Gerald Fernandes - The past student of St. Lawrence high school who made a mark in politics

Write Comment     |     E-Mail To a Friend     |     Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Print
By Eugene Moodubelle

Moodubelle, 23 December 2009: Defeat and failure are part and parcel of life. Those who run away from the field after defeat or those who never aim towards success after failure are those persons who give up their fight for life and destined to live with the memories of defeat and failure forever rather than having the satisfaction that they at least tried again. Here is the young man-Gerald Fernandes who did not hesitate to mention that he faced first time defeats at three stages of the local government elections. However, rather than giving up the fight, Gerald persevered in his resolve to contest the elections again at each time, and was successful. There is a great lesson from the example of Gerald that failure is not the end of the struggle but the beginning of a new struggle and stepping stone of success.

In a pretty large family, Gerald was born on 19th April 1968 as the fourth among nine siblings, eight brothers and one sister-children of late Felix Fernandes and Cecilia. After completing initial education in the Church Aided Higher Primary School, Gerald joined St. Lawrence High School in 1981, and completed SSLC in 1984, the year of the Silver Jubilee of the high school. Gerald says that his student life in the high school was quite enjoyable. Ananthrai Kamat was his favourite teacher and Dolfy and Edwin were his close friends. Fr. Marian Pinto was the Head Master of the high school when the Silver Jubilee of the high school was celebrated on a grand scale.

After completing SSLC, Gerald did two years Diploma course in construction technology through the MGM College, Udupi. Soon after, at the age of nineteen, Gerald started the transport business, one truck plying between Kerala and Mumbai transporting goods. Gerald closed down the transport business in 1995.  Meanwhile, in 1993, Gerald diversified his activities and along with his brother, Valerian launched the shamiana business. After Valerian acquired a job in Gulf in 2005, Gerald has been handling the shamiana business independently.

When quizzed about his entry into political arena, Gerald said that his interest in politics was neither intended nor planned. In 1993-94 likeminded youths of Moodubelle formed an informal team. When the Belle Grama Panchayat elections were declared in 1994, this team of young people suggested that Gerald should try his luck in the elections. Though he did not have any experience in political activities, Gerald contested the elections from Edmeru Ward only to lose it by mere five votes. Though defeated, Gerald did not give up the challenge and waited patiently for an opportunity in the near future.

Gerald had been active as a member of the Catholic Youth Movement (CYM). He was also elected as the Gurkar of the Sacred Heart Vado where he did excellent work for six years. Meanwhile, he was appointed as the Kaup Block Youth Congress Secretary for three years.

In 1997, Gerald became the Convener of the Youth and Cultural Activities Committee of the Moodubelle parish. In this capacity, Gerald took initiative in organizing a number of activities at the Vado and parish level.  He was chiefly responsible for celebrating the ‘Vadyacho Dhees’ (Day of the Vado) as part of the celebration of the feast of the patron saint of the Vado. Having a get-together along with sports, cultural activities and refreshments or meals became an integral part of the ‘Vadyacho Dhees’.  He also initiated the practice of celebrating Christmas in the Vado along with people of other religions by distributing Christmas sweets and other cultural activities. During the year of the Christa Jayanthi in 2000, Gerald with the cooperation of the then Assistant Parish Priest, Fr. Lawrence Mascarenhas introduced the Parish Day idea in which around 1200 parishioners participated. The Parish Day celebration in which parishioners would participate in various sports and cultural activities along with lunch continued for three years. For two terms between 2001-02, Gerald was the President of the Moodubelle Unit of the Catholic Sabha.

As the Convener, Gerald streamlined the functioning of the Catholic Youth Movement. Recalling the incident that prompted him to take the plunge into politics, Gerald said that in the Souvenir titled  ‘Yuva Prakash’ of the CYM’s Silver Jubilee celebration in 1998, he had given a message in which he lamented that though the Christian youths have been making progress in various fields, they lack participation in politics. He made an appeal to the youths that they should actively take part in politics and achieve higher positions and thus contribute to the society through participation in politics. After reading this message someone questioned Gerald as to why he cannot practice what he preached and himself take the initiative and join politics. This, Gerald says was one of the chief reasons why he was forced to take active part in politics.

