When you think of Goa, you think of sand, sun and sea. But it’s not just that. It’s also about people. This tiny state has given birth to many famous personalities. Let’s talk about 10 Famous Personalities from Goa, apart from politics.

10 Famous Personalities from Goa

There are a lot of famous and notable people, who have contributed their bit to the various fields like music, literature, sports, science and others. Here is a list of 10 such eminent personalities who have made us Goans proud:

  1. Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale

Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale are sisters born in a Marathi speaking Gomantak Maratha family, in the princely state of Indore, part of the Central India Agency (now part of Madhya Pradesh) and their native town is Mangeshi, Goa.

Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India is an Indian playback singer and music director. She is one of the best-known and most respected playback singers in India.

Her career started in 1942 and has spanned over seven decades. She has recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films and has sung songs in over 36 regional Indian languages and foreign languages.

Asha Bhosale is best known for her playback singing in Hindi cinema, although she has a wider repertoire. Her career started in 1943 and has spanned over six decades. Renowned for her soprano voice range and often credited for her versatility, Bhosle’s work includes film music, pop, ghazals, bhajans, traditional Indian classical music, folk songs, qawwalis, and Rabindra Sangeets. Apart from Hindi, she has sung in over 20 Indian and foreign languages.

Both sisters have received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award and the Padma Vibhushan amongst other National Film Awards and Filmfare Awards. Lata Didi as she is fondly called also has been honoured by the Bharat Ratna Award.

2. Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki

Pandit Jitendra Abhisheki (21 September 1929 – 7 November 1998) was a vocalist, composer and scholar of Indian classical, semi-classical, and devotional music. He was born in Mangeshi, Goa. His family was traditionally attached to the Mangeshi Temple.

While he distinguished himself in Hindustani music, he is also credited for the revival of the Marathi musical theatre in the 1960s. Jitendra Abhisheki has been praised as being “among the stalwarts of Hindustani classical music who mastered other musical forms as the thumri, tappa, bhajan, and bhavgeet. His work in Marathi natyasangeet is well-known.

Besides son Shounak Abhisheki, Abhisheki’s well-known musical disciples include Asha Khadilkar, Devaki Pandit, Shubha Mudgal, Ajit Kadkade, Raja Kale, Prabhakar Karekar, Vijay Koparkar, Mahesh Kale and other renowned singers.

3. Chris Perry

Chris Perry (25 November 1928 − 25 January 2002) a musician, composer, songwriter and film producer was born at Borda, Madgaon.

Chris Perry was an exceptionally gifted trumpeter, but he was also at ease with blowing instruments as saxophone, trumpet and flute as well as finger instruments like keyboard, piano and guitar. He learnt to read and write music all by himself. His performance of the music composition Cherry Pink and the Apple Blossom White breathlessly on trumpet earned him the sobriquet as the Man with the Golden Trumpet.

Chris Perry revolutionized the Konkani music scene by introducing jazz music and he is credited with taking Konkani popular music to a new level.

4. Mario de Miranda

Mario de Miranda was a cartoonist and painter based in Loutolim in Goa. Mario Miranda’s early cartoons presented vignettes of Goan village life, a theme he is best known for even today.

Miranda started his career in an advertising studio, where he worked for four years, before taking up cartooning full-time. His creations, such as Miss. Nimbupani

and Miss. Fonseca, appeared on a regular basis in Femina, Economic Times, and The Illustrated Weekly of India.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1988, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and All India Cartoonists’ Association, Bangalore, honoured him with a lifetime achievement award amongst other awards and recognitions. He was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2012.

He held solo exhibitions in over 22 countries, including the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, France, Yugoslavia, and Portugal.

5. Bruno Coutinho

Bruno Coutinho, one of the finest strikers who came from Goa and achieved great success in 1990s. Born on 6th October 1969 Bruno Coutinho started playing football from his school days.

Having made his debut for the national team in 1989 President Cup in Dhaka he established himself as the leading striker. In a career spanning around 12 years, the diminutive striker terrorized the rival defenders with his skill and pace. Bruno captained the U-23 side in Pre-Olympics qualifiers in 1991 and then went on to become the captain of the senior team for the 1995 SAFF Games and 1999 SAFF Cup.

Coutinho was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2001, a national Indian award for excellence in sport.

6. Raghunath Mashelkar

Raghunath Anant Mashelkar is a Chemical Engineer, born on 1st January 1943 in Mashel in Goa.

