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Konkani litterateurs of Saligao

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

Saligao has its share of protagonists who have made a mark in the field of Konkani literature. Among the current ones are Fr. Marcelino Remedios from Tabravaddo, editor of Udentichem Neketr (now defunct), Fr. Casimiro de Melo from Sonarbhatt and Daniel D’Souza from Nigvaddo.

Among those Goan writers who are no more I can remember Eduardo Bruno de Souza. He created a new type of Konkani alphabet called Mariano and edited the first Konkani periodical, Udentechem Salok, which was launched in February 1889. Another Goan writer who wrote Konkani literature in the Roman script Konkani was Joaquim Antonio Mascarenhas from Abreuvaddo. He contributed two booklets of Konkani proverbs and a Konkani-English Dictionary in manuscript form.

Another Konkani litterateur from Saligao, who wrote Konkani literature in the Devanagari script, was Aleixo Martinho Julio de Melo from Donvaddo. He was born in Saligao on 11 November 1875, to Antonio Sebastiao de Melo and Ana Sabina Saldanha. His paternal grandparents were Benjamim do Rosario Melo and Ana Sabina de Lima, while his maternal grandparents were Jose Caetano de Saldanha and Micaela Arcanjela de Siqueira.

Another Goan writer Aleixo de Melo worked for the British Government until his retirement. An ardent champion of the Konkani language and Konkani literature in Devanagari script, he wrote some articles in O Heraldo newspaper of the City of Panjim. Besides, he authored several Konkani books, including two primers of correct usage of Konkani in Devanagari. He died in Saligao on 3 July 1942, aged 66 years.

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