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Renowned Goan historian Percival passes away at 96

Panaji: Percival Noronha, a reputed historian and chronicler of the Goan past, passed away Monday morning, at Verna.

He was 96 and a bachelor. The date of funeral will be announced later.

Noronha, a former government class I officer, was also the founder of the Goa Chapter of the Indian Heritage Society as well as Association of Friends of Astronomy (Goa). He popularised astronomy among students through the association, running public observatory at Panaji, and its chapters at Margao, Mapusa and Morjim in Pernem.

Noronha worked in various government departments under the Portuguese as well as Indian/ Goan administration and was responsible for many public welfare schemes and projects, especially those carried out through the department of tourism. He was the chief information officer when Goa was liberated and went on to hold several key positions in the Goa administration.

After his retirement from government service in 1981, Noronha had been actively engaged in cultural and scientific pursuits, mainly awakening the consciousness of the people in the diversity and richness of Goa’s art, architecture, culture and natural resources.

He was also instrumental in setting up of the Conservation Committee in 1987, for the control and preservation of buildings and monuments of Goa.

Noronha worked closely with historian-professor Teotonio De Souza to catalogue the precious heritage of Christian art scattered throughout churches and chapels of Goa, which, in turn, led to the establishment of the Christian Art Gallery.

An eminent citizen, Noronha was a multifaceted personality. Being well-versed in Indo-Portuguese history, heritage conservation, Goan architecture, tourism and urbanisation, he was also invited as a visiting lecturer at the reputed universities at Nova de Lisboa, O Porto, Évora, and Azores, all in Portugal, besides universities at Macau and Rennes in France.

In addition, he presented papers at the University of Cologne, in Germany. Furthermore, he worked as a part-time lecturer at the Goa College of Architecture between 1996 and 2001.   

In 2014, the then president of Portugal, Anival Cavaco Silva, announced one of Portugal’s highest civilian honours to Noronha. He was bestowed with the title of ‘Comendador da Ordem do Príncipe D Henrique, O Navegador’ (Commander of the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator).

In 2015, Fundação Oriente-Goa honoured Noronha by releasing a book in his honour titled, ‘Percival Noronha: Um Goes exemplar’.

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