By Richard Lasrado
Pics by Janardhan Kodavoor, Team Mangalorean
Mangalore: For a website portal with modest resources, it was a great achievement indeed. The ever-popular www.mangalorean.com has completed nine years. The anniversary event held in the Lions Seva Mandir at Mallikatta in the city was kind of a rehearsal for the decennial celebration in 2013.
The secular and all-inclusive outlook and policy were quite evident on the dais, which was graced by leaders of three major faiths, all of them accomplished and erudite scholars and achievers in their own fields.
The presence of Bishop Henry D'Souza of Bellary, Shri Esha Vithaladas Swamiji of Kemaru and Maulana Abdul Aziz Darimi added an aura of grace and dignity to the occasion.
A welcome speech by Edmond Fernandes, a would-be doctor, journalist and resource person set the right pace. He continued his good job by compering the function as well.
The decennial year was inaugurated by the dignitaries by lighting the lamp. Team Mangalorean member, bank official-turned-multimedia professional Kudpi Rajanikanth Shenoy delivered the keynote address.
Shenoy took the audience down memory lane with a brief history of the website and how with dedication and selfless contribution from all the team members, it has risen to be a media house to be reckoned with.
Three individuals from three different faiths, who have rendered outstanding service to the needy and the poor in particular and the society in general, were felicitated by the dignitaries, as a mark of appreciation on behalf of Mangalorean.com.
The three individuals honoured were Corrine Rasquinha, president of the White Doves, an NGO, Harekala Hajabba, the silent and low-profile promoter of literacy revolution in a remote village in the taluk, and Seema, the angel who put the HIV-affected persons on a pedestal of respect and in a place of honour.
Corrine Rasquinha responded on behalf of all the three for the honour and felt happy that the three, each in own line, had been highlighted and projected. She gave a call to Mangalorean.com to keep up the good work with courage, without being disheartened by obstacles on the way.
The felicitations were read out by web journalist and media consultant Richard Lasrado. As part of social initiative and concern of Mangalorean.com, free books were distributed to 58 needy and deserving students from Samvedana.
Speaking as one of the chief guests, Bishop Henry lamented the harmful influence of the media and how it was affecting the growth of youngsters. He said that walls were being heightened between various sections of the society. The media should do the work of breaking those barriers, he advised.
The Bishop expressed his unhappiness over sensationalizing and trivializing issues of grave importance in the media, like it kept happening during panel discussions.
While exhorting the management and team of the website to consistently stick to its sincere path, the Bishop wished it further laurels. Peppering his speech with convincing anecdotes, he stressed how vital it was for the media to display social commitment and sense of purpose. Quoting from the scriptures, he said "Jesus Christ preached his message but he never imposed the ideas or give any prescription. It was for the audience to take it or not. Similarly, the media should convey and not prescribe", he cautioned.
Maulana Abdul Aziz Darimi elaborated on the same subject saying that not only the barriers between people but also boundaries amidst them should be removed. 'Each one of us may be a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, but in the first place we are all Indians,' he averred. He wanted the media to carry forward this message and ethos.
Continuing the Maulana said, 'In the present day, we speak of www (the 3 W's). The holy Prophet had spoken of WWW centuries ago. He spoke of the three W's to be shunned, namely, War, Wine and Women. Their place should be taken by the three W's - Will, Work and Worship.'
Much before the Internet media came into existence, the print media was much in vogue. When the printing types made of lead were being used, it was being said that the lead was also being used in making ammunition. Hence it was being said that the pen is mightier than sword, he pointed out.
Speaking further, the Maulana said INDIA stood for Ideals, Nationalism, Duty, Introspection and Adjustment with All. To make India into Indian, one needs another N, which is New outlook, he said with a vivid narration, which drew a loud applause.
Taking his turn, Shri Kemaru Swamiji said in chaste and fluent Tulu that he preferred to speak in Tulu because this language binds all Mangaloreans from different faiths. He said, while declaring that he felt proud to be a Mangalorean and follow the website bearing the same name, he had well-wishers and supporters not only among Hindus but among Muslims as well, which relationship he cherished.
He too advised the media to bring together hearts and people into a common bond and attachment.
The guests were felicitated with mementoes by Violet Pereira on behalf of Mangalorean.com. Mementoes to mark gratitude were presented to correspondents and photographers from Udupi and Kundapur, team members and a few well-wishers.
Bishop Henry made an announcement of the good wishes from Bishop Aloysius D'Souza of Mangalore, who had sent a special shawl, which was draped around the shoulders of the Pereira couple by the former.
A vote of thanks was delivered by Anil D'Souza.