Original settlements (‘roots’) of mangalore catholic families in kanara/mangalore and the community’s socio-economic evolution and transition in recent times.
By gerald lobo prabhu
It is widely known that the ancestors of many Catholic families that constitute a sizeable section of the contemporary Catholic community of Mangalore once lived in Goa for centuries. Their lineage can be traced back to Saraswat/Gowd Saraswat Brahmins. The name Saraswat suggests the legendary origin of the community. They were Aryans, originally inhabiting the valley of the river Saraswati in Kashmir. One theory posits that around the 12th century A.D. when the river Saraswati dried up the Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmins migrated Southward in search of fresh pastures which they found in Gomantak or Goa. The migration of these people is believed to be one of the six major migrations of Kashmiris down the ages to other parts of India, the sixth and the last exodus being that of the Kashmiri Hindu Pandits in recent times to other parts of India because of the unabating unrest in their homeland from the time the country gained Independence.
The Brahmin forefathers of many of the present day Mangalorean Catholics who had settled in Goa were proselytized to Christianity by zealous Portuguese missionaries from the early 16th century onwards. The converts, however, found it hard to break away from their ancient Brahminical customs and traditions. Intolerant of the resistance of the converts to change their way of life and outlook the Portuguese began persecuting them even to the extent of depriving them of their lands and other possessions. Unable to bear the harassment by the Portuguese and also because of the Inquisition and other reasons, a large number of Catholics started leaving Goa, the land so dear to them and moved further Southward to the palm fringed Konkan coast of South India (also called Tulu Nadu), home to several non-Christian communities. The first such influx took place in 1571. While a few families settled in what is now North Kanara, a vast majority of them made their way to the villages of South Kanara and to Mangalore and its environs, while a couple of families gravitated further South to the coastal villages of Tellicherry, and Cannanore, in Kerala. The newcomers settled in the land unknown to them and took to agriculture, their main traditional/ancestral subsistence activity. For reasons such as Goa’s changing fortunes brought about by the Mahratta invasions, periodic draught conditions etc two other ingressions into South Kanara happened in 1683 and 1739, mainly from Bardez, Divar Island and Charo in Goa.
Initially the insular immigrant Catholics faced some hostility from the local non-Christian fringe elements, but by and large these peaceful and industrious people were welcomed and generously allowed by the local land owners and administrative powers that be to own or take on lease agricultural land at the places they chose to settle. Enjoying the patronage of the local rulers, they gradually established their ‘roots’ and integrated into the predominantly non- Christian mainstream. Many of them, by dint of hard work and enterprise and weathering harsh conditions prospered and became wealthy farmers and Zamindars (owners and lessors of agricultural land). The more resourceful with business instincts, either singly or in partnership ventured mainly into coconut, arecanut, beetle leaves, spices and timber business, while others eked out a living by cultivating paddy and other cash crops, vegetables and fruit, horticulture and husbandry, fresh water fishing, petty trade and in the service of the local administration. It was not all hunky dory though for the new settlers in the harsh environment and some of them at times, because of their Catholic faith were subjected to discrimination and indignities by the non-Christians. But the victimized Catholics suffered in silence and in their own ways made significant contributions to the economic, cultural and social life of the community and the society at large.
From the time our ancestors from Goa made their abode in the Kanara region in the latter part of the 16th century, which marked a new and significant chapter – a watershed in the history of Kanara Catholics, until about the 1960’s, which witnessed the beginning of an exodus to foreign lands of our Catholics, especially the aspirational youth in pursuit of higher studies and lucrative jobs, the community, except for a period of 15 years from 1784 to 1799 was strongly entrenched in the rural parts of South Kanara and Mangalore, which was evolving into a sprawling semi-urban commercial and maritime centre, where Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore held sway and was engaged in hostilities and pitched battles with the British East India Company who were thwarting his territorial ambitions and evil designs.
Ash Wednesday, 1784 was the blackest day in the history of Kanara Catholics. On that ill-fated day, Tipu Sultan’s soldiers, on his orders mercilessly evicted a vast majority of the hapless Catholics numbering about 35 to 40000 from their settlements/homes, rounded them up and forced them to tread through the treacherous Western Ghats and rough terrain to Seringapatam (the capital of Tipu Sultan, about 200 miles from Mangalore) as captives on suspicion that they were siding the British against him and also because of his innate hatred of Christians. A few privileged families – some who had clout with Tipu’s soldiers and some clandestinely sheltered by their Hindu sympathizers and well wishers, providentially escaped captivity.
Following Tipu’s death at Seringapatam at the hands of the British in 1799, a vast majority of the traumatized surviving captives (many men and women were forcibly converted to Islam and a large number were cruelly done to death while in captivity) estimated around 10000, with hope in their hearts for better times and unwavering in their Catholic faith, returned to their former hamlets/villages in the sylvan plains of South Kanara, now rid of Tipu Sultan, their oppressor and bête noire. With the help of the local British administrators, they regained the properties of which they were dispossessed and were lawfully or otherwise occupied by non- Catholics during their captivity. Of those who came out of captivity in Seringapatam, a handful found sanctuary in Virajpet in Coorg, the land of coffee, where they settled down and took fresh “roots”.
