Mission Accomplished! Triumphal End of Roy Castelino’s Tenure as KKSA President

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Mission Accomplished! Triumphal End of Roy Castelino’s Tenure as KKSA President

Roy Castelino after accepting the post of the President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy (KKSA)- “He Came, He Saw, He Conquered” the hearts of Konkani speaking community, and also other communities by reaching Konkani Culture and Tradition to greater heights through various initiatives and projects, which were masterminded by him, and many of them implemented for the first time during his three-year tenure. But sadly, in less than 48 hours on Saturday 25 February 2017, this dedicated, committed and sincere “Son of the Konkani Soil” will end his prestigious tenure to the designated Post that he held for three years with pride and joy. I always call ‘Roy’ the Man of ‘Joy’! – because every time you see him or meet him, he is always filled with joy- being proud of all the work and achievements that he has accomplished being at the helm of KKSA. A job well done, Roybab!

Mangaluru: Recalling our younger days, We played together, we had fun together, we sat in the class together- and that was during our college days at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru when we both completed our BSc there. Later for few years, we lost touch since I immigrated to USA and my classmate went to Gulf. Three decades later we met again last year, we hugged and we were happy to see again and shared our college days memories and so on. This chum of mine, and also a distant family relative, is none other than Ronald S A Castelino, who is affectionately known as ‘ROY’, born to late Thomas and late Jessy Castelino, of Makale-Kulshekar here.

The reason why I want to call “Roy” the Man of “Joy”, because every time I see him or meet him, he is always filled with joy- being proud of all the work and achievements that he has accomplished being the President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, and no matter what few jealous and hate mongers had spewed out some hate venom on him, he just carried on with his presidential duties for the love of Konkani and successfully completed all the projects that he had chalked out. Even though currently we are living in a society where, when you do something good, people start hating you- but no matter what, Roy Castelino didn’t heed to any criticisms or allegations, instead kept on doing the great work that he was entrusted with.

During his three year tenure, Roy Castelino has accomplished many FIRST time achievements and to name them- Chair in Konkani at Mangaluru University, where he was able to get Rs 2 crore sanctioned by CM Siddaramaiah towards this project ((The Chair was established in the Mangalore University on 12 June 2015 after the State government granted Rs 2 crores in the annual budget 2014-15. It was a long pending demand of the Konkani speaking people in the city); MA in Konkani started at Mangaluru University, where currently 7 students are enrolled; Organized the mega three-day Konkani Cultural Extravaganza “Lokotsava 2017” which lasted from 9 am-9 pm on all the three days; Introduced Fellowship programmes for Konkani Speaking ST and SC (Siddi, Kulusva) communities; Published 75 Konkani books (25 books every year) written by 74 authors (one author had written two books); Published 14 books written by authors of different Konkani Communities; Organized Special Awareness Drive for students to take Konkani as optional language, where 370 schools were approached, of which 115 have opted;

– Had Special training for teachers in Konkani Langauge; Special incentives to teachers to teach, and for students to learn Konkani language; Started Konkani Club in nearly 50 Schools/colleges, to name a few- Rosario College, St Aloysius College, Milagres College, Besant Women’s College, Canara College, Padua College, among others; Conducted about 450 different Konkani programmes under the Academy, and also in association with co-sponsors; Brought to limelight a Konkani Marati Community in Gerusoppa-Honnavar, and encouraged them to reach Konkani to higher level; Organized cultural and literature event ‘;Sangama Sambrama’ 2015; Organized Art Camp for Konkani artists; Brought out a unique Konkani Calendar; Also brought out a special souvenir commemorating three years; Launched a Konkani Mobile Van for sale of various Konkani publications;

– Launched a full-fledged Konkani Library at the premises of KKSA-Mangaluru; Donated large number of Konkani books to Mangaluru University at Konaje, and Chair in Konkani- University College-Mangaluru; Also donated books to nearly 250 schools/colleges throughout DK and Udupi; Introduced Konkani in Wikipedia; Offered special scholarships to students doing MA in Konkani at Mangalore University; During Lokostava 2017 honored 40 (10 youth, 10 women and 10 Men) persons for their achievements in the Konkani field; Instrumental in getting Rs 2 crore sanctioned towards Chair in Konkani at MU through CM Siddaramaiah; Got postage concession from the postal department to mail the quarterly Konkani publication ‘Konkani Siri Sampade’; Also organized many Konkani cultural programmes out-of-state in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kasaragod, among others.

Looking into Roy Castelino’s bio-data, he had his early education at Sacred Heart Higher Primary School, Kulshekar, St. Aloysius High School and obtained his Bachelor Degree in Science from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore. He had Entrepreneurial learning right from the beginning. After passing out from college, on the look out for work and greener pastures, he moved to Muscat and worked there for about 3 years. The entrepreneur zeal in him could not hold him there for long when he returned in 1985 to Mangalore to establish himself in his hometown. A family acquaintance led him into civil / construction work in which he plunged in full gusto.

The initial days of civil work started with telecom cable ducting works right from Mangaluru to Karwar, Mangaluru to Sullia and in the City of Bangalore and Mangalore. It is with sheer hard work and confidence in himself he established a name in the industry and slowly moved into residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Today being in the industry for over two decades, has branched himself as being a very successful Builder, Promoter & Land Developer also, under the banner of “Roy Constructions” Most of the structures that have come up in Mangaluru are landmarks which stand a testimony to the excellent quality and workmanship. It would not be out of place to mention here a God fearing man ‘he is’ has today built many Churches and Chapels in Mangalore Diocese. Roy Castelino, happily married to Dianisia D’Silva aka “Denny”, is blessed with a daughter Radhika, who recently got married to Kevin Mendonca- a journo with Times of India-Mangaluru.

