Mr Charles De Lima

Mr. Charles D’Lima,


Barkuronline.com is proud to present, Mr. Charles D’Lima, as our POM, a well known Barkurian especially in the Bombay maritime circles, a veteran Barkurian, son of late Mr. Louis D’Lima of Main Street Barkur.


Charles was born on June 4th, 1923, in Barkur. He attended the then available Board Higher Elementary school in Barkur. He completed his high school from Milagres High School, Kallianpur.  He studied at the Technical VJTI School, Bombay, and obtained a degree from the Nautical and Engineering College, Bombay.


He is married to Precilla, presently, a retired teacher.  They have four children.  Daughter Desley married to Roney and they have two children.  Son Derrick, a doctor, is married to another doctor Lolitha, who too have two children.   Their daughter Daphne is married to an Army officer Major Showkeen.  Dona the youngest is also married.  All of them are settled in Greater Bombay.


Folks, for want of detailed details, the structure of this article will look slightly different.  We managed to get hold of an article, actually a speech delivered by Charles’ colleague, in honor at his farewell/retirement function, retirement from Maritime Union of India (MUI) as its president.  Without further ado, please read the following, wherein, Charlie’s, accomplishments, and contributions to fellow human beings are well narrated:


Fare Thee Well – It’s Sunrise-Sunset

“ I shall pass this way but once

Therefore any good that I can do or

any kindness that I can show

Let me not differ nor neglect it for

I shall not pass this way again! “

...Ettenne De Grellet


These just a few sensitively sentimental lines put our ex President in dilemma that he had read half a century ago on the inner walls of the cemetery when he was there to say goodbye to an intimate friend of his. This in turn changed his life completely to be useful for the needy and he maintained the tempo of service till the end as he laid down his office quite recently.


Trouble shooter cum advisor


Mr. Charles F. De Lima has been MUI’s trouble shooter cum advisor for over half a century during the time of his membership. He certainly won the admiration and gratitude not only of its office bearers and members but even the shipping circles. The following credential that he received from this office manifests it all:

....Dear Charlie, there is no doubt in the minds of anybody in this office that there are just a few who can really contribute to the union activities, more so in the matter of negotiation and there is none who contributed as much as you. (MUI E 1493/5.12.79)

Real consoling and sweet lines for a life long sweet labor.


Memorize those days!

Leaving aside early life let us catch up from the year 1942 the year heralded QUIT INDIA MOVEMENT. Mr. De Lima straight away plunged himself in this movement and his frequent visits to the congress house as the volunteer brought himself in closer contact with the certain National leaders who were stalwarts of the organization, to name just a few Sarvashri Mangaldas Pakwasava, S. K. Patil, K. M. Munshi, Madam Lilavathi Munshi, Ashok Mehta and many others. Mr. Pakvasava later became the first native Governor of Madhya Pradesh and the rest held either state wise or central cabinet minstrel posts. Among these some cast their spell on Mr. De Lima to be of service to the nation and needy.


Talk of the town then !

The talk of the Independence was the talk of town then. It was decided that Hindi should be the Rashtrabhasha when the freedom was won. There was uneasy trend in many quarters fearing once the land is free those who did not prepare themselves with the language of the land may be laid bare. So it was decided to open as many classes for Hindi learning. One of such portfolios fell to the lot of Mr. De Lima who did not know even the ABCD of Hindi language! However not to be outdone he rose to the occasion and under the able guidance of a Hindi stalwart Shri Kanthilal Joshi he mastered the language in record time. He obtained the then highest diploma of Rashtrabhasha Kovid and then Pramanit Pracharak wherein he got his `Pandit’ Shawl.


Classic Classes

Mr. De Lima immediately thereafter opened some half a dozen free class centers where there was no dearth for the students from high to low in any category and rank. The fear of Hindi occupying the top of the crown made it all a gold rush situation. While at these classes as the lecturer, examiner and pracharak he came across some naval heavy weights and with contact with such he decided to shift from man to seaman!


Man and Seaman

From the very start he had realized that men and seamen are of different species! When one accepts this reality that it will be all smooth sailing. So when he joined ship, utilized his land based knowledge on Hindi and tax matters to gather officers, their spouses and men to teach these subjects in their spare time. Quite a few wives use the knowledge thus gained in their day-to-day life profitably. For him a ship is one unit and never believed in compartmental mind block. So he was popular both among all ranks and all departments. For the third generation youngsters he has been uncle and to the seniors endearingly T-h-a-t Charlie.  Thus he stayed on among them for the next four decades.


MUI the Lifeline

It is interesting to note that he has been the member of the MUI even before he saw the ships at that time by the designation of probationary member of Rs.11/- per annum. So if not he was not there while the call was sent to form the union on 3rd December 1939 for which the first meeting was held on S. S. `Jalabala’ of Scindhias,  he was certainly present while the Union was registered first by the name of INDIAN MERCHANT NAVAL OFFICERS ASSOCIATION (IMNOVA) which later changed to the present form due to obvious reasons. From the membership of probationer to full member, then committee member for many years, then its Vice President cum working president under Madam Maniben Kara and then President elected and re-elected for the 5th time of 4 year each term in all for 20 long years in succession. During the wage scale negotiations he got the insight that there is no profit in just getting and losing at sours (TDS) as the employers were deducting on the more the merrier bases. The loss thus sustained was not noticeable to the concerned as it has been a practice not to file the IT returns then.  Mr. De Lima popularized the filing of returns as maintained the tax payer always stands to gain by doing so.