Braving great hardship the Catholics stood united as a community and with diligence and never say die attitude kick started a new awakening. Endowed with a strong survival instinct and resoluteness and in the face of adversity they emerged as a resurgent community. The footholds that a large number of families established in the villages of South Kanara and Mangalore close to 2 centuries could in a sense be deemed as the places where they established their rural ‘roots’ and with which their surnames are associated even to this day, carrying tags or epithets such as Mulki Aranhas, Thonse/Kallianpur Fernandeses, Falnir Mascarenhases, Buntwal Coelhos, Umzoor Saldanhas, Virajpet Pintos et al. Over the years the Catholics who returned to South Kanara on their release from Seringapatam, burgeoned into a sizeable community with a distinct social and cultural identity especially in Mangalore where churches and educational institutions were established from time to time by highly dedicated Missionaries to cater to the spiritual and educational needs of the growing Catholic population. In course of time the community produced many iconic men and women among both the clergy and laity, whose outstanding achievements in the fields of education, medicine, law, social and government services are remembered and acclaimed even to this day. For generations valuable and commendable service was rendered to Church and State by men and women of one of the most illustrious families of the community – the Thonse/Fernandes Prabhus, whose earliest known progenitor was Angelo Antonio Nicholas Fernandes Prabhu who lived in Divade island In Goa. His third son, Diego Fernandes Prabhu (died in 1782), recognized by the Catholic community as the founder of the Thonse/Kallianpur Prabhu clan, emigrated from Goa to Thonse, Kallianpur in 1740 during the Mahratta invasion of Goa.
It is another story that the Catholic Community which once constituted around 30 to 35% of the population of South Kanara, scores of neo-converts being continually added to its number, has been steadily shrinking over the last few decades, thanks mainly to migration to foreign lands and nuclear families. There remains today no trace of the verdant green farms, the humble, unpretentious abodes owned by our forefathers and their rich and vibrant heritage in the villages and towns where they and subsequent generations lived for over 1 ½ centuries. A large number of their descendants are now spread across the length and breadth of India and the world over, thanks to what can aptly be described as the 4th major and unabating wave of migration overseas of Catholics, the first three being the inland migrations from Goa to Kanara, referred to earlier in this article.
The last few decades of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century witnessed the relocation of a large number of Catholic families living in the rural parts of South Kanara to the fast expanding and developing town of Mangalore, while some families later transcended the confines of semi-urban Mangalore and the agrarian settlements in rural South Kanare to find a foothold mainly in Shimoga, Karwar, Bangalore, Madras and Bombay, where they took fresh root.. Examples are: John Joseph Monteiro and Peter Mascarenhas (Falnir Masc.) in Shimoga, Victor Coelho in Karwar, John Joseph Noronha in Bangalore, Dr. Frank Saldanha (Gadialgar Saldanha) in Madras and Louis Xavier Rego in Bombay. The more progressive among those who shifted base took to business and white collar jobs. Educational facilities and better civic and other amenities these relatively better developed centres offered were other reasons for the shift.
It was not until the last 2/3 decades of the 19th century that marked the beginning of what could be described as the Catholic community’s socio-economic renaissance, that it produced highly enterprising and visionary business magnates who were not averse to take risks and venture into high capital investment and labour intensive business enterprises like tile manufacture, coffee plantation and coffee curing. Real estate, trading in general merchandise, spices, farm products, timber and timber products etc. were other businesses in which many prospered and some did not. Some Catholics were ambitious, worked their way up from scratch, made a fortune, brought a certain amount of Westernisation to their homes and way of life, built expansive and expensive houses (While most of these homes of heritage value have given way to concrete jungles of high rise apartments and shopping complexes, some that remain are abandoned and in a state of neglect), raised large families (8 to 10 children was the norm, as against 1 or 2 now), lived life king size, bequeathed properties to gen-next and left behind legacies that would take a lot of doing to keep alive, at least what remains of them.
The Catholic community took pride in its scholars, educationists, and writers both among the laity and ecclesiastics, missionaries, social activists, philanthropists, benefactors. Many scaled academic heights and worked their way up to the higher echelons of the Executive, and Judiciary. By their intellect, indomitable spirit, industry, dedication and yeomen service to society they earned great renown. Some of them were widely regarded as pillars of the Catholic community.
Through the last few decades the Catholic community has been witnessing a sweeping geographical spread, phenomenal sociological metamorphosis and palpable dilution of many healthy and meaningful age-old customs and traditions, core values/family values in the name of modernisation and in keeping with the changing times. The rare cases of exogamy and parting of ways by spouses were eye brows raising, grave aberrations considered scandalous in a conservative and highly religious Catholic community of a bygone age. Resistance to change, clinging to the past and swimming against the tide today would be flirting with danger is the despair of the old folks as they look at the contemporary scenario.
The community has indeed come a long way. A large number of the descendants of our forefathers constituting the Diaspora, have left their moorings in India and having acquired foreign citizenship never to return to the land of their ancestors. Working or living in retirement as NRIs in mega cities like New York, Washington, London, Paris, Toronto, Melbourne, to name just a few, they have hardly any kinship and bonding with the families they belong to which had taken roots almost 2 centuries ago in the little known, obscure, sleepy villages and pastoral settings where their forefathers lived, toiled and died. The Diaspora has lost out on the rich heritage, culture and legacies of their ancestors. The old are bewildered and disillusioned by the mind boggling and rapid changes taking place in the community and in the environment. It is also a stark reality that many ‘elite’ families of yesteryears have passed into oblivion, some have lost their prominence, while not a few families, among them being many illustrious families of bygone times are now extinct for reasons that are patent.
