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Konkani speaking community should empower its youth to be torchbearers for future: T V Mohandas Pai

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Mangaluru: World Konkani Centre (WKC) ushered in the decennial celebration of Shri. T. V. Raman Pai and Smt. T Vimala V. Pai Hostel with a two-day celebration that got underway at its Shaktinagar campus in Mangaluru on November 11.

The hostel at WKC has served as a catalyst in kindling aspirations for higher achievement among the Konkani youth, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion ever since its inauguration on November 11, 2011.

The highlight of the event was the induction of the portrait of T. V. Mohandas Pai, patron, WKC into the Vishwa Konkani Hall of Fame. Ullas Kamath, joint MD, Jyothy Laboratories Ltd who unveiled the portrait of T. V. Mohandas Pai said Mohandas Pai is a guiding spirit for the entire Konkani speaking community. The World Konkani Centre has acted as the rallying point for his vision to see an empowered Konkani community by the year 2030, Ullas Kamath said.

Responding to the virtual honour conferred on him, T. V. Mohandas Pai said the entire thrust of the World Konkani Centre is to act as a catalyst to take the Konkani speaking community forward and make it a role model for other communities. The Konkani speaking community is globally small in number, with some estimates putting it at 20 lakh. With the number of those speaking the language on the wane, the role of WKC in fostering the language is all the more important.

The thrust of WKC is to act as a helping hand to the youth from the community, empower them and make them the torchbearers of ensuring that the rich legacy is fostered and handed over to future generations. The plethora of programmes that have been initiated under the banner of WKC will act as this bond which will ensure that the community not only works for their nation but also the state and the town where the community has established its presence.

The Vishwa Konkani Student Scholarship Fund was initiated with the idea of ensuring that every deserving student from the Konkani speaking community got the opportunity to access quality education and use it as a tool to empower them. Investing in the youth from the community, enriching them with life and personality development skills, setting up peer groups and peer networking and making training integral to the scholarship scheme have given desired results.

Drawing parallels to the world-class facilities that Infosys set up in Mysuru and Mangaluru where future IT personnel were trained in a corporate atmosphere with commensurate facilities, T. V. Mohandas Pai said that the hostel at WKC has had the same effect on future generations from the community. Staying at niche training facilities will help bring about confidence in students to aspire for a better quality of life and work commensurately hard to achieve the same.

The VKSSF Alumni Association (VAA) has been set up to train future generations of leaders from within the Konkani speaking community. While the elders from the community have been shouldering the activities at WKC thus far, a plan of action will be drawn up to ensure that the VAA carries forth the vision for the community in the days ahead. The WKC will also act as a rallying point for the Kharvi, Kudubi and Siddi communities who share the Konkani lineage, T. V. Mohandas Pai said.

Inaugurating the decennial celebration, Ullas Kamath said the hostel has served as a focal point to help realise T. V. Mohandas Pai’s vision for an empowered Konkani community by the year 2030. The hostel has helped spread positive vibes among youths of the community who must make optimal use of various straining imparted to them at the WKC for a better future. The fact that the hostel is also serving as a training centre for other underprivileged youth is worth emulating, he said.

Citing examples of how the KSHAMATA UGetin Training Programme has changed the lives of students who have undergone this training, Ullas Kamath said the day is not far off when similar training facilities will be set up in places such as Bengaluru, Mysuru, New Delhi and even in the USA where most of the VAA scholars are presently working and bringing the name to the community. This will ensure that the vision of T. V. Mohandas Pai for an empowered community bears fruition, he said.

Sandeep Shenoy, the VAA patron, citing the recent success of platform companies such as Nykaa and Zomato at the bourses said WKC has provided a similar platform for all Konkani speaking students to launch themselves. Noting that WKC is yet to fully realise its potential of empowering students from the community, Sandeep Shenoy said WKC is merely a purpose for which a means has been found in T. V. Mohandas Pai to take the goal to its logical conclusion.

Basti Vaman Shenoy, President, Konkani Language And Cultural Foundation in his presidential remarks highlighted the transformation that the centre has seen ever since T. V. Mohandas Pai evinced keen interest in its activities. Likening T. V. Mohandas Pai to another visionary of the community, late T. A. Pai, Basti Vaman Shenoy said the whole set-up of WKC fosters a sense of philanthropy that is intrinsic to the community and has helped the centre undertake various creative works for the cause of Konkani.

A website – ourhome.konkanischolarship.com that documents memories of the VAA students at the hostel and a decennial brochure were launched on this occasion. The WKC also announced a scheme to adopt 10 students each from the Kudubi, Kharvi and Siddi communities that will be launched in December 2021. Under this, WKC will bear the educational expenses of the students so chosen and ensure that even these students have access to the same kind of education that their peers have.

The office-bearers of VAA offered gurudakshina to all their mentors and teachers. A short film on the memories of the hostel saw the students describe it as a home away from home. The dignitaries earlier planted 10 saplings on the campus to mark the occasion. A Saraswathi Pooja and Gana Homa marked the start of the two-day celebration. Various discussions and activities on November 12 will bring down the curtains on the event.

Pradeep G. Pai, Secretary, VKSSF, Ramdas U. Kamath, Chairman, VKSSF, Gilbert D’Souza and Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy, Vice-Presidents, Konkani Language And Cultural Foundation, and Sneha V Shenoy, President, VAA were present. Nandagopal Shenoy, Secretary, Konkani Language And Cultural Foundation welcomed the gathering. B. R. Bhat proposed the vote of thanks. Shakuntala Kini was the master of ceremony. Jagruthi, Vaishnavi and Vinayak rendered the prayer. The hostel staff who have attended to the needs of the student were felicitated

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