Hoysala of Konkani – Irene Pinto

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If we turn the pages of history of Hoysala dynasty, we come to know a chapter that totally changed the history and dimension of India. When the Jain spiritual guru and the 1st Hoysala ruler confronted a charging tiger, the Jain guru just shouted at him “Hoy Sala”. Hoy means in the language of Old Kannada “strike” and Sala means tiger. With bare hands the 1st ruler of Hoysala dynasty killed the tiger. Thus Hoysala dynasty was formed. This I read in history. Similarly, in Bejai Pinto Lane, in late Emmanuel Francis Pinto and late Piadad Mary Pinto house, their eldest son Vitus Pinto, a dramatist, actor who wrote and staged 2 plays namely Kantya modlo gulob and Maka Jivounk Soda both staged at Don Bosco Hall in 60s mockingly teased his sister saying ”girls cannot write any literature“. This hurt the little Irene of 18 years so badly, she wrote her novel ‘Balidan’ without any basic knowledge, without any previous experience and without any guidance from established writers. Similar to lava that erupts from Volcano, began writing novels as if she was possessed by literature.

Irene Pinto

Irene shook the male dominated Konkani world of literature by her maiden novel that was published by J S Alvares. Till then, no woman had written a novel of her own in Konkani. Mrs. E. Alvares used to publish books translated from English. This was the beginning of a glorious era in Konkani I must say because of her each and every novel either serialized in magazines or in book form she brought out the emotions of the people, family and as a whole of human being. Her entry as novelist heralded stimulus for other entrants- Rose Karwar Street, Elsie Law Kallianpur, Tina D” Mello and others.

She was simple; she is still simple now. When we talk about her achievements she just smiles and says, ”that was then”. She does not proclaim herself as a writer, she does not take a prime seat in public. She thinks she is a small time writer. I am so charmed by her simplicity I used to always beg her to write more and more. The last in the list book was written by her because of me as she lost the prediction she made about somebody. As per her promise she wrote the book “Asha ani Nirasha”. I have been her fan ever since I became a regular visitor to their house because of my association with her brother late Joe Pinto who was also my college mate. Even now I am so closely connected to her and her family.

Irene is a Konkani’s Triveni. That was how Vally Vogga described her in her interview published in Raknno on 20.06. 76. It was held at my personal request and Vally came to Mangalore when I was on leave then to interview her. It was not an easy task to have the interview; however he agreed after sustained persuasion. This shows what kind of personality and simple lady Irene is.

Irene is a lady of energy and calmness. She wrote the best novel ‘Mujeim Anthskarn Viscerchena’ when she was studying for her final BA that too in her class. She was even sent out of the class as punishment by the Lecturer. In spite of that, she cleared her BA final in 2nd class which itself is a great feat in those days. When she was carrying Jeevan her son she was writing one novel in the morning and the other novel in the afternoon. The novels are Thuvein Negar Kelein and Mog Ani Bharvaso. Irene does not require plot. She does not require any planning. As she writes the plot unfolds. This is the beauty of her skill. Her writing is spontaneous; magic automatically works for her without any preparation.

Sirivant asked me to request Irene to write a Konkani drama to be staged by him. Irene wrote the Konkani drama as per the request by taking off of work at Vijaya Bank. It was such a beautiful story. Very few including me had the privilege to read it. Sirivant somehow asked his friends whom he considered as the stalwarts of Konkani drama to give their opinion. Their hesitation dampened the spirit of Sirivant to stage it. Irene emotionally wrote a letter “the drama what I wrote is a subject of pain to all of you. That is why last Saturday I burnt the copy.”

She married Vincent Castelino of Bejai and they have 3 children all of them now based in Canada. She lost her husband 2 years back.

I do not know why Konkani organizations failed to recognize her contribution to Konkani. No other woman Konkani writer has scaled the heights of her excellence in writing as far as novels are concerned. Where we are talking about reservations in Panchayat, Corporations and Assembly elections, our Konkani organizations knowingly or unknowingly, deliberately or by ignorance did not confer upon her any awards. So far to my knowledge, Gladys Rego and Catherine Rodrigues are the only 2 women to receive awards from Konkani organizations.


Finally, late Victor Rodrigues Memorial Literary award has been conferred on Irene. This will be conferred to her in Samanvaya on 14 February 2016. I hope this will usher recognition of Irene’s work and will induce her to write once again that will fill the hearts of all her Konkani lovers and fans.

I along with my wife, children and their families congratulate Irene on this day of her triumph and glory and wish her all the best. It is my fervent wish, that, Irene will make a honest attempt to write again and make the literature rich and the readers emotional with values.

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  1. Thank you Jemma, for your exclusive and wonderful write up on Irine Pinto (Castelino)one of the greatest novelists of our time.

