The First Ever Smt. Vimala V. Pai Vishwa Konkani Lifetime Award was given to Shri Puroshotham Mallya, Konkani writer, historian and activist.
The award was given by Shri Basti Vaman Shenoy, President, World Konkani Centre on November 19. The programme was organised jointly by the World Konkani Centre and Anugraha Charitable Trust.
The award which is sponsored by Shri T. V. Mohandas Pai carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh.
On the occasion scholarships amounting to Rs 15 lakhs were distributed to 80 students.
Shri Ramdas Kamath U., President, Vishwa Konkani Students Scholarship Fund, Shri Premchandra, Chief General Manager, BSNL, Karnataka, Shri R. Bhaskar Shenoi, President, Anugraha Charitable Trust and Shri Venkatesh N. Baliga, Secretary, World Konkani Centre were present during the occasion.
Patholi Rookh, Childrens Play was also staged on the occasion.
The inauguration of Shri T. V. Raman Pai and Smt. T. Vimala V. Pai Hostel on November 11 at 11.11.11 am was much awaited event in the history of the World Konkani Centre. While the date gained significance because of the fact that it comes only once in a century, it also got etched out in the history of Konkani language and culture, because of the fact the hostel project, envisaged a year back, and executed within a span of seven months, was dedicated to the cause of Konkani-speaking community. The hostel was donated entirely on a turnkey basis by Shri T. V. Mohandas Pai, Chief Patron, the World Konkani Centre was inaugurated by Smt. Vimala V. Pai. Shri R. V. Deshpande, Chairman Emeritus, Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation(KLCF) lit the lamp. In his address Shri Pai emphasized the need to protect Konkani language as it was facing the threat of extinction. There was a time when mothers used to narrate bedtime stories to their children. But now the practice is gone as now big families have disintegrated and this practice is not followed in the nuclear families. Further globalization also has affected it.
“Documenting, recording and giving rise to a sense of pride among Konkani-speaking people are some of the factors that can contribute to the survival of the language.” Shri Pai said. “No matter which corner of the world Konkanis live they should retain their identity as Konkani-speaking community. The Konkanis should become technologically advanced, make best use of digitization, internet, teaching of mythology and history to youngsters through the medium of comics to safeguard their identity,” he added. Shri R. V. Deshpande described the event as Diamond letter day. He also stated that Konkani is a secular language. Shri N. Yogish Bhat, Deputy Speaker, Legislative Assembly, in his address, recalled that a thought that sparked off between a motley gathering during the Konkani Sammelan a few years ago in Los Angeles had given rise to the growth of the World Konkani Centre. Dr. P. Dayanand Pai, Chairman, KLCF, said the of the hundred per cent 99 per cent people read history and remaining one per cent create it and Mohandas Pai’s family was part of that one per cent. He also called upon the Konkani people to make best use of the facilities offered by the Kendra. Shri Pradeep G. Pai, Secreatary, Vishwa Konkani Student Scholarship (VKSSF), gave the details of the scholarships distributed. He also informed the gathering about the decision to award a scholarship of Rs 1 Lac to ten students who were taking up their higher studies in foreign countries. Shri Giridhar Kamath, Co-Ordinator, KSHAMATA, explained the various actvities planned under KSHAMATA Shri Basti Vaman Shenoy, President, World Konkani Centre, welcomed the gathering. The occasion was marked by the singing of ‘Konkani Abhiman Geet’ by a troupe trained by Shri Raghavendra Rao, Assistant Headmaster, Canara High School. A song by Shri B. V. Baliga on Konkani language was also presented thereafter by a troupe under the direction of Vasanthi R. Nayak. Smt. Vimala V. Pai was felicitated during the occasion. The first batch of 36 undergraduate students from Kerala is being provided with training at the hostel from the inaugural day itself. Shri T. V. Ramachandra Pai, philanthropist, Shri Gilbert D’Souza, Puttur, Shri Ramdas Kamath U., President, VKSSF were present. The programme was compered by Shri Venkatesh N. Baliga, Secretary of Vishwa Konkani Kendra. About the Hostel Block The hostel block, construction and facility of which are on par with international standards, can accommodate 52 inmates, with 13 double rooms and four dormitories which can house eight inmates each.
