Various communities came together in the name of Konkani language at the two-day Konkani Sahitya Sammelan organized by Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Mangaluru at RSB auditorium Manipal on 20, 21, and 22, March 2021.
The meet holds an especially important place in the hearts of the Konkani people in the coastal area and other parts of Karnataka. It celebrates the culture and tradition of this mother tongue which is spoken by around 42 communities. Dialects of Konkani are used from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Catholic people speak Konkani language in Mumbai, America and in Gulf countries. As language becomes a way of life and expression, Konkani language is being spread through the achievements and deeds of the people in these communities.
While inaugurating the Sammelan on the first day, Minister of Muzrai department, Kota Srinivas Poojary said that the people of the Konkani community have kept alive their language, culture, tradition along with contributing to the development of the country amid several obstacles.
He expressed that the wish that the Konkani language receives the constitutional recognition that it deserves and becomes one of the national languages. “Konkani culture emphasizes the value and teaches us that we should think of what we have contributed to the nation rather than thinking about what we are gaining from society,” he said.
He also lauded the contribution of Konkani communities for furtherance of the health and education sectors in the undivided Dakshina Kannada districts. “Let the Konkani language spread across the country and gain importance in every field,” he wished.
Speaking on the importance of promoting such programmes, Lalaji Mendon, Kaup MLA said, “most of the people from the Konkani community have contributed a lot to the development of society. Today's event serves as a platform to explore one's talent and therefore such programmes should be promoted.”
The Sammelan was set in motion by a beautiful Shobhayathra which was carried out from the Syndicate circle to the RSB auditorium and comprised Nashik band, tiger dance, prayer team, tableaus, and other cultural events.
On the occasion, five Konkani books, published by the Academy were released. The five books were 'Kaniyancho Thuro' written by Walter Rosario, 'Galivaracho Pravas' by J F D'Souza, 'Gazabajo' by Seema Kamath, 'Apalipa of Pelsi Lobo' and 'Bognanchim Lharam' written by Charles D'Souza.
Speaking to News Karnataka, Arun Shet, KKSA member said that the Konkani Sahitya Sammelan organized by Konkani Academy, Karnataka Konkani Sahitya academy strives for the development of the Konkani language. Many events like talks, workshops, seminars are conducted every year in this regard. “We have demanded that all children whose mother tongue is Konkani, be allowed to be educated in the language. According to the new education policy, every child has the right to get an education in their mother tongue. We want our future generation to study in Konkani and help in keeping this beautiful language alive. We are also extending financial assistance to the students who are pursuing an MA in Konkani, from Konkani Adhyana Peeta of Sandhya College under Mangaluru University and with support from government this facility can be expanded to more students”.
He further requested that all Konkani people unite and speak in Konkani in their day-to-day life and also contribute to Konkani literature.
The Two-day Sammelan
As part of the two-day Sammelanam, five different sessions were held on various topics from the second day in the morning. The first session held was on the topic 'Konkani Language and Literature'. Venkatesh Baliga, editor, Kodiyal newspaper, Mangaluru, presided over the first session. Vasudeva Shanbagh from Sirsi, Chandramathi G Varnekar from Bengaluru and Raymond D’Cunha from Mangaluru, participated.
Following the first session, a book ‘Arogyachi Bhagya’ written by Dr Kumta Shivaram Karanth, was released. The second session was ‘Kavigoshti’ (poem session), third session was ‘Kathagoshti’, fourth was on education and fifth was 'Hasyagoshti'. Manjunath Kamath, Vishnuprasad, Nagesh Anvekar, Alfonso D’Souza, Chaithra Goavskar, Tharanath Mesta, Taranath Nayak, Kallacchu Mahesh R Nayak, Kantavar Shivanand Shenoy and Shivanand Nayak, participated in the second session.
Melvyn Rodrigues, president, Kavitha Trust Mangaluru, presided over the Kavigoshti. Ravindra Nayak Sannakkibettu, Geetha Savanth, Prem Moras and Suchithra Shenoy took part in Kathagoshti. Sandhya Pai, editor, Taranga Weekly, presided over the session. Robort Menezes, Chandrika Malya and Gourish Bhandary Kumuta expressed their views on education. K P Shenoy, secretary, Sri Venkataramana education Trust Karkala presided over the fourth session.
