Although he settled in Cambridge, Joan Mascaró maintained his links with his homeland through constant memories recalled in his correspondence. He was born on the S'Hort d'en Degollat estate in the municipality of Santa Margalida.
He was born in an island of the Mediterranean, in the most beautiful place on this earth. It was early in the century when the noise of the car had not yet disturbed the peace of the roads and lanes, and when the clear blue sky had not been profaned by the brutal noise of aeroplanes. [...] The blue sea was silent, except for the music of the waves, or the sound of the wind on the white sails of the boats.
The house where the little boy lived was placed near the top of a small hill with gently rising hills at the back. From the terrace in front of the house one could see the village, not much more than a mile away, but to a child’s imagination a far away place, far away from his home. He could see a mysterious enormous building above a crag at the end of the village. It was the village church, one of the large Mediterranean churches where a whole village assembled at different services on Sundays; and where on feast days the noble sound of the chants in Latin could be heard through the open doors as far as the village square.
«Records» / «Reminiscences» a La Creació de la fe / The Creation of Faith, 1993
(Santa Margalida, 1897 – Comberton, Cambridge, 1987). From his childhood, Joan Mascaró i Fornés stood out for his tireless capacity to study, his knowledge of languages, and his love of nature, the countryside, his family and the environment generally. Joan March Ordinas, the well-known entrepreneur and financier, suggested that Joan Mascaró should accompany his son, Joan March Servera, during his studies abroad. Following continued trips of this kind, Mascaró began to study English and Modern and Oriental languages, such as Sanskrit and Pali, at Cambridge. He worked as a teacher and lecturer in various different places, including Parameshvara School in Jaffna (Sri Lanka) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona, combining teaching with the translation of documents in Sanskrit. He was also proficient at reading other languages. In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out and he moved to Cambridge, where he set up home. There, he continued to teach and translate works in Sanskrit, particularly ones related to India’s holy texts. In 1958, he wrote Lamps of Fire, a collection of spiritual texts from world cultures and religions. From his home in Cambridge, he kept in contact with his native land as evinced by his correspondence. He was born at s’Hort d’en Degollat estate in Santa Margalida.
With its abundance of archaeological sites and remains, the municipality of Santa Margalida’s history can be traced back to the Talayotic period. It was also a farmsteadduring the period when Mallorca belonged to Al-Andalus through to the 13th century. It was in this century that Santa Margalida’s first church was documented. This was modified, with the creation of a new building in the 16th and 17th centuries, leading to today’s church. The main church door stands out particularly, in addition to the views from its vantage point.
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