May 27th the day the singularly prestigious Jnanpith Award was conferred on our great Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo was a joyous and uplifting occasion for our land and for us all — indeed a bright spark, amidst the gloom and nauseating political environment.

A very down to earth and outstanding personality, Damodar Mauzo, who I have personally known for decades, has been a prolific author and very outspoken in all that he writes and speaks. Extremely knowledgeable and always with a very broad outlook, Damodar Mauzo has always been a symbol of honesty, integrity and commitment for us all to emulate. He truly embodies the noble spirit of universal humanism.

The very candid Damodar Mauzo has always stood tall among Goans, yet an extremely affable and down to earth person. He has been a source of inspiration and an insightful fountain of knowledge to so many.

In times when we are battling through very dark and turbulent times, with the much celebrated world’s largest democracy now in deep peril, great writers and thinkers like Damodar Mauzo are a ray of hope, the plank of rescue from ignominy.

While we celebrate this great honour bestowed on our very own Damodar Mauzo, let us remain committed to ensure that our voices of dissent are not stifled and nobody is allowed to suppress our right to express the thoughts we have. Let us not forget that a few years ago some fanatics did try to do that to him.  Our great country must retain, nay regain, its democratic and secular fabric.

Let us always be guided by those words of the great French intellectual Voltaire “I do not agree with you. But I shall give up my life for your right to say what you wish”

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