Some more new books
that flow out of Goa,
the challenges of
in Goa… and rembering
Lino Leitao, the writer
of Goan origins who
passed away in Canada.
Fr. Nascimento J Mascarenhas has served in quite a few parishes of Goa. He is enthusiastic about studying the history of Goa, and it is only to be expected that his latest book is about the parish priests of Goa.
The first chapter focuses on the arrival of the Franciscans in Bardez. After that are 39 chapters listing names after names of the parish priests of every Bardez village. From Aldona to Vagator.
The release function held in the past week was quite an event. A large crowd, many prominent persons involved with the Church in Bardez, and friends of Fr Nascimento, apart from writers, were present for the release.
The 358-page book is priced at Rs 325 and is available with Fr Nascimento himself, who’s based at the Clergy Home in Porvorim.
Bonaventure D’Pietro is a talented yet low-profile person. He recently handed over a copy of his new book ‘Sam Juanv Bautistachi Porob’. Edited by D’Pietro, the book looks at various aspects of the St. John the Baptist feast, and is in Romi Konkani. It also contains some articles on other themes.
In fact, this looks like a ‘book’ version of the ‘Arso’ magazine that D’Pietro has been associated with. It carries advertisements too. Perhaps as a way of increasing its shelf-life, it has been given the form of a book, and a theme. Interesting, and worth it at a price of just Rs 60 for its 128 pages.
Available from D’Pietro at Chinvar Anjuna. Phone 2274089 or 98814 58140.
A tiny booklet that glamourises Goa, selling liquor and sensuality. But it was interesting to see the manner in way info about Goa was presented in a crisp and attractive manner.
Not related to Goa, but a book you might find useful. Costs Rs 125 from Bharat Book Centre, 17 Ashok Marg, Lucknow (UP) firstname.lastname@example.org or 0522-2280381 or from Broadway Book Centre in Goa. Pp 102.
Some of its pluses: Simple language. Easy to understand. Chapter 3 gives highlights of the law. Chapter 4: How to seek information. Some useful examples of how RTI has been used. Brief and useful.
GETTING INTO PRINT
Mapusa-based Albert D’Souza recently wrote to the Goanet (www.goanet.org) mailing list about the challenges in getting himself published.
Albert (email@example.com) says he is thinking of getting into print some of the Konkani tiatrs he worked on but lacks the resources. He says: “In 1984 for the first time my drama Somzikai was awarded the best prize for script (first prize) and drama got the second prize. I was not able to continue as I could not get suitable actors. Now after so many years Goa Konkani Academy awarded me the second prize for script in the competition.”
He wants to know if some publishing house could help him to get his work out, “keep a bigger margin and sell all the books and pay me a nominal amount”. As he puts it, “I love to write and develop a God-given talent.”
Unfortunately, writers in Goa still face tough challenges.
The biggest difficulty with a Goa-related book is to find the funding for it. Editorial, layout and even printing services are easy to access and outsource, if needed. With the economics, the problems stems from the scattered (or small) market available for Goa-related books.
There’s also the fact that a thousand copies is a viable print-run, but it’s not easy to sell this number of copies speedily in the ‘Goa books’ market.
Some have published adverts within their book to subsidise their publishing, but not everyone favours this approach.
There are very few publishing houses that would consider Goa-related books, or have the capacity to bring out multiple titles in a year. Bigger national-level publishers are interested in authors from Goa only if their work touches on a wider ‘market’ of pan-Indian issues.
Due to reasons like the ones above, many opt for self-publishing as a way out. Some have worked out interesting models in this space.
There’s some interesting writing coming out in the Konkani (and Marathi) space. It gets buoyed up a bit with the government-funds that go to the Konkani (mainly Devanagari) and Marathi markets in Goa. But this hardly gets noticed, because it is considered a “smaller” market, and book-reviews and translations are not happening in the way they should.
My long-time journalist colleague Ramdas Kelkar of Colvale (phone 2299248) handed over an invite for a function coming up on Saturday February 9, 2008 at 4.45 pm at the Menezes Braganza art gallery in Panjim.
Kelkar is to release the book titled ‘Careernama’, and also hold an exhibition on careers in Goa. This book will be released by former union law minister advocate Ramakant Khalap.
