Maria Aurora Couto
|Notable awards||Padma Shri (2010)|
Maria Aurora Couto is an Indian writer, and educationalist from Goa. She is best known for her book Goa: A Daughter's Story. She lives in the North Goan village of Aldona. She helped start the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas and has been involved in activities of Goa University.
Couto's family hails from the Bamonn community. Her parents, Francisco (Chico) Figueiredo and Filomena Borges, were both from Salcete. She moved to Dharwad with her parents and six siblings when she was a child, in the hope of eliminating her father's alcoholism because alcohol was banned there. Instead, her father chose to abandon his family, return to Goa and die prematurely from alcoholism. Couto went on to teach English literature in colleges like Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi and Dhempe College, Panaji and has contributed to periodicals in India and the United Kingdom.
Her husband, Albano Couto, belonged to the Indian Administrative Service. She met him in Mumbai and they have three children together, one of whom is named Veena. Due to the nature of his work, they would travel and stay across the country and they almost settled down in Chennai before finally settling down in Aldona, Goa, in his ancestral house, where she still resides. She enjoys listening to South African jazz and is passionate about films, having started a film club when she was a teacher. Albano Couto died in June 2009.
Couto's writing career began with her 1986 book about Graham Greene. Her 2004 book, Goa: A Daughter's Story, covers the history of Goa along with being an autobiography. The book discusses Goa, from the prehistoric times to its Portuguese colonialism to its Liberation and subsequent loss of culture. In 2014, Couto released her book Filomena's Journeys, which delves into the life of her mother, Filomena Borges, covering "Goa’s dying Catholic elite" as it shows the shift of society and culture in Goa.
Being the Chairperson of the DD Kosambi Centenary Committee in 2008, Couto helped initiate the DD Kosambi Festival of Ideas, a lecture series sponsored by the Department of Culture, Govt of Goa. Couto has also been actively involved with the Goa University.
The works of Couto include:
In 2010, the Government of India, awarded Maria Aurora Couto the Padma Shri, the fourth highest Indian civilian award.