A Tribute to University of Texas Professor Chandragiri Dinaker Rao (1938-2020)

Austin: There are some people who bring a light so bright to this world, that even after they are gone the glow remains. Chandragiri Dinaker Rao of Austin, Texas was one of them! Dinaker left for his heavenly abode on September 5, 2020. He was truly a Konkani icon of Austin. He led an exemplary life full of love, compassion, tolerance and service. His passing marks the end of an important chapter for a large circle of friends, family and a host of folks to whom he was a mentor.

Dinaker was born on October 30, 1938, and brought up in South Canara. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. He worked for DCM in Kotah and later with Engineers India, Ltd in Delhi. He came to the University of Texas in Austin in 1972 to pursue his doctoral studies in chemical engineering. Upon completing Ph.D., he worked as a post-doctoral fellow prior to joining the State of Texas in their Radiation Control group. Dinaker enjoyed teaching and mentoring. He taught for several years at the University of Texas (Austin) as well as at Austin Community college in his retirement years.

Austin being a university town, lots of new students and young couples arrive there every year just like Dinaker and Jyostna (D&J) did nearly five decades ago. D&J were always there to host and guide many new arrivals to this city

For almost 25 years, Dinaker would book the Bastrop or Fort State Parker state park, the first day the reservations were open, for the Good Friday weekend get-together of Konkanis in Southern States (aka KISS). D&J were among the founding members and the anchors of KISS community by working tirelessly to make these get-togethers successful and enjoyable. Dinaker was also one of the founding members of the Indian Classical Music Circle of Austin. Over the years, Dinaker and Jyotsna had hosted several musicians from India. They were always on hand to support the community functions and celebrations in Austin.

Taking care of the needy was D&J’s credo. They often helped by picking medicines, delivering food and sometimes bringing the sick to their home and taking care of them. In his later years, although afflicted with severe respiratory issues, Dinaker never complained about the illness, and maintained a cheerful composure. Dinaker has left a beautiful legacy for the future generations.

— Radha Golikeri