Goan & Concannian?

Topic of Discussion: Saving Heritage: Language controversy

Posted on January 31, 2003 at 06:16:11

For the past many years, the Goans are fighting for the status of Konkani and Marathi. The official language of Goa is Konkani, because majority of Goans speak Konkani in their homes. The problem does not end here. Though both Hindus and Christians speak Konkani in Goa, Hindus write Konkani in Devanagari script just like Marathi, while the Christians write the same Konkani language in English. This is yet another controversy to be sorted out, since Konkani as such do not have a distinct identity of its own. Many people from the Konkan belt in Maharashtra and people from Karwar and Mangalore also speak Konkani in their own styles. How can they speak Konkani if they are non-Goans?

Vishwanath Shirwaikar

Email: [email protected]
Mr. Shirwaikar's counterpoising Goanness and the Konkani language strikes me - I suspect a not-so-subtle effort to misrepresent Konkani in favour of Marathi.

Konkani is a language of a people, the Konkani, of whom the Goans are a subset. It is obvious to all that Goa is only an enclave, a part of the larger Konkan. And Konkani, as evident from its very name, is the language of the entire Konkan.

Is there any logical reason, as suggest Shirwaikar, that only Goans should speak Konkani? Is there any logical reason why the non-Goan Konkani should abandon the Konkani language, because the Goan Konkani people speak it?

Political boundaries come and go. Who knows whether fifty years from now the boundaries of the Indian Union's provinces of "Maharashtra", Karnataka and "Goa" will be the same as today?

The Konkan is an ancient land and people. And the Konkani have seen the rise and fall of many different states, including a fair number of states erected or imposed by outsiders - Kannadigas, Maharashtrians, etc.

Therefore, why should they allow the present administrative boundaries trouble them in any way?

The Konkan was, is and will remain. And it will always belong by right solely and exclusively to the Konkani nation, not to outsiders, whatever the vicissitudes of political history may bring.

Prakash John Mascarenhas
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