2010

    Great sons of our Mother KONKANI ... May their soul Rest In Peace........

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