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Seminars on Goan Heritage held at St Xavier’s College, Mapusa

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Report on the seminar on "Goan Heritage" jointly organised on 21-9-2011 by the N.S.S. Unit of St Xavier's College, Mapusa, Goa and Goa Sudharop Community Development Inc., USA.

A seminar on the theme "Goan Heritage" was jointly organised by the N.S.S. Unit of St Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa in collaboration with Goa Sudharop Community Development Inc., USA on 21-9-2011. A total number of 180 students participated in the seminar. Students and faculty from Narayan Zantye College of Commerce, Bicholim, Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Sanquelim and Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar attended this seminar.

The program began with an invocation song 'Living Waters Flow On' sung by the N.S.S. volunteers. In his welcome address, Principal of the college, Dr. (Fr.) Walter de Sa, made an appeal to the students to unitedly work towards the preservation and protection of our rich Goan Heritage. After the traditional lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries, Mr. Ibonio D’Souza, Executive Director of Goa Sudharop delivered the keynote address. He stated that the purpose of the seminar was to give students an opportunity to explore the uniqueness of our rich Goan cultural, traditional and environmental heritage. Our youth are the future guardians of Goan heritage, he said, and this seminar would help them to understand that preserving it would positively impact the future of the present generation both as individuals and as a community.

The seminar comprised several sessions conducted by eminent expert personalities from different fields who provided interesting insights into the different facets and aspects of Goan heritage. The first session on the topic 'History through Heritage Goa : from pre-historic times to yesterday' was presented by historian, heritage activist, co-founder and cxecutive member of the Goa Heritage Action Group, Mr. Prajal Sakhardande. He spoke about Goan heritage from the pre-Portugese era to the present times and also explained about many things with respect to their significant heritage value. He also spoke on the modern Goan identity and the need to preserve our unique culture and our Konkani language and thereby our identity.

Dr. Bernadette Gomes, sociologist, teacher and artist spoke about Goan tribal communities, their way of living, their festivals and explained how they being forest dwellers and hence close to nature, have customarily been protecting their natural and environmental heritage. She also focused on the unique heritage we have in Goa of communal harmony.

The next session on 'Traditional Goan Food' was conducted by Ms. Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues, senior librarian, prolific writer and historian. She spoke about traditional Goan food items and about the various changes brought about in our food habits by different influences over time.

Post lunch, a session on 'Konkani Literature & Goan Music' was presented by associate professor and theatre personality, Mr. Cosma Fernandes. After giving a detailed history of the Konkani language and the contribution of various personalities towards fostering Konkani literature, he spoke about Goan music and songs, traditional dance forms, theatre & Goan cinema. This was followed by a very enlightening session on our environmental and natural heritage which was conducted by Mr. Rajendra Kerkar, teacher, environmentalist and prolific writer. He elaborated on Goa's natural heritage comprising the forests and trees, waterbodies, different types of flowers, birds, animals, etc. and explained the need to protect it for the betterment of future generations. He also spoke about the the River Mhadei as being Goa's lifeline and appealed to the youth to actively involve themselves in the difficult task of protecting Goa's natural heritage.

The program concluded with Mr. Elton Fernandes, a T.Y. B.Com student, proposing the Vote of Thanks, followed by the singing of the N.S.S Anthem. Miss Zamila Pacheco and Ms. Cheryl Mendonca , S.Y. B.Com students, ably compered the seminar. Certificates were presented to all the participants at the end of the program.

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