Mr. Clifford D’Souza – Mangalorean Star

Mr Clifford D’Souza – Mangalorean Star

In the walk of life, we seldom get to see personalities who work silently for the betterment of the society, often funding from their own income. Mangalorean.com is proud to introduce one such personality – Aloysius Clifford Paul D’Souza, popularly known as Clifford D’Souza.

Clifford D’Souza is better known in Mangalore for his selfless services and care for the dumb orphan abandoned cats and dogs, through an organization which he founded 5 years ago with a few like-minded friends and relatives.

Clifford D’Souza was the last born out of three boys and three girls to Anthony John D’Souza and Mary Magdeline. He was born on 28th April, 1941 in Mangalore. His father was a customs clearing agent at old Bunder in Mangalore.

Mr D’Souza did his schooling in Rosario High School and he graduated with a B.A. degree from St. Aloysius College in the late 50’s. Soon after his graduation, he moved to Mumbai and worked for Larsen and Toubro for about 4 Years. He aspired to go and work in the Gulf following his two brothers Robert D’Souza (no more) and Henry D’Souza. Two of his sisters became nuns. The three sisters are Sr. Celina, Ms. Zeta (both no more) and the last one Sr. Flavian.

He married Irene Sequeira on 30th September, 1970. Irene gave birth to three children. Eldest one is Deepak who married Vidya. Deepak manages his father’s business. Divya works for a software group called Emphasis in Mangalore.

Second is Preethi, who is an interior designer. Youngest is Jeevan, who, apart from being a computer graphics expert has his own garment export business in Bangalore. Clifford D’Souza has built his own house in Bolar opposite Shadi Mahal called Nelville.

The old age of his father and the need to look after his business brought Clifford back to Mangalore. He soon took over his father’s business and ran it with much difficulty. Those days, the seasonal old Port was functional only eight months a year and he had to thrive on whatever he earned during the period with much difficulties.

The year 1975 was a promising one with new hopes for Mr D’Souza. The all weather New Mangalore Port was open to cargo and Mr D’Souza started his new firm, M/s Export Tradelink Agencies and eventually shifted his office to spacious premises in Punja Building, Lalbagh. Its main activities are Clearing and forwarding, Steamering agency, Chartering, Stevedoring and allied services in shipping. Today, around 80 people work under Mr. D’Souza in his flourishing business.

Clifford D’Souza founded and edited a Konkani weekly newspaper in the seventies called ‘Konas’. He used to touch social issues like blind beliefs and dowry system in his publication.

He has produced and directed Konkani plays like ‘Bhangar Monis’ and ‘Georgie Bhutel’.

He had a long term friendship with the noted Konkani writer and playwright Cha Fra D’Costa. However, when Cha Fra passed away, Mr. D’Souza was unaware about his death for quite some time. When he got the news, months had passed and Mr. D’Souza, feeling sad and guilty, approached Cha Fra’s wife Stella D’Costa and assured her that he would bear the expenses of publishing the articles, dramas and short stories of Cha Fra.

Initially, Stella refused to accept the offer but Mr D’Souza urged her and made her agree, telling her that unless he contributes to Cha Fra’s cause, he will feel guilty forever!

The works of Cha Fra were compiled by Stella D’Costa and were published in two volumes, spending a huge sum of money. Unfortunately, only 20,000 copies were sold out of the 90,000 published. Clifford D’Souza very well knew the fate of the books but he wanted to do something for the long term friendship he had with Cha Fra!

Mr D’Souza is at present, working out the possibilities of releasing the Audio CD of Cha Fra’s drama ‘Them Tho Ani Haanv’. The cassette is already given for digital conversion and very soon, he will review the quality of the recording and go ahead with the release of that drama, if he is satisfied with the results. Anything is possible, but nothing is finalized as of now, he says.

Clifford D’Souza was compassionate about animals from his childhood, especially domesticated ones like cats and dogs. As his business grew to a comfortable level, he started feeling a desire within him to do something for the orphan animals that are abandoned by the road sides or near garbage dumps, living miserably and dying miserably.

He started identifying week and ailing ones, especially those hit by some vehicle and left in pathetic condition by the roadsides. He took them home, gave them proper treatment and food, ensured himself that they are fit to survive on their own before leaving them into a safe zone. This went on for a year. This is not enough, some voice within him told him and he decided to go one step ahead. He discussed the matter with his family members and a few friends and decided to form a trust. They all agreed.

Thus, ‘Prem Chaaya’ came into existence in the year 2002. The trust was registered on 18th March, 2002 with six trustees. A temporary shelter was set-up at Clifford D’Souza’s residence in Bolar Township in Mangalore city. In this temporary shelter, many rescued animals were taken care of and here, about 40 dogs, 65 cats and over a hundred birds were living happily.

Clifford D’Souza offered a part of his office premises in Lalbagh, to Prem Chaaya, where people could contact and bring the neglected animals. Being a man of perfection, he managed Prem Chaaya in such a remarkable way that Prem Chaaya has become one of the Premier Animal Care Trust in India today, meeting stringent maintenance standards, which could be seen only in a few developed countries!

Shortage of space at the Bolar shelter and an increasing number of animals seeking refuge in Prem Chaaya, compelled the trustees to acquire one acre land in Kolambe near Bajpe Airport and gradually, structures came up and modern facilities were installed there, following strict maintenance standards. All the animals were shifted to Kolambe shelter by October 2005.

