by Richie Lasrado - with pics by Praveen Tauro Kulshekar
Mangalore, Feb 25: The contribution of the late J M Lobo Prabhu and Louella Lobo Prabhu to the community, politics, public life, art and literature and other fields and to the society in general was recalled and gratefully acknowledged at a momentous function in the St Aloysius High School Hall on Friday evening.
February 24, 2006 marked the birth centenary of J M Lobo Prabhu ICS, a distinguished Mangalorean, whom everyone could be proud of. Also observed on the occasion was the death anniversary of his wife Dr Louella Lobo Prabhu, who had passed away on January 31, 2005.
It was a confluence of luminaries in public life on the dais, who themselves have contributed so much to the society. Diocesan vicar general Monsignor Fred V Pereira, retired High Court judge Justice Michael F Saldanha, erstwhile close associate of the Lobo Prabhu couple in politics and Indian Liberal Group president S V Raju, Magnum Intergrafiks Pvt Ltd chairman Sudhir P Ghate, close family acquaintances Joe Gonsalves and advocate-notary Clarence Pais narrated the episodes of their close association of theirs with the illustrious couple.
The couple's only issue, Giselle D Mehta nee Lobo Prabhu gave the opening address. Her husband Dharmendra and she, both Indian Revenue Service bureaucrats earlier, are now entrepreneurs in Mangalore. Dharmendra B Mehta, fondly referred to as "DB" in social and business cirlces, has made Mangalore his adoptive city. They along with their children Naval and Tamara put up a solemn commemorative function.
Each of the dignitaries recalled with emotion the attachment and acquaintance they enjoyed with the Lobo Prabhus over the years, until their death. Msgr Pereira narrated the church connection, while Justice Saldanha very touchingly spoke of 'Uncle Bob' as JM was being addressed by close relatives and acquaintances. S V Raju elaborated on the political aspect of the Lobo Prabhu couple during the heyday of the Swatantra Party founded by former governor general of India Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, better known as just 'Rajaji'.
Sudhir Ghate narrated how his late father, Prabhakar Ghate, was associated with the joint campaign the 'Grand Alliance' of 1971 in the general elections. He had high praise for Lobo Prabhu's principles and how he refused to make any compromise on them. He said JM always believed in the principle 'Appeasement of none, but justice to all'.
Joe Gonsalves and Clarence Pais spoke from their experiences from close quarters and the family angle.
Sonali Lasrado-Mathias compered the event befittingly with poise as well as elan which the occasion demanded. The function concluded with the stage presentation of 'Tomorrow's Headlines' - written by the late Louella, directed by Giselle and enacted by the students of St Aloysius College.
In essence, the event was marked by poignancy and emotional reminiscences for many. The quality of the gathering proved that the Lobo Prabhu couple will remain in the hearts and minds of a myriad of their admirers for a long time to come.