Mapusa/Panaji: Suresh Gundu Amonkar, the noted educationist, writer, translator and the chairman of the Goa Konkani Akademi passed away on Sunday, following a prolonged illness.
He was 84 and is survived by three sons. His body will be kept at the New Goa High School, Mapusa, on Monday for the people to pay their last respects. Subsequently, the body will be handed over to the Goa Medical College and Hospital at Bambolim as per Amonkar’s last wish.
The former chairman of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Amonkar was awarded with the civilian honour Padma Shri by the government of India in 2009 for his contribution to literature and education. He also received Sahitya Academy Translation Award, in 1999, for translating ‘Dhammapada’, a book on teachings of Gautam Buddha, from Pali into Konkani.
A strong-willed person, Amonkar battled cancer during past many years just as he continued with his translation work. Recently, he had completed translation of William Shakespeare’s play, ‘Julius Caesar’ in Konkani, within record time of one month, which is the first play by ‘The Bard’ to be translated in Devanagari Konkani.
Amonkar was an educationist to the core and studied at Wilson College. He later taught in various schools including those in Mombasa and Kenya, between 1956 and 1960. He was closely associated with the New Goa High School, founded in June 1943 by his father, late Gundu Sitaram Amonkar. He worked in various capacities in the New Goa High School; as a teacher, a headmaster, a trustee, the executive trustee and the chairperson of the school managing committee.
Amonkar also played a major role in the educational and social development in post-liberation Goa. He was elected the first general secretary of the Goa Headmasters’ Association and worked with Albano Couto, liberated Goa’s first development commissioner, who among other projects worked hard to introduce the School
Grant-In-Aid Code in Goa. He later became the president of Goa Headmasters’ Association, as also received the Goa State Teachers Award in 1978 and Jyanpithkar Ravindra Kelekar Award in 2012.
Amonkar had served as the director of the State Literacy Mission and Adult Education, besides as the Chief Commissioner of Goa State Chapter of the Bharat Scouts and Guides, and the president of the Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE).
He also had a distinguished tenure as president of Mapusa municipal council and also served as charter president of the Rotary Club of Mapusa.
Among his translated works into Konkani are several religious classics including ‘Dhammapada’, ‘Tirukkural’, ‘Bhagavad Gita’, ‘Japuji Saheeb’, ‘Gospel of St John’ and ‘Dnyaneshwari’, besides quotations from Shakespeare’s 37 plays and sonnets.
Furthermore, Amonkar had translated into Konkani 10,962 verses of original Kristapurana – the 17th century Christian epic on the coming of Jesus Christ – a monumental task, which he said was his labour of love.
Amonkar has written numerous books such as ‘Goa Opinion Poll’, ‘Text Book of Geography’, ‘Handbook for Headmasters and Teachers’ and ‘Report on Vocationalisation of Education in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka’.
He actively espoused and supported the secular cause of inter-religious dialogue in Goa by addressing meetings and thus bringing different communities closer to one another.