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Konkanis celebrate language recognition

More than 300 enthusiastic Konkanis celebrated the World Konkani Day on Sunday evening. Aarefa Johari reports.

india Updated: Aug 31, 2009 02:25 IST
Aarefa Johari

More than 300 enthusiastic Konkanis celebrated the World Konkani Day on Sunday evening.

Lively Goan music, folk songs and dances added to the celebration which was held at Byculla’s Antonio D’Souza ANZA School.

The event, organised by the Goan Review Art Foundation (GRAF) and the Konkani Association-Mumbai, was celebrating 17 years of the recognition of Konkani as an independent language by the Indian Constitution.

Written in at least five different scripts — Devnagri, Roman, Kannada, Malayali, and Urdu — it is caught in the throes of internal disputes within the community, while its takers are reducing among the new generation.

“Konkani people pay the least sympathy to their language,” said Fausto Da Costa (51), editor of the Konkani-English magazine Goan Review, a bi-monthly that is compelled to be bi-lingual for lack of readership.

“We have to push Mumbaiites to buy the magazine,” said a member of GRAF, requesting anonymity.

“Today even office-bearers of various Konkani associations do not have enough knowledge of spoken Konkani,” added Da Costa.

The question of the script poses a bigger problem, while attempts to standardise the script are hindered by in fighting amongst these associations. Da Costa feels there is not enough effort directed towards translation of Konkani literature.
“Mangalore has three authors who have bagged Sahitya Akademi Awards — JB Moraes, Cha Fra D’Costa, and J.B. Sequiera — but Konkanis reading in the Roman script don’t know who they are,” he said.