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.
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.