BY ARTI DAS | NT BUZZ
Dr (Fr) Eufemiano de Jesus Miranda, a priest, researcher and a music lover by heart is ready with his first book that looks at the not-so-known world of Indo-Portuguese literature of 19th and 20th Century. He speaks to NT BUZZ about his book, ethnic Goans who contributed in this filed and how it also helped the Konkani language as a whole
Goa, the smallest state of India, indeed has a vast history which is well reflected through our traditions and culture. However, not much is revealed in the literary section of Goa, which also has lots to offer.
Revealing about such a world is the latest book by Dr (Fr) Eufemiano de Jesus Miranda titled ‘Oriente e Ocidente na Literatura Goesa (East and West in Goan Literature).’
Dr Miranda did his PhD on the topic 19th-20th century Indo-Portuguese Literature - a study of major themes in the socio-historical background (Literatura Indo-Portuguesa dos Séculos XIX e XX: Um estudo de temas principais no contexto sócio-histórico) at the Goa University. This book is based on his thesis. Though the book is in Portuguese it has chapter summaries in the English language.
This book looks at the works of the ethnic Goans who contributed immensely to Indo-Portuguese literature in the 19th and 20th Century.
This topic may sound niche but obviously of lot of interest to know how it shaped the Indo-Portuguese literary world. It all started when Dr Miranda thought of doing a research on it. In 1988, he was awarded a scholarship from the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, to work on the thesis which was completed under the guidance of Fr Ivo de Mascarenhas, at the Goa University.
“I was always interested in English literature and Portuguese comes naturally to me as it one of my mother tongues. So, when I got this scholarship I went to Lisbon and spent around six months doing research on this topic. I completed almost half of my thesis there in Lisbon. I collected a lot of material even from the Central Library here. I took around four years to write my thesis. But, Goa University due to some technical issues took around eight years to offer me viva,” says Dr Miranda who is currently the parish priest of the Chicalim Church.
He further mentions that his thesis was well accepted even by the well known literary critic Mr Fernando Cristovao. He has studied this topic critically and managed to put together all the information in his thesis.
It has now taken the shape of a book. About his finding he adds, “The number of ethnic writers was not large but there were people from different strata of society. It included not only Christians (as it was natural to follow Portuguese) but even Hindus.”
Dr Miranda further mentioned that during the 19th and 20th Century there was a climate of liberalisation in Goa and that influenced creative writing. “It was because of the fact that in 1910 the Monarchy was overthrown by the Portuguese and liberalisation came in and that gave liberty to Hindus. Also by the end of the 19th century the printing press came to Goa. A very important Goan, Antonio Floriano de Noronha had written on this topic,” mentions Dr Miranda.
Dr Miranda taking it further elaborates that great Goan writer, Bakibab Borkar had written in Portuguese also. “Bakibab Borkar also wrote in Portuguese and the first page of my book has a quotation, which is a verse written by him. There were other writers like Laxmikant Rao Sardesai, the father of Manohar Rao Sardesai, R V Pandit, who translated his works in Portuguese.”
In his book there is also a special mention of the work of Francisco Luis Gomes. “Francisco Gomes was the first ethnic Goan writer who wrote a novel ‘The Brahmin’ which was well received. Before that there were only religious writings in Goa,” he informs.
Dr Miranda who is also a fan of the Konkani language opines that the Portuguese language actually helped in developing our language. “As a Goan I feel proud of my Konkani. It defines us and we should make every effort to nurture and develop Konkani. But, at the same time Portuguese helped us to create a cosmopolitan image. It is said that a language is enriched with the words borrowed from other languages. So, I think Portuguese has enriched our Konkani language. My identity is the Konkani language but at the same time our views and overviews have changed due to the Portuguese influence,” concludes Dr Miranda.
(This book will be released on May 30 at 4.45 p.m. at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, along with a CD of Latin and Konkani music by Chico Fonseca. Writer, Damodar Mauzo and Consul General of Portugal Dr Antonio Sabido Costa will be the chief guests. The event is being organised in collaboration with Ravindra Bhavan and the book is published by Goa,1556.)