Prabhakar Tendulkar -
A Selfless and Dedicated Fighter of Konkani
● Tomazinho Cardozo
After the Liberation of Goa, Goans had to face many serious challenges. The two most important of all the challenges were the threat of merger of Goa into Maharashtra and that of making Marathi the Official Language of Goa. Goans who desired to preserve the Goan identity and to make Konkani the Official Language of Goa had to put up a stiff fight. Many lives were lost. The historic Opinion Poll and the agitation to make Konkani the Official Language of Goa was fought and won. There were some Goans who fought against the merger of Goa into Maharashtra and for making Konkani the Official Language of Goa silently. One such personality is Shri. Prabhakar Tendulkar from Mapusa.
Tomorrow, the 4th June Shri. Tendulkar completes 75 years of his life. Dalgado Konknni Akademi, Goa and Omor Prokaxon, Candolim have jointly organized a function to felicitate this great, selfless and silent fighter of Konkani. The function will be held at the Goa Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hall, near Azad Moidan, Panaji at 5.00 p.m. We request all lovers of Konkani to attend the felicitation function.
Prabhakar Tendulkar’s contribution to Konkani language, particularly to Konkani in Roman script, is immense. Not only after the Liberation of Goa but his efforts for the promotion of Konkani in Roman script dates back to Portuguese regime. Way back in 1954, when Marathi newspapers from Maharashtra started to come to Goa, his father started a weekly “A Vanguarda” in Portuguese & Konkani in Roman script. Mr. Prabhakar Tendulkar edited the Konkani Section of “A Vanguarda”. He edited this Konkani Section of “A Vanguarda” for a long period from 1954 to 1964. During this period he gave ample opportunities to the young writers of Konkani in Roman script to develop their literary talents.
He started a independent weekly “ Goykar” in Konkani in Roman script in 1979. The aim of “Goykar” was to achieve separate statehood for Goa and to make Konkani as the Official Language of Goa. Prabhakar Tendulkar, through “Goykar” was responsible to create a lot of awareness among Goan masses particularly among the Konkani readers in Roman script.
In order to unite all Konkani writers in Roman script and to provide them a common platform he established a literary association “Konknni Kendr” (Goem) in 1979. Through Konknni Kendr, he encouraged Konkani writers in Roman script by organizing various literary competitions and by giving literary awards for their outstanding literary works.
He was in the forefront during the Opinion Poll in 1967 and in the agitation for the recognition of Konkani as the State’s Official language in 1987. Due to his commitment to Konkani, he was appointed as the President of Mapusa branch of Konknni Porjecho Avaz, which spearheaded the movement of making Konkani the Official Language of Goa.
He was the founder Treasurer of Dalgado Konknni Akademi, which was established in 1989 in order to fight the injustice meted to Konkani in Roman script. He still continues to be an active member of Dalgado Konknni Akademi.
Till date, he has published 10 books in Konkani in Roman script. His works includes Essays, Short stories, Novels, Poems, Tiatrs, etc. Some of his books are:- Rangmachi, Gulab, Tin Tiatr, Sat Prosn, Kotha Ghons, Oso ho Sonvsar, Jinnecho Rong, etc. His literary works have always highlighted the burning social problems existing in our society.
In order to promote publication of Konkani books, he set up his own printing press - Dalesh Printers, Mapusa. It was a small printing press but its contribution to Konkani language particularly in Roman script was huge. He served the Konkani language by helping hundreds of young writers to publish their Konkani books. He also transliterated Roman script Konkani books into Devnagiri script and published them in the book form so that literature in Roman script is taken to the readers of Konkani in Devanagiri script.
His contribution to the cause of Konkani for almost five and half decades has made Prabhakar Tendulkar synonymous with Konkani in Roman script. He has created a unique place for himself among the writers and readers and protagonists of Konkani in Roman script in particular and Konkani lovers in general.
Due to his valuable contribution to Konkani language, he has been felicitated by numerous cultural, literary and social organizations. He is also the recipient of the prestigious “Fr. Antonio Pereira Puroskar” of Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, Porvorim. Dalgado Konknni Academy has also honoured him by conferring on him the ‘Dalgado Puroskar’ for his lifetime contribution to Konkani Language. We wish him happiness and a long life to serve the cause of Konkani and Goa.
N.B. This article is published on Gomantak Times dated 3rd June 2009