Reading Reginald: Between “Venice” and “Russia”

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

During a recent visit to the Central Library in Panjim, I stumbled upon an entry in the database titled “Theatr Neketr Fuddarachem” authored by “Reginaldo Fernandes”. Knowing that generally Reginald Fernandes used an anglicized version of his name in most of his romanses, I decided to make sure if it was the same Reginald that I was interested in. The book procured for me was a small, pocket-sized one with no more than 70 pages which had badly yellowed and had become brittle as well. This book was published from Bombay in 1936.

 

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Reading Reginald: Magic, Love, and ‘Dignidad’

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Reginald Fernandes was one of Konkani’s most proficient writers, having more than a hundred books to his credit, with his avid readers excitedly waiting for his next offering. Fernandes wrote romans, which can be translated as novels (or novelettes, if one is being pedantic). Although Fernandes, and the genre of Konkani writing to which he contributed immensely was and is very popular, the romans as well as Fernandes have not received the critical scholarly and literary appreciation, that they so rightfully deserves.

 

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Cantaram as Political dissent

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By KAUSTUBH NAIK

 

Earlier this month, Goa Government’s Department of Information and Publicity held a ‘Konkani Kantaram Utsav’, a cantaram singing competition in which the participants were asked to sing about the achievements of the current Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government. This competition attracted a lot of criticism, noticeably from the tiatr community, questioning the government’s intentions behind organizing such a competition. Cantaram competitions are usually held without any pre-decided themes and certainly not with a rule that prohibits participants from criticizing the government. On the contrary, one of the several requirements of a cantar and cantorist is that of political sharpness. Cantorists ranging from Conception-Nelson-Anthony (famously known as the Trio kings) and William de Curtorim in the past, to the current sensation Francis de Tuem, have been famous for their radical political positions. Cantaram carry a huge affective magnitude for the Goan Catholic communities and it has played a key role in influencing public opinion at various historical junctures in post-colonial Goa.  The concerned department, in its official press release, stated that “[s]ong and drama is one of the medium used to propagating various policies, programmes and the schemes of the Government [sic]”. While using traditional cultural practices to propagate government schemes is not unheard of, there is more to the said cantaram competition than meets the eye.

 

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