  2. ಆಜ್ ಸಮನ್ವಯ ಮಂಗ್ಳುರ್ (ರಿ) ಹಾಣಿಂ ಮಾಂಡೂಂನ್ ಹಾಡ್ ಲ್ಲೆಂ ಕಾರ್ಯೆಂ ದೆ. ವಿಕ್ಟರ್ ರೊಡ್ರಿಗಸ್ ಆಂಜೆಲೊರ್ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ್ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ್ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ ಐರಿನ್ ಪಿಂಟೊ ಹಿಕಾ ಪ್ರದಾನ್ ಕರ್ತಾನಾ ಮಸ್ತ್ ಖುಶಿ ಆನಿ ಆನಂದ್ ಮೆಳ್ಳೊ.
    ಸಮನ್ವಯ ಮಾತ್ರ್ ನ್ಹಯ್ ವ್ಯವಸ್ಥಾಪಕ್ , ಮಾ.ದೊ.ಪಿಯುಸ್ ಫಿದೆಲಿಸ್ ಪಿಂಟೊ ಆನಿ ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕ್ , ಮಾ.ದೊ.ರೊನಾಲ್ಡ್ ಕುಟಿನ್ಹೊ ಎಕ್ ಮೇಲ್ ಫಂಕ್ತ್ ಮುಕೆಲಿ ಹೊಗ್ಳಾಪ್ ಪಾವೊ.
    ತಾಂಚ್ಯಾ ಆಡಳ್ತೆಖಾಲ್ ಜಾಯ್ತಿಂ ಬರಿಂ ಕಾಮಾಂ ಚಲೊಂವ್ನ್ ಆಸಾತ್ ತಿ ಆಭಿಮಾನಾಚಿ ಗಜಾಲ್.
    ಆಮ್ಕಾಂ ಆಸಲೆ ಧಾರ್ಮಿಕ್ ಮುಕೆಲಿ ಜಾಯ್ . ಕ್ರಿಸ್ತಾಂವ್ ಭಾವಾಡ್ಯಾಚ್ಯಾ ಆತ್ಮಿಕ್ ಗರ್ಜಾಂ ಸಾಂಗಾತಾ ಸಮಾಜಿಕ್ ಗರ್ಜಾಂಕ್ ಆನಿ ಜಿವಿತಾಚ್ಯಾ ಭರ್ವಾಸ್ಯಾಂಕ್ ಕುಮೊಕ್ ಜಾಂವ್ಚೆಂ ಧೋರಣ್ ಆಸ್ಚೆಂ ಯಾಜಕ್ ಬೋವ್ ವಿರಳ್ ಹ್ಯಾ ದಿಸಾಂನಿ. ಆಸಲ್ಯಾಂಚಿ ದೇಖ್ ಅನಿ ಪ್ರೇರಣ್ ಘೆಂವ್ಚೆಂ ಬರೆಂ.
    “ಸಮನ್ವಯ”ನ್ ಬರಿಂ ಕಾಮಾಂ ಕರುಂಕ್ ದಾಕಯ್ಲಾಂ ಮ್ಹಳ್ಳ್ಯಾಕ್ ಹಾಜರ್ ಜಾಲ್ಲೆ ಸಾಲ್ ಭರ್ ಆಮಂತ್ರಿತ್ ಹಾಚಿ ರುಜ್ವಾತ್.

    ಕಾರ್ಯಾಕ್ ಶಾಭಾಸ್ಕಿ ,ತಸೆಂ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ವಿಜೇತ್ ಮಾನೇಸ್ತಿಣ್ ಐರಿನ್ ಪಿಂಟೊಕ್ ಉಲ್ಲಸ್ .
    ಪರಿಚಯ್ ದಿಲ್ಲ್ಯಾ ಸಿಜ್ಯೆಸಾಕ್ ತಶೆಂ ಕಾರ್ಯೆಂ ಚಲೆಯಿಲ್ಯಾ ಎಕ್ ಮಾತ್ರ್ ಆವ್ವಲ್ ಬರವ್ಪಿ ಆನಿ “ಮಾಸ್ಟರ್” ಮಾನೇಸ್ತ್ ಡೊಲ್ಫಿ, ಕಾಸ್ಸಿಯಾಚ್ಯಾ ಶಾಥಿ -ಸಮಾರ್ಥೆಕ್ ಆಭಿನಂದನ್ ಆನಿ ಹೊಗ್ಳಾಪ್.

    ದೆ. ವಿರೊಚ್ಯಾ ಕುಟ್ಮಾಕ್ ಆನಿ ಸಮನ್ವಯಚ್ಯಾ ಫಾ.ಪಿಂಟೊ ಆನಿ ಫಾ.ಕುಟನ್ಹೊಕ್ ಸರ್ವ್ ಬರೆಂ ಮಾಗ್ತಾಂ.


