Shennoi Goembab hailed for inspiring work

| 22 August 2002 23:23 IST

Shennoi Goembab is not an inspiration to the people of Goa alone but the whole Konkani community spread all over India as well as in several parts of the world, due to his inspiring thoughts on self-identity, stated Msgr. Alexander D'Souza, president of the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy.

He was speaking as a chief guest at the National Recognition Day function organised by Goa Konkani Academy in Margao on 20 August, to commemorate the day of inclusion of Konkani in the eighth schedule of Constitution of India in 1992.

Msgr. D'Souza expressed satisfaction that the Goa government is celebrating the whole year as Osmitai Vors (Identity Year) on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Shennoi Goembab. Recalling Shennoi's work to rejuvenate Konkani identity among the Konkani people spread all over the world, he said Goembab was thus chosen as the Man of Millennium by Karnataka's Konkani people.

Uday Bhembre, president of the Goa Konkani Academy, on the occasion warned that Goans with self-respect will not tolerate any attempt to insult Goembab and foil the attempts to celebrate it as the Identity Year. He was obviously referring to such attempts being made from the Marathi protagonist camp, especially by painting Goembab as a person having disrespect towards the lower caste people.

Earlier, while participating in a seminar on Shennoi Goembab, Prof. Prakash Vazarikar also refuted these allegations, citing incidents in Goembab's life where he had expressed more confidence among the illiterate and downtrodden people than the upper caste educated Brahmins. In fact making everybody a scholar and educated was his slogan, he said.

Prof. Vazarikar also said that Goembab believed in dignity of labour while he had analysed how Goan identity is getting polluted with the influx of outsiders and the impact of their culture over Goan society. Though Marathi protagonist historians like A K Priolkar and Pandurang Pisurlekar had difference of opinion with Goembab over the language controversy, both of them had a great respect for him as a historian and a researcher, he added.

Prof. Prajal Sakhardande, while describing the historian Goembab, said that Goembab was one of the first historians who dug out the pre-Portuguese history of several dynasties of thousands of years by studying the inscripts available in this regard and also by gathering information from among the people. "How can be such a person be a pseudo historian", he asked.

He made a special mention of Goembab's extensive writing on Abbe de Faria while also stating that his three lectures on the settlement of Goans outside Goa and abroad is perhaps a master piece and the most studied document available of those days in the early 20th century.

While narrating incidents of his life depicting the values like self-respect, sincerity and hard work Goembab practised throughout his life, Shantaram Varde Valulikar - his grandson and a writer - said Goembab also did not believe in religious rituals even in those days. "In fact he was cremated without any rituals as per his wish", he disclosed.

Prof. Harishchandra Nagavekar, who presided over the seminar, said it was unfortunate that Goembab was disrespected in the name of his caste or religion when he was much above these complexes. Shennoi Goembab initiated a cultural revolution in Goan society and his work is the most remarkable and historical contribution to the Konkani society, he said, in his concluding remarks.

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