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KONKANI LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE

KONKANI language is mostly spoken on the western coast of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Konkani people are scattered al over the world.

KONKANI language belongs to the group of Indo-Aryan languages. Marathi and Gujarati are closer languages to it. Konkani is bit similar to even Bengali as far as pronunciations are concerned. Some linguists opine that Konkani was derived from Maharashtrian Prakrit and Mahrashtrian Apabhransha languages. Konkani lexicograper late Sripad Desai affirms that Konkani was emerged from Apabhansha language in and around 10 to 12 centuries AD. He feels that Rajasthani,Gujarati and Konkani are from the same family. In the earlier times Konkani had business interactions with Arabian countries. Therefore some Arabian-Persian words entered Konkani. During 11th century Kadamba kings ruled Goa. Obviously, some Kannada words too found place in Konkani. In the 13th century, Konkani people residing in Kerala accepted some words from Malayalam and Tamil. During 1510, Portuguese came to Goa. They ruled Goa for around 450 years. So some Portuguese words also came in Konkani and are still in use. Konkani has taken some words even from old Marathi. Of late, due to onslaught of English language, many English words and phrases too are seen in this language. The orthography, vocabulary, grammar and overall style of Konkani have an impact of other languages.

Konkani is spoken in Konkan belt and hence the name Konkani. Konkani word is found in Namdeo Gatha written by Saint Namdeo from 14th century. Portuguese rulers referred to Konkani as lingua Konkana (language of Konkan), ligua Canari (kanari language), lingua de Goa (language of Goa) lingua Konkani (language Konkani).

Over the years, there was a strong controversy that Konkani is a dialect of Marathi. However there was no base for such debate in the linguistics perspective as some linguists such as Katre have strongly proved that Konkani is an independent language. The controversy of dialect and language is multi folded. It has political, social and emotional dimensions. There was a move to merge Goa with neighboring Maharashtra State, which had Marathi as its Official language. Goa was just liberated from Portuguese rule at that time. This historical opinion poll diffused this plan of merger in 1967. 

Some Goans, especially from the older generation hold that blind faith that they are, geographically and culturally, the part of Maharashtra and Marathi culture. Those Goans, who keep the faith that Konkani is an independent as any other worldly language and that Goans have their own identity i.e. Konkani identity had to make long struggle headed by Konkani writers. This struggle went parallel to the struggle of uplifting the newly developing Konkani language, its linguistics and literary developments. On 26 Feb. 1975, Sahitya Academy recognized Konkani as an independent literary language. Konkani was included in the eighth schedule of the Indian constitution on 1992. Konkani was accepted as an Official language by Goa Govt. on Of course, there are different styles and variations found in Konkani in the various regions, different communities etc.
Owing to social, political and other reasons Konkani is not yet standardised. Recently, due to Konkani education and spread of periodicals, some sort of standardising line is in progress. 

In the 16th century, Christian missionaries studied in deep, Konkani language only to spread their religion among common people whose speaking language was only Konkani. They even prepared Konkani grammar, dictionaries and studied various facets of literature. Jesuit priests mostly did this work. Jesuists brought printing machinery in Goa(1556). Konkani books were published in roman script. Presently Konkani is written in devanagari, Roman, Kannda and Malayalam scripts. However Konkani has accepted Devnagri script officially.

