Lion Dr Austin Prabhu – Mangalorean Star
I, Lion James Fernandes, proud to announce one of the great leader, Lion Dr. Austin D’Souza Prabhu as a Mangalorean Star for the month of May. Here I include his brief profile and an interview. Lion Austin will be inducted on Sunday, June 13th and will be installed as a District Governor at the Internation Convention in Detroit, Michigan, in the first week of July with all District Governor’s of the world.
Lion Dr Austin was born on August 8, 1950 in Nanthur, Mangalore. His proud parents are Late Gaulbert D’Souza and Rose D’Souza. Gaulbert D’Souza was a well-known Ladies Clothes Designer in Mangalore.
He did his primary schooling at St. Joseph’s Calvary Elementary School, Nanthur, Mangalore; High School in Padua High School, Nanthur; Machanical Fitter from Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Mangalore; B.A. from Mysore Open University, Mangalore, Computer science from Triton College, River Grove, Illinois, U.S.A.; M.B.A (Business Administration) from Pacific Western University, Los Angeles, U.S.A.; and Ph. D. in Management from Pacific Western University, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Ln. Austin has four brothers, Lions – Norbert, Stany, Melville and Felix, and three sisters, Lions – Leonilla, Dorothy & Queenie who are also charter members of the Broadview Kala Sampath Lions Club. He spread Lionism in his entire family and they have a total of 18 lions in his family.
He tied knots with Terry Pinto, from Bombay, originally Mangalorean, on October 25, 1980. This is what Austin has to say about his life partner:
“My wife Terry is a terrific woman. She came to the United States when she was just 17. Her physique was just changing and she entered that time to this changing world from Mumbai to Chicago. As a rebellious young woman, she took up many challenges including working 36 hour stretches 3 times a week to excel in her profession. Working and attending school she earned her BS degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from National Louis University in Lombard and then went on to achieving her MS in Psychology. Worked for Cook County Hospital for 30 years and is retired in 2002 to take advantage of the early retirement incentive from the Cook County’s retirement plan. Now she is not working, however making 80% of her salary without working and by staying home. She intends to either pursue her doctorate in psychology or be an entrepreneur soon after she concludes her duties as First Lady of district 1-A of the Lions of Illinois, Lions Clubs International.”
Together they have 4 Kids: Anita (20) is the oldest and has completed her High School Degree from Trinity High School, River Forest. She is currently working full time and attending full time college courses pursuing her prerequisites for her Degree in Pharmacology. Anita was the founder president of Forest Park Leo Club.
Anil (18) completed his High School from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois and is pursuing two bachelors’ degrees with majors in Nuclear Engineering and Biochemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Champaign. Ultimately he intends entering a school of medicine to complete a MD degree. Anil served as a Vice President of Forest Park Leo Club. He is a well-known DJ in Indian/Mangalorean community in Chicago.
Atina (14) is a freshman at Fenwick High School, in Oak Park, Illinois. She intends entering a school of law with emphasis in criminology and forensics.
Angel (11) is in the fifth grade and accomplishes excellence in all subjects. She just won as a spelling bee in her school and looking forward to compete in the district.
Austin migrated to US on September 28, 1981 to join his wife Terry, leaving his most loved people and city behind.
Currently Lion Austin is employed at Deltrol Corporation as a department manager.
As a child, Austin was a very quiet kid. His mother said once, when Austin was in 2nd grade, all the kids were outside playing except him, when the teacher enquired why he was not playing he answered her saying he doesn’t know how to play. Teacher asked him: “Didn’t your mom teach you how to play?” and he simply answered “NO”
At the age of 23, he was the editor and publisher of Jhelo Fortnightly (1973-1977), Mithr Weekly and Kannik Monthly Magazines. (1974-1977).
During Thyagi Masoode – Anti Religion Bill – Protest Meeting he gathered around 60,000 people from all over Mangalore-land (according to Central Bureau of Investigation) at Nehru Park, Mangalore (April 1978). He gave a fiery speech in Konkani for the first time in the history of Mangalore.