From being: President of RACHANA, Catholic Chamber of Commerce & Industry; President of Lions Club, Kulshekar; Trustee of Sandesha (Foundation For Culture and Education; President of Pragathi Co-op. Society, Kulshekar Mangalore; President of Konkani Prachar Sanchalan; Director of Kalaangann, The Konkani Heritage Centre; Executive Member of Mandd Sobhann, World’s Premiere Konkani Cultural Organisation; President- International Federation of Konkani Christian Association-Mangaluru; Co-Convener-Diocesan Political Wing; Treasurer-Jagotik Konknni Sanghottan(A Global Konkani Organization);

President of P T A, St. Agnes PU College; and three years ago being appointed as President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, his plans were to focus on Konkani education, which he believed was important to promote the language, its culture and literature.Roy also headed the Konkani Prachar Sanchalan, a Mangalore-based Non-Governmental Organisation, which promoted Konkani in schools. The NGO worked toward getting Konkani introduced in many primary schools and high schools in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. His hobbies include music, literature and travel; and involves himself actively in various community service.

When he took up the task as president of KSA, he said he would have the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy focus on three areas: Konkani education in schools, development of Konkani literature and development of Konkani culture. “Unless our children learn Konkani, they will not be able to produce good Konkani literature and develop our culture,” he said. Another priority is that the academy should have an inclusive character, especially since Konkani is a language spoken by a cross-section of people, with 41 communities speaking the language across three religions. He said, “Everyone should be given equal opportunity under one umbrella irrespective of their beliefs.” And while he ends his tenure this weekend, he proved that he materialized his promises and has done lots of development work for the growth of Konkani literature and culture.

Roy Castelino who is a builder by profession but for Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, and for growth of Konkani, he was the builder of the Konkani team. His contribution for the Konkani Language through Konkani Prachar Sanchalan and his efforts in introducing Konkani in Schools is tremendous and worth praising. I still remember Roy’s assurances that he made during his acceptance speech as president of KKSA, where he said, ” As president of the KSA, I will work for the total development of the Konkani Language. We need Litterateurs, poets, writers and most of all readers to promote Konkani. Through Konkani Prachar Sanchalan we need to promote Konkani in all the schools in the state”. And now I see that Roy along with a bevy of the energetic team have done a great job in promoting Konkani to reach to the highest peak, and brought glory to Konkani Culture and tradition.

A successful entrepreneur, a cultural activist, a promoter of language, a patron of arts, a motivator of social transformation, and above all, Roy Castelino has been a great community leader. He has been a great source of support to musicians, writers, theatre artists and cultural activists. He has established a “Research Grant” in memory of his dad, and also “The Best Konkani Teacher Award” in memory of his mom, which has been instituted by Maand Sobhann. Apart from this, through Maand Sobhann’s multifarious activities, Roy has worked incessantly for the preservation, promotion, and enrichment of Konkani language and culture; and to ensure the transmission of the Konkani heritage to future generation.

Whichever ‘Dialect’ you may speak and whichever ‘Script’ you may use, whichever “Region’ of the world you may be from, whichever ‘Religion’ or ‘ Caste’ you may belong to – Yes, it’s time now for every Konkani person to stand-up and be counted. Since Konkani has been included in the 8th schedule of the Constitution of India, we need to strengthen Konkani among our Children first. If we want to retain any language or culture we have to speak, write and practice. Shetty’s speak Tulu language, Kodavas speak Kannada and Malayalees speak Malyalee, but why are our Konkani people speaking Konkani in English. Let Konkani community give importance to Konkani language and take it to the next generation. And for that matter, during his 3-year tenure as KKSA president, Roy Castelino has tried all his efforts to raise Konkani language and culture to greater heights, and he feels proud of his 99% achievements, except that he tried but couldn’t succeed in getting Konkani introduced in PUC, and also was not able to find a suitable site to construct a Konkani Bhavan- which he hopes that the next incoming president of KKSA will follow up on these two issues, and get them done at the earliest.

While concluding, Roy Castelino has shared his message with the readers of Mangalorean.com, where he said, “First and foremost, we need to bring unity amongst us. There is no unity among litterateurs, artistes, musicians and so on. People should think that Konkani is not the language of Christians/Catholics-it is the language of many communities, including Hindus and Muslims. Without unity and understanding, the progress in the growth of Konkani language and culture will take a long time to prosper. Konkani is a very ancient language, which has a thousand year old history. It is also the mother tongue of three major religions namely Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Konkani is spoken by 41 communities from three religions in the country.”

“So Konkani is a language of both communal harmony and inter-community connection.It is a language of unity and diversity. Konkani speaking communities should be proud of their language which has rich cultural heritage and traditions, and should not ignore and neglect this beautiful language. For Konkani language to sustain, children have to develop an interest in reading Konkani books. We need to educate the children on the importance of Konkani right at the beginning, so that they can imbibe the language and be thorough with it. Let us all Read, write and speak Konkani as much as we can, and show our love and respect towards it. I am really overwhelmed that during my three years as president of KKSA been able to complete the projects that I promised, and to the satisfaction of Konkani Speaking communities”

“I would like to thank the Konkani community for their support and encouragement. Thanks also to CM Siddaramaiah for always believing in us and supporting us with a Rs 2 crore grant towards the Konkani Chair at MU. My sincere heartfelt thank to minister Ms Uma Shree for increasing the award money, for book award from Rs 5,000 to Rs 25,000, and for Honorary award from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. Finally, all I have to say is that we need to promote Konkani in schools/college in a war footing way, and see that Konkani doesn’t go extinct. Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart”.

Team Mangalorean would like to congratulate Roy Castelino for all his achievements during his tenure as president of KKSA.

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