15 Jan 2022  |   05:19am IST

An era ends

The demise of Dr Maria Aurora Couto yesterday generated much comment online and several members of the cultural community expressed their grief at the passing of a true Goan
An era ends



Mrs. Couto was a gem of a human being. Intellect, wisdom and elegance made her different. Her Daughter’s Story travelled far and wide this giving a glimpse of Goa’s social history and doing away with the wrong notions about Goa and Goans. She never minced words when she spoke against the ills in our country. Her departure is a great loss to humanity.

- Damodar Mauzo,

Writer and Jnanpith awardee

Maria Aurora Couto was an important voice in Indian writing in English. She became a dear friend after she released my debut fiction novella “Tales from the Attic” at the Kala Academy in 2007. I had relocated to my family home in Goa on the completion of my Senior Fulbright tenure in the US. The book was self published. I was still setting the pages when I contacted her in Delhi and sent her an MS. She read the copy carefylly and said she loved it. Later when her husband Alban was in a south Goa hospital, she often dropped by at home just across the river Sal. I remember her coaxing me to join politics and saying we need strong voices and clean governance. I was appalled. “I am a writer not a politician”. I retorted. “You don’t know it” you can bring change, “ she said quietly. The world of Goan writing in English was enriched by her works, contribution and insights. Power to the work that she has done while her soul rests in peace!

- Savia Veigas,

Writer and academic

Maria Aurora Couto: The Daughter of Goa

Maria Aurora Figueiredo Couto hailed from the Figueiredo family in Loutolim, was married to Albano Couto, IAS from Carona, Aldona. Her great grandmother was Marianinha Da Costa Alvares and whose descendants include the Correia Afonso’s from Benaulim due to which, she is my third cousin. Known to be a no-nonsense persons, Aurora penned “Goa: A daughter’s story” which became a big time seller. She loved Goa very much and even used her influence to protect the environment on several occasions, without coming into the front light. Despite opportunities to settled in other parts of India and also abroad she chose to return to her Goa - the Goa she loved to breathe and soak into and she was very fond of my mother. She served as a Member of Executive Council of the Goa University along with me and had brilliant ideas to upgrade the standards of the University whilst giving the best to the students and would ensure execution of her ideas. Aurora was very graceful and elegant, widely read and could converse on any topic. She was liked by all who came across her and will he missed by those who knew her. With her death, Goa has lost a jewel, a true daughter of Goa.

- Adv Carlos Ferreira,

legal luminary

Maria was truly the daughter of Goa. A daughter to be proud of and she has contributed enormously to the cultural scene of Goa. Not just through her books but as an advisor to the Goa University. It is because of her a lot of intellectuals were attracted to accept the chairs at the university. People like Romila Thapar came to Goa because their name was suggested by her. She suggested several other names too. They came to Goa and that was her great contribution. He book The Daughter of Goa is kind of the cultural history of Goa.

- Subodh Kerkar,

Painter, Sculptor and installation artist

With the death of Padma Shri Maria Aurora Couto, Goa certainly lost a great daughter and lover of Goa. She was an eminent educationist, intellectual, writer and a lover of everything Goan. She was one of the major supporters and well-wisher of Goa Chitra Museum and all the activities that we organized. We will truly miss the elegant and graceful Aurora Couto and we pray her soul rests in peace.

- Victor Gomes,

Curator and restorer

Mrs Maria Aurora Couto was a very graceful dignified lady very amiable. I was very close to her. We interacted on a number of occasions. I had visited her in Aldona. She came over when my dad passed away. She consulted me for the History part of Goa A daughters Story and her translated work of A Braganca Pereira. She was an educationist. Infact taught English in the inception stage of our Dhempe College in the early 60 s. She initiated the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas. She always attended our Goa Heritage Action Group functions. She loved reading n was a social thinker. She had a good interest in History and hence we vibed well. Will miss Madam Couto. Om shanti to her and salute her contribution.

- Prajal Sakhardande,

Academic and writer

We celebrate this extraordinary woman, as she passes away from our midst. Yet again, Goa has lost one of its most pre-eminent daughters, but if many more young women had been exposed to her and her way of thinking, her passions, her concerns, that would have been immensely enriching to them. We wish to celebrate three aspects of Maria Aurora. In the first, she was a strong and firm woman who showed young women that if they willed it, the world would listen to them. This can be seen in her two books, A Daughter’s Story and Philomena’s Story. Both the books are grouted in a woman’s sense of the world, not just being a part of it, but being heard by it. Her second side related to her sense of optimism when, with her late husband Alban Couto, she could see that Goans had a different vision of their future which is why they took a stand during the Opinion Poll. They were not just unique, they had a positive sense of their unique contribution to India as well. In recent years, however, Maria Aurora was getting increasingly disturbed at the gap between promise and reality. She was depressed that so many things were going wrong, and that the idea of Goa itself was increasingly in tatters, leaving so much confusion in the minds of younger Goans as a whole. In her third avatar, she was an intellectual of distinction. She found a role enriching the university with her association, and set out to establish the D.D. Kosambi lecture series, bringing pre-eminent men and women from the rest of the country to address Goans on issues deemed important to all. For the Goa Foundation, she was also a solid rock. We could reach out to her for support. It was always available, without hesitation. We weep, we say farewell, but we also say, thank you! We will consider ourselves always privileged that we could keep your company, and from time to time, share a good meal at Carona.

- Claude & Norma Alvares,

Environmentalist and lawyer