He is an inspiration to younger generations. Here is what one of his admirers, Ancy Paladka has to say:
“It was the time when I was in my primary schools. May be in 4th or 5th Std., there was a youth annual function of our parish Paladka. There were announcements that Mr. Austin D’Souza Prabhu will come from Mangalore as a chief guest. Everyone went with enthusiasm. And Mr. Austin D’Souza came forward to make a speech. I still remember his gestures. I do not remember the contents of the speech but I do remember the joke he said during his speech. It was a very encouraging speech for the new generation. It was on this day, I felt, I should be like him.”
Austin is really a dynamic personality. Such people come once in centuries. It is very difficult for any person to manage just one magazine. It makes the people restless if they have to manage an organization called Konkani Bhasha Mandal. But for Austin such were the very simple tasks. He was the editor of three magazines while heading Konkani Bhasha Mandal at the same time.
His organizational skills that he had shown were admirable during the times of Tyagi Bill. He managed to wake up every Mangalorean catholic who always loves to be in their sleeping cells. There was protest all over Mangalore Diocese. I have never seen such protest by Mangaloreans afterwards. May be there is not even a one, though there were lots of such causes. Even for Dalit cause the protest organized by Mangaloreans was not as impressive as that of Austin’s time.
His book for youth ‘Adarsh Yuvazonn’ was very much inspirable. He has penned all his youthful knowledge in this one book. Thus Austin was a Dynamic leader, actor and a very good writer too. I wish him every success as he achieved a new responsibility as Governor.”
Lion Austin has volunteered in his home community of Forest Park for the past twenty one years. He was the member of St. Bernadine Parish Council & School Board, Forest Park Neighborhood Watch, Friends of the Library, Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Forest Park Citizens’ Police Academy.
Lion Austin was also two terms president of India Catholic Association of America, one time secretary of Federation of Indian Associations in Mid-America, Treasurer of The Federation of Indo-American Christian Associations of North America, Director of New Republic of India, International, Advisor of International Biographical Center, Cambridge, England, chairman, Leadership Day Prayer Committee, Archdiocese of Chicago, etc. His biography published in several national & international magazines and websites including Who’s Who in the World by Marquis, USA.
He has served on all of the club committees and chaired most, including Candy Day, The July 4th Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Late Lions Club Governor Bruno Bayer appointed Lion Austin to the District Cabinet as Environmental Chairman in 1993, and he was appointed Zone Chairman by Governor John Coleman and in six months he was elevated to Region Chairman in 1996. Inducted into Ln. Austin served as a President, Vice president, Secretary, Treasure in numerous organizations. He is a Member, Board Member and Advisory Board Member, Editor and Publisher of many papers he has won numerous awards and the list goes on and on.
James: Congratulations, Lion Austin, for being elected as the Governor of District 1-A. of the Loins Clubs in Illinois, and I am proud of you for being the first Governor of Indian origin. I would very much appreciate your sharing some answers for the benefit of Mangalorean.com readers. Now that you are the Governor Elect of District 1-A, what are your goals and what are your responsibilities, or in other words what is expected of you?
Austin: All Lions’ eyes are on District 1-A. District 1-A Lions expect a lot from me; reason is – I am not one of them – I am a foreigner. Not everyone in our district thinks that way, however, past leaders want to see what am I going to do and how am I going to do. They know that whatever I say, I will show them with the results. Biggest problem we have in our District is – Leadership and my supreme goal are to build leadership. Publicize activities in any media available so that community people would know what Lions are doing in their neighborhood. For me LION means, Life In Our Neighborhood.
My responsibilities are to oversee that every club in my district shows their existence with community activities. Settle any problems may cause within clubs, zones, regions and overall in District 1A. Visit every (95 clubs) club at least once a year. Besides this visit I may have to attend their special programs, conduct District Cabinet meetings, District programs, Committee meetings, Region meetings, State meetings, USA/Canada Forum (This year I will be one of the presenters again.), International meetings, etc., etc., list goes on and on. I have to see that all committees in my district function well with their successful programs for the district. At present, I have to select my cabinet of around 75 members including zone chair, region chairs from every corner of the district. Prepare District directory, annual budget, Incoming Officers’ Training Seminar, write articles to Governor’s Newsletter and Lions View magazine. Oversea financial, membership, or any other problem, in any individual clubs throughout the district. Open every mail and give personal touch in responding. Read and reply all e-mails from lions all over. Arrange International guests for convention, leadership forum, etc. Answer every question anyone who asks in this district.
