Saturday, February 14, 2009


On 20th July 1969 when US astronaut Niel Armstrong set foot on the moon it
was a giant leap for mankind.

Thirty nine years later for the citizens of Margao the commercial and
cultural center of Salcete and South Goa district the inauguration at the
hands of Secretary (Culture) Government of India Mr Abhijit Sengupta (in the
absence of the Union Minister for Culture Ms Ambika Soni the Chief Guest of
the day ) of the newly constructed 20 crore Ravindra Bhavan Opp Swimming pool
at Fatorda with a 1150 seater ac auditorium, today 20th July at exactly 4.20
p.m. at a well organised function turned out to be a red letter day.

The construction began in 2002 according to Director of Culture Mr Prasad
Loliyekar who spoke to this writer and the entire job was entrusted to the PWD
Govt of Goa.

This Bhavan the third of its kind in the State (others are the Ravindra Bhavan
at Curchorem and the Raajiv Gandhi kala Kendra at Ponda under the Department of
Art and Culture ) boasts of the first 1150 seater AC auditorium in the whole of

Mr Sengupta the Chief Guest of the function stated that the Union Minister Ms
Soni could not come due to sudden developments in New Delhi (apparently
referring to the trust vote on 22nd July 2008 of the UPA government over the
nuclear deal) He stated that he was impressed by the cultural presentation (
the lamp dance was applauded by the audience ) the size of the stage and ensured
that as per the wishes of the Union Minister Ms Soni whatever support his
ministry could extend to the Department of Cuture in Goa.

Speaking at the function the CM Mr Digamber Kamat told the gathering that his
first demand to the then CM and present South Goa MP Mr Francisco Sardinha was
to give him the portfolio of Art & Culture and not Power. It was his ambition
to have a state of art auditorium for Margao the cultural centre of Salcete and
South Goa as the people had to go to the Kala Academy at Campal Panaji.

Today he claimed to have achieved this dream although it was delayed due to the
reasons of sound accoustics needed for the same. He complimented the architects
the PWD for fullfilling his ambition. He said that Margao had produced a
significant number of artistes and was proud to have named the indoor auditorium
in the name of late Joao Agostinho Fernandes known as "Pai tiatrist"

He castigated indirectly a section of the people under the banner of a local
outfit who were agitating over the ODP 2011 for Margao by saying their protest
was akin to a mother putting a black mark on her child to ward off evil. For
while the Margaoites were celebrating the birth of the Ravindra Bhavan there
were others putting a damper on these celebrations. He re-affirmed that his
Government would always adhere to the wishes of the public and wherever there
were lapses he was amenable to correction.

A visibly upset CM further said he was proud that all the artistes who have
performed were Goan artists ( apparently to remove the blot on his image as a "
saviour of migrants ") .

He said that the Department of Culture was the first to have been awarded the
ISO mark a unique distinction for a government Department in the whole country.
Yet another achievement he stated was that Goa was the first State in the
country to come out with a cultural policy. He stated that while in New Delhi
the Union Minister Ms Ambika Soni had complimented his efforts and recommended
to other states to ameliorate this policy in their respective State.

For the Goans and Konkani 'tiatr mogis' there is yet another reason to
rejoice. Following the vociferous demand by the Konkani 'tiatr mogis'
and pro Romi lipi activists a befitting tribute has been paid to a famed Konkani
"tiatrist" playwright of yesteryears who earned the sobriquet Pai
Tiatrist for the 1150 seater AC indoor auditorium has been named after late
Joao Agostinho Fernandes who hails from a small dwelling H No: 306 at Modsai
Borda (near the residence of late Mr Chris Perry) now in the Fatorda Assembly

Chief Minister Mr Digamber Kamat needs to be applauded for keeping up his
promise on this issue.

It may be noted that well in the 19th century entertainment in Konkani was
mainly in the form of zagors and khells. But its cheap and vulgar
form of entertainment did not appeal to the high browed and well meaning
citizens, and was often a subject of ridicule by others. It was left to one
Lucacinho Ribeiro from Bombay (now Mumbai) an ex employee of an Italian Opera
troupe to form the Goa Portuguese Dramatic Company and stage for the
first time a Konkani tiatr "Italian Bhurgo" at the New Alfred Theatre Bombay
(Mumbai) on 17th April 1892 Easter Sunday. It was staged in the original format
of seven acts ( four pre and three post interval) Later when Lucacinho parted
ways with other of his colleagues one of whom was late Joao Agostinho Fernandes
and disbanded his Company to form a new one Ribeiro and Cruz Company which eventually paled into oblivion a la sudden death it was left to late Joao
Agostinho Fernandes also from Mumbai who took up cudgels to lead the troupe.

Joao Agostinho Fernandes Born on 21.12.1871 wrote his own script (unlike others
who merely translated works of other operas ) and staged original plays
following the new format of seven acts with around 18 songs (now four acts and
12 side songs as of now ) Some of the plays "Belle de Cavel or Sundori
Cavelchi" being the first staged in 1895 thereafter Batkara de Panzare
Part I staged in 1904.

His first wife Regina Fernandes became the first women female actress to adorn
the Konkani tiatr stage in November, 1910 at a time when even women in the
Marathi drama stage shied away owing to social stigma . Later his second wife
Luiza Maria Colaco also performed on stage and later in 'Batkara de Panzare'
Part II. He formed the ˜Dom Carlos Dramatic Unity" and staged "Dotiche
Kestaum" in 1906, Vauraddi etc and is believed to have he written nearly 27
scripts of which 16 were staged .

