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Veteran author Father Valles dies at 95; PM Modi condoles death

A Jesuit priest, Father Valles was born in Spain but he lived in India for nearly five decades and wrote extensively in Gujarati apart from English and Spanish

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | November 9, 2020 5:12:27 pm
father vallesFather Valles was a popular Gujarati columnist. (Source: barodarocksz/Instagram)

Veteran author and columnist Father Carlos Gonzalvez Valles SJ, also known as Father Valles, passed away today, November 9, 2020, at the age of 95.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter, “Father Vallés endeared himself to many, especially in Gujarat. He distinguished himself in diverse areas such as mathematics and Gujarati literature. He was also passionate about serving society. Saddened by his demise. May his soul rest in peace.”

A Jesuit priest, Father Valles was born in Spain but he lived in India for nearly five decades and wrote extensively in Gujarati apart from English and Spanish.

Father Valles became a Jesuit novitiate at 15 and was sent to India in 1949 as a missionary. While in India, he learned the Gujarati language when he was asked to teach mathematics at the then newly opened St Xavier’s college in Ahmedabad, which had Gujarati students. He was ordained to the priesthood on April 24, 1958.

The priest also translated many mathematical concepts into Gujarati and coined special terms for them. He contributed regularly to Suganitam, the first mathematical review in an Indian language.

In 1960, the author penned a book titled Sadachar, which was published with the help of his mother. He also wrote for a monthly called Kumar and won its annual Kumar Prize for best writing. Besides, he also wrote in the Sunday supplement of Gujarat Samachar in a column called ‘Navi Pedhine’ or ‘the new generation’.

Father Valles wrote more than 70 books in Gujarati and about a hundred in English and Spanish, including 12 books on mathematics. Some of his works include Nine Night in India, Life with Honour, Two Countries, One life, Kutumb Mangal, Dharma Mangal, and Lagnasagar, among others.

According to deshgujarat.com, Father Valles won the literary prize for his essays from the Gujarat government nearly five times. He was awarded Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak, the highest award in Gujarati literature, in 1978. He was also honoured with the Acharya Kakasaheb Kalelkar Award for Universal Harmony in 1995 and the Ramakrishna Jaidala Harmony Award in 1997.

Netizens also expressed grief on the author’s death:

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