Prem Chaaya means shade of love. Today, in this shade of love, over 100 abandoned cats and 85 dogs have found their home. A home to call their own, in Prem Chaaya! Clifford D’Souza stays in Kolambe shelter and personally attends to the inmates there, feeding them, giving them medicines and bathing them.

A state of the art veterinary clinic for cats and dogs is functional near Urva Mari Gudi since February 2006. A fully equipped operation theater has been set up in Kolambe shelter. Daily, at least 10 sterilization operations are conducted for cats and dogs.

Boarding facility for dogs has been introduced at Kolambe shelter since its inception. A nominal fee is charged on a daily basis and very good care is taken to ensure that the animals are healthy and lively. Some of the boarders feel so good here that they refuse to go back home when their owners come back to claim them!

A fully equipped animal hospital is proposed to be set up within Mangalore city with in-patient admittance, blood test, x-ray and other essential facilities.

Let’s see what Mr D’Souza has to say about Prem Chaaya.

Dr. Sanjay: I must say you have done magic to these poor creatures!
Mr. D’Souza: Yes. They are happy here. But that’s not enough. Our aim will be to educate each and every individual to take proper care of their pets or stray dogs and cats. There is an alarming increase in the number of animals left near market places or by the road side.

People should not think that Prem Chaaya is there and thus, they can forget about animal care! We are here to take part of the responsibility, incase people don’t know how and where to take their animal for sterilization, or for vaccination. There are number of veterinary clinics in Mangalore where they can contact and get their pets treated. Our role is only when any animal is left alone and is subject to perils on the roads.

Dr Sanjay: What about Raju?
Mr D’Souza: Raju, a cross between a Labrador and golden retriever is a very docile chap and when I brought him here he had injury in the leg, leading to sepsis. His owner near Capitanio church abandoned him on the streets. He was moaning in agony and pain, and I brought him here, gave him treatment and food, and a little love. It has worked wonders on him and Raju has become close to my heart!

Dr Sanjay: And Rocky. Is it true, that Rocky was in a terrible state when he was brought to Premchaaya?
Mr D’Souza: Yes. Terrible is not the word! He was almost on the verge of death when he was picked from his owners. Skin disease had eaten up all the hair on his body, and smelly oozy skin was so repulsive, that nobody would have tolerated and given him shelter. Premchaaya is a bit different from other such animal care trusts. We all actively involve ourselves in looking after the animals. Personal attention is given to ailing animals, and they are normally isolated from other healthy ones till they recover.

Rocky was put on antibiotics and his wounds started healing very fast. Within 6months, he got his hair back, and nutritious food and peaceful environment has seen him get back to normal. You can see for yourself, how happy he is, here!

Dr Sanjay: What is your message to fellow Mangaloreans?
Mr D’Souza: Live and let live. If you own a dog or a cat, treat them properly. They are also living creatures like humans. They can’t express their problems in words.
If you can’t look after them properly, bring them to us. We will look after them.

Remember, this is not an easy job. It requires true compassion for animals. If each Mangalorean understands the importance of treating animals with true compassion, there will not be a need for animal care organizations at all! Look at the rampage of rabid dogs of late. Look at the outrage of dogs in Bangalore as reported recently. They could be more ferocious than wild animals if they are treated badly!

Vaccinate them properly and you will all be happy that nobody will be in danger in spite of being bitten by a dog, out of rage or out of affection! The most important thing is, get the dogs and cats sterilized. This will avoid unwanted litter and dumping of strays in public places.

Dr Sanjay: What about your family?
Mr D’Souza: That is a broad question! If you ask me about my wife and my children, they are all happily settled according to their own wishes. I don’t believe in forcing my view on them. In fact, I get good support from them in this cause. They all have worked with me to look after the poor helpless creatures at my Bolar home when we had the temporary shelter for Prem Chaaya there.

Mr. D’Souza has played the role of a good son to his father by helping him look after his business, suppressing his own ambition to work in the Gulf countries, no matter the difficulties he has faced in his early years. He has played the role of perfect husband to his wife and a good father to his three children by providing them all the comforts and security in life. He has done good work also and has promoted journalism and theater to the best of his abilities. He has not only helped talented students who aspired to go for higher studies but has also helped a couple of his own employees to study computer applications with his financial assistance, and they have found good job placements!

Clifford D’Souza’s dedication to animal care is incomparable. He has selflessly dedicated his entire life for the welfare of animals at an age when others would’ve taken retirement and relaxed with a paperback or a newspaper in an easy chair! It takes a lot of determination and inner strength to venture into such activities like Prem Chaaya, the brain child of Clifford D’Souza, which he has brought to international standard today!

Team Mangalorean salutes Mr. D’Souza and wishes all the very best in his future endeavors!

Click here to read the featured article on Prem Chaaya.

Submitted by: Dr.Sanjay Nayak, Sujeer

Dr. Sanjay Nayak is a practicing dentist near Urva Mari Gudi. He and his wife Reshma became advisors to Prem Chaaya after seeing Clifford D’Souza’s dedication and love for animals.

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Comments:

MADHAV KAMATH, India:
THANK YOU CLIFFORD SIR FOR YOUR KIND HEART

Ankita Chatterjee, India:
I’m also a big animal lover, living in mangalore.I would be very glad if i could ever be of any assistance towards your non-profit organisation.

samson, India:
very happy to hear sir tht u have very big heart for dogs even i loved it..am ready own a dog to home