Inter-faith marriages, broken homes, dysfunctional families, changing traditions and value systems which are common place today, have rendered roots, pedigree, family background and generic family bonds inconsequential and of little relevance to a vast majority of contemporary Mangalore Catholics, a community that was once so cohesive, homogenous and close knit, proud of its distinct character and ethos, living in harmony for over 2 centuries within the geographical confines of a very small part of India called South Kanara.
Sadly, over the years, awareness among Mangalore Catholics about their roots/ geographical origin of their ancestors has been on the wane, almost non-existent, which can be attributed mainly to the slow disintegration of many families for myriad reasons, absence of community consciousness and sheer lack of interest. Genealogy is a subject that interests very few today. Pedigree too seems to be of little value and significance.
Human beings have been constantly on the move from time immemorial. The unceasing migrations and the constant relocation of our people from time to time is a pointer to the reality that the ‘Roots’ of families and even communities in the civilized world are impermanent, albeit the roots of some families of earlier generations were more deeply entrenched and lasted longer than those of others.
On a positive note though, certainly not all is lost and there is no cause for despair, given the resilience and vibrancy of our community which is still a powerful force to reckon with, not only in India, but among the Diaspora as well. The strong faith of Catholics who throng churches for Sunday Mass and other devotions and among other factors, the zealous and untiring work of the clergy, the religious and numerous Catholic bodies to keep the flock together in whatever ways possible, will certainly not go in vain. The negative aspects notwithstanding, it would not be futile to hope that the Mangalore Catholic community will continue to prosper and retain its age-old identity and cultural richness and advance in many ways, having in recent years sown the seeds of a “new” ethos supplanting the “old” ethos that was shaped and sustained for centuries by several generations that have passed into history.
Listed below are the surnames of Catholic families preceded by the name of the place or ‘Roots’ where it is believed they had originally settled before their Seringapatam captivity and after their return to South Kanara as also the names of some well known members of these families in the direct male line of descent. However names (few though they may be) of those hailing from certain families are obscure and are not available for inclusion in this article. (also mentioned within brackets are the Paik names i.e. the family names of the Saraswat/ Gowd Saraswat Brahmin ancestors such as Porob (Prabhu), Pai Kamath, Naik, Shenoy, Shenvi etc. which have been retained by certain families of subsequent generations. It needs to be stated while names of the pioneer settlers in the various villages/rural areas and Mangalore and the precise year of their settlement are not known for want of authentic records, it is certain that most of the original habitations took place in the years 1571, 1683 and 1739, when scores of Catholics migrated en masse from Goa to Kanara. There would have been sporadic influx of people in trickles from time to time between 1571 and 1739 and later as well. It is reiterated that over the years many families for a variety of reasons had to transplant their original roots elsewhere within and outside India. The relocations are a continuous phenomenon, inevitably so in a society that is in a state of flux and constantly evolving.
Notes on some important original places of settlement of some illustrious families are provided in the latter part of this article.
Family surnames/paik names and some well known among them in the direct male line of descent:
Agrar Tauros: Raymond Tauro (1879-1938), merchant and coffee planter; C.S. Tauro (Bob), officer in the Indian Ordinance Factory; Austin Tauro (son of C.S. Tauro), Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation.
Ambepol Lasrados: Pascal Lasrado (c 1865-1937) and his son, Athanasius (1895-1929), both cloth merchants.
Belman Mathiases (Mathias Prabhus); Mathew Mathias (1848-1940), coffee planter, Director, Catholic Provident Fund; Fr. Frank Mathias, S.J.; Saturnine Louis Mathias (S.L. Mathias(1868-1940), Chevalier and Dewan Bahadur and a pioneer coffee planter; Antony John Mathias, born in the 1970’s is believed to be the first generation member of the Mathias Prabhu family that migrated from Belman to Mangalore.
Borimar D’Souzas (D’Souza Kamaths): Antony D’Souza (1875- ?), Landholder.
Bendore Mascarenhases: Domingo Mascarenhas, who later moved to Shimoga where he was employed as a Jailer; Paul Mascarenhas (1879-1962) who later settled in Bangalore; Charles Mascarenhas, officer in the Railways, who later settled in Mysore.
Bijai D’sas (D’sa Naiks): Balthazar D’Sa 91867-1940), Forest Ranger.
Bijai D’Souzas (D’Souza Kamaths): John Francis Xavier D’Souza (1885-1955), the first Mangalorean to set foot in Somaliland in 1906.
Bolar Noronhas (Noronha Prabhus): Fr. Joachim Pio Noronha (1811-1883), one of the first five priests of the community; Sylvester Francis Noronha (1879-1959), tile manufacturer and Municipal Councillor; Dionysius Noronha , High Court Judge (son of S.F. Noronha); Malcolm Noronha (1921-1997) , Railway Engineer and tile manufacturer (son of S.F. Noronha).
Bolar Saldanhas (Saldanha Shets): Paul Saldanha Shet.