There was political awareness in the village and the need was felt to develop a second line of political leadership. With this view few prominent Belleans under the leadership of late Dr. Koradkal, Commodore Jerome Castelino and Fr. Lawrence Mascarenhas launched the Jana Jagruiti Samiti and Dr. Koradkal became its founder President and Commodore its Honorary President. Following the end of Dr. Koradkal’s term, Gerald became its President and continues to be so till now.

Gerald tasted the first victory in the Belle Grama Panchayat elections in 2000, when he got elected as the member of the Panchayat from Kattingeri. While he succeeded where he had failed earlier, Gerald tried his luck at the post of the President of the Belle Grama Panchayat in 2003. However, he failed a second time when he lost the election just by a vote. Meanwhile, Gerald joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and in January 2005, he was appointed as the President of BJP’s Kaup Block Minority Committee.

As per his message in the ‘Yuva Prakash’, Gerald tried to achieve greater height in political sphere and in December 2005 contested and got elected as the member of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat. In 2006, he was appointed as the President of the Udupi District Minority Committee. In January 2007, Gerald got an opportunity to become the Leader of the Opposition (BJP) in the Udupi Zilla Panchayat. However, Gerald’s dream of becoming the President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat was shattered in August 2007 when he lost the race by just one vote. This was the third defeat of Gerald about which he has no regrets as he says victory and defeat are the two sides of the same coin.

In June 2009, Gerald was elected as the Chairman of the Social Justice Committee of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat. This post of Gerald enabled him to become the In-charge President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat from June to August 2009. This was chiefly due to the fact that there was a stay by the High Court on the election to the posts of President and Vice-President of all the Zilla Panchayats in the State due to a dispute on the reservation policy of the government to these posts. Under these circumstances, according to a clause, the Chairman of the Social Justice Committees of the districts would act as In-charge Presidents of such Zilla Panchayats whose posts of Presidents and Vice Presidents would fall vacant till the stay has been vacated. This provision saw Gerald as the In-charge President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat from June to August 2009.

As the In-charge President of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, Gerald used his good office for the development of the Shirva Block Panchayat which comprises of Belle-Kattingeri, Shirva, Kurkal, Manipura and Marne Panchayats. He got nearly 25 crores of rupees sanctioned for the improvement of the roads, construction of bridges and dams as well as providing drinking water facilities in these areas.

Presently, while continuing as the member of the Udupi Zilla Panchayat, Gerald has been appointed by the Karnataka State Government as a member representing Udupi Zilla Panchayat on the State Level Committee for Prime Minister’s New 15 Point Programme for the Welfare of the Minorities. Incidentally, he is the only Christian on this committee.

Gerald married Lydia, daughter of William Barboza in 1995. They have three children-Joy studying in 8th standard, Loy studying in 3rd standard and Joyce in second standard.

As his Alma Mater, St. Lawrence High School celebrates its Golden Jubilee, Gerald remembers that when the High School celebrated its Silver Jubilee he was its students in the final year of the school, 10th standard. Since then a lot of water has flown in all rivers that surround Moodubelle. Gerald feels that since the Silver Jubilee of the High School, a lot of development in terms of infra structure and various curricular and co-curricular activities has taken place in and around the school-PU College complex  under the able leadership of successive Correspondents and Principals. He feels proud of St. Lawrence High School where he gained education and learnt lessons of life.


Write your Comments on this Article
Your Name
Native Place / Place of Residence
Your E-mail
Your Comment   You have characters left.
Security Validation
Enter the characters in the image above
Disclaimer: Kindly do not post any abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful material or SPAM. reserves the right to block/ remove without notice any content received from users.
GTI MarigoldGTI Marigold
Anil Studio
Badminton Sports AcademyBadminton Sports Academy

Now open at Al Qusais

Veez Konkani IllustratedVEEZ Konkani

Weekly e-Magazine

New State Bank of India, Customer Service Point
Cool House ConstructionCool House Construction
Uzvaad FortnightlyUzvaad Fortnightly

Call : 91 9482810148

Your ad Here
Power Care
Ryan Intl Mangaluru
Ryan International
pearl printing

Konkani Literature World