DEAR JAMES HADLEY CHASE OF GOA. R.I.P
Bonaventure D’Pietro, who passed away on Saturday, was a stalwart in the field of Konkani literature and his immense contribution has been catalogued in his autobiography, ‘Vattliechea Avazan’, which will be released on July 14, 2019, his 80th birth anniversary. Goan writers pay tribute to the revolutionary Konkani writer & musician par excellence , who was unfortunately not awarded by the Sahitya Academy for his contributions
‘English uloilear pott borounk zait punn Konkani uloina zalear Goykarponn visorta’ (‘You might be able to feed yourself if you speak in English, but you lose your Goan identity if you don’t speak in Konkani’), were the wise words of Bonaventure D’Pietro, who passed away on July 6, 2019, days before his 80th birthday.
Bonaventure Peter Fernandes, popularly known as Bonaventure D’Pietro in the world of Konkani literature, tiatr and music, promoted Roman Konkani till his last breath. He was called the ‘Goan James Hadley Chase’ of Roman Konkani by the late Alfred Rose for his style of writing suspense thriller novels in the late 1970s. In a span of five decades, he had written 17 award-winning novels and countless articles for Roman Konkani magazines like ‘Gulab’, ‘Vavraddeancho Ixtt’ and ‘Udentichem Neketr’ in Goa and Bombay. Born in 1942, Bonaventure did not have much reading material to inspire him to write in Romi Konkani. Educated at a Portuguese based school, he had no opportunity to learn to write in Romi Konkani. In 1964, he went to Bombay for better job opportunities and worked as a proof reader and compositor at a printing press. He learnt what it took to write a novel. He was the first Catholic writer to win the Konkani Bhasha Mandal Award in 1972 for his novel ‘Kallea Vistidachi Choli’. ‘Mhojea Paicho Fondd’ in 1974 got him the Kala Academy Award. ‘Ek Bhett Mungllurchea Xarak’ won him the Konkani Bhasha Mandal and Kala Academy awards in 1977. In 2008, he was the Dalgado Puroskar award winner. Bonaventure D’Pietro played the tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, clarinet and violin. He was the assistant editor of ‘Goykar The Goan Identity’, a fortnightly magazine, and had even translated five chapters of the ‘Povitr Pustok’ (Konkani translation of the Bible). Bonaventure’s literature touched the lives of many Goans, especially in the field of Romi Konkani. Vincy Quadros, Secretary of Dalgado Konknni Akademi, says, “Bonaventure made Konkani rich. He didn’t think about how much he could earn on his literature but his aim was that it should reach the audience. More than his family, he gave his life and time to Konkani, a virtue which is humanly difficult. He was the resource person for the novel writing workshop that we had organised in March and one of his novels, ‘Tichea Morna Uprant’, has been prescribed as part of the MA (Konkani) syllabus at Goa University. His autobiography, ‘Vattliechea Avazan’, was supposed to be released on July 14, 2019, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. We will continue with the release, which will be held at 4pm at Art and Culture Department, Patto, Panjim, celebrating his life. He had worked on this book for over 3-4 years and submitted the copy for publishing just six months ago.” Konkani writer and dramatist Tomazinho Cardozo calls Bonaventure a multifaceted personality for his contributions in the field of literature, music and tiatr. “He was a writer who wrote 17 books, out of which, 12 were novels. In the 1960s and ‘70s, he gave new direction to Konkani novels in the form of suspense and investigative stories. He was a good musician and contributed to Goan music by scripting a book on Goan music. He documented the contribution of nearly 300 musicians and their works in ‘Songit Doulot Goykaranchi’. His book, ‘Zanvaichi Zor’, was the first book in Romi Konkani about scientific discoveries. Above all, he was sincere and never made any money and lived a humble life. The only regret is that Konkani Sahitya Akademi has not awarded him for his contributions,” says Tomazinho. “Bonaventure was one of Konkani’s most brilliant and intelligent creative writers and novelists. His passing away is a huge loss to Konkani literature and will be difficult to replace. His contribution to Konkani literature is invaluable and nothing can compensate for his magnanimous sacrifices for the sake of his mother tongue. He gave his all and spent his meager life’s savings for the development of the written language by publishing his books”, says Daniel F de Souza, Konkani author, journalist and TV host. All true Konkani lovers lament and regret that his immense literary contribution he did not receive the prestigious National Literary Award for Konkani, and that’s only because he wrote in Roman script. “In death, and as in life, D’Pietro will always remain a Konkani literary legend. God bless his departed soul”, adds Daniel F de Souza.
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