Five Goenkars bag Padma awards

| 29 January 2002 23:32 IST

Goans here are overwhelmed as five of their Goenkars, including four women, have been honoured with Padma awards this year.

Former Padma Bhushan awardee and leading Indian classical singer Kishori Amonkar has been now honoured with Padma Vibhushan while Shobha Gurtu, known as the Queen of Thumri, has been awarded the Padma Bhushan.

Prema Purav, being awarded Padmashree, is based in Mumbai now but was born and brought up in Goa. Another Padmashree Adv Norma Alvares, who was brought up in Mumbai, is now settled in Goa, involving herself in environmental activities.

Mario Miranda, another Padmashree, is a cartoonist of international fame. After building his career in Mumbai, he has also come back to his roots, settling down in his picturesque Loutolim village in South Goa.

"I am feeling proud of all of them", states BJP chief minister Manohar Parrikar. He is happy that the centre accepted his recommendation for Miranda while Maharashtra and central government recommended other Goans.

"Goa is just a pimple on the face of India", former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said, while declining to liberate then Portuguese Goa soon after India got independence. Though the tiny tourist state finally got liberated in 1961, its talent got migrated outside, especially in Mumbai, to build their career.

Mogubai Kurdikar, disciple of Alladia Khansaheb of Kirana gharana, brought her daughter Kishori up in Mumbai and reached the heights in the field of Indian classical music, but did not forget Goa.

In fact when her little Kurdi village went under waters of Selaulim dam in Sanguem taluka in deep south, Mogubai took initiative to re-establish the temple of her kuldaivat Rawalnath on the rehabilitated hillock of Vadem. Since then, even Kishoritai follows her mother’s legacy and performs at the temple every year during the village feast.

"It is a coincidence and a great honour that Kishoritai is awarded with Padma Vibhushan when she is inaugurating the first ever All India Konkani Sangeet Sammelan on 9 February", states Saish Panondikar, one of the organisers. Amonkar, on the other hand, is planning to set up a ‘Gurukul’ of Indian classical music in Goa, with Guru-Shishya tradition.

While Thumri queen Shobha Gurtu is also settled in Mumbai, her mother and equally a great singer Menakabai Shirodkar, presently staying in old age home in Ponda, was also honoured at the prestigious Girijabai Kelkar Smruti Sangeet Sammelan last month here.

There is another Goan Mumbaikar – Prema Purav, who spent almost 20 years of her life in Tendulkar family in a remotest place of Khodiem in Sattari taluka, without even having opportunity to go to school. Jumping into Goa’s liberation movement, she came in contact with her husband and communist trade union leader Com. Narendra Purav. Her work in Annapurna Mahila Mandal is being honoured today with Padmashree award.

"It is a nice feeling that your work is being appreciated with such a prestigious award", quipped famous cartoonist Mario Miranda. Settled down in Goa three years ago, he now travels all over the world and comes back to his peaceful green village Loutolim.

But more overwhelmed with the award is ‘green lawyer’ Norma Alvares, wife of environmentalist Dr Claude Alvares, for her valuable contribution as animal rights activist. Since 1990, she has filed at least 85 PILs to save Goa from environmental destruction at the hands of politicians, bureaucrats and all-powerful rich business lobby.

"I am more delighted because it is an honour to all those who work and even fight with the establishment to set the policy decisions right. It means the state has recognised our identity and the kind of work we do to build the nation in a right direction", states Adv Alvares, who is otherwise known here as the anti-government lawyer.

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