26th November is Chandrakant Keni’s birth anniversary. An icon of the Konkani movement and the Opinion Poll who dedicated his life to draw the country’s attention to our native language.
In his death on 3rd February 2009, Goa lost a very distinguished son. The very articulate and versatile Chandrakant Keni never retired. Always had that zeal and determination to keep going. Besides being a distinguished journalist, he was an outstanding writer who wrote in Konkani, Marathi, Hindi and English. His writings were thought provoking and his language was simple, clear and comprehensible. The very humble, unassuming and outspoken, Chandrakant Keni even in his last few years despite his very failing health was always on the move with passion and resolve.
I had the opportunity to first interact with the very knowledgeable and resourceful Chandrakant Keni in January 1979 during our student agitation for 50% bus concession. Our relationship later strengthened over the years.
Chandrakant Keni had firmly asserted that Goans owed it to themselves to preserve their unique culture while lamenting the Goa government’s uncoordinated educational and industrial policy while being very persistent that Goans outside Goa should integrate and participate in the development and future of their land.
In 2001 when Chandrakant Keni was appointed as Chairman of Goa’s NRI Cell, he got then Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to appoint me as Vice-Chairman, a government post I flatly declined to accept as I was fighting against various illegalities of the government. Chandrakant Keni was very upset but he respected my decision.
Though we had a 25 year age difference we understood and respected each other’s views. He was a very caring person, always very concerned about me. I was blessed to have known the very outstanding Goan Chandrakant Bab Keni. A very sincere and dedicated true Goan he always was.