Sunday 23 June 2024

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Society | Heritage

A tribute with a difference..

 

t was a meeting with a difference. A meeting of condolence to Cyril Pacheco, the 43-year old one-time student leader, turned out to be not a mere nostalgia of two-decade old militant student movement but an unanimous resolve to revive the anti-establishment fighting spirit.

The small hall at the Institute Menezes Braganza was packed to its capacity with around 100 former student leaders and activists, many among who hold influential positions in the society today.

They came to pay homage to their comrade - dear Cyril - whom they had lost touch with as everyone got involved in their own professions in the last one and a half decade. The spirit of social consciousness - still living deep in their hearts - brought them all together, going down the memory lane.

'A real tribute to Cyril will be to come together once again and fight back to clean up the totally corroded social and political system', felt most of the speakers.

Personalities like GPSC chairman Avinash Vaze or Panaji JMFC Desmond D'Costa simply reminded the gathering the golden moments they had spent with Cyril (and those sitting in front) during the student movement of late 70s till mid-80s. Shirish Lawande, the in-charge of Nehru Yuva Kendra, literally broke down.

There was no speaker who did not speak of Cyril's lifestyle of simple living and high thinking, his politeness and humbleness, his firmness and non-compromising attitude and even his strategic actions of violence at a crucial moment.

Pundalik Naik, convenor of Konkani Projecho Avaz and a veteran writer, recalled how Cyril had silently planned agitational strategies during the historic agitation for the official language. Nagesh Karmali, the freedom fighter and a writer who presided over the meeting, said he had even contributed to literary movement as an activist.

Adv J S Rebello, who taught Cyril at Don Bosco School, accompanied him during several stages in the movement and also shared his spiritual journey in the last two years, said in his choked voice that his sudden demise is a real loss to the Goan society.

Dr Nandkumar Kamat however took the whole meeting to a different height, stating that the one-time student activists had scattered while politicians are fearlessly getting involved in all kind of corrupt practices solely because we have lost the social support system.

Supporting his argument, trade union leader Christoper Fonseca expressed need to revive the whole spirit of their student days when the government had to think ten times before hiking college fees or even the bus fare. Why are the students quite today, he asked.

Several others also spoke on similar lines, including Adv Aires Rodrigues, Dr Shushrut Martins, Keshav Prabhu, Avinash Bhosle, Sunil Desai, Shashikant Joshi, Prakash Naik and Cerelo Barreto.

There were many others who were sitting in the audience, recalling the golden moments they spent with Cyril during several agitations or social activities. GPCC president Nirmala Sawant, Mathany Saldhana, Adv Satish Sonak, Mohandas Lolienkar, Adv Cleofato Almeida Coutinho, Adv Mahesh Sonak, Prashant Naik and even PI Deu Banaulikar were among them.

Agreeing to the sentiments expressed at the unique condolence meeting, Umesh Mahambre, the compere, went ahead and announced that they would sit together next week to take ahead the spirit Cyril lived with, along with those who still live with the same spirit - fight for justice.


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