He served as the Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – a network of 38 laboratories, for over 11 years. Prior to this, he was Director of National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) for 6 years. He has also been the President of a number of scientific bodies and committees in his outstanding career. He has been on Board of Directors of several companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd., Tata Motors Ltd., Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Thermax Ltd., Piramal Enterprises Ltd., KPIT Technologies Ltd., etc.

As Director General of CSIR, Mashelkar led the process of transformation of CSIR. CSIR progressed in US patent filing to an extent that they reached 40% share of the US patents granted to India in 2002.

He currently serves as Chancellor of Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), formerly the University Department of Chemical Technology (UDCT).

7. Dr. Manohar Rai Sardesai

Dr. Manohar Rai Sardesai (18 January 1925 – 22 June 2006) was a Konkani poet, writer and French translator from Goa. He received his Doctorat ès lettres françaises for his thesis “L’image de l’Inde en France” from the University of Sorbonne. He has been credited for an upsurge of modern Konkani poetry. He taught French in several colleges in Bombay at the University of Bombay and the University of Goa.

Sardesai was a member of the executive board, Sahitya Akademi, representing Konkani, and also wrote for the National Book Trust of India. Notable collections of his poems are ‘Ayj re dholar podli bodi’ (1961), ‘Goema tujya mogakhatir’ (1964), ‘Jayat jage’ (1964), ‘Jay punnyabhui, jai Bharat’ (1965), ‘Bebyachem kazar’ (1965), ‘Jayo juyo’ (1970) and ‘Pisollim’ (1979). He translated many works from French into Konkani. He also produced the Konkani-English Dictionary in 2004 and was Chief Editor for the four-volume Konkani Encyclopedia, published by Goa University in 1999.

The French Government conferred him with the title “Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques” in 1988, in recognition of his services to the French language and culture. Dr. Sardesai also won many awards for his literary contributions and in the teaching profession. Most notable among the awards is that of the Sahitya Akademi, Delhi for ‘Pisollim’.

8. Vasudev Salgaocar

Vasudev Mahadeva Salgaocar (1916-1984) was a businessman, and the founder and chairman of the V. M. Salgaocar Group of Companies, active mainly in iron ore mining, but also in coal mining and wind energy.

He also founded Salgaocar Football Club in 1956, a professional football club who play in the I-League. They are based in Vasco, Goa, and are owned by the V. M. Salgaocar Group of Companies.

Since his death, the company has been led by his two sons Shivanand V. Salgaocar and Dattaraj V. Salgaocar, joint managing directors.

9. Dada Vaidya

Ramachandra Pandurang Vaidya was born in a family of famous ayurvedic practitioners. He was known in real life was a multifaceted personality. He has contributed significantly to medicine, education, arts, literature, politics and social upliftment.

Born in Keri on 8th September 1859, he finished his primary education at his ancestral house and later learnt Sanskrit. His deep interest in medicine helped him discover some secrets in Ayurveda, which he used to treat thousands of people at his clinic in Keri and travelling to other parts of Goa. He was the only one to be officially recognised and allowed to practice publicly as a physician by the Portuguese.

He was the first Indian physician to start a postal order service and dispense his medicines for the cure of T.B., which was then rampant as an epidemic in Portugal. He campaigned against illetracy and alcoholism. Alogwith Sitaram Kerkar, he co-founded Leaugue for Propogation of Education and a high school in Ponda.

10. Bakibab Borkar

Balkrishna Bhagwant Borkar, also known as Ba Bha Borkar or Ba-ki-baab, (30 November 1910 – 8 July 1984) was a poet from Goa. He was born in Borim, situated on the banks of the Zuari river. He started writing poems at an early age.

Borkar joined Goa’s fight for freedom in the 1950s and moved to Pune, where he worked for the radio. Most of his literature is written in Marathi, though his Konkani output is also considerable. At the age of just 20 in 1930, his first collection of poems ’Pratibha’ was published.

Bakibaab’s forte was his diverse sensibility, his multi-coloured imagery and ease with which he could showcase the joys and sorrows of life. His works were about nature, patriotism, about body and soul, sensuous and meditative, about individual and society. He was awarded Padma Shri, in recognition of his distinguished service in the field of Literature & Education. He was also awarded the Tamrapatra (Copper Plaque) in 1974 by the Government of India for his meritorious services to the cause of India’s freedom. He was also honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981.


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