H Satish Nayak and Jaideep Prabhu entertained the audience with jokes. Sandhya Shenoy, famous comedian, and writer presided over the last session.
Speaking to News Karnataka later, Naveen Nayak, a member of KKSA said, “in response to our request the government of Karnataka has granted Rs.5 crores to build a Konkani Bhavan. We can create more employment opportunities for the Konkani people by adopting the Konkani language as a subject in schools and colleges. KKSA recognizes the Konkani writers, poets, and novelists and supports them financially. We are also working on digitalizing the Konkani literature to make it available worldwide and preserve it for our future generations. President Dr. Jagadish Pai has been working hard in this regard”. Konkani youth must be proud of their mother tongue and try to produce more literary works in Konkani, he added.
The valedictory function also saw the honouring of as many as 22 achievers, who served in various fields. Balachandra Gaovskar, Tanula Tarun, Dr Padmanabh Kamath, Manjunath Prabhu, Dr Vidyadhar, Nandagopal Shenoy, Daccharu Ganapathi Shenoy, Anamay Shetty, Gopal Kharvi, Rajesh Prabhu, Shantaram Kudva, Sudha Prabhu (absent), Pushpa Raghuram Mesta, Arjun Bhandarkar, Halady Laxmi Devi Vasudev Kamath, Poornima Shenoy, Vatsala Kamath, Rajivi, Suhash Shenoy, Alphonso D'Costa, Gopalakrishna Nayak, Narayan Gavalkar and Shanta Naik were honoured for their remarkable work in various fields.
Presiding over the valedictory ceremony, former professor of medicine Dr. Kasturi Mohan Pai stressed the need for quality in Konkani textbooks. He called on the government to appoint Konkani teachers so that Konkani is encouraged from the school-level itself. The Bishop of the Udupi Diocese, Dr. Gerald Isaac Lobo said that Konkani is a special language spread from Kashmir to Kanyakumari which has strong cultural roots and is known for unique traditions and values. Speaking at the program, the former President of the Wakf Board Nakwa Yahya said that Konkani speaking people should always be proud of their language and pointed out that even Navayat Muslims speak Konkani.
The Academy President Dr. K Jagadish Pai said, “at the Sammelan it has been decided to demand the introduction of Konkani as a medium of instruction from class I to V, and as a language at the school and at postgraduate level. It has also been decided to demand that Konkani language teachers and lecturers are appointed in educational institutions. In addition the Sammelan decided to hold an event bringing together 42 communities speaking different dialects of Konkani, request additional Rs 3 crores to open a Konkani Study and Research Centre in Mangaluru and seek additional Rs 2 crores for the academy’s functioning”.
Dr. K Jagadish Pai stressed that a language represents the culture. When a language becomes extinct, the culture too becomes extinct. Expressing alarm at the western culture pervading into Konkani language, he noted how the present generation has no proper exposure into their own mother tongue as parents have failed to instil the love for language in them as they themselves are unaware of its glorious culture.
Noting that Konkani is the only language spoken by Hindu, Christian and Muslim communities and pointing out the need to strengthen the language and relationship, Pai said that Konkani Sahitya Academy has been demanding financial support from the government for a smooth run of its wide variety of activities across the state.
“Due to lack of funds, the academy which has its headquarters in Mangaluru is unable to take up state level activities, set up offices across the state or carry out in-depth studies of Konkani language and culture such as making of documentaries. If the government supports us with the funds, all these activities can be smoothly run, he said. The people who speak Konkani as their mother tongue are spread across Karnataka and not only in undivided Dakshina Kannada. With the much-needed funds, all the Konkani people, who speak various dialects, practice different cultures and follow different religions can be brought under one umbrella”, Pai told News Karnataka.
“The future of a language lies in its usage by the people in the community. Thus, by bringing Konkani language into administration, business, and politics, it will be assured of continued usage”, he concluded.
Events like these, help to highlight the importance of languages and serve to remind us to have affinity towards our mother tongue and people.
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