Sunday papers… some Goa links


While visiting Uganda, where daily newspapers are priced the equivalent
of 50 US cents (about 1000 Ugandan shillings), it suddenly struck me how
inexpensive and affordable Indian newspapers are. A paper here costs Rs
2-3 on a weekday (under 10 cents US) and about Rs 5 on a weekend.

But papers that are advertisement-driven can be a bit (or more)
reader-unfriendly at time. One compromise is the Sunday newspapers, and
most outstation weekend-editions tend to have a fair amount of
interesting reading material.

My joke on myself was that the Sunday Deccan Herald used to be a very
readable product… till I joined (from 1987-1994) and started writing
for it 😉 Anyway, whenever the chance comes along, one does like to
pick up the Sunday papers. Problem is: these editions come only to the
towns (Panjim mainly, Mapusa doesn’t get all) and Sunday is a day when
one is seldom in town!

Yesterday’s papers did have some Goa links in them…

Deccan Herald’s art and culture page had this tory on the Opera House in
Mumbai. It read:

The fat lady sings only in Mumbai! Its rich history and intricate
architecture make the Royal Opera House in Mumbai a major tourist
attraction. K D L Khan on the only opera house in India. The Opera
House in Mumbai waits to regain its past glory…

One wondered: with all the talent, couldn’t Goa have something even
remotely like this? Never mind that the sun has set on the British
Empire!

And whiele reading, a Goan link presented itself. Apparently, the (then)
Bombay Opera House was constructed in the Baroque style, and was the
brainchild of Maurice E Bandmann, a renowned entertainer from Calcutta
and Jehangir Framji Karaka, who headed a coal brokers’ firm. The article
further says:

An advantageous corner site was leased at the northern end of Queen’s
Road in the vicinity of the Sandhurst and Kennedy bridges, and in 1908,
Karaka and Bandmann drew up designs for the theatre. Bandmann’s manager
was responsible charge of the construction…

Almost expected it! A Goan link there. As one reads a little of history,
the Parsi-Goan links and the role they played in British colonial
history of India keeps coming up. Even if the Goan often seems to be a
junior partner in such endeavours. Interesting that Collaco is referred
to only by his surname here. Does anyone have more details?

Another article in the DH is Marianne de Nazareth’s review of Manohar
Malgaonkar’s *Inside Goa* (published by Architecture Autonomous, pp 495,
Rs 695). Year of publication is not mentioned.

She writes: “Written in a fluid and easy reading style, Malgaonkar takes
every Goan back to the days when their Portuguese ‘masters’ converted
them to Christianity forcibly — “Let him who wants to live in the
islands become Christian”. The others ran away to Mangalore and remained
Hindu…”

That, to me, seems a bit too simplistic. In post-colonial times, it’s
fashionable to claim that the Portuguese converted “forcibly”. It would
seem more believable that many simply saw opportunity in this
switch-over. Likewise, one thought that migration further south down the
coast (to Karnataka and Kerala) started in pre-Portuguese times. It
might be fashionable now-a-days to blame this on colonialism alone.

Another article in the SUNDAY Times of India (the paper I love to
hate… it has changed the idea of what newspapers are so drastically,
but you still can’t afford to miss its adverts!) has this rather
convoluted article on Wendell Rodricks, about a February 10 event in
Colombo but written from Mumbai.

It begins thus: “The fashion world is in a state of shock. The attack on
designer Wendell Rodricks at a fashion show in Colombo on February 10
has left a bad taste in the mouths of the glad-rag brigade.”

After reading two-thirds of the piece, one lears that it probably was
some rivalry between designers… or something to that effect.
Apparently some designers had been invited to showcase their work at a
charity event coordinated by a (?) Sumita Radhakrishna from Colombo on
behalf of the Rotary Club of Colombo East.

Maybe one is just missing something here!

In the Deccan Herald, there’s also another profile of Satish Gujral, the
brother of former Indian PM Inder Kumar Gujral. We’re told his “thirst
for life and creativity led him to dabble in many artistic mediums”.

Wonder how many would agree that his design of the Goa University was
something worth writing home about?

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