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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ulhas Buyão — a fighter right to the very end

And life goes on for us irrespective of many of our near and dear ones who leave us and go during our journey. But all that is left behind are those memories of them – both the good and the not so good ones sometimes. But when the person passes away, those not so good don’t really matter at all. What matters is the difference made by that individual while alive.

And when we talk of one of our state’s most recent and priceless loss, we could go down the history books only to look back at instances like the ‘Opinion Poll’ when he traveled from Pernem to Canacona singing songs about ‘two-leaves’, the symbol of the ‘Anti-Merger’ with Maharashtra.
His songs made great impact on Goans and the opinion poll was ultimately won by the ‘Anti-mergerists’ and Goa was retained forever for Goans; thanks partly also to Ulhas Buyão. These being the last periods of major change that influenced the whole of Goa, Ulhas Buyão has left a lasting mark not only in this recent history of ours but also in the hearts of all his family and friends that he left behind on April 16, 2007 when he breathed his last.
“He was a fighter right to the very end” is a line synonymous to every person who we came across who knew Ulhas Buyão. “His ill health did not dampen his spirit or kept him away from singing and composing music” was what Fr Pratap Naik, Director of TSKK and a closely working colleague of Mr Buyão had to say about him when he was chosen for his valuable contribution to Konkani lyrics, music and stage performance for the last forty years to receive the Antonio Pereira Konknni Puroskar last year.
Ulhas Buyão was born on June 21, 1944 at Zambaulim, Goa. ‘Channeache Rati’ was the famous song sung by him and penned by Uday Bhembre that is even still quite popular since its remake by Ulhas Buyão’s son Siddhnath Buyão. Ulhas Buyão was an artist with multiple talents.
He acted in Konkani and Marathi plays and tiatros. Besides writing several of his own Konkani plays and tiatros, he acted in M. Boyer’s “Ekuch Rosto”; Prem Kumar’s “Visvas” and Mike Mehta’s tiatr “Sunita” to name a few. He also published “Rat Ranni”, a Konkani periodical in Roman script besides his own Konkani books “Ram Gita”, “Hanga Khun zala” and “Yo Go Tum Manddar”. On August 25, 2006, during the Antonio Pereira Konkani Puraskar function at Margao his Konknni novel “Novi Fantodd” in Roman script was released by Dr Pratap Naik, SJ, Director of TSKK.
Clearly, a artist with immense amount of passion and pride for his identity. Goa Shahir was what he was popularly called due to his immense love for being a Goan that he proudly displayed. Like said earlier, life goes on but it is a must to take whatever learnings we can from our elders and there seem to be a lot of facts about this person that would inspire the ‘Goan’ in us.
For instance, his own son Siddnath Buyao is the current president of the ‘Save Goa Front’ that is actively involved in developments in Goa for the better. So now we also know who could have possibly also been a part of this initiative.
And on an interesting note, Sharon Mazarello mentioned that Ulhas Buyão was in the midst of writing a political play that she was helping him type which has now been left incomplete without any plans for it yet. “I can’t help but smile when I think of Ulhasbab for the pleasant person he was. He was always very polite with the ladies. ‘Hey Beautiful…’He would say whenever he used to meet me and then we’d both break into laughter”
Apparently, it would be very important to know more about the type of person he was and what better way than to hear memoirs and anecdotes of him from some of his colleagues he closely worked with before he left us.
Prince Jacob:
Absolutely he was a fighter. And, what a one at that. Nevertheless, he always fought for something only with a very good reason. He didn’t believe in violence at all, but he would come out very strong orally whenever he had a truth to propagate. He was so strong willed a person that he was an inspiration to most of us constantly busy tiatrists who sometimes thought of excusing ourselves from certain of our meetings due to our hectic schedules. And then we would think of Ulhasbab who would always be there and rearing to go anywhere at all times in spite of his acute illness and we’d automatically get inspired. I even remember when he once accompanied me for a holiday to Hyderabad. He went for his Dialyses treatment, then straight got on the train with me and when we came back a week later, went for his next Dialyses treatment. He was unstoppable.

Wilmix Wilson Mazarello:
Ulhas Buyão was an instant composer of songs. Especially during the Opinion Poll, he made impromptu compositions and sang and the people simply loved his improvisations. He once narrated to me the story behind his famous song ‘Manglurachea Xarant’. Being ‘Goy Shahir’ he was asked by the people to sing a song at a Konkani Convention at Mangalore. It was morning and the singing programme was in the evening.
He started to think what he should sing. Just then he saw a beautiful Mangalorean girl there going around selling souvenirs. He was inspired. Then and there, he started composing song ‘Manglurachea Xarant Ek Cheddum Dekhilam” (I’ve seen a girl in the city of Mangalore…)
On enquiring about the girl, he found out that the girl was also an amateur singer having won few prizes in singing Konkani songs. That was the icing on the cake for Ulhasbab. He composed the song and requested the girl to sing it with him on stage. They both rehearsed it once with the band, and the actually sang it. It was an instant hit. They had five encores to sing the same song again and again. From then on, Ulhas Buyao is considered by Mangaloreans as one of their favourite Goan singers.
Margao reporters adds: Konkani Bhasha Mandal on Monday paid rich tributes to two great sons of Goa — Frank Fernando and Ulhas Buyao — at a condolence meeting at Konkani Bhavan here.
The duo were remembered for their rich contribution to Konkani music and language as singers Lulu and Ketan Bhat belted songs such as “Claudia” and “Goenchea Mojoea Goenkarano” associated with these two music greats.
Later, Former Speaker of the Goa Legislative Assembly, Tomazinho Cardozo said Goa has lost two great sons who used the medium of music and songs to protect Goa.
“The demise of Fernando and Buyao has left a big void and would be difficult to fill”, he said.
Cardozo, however, expressed his shock over the poor response from the people for the condolence meeting.
“There’s something wrong in Goa when people fail to remembers great people after their death”, he said.
He said both Fernando and Buyao made huge sacrifice for Goa, Konkani and Music and underlined the need for the younger generation to take a few lessons from such great people. A drummer Antonio Rodrigues also spoke,
when he said that Frank Fernando faced immense difficulties when he produced Konkani film Nirmon.

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