Ramdas says: “The book carries information on different careers in Goa along with the interviews of the people in respective field. These articles were published in a series form in the daily Navprabha (Marathi newspaper).”
Even before this book is ‘released’ on the evening of February 8, 2008 at the Nova Goa in Panjim you can get a copy of it for yourself. Green campaign group Goa Foundation, led by Dr Claude Alvares, has done a good job in making a PDF copy of this book available via http://www.goacom.org/goafoundation/
“Goa: Sweet Land of Mine” describes itself as “a book full of photographs showing the damage caused to Goa’s natural environment and village communities by iron and manganese ore mining. The book severely castigates the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, for issuing environment clearances for these mines in Goa.”
Priced at Rs 250, the 92-page book was published only this year, and is available from the Other India Bookstore above the old Mapusa Clinic at Feira Alta (phone 2263305). Online at otherindiabookstore.com
Its four parts are titled A Thing Of Beauty: Goa’s Natural Heritage, Goa’s Biodiversity; Mine, Mine, Mine; Wounds On The Earth; and The Blame Game: Pinning The Responsibility. There are also a number of maps included.
Alvares argues: “The context of the book is the recent spate of ‘environment clearances’ granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for such mining leases in Goa. More than 70 environment clearances have been issued (almost like cycyclostyled forms) to more than 70 mining leases without site inspections or listening to villagers affected by mining.”
I first ran into the work of Lino Leitao via the anthology on Goan writing that Peter Nazareth put together in the 1980s. (Goan Literature – A Modern Reader. Journal of South Asian Literature Vol XVIII Winter/Spring 1983. University of Michigan.)
Since then, one had to wait another decade-and-half before early access to the internet made it possible to get in touch with a wide range of Goan authors and writers all over the globe.
Talking to Peter Nazareth via cyberspace, and interviewing him, was fun. Some years ago, I ran into Lino Leitao, during his visit to Goa. Of course, we met up at that unusual ‘unofficial press club’ of Goa, Cafe Prakash in Panjim.
I liked Lino’s writing, and his perspective. Last week, I was saddened to hear that he had died in Canada. Unlike most other writers on Goa, Lino didn’t seem focussed on an elitist perspective on this region. He wasn’t hung up on justifying Portuguese colonialism either.
This is from the tribute Peter Nazareth wrote for Lino after his death surprised all who knew him in cyberspace: “I first heard of Lino Leitao in Mississauga, Canada in 1977 when I was driving to a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Friends of mind showed me a book they had found in a bookstore, Goan Tales. They laughed at the author, whom they knew, because they said he looked like a beachcomber, not a writer. I got the book and liked it so I decided to write a review for World Literature Today, which published it in Autumn 1978
“This is what I said: Lino Leitao was born in Goa under Portuguese rule, was educated in Goa and Canada, taught for many years in Uganda and is now teaching in Quebec. The five stories in Goan Tales, his second collection, are all about the Goan community and are set in Goa, India, Entebbe, Nairobi and Mombasa. The reference point in all cases is Goa, the ancestral homeland, where people return to get married, to have their children educated or to retire. Goans seem to live in a cocoon in Leitao’s stories. Africa rarely enters the bubble of communal existence, except for one story, ‘The Son’ …
“Lino Leitao is gone but his stories live…. Lino’s stories are a gift to us. We must know how to accept the gift.”
See the entire tribute by Nazareth at https://goabooks.wordpress.com
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February 1, 2008
Claude Alvares, environmental campaigner and journalist and man of many roles, wrote to say that the book release of this title is slated for Feb 8, 2008 (Friday). He wrote:
The context of the book is the recent spate of “environment clearances” granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests for such mining leases in Goa. More than 70 environment clearances have been issued (almost like cycyclostyled forms) to more than 70 mining leases without site inspections or listening to villagers affected by mining.
If you get a copy of the book and see the pictures, you may lose your sleep. The objective of the book is to enrage the reader so that he/she is stimulated instead to make Ministry officials lose their sleep!
Goa: Sweet Land of Mine will be released at a public function at 5.00 PM on Friday, February 8, 2008 at Panaji’s Caritas Hall (near St.Inez.)
Public is welcome. Without public support and protest, we can fast see Goa being chewed up by mining, industrialisation and concrete. For those who unable to come or are abroad, download the book from: www.goacom.org/goafoundation/
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