James: How do you feel to be the first Governor of Indian origin, of District 1-A?
Austin: I feel great and very humble too, James; I am ready to take any challenge at any place from anybody. I am a fighter and I will not sit quiet to avoid any gossip, or circumstances, which may arise.
James: What is District 1-A, and can you give some short history of this District 1-A?
Austin: Our district is, District 1-A (www.lions1a.com). Lionism started here in Chicago and District 1-A is the Mother District of Lionism. Lions Cubs International history is, history of District 1-A.
The International Association of Lions Clubs began as the dream of Chicago businessperson Melvin Jones. He believed that local business clubs should expand their horizons from purely professional concerns to the betterment of their communities and the world at large. Jones’ group, the Business Circle of Chicago, agreed. After contacting similar groups around the United States, an organizational meeting was held on June 7, 1917 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The new group took the name of one of the invited groups, the “Association of Lions Clubs,” and a national convention was held in Dallas, Texas, USA in October of that year. A constitution, by-laws, objects and code of ethics were approved.
In 1925, Helen Keller addressed the Lions international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, USA. She challenged Lions to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” From this time, Lions clubs have been actively involved in service to the blind and visually impaired. Broadening its international role, Lions Clubs International helped the United Nations form the Non-Governmental Organizations sections in 1945 and continues to hold consultative status with the U.N. In 1990, Lions launched its most aggressive sight preservation effort, ‘Sight First’. The US$143.5 million program strives to rid the world of preventable and reversible blindness by supporting desperately needed health care services. In addition to sight programs, Lions Clubs International is committed to providing services for youth. Lions clubs also work to improve the environment, build homes for the disabled, support diabetes education, conduct hearing programs and, through their foundation, provide disaster relief around the world. Lions Clubs International has grown to include 1.4 million men and women in 46,000 clubs located in 193 countries and geographic areas.
This association received a major international publicity boost with the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1933 and 1934. Visitors from every continent learned about Lions from the members staffing a booth in the Social Science Division at the fair. “We Serve” became the association’s official motto at the International Convention in New York City in 1954, exactly 50 years ago.
The first Indian Lions Club in the United States, Broadview Kala Sampath Lions Club was chartered on April 3, 1996. Lions Clubs objects are:
For more information, please visit: http://www.lionsclubs.org/
James: One of your strong points is developing leaders. In what way are you helping Lion’s clubs in promoting leadership skills? Any Seminars etc?
Austin: I have announced in my acceptance speech that I am going to start a Lions Open University. It will train lions in our district how to be a good community leader with several courses on leadership, conducting meetings, conflict management, developing projects, delivering speeches and how to increase membership in local clubs. I already tried this under my leadership and we just had 12 graduates out of this program. There will be various courses available to participants throughout the district. Those who attend six sessions and show their leadership will be announced as graduates of this Lions Open University. There will be a dean and faculty to see that this program will bring good results.
James: As a Governor of District 1-A, what are your efforts to entice the less affluent ones, especially some African Americans to enter into Lionism?
Austin: It is not an easy task to bring less affluent ones to lionism. They are afraid of the club dues, other expenses etc. First, every human being should have that great zeal in them to help others. If we do not believe in helping others, lions clubs are not for us. Money plays a big factor in joining lions clubs especially for those who are less fortunate and who need help to support their own families. There are many middle class service minded people who are part of lions family in our district. So far, in 97 years of our district history, we had three African American and one Filipino governor.
James: Is there any difference in serving in Lionism in India and in USA? If so, how is it different?
Austin: Other than, inside politics here and there, there is no difference in serving lionism in the US or in India. In India, people know you and you have recognition from your other activities, involvement, etc. Here you have to show them your leadership capabilities and climb leadership ladder. You have to deal with mostly Whites and some ethnic people from all spheres of life. One thing I learned from lions clubs is, Lions are very loving, caring, respectful and sharing people. Once they recognize your ability, they respect you just like one of their own. Less crab mentality here. Of course people play games, pull your legs, etc., which is universal. You can avoid these only if you sit in a sealed box by yourself and do nothing.