Various activities including seminars, camps etc. are proposed to be organized in the hostel building to impart education on leadership skills, knowledge about cultural heritage and history of Konkani language, and mentoring of the youngsters. It was clarified that the hostel will be used specifically for research programmes and training the youngsters, and not for accommodating guests coming to the city for other functions.
The coveted ‘Smt. Vimala V. Pai Konkani Sahitya Puraskar,’ for the year 2011 was awarded to Damodar, eminent Konkani novelist and short story writer of Goa at a glittering ceremony held at T V Raman Pai Convention Centre, Mangalore on November 10. The award presented by Pradhan Gurudutt, Chairman of Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Pradhikar, Bangalore.
Sri Mauzo received the award for his novel ‘Tsunami Simon,’. He was presented with a shawl, flowers, a citation, a memento and the award money of Rs. 1 lakh. Smt Vimala V.Pai presented the cheque to Sri Mauzo.
In his address Sri Gurudutt emphasized the role played by awards in growth of literature. He also explained the need to translate more works from other languages to Konkani, so that more people would get the benefit of good literature.
He commended the efforts of Vishwa Konkani Kendra for its efforts in preserving and promoting Konkani literature and advised that the Kendra should institute more awards in various other categories so has to provide impetus to the growth of Konkani Literature.
Sri Gurudutt appreciated Mauzo for taking up a contemporary theme in his novel. He also said that he has not come across any book on Tsunami, which had hit the South Indian coast in 2004, in any Indian language.
Adv. Uday L. Bhembre, who was the Chairman of the five member jury that selected Damodar Mauzo pointed out that the five member jury unanimously selected ‘Tsumani Simon,’ for the award for its contemporary content, characterization, language, the struggle it portrayed and the novel in its entirety. “The novel deals not only with the theme of Tsunami but also depicts friction between the community’s constant struggle between tradition and modernity. It is a matter of pride for Konkani literature that its writers are looking at contemporary subjects for writing.” He wished that there should be a Tsunami in Konkani writing and Konkani literature.
In his acceptance address Sri Mauzo said that Konkanis have made a significant contribution to the field of literature. He also expressed his contentment about the fact that in Goa the writers of other languages were taking up Konkani writing. Sri Mauzo was hopeful that in the years to come Konkani literature would reach the summit of glory.
Shri T. V. Mohandas Pai, who instituted the award in the name of his mother said that it had become imperative to safeguard our language and culture. The reason being in the last three decades our roots and culture was facing the threat of extinction due to the advent of globalization and modernity. The need of the hour is to come together as a community and work towards preserving our culture.
“We Indians have multiple identities. We are an amalgamation of these multiple identities. The multiple identities come from diverse culture and this diversity enriches our life and experience. We need to keep this diversity alive.”he added.
At the same time Sri Pai also said that we should not embrace globalization in such a way that our cultural identity will remain intact.
Dr. P. Dayanand Pai, Chairman, Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation said that Konkanis have been successful in all walks of life. Konkani is the most secular language in the entire world as it is spoken by all the major communities of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other castes and religion.
The award programme was given a rousing start with a song “Veer Konkani Santaan” sung by Vasanthi R. Nayak and group. This was followed by a prayer song sung by students of Canara High School.
Basti Vaman Shenoy, President, World Konkani Centre, welcomed the gathering.
Sri Mauzo was escorted to the dais by Melvyn Rodrigues, Konkani poet and Dr. K. Mohan Pai. Sri Gurudutt was introduced to the gathering by Gokuldas Prabhu, Trustee, World Konkani Centre. Titus Noronha compered the program.
T. V. Ramachandra Pai, Vimala V. Pai and Venkatesh Baliga, Secretary, World Konkani Centre were present during the occasion.
The stage programme was followed by programme of light songs by Raghavendra Rao. Later in the night ‘Runanubandha,’ Konkani Play was presented by members of Triveni Kala, Sangama, Mumbai.