A 17-page reprint of The Illustrated Weekly of India dated December 27, 1970, with special articles on Mangalorean Catholics written by Mangaloreans, was released at Johnlyn Cottage, the residence of John B Monteiro, noted author and journalist in English, and the main contributor for the special issue published 50 years ago. It was also to recall and laud the initiative of Stan Rebello, a publishing professional, who passed away on January 12, 2019.
The reprint was released by William Pais, author of the illustrated coffee table book The Land Called South Kanara, (comprising old Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts) which has seen repeated editions; he is also the owner of Orchid Art Gallery in Mangaluru.
The Illustrated Weekly of India, under the editorship of the late Khushwant Singh, also a well-known author in English, had initiated a series of cover articles focusing on major communities of India to enhance the popularity and circulation of the weekly. It had already covered Gaud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB) and Bunts, both concentrated in Tulu Nadu. It was to the credit of Stan Rebello who lobbied with Khushwant Singh to cover Mangalorean Catholics in his series on leading communities of India. It is John Monteiro’s initiative to reprint the 15 pages of the special issue with a page each of introduction by him and Stan Rebello as a posthumous tribute to a go-getter who fronted the coverage of Mangalorean Catholics. The teaser cover of the special issue was drawn by the late Mario Miranda, well known for his humorous cartoons – who was in-house cartoonist/illustrator for The Times of India group at the time.
The special issue led with an extensive article on Kanara Catholics by John Monteiro, followed by an article by the late Joachim Alva, MP, on what he owed to the Jesuit fathers. The next article was by a budding writer, PNC Rebello, who died young, titled Help and Education. There was also a two-page gallery of 20 photos, Prominent Kanara Catholics (of the time). This was followed by a well-argued article by the late George Fernandes titled “Why am I a Christian?” which concluded with the following prediction: “When the Christian church undergoes a radical transformation in its organization and set-up unless it becomes a church of service, a church of the poor and the less privileged, it may soon cease to have any relevance in the world… I hope in the not too distance, all Christian churches will unite and move much nearer to the Christ of the Gospels. It is only then that the church will have any relevance to the world.”
The rear was brought up by an article by Stan Rebello titled “Nuptial and other Rites”. Forty-five photos, eight of them in colour were displayed to support the text.
The release function was attended by prominent Catholics of Mangalore. Some of them, including Dr Michael Lobo, an eminent writer in English and genealogist of the community, and Titus Noronha, CEO of Rahul Advertisers, and front-ranking leader in Konkani cultural activities, spoke on changes during the last 50 years.
John Monteiro, who conducts daily Bondel Laughter Club sessions since 2002, (now stopped because of Covid) distributed specially printed brochure “Come, Laugh Your Way to Health “ to the attending invitees and offered to give the brochure to anyone interested in starting local laughter clubs and also to help in starting such clubs (98862 76608).