James: You are holding a full-time job for your livelihood, besides being a District Governor, President of MKCA, and being a member of quite a few organizations and as well as having a family, can you explain how you manage your time and give justice to them all?
Austin: I am not sure that I should answer this question! To tell you the truth and as I have expressed my opinion during my acceptance speech, the biggest losers of my activities are my family members. I spend less time with them and more time with my activities. However, I try my best to be a good husband to my one wife and a good father to my four kids. My wife Terry takes care of all the needs of our children and most of the housework. I do rest of the maintenance like shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing lawn, watering the plants, gardening, painting, etc. Sometimes I cook, wash the dishes, and do laundry, iron and fold clothes too.
At work, I am very punctual and on time; during breaks; whenever I get some time I make phone calls, check my e-mail, make copies, etc., etc. Once I reach home, it is the same routine and I have to run out to attend meetings, programs, seminars, workshops, banquets, etc. Of course I cannot give 100% to every organization I belong to, however I justify myself by my deep involvement, commitment, dedication, determination, delegation and discipline.
I wanted to give-up as president of MKCA; however, my friends forced me to be its first charter president. I will help anyone who gets elected as MKCA president, next year, or any year.
James: In our community, there are people who are supportive and those who are bit envious. What is your answer to those who say you are doing this to get a name and fame, even though, I personally know that there is “No honor without burden.”
Austin: I think for my bad luck, in my entire life I came across more jealous people than supportive ones. First, some of them cannot do anything for their community, but they cannot even see when others do it. There is always criticism, back stabbing, crabby mentality and negative publicity. I am so glad that these individuals are not the members of any lions clubs here in the US. Some are so selfish; they expect $50 worth when they spend $15 for anything. There is no service mentality at all. You may sense bitterness here in my answer. I cannot help it, it is the truth James, you know better than me.
James: Yes, I am aware of the crab mentality! How long you have been a lion member and what inspired you to join lions club initially?
Austin: I joined lionism in 1979 when I became the member of Mangalore Padil Lions Club. After 25 years, now I became the governor of a prestigious district in lionism. In Mangalore, I was deeply involved in literary, leadership, stage, cultural and community activities. There was a pride amongst the members of Lions, Rotarians, Jaycees, etc., in Mangalore. In addition, there was an exposure to be with various community people in these organizations. When I was working as a Medical Representative, I used to meet several doctors from Hassan to Kasargod. I used to meet number of doctors who were lions. Therefore, one day I thought of joining this prestigious group of community service minded leaders. My friend Arthur D’Souza encouraged me to join this group. Late J. B. Rasquinha, Arthur Rasquinha, etc., were also the members of this club. I started my leadership from scratch and now I thought to explore myself in my community at large.
James: Is there any difference in leading Mangalorean organization and an American organization?
Austin: There is a big difference in leading Mangalorean/Indian organization and American/International organization. Some times, it is like day and night. There is more discipline, cooperation, commitment and fewer crabs! They listen and act accordingly. I have earned respect from these Lions clubs leaders whereas in our organizations otherwise I would not have been elected by them as their leader to lead this district. Some people in our Indian community think that they are doing big a favor to me because I am the president. There is less cooperation and more tension. I am not getting married during these programs and it is not my wedding; we are doing something for our own community for heaven sake!
James: “Let go, Austin!” 98% of the members in lions club are Americans in your district. Being an Indian, have you been discriminated? If so, what is your intervention to overcome it?
Austin: What you mean ‘Americans’ James? I too have an American passport and I too an American. Oh! You mean Whites? Yes, you are absolutely right about that. Yes, there is no doubt about it. It happened in the beginning and did not give a damn to their sarcastic remarks. Even though I do not believe in, ‘barking dogs never bite,’ in this case it was true. They just barked for a while and never came forward to bite me! It was a very small group of oldies.
James: What are your plans after the Governorship year gets completed? Knowing you, you are not going to sit quiet!