One of the strong point that endeared him to tiatrist of yester years and to
this date is that Fernandes believed in good direction, quality of contents,
appropriate music, diction, rehearsals and apt roles for the characters in
tiatrs . Thus Konkani tiatrs were placed on a firm foundation and began earning
acceptabilty of the crowds that thronged to visit P T Bhangawdi in Mumbai. He
had even painstakingly published his works in book form for posterity. Tiatro
affeciandos have therefore rightly called him the “father of konkani tiatr”
He died on 28th August, 1947 after a brief illness and had nearly fifty years
of dedicated service to Konkani tiatr and leaving behind his children from both

The CM Mr Kamat presented momentos to Ms Ana Maria Quadros Fernandes the kin of
late Joao Agostinho Fernandes besides others who have helped set up the Bhavan
viz Mr Rego Consultant Mr Bhave Architect Marwin Fernandes.

Later the CM released the State Cultural Policy 2007 a document prepared by Dr
Nandakumar Kamat of the Goa University.

Mr Shantaram L Naik requested the people to treat the Ravindra Bhavan as their
own to maintain its cleanliness etc so that the institution could nurse the
talents of our children . He stated that during the visit to West Bengal he had
the opportunity to visit the modest home of Rabindranath Tagore and was
impressed with its maintainance which ensured that all the personal belongings
including the slippers of the great stalwart after whom the Bhavan has been
named is preseved.

Mr Prasad Loliyekar Director of the Department of Art and Culture also spoke on
the ocassion. The Chairperson of the Margao Municipal Council Mr Johnson
Fernandes appealed to the CM to provide a special concessional package for the
Konkani stage tiatrists as presently the rates have not been decided yet.

The rehearsal hall security hut entrance foyer 200 seater Conference hall
cafetaria landscapping and garden musical fountains based on wind instruments
administrative block has been part of the phase I inaugurated today..

The 2000 seater open air auditorium, museum, library, art, gallery, black box ,
mini conference room, the music and dance schools have to wait a litter longer
before they see the light of the day.

While the indoor stadium is known after Pai Tiatrist the open air auditorium
will be named after Laya Bhaskar Khaprumam Parvatkar

The opening programme was the National anthem followed by the welcome song a
Soliloquy programe a Hindi song Jadugar floral presentation lighting of the
traditional lamop

Ms Sharon, Felcy, Antony San will presented cantarams Monologues by Fatima de
Souza (in Konkani), Rajiv Hede (Marathi) Raghunath Sacordekar and Madhuri
Shetkar besides a Magic show by Vasant Sawant were other events of the day.
Quepemchim Kirna of Elvis Gomes presented a Mando folk dance. Mahila Mandal
avedem of Amelia Dias presented the kunbi folk dance Siddhi Vinayak Kala Sangh
(Suresh Gawade ) presented Samai folk dance Sai Gajanan Sanskrutik Manch
musical folk dance. Architect Mr Marwin Fernandes also sang in English a
thanksgiving song on the ocassion.

The dignitaries that were present were Rajya Sabha MP SMr Shantaram L Naik South
Goa MP Mr Francisco Srdinha Chairperson MMC Mr Johnson Fernandes ex MLA Mr
Subhash Shirodkar several Konkani tiatrists Mr Pundalik Naik Chairman Goa
Konkani Academy Justice (retd) Eurico da Silva Dr. Francisco Colaco eminent
cardiologist and others.

The other programme lined up for tonight is a music recital by Anup Jalota which
already had crowds lining up to witness the programme.

There are several other cultural programmes lined for the week beginining
tommorow but some prominent crowd pullers are expected on 22nd Roseferns tiatr
Maim Muzo Upkari hanv 25th Ghorabache Vantte Mario Menezes
On 27 “Awagha Rang Ekechi Zala by Ntyasampada Mumbai
On 29th Daiz a musical programme of old Konkani songs with comedy and mimicry by
Vandana Productions Borim by Agnel de Borim
On 31 tiatr Rong by Prince Jacob .
All these programmes are open to the members of the public.


a) Ravindra Bhavan will be an autonomous body.
b) the Speaker Goa Legislative Assembly Mr Pratapsing Raoji Rane did not attend
the function
c) the Secretary (Culture) and MP Mr Francisco Sardinha left abruptly
d) the portrait of late Joao Agostinho Fernandes bore the name of the painter
but not of "Pai tiatrist" this was brought to the notice of Vice Chairman Kala
Academy who promised to rectify the same.
e) the function on the stage started exactly at 4-20 p.m
f) Justice (retd) Mr Eurico Santana Da Silva in an off the cuff remark statecd
that the Ravindra Bhavan becoming a reality was unbelievable and was full praise
for the same.
g) the six years delay was attributed to the PWD taking care of the nitty gritty
to make the project a success.
h) the entire edifice of the Bhavan pales the Kala Academy into insignificance.
i) outside the venue was a huge pose of police to avert any untoward incident
j) there were many citizens about 150 from Fatorda Margao under the Citizens
Welfare Committee the newly formed NGO opposing the ODP 2011 Margao with black
bands their placards. They shouted slogans as the CM left the venue
k) the citizens were treated to a lavish treat in the cafetaria after the event.
l) the CM posed with the tiatrists and kin of Pai tiatrists for a photo round up
m) though the hall was reasonably packed with a lot of policemen in civil
clothes many prominent citizens were conspicuous by their absence
n) there were several migrants and Moslems leaders too present for the ocassion
o) the Ravindra Bhavan at night when lit up is indeed a cynosure of all eyes
p) when this writer asked the CM on what design the Bhavan was conceptualised he
pleaded ignorance and said that the PWD were given a free hand to decide.
o) several visitors and children were delighted with the several fountains
around the Bhavan.

from the Ravindra Bhavan end

+91 98221 58584 (24 HRS)

Jul 20, 2008

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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.