Buntwal Menezess (“Fongo Menezes” family) was one branch of the Buntwal Menezess who later shifted to Balmatta, Mangalore). Augustine Menezes; George Menezes (1898-1954), Asst. Vicar, Karkal and holder of the degree of Doctor of Divinity; Dr. Peter Cajetan Menezes (1881-1940) who served at Wenlock Hospital, Mangalore and Bowring Hospital, Bangalore and later as House Surgeon, Fr. Muller’s Charitable Institutions, Mangalore.
Codialbail Coelhos: The Coelho Prabhus was one branch. This branch of the Codialbail Prabhu family is now nearly extinct in the direct (male) line of descent.
Caithan Coelho Prabhu (Porob), head of the Codialbail Coelho family; John Joseph Coelho, builder of the Codialbail Chapel; George Martin Coelho, the first Mangalorean to be awarded the Knighthood of St. Gregory in 1868.; Antony Coelho, awardee of the Pro Ecclesia in 1933.
Well known members of another branch of the Codialbail Coelhos were Antony John Coelho(1819-1874), head of this branch of the Codialbail Coelhos; Dr. A. F. Coelho (1889-1975), Asst. Surgeon, Fr. Muller’s Hospital, Municipal Councillor.
Codialbail Fernandess: Ignatius Piedade Fernandes (1842-1924), District Munsiff; Rao Sahib John Joseph Fernandes (1868-1940), First Class Bench Magistrate and landlord.
Codialbail Gonsalveses: Bernard Gonsalves was head of this family; Everest Emmanuel Gonsalves (1873-1957), Sub-Registrar, Udupi.
Codialbail Tellises: Jacob Carlos Tellis, who died in 1850, was a timber magnate and one of the wealthiest Mangaloreans of his time; Rev. Severine Peter Tellis (1890-1935), Vicar, Kallianpur; Vivian Tellis (1901-1961), Director, May & Baker Ltd.
Conur Pintos: (Conur is a suburb of Mangalore, between Kulshekar and Padil). Salvadore Pinto (1876-1945), coffee planter; Andrew Benjamin Pinto(1896-1974), Tile Agent; Chevalier F.X.D. Pinto (1906-1974) .
Cookunje Cornelios: (Cookunje is a village near Kallianpur). Gregory Cornelio (1888-1952), employed in the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Abadan. He Anglicized his name to Cornelius.
Coondapur Fernandeses (Fernandes Prabhus): Vitus Fernandes (1871-!952), employed in Fr. Muller’s Charitable Institutions.
Coondapur Carvalhos: Philip Antony Carvalho (1906-1995), worked for Alison Paints & Chemicals, Madras.
Cordel D’Souzas (D’Souza Shets and D’Souza Kamaths): Rajkarya Pravina P.G. D’Souza Shet (1874-1959), P.J. D’Souza Shet (1878-1947), Head Master, Milagres Secondary School and a Konkani writer: Salvadore John D’Souza Kamath (1878-1962), Tahsildar, Udupi.
Cordel Saldanhas (Saldanha Shets): Fr. Leo Saldanha (1877-1945), Vicar, Bajpe.
Cordel Sequeiras, Cordel Silvas and Cordel Castelinos: In the 19th century, the Sequeiras, Silvas and Castelinos were the three leading families of the Cordel (Kulshekar) area and often intermarried.
Cordel Pintos: Fr. Francis Pinto (1899-1964), a prominent priest of Mangalore Diocese and an eminent educationist.
Derebail Regos: The Derebail Regos were one of the prominent families of the 18th and 19th century Mangalore. Pedru Rego who built a Chapel at Derebail during the Seringapatam captivity; John Francis Rego (1890-1962), Director, Catholic Provident Fund; Peter Joachim Rego, one of the founders of Urwa church in 1866.
Derebail Lobos (Lobo Prabhus): John Lobo Prabhu, a ‘country doctor’, his son Patrick Francis Lobo (1877-1949), Port Conservator, Mangalore. The family later shifted to Urwa where Francis Lobo built a house, where lived his son, Charles Victor Lobo (1905-1982), Principal, Government Arts College, Mangalore.
Falnir Vases (Vas Naiks): One of the leading families of 19th century Mangalore. Rev. John Salvadore Vas (1875-1956), Parish priest, Milagres; Bernard Ubald Vas, Forest officer; Albert Victor John Vas (1867-19470, Asst. Inspector of Schools, Mangalore; Louis Marcus Vas (1888-1968), coffee planter.
Falnir Mascarenhases: Paul Mascarenhas was one of those who returned to South Kanara from Seringapatam after Tipu Sultan’s death in 1799. He built the original house of the Falnir Mascarenhas family; Monsignor Raymond Mascarenhas F.C.M.; Ambrose John Mascarenhas, coffee merchant; Dr. Victor Mascarenhas (1876-1939) Health Officer, Bangalore; Fr. Louis Mascarenhas (1904-2000) Professor of Economics, St. Aloysius College, Mangalore and St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore; Rao Saheb Emmanuel Caithan Mascarenhas (1865-1942) Member, Madras Legislative Council.
Falnir Vases (Vas Naiks): Martin Vas, founder of Malariana & Co., his son, Dr. Gerald Vas; Fr. John Salvadore Canute Vas (1875-1956), Parish priest, Milagres; Julian Antony Francis Vas (1885-1965), Sub-Registrar and Special Magistrate, Kasargod.
