Saturday, February 14, 2009

61st Death anniversary - Pai Tiatrist "Joao Agostinho Fernandes"

On his 61st death anniversary today 29/08/2008 tiatrists in Goa paid homage to
"Pai Tiatrist" late Joao Agostinho Fernandes at a brief one hours function held
at the Ravindra Bhavan - Pai Tiatrist - Joao Agostinho Fernandes A/c Indoor
Auditorium at 1300 hrs.

The function began with a small introductory speech by konkani playright and
Convenor of the days function Mr Wilson Mazarello paying tributes to the
legendary tiatrist revered by past and present tiatrists.

Floral tributes were jointly paid by the Rajya Sabha MP Mr Shantaram L Naik,
the Chief Guest on the ocassion and senior tiatrist hailing from Sanvordem Mr
Remmie Colaco by garlanding the portrait of Pai tiatrist at the entrance of
the A/c Indoor auditorium (the largest of its kind in Goa 1150 seats)

The Chief Minister of Goa Mr Digamber Kamat who could not grace the ocassion
owing to extensive Business of the House on the last date of the ongoing
monsoon session of the Goa Legislative Assembly deputed the Asst Director,
Directorate of Art & Culture Ashok V Parab to do the honours in paying tribute
to Pai Tiatrist by offering a floral tribute on his behalf.

Others who paid floral tributes were Dr Francisco Colaco an eminent
cardiologist (a neighbour of late Chris Perry and "Pai Tiatrist" in Modsai
Behind the Holy Spirit Church at Margao Goa ).

Following this brief tributes the motely but reasonably good gathering of forty
three tiatrists and other well meaning citizens, many of the tiatrists
expressed their thoughts on the works and times of Pai Tiatrist

Mr Wilson Mazarelo the Convenor of todays function described the unique
features that Late Agostinho stood for;

He stated that Pai tiatrist despite earning this distinction conferred upon him
never ever looked down on Lucacinho Ribeiro who he considered his guide and
mentor having staged the first tiatr on a Konkani tiatr “Italian Bhurgo " was
staged at the New Alfred Theatre Bombay (Mumbai ) on 17th April 1892 Easter
Sunday. He recollected that Pai tiatrist, was a strict disciplinarian. Pai
tiatrist condemned the earlier khell tiatrs zagors etc which were both
extempore and were a vulgar display of drunkenness etc which failed to attract
decent crowds.

He recollected the times when Pai tiatrist wept at the Cross Maidan in Mumbai
when he saw tiatrist indulging in slanderous and defamatory acts against their
co-tiatrists and prayed for the unity of tiatrists.

Mr Remmie Colaco who was given the place of honour ( the only living playwright
who had the opportunity to perform in tiatrs staged then by Pai Tiatrist) did
not speak on the ocassion due to his frail health but chose to convey the need
to foster unity amongst the tiatr fraternity.

Mr Mike Mehta (Adv) and konkani playwright saluted Pai tiatrist for he believed
that the stage was the platform provided by Pai Tiatrist for all the
playwrights to express themselves on societal issues. It was the stage which
gave one a forum for expression during the erstwhile Portuguese regime ---the
fora for fearless power of speech in action and song and therefore it was
incumbent upon the tiatrists to ameliorate the feelings of Pai tiatrist and
live up to his expectations.

Mr Shantaram L Naik Rajya Sabha MP speaking on the ocassion admitted that he
had only read of Pai tiatrist, and his works, but considering the fact that Pai
tiatrist had documented his works for posterity ( Incidentally most of his
works are lying in the Goa Konkani Academy taken from his family by the the
Chairman of Goa Konkani Academy without any remmuneration for the same ) Mr
Shantaram Naik expressed confidence that he would be able to work together with
the konkani playwrights and do whatever possible to provide them assistance at
the Central level.

Mr Prince Jacob pleaded for granting industry status to the tiatrs. This would
help them get facilities which are hitherto deprived. He pointed out that if
granted an industry status it would provide employment opportunities for the
youth of the state. He however expressed resentment over the fact that
financial assistance given by the Government for the promotion of tiatr works
in Konkani would not be beneficial if the same is in the official language
Konknni in devanagari script. He therefore pleaded for recognition of Romi
Lipi as the only viable alternative to maintaining unity among th Goans.

Mr. Prince also expressed the desire that the indoor auditorium coming up at
Kala Bhavan at Sancoale be named after Kid Boxer who hailed from Cortalim..