Taxing tax problems

He was very useful while the MUI waged `war’ on taxation for the seafarers and rendered all out service before self for the cause.  This struggle in due course of time was recognized by the authorities, and the concession like 800RRA, NRE, tax on profession and so on came in. The last mentioned was like a hydra had many heads but the union could justify that the members had their jobs on not in any particular state but on the international lines. So, what was collected was refunded in haste!


Service before self

Mr. De Lima has been useful in every problem that beset the union then and he made best of his over half century association with it. At least to reckon for the last 30 years he had not failed to attend even a single committee or any other meeting of the MUI. While on land he rushed to any port at his own cost and while at sea, made his presence felt by letters that is recognized as per the constitution. One cannot deny that this is rare record to achieve. To the house magazine he subscribed over 100 articles on tax, savings, general matters and even a joke strip under T-h-a-t Charlie. Above all his tax saving plan named Charlie’s NUMISMATIC CHART on small saving scheme is well received by the fraternity and famous.


Sagacious at negotiations

For the last 30 years he did not miss a single meeting at the negotiations along with its team. For himself he hardly took any advantage either of the union or the employers. Just because he found out that the spouse carrying privilege is not a union derivation and the employers refuse to admit in the negotiation norm he never carried his family on board at any time. While union maintains half a dozen holiday homes he asked for none so as not to deprive the members and they are the first to him always. He even often joked with them saying that being its President only good thing that happened to him was that he could take any cab and say `President’ and cabbie would bring him straight to his residence since he was staying next to the famous President Hotel! Even in retirement now 19 years plus he visited union office daily till he was President and made himself available both to the members and union. People even joked that his has been a single man’s largest Employment Bureau wherein he has helped in hundreds those who clamored to join sea life. From these he just requested a small daily prayer for his well-being and when the church bell tolls to add to that prayer the words `May he rest in peace’ and nothing else. Happily employed ones knew well how difficult it has been as the days that could have been achieved by the telephones and remote controls are gone and now it requires personal touch.


Help extended graciously full measure

Mr. De Lima would like to thank all those who helped him in various measures. However he regrets not because he finds no time but to save the precious time of busy bodies by not making them lose time in reading his thanking letters. He is grateful to ITF, Hind Mazdoor and other associations and affiliates. He is also grateful for all the shipping agencies at Nariman Point and elsewhere who gave heed to his requests and all the shipping fraternity. Finally not the last to his own union for al the confidence and trust reposed in him and helpful in all matters, concerning the MUI and members.


Crowning Glory

To top it all his crowning glory shone in the year 1989 the GOLDEN JUBILEE Year of the union. The year has been fifty years of solidarity that is paramount in any unions life! The committee and members desired that it would be celebrated in a most befitting way. The mantle fell on Mr. De Lima and he rose up to the occasion. It has been a Himalayan task an international event and needed world class standard to invite our associates and affiliates world over.


The celebration needed some half a dozen committee and dozen sub committees. However Mr. De Lima became a single man committee and planned from pin to anchor all alone with the backing, guidance and encouragement of the union office bearers who were solely involved in new wage scale negotiations and could not be spared.


Final `D’ Day

The D Day fell on 15th December 1989. For the function the Chief Guest was chosen none other than the Doyen of shipping, beloved of both ship owners and ship managers! Dr. C. P. Srivastava, world renowned for this world class function, a person in shipping everything for everybody. The function itself was so meticulously planned and executed, it became the talk of the shipping circle. This has been his crowning glory to top it all.


Adieu Amigo

Now after 19 years of retirement from his employment at sea, he went on visiting MUI office daily and kept himself on call after he saw for himself that the helm of the union has been under the command of the one who is trustworthy, able and capable! May the good Lord bless and guide all. So the President withdraws with charity to all malice to none. Let us remember if clod could be washed away Europe is less! He cannot hit the pillow till he saw smile on at least 12 every sunset. Further query on the health, he has ready answer, “A bit better than tomorrow”.


 Well Wisher



Friend of all and foe of none,

Lends a helping hand to everyone

To him most sailors go for advice

And he tries his best to lead them right.


He has a stature so commanding

Yet nobody can say he was ever demanding

He works tirelessly to sort out a sailor’s trouble

Always on the move, always on the double.


In years he is senior to most of us,

But his agility is really tremendous

His smile and charming chatter

Puts hope in the sailor who has known despair.


His experience is wide and varied

Many, Tax saving methods he has masterminded

He is well known and accepted readily

In his articles, written by T-H-A-T Great good Charlie

By:  B. A. D’Silva

Purser, The Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd.

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