Falnir Brittos: Nicholas Britto, Tahsildar; Basil Britto (1898-1963), Forest Ranger, Belgaum.
Kadri Coelhos: Paul Peter Coelho.
Kadri Lobos (Lobo Kamaths): Cosmos Raymond Lobo (1857-1947), Tahsildar and his son, Rao Sahib Francis Lobo (1883-1964), Deputy Collector and his brother Dr. Augustine Lobo (1895-1949); James Sylvester Lobo (1896-1969), Treasurer, Catholic Co-operative Society; Manuel John Lobo (1862-1947), Landowner.
Kadri Fariases: Earlier from Puttur, after settling in Kadri, Mangalore, members of this family came to be known as Kadri Fariases. Peter Rosario Farias; Ephraim John Farias (1874-1952), Writer, Coffee estate; Appolionoris John Joseph Farias (1898-1951); Frederick Farias, employed at the Ammunition Factory, Poona.
Kallianpur(Thonse Kallianpur) Fernandeses (Fernandes Prabhus) : Diego Fernandes Prabhu ; Dr. Lawrence Patrick Fernandes (1870-1946), Chief Medical Officer, Fr. Muller’s Hospital; Albert Peter Fernandes (1875-1958), agriculturist and a benefactor of various Catholic institutions and his sons, Fr. Marian Fernandes (1914-1968),Director, Fr. Muller’s Hospital and Flavian Fernandes, I.A.S (1927-1988), Praxy Fernandes (1926-2001), I.A.S.
Kallianpur Rebellos: Peter George Rebello; Francis Rebello (born C 1775) who is said to have founded the family fortunes by his dealings in gold; Albin Richard Rebello (1886-1974), Indian Audit and Accounts Service and recipient of the O.B. E. (son of Peter George Rebello); Reginald Rebello (1916-1977), Chief Secretary, Karnataka State (son of Albin Rebello, Fr. Francis Rebello S.J. (1929-1998), one of the most influential Jesuit priests of recent years.
Kallianpur D’Souzas: James D’Souza and his son, Fr. Herman D’Souza (1915- ), an outstanding Churchman.
Kankannady D’Souzas (D’Souza Kamaths): Bishop Valerian D’Souza (1885-1930), the first member of the Mangalorean Catholic community to be elevated to the rank of Bishop of Mangalore.
Karangalpady D’Souzas (D’Souza Prabhus): Fr. Ligoury Marian D’Souza (1894-1948), Vicar, Basrur, Belle and Hospet; Antony D’Souza (1900-19670), clerk, Cathedral, Mangalore.
Karkal Noronhas (Noronha Rais): Rev. Antony Noronha (1896-1976), Asst. Vicar, Coondapur; Rev. Sebastian Noronha S.J. (1868-1955), one of the founders of St. Francis Xavier church, Bijai in 1912 and its first Parish priest.
Karwar Coelhos (earlier Falnir Coelhos): Victor Antony Coelho (1855-1939); Henry Coelho (1901-1987), Government Auditor, Dharwad.
Kirem Monteiros (near Mudushedde/Mangalore): A.M. Monteiro (1890-1962), Lecturer, Government College, Mangalore and Director, Catholic Co-operative Society.
Kirem Pintos (Pinto Kamaths)
Kudupu Lobos (Lobo Prabhus): Cajetan Lawrence Lobo (1898-1959), a famous Lawyer and Shikar.
Kuntalkumbla Pereiras (Pereira Kamaths): Benjamin Pereira (1869-1948), Landholder and his sons, Elias Pereira and Fr. Nicholas Pereira, Parish priest, Bendore; Elias Pereira’s sons, Fr. Stanley Kamath and Fr. Ravi Santosh Kamath, one of the best known Jesuit priests of Mangalore.
Kurumbil (near Kinigoly) D’Souzas (D’Souza Prabhus): Fr. Peter Remegius D’Souza (1877-1956), Parish priest, Agrar; Dr. Dominic D’Souza, a pioneer Mangalorean doctor in Madras; Benjamin D’Souza (1899-1962), coffee planter and landowner; Sebastian D’Souza (1869-1933), landholder and his sons, Fr, Boniface D’Souza S.J. (1894-1974), the first Indian Rector of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore and Fr. Jerome D’Souza S.J. (1897-1977), a Jesuit priest of international renown. He was the first Indian Rector and Principal, St. Joseph’s College, Trichnopoly and also of Loyola College, Madras and had the distinction of being one of the signatories to the Indian Constitution.
Lalbaugh Fernandeses: Rao Saheb John Joseph Fernandes (1868-1940) of the Thonse Kallianpur Fernandes Prabhu family and his sons, Alfred, Frank and Rupert.
Makale, Cordel (now Shaktinagar) Castelinos: Paul Castelino (1852-1907), Tahsildar; Patrick Castelino, Presidency Magistrate; Ligoury Castelino (1903-1967); Robert Castelino, District Judge and Ambrose Castelino (1882-1960), Veterinary officer, Coimbatore.
Moodbidri Colacos: Cajetan Colaco (1863-1948) and his son, Raymond (Rai) Pascal Colaco (1863-1948), merchant and landlord and a well known teacher at Rosario School; Alexander Colaco was one of the first members of the Moodbidri Colaco family to settle in Mangalore proper.
