Prof. Alban Castelino – Mangalorean Star
Professors are renowned for their absent-mindedness, aloofness and other-worldliness! Contrary to this impression, Prof. Alban Bernard Castelino, now an octogenarian is a versatile genius well known in Mangalore for his social, cultural and other amiable characteristics. He is an intellectualist, educationist, editor, literary writer, stage actor, play director, musician, choir-master and instrumentalist. All these talents and capabilities are harmoniously blended into one in the gentle personality of Prof. Alban Castelino, popularly called ‘Alban Maesthry’.
Alban Maesthry has tenderness of a family person, astuteness of a teacher, refinement of a musician, and the liveliness of an actor. Though educated during the British Raj, he is a champion of Konkani language & music and a good follower of Konkani culture.
The boy Alban was born on December 11, 1924 in “Kadri Village” of Mangalore, to the proud parents Late Shri Marcel and Late Smt Monica Magdalena Castelino. The devout couple was blessed with five children, one daughter and four sons, Alban being the eldest of them. The family Rosary, after the setting of the sun, was a daily feature with the Castelino family. Alban’s mother was gifted with a melodious voice and she used to lead the family in singing the devotional hymns during the Rosary. Alban was very much attracted to these hymns, which contributed to his musical talents in his later years in life.
Alban did his primary schooling at St. Sebastian’s Higher Elementary School, Bendur. His secondary and degree level studies were done at the prestigious St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, where he finished his B.Sc., degree in 1946 with a gold medal for the 1st rank in physics in the final exams of Madras University. He did his post-graduate studies in science at St. Xavier’s College, Bombay, and obtained his M.Sc., degree in 1950 with a distinction.
After a brilliant education, Alban Castelino chose the career of an educationist. He joined the teaching faculty of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore, where he served with distinction under various capacities till his retirement in 1980. Joining as a lecturer in Physics, he was promoted as a Reader, a Professor, and later as the Head of the Department. He also holds the distinction of being the first Director of the Konkanni Institute of St. Aloysius College, started during its centenary year. He was also the lecturer of “Konkanni Adhyayan Vibhag’ of St. Aloysius College. Mangalore.
• A Master in Science, Prof. Alban has contributed many articles on Science, topics of general interest, and short stories to ‘Raknno” weekly as well as to other Konkani periodicals.
• Prof. Alban was a member of the Raknno editorial board for many years.
• He has edited the book on Konkanni folklore “Vovio ani Verse, the first edition in Jar 1987, and its revised edition in August 1998.
• Prof. Alban was and still continues as the editor of the Konkanni News Bulletin “Vaishantik Sandesh” published by the society of Vincent De Paul for more than 25 years!
• He was also the editor of the half yearly magazine “Amar Konkani” published by the Konkanni Institute of St. Aloysius College from 1986 – 1994.
• Prof. Alban has given erudite talks on scientific topics and taken part in group discussions which were broadcast over “Akaashvani” Mangalore.
Lover of Music:
Music enchanted Alban from his childhood. Drawn into the charm of music by the sweet voice of his mother singing devotional hymns during the daily family Rosary, Alban joined the Bendur Church Choir at the age of 18. Observing Alban’s keen interest in music, the choir master Shri J.J. Rego taught him musical notations in ‘Sol-Fa’ system. The next Choir Master Shri. Gratian Pinto also helped Alban to improve his musical talents. Alban also learnt the singing of hymns and Masses in English from the venerable sacristan Shri. Jossy Vas. Rev. Msgr. Alexander F. D’Souza provided him with a “guide book” to practice on the church organ which eventually made him an expert organist during masses in the church. Prof. Alban is immensely grateful to all the above personalities whom he considers as his music ‘gurus”.
Prof. Alban was also an active member of the “Mangalore Philharmonic Choir” conducted by Late Shri V.J.P. Saldanha, and was also a member of the group of “Ambrosian Singers’ conducted by late Shri S.I.J. Moras.
Above all, his greatest service in the field of music was to the Bendur Church Choir. He was lts proud choirmaster for 25 years from 1972 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2002. A professor of science and a master of music!
Besides music, the multi-faceted personality of Prof. Alban was also attracted towards dramatics. As a young man he has acted in a number of Konkanni plays staged by the Catholic Action League, Bendur, and also by the Konkani Natak Sabha, Mangalore.
Later he took up the role of a director of the stage-plays. He has directed many religious plays written by Mr. Claud D’Souza, Bendur.