The first Konkani grammar was prepared in 1563 by a Goan priest at St. Paulo College at Old Goa. His name was Andre Vaz. During 16th and 18th century, catholic missionaries and priests contributed a lot for the development of Konkani. Father Thomas Stephens (1540-1619) wrote Konkani Grammar and ' Teachings of catholic religion. Father DIOGO REBEIRO (1560-1633), Father ETIENNE DE LA CROIX (1579-1643), Antonio de Saldanha (1598-1633), Fr. Joao De Pedrosa (1616-1672), Fr. MIGUEL DE ALMEIDA (1604-1683), Fr. IGNAZIO ARCHAMONE (1615-1683), Gaspar De Sam Miguel, LORENZO HERVAS E PANDURO, Fr. Theotonio Jose, Fr Karel Prikryll (1718-1785) and others contributed a lot for the might of Konkani. Father Angelo Maffei(1844-1899) did for Konkani of Mangalore what Fr. Thomas Stephens had alreadydone for the Konkani of Goa. Dr. Cunha Rivara (1800-1879) prepared the way of renaissance of Konkani in 20th century. MGR. SEBASTIAO RODOLFO DALGADO (1855-1922), DR. JOSE GERSON DA CUNHA (1844-1900), DR MARIANO SALDANHA (1878-1975), BRUNO DE SOUZA (1836-1905) and other scholars rendered further elevation for the language. Shenoi Goembab alias Vaman Raghunath varde Valaulikar (1877-1946) came as a torch light for the then Konkani people who were confused about the reality of their own identity and language. He is regarded as a pioneer of Konkani Renaissance. Through his prolific writings he showed the strength of Konkani. With his scholarly and penetrating insight he laid the foundation of the history of Konkani people.


MODERN KONKANI LITERATURE IN GOA

POETRY - There must have been Konkani poetry before the advent of Portuguese as is evident from the Konkani song written by Namdeo(1th century). There is a mention of a poem on the passion by Gaspar de Miguel (16th century). Hindu devotional poetry flourished among the Konkanis of Kerala during the last decades of the seventeenth century with Sant Appayya, Raghavdas, Jogavva and Avadi. The tradition is kept to this day by Smt. Kamalamal, Narahari Prabhu and Suhas Dalal. Bayabhau alias Kashinath Sridhar Naik started the revival of poetry. Bakibab Borkar alias Balkrishna Bhagwant Borkar is seen primarily as lyric poet dealing with the great themes of love and destiny. Manoharrai Sardesai brought picturesqueness and simplicity to Konkani poetry. R V Pandit experimented with free verse and depicted the plight of the downtrodden. Pandurang Bhangui gave chiseled and introspective verses. Nagesh Karmali wages a relentless war against social injustice, inequality, ignorance and hypocrisy. Shankar Ramani's poetry is melodious. Madhav Borkar is terse, abstract but appealing. Ramesh Veluskar has originality while picturing sensuous nature. Prakash Padgaokar is highly lyrical. Shivanand Tendulkar is deliberately non-conformist and uses bold imagery. CP F D'costa has wealth of images and ideas. Punalik Naik brings unusual thoughts and vigour. Moridas(Anthony D'souza), J B Morais, Yeshwant Kelekar, Uday Bhembro, Hardatt Khandeparkar, Sanjeev Verekar, Nayana Adarkar, Maya Kharangate, Prakash Dattaram Naik Jess Fernandes, Suresh Borkar, Bharat Naik, R Ramanath, Paresh Kamat, Bhicaji Ghanekar, Fr Moreno de souza, Shankar Bhandari, Vijaya Sarmalkar , Nutan Sakhardande are other promising poets.


SHORT STORY - Konkani possesses a wealth of stories handed down from generation to generation in a perennial tradition. Modern story begins with Shennoi Goembab. In his short stories, he portrays out of the way characters to carry home to his readers his advice of moderation, tolerance and justice. Journalist and writer Chandrakant Keni's story is simple and has deep concern for human beings, their problems, pains and sorrows and joys. Laxmanrao Sardesai has written nice Konkani short stories. Stories of Damodar Mauzo show economy, precision, objectivity and sureness of touch. Felicion Cardozo initially gave a new direction to Konkani stories in roman script. Pundalik Naik's short stories reflect the rural life in Goa and express the tribulations, dreams and aspirations of the people in a lucid language tough vigorous and racy. His stories with regional flavour carry the touch of universality. Gajanan Jog describes the rural Goan life with the analysis of human problems. N Shivdas, Mahabaleshwar sail, Atchut Totekar, Datta S. Naik, Olivino gomes, Ramkrishna Zuarkar, Tomazino Cardozo, Prakash Pariemkar, Ashok Bhonsle etc, are other short story writers. Meena Kakodkar, Sheela Kolambkar, Jaimala Danait, Hema Naik, Jayanti Naik etc. are promising feminine writers.

