Monday, January 26, 2009



Today, November 13, 2006, we commemorate the 12th death anniversary of
Reginaldo Basilio Fernandes, “Patxai Romansincho” (King of Konkani novels).
He was born to clarinet player, Antonio Caridade Fernandes and Carmelina in
idyllic Siolim village in Bardez Taluka, Goa, where rare events occur
regularly. He lived at Siolim’s Aframento Vaddi, the locale immortalized in
Goa’s Mande as “Siole dongra sokolu ….”

The second decade of the last century proved very lucky for the Siolkars
because it produced two great persons – Joãozinho (Johnson) Carvalho
(1913-1996) and Reginaldo B. Fernandes (1914–1994). Both performed at the
Emissora de Goa during Portuguese rule. Both of them passed away one after
another though not in the same order as they were born. Some of the other
famous names from Siolim that come to my mind are: Antoninho D’Souza,
another great musician and maestro who served as the music director of the
Emissora de Goa (pre-liberation) and All India Radio (post-liberation),
Panjim; Santan Fernandes, a violinist and a choir specialist and “motiti”
singer whose tenor voice prevailed over everyone’s at “Aitarache Pas”
(Passion Sundays). One of Goa’s most prominent tiatrists, Kid Boxer, as
well as the dwarfish Mini Diogo also hail from Siolim, and, of course, Remo
Fernandes, to name a new.

When Reginaldo’s father succumbed to a paralytic stroke, Reginaldo had to
take over as the breadwinner of the family. Hence, at the age of 18, he
boarded the coastal steam-ship and left for Bombay. A.V. D’Cruz, another
renowned Siolkar in Bombay at the time, spotted Reginald’s talent for

Reginaldo took to writing in Bombay in 1932 to get over his homesickness.
The moment he published a book, he would send a copy to his wife, who would
read it aloud to all the neighbors, who eagerly gathered at his house to
hear it. His romantic literature, filled with nostalgia for rustic Goa, was
instantly devoured by the Konkani reading public. His narrative transported
the reader on a royal tour of exotic, sprawling mansions, peopled with
princely aristocrats. The mood and tone of the narrative took off with the
ominous hoot of the owl, the crackling of dry leaves along a lonely pathway,
trickling of rain in a stream, a dog howling in the distance; a hyena
howling on the hills at night, the soothing rustle of the swaying palm
leaves, the bubbling brooks or the peal of the bell at the Angelus time.

Reginaldo was a master story teller but unlike today he lived in an age when
awards and honors hardly existed. His sole reward was a satisfied reading
public. The Kuwait Goan Association, however, honored him for his
contribution to Konkani. He was also the recipient of the Goa State
Cultural Award for 1992-93 for his outstanding performance in writing.
According to his son, Salvador, following Goa’s liberation, he had an option
to migrate to Portugal but the very thought of missing his daily dose of
cashew fenni convinced him there was no place like home.

Reginaldo has written in all 177 “Romansi” (Konkani novels) in Roman script
with titles ranging from letters A to Z – a feat, I am afraid, none will be
able to surpass, especially given the present rate of written Konkani in
Roman script!

“Reginaldacheo Romansi melar keleleo.” (Reginaldo’s novels were sweetened
with sugar.) If I know Konkani today, it is due to Reginaldo’s Romansi. At
the age of barely 10, I was able to read Konkani without anyone’s guidance
and soon thereafter I came across Romansi and took a liking for them. I
have read most of Reginaldo’s Romansi. His Romansi were so good that once I
started to read them I could not put them down. I would sit by the
flickering “petrolacho divo” (kerosene-based lamp) and continue to read them
until early morning when I would finish them. Sometimes, the kerosene in
the lamp ran out and I had to refill it. I could not study past midnight
but when it came to reading Reginaldo’s Romansi, I didn’t mind keeping awake
after my studies up till 5:00 a.m. and sometimes beyond when the birds
welcomed the dawn with their singing. He created such an interest in the
reader that he carried him/her with the story till the end; only the readers
knew the value and magic of Reginaldo’s writing. Oh Reginaldo uncle, I miss
your Romansi so much!

Besides being numero uno writer in Konkani novels, he was also a proficient
lyricist, musician and playwright. He has left behind several Konkani
compositions, including the melancholic “Adeus Korchea Vellar” sung by the
late Allen Costa, which is till today played on All India Radio. This
particular number was very famous at weddings. The moment the band struck
it, especially ‘Johnson & his Jolly Boys’, the folk knew that it was time to
part. The famous Goan band leader, the late Joãozinho Carvalho once said,
“Reginaldo Fernandes is like a khoddop (rock) on the music scene. He
excelled on the violin as well as the trumpet.” The vast majority of his
fans were hardly aware that Reginaldo was not merely a “Patxai Romansincho”
but also a complete musician – a violinist and a trumpeter who was born when
music was taught in parochial schools in Goa’s villages and with the
advantage of learning it under the music maestro, Zefferino D’Cruz. He also
figured among the Goan musicians who played for the Hindi film industry.

Reginaldo possessed a melodious voice. He wrote and presented 17 Konkani
dramas. In 1970, he wrote dialogues for the film “Kortubancho Sonvsar,
which was produced by Britona Films.

