20 Apr 2015 11:24pm IST
MARGAO: Journalist, former Mayor and writer and one of Margao’s most loved intellectuals, Valmiki Faleiro released his book ‘Soaring Spirits’ in Margao on Saturday. Herald spoke to him exclusively on the sidelines of the function, where the author himself was not on stage allowing his book to do all the talking
Herald: Why did you think of documenting so much on the city Margao?
Valmiki Faleiro: If you read the book, Margao is a very accomplished city and has so much of history from the Saraswat community here, to Christianity coming to Margao, a capital village of Goa before becoming a commercial city. From the village of Mathgram to Margao, so much has changed over so many years. The houses the architecture and the Church itself (the Holy Spirit Church) has a story to tell. This book is for posterity, for people and generations to know more about Margao.
Herald: You’ve been a journalist, a land developer, a Mayor of the city, a politician and now since 2010 a writer?
VF: Each one was by accident I must say. I got involved with the Herald’s then editor Rajan Narayanan and got into journalism and then got associated with the West Coast Times. It so happened that I got into restoring my ancestral home and my own property and turned out to be a land developer myself. I then crossed paths with the then sitting MLA in 1984, Babu Naik and was the election agent to the rival candidate Uday Bhembre which took me into municipal politics and I became a mayor of the city. Besides land development, today I fight cases against the government for illegal encroachments and against unjustified land acquisition; and since 2010 when I first published Patriotism in Action, I have been a writer. I am a rolling stone that’s gathered a little moss. One thing led to another basically.
Herald: How long did you take to document a book like this?
I started in 1998 when I got my first desktop. I would document a little here and there. I collected info, typed it out, researched as people gave me info. And all these 15-16 years I kept learning the history of this city. A few months back, I felt a little bad that the Holy Spirit Church has never had anything documented nicely for its centenary celebrations and when it completed 400 years, there was nothing released on the Church. So on completion of 450 years, I said, I will give the church at least something as a mid-centenary celebration. That’s when I wrote Soaring Spirits. The book talks a lot about the church and the contribution of all the parish priests who came to the Church and served the people.
Herald: What are your thoughts of Mathgram, now Margao and its many problems today?
Moksha in Hinduism is freedom from death and the rebirth cycle. Similarly, there’s ‘death’ and ‘life after death’ in Christianity. Both come out of good deeds. Margao has changed tremendously and is yet to attain Moksha. These are excerpts from my book on page 116. Margao has undergone changes and will continue. Nobody knows when this development and problems will stop. Till then we will continue to live and play our roles in this city.