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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Script for Konkani

R. Venkatraman, the former President of India, advocated the use of Roman script for all Indian languages. His noble vision was unity of script and National Integration. It would also facilitate the learning of Indian languages. Take the case of a person who wants to learn Tamil, but is unfamiliar with its script. It would be next to impossible for a non Tamilian to learn Tamil. First of all one has to master the script and then the language. A person who is familiar with the universally widely used Roman Script would learn Tamil or for that matter any Indian language if it is taught in Roman script. In this age of Internet and information technology, where the whole world has been reduced to a global village, the Roman script is gaining wide acceptability world-wide. It is a simple linear script and is computer and user friendly. Turkey, Swahili in Africa and the Indo-China region states have all resorted to the use of Roman script for their languages. The Chinese, Japanese, Punjabi, Sindhi and Kashmiri are using Roman script for e-mail correspondence. Therefore it becomes easier for any tourist visiting Malaysia or Vietnam, to read the sign boards and his destinations, though in the local languages but written in Roman Script. Take the case of India where there are hundreds of languages and dialects written in various scripts, wouldn't an Indian traveling from North to South find it easier to travel if all the sign boards were written in the Roman script? The Indian Army uses Hindi, written in the Roman script to instruct its recruits. As the army recruits come from diverse regions speaking different languages, can anybody dare to call the Indian Army or President R. Venkatraman, antinational or divisive? Have both the Indian Army and the former President deviated from the cultural mainstream of India? or become less patriotic? Is our nationalism dependent on the script we use for a particular language? Ever since the Dalgado Konknni Akademi was established to unite and motivate the sidelined Konkani writers, readers and speakers of books written in Roman script and enthusiasts, who sacrificed their life for the cause of Konkani, but denied any benefits. Loud noises are heard from self proclaimed defendants of Konkani, they accuse the efficient bearers of the DKA as divisive elements and antinational. They also label them as activists alienated from the cultural mainstream of India. By the way, where is the unity amongst the Konkani forces? Why are lakhs of rupees spent on Konkani by the Government used by only a few? A coterie of script fundamentalists whose only aim is to share the booty amongst themselves. Though the language bill was passed in the year 1987, Konkani as the official language remains only on paper. The bill has never been implemented and never will. Majority of government schools and private schools run by the majority community continue to promote Marathi and not Konkani. The Antruzi dialect Konkani that is foisted on the unwilling public has not found wide acceptability. Only a small percentage of Goans speak and use Antruzi Konkani dialect which is spoken by Saraswats, whereas the majority abhors the use of Antruzi as they feel it is not their language. The Antruzi Konkani can and will only survive with the government support. If the government financial support is withdrawn, the written Antruzi will die a natural death and it only will remain as a spoken dialect on lips of these small percentage of Goans. At present it is mainly kept alive by government grants. In Goa there is more readership and support for written Marathi than Konkani written in Devanagari script. The most of the religious rituals of the majority community are held in Marathi and not in Antruzi Konkani dialect. This itself proves that the majority community does not support or encourage Antruzi Konkani dialect in religious, cultural and educational fields. Take the case of Roman script Konkani, which uses the Bardesi dialect. Ninety eight percent of Goans understand this form of Konkani. Literature in this variant existed right from the sixteenth century. The Tiatrs that uses this Bardesi Konkani is highly successful and today its turn over is in multi crores. Hundreds of cassettes of Kantaram are released every year. VCD'S of Tiatrs are flooding the market by the hundreds and are bought by the people over the counter. Vavraddeancho Ixtt weekly and monthly magazines are sold by the thousands by paper vendors. Novels written in Roman script sell like hot cakes the moment they are released. Religious hymns, Bible readings, masses and other religious literature and church bulletins are in the Bardesi version Konkani. This shade of Konkani is sought to be suppressed and eliminated by the Devanagari fanatics. They have succeeded to a great extent in denying government support to the people's Konkani and vociferously oppose any government grants or efforts to revive the Roman script Konkani literature. Are these people really supporting the real cause of Konkani? or are they the true enemies from within? The Bardesi version of Konkani continues to survive and thrive, without any Government support. Had there been Government grants to the people's Konkani, one can imagine to what extent it would have flourished and prospered. The myth that Konkani can only be expressed well, in Devanagari script, has been shattered by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy. A Statuary Government Body. The KKSA recently adopted on 30th May 2005 the Kannada script as the official script for Konkani in Karnataka. Children in Karnataka will learn Konkani in Kannada script and in the dialect that is universally acceptable to all. Why are Goans who used Roman script Konkani for centuries willing to kill the goose that lays golden eggs and adopt an archaic, three tier cumbersome Devanagari script? Are the Goans ready to transform a Tiatr into a Natak? a Kantar into a Bhavgeet, a Mando into a natyageet? or a Dekhni into a Dhalo? Why can't both the Bardesi Konkani and the Antruzi Konkani co-exist and bloom independently and side by side? Take the case of the omni present English where there are several versions. For example: The Queen English, the American, the Australian, the Afro-American and the Indian Hinglish. No one version claims superiority or works to subdue and obliterate the other. It is predicted that Indian Hinglish will dominate the world in the years to come. The church schools should switch over to the Roman script Bardesi Konkani with immediate effect. The minority schools have a right to teach their children in the script of their own, under article 29(1) of the Constitution of India "Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same." Let us avail of this fundamental right to teach Konkani in Roman script to our students from the next academic year onwards. The students would find it easier to understand and grasp the subject, when they find the Konkani with which they are familiar is in their books. It is a well Known fact that the Devanagari fanatics do not teach their own children in Konkani. Die hard so called Konkani pundits educate their children in Marathi and English Medium. So far whom is the Devanagari Konkani