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Feb 12, 2016

Mangalore: Moily Honours Bhadragiri Achyutadasji with Kalaakar Award


By Team Mangalorean

Mangalore, Dec 5 (11.30 p.m): It was Day Eleven of the First World Konkani Convention at the Kalaangann and the day was dedicated to various competitions in the morning session. But the major highlight of the day was in the evening when the annual Kalaakaar Award, instituted by the Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr and the Carvalho household, sixth in succession, was presented to internationally renowned Harikatha exponent Sant Bhadragiri Achyutadasji of Bangalore.

Union law and justice minister Marpady Veerappa Moily did the honours in presenting the prestigious award to Sant Achyutadasji.

Noted Goan tiatrist and Tiatr Akademi president Tomazinho Cardoz, Dalgado Konknni Akademi president Premanand Lotlikar, Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr director Dr Pratap Naik SJ (also representing Carvalho household), Mandd Sobhann president Louis J Pinto and felicitation committee convener Matilda Pinto were on the dais.

Moily began his speech by greeting everyone in Konkani, 'Tumkam sorvank Swagot', which was well applauded. He compared Mandd Sobhann's marathon efforts in various fields to 'Ashwamedha Yaaga' which was performed in the olden times.  Just as that sacrifice always culminated in conquering territories, Mandd Sobhann's effort resulted in winning hearts of everyone the world over.

He said he felt privileged to honour a person of the calibre of Sant Achyutadasji. Konkani being an Indo-Aryan language, included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, has retained its identity. It is one of the few languages, where the language is synonymos with its culture.  These are the days when people could remember the language but forget their culture. But the Konkanis have zealously preserved their language, he further said.

Moily added that the river Saraswati, with which the Konkanis identify themselves, may have been regarded as the vanished and extinct one. But the undercurrent still keeps flowing.  The community has displayed the quality of adventure and a cosmopolitan attitude. Being well-rooted in culture, it was for them to look forward. Prime minister Manmohan Singh has earmarked the decade 2011-2020 as one of innovation. The Konkanis should march forward in that spirit. They have cut across the barriers of religion hence the Konkani culture is the most secular one, he declared.

While complimenting the Konkani community for taking their ethos wherever they landed in the world, he expressed sadness that several progressive communities all over the world, have become victims of evils like communalism. The options before the new generation are the demographic dividends or demographic disaster and the right choice should be made.

He concluded the speech on a meaningful note by quoting a couplet from Sant Kabir, whose teachings asked the followers to plunge, swim and reach ashore without waiting for a boat and gave a call to Konkanis to go forth with this philosophy in mind. As he had to leave early on another apppointment, he sought Sant Achyutadasji's leave, and the latter put his own garland around Moily's neck in approval and in reciprocation of the honour.

Achyutadasji spoke on the beauty of the Konkani language and quoted from Sant Dnyaneshwar from Maharashtra, whose composed poems and kirtans were in Konkani. He also quoted profusely from Krishna Leela with Gopikas to prove how words like 'lugott' (cloth) were unique to Konkani. He peppered his speech with humour from Tulu sayings for various stages in human life and the Konkani song 'Fulabai, Fulabai, ghagreak uzo lai'. He had a dig at human greed for money saying anyone would say 'stop' when he had enough of food, but same is not the case with money. Money is called 'drivya' (the one that flows) because it flows like 'driva', he said.

Achyutadasji called upon the community not to be carried away by the 'Mummy' culture. Mummy was an Egyptian name for a corpse. How could one call one's own mother who gave life by a corpse's name, he wondered. Further he said there was so much of feeling and thrill in calling one mother 'Amma' or Konkani's own 'Aai'. Finally he thanked Mandd Sobhann for the honour.

As part of the cultural programme, the Rachol Seminary, Goa's choir presented the Konkani Choral Fiesta, which was indeed a feast for the ears, with a great blend of tenors, altos and sopranos.

Premanand Lotlikar dwelled upon the fact that when the question of script arises, the votaries of Roman and Kannada scripts are branded communal. But Mandd Sobhann's and Carvalho household's selection of Sant Bhadragiri Achyutadasji for the award and the involvement of people of all faiths in their activities proved the organization's secular credentials, he stressed.

In the later programme, Karnataka higher education minister Dr V S Acharya distributed prizes to the winners in the competitions held earlier.

Felicitation committee convener Matilda Pinto read out the citation in honour of Achyutadasji. Arunraj Rodrigues and Lavita Lobo compered the programme by turns.


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