ESSAY -  Ravindra Kelekar's reflective essays are in the form of loud thinking. A voracious reader and an active political worker Kelekar has however enough time to stand and stare at things arouond him and some of the passages are beautiful word-pictures of nature. His writing is in the form of personal essays or rather diary notes. Eclectic in his method he is given to rambling, which invariably makes for the intelligent reader's delight. Swati a collection of literary essays and poems edited by Vishnu Naik was published in Mumbai in 1960. Many famous writers had contributed for it. Prof. Lucio Rodrigues, Laxmanrao Sardesai, Purushottam Singbal, Tanaji Halarnkar, Chandrakant Keni, shyam verekar, Datta Damodar Naik, sumdedha Kamat, Mukesh Thali, Kamalakar Mhalshi and others have made notable contribution to the compartment of essays. A. N. Mhambro and Dr Dattaram Sukthankar have written humorous essays. 


NOVEL - though the novel in roman and Kannada scripts has a long tradition, novel writing in Devnagri is comparatively recent. There is however of course SOOUNSAR BUTTI a novel written by Shenoi Goembab in the early thirties. But it is not exactly a social novel. TULSI is a novelette by Ravindra Kelekar. It is the story of woman's woes, which know no end. Pundalik Naik's BAMBAR gave a serious jolt to the mentality of the readers. Pundalik Naik boldly and sharply pierces through the glossy surface to the stinking reality underneath. His 'Acchev' is a powerful novel on the destruction of human values in the wake of a rapid development of mining industry. Which had created an unprecedented upheaval in the life of Goan villagers. The novel Pakhlo written by Tukaram shet is both a psychological and social. Laxmanrao sardesai has written a novelette PAPDAM KOVLLEO. Fr. Antonio Pereira has written some novels. Damodar Mauzo's KARMELIN and Mahabaleshwar's sail's KALI GANGA so also Hema Naik's Bhogdond are other novels. History of Konkani novels will be incomplete without a mention of 'romans'. It is loosely defined as a novel written by Goan catholic writers I Roman script. These novels have a flavour of romance and love and are plenty in number. 


DRAMA -  Shenoi Goembab started writing adapted plays in Konkani from French and wrote ZHILBA RANO in 1933. Ramchandra Naik later on wrote CHOUTHICHO CHANDRA in the same year. Ramchandra Naik wrote many one act plays too. A great fillip was given to Konkani one-act play writing with the organization of Konkani one-act play inter-collegiate competitions in Mumbai. Scores of playes were written and staged. Kisan Kamat, Raghuvir Nevrekar, vinay Surlakar, Pundalik Narayan Dande wrote comedy plays. Krishna Laxman Moyo and Manoharrai Sardesai wrote full length- plays. Ravindra Kelekar, Naryan Borkar, Datta S. Naik, and Ashok kamat wrote some plays. Prakash thali adapated and translated some plays from other Indian languages. Dilip Borkar, N shivdas, Bharat Naik , Ramkishna Zuarkar, Dattaram Bambolkar, Devidas Babai, Vishnu Surya Wagh, Prakash Vazrikar have written dramas and one act plays. Pundalik Naik is a playwright par excellence who gave a high elevation to Konkani theatre by his powerful full length plays and scores of one act plays. 


TRAVELOGUES - are written by Ravindra Kelekar, Narayan Desai, Datta Damodar Naik, Dilip Borkar etc.


