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.