Bangalore, Jun 5: The golden jubilee
celebrations of Konkan Catholic Association, one of the oldest and duly
registered organization of Konkani Catholics settled in Karnataka's capital
of Bengaluru, turned out to be an occasion for the prominent leaders of the
community to indulge in some soul searching and a fervent appeal to all the
religious, educational, social and cultural organizations of the community
to take concrete steps to encourage the younger generation to enter
politics, civil services and public life in a big way.
While the Konkani Catholics as well as the
Christians in general were in the forefront of the education, healthcare and
social service sectors, the leaders of the Konkani Catholic community taking
part in the gala golden jubilee celebrations lamented that the presence of
persons from the community was insignificant and wanted urgent steps to
correct the anomaly if their interests were to be safeguarded.
Fr Stanislaus D'Souza, Provincial of Society of Jesus in Karnataka that runs
several leading educational institutions in the State and other parts of the
country, Ronald Colaco, NRI Entrepreneur and Chairman of International
Federation of Christian Associations, Edward D'Souza, Chairman of Federation
of Konkani Catholic Associations, J R Lobo, MLA Mangaluru South and former
bureaucrat and Roy Castelino, Chairman of Karnataka State Konkani Sahitya
Academy, who addressed the well-attended function at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall
on Sunday, emphasized the need for active involvement of the community in
the public life of the State and the country at large to ensure that their
interests were protected.
"In a democracy, it is the voice of the people that should always prevail.
It is necessary for all sections of society, especially the religious and
linguistic minorities to take active interest in the country's political
life and ensure that more and more youngsters joined politics and entered
State and Central civil services", said Colaco and felt the presence of
Catholics in particular and Christians in general in the governance was
sadly negligible despite the impressive and pioneering contributions by the
Christian missionaries in the fields of education, healthcare and social
Colaco underscored the need for preserving and promoting language,
literature, culture, theatre, folk dances and other art forms of each
community as it was important to preserve the identity, even at the risk of
being branded as parochial. "Unless we preserve and feel pride in our
distinct ethnic, cultural or linguistic identity, we will be rootless",
Colaco said and urged the Konkani speaking people to encourage their
mother-tongue, especially by using the language in their day-to-day life and
supporting the literary and cultural activities.
Known for his philanthropy, Colaco appealed to all Konkani speaking people
to contribute a small portion of their income for the upliftment of their
fellow human beings and other social causes, especially through education
and medical aid. He reiterated his promise to contribute Rs one crore per
annum for the next three years for the cause of helping the poor and needy
to come up in public life, particularly State and Central civil services.
J R Lobo echoed the sentiments expressed by Ronald Colaco and said the
Konkani Catholics and Christians were lagging in the State and Central
Services unlike many other minority communities. While the State and Central
Governments were providing special coaching facilities and financial
assistance for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as Backward
Classes and even minorities, the various institutions of the community
should pitch in and the parents as well as educationists must give special
encouragement to the younger generation, he said.
He appealed to those, who have prospered in other parts of the country and
even abroad, to make conscious efforts to maintain contracts with their
native places and supporting measures for improving the infrastructure
facilities besides returning to their roots at least after retirement. "If
we go on selling our properties and settle outside the native place or
immigrate to foreign countries, a time may come when only the older
generations or the poor and uneducated persons may be left causing a serious
problem in the long run", he said.
FKCA Chairman Edward D'Souza mooted a five-point agenda for all Konkani
speaking people and their organisations to preserve and propagate the
Konkani language and culture, motivating youth the join State and Central
civil services, take part in public, social and political life besides
making a conscious effort to give back to society at least small portion of
Karnataka Jesuits Provincial Fr Stanislaus D'Souza lauded the activities of
the Konkan Catholic Association, especially the disbursement of scholarships
and medical assistance to the tune of Rs 20 lakh to the poor and deserving
people over the last 50 years and providing hostel facilities to nearly
1,500 working youngsters in its Konkan Bhavan.
Karnataka State Konkani Sahitya Academy Chairman Roy Castelino said it was a
happy coincidence that Konkani language was allowed in the liturgy in a
parish at Sakleshpur in Chikkamagalur diocese on Sunday after years of
struggle and also in many parishes in Bangalore Archdiocese, which had at
least six lakh Konkani speaking people.
Earlier, Fr Stanislaus D'Souza released the souvenir. Several prominent
personalities and donors, including Mrs Irene Rego, Ronald Colaco, Ivan
Fernandes, Benedict Machado, Adrian D'Souza, Clarence Pereira, Nigel
Fernandes, Monica Pereira, Felix Menezes, Hilda D'Souza, and Auditor
Nanjunda were felicitated. Konkan Catholic Association President Sunil Paul
Rego welcomed. Antony Gonsalves, Secretary, proposed a vote of thanks.
Precilla Pinto, Association Vice President, compered the entire programme.
A Konkani play, Santhanam, directed by Arun Raj Rodrigues, was the special
attraction. Incidentally, Arun Raj Rodrigues was specially felicitated
during the programme.