Mulki Aranhas – “Middle House” Mulki Aranhas: Rev. Francis Xavier Aranha (1879-1936), Parish priest at Taccode, Ganguli, Ullal and Barkur. “South House” Mulki Aranhas: Albert Aranha (1878-1956), Tile manufacturer. “North House” Mulki Aranhas : Joseph Denis Aranha (1900-1954), Secretariat, Uganda; Thomas Maurice Aranha (1885-1970), Chief Accountant in the Civil Section of the Royal Air Force; William Aranha (b.1897) who worked in the Chief Accountant’s Office, Dar-es- Salam, Tanganyika.
Mulki (Chitrap) D’Souzas: Peter Rosario D’Souza built the family home “Sagar Bhavan” in Mulki, Chitrap. His son, Dr. F.X. D’souza (1869-1943) was the first Indian Christian to qualify for the prestigious I.C.S. in 1892.
Mundan Coelhos: Lawrence Coelho (1883-1937) who was employed in Fr. Muller’s Charitable Institutions.
Mundan Gonsalveses: Pascal Gonsalves, a school master and his son, Albert Cajetan Gonsalves (1883-1944), Advocate and Director, Catholic Provident Fund and President, Catholic Lawyers’Guild, Mangalore and his brother, John Gonsalves (1899-1973), Advocate, remembered for his legal acumen.
Nanthoor Coelhos: Gregory Joseph Coelho (1888-1965).
Omzoor Saldanhas (Saldanha Kamaths): Joseph Marian Saldanha and his sons, Paul Saldanha and Sebastian Saldanha, Joseph’s brother, Joachim Saldanha. Faustin Saldanha, Munsiff and his son, Sebastian, Inspector of Police; Rao Bahadur Alexander Peter Paul Saldanha (1871-1938), Retired Sub-Judge: Fr. Michael Saldanha (1915-1968), Head Master, St. Aloysius School, Mangalore; Godfrey Saldanha (1917-2014), General Manager, Southern Railways, Madras.
Omzoor Machados: Piedade Machado(1872-1953), coffee planter, cloth merchant, landlord and philanthropist and his son, Joseph Basil Machado (1902-1975), Municipal Councillor and awardee of the King George Vi Coronation Medal for meritorious work; Alan Machado, well known writer and author of the book, “Saraswati’s Children”
Pakshikere Mirandas (Miranda Prabhus):
Permude (North of Bajpe) Sequeiras (Sequeira Kamaths): Pascal Sequeira, Sub-Registrar; Manuel Sequeira, Tahsildar, Fr. James Sequeira (1884-1962), Vicar, Suratkal, Ferar and Urwa.
Pezar Lobos (Lobo Shenoys): Simon Lobo; Alexander Lobo and his sons; Antony Jacob Lobo (187-1961), clerk, Bolar Coffee Works; Andrew Marian Lobo (1866-1936), Clerk District Court.
Pezar Albuquerques (Albuquerque Pai): Pascal Albuquerque and his brother, Alexis Albuquerque (1841-1912), who founded the first two tile factories run by Mangalorean Catholics; Felix Albuquerque (1884-1953) and his son, Cyril Albuquerque (1917-1974).
Pezar Sequeiras (Sequeira Naiks): Rev. Fr. Denis Sequeira (1892-1963).
Pezar Perises: Antony Marcel Pereira (1868-1944); Bishop Basil Peris (1900-1958); Monte Mariano Peris (1895-1961), one of the leading exporters of coffee, cashew kernel and cardamom.
Pezar Rebellos: Emmanuel Rebello, tile manufacturer and his grandson, Stanislaus Rebello (1905-1980)
Puttur Coelhos: Sylvester Coelho (1897-1966), a Mangalorean pioneer in Africa.
Sonel Pintos: Dr. Peter Paul Pinto and his younger brother, Rev. Fr. Louis M. Pinto, Vicar at Bellore and later Director of the Olivet Brothers; Ligoury Simon Pinto (Guindy Pinto).
Taccode (near Moodbidri) Colacos: Pascal Colaco who built the Taccode church; Rao Sahib Dr. Dominic Rosario Colaco (1870-1946), Municipal Health Officer; Michael Colaco and his brother, ,Casimir Colaco(1874-1946), coffee planter and his sons, Edwin, Cuthbert and Herbert who succeeded to the estate; John Salvadore Colaco (1894-1966), coffee planter.
Taccode Lobos (Lobo Shets)
Udipi Alvas: Joachim Alva (1907-19790), Freedom Fighter and Member of Parliament.
Urwa Paises: Martin Pais (1852-1921), wine merchant, founder of ‘M. Pais & Sons and philanthropist. His two brothers, Nicholas Pais (1858-1943), landholder and Daniel Pais; Martin Pais’s sons, Frederick Pais (1900-1976), Basil Pais (1898-1977) , and Edward Pais; Nicholas Pais’s sons, Louis Pais (L.C. Pais 1892-1974), Gilbert Pais (1895-1975) and Lawrie Pais.
To another branch of the Urwa Paises belonged John Salvadore Pais (1870-1930), Head clerk, Fr, Muller’s Charitable Institutions and his sons, Joachim, Ligoury, Henry and Patrick.
Virajpet Pintos: Salvadore Pinto, owner of large coffee estates in Virajpet in Coorg and one of the founders of St. Ann’s church, Virajpet, his sons, Saturnine Mathew Pinto and grandson, Percival Pinto, coffee planter.