Austin: James, “Same Thing” – what I was doing so far will continue. As a past district governor, I will be working to build our Mother District of Lionism. Taking part in State Lions Leadership and if it is possible, may be International Leadership. However, I am never going to sit idle there are lots of opportunities to grab in my basket.
James: What is your message to our mangalorean.com readers? Please make your message doable or realistic, not idealistic!
My sincere message to www.mangalorean.com readers is: Stand on your own feet; do not lean on others. You never know when they are going to leave you without giving you any notice. Do not be a selfish person. Spare some time, wealth and energy to uplift your community people, those who are in need. Even if you spend one penny out of your dollar, you are not going to disappear from this universe. Instead, you will be making one soul happier in this world. Do not waste your energy by listening to crabby people, ignore them. They do not know what they are saying in the first place. Come out of the box and look around this world; bring unity in diversity. Nothing is impossible in this world. Take one-step at a time and you will be surprised – you will be running marathon very soon. I never had any godfathers to push me over the ladder in my entire life. If I did something, you can do it too. Give yourself respect and challenge, ignore negativity and concentrate on positive thinking. Do not go for a name or fame. It will follow you automatically. Join some charitable organization, be a volunteer and do something for your community around you. Stop repeating these dirty words – “I have no time!”
James: Any concluding thoughts?
Austin: “Make some time and learn to live for others; do not be selfish human being by spending time and money just for you, your wife, your kids, your TV and your internet.” It is not life, it is a jail! Teach your kids to be more community-oriented person. Remember, money is not everything in this world. The smile you see on a face when you help someone, will take you straight to heaven, Amen.
James: It has not been easy for you to triumph against unnecessary odds. The odds have certainly made you stronger. No one obtains any name or fame on a silver platter. Be happy, that you have earned it, worked for it, and you deserve it, by getting “ring around the collar!”
For those of you, who are interested in knowing more about Austin, Please click to view his detailed bio data.
Mangalorean.com wishes Lion Austin Prabhu all the very best in his future endeavors!
Submitted by: Lion James Fernandes, USA
kevin fernandes, Balmatta, India:
Great Job Austin. I still remember your Dad Gaulbert Dsouza as we used to frequent his Tailor shop. He was a quiet person with a smile on his face. Norbert used to help him in the shop. He had gone on an all India cycle race. His cycle was with gears at that time. I used to see you rarely as a medical representative. I had also participated in the Thyagi Masoode rally at Nehru Maidan along with Octavia Albuquerque. She had worn a black saree for the occassion. Anyways a humble begining and a more humble achievement. God bless you and your family always. Happy Easter to you Austin.
Lion Suresh Kshatriya, India:
I am lion from Aurangabd Mahrashtra,India Dist 323 H2. I am coming to Chicago on 25/9/2012 for abut 30 days.I wish to meet you.will you please give time to me.Please send me your Tel.No so I can contact you when I will be at Chicago.
mjf. lion Allwyn Rasquinha, India:
hi lion AUSTIN D SOUZA PRABHU
WISH U ALL THE VERY BEST IN H FUTURE ENDEVORS.
FROM LION ALLWYN RASQUINHA NANTHOOR BOMBAY
Austin Prabhu, USA:
Thanks Diana, it is nice to hear such good words from my admirers! I am flattered and gave me more energy to do more in life. May God bless you and your family always.
Diana (Monteiro) Fernandes, USA:
I have known Austin Since my childhood days, growing up in M’lore. His talents and gifts are many: acting, singing, great sense of humour youth organizer, natural leadership, orator, to name a few. He played the role of Jesus in the Passion of Christ at Don Bosco Hall to packed audiences. It drew rave reviews. I remember with awe his dynamic leadership in organzing the catholic/ CHristians of our Diocese to protest peacefully during the TYAGI Bill about 30 some years ago. His booming voice and his fiery speech that day still resonates in my memory. He is M’lore’s brighest star and a dedicated, tenacious Son who has not forgotten his roots. Austin is a force to reckon with and stays comitted to the causes he deeply cares about. Back in his CYM days and in Bendore choir, Austin was a class act as an entertainer and comedian. We used to be tickled pink with his relentess humour. Keep up the good work Ausitn.