Here are the lyrics of a Konkani song which was devoted to the King of


Munis sonvsarant ieta, aple ikmotin dis sarta
Devan dilelem dennem to vaprun fuddar aplo korta
Konn nanv zoddunk vavurta, konn duddvam pattlean morta
Punn munis mortoch, kortubancho ugddass tacho sonvsarant urta

Reginald Fernandes, ganvan to Siolecho
Moipaxi utrancho, ani lhanvikaiecho
Ekxem sot’tor ani sat buk borovn, record dorla apnnancho
Novembrache 13ver somplo, Patxai Konkani Romansincho

Sat tuvem dakoilet, pustokam Tarizona
Barabasachem jivit vachun ratik nid poddonk nam
Golkonddachi Girestkai, tujem chintop vachpich zannam
Valencia cheddvachi churchureanchi istor azun visronk zainam

Tachim borim pustokam, Zorzorro ani Arabeskar
Tachea hea orixtt vavrak, mevla Gulab Puroskar
Rolling Trophy bhettovpi, amche Kuwaitche Goenkar
Tiatranchea Utsovak kel’lo, Reginaldacho sotkar

A to Z okxearanim, Romanxi boroileat tannem
Perdidade pustok vachit tea mukar dovorlem nimannem
Sotra tiatr boroilet, muzgaponnanchem aslem dennem
State Cultural Award mevla Devachem ievchea adim apovnnem

Aikon khobor mornanchi, kallzak hea zalo gavo
Patxai Konkani Romansincho, dusro zait kai favo
Oixim vorsanche piraier, palovlo Konknnincho divo
Reginaldak, sorginchem suk, Dhoniam tum kor favo
Goenkaranim, ugddasak tachea, monument bandunk zavo

(From Dom’s antique shelf)

The devout Siolkar would wake up at the first peal of the morning bell and
would never miss St. Anthony’s novena every Tuesday at the Siolim church. A
helpful little girl, Milagarina Perpetua Aneca, was his constant help and
companion during his last days. Reginaldo Fernandes breathed his last on
Sunday, November 13, 1994, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Nursing Home in
Anjuna. Milagrina recalls that he was extremely fond of his songs
“Sorvbhovmtim Uzvadd Charneancho” and “Adeus Korchea Vellar” – a tune that
the band struck when Romansi writer’s and musician’s body was lowered into
the grave.

A person spends his life time and gives his best to establish a name for
himself, family and the society but the moment he passes away, people tend
to forget him so fast as if he didn’t exist. This is what happened when
Reginaldo passed away; there was no immediate announcement of his death.
The Goa media – newspapers, radio and TV - failed to report/broadcast the
news of his death adequately.

The following lyrics of a Konkani song summarizes Reginaldo’s life and
regrets the fact no adequate publicity was given to the King’s death:


Nixeanni Patxeai asta porjen vinchun kaddlolo
Tosoch ek Patxea aslo abru-man zoddlolo
State Award passun tea Patxaik mevlolo
Toch to Reginaldo Fernandes, Romansincho Patxea mhunn soglleanim vakanddlolo

Siolim, Bardez tuzo ganv, sonvsarak famad tujem nanv
Romanxi vikrek iet, lok rokddeoch geit vochon marun dhanv
Romanxi tujeo vachun, bhogtalem satisfasanv
Avchit Reginald somplo, kallzak balo toplo, dukan poddlo Goencho ganv

Jinsavar Romanxi tuvem, boroileo kosleo-kosleo
Ek pavtt vachunk lagot tor, bond korunk disonasleo
Romansi xapun haddunk, zaiteo oddchonim sonsleo
Tosleo anink ievcheo nam, amkam vachunk mevcheo nam, Romanxi tujea osleo

Devan bhorlolo taka, anik sabar denneanim
Tea tempar to gaztalo, boro trumpet vaztalo Hindi filmanim
Tiatr pasun dakoilet, vakanddlo taka sogleanim
Reginald tum ontorlo punn sodanch jivo urlo, Goenkarachea kallzanim

Konknni bhaxe pasot tuvem, zaite sacrifis kelet
Konkani bhas samballunk, donxim vodik buk boroilet
Tuvem boroilele buk, sodanch ugddasak urlet
Punn Konknni Bhaxa Mandal amchea Reginaldak te sapuch visorlet

Dusre zatichea munxeanim, aplea munxeank soddunk nam
Tanche melear boroinnar, rokddich khobor paper-ar, haddlea xivai ravonk nam
Serkaran Reginaldachi, matui khoboruch korunk nam
Reginald somplo mhunn paper-anim pasun rokddich khobor haddunk nam
Radiocher, TV-cher pasun Reginaldachi khobor sangonk nam

(From Dom’s antique shelf)

Reginaldo sacrificed his life and left behind for us a treasure of Konkani
books. On behalf of Goans, I request his surviving children, Salvador and
Philoo (Gaydon), to republish his books and distribute the wealth among
Goans so they may benefit from it, especially now when we are fighting for
Konkani in Roman script. I, for one, wouldn’t mind reading his Romansi
again. Alternatively, the Goa government could take over the project and
have the books reprinted and republished.

Next, on behalf of Goans, I suggest that a monument be built in Reginaldo’s
memory in his birth place, Siolim. This is the least we can do for the man
who has done and given us so much in his life time.

May Reginaldo’s soul rest in peace.


Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna/Dhahran, KSA


  1. I simply love reading the novels of reginald fernandes. And it is with great pride that I proclaim that I am privileged to call myself the grandson of siolim village that given rise to so many great persons who have contributed a lot to the goan culture.

  2. I started reading Reginald's novels when I was 10 years old. My aunty was great fan of his so I got to read most of his novels but I would love to read all of them again!

  3. Why don't you add a page about him on Wikipedia with proper references?