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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Konkani pride

It was a moment that the entire Konkani speaking community was waiting for . Not disappointing them on this count was Keith Pullin, adjudicator, Guinness World Records. His announcement, “The record set by Communidade Evangelica Luterana Sao Pa ulo, Ulbra, Brazil, in July 2004, no longer stands” sent the packed amphitheatre at Kalaangann, Shaktinagar, here in Mangalore into a wild delirium, followed by unbridled celebrations.

The record in question was for the world’s longest singing attempt by multiple singers set by the Brazilian group on July 2 and 3, four years ago, as they sang for for 36 hours. Bettering this record at the Kalaangann amphitheatre by a good four hours was the city-based premier Konkani cultural organisation Mandd Sobhann. They began their effort at 6 a.m. on Republic Day and ended it at one minute past 10 p.m., a day later.

For all the months of planning which went into ensuring that the record was bettered, the crowd had to endure 45-minutes of suspense as Keith Pullin delayed confirming the record in order to meet certain procedural requirements. A day earlier Pullin had said: “I have brought the (World Record) certificate with me and will hand it over as soon as the world record has been achieved.”

Involved in the endeavour were 1,705 singers who sang 553 Konkani songs to break the earlier record. The Mandd Sobhann team bettered the record when Jeri Meri from Mumbai performed at just a little past 6 p.m. on Sunday. Pullin, who has been involved in several adjudications in the past said, “What I admired was the coming together of community and a splendid disciplined effort which went into it.”

Pleased as punch with this effort was the Gurkaar (chief) of Mandd Sobhann, Eric Ozario. “We have done everything humanly possible to ensure that this record is bettered,” he said. Visibly exhausted by the effort, Ozario, who was leading his troupe in the final leg of the record attempt could not but help shake a leg on the podium even as he conducted the group , while holding aloft a placard announcing the last song.

Explaining the reasons behind the success in setting the world record, he said, “It was meticulous planning and cooperation from every person entrusted with a specific task, which helped us achieve the feat that we set out to do. Moreover, it was our way of ensuring that the reluctant Konkani pride was taken to its well-deserved heights. Interestingly, the logo of the record-breaking attempt showed a Konkani flag on top of the world. The Mandd Sobhann did not fully utilise the permissible breaks in between songs, but were well within that. “We did not need the break, for everything had been planned to the last second during the course of the rehearsals,” he said.

The fact that the singers were as young as 14-years and as old as 78-years and from various parts of the Konkani-speaking community, told its own story.

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