Goa, the land of artists and beauty ethereal. A land that has been made proud by a number of stalwarts in the fields of music, drama, architecture, etc.
The common thread that binds these persons of note is the struggle and rejection they have experienced. Goan writer Ives Tavares fits in easily with his suffering artistic and literary brethren.
Ives Tavares, a native of Ilha-de-Rachol, South Goa, has done commendable work, bringing him fame and appreciation. His voluminous tome Povitr Pustokantlem Bhanddar (a Roman Konkani biblical concordance).
The gargantuan stature of the book is astounding at 5.5 feet in height and around 180 kg in weight.
Povitr Pustokantlem Bhanddar lists the names of persons mentioned in the Bible and contains 23,640 pages.
Recently, Tavares made some additions to this book, and now the pages have gone up to 53,000. His book was entered in the Limca Book of Records last year. With seven records to its credit, it is the only Romi Konkani book of such volume to be written to date, Tavares tells us.
The journey of completing this herculean task was not easy and, at times, it was frustrating for Tavares. He recalls that around 15 years back he had gone to the hospital where he saw that a family was struggling to find a suitable name for a newborn.
That day, an idea struck Ives's mind like a thunderbolt – it was to write a book with all the names of the characters from the Bible.
Since that day, Ives set himself on the mission to accomplish what might seem next to impossible to most.
Despite his precarious financial condition, Ives remained undeterred. The local parish priest at the time galvanised good Samaritans to support Ives.
Inevitably, Ives made progress with a man of goodwill offering the use of his shop along with the computer systems. A few staff members at the shop lent a helping hand in the progression of the book.
For a few months, things proceeded without much trouble. But soon hard times hit again. Perhaps God was testing Ives’ commitment, will and patience. Ives’ was informed that he would have to move location as the owner of the shop was unable to pay the salaries of the staff.
Since Ives started working alone, things slowed down.
Apart from this difficulty of no helping hands, Ives’ financial woes continued. Pleas for monetary support were met with lip service and hollow promises.
Ives narrates one incident wherein a person appreciated his work and said he would provide financial aid. He asked Ives to meet him in five days. When Ives tried to call him and meet him, that person evaded Ives's phone calls and attempts to meet him.
In another incident, Ives sought the help of a former chief minister of Goa. The politician was all praise for the work, calling it precious and assuring financial help.
When Ives approached the ex-CM later, the politician said, ‘I have exhausted my funds by helping many people,’ and put Rs 2500 in Ives’ pocket.
‘I was shocked and heartbroken to experience this incident. The person who was assuring me to help with Rs 10 lakh had sent me back with Rs 2500 in my pocket,’ says Ives.
Ives continues, describing the disheartening comments made to him, 'Then there was one priest who had said that it would require two lifetimes for me to complete this work related to the Bible. But my faith in Jesus didn't shake, I continued my work, and within a short time, this impossible task became possible. It is a true saying that God works in his own mysterious way.'
There were technical hurdles too. Ives’ computer hard drive crashed and around 5000 pages were erased.
'That day, I cried, and I started wondering why I was facing so many difficulties when I was doing religious work. I then prayed at our village church and resumed my work. It took me almost 15 years and more than 10 lakhs expense to complete this huge book,' Ives says.
The seven records that Povitr Pustokantlem Bhanddar holds are India's World Record (Longest Book), World Records India (World's Biggest Roman Konkani Biblical Concordance), India Book of Records (twice-Thickest Book), Asia Book of Records (Thickest Book), Champion Book of Records (Longest Book), Universal Records Forum and Universal Konkani Legend Award, given by A N Nagvenkar (Chairman of Ann Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology). He also took part in the International Records Festival 2022 last year, where he was applauded for his work.
Well-known organisations such as Dalgado Konknni Akademi, Siolim São João Traditional Boat Festival & Cultural Organization, Revolutionary Goan, South Tribal Forums, Youth Club of Manora-Raia and Universal Pro-Life Conference.
But the Government of Goa has not supported Ives in any way at all. Although his success story was published in the media, there was not a peep from the government's side to aid him.
He was not even considered for the state award for his work despite it making it into the Limca Book of Records.
Ives reveals that two politicians from South Goa had promised to raise his issue in the assembly session, but it did not happen.
“I am planning to work on another book, provided funds are given to me. I am not working anywhere, and for the last 15 years, I dedicated all this time to work on this book. I expected the state government to support me in this mission, but I am disheartened now. It seems like there is no value given to hard work and talent in this state," he says with disappointment heavy in his voice.