  3. Mrs Irene Pinto (Castelino) was Yesterday`s Ace Writer in Mangalorean Konkanni periodicals/literature. And hence fresh Konkanni readers might not have tasted her sentimental, touchy literature. She is a Unsung precious gem of Mangalorean Konkanni Literature. Madam, I wish u all the best.

  4. Dear Jemma,
    Thank you for writing this beautiful article about Irene. Am very proud of my dear sister’s achievement and in her simplicity lies her beauty. All her books depict so much of emotion and love. She well deserves all the accolades which come her way.

  5. As a kid i have read some episodes of her novels in the “raknno” magazine which my mom subscribed from Mangalore. from what I have noticed about our Konkani organisations is we are miserly in giving the due that is deserved by the achievers. Moreover, there is a tacit sectarian and gender bias in acknowledging the work of people who don’t play to the gallery. Mrs Irene has done great service to the konkani community by her contribution to creative literature. She needs to be recognized for it.

    • Dear Readers,

      Just yesterday, I completed reading “Courage and Conviction” by Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh, the ex-Chief of Army Staff and presently a Minister of State in the BJP Government.

      This book is very exciting and I became aware of some things that I was not aware earlier and the government’s neglect, especially during the UPA reign. Though, amongst all government organizations, the military or services are the best, nevertheless when arms and ammunitions purchases are involved, there are allegations that arms manufacturers and their agents enthusiastically offer kickbacks for selling arms that are either substandard or do not meet the military’s specifications. Politicians, generals and bureaucrafts are ready to compromise themselves to line their pockets. Such is the level of patriotism for the country. Remember, two four-star generals or ex-Army Chiefs got allotment of quarters that were earmarked for Kargil war widows. Forget the ex-Chief Minister, other policians and bureaucrafts.

      Gen. Singh speaks about the Chinese clashes with the Vietnamese forces in 1979, when the latter has sent their army to Cambodia to fight and counter terrorists there. At that juncture, the Red Dragon had mobilized and encroached Vietnam with 400,000 troops and just 70,000 Vietnamese faced them and inflicted heavy casualities on them. By that time, the Chinese withdrew and did not want to face the bulk of the Vietnamese returning to reinforce their defences and challenge the Red Dragon.

      It is high time that the armed forces are treated with respect and give their dues and it is also high time that the Black Cat Commandoes are kept completely under the purview of the military and the corrupt and uncouth politicians are protected by the police or retired soldiers from the Gurkha or any other regiments. That should serve their purpose

  6. ಐರಿನ್ ಬಾಯೆಚ್ಯೊ ಸಭಾರ್ ಕಾಣಿಯೊಂ ವಾಚುನ್ ಹಾವೆಂ ಆನಂದ್ ಜೊಡ್ಲಾ. ಮ್ಹಜೆಂ ಅಂತಸ್ಕರ್ನ್ ವಿಸರ್ಚೆಂ ನಾ ಕಾದಂಬರಿ ಮ್ಹಾಕಾ ಚಡ್ ಪಸಂದ್ ಜಾಲ್ಯಾ. ತಿಚಿ ಪರಿಚಯ್ ಹಾವೆಂ ಆತಾಂ ಪಯ್ಲೆ ಪಾವ್ಟಿಂ ವಾಚ್ಲಿ. ಜೆಮ್ಮ ಪಡಿಲಾಕ್ ಹಾಂವ್ ಆಭಾರಿ ಜಾವ್ನಾಸಾಂ. ವಿಕ್ಟರ್ ರೊಡ್ರಿಗಸ್ ಆಂಜೆಲೊರ್ ಸ್ಮಾರಕ್ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಫಾವೊ ಜಾಲ್ಲ್ಯೆ ಐರಿನ್ ಬಾಯೆಕ್ ಮ್ಹಜೆಂ ಅಭಿನಂದನ್.

  7. Congratulations Irenebai, finally you received well deserved recognition. Thanks a million to Samanvaya and Victor Rodrigues Family. Victor’s wife – Celine was my classmate and I still remember some of those days. If Konkani writers received proper recognition and support from media, associations and public, they would have done more for Konkani language and culture. For some reason we totally ignore talented writers, actors, singers, etc., etc. This is time to give them proper recognition and pat on their back to show our support and to encourage them to do more for the growth of Konkani. While I was in Mangaluru I met Irenebai several times and asked her to continue writing in Konkani. She always used to give a pretty smile. She is a great writer and we can expect more books from her in the years to come. I wish her nothing but the best.

  8. Mrs. Irene Pinto really is an versatile and artistic konkani writer of yesteryears who wrote good serial stories in 1960’s in Jhelo etc. She is really a great writer. But after marriage she stopped writing maybe due to her other commitments and works. Anyway Congratulations Irene Bai. Since you have been recognised now through this Award, you have to start writing again so that the present generation come to know about your writing calibre. I wish that other konkani Organisations and Associations allso recognise your tallent and give awards to you as you deserve this being a great writer.

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