Virajpet Noronhas (Noronha Rais): Monsignor Francis Noronha (1896-1967) of the Bangalore Archdiocese; Cajetan Noronha, Postmaster and Colonel Michael Noronha.
BOLAR: It was at Bolar that one of the oldest Catholic Churches, Rosario church (later Cathedral) in South India was built by the Portuguese even before Tipu Sultan’s time. Bolar Parish in those days was the largest and one of the very few parishes in South Kanara. One of the most illustrious families of 19th century Mangalore, the Noronha Prabhus was the first among many other Catholic families (like the Albuquerques and Brittos) to settle in Bolar after 1799, the year the captives returned to Mangalore. Constantine Noronha founded the family fortunes as an iron merchant.
CANNANORE: The Sequeiras are one of a group of families to have settled in the coastal town of Cannanore in Kerala since early 19th century, soon after their release from captivity in Seringapatam.
FALNIR: The genealogy of the Falnir Mascarenhas family alludes to Antony John I Mascarenhas, whose forefathers came to South Kanara from Goa in one of the waves of migrations referred to earlier in this article, there being no record of those who preceded him. Antony John settled in Bondel, a village near Mangalore (now a part of Mangalore city) where he cultivated his warg lands. Perhaps the first of the Mascarenhases to have relocated from Bondel to Falnir was Paul Mascarenhas, son of Antony John, who returned from Seringapatam along with his three sisters. Antony John and the rest of his family who were among the captives arrested in 1784 and taken to Seringapatam perished while in captivity. In Falnir, Paul built the original house of the Mascarenhas family around 1830. His progeny came to be popularly as the Falnir Mascarenhases. Sadly the once iconic ancestral house is no longer in existence. Hailing from the Falnir Mascarenhas family was one of the best known names in the Mangalore Catholic community, Monsignor Raymond Mascarenhas (1875-1960), who was declared a Servant of God in 2008. Many other Mangalorean Catholics of great renown and accomplishments belong to the illustrious Falnir Mascarenhas clan.
KADRI: The Farias family had been residents of Kadri in Mangalore for at least two centuries, their ancestors having been pioneers in the stone quarry industry. The Coelhos of Kadri were one of the three major Coelho families of 19th century Mangalore, the other two being the Codialbail Coelhos ant the Falnir Coelhos. All three families are believed to descend from a common ancestor, Paul Peter Coelho or Palpet Prabhu who lived in Goa in the 17th century before migrating to South Kanara. Also originally hailing from Kadri was the Lobo Kamath family, descendants of a certain Cosmos Lobo, who migrated from Bardez in Goa to Kadri about the mid 18th century.
KALLIANPUR: It was at Kallianpur that Diego Fernandes Prabhu, founder of the Fernandes Prabhu clan arrived from Goa in 1748 at the age of 39. That year, the Mahratta Peshva, Baji Rao attacked the Portuguese territory of Goa, striking terror and dismay into the inhabitants, because of which Diego and his family, descendants of Saraswat Brahmins who lived in Divarde Island off Old Goa along with other Catholic families made for South Kanara. Diego settled down at Thonse Kallianpur in the then Barkur Taluk of South Kanara, where he took employment under a wealthy merchant by name Baliga. Kallianpur was then a place of great importance, a centre of foreign trade famed even in the time of the Romans. Enterprising and business minded as he was, Diego could not have found a more hospitable place for his enterprises than Kallianpur in all its prosperity. He acquired a large area of land for cultivation and coconut plantations and built the big family house. The locality in which the family lived was known as Fernandes Prabhu Rajamanya. The Fernandes Prabhus with the properties they acquired by their prudence and ability became a financial power in Kallianpur during their time. Over a period of time the descendants of Diego shifted to Mangalore from Kallianpur. The large progeny of Diego Fernandes Prabhu are famously known as Kallianpur Fernandeses.
The Kallianpur Rebellos are also among the well known clans of Mangalore.
KARWAR: Karwar is an important coastal trading town in North Kanara. Victor Antony Coelho (1855-1939) was the first Mangalorean Catholic to settle in Karwar. Victor’s father and grandfather, leading Mangaloreans of their time hailed from the famous Falnir Coelho family. In the 19th century, the family had a prosperous timber business, but declining fortunes in Mangalore prompted Victor Coelho to set up his base at Karwar. So the descendants of one branch of Coelhos can trace their origin both to Falnir as well as Karwar. Victor Coelhos progeny are still popularly known as Karwar Coelhos.
MULKI: The Chitrap-Ghazni (Mulki) Aranha Brothers Pedru, Khaffri and Jacki with their wives and children escaped deportation to Seringapatam by being hidden by the local Bunts in a haystack in such a way that no outsiders could detect them. The Bunts supplied them with food and other necessities and they remained 15 years within their dug-out. The Aranha Shenoys were strongly entrenched in Mulki, mid-way between Mangalore and Udipi.. The immigrant Aranhas would have found Mulki, now grown into a small town, an ideal place for farming and other agricultural activities. Even to this day, the descendants of the Aranha families that had originally settled in Mulki are widely known as Mulki Aranhas. The Mulki Aranhas carry three epithets: ‘Middle House’ Mulki Aranhas, ‘North House’ Mulki Aranhas and ‘South House’ Mulki Aranhas. The Aranhas of Chitrap-Chazni were among the richest landlords of those days.