JOURNALISM -  UDENTECHEM SALLOK was the fist periodical in Konkani which saw light in Feb.1889 edited by Eduardo J. Bruno de Souza. In 1891 Aleixo C F Francisco started a weekly followed by one more periodical by Sebastiao Jesus Dias. It was followed by more periodicals by Inacio X rodrigues and B F Braga. In 1907, B F Cabral started in Mumbai a daily newspaper in Konkani under the name SANJECHEM NOKETRA. In 1908 Honarato and F X Furtado started O GOANO. With the publication of the monthly DOR MHOINEACHI ROTTI in 1914 in Karachi by Fr. Ludovico Pereira, a new era began in Konkani journalism. This monthly was later on edited by Fr. Moreno de Souza. A number of periodicals followed later on. With the liberation of Goa a new era dawned in Konkani journalism. Felicio Cardozo came out with his weekly GOYCHO SAD in roman script. MGR. Sebastiao R. dalgado started SOT. Jagdish vagh, Amrut Kansar Manoharrai sardesai A N Mhambro, suhas Dalal, Gurunath kelekar, Yeshwant Palekar, chandrakant Keni, Suresh Kakodkar, Hema Naik , Datta S. Naik came out with periodicals. ZAG by Ravindra Kelekar is one of the best magazines still published monthly. A great event in the intellectual life of Konkani speakers was the establishement of daily Rashtramat in 1963. though it was a Marathi daily it carried a supplement in Konkani every sunday namely SOMAR and prominent writers contributed for it. Tukaram Shet, Hema Naik, started lots of other annual periodicals. Fr. Freddy J Da costa still comes out with his GULAB monthly magazine in Roman script. The publication of SUNAPARANT konkani daily in 1987 marked a new era and an important milestone in Konkani journalism. It is still published. Magazines for children were published by Gurunath Kelekar and Prabhkar Bhide etc.


LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN - With the introduction of Konkani schools in 1962, and with the establishment of Publishing houses like Sanjeevani Prakashan by Gurunath Kelekar and Rajhauns Prakashan (Prabhakar Bhide) childrens' literature is written and published in a large way. Initially shenoi Goembab had written BHURGEANLO IXTT in 1935. It contains short stories, articles and folk songs. Kashinath shridhar Naik, Bhicaji Ghanekar, Vijaya sarmalkar, Kamaladevi Deshpande, Damodar Mauzo, Mahabaleshwar Borkar, Ramesh veluskar, Pundalik Naik, Bharat Naik, N Shivdas and all other prominent writers wrote for children. Manoharrai sardesai has enriched childrens literature with his popular songs and poems.