Mr Anil kumar another tiatrist did not approve of the MP's views to have the
tiatrs of Pai tiatrist be enacted de novo with changes to suit the present
times. Without mincing words Mr Kumar impressed upon the MP that re-mix should
never ever be accepted as this would destroy the esssence of the original plays
and preferred that the old tiatrs of Pai tiatrist be performed in its original
form. He also pleaded for recognition of Konkani in Romi lipi (script)

Others who spoke were Mr Premanand Lotlikar, Mr Conney M a musician turned

Mr Parab the Asst Director, Directorate of Art & Culture promised all
government support to improve upon the status of the tiatrists. At the
requests of the tiatrist he agreed to make the stadium available for all
tiatrist performance on 21st December, 2008 the 137th birth anniversary of Pai

Dr Francisco Colaco admitted that he while he took pride in always stating that
he was the neighbour of late Chris Perry he would now also take pride in being
the neighbour of Pai tiatrist. He spoke for his immense love for music but had
also expressed his desire to perform on stage, but then there were not many
takers for his idea. He however expressed his strong desire to perform on the
konkani stage as this was the true fora which permitted the Goenkarponn to be
seen in its vibrant form

Fr Pratap Naik Director TSKK Porvorim speaking on the ocassion, hoped to assist
Dr Colaco not only to perform on the konkani stage but also to help Dr Colaco
to script and direct his own konkani play which indeed would be a revolution in
the tiatr world which was otherwise in earlier years looked down by his

Mr Mario Menezes pleaded for unity among the tiatrists and was pleasantly
surprised to see the gathering of tiatrist despite the odd hour and the short

Ms Fatima expressed profound thanks to late Pai tiatrist for it was Pai
tiatrist who was the first person to introduce woman on Konkani stage ; his
first wife Regina and later his second wife Luiza Maria Colaco also performed
on stage at a time when even the Marathi theatre did not have a woman on the
stage. This she said gave her tremendous encouragement when she first set foot
on stage at the tender age of five years.

She thanked the CM of Goa Mr Digamber Kamat for keeping up to his promise to
name the Indoor auditorium after Pai Tiatrist.

The function ended with a vote of thanks by Prince Jacob

It may be recalled that Pai tiatrist was born on 21st December, 1871 and died
on 29th August, 1947 just over a month after our country attained Independence
at GT Hospital and was buried in Mahalaxmi . He resided in rented apartments
at Girgaum and was a parishioner of St Theresa’s Church Girgaum.

Meanwhile some veteran citizens visited the grave of Pai tiatrist at St Peters
Catholic Cemetry at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai and paid tributes at his memorial today
according to reports received by this writer from Girgaum Mumbai telephonically.

The Curtorim MLA and Santacruz MLA were requested to move a calling attention
motion or make a mention today during zero hours -- to

a)thank the government of Goa for naming the Ravindra Bhavan indoor stadium
after Pai tiatrist.
b)to request the Government of Goa to confer upon him the highest award for
his role in Konknni tiatrs by posthumously giving him an award.
c)to request Government of Goa should also preserve his humble house at Modsai
Margao Behind the Holy Spirit Institute to serve as a memorial for posterity
and to recognize the rich contribution of Konkani tiatr to the Goan community
world wide
d)The family of late Pai Tiatrist who live on humble earnings should be given
special pension or financial assistance to maintain the home and to preserve
his works
e)The Goa Konkani Academy should return the original scripts which lie in their
custody as no monetary assistance for the same was given to the family, by the
then President of Goa Konkani Academy Mr Uday L Bhembre.(Adv)

However until the time of writing, while the session is in progress it is not
known whether the motion would be put to the House as the Monsoon session of
the Goa Assembly was still seized with tremendous business remaining to be
conducted before the close of the session and passage of the Budget which has
to be passed today.

Meanwhile the RS MP Mr Shantaram Naik has expressed his desire to visit the
humble home of late Pai tiatrist tommorrow alongwith this writer at Modsai
Margao Goa and also that of late Chris Perry nearby to have a first hand
impression of his settings and family.

Photographs of the Ravindra Bhavan/Pai tiatrist/his family/and his tomb are
available with this writer on request.

from the Ravindra Bhavan "Pai Tiatrist auditorium" Margao/Secretariat

+91 98221 58584 (24 HRS)


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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.