OMZOOR: One branch of Saldanhas trace their lineage to Omzoor (about 50 Kms. From Mangalore), their ancestors having migrated from Goa to that village. There are three main branches of the Omzoor Saldanha family –the Karandhadi Saldanhas, the Mayadi Saldanhas and the Nantharthola Saldanhas. Joseph Marian Saldanha came from Sirode in Goa with his brother Joachim and settled at Karandhadi, while his brother Joachim settled in Nantharthola close to the parish of Vamanyur. They appear to have built a chapel at Fadoo.
Joseph Marian had two sons, Paul and Sebastian (Bostu). Paul, the elder son, inherited his father’s house and his descendants have come to be known as the Karandhadi Saldanhas. Sebastian settled at Mayadi. His descendants are known as Mayadi Saldanhas. The third Omzoor Saldanha branch (Nantharthola Saldanhas) are the descendants of their uncle Joachim.
Omzoor was a village ideally suited for cultivation of betel leaves and betel nuts. The Saldanhas (Kamaths) and Coelhos (Porobs) were cultivators of these crops at Omzoor. They were among the few Catholic families of South Kanara not deported to Seringapatam by Tipu because his soldiers were addicted to pan- supari and without the cultivators of betel leaves and betel nuts they would be deprived of pan-supari.
PEZAVAR: The calamities that befell the Catholics as well as the Hindus of Goa, especially the famines between 1553 and 1682 led them to flee from their homes and flock to the South, to Kanara where they were warmly received by the local chiefs. The King of Moodbidri offered them land in Pezavar (Pezar), a village 28 Kms. From Mangalore, Shirva, Kirem and a few other villages which became the roots of some families notably i) the Lobo Shenoy family. Simon Lobo was the first Shenoy Lobo to have settled in Pezar on his return from the Seringapatam captivity. ii) the Albuquerque Pai clan among who Pascal and his brother Alex were well known as founders of the first two tile factories run by Mangalorean Catholics.
PUTTUR: In the early 19th century, Lawrence Coelho, a member of the Kadri Coelho Family settled in Puttur. His descendants have become known as Puttur Coelhos, one of whom was Sylvester Coelho (1897-1966), a Mangalorean pioneer in Africa. The Puttur branch of the Kadri Coelho family is in fact larger than the branch that remained at Kadri.
One branch of the Farias clan had originally settled in Puttur and then came to Kadri and are known as Kadri Coelhos.
TELLICHERRY/CODIALBAIL: It was to Tellicherry, a coastal town in North Kerala that a few Catholics in captivity escaped from Seringapatam. Caitan Porob (Prabhu) was the most prominent among them. He first fled to Mangalore and then escaped to Tellicherry, where his ancestors hailing from Goa had resided for several years. Head of the Codialbail Coelho clan, Caithan Porob shifted from Tellicherry to Mangalore in 1801. When the British Government established their regime in Mangalore, Caithan Coelho Prabhu who was in Government service in Tellicherry was transferred in a responsible capacity to the Collector’s office at Mangalore, where he was called “Kacheri Bab” and was held in high respect by all. Caithan took his abode at Codialbail. He built fine bungalows for himself and his sons and also got from Government on darkas large areas of land in various villages in South Kanara. His descendants acquired more properties and also took to coffee plantation. Caithan and other members of his family built a chapel at Codialbail at the very site of the present Church.
Caithan Coelho Prabhu married at Tellicherry, Emiliana, daughter of Michael Lobo of Malabar of mixed Portuguese-Indian descent. His descendants are famously called Codialbail Coelhos, one of the most illustrious Catholic families of 19th and 20th century Mangalore. This branch of Coelhos is now nearly extinct in the direct (male) line of descent.
URWA: Urwa was the original settlement of two prominent families, the Paises and the Regos. They cultivated paddy and arecanut. They were spared from deportation to Seringapatam on their representation of their Moplah (Muslim) landlords that they would not be able to cultivate their fields without these families.
VIRAJPET: Strangely Virajpet in Coorg was where some Catholic families who were very much a part of the Mangalorean Catholic community of South Kanara before their deportation to Seringapatam formed new settlements. However, they are not referred to as ‘Virajpet Catholics’, but can be described as Mangalore Catholics who once lived in Virajpet and perhaps some of whose descendants still could be residing there. Some who were in captivity made a valiant attempt to escape from the dungeons of Seringapatam. A few of the successful escapees, unable to proceed to Kanara still under Tipu’s control, found sanctuary in Coorg. They were welcomed by Raja Virarajendra, ruler of Coorg, who had built a new town, 20 miles South of Madikeri, named Virarajendrapet (shortened to Virajpet) and were provided with property and materials to build their houses in Virajpet. He welcomed the Konkani Catholics into his Kingdom which had been depopulated in the recent years, granting them several privileges to ensure their permanent settlement.
The most prominent Catholic families of Virajpet are one branch of the Pintos and the Noronhas who made their fortune in coffee business. Percival Pinto who lives in Bangalore is well known in Mangalore Catholic circles. His father, Saturnine Mathew Pinto and grandfather, Salvadore Pinto owned large coffee estates in Coorg. Salvadore Pinto was one of the founders of St. Ann’s church, Virajpet.