KONKANI LITERATURE IN KARNATAKA - the first seeds of Konkani literature in Karnataka were sown by the Christian settlers who came at Kanara district from Goa about 500 years ago. They created a rich treasury of folklore, religious hymns and songs nurtured for several centuries. The captivity of sixty thousand Kanara Christians in 1784 by Tippu Sultan and their transportation and consignment in Srirangapatnam for over 15 years proved a blessing in disguise for development of Konkani literature. Many of the prisoners took along with them religious hymn and other folklore to sustain them in their terrible lot. the well known hymn RIGLO JEZU MOLLIANT was probably composed by Fr Joachim Miranda in the 18th century. Foundation of Konkani was laid in these hymns. By the middle of the 19th century, Konkani Christians formed a well-knit and prosperous community in and around the city of Mangalore.Fr Maffei mastered the language of Christian Mangaloreans and wrote a Konkani grammar. Monsignor Minguel Placid Colaco wrote the devotional Jezucho Mog about 95 years ago. Fr Louis D'Souza published collection of konkani riddles, proverbs. Fr Basil Rozario and Fr Gregory Coelho too contributed. Year 1912 saw the birth of first periodical in Mangalore -- Konkani Dirvem. Louis Mascarenhas and U Kannappa were its founders. In 1938 Rakhno periodical was started in Mnagalore. The year 1950 saw the birth of the first full length, original social nover ANGEL by JOAQUIM SANTAN ALVARES. He revolutionised the filed of fiction in Konkani literature and wrote many marvelous novels. V J P SALDANHA popularly known as Khadap has written novels quite strong in plot, characterisation and style. CHAFRA alias -C F D'Costa made commendable contribution in poetry and dramas. Some other prominent writers are-- A T LOBO, EDWIN D SOUZA, STAN AGEIRA , GABRIEL D'SOUZA OR GABBU, RONALD PEREIRA , JERRY KULSHEKAR ,IRENE PINTO, TINA D'MELLO , MIC MAX, VITOR RODRIGUES, FARNCIS SALDANHA, HEMACHANDRA ETC. Pedro John D'Souza , Faustin D'Souza, J U Rego, J C Viegas, Nandini d'costa , C G Pereira , Sylvester D'Souza , Francis Saldanha and other have written forceful short stories. Interest in poetry in Karnataka is deep rooted. the early pioneers in this field were the catholic priests. They wrote several hymns, which were really poems. They were passed onto the other generations by word of mouth. Louis Mascarenhas was a great poet. Other prominent poets are-- Fr P L NOTELHO, FR SYLVESTER MENEZES, FR ANTHONY JOHN D'SOUZA, FELIX PAUL NORONHA SWAMI SUPRIYA'S, FR PRATAP NAIK, FR LOUIS BOTELO'S STAN AGEIRA'S, AMBROSE D'SOUZA, LANCELOT PINTO, ELO D'SOUZA, J B SEQUEIRA AMBROSE D'SOUZA J B RASQUINA AND HENRY D'SILVA, J B MORAES, C F D'COSTA. Lots of plays and folk literature has enriched the Konkani literature of Karnataka.


KONKANI LITERATURE IN KERALA - There is no evidence to say exactly when Konkani language started to prevail in Kerala. But the possibility of contact of Goa with Kerala cannot be denied as partners in foreign trade. Smt. G Kamalammal contributed towards devotional literature. V. KRISHNA VADYAR, BHAKTA R KANHANGAD.S.T CHANDRAKALA S KAMAT are novelists. V VENKATES, K NARAYAN NAIK, N PRAKASH AND others have written powerful short stories. P G KAMATH has written essays. Great poets are- K Anant Bhat, N Purushottam Mallya, R GOPAL PRABHU, P N S SIVANAND SHENAI, N N ANANDAN, R S BHASKAR etc. Translations, folklore, criticism also have enriched the literature in Kerala. 


DICTIONARIES AND ENCYCLOPEDIAS - Konkani language gave its first dictionary in 1567. Missionary priests of Rachol Seminary compiled the first ever dictionary in any Indian language giving 15000 Konkani words and their vocables in Portuguese. Later during the period between 17th and 19th centuries, two more dictionaries were added to our treasure. One in Portuguese - Konkani by Fr. Diego Ribeiro and another Konkani-Portuguese by Fr. Michael Almeida. The greatest contribution to Konkani lexicography emerged towards the end of the 19th century by Monsignor Dalgado. His 2 dictionaries Konkani-Portuguese and Portuguese-Konkani are a great possession of Konkani. Late Shripad R Desai's Konkani-Konkani dictionary in 4 volumes is yet another milestone in this process. Shantaram Hedo published by Konkani Bhasha Mandal also compiles Konkani-Konkani dictionary. Gurunath Kelekar has compiled English-Konkani dictionary in 1994. Konkani-English dictionary in two volumes compiled by Suresh Borkar, Mukesh Thali and Damodar Ghanekar carry over 40,000 words and phrases. Pandurang Bhangui's efforts in compiling SHABDA SAGAR are commendable, first volume being already published by Goa Konkani Academy. 

Konkani Vishwakosh in four volumes edited by Dr Tanaji Halarnakar is an Encyclopedia published by Goa University which encompasses all the world information in a nutshell with special emphasis and detailed information on Goa, Konkani, Goan culture, folklore, history, geography etc.

 

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