1. ‘Xipai Sant’ in November 1988
2. ‘Agnesachem Balidhan in November 1989
3. “Khursache Vatter” in 1997 & 2002 (Co-director with Dolla)
4. ‘Jezuchem Lhan Ful’ in Jan 1997.
He has been Director or Co-director for plays written by other authors:
1. Director of religious passion play “Jezu Nazaren” written by Jo. Sa. Alvares and staged in 1984 & 1985 on triple stage erected on open ground.
2. Co-Director of the religious passion play “Somiacho Pashanv’ written by M.P. D’Sa. (Co-Director with late J.B. Rasquinha and staged in April 1984).
3. Co-Director of “Konkanni Sanskritik Sanz” – a Konkanni song and dance cultural programme. (Co-Director with late V.J.P. Saldanha and staged in 1987).
4. Co-director of ‘Khatavin Khaliz” – a Konkanni song and dance drama written by V.J.P. Saldanha in 1981.
Social & Administrative Activities:
Though busy in cultural and editorial activities, Prof. Alban never hesitated to shoulder responsibilities and to fulfill them to the best of his abilities. Many Institutes have been the beneficiaries of his splendid service in different capacities:
• He has been a member and office bearer of “Catholic Action League”Bendur, during his youthful days.
• Member and Office bearer of St. Vincent De Paul society.
• Member of the Konkanni Natak Sabha since 1953, later he became a member of its Managing Committee; subsequently he became the treasurer and Vice-President of the Sabha!
Honours and Recognitions:
With an impressive record of service in various fields to the Konkanni world, he has been the fitting recipient of many honours
• Honoured by “Kalasampat”, Mangalore.
• Honoured by “Raknno” weekly during its golden jubilee function in 1988 and its Diamond Jubilee function in 1998.
• Honoured by “Catholic Action League”, Bendur in November 1988.
• Honoured by Mangalore Musical & Cultural Association at Gitanjali in November 1993.
• Honoured by “Maand Sobhann” in October 1991.
• Honoured by ‘Konkanni Natak Sabha”, Mangalore during its Golden Jubilee function in September 1993.
• Honured by “Catholic Sabha Bendur Unit” in January 1997.
• Honoured by “United Youngsters,Jeppu” during the 220th Wilfy Nite at Don Bosco Hall in November 2004.
• Honured by “Konkani Lekhokancho Ekvott,Karnataka”at Sandesha Hall in November 2004
In the month of April of this year 2004, Prof. Alban Castelino has celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his wedding.
Prof. Alban who has now gracefully stepped into the 8th decade of his life, still lives in his birth parish of Bendur, Mangalore. “Simple living and high thinking” seems to be the guiding principle of his life. Though his health has started failing, he takes great comfort from his loving wife Getrude Cecilia Castelino whom he married in April 1954, his daughter Mrs. Annette Pinto and his 3 sons Oscar, Noel and Denzil Castelino who all are well settled in life.
Prof. Alban Castelino’s message to the mangalorean.com readers:
“Improve your God-given talents and make use of them selflessly for the benefit of others; then results will follow In many folds”. His practical life as a Professor, singer, dramatist and a social worker also flashes another message: “Life is a lesson, learn it; life Is a song, sing it; life Is a drama enact it!”.
Long Live our dear Prof. Alban Castelino! Viva ‘Alban Maesthry’
Mangalorean.com wishes Prof. Alban Castelino all the very best and a happy retirement life.
Submitted by: Pramod Pinto
Austin E. Colaço, UK:
I read the profile of Professor Alban Castelino with great interest. It is amazing that I found it and recognised him instantly after nearly 59 years.
I studied at St. Aloysius College and started my university year in 1950/51. Alban was new to the college that year and was my first lecturer in Physics.
He was very nervous at first and we the students came to know that and gave him quite a lot of problems……me being the leader…..of which I am thoroughly ashamed!
If I remember correctly, Alban has some younger brothers as well whose names I do not remember but they were all born in Kadri, Managalore including myself. I was born in Beatty Gardens, Kadri opposite the Maidan where there was a night soil depot!!! Alban and his brothers were very good at tennis ball cricket and were members of the famous Bendur Catholic Cricket club. They were the ONLY team to beat the champions – the Kadri Cricket Club. Another famous name of the time was Harry Monteiro who was also a teacher at St. Aloysius High School.
I wonder whether Alban would remember me. If so I am on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Would love to hear from him.