West indian literature

When great literature reaps its fruits

Sep 13, 2022 | 06:04 IST

When great literature reaps its fruits

Konkani writers Fr Myron Barreto and Jyoti Kunkoliekar have contributed immensely to the world of literature and have recently been awarded the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Yuva and Bal Puraskars respectively.

After decades of perseverance and dedication, it’s surely rewarding when the hard work pays off. For Father Myron Barreto and Jyoti Kunkoliekar, winners of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar and Sahitya Akademi Bal Puraskar, respectively, it serves as a way to continue working in the field of literature. The winning books were a novel, ‘Mayuri’ by Jyoti Kunkolienkar and ‘Tallo’, a compilation of essays, by Fr. Myron Jeson Barreto.

Father Myron Jeson Barreto of Sadolxem, Canacona, is the director of New Age Printers, Verna, and assists in pastoral ministry at Jesus, Mary and Joseph Church, Nuvem. After completing the BCA at St Xaviers College, Mapusa, with honors, Father Myron completed a two-year philosophy course and a four-year theology course at the Patriarchal Seminary, Rachol. Throughout these years, his passion for writing in Romi Konkani was burning.

Father Myron has been writing since 2010 on a variety of topics including morals, social issues, Christian and social values. He has participated in several literary workshops held across India. He has also composed and written lyrics for many songs on YouTube. He has contributed to Romi Konkani literature by writing and publishing seven books including “Kannientlean Sondex”, “Oparintlean Sondex”, “Sukhi Jinn”, “Tallo” in Romi and Devnagri script, “Bhorvanxeachem Kirnn” and “Porzollit Paulam” and nine religious books. Apart from being a regular writer for Konkani’s newsletters, magazines and periodicals, he is also co-editor of the quarterly diocesan magazine of Goa, ‘Vomp’pi’, and is part of the editorial team of the magazine ‘ Gõycho Pormoll’, published by Dalgado Konkani Academy.

Besides winning the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar for ‘Tallo’, Father Barreto has previously won the Goa State Yuva Srujan Puraskar 2021 for Konkani Literature, Konkani Bhasha Mandal’s Late Narsinha Damodar Naik Award for Literature 2021 and the Dalgado Youth Award 2018. “Oparintlean Sondex” (Romi) won Konkani Bhasha Mandal’s Late Narsinha Damodar Naik Award for Literature and now “Tallo” in Devanagri writing won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar. I am very happy and delighted to receive the award. This is the fruit of my hard work. I have worked zealously and selflessly to promote Konkani literature, I am still working and will work with enthusiasm and dedication to promote Konkani literature,” Father Myron says. He also won the best lyrics award for two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021 for ‘Capuchin Voice of Goa’, a Konkani singing competition organized by Capuchin Friary.

Speaking of the award-winning book, Father Barreto says, “Tallo” highlights various voices we hear in society. Each voice expresses the feelings of what is happening in the society that affects it. We must listen to every voice of society and nature. Becoming a voice for the voiceless is our responsibility. There are different voices that are not heard. There are voices we listen to, but we don’t think and act. Amplifying others’ voices and respecting the feelings of their voices is our greatest duty.

He hopes to continue working with the same energy and enthusiasm for Konkani as he has done all these years. “I will promote Konkani (Romi and Devnagri) literature through books, newspapers, periodicals, magazines and newsletters. I work to promote children’s literature and I intend to start a magazine to promote Konkani literature,” Father Barreto explains.

Jyoti Kunkolienkar’s novel “Mayuri” is about a young girl growing up in her maternal grandmother’s house in Canacona and her journey to becoming a superintendent of police. “The novel is written in a very lucid language and even an adult can relate to it and feel nostalgia. One can find a detailed description of a Goan village and culture,” says Kunkolienkar, who wrote 33 books in various genres in more than 30 years.She has won four national awards and seven state awards for literature, theater and filmmaking and has actively participated in the production of 25 documentaries.

“I am extremely happy to be the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award. I received congratulatory messages from CM Pramod Sawant, Central Minister Shripad Naik and MP Yuri Alemao. I also received phone calls from different dignitaries like Laureate Jnanpith Damodar Mauzo, Laureate Saraswati Sanman Mahabaleshwar Sail, Padmashree Vinayak Khedekar, Konkani Pillar Adv Uday Bhembre, Lead Writer Meena Kakodkar and Srinivas Dempo who were very special” , explains Kunkolienkar.

“As a writer, I believe that in children’s literature you should focus on the overall development of the child, including school life, friends, social life, sports, art, reading and also about maintaining relationships. Writing children’s literature is very difficult compared to other genres because here our target readers are children and we have to leave a positive impact on them because they can be easily influenced. Second, children should not feel that a particular piece of literature is contrived. A good piece of children’s literature should make them aware of future challenges and inspire them to be better. At the same time, the books should be readable and interesting and this should motivate them to read more in the future,” she explains.

His recently produced and directed documentary on the freedom struggle of Goa, “Goy Swatantryache Homkhan”, was submitted for the Indian Panorama section of the International Film Festival of India 2022. “Through the documentary, we explained how and why the Portuguese entered Goa We have tried to cover the whole struggle for freedom, from the first revolt in 1583 which took place in Goa against the Portuguese, which was the first revolt in all of Asia against the European power until Operation Vijay in 1961. We have covered all the memorials related to Goa’s freedom struggle. We have also interviewed all living freedom fighters. Our presenter, Prajal Sakhardande, is a renowned historian, who did all the research for this documentary.You can see everything related to the freedom struggle of Goa, from the 15th century to 19th December 1961. It is our initiative to document the hist courageous story of Goa’s struggle for freedom for our future generations,” says Kunkolienkar.

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