meant for? Only for the minorities and to a handful of majority community? The Devanagari Antruzi Konkani pundits find it economically wise to learn Marathi. Employment opportunities are easily available to them in the Marathi print Media, Marathi folk art, nataks and bhajans. Why should only church schools continue to use the unwanted Antruzi dialect? Isn't the alternative Bardesi Konkani more appealing and profitable? Or are the church schools unwilling to experiment. Though it was argued that government jobs would go to those who learn Konkani in Devanagari script, statistics available with the writer speaks otherwise. No catholic has been given a government job purely on the basis of Konkani. Take the recent postal recruitment case. The vacancies were put into cold storage, moment the postal department made the knowledge of Konkani mandatory. What is the use then opting for Konkani at the S.S.C, H.S.S.C. and degree level when you are unsure of getting Government jobs?Political leaders who galvanized the masses, during the Konkani agitation are back in power. Konkani lovers were stabbed in the back by the adoption of the Antruzi dialect in Devanagari script, thereby alienating true Konkani lovers. It is not too late to undo the damage done. Let the Goa Konkani Academy be headed by representatives of both the communities in rotation. Let the Kala academy revive the literary awards and all other schemes which are available to Konkani in Devanagari script, to Konkani written in Roman script as well. Let also the Kala Academy subsidize the hall booking charges for Konkani Tiatrs. Let a Roman script Konkani wing be established in the Kala Academy to look after the interests of Tiatrs, Kantaram, Mandos, Dulpods and other genuinely Goan art forms. Let also travel grants be given to Roman script writers as they are at present given to Antruzi and Marathi writers. Recently adopted resolution in the Government Assembly during the BJP regime may be put to effective use by releasing government grants to the Dalgado Konkani Academy, which is a Registered Society under the Societies' Registration Act XXI of 1860, set up to look after the interests of Konkani in Roman script. The Directorate of art and culture could also be revitalized and reorganized. Presently it favours culture and art forms of the majority community. The funds earmarked could be judiciously and equitably utilized by also encouraging upcoming Tiatr artists. Tiatr could be promoted at the national and international level. Government should sponsor Tiatr groups and Mando groups to put up shows in different States of India. The Catholic community has been emotionally blackmailed in the name of Konkani over the years. They have received no tangible benefits in return. Whereas, the Devanagari activists enjoy Government support and occupy positions and jobs at the expense of Roman script supporters. They conveniently switch their allegiance and loyalties to Marathi and Konkani as and when it suits them. Now the time has come to demand our pound of flesh. We have waited for twenty long years, and to wait for even more years will be foolish and self defeating. Roman script Konkani is our Konkani. Therefore it is not shameful to patronize it and demand what we rightfully deserve. The Congress Government which treats the catholic community as its rightful vote bank should deliver and deliver now. It is time to watch your promises with actions, for actions speak louder than words. Nelson Lopes R. Venkatraman, the former President of India, advocated the use of Roman script for all Indian languages. His noble vision was unity of script and National Integration. It would also facilitate the learning of Indian languages. Take the case of a person who wants to learn Tamil, but is unfamiliar with its script. It would be next to impossible for a non Tamilian to learn Tamil. First of all one has to master the script and then the language. A person who is familiar with the universally widely used Roman Script would learn Tamil or for that matter any Indian language if it is taught in Roman script. In this age of Internet and information technology, where the whole world has been reduced to a global village, the Roman script is gaining wide acceptability world-wide. It is a simple linear script and is computer and user friendly. Turkey, Swahili in Africa and the Indo-China region states have all resorted to the use of Roman script for their languages. The Chinese, Japanese, Punjabi, Sindhi and Kashmiri are using Roman script for e-mail correspondence. Therefore it becomes easier for any tourist visiting Malaysia or Vietnam, to read the sign boards and his destinations, though in the local languages but written in Roman Script. Take the case of India where there are hundreds of languages and dialects written in various scripts, wouldn't an Indian traveling from North to South find it easier to travel if all the sign boards were written in the Roman script? The Indian Army uses Hindi, written in the Roman script to instruct its recruits. As the army recruits come from diverse regions speaking different languages, can anybody dare to call the Indian Army or President R. Venkatraman, antinational or divisive? Have both the Indian Army and the former President deviated from the cultural mainstream of India? or become less patriotic? Is our nationalism dependent on the script we use for a particular language? Ever since the Dalgado Konknni Akademi was established to unite and motivate the sidelined Konkani writers, readers and speakers of books written in Roman script and enthusiasts, who sacrificed their life for the cause of Konkani, but denied any benefits. Loud noises are heard from self proclaimed defendants of Konkani, they accuse the efficient bearers of the DKA as divisive elements and antinational. They also label them as activists alienated from the cultural mainstream of India. By the way, where is the unity amongst the Konkani forces? Why are lakhs of rupees spent on Konkani by the Government used by only a few? A coterie of script fundamentalists whose only aim is to share the booty amongst themselves. Though the language bill was passed in the year 1987, Konkani as the official language remains only on paper. The bill has never been implemented and never will. Majority of government schools and private schools run by the majority community continue to promote Marathi and not Konkani. The Antruzi dialect Konkani that is foisted on the unwilling public has not found wide acceptability. Only a small percentage of Goans speak and use Antruzi Konkani dialect which is spoken by Saraswats, whereas the majority abhors the use of Antruzi as they feel it is not their language. The Antruzi Konkani can and will only survive with the government support. If the government financial support is withdrawn, the written Antruzi will die a natural death and it only will remain as a spoken dialect on lips of these small percentage of Goans. At present it is mainly kept alive by government grants. In Goa there is more readership and support for written Marathi than Konkani written in Devanagari script. The most of the religious rituals of the majority community are held in Marathi and not in Antruzi Konkani dialect. This itself proves that the majority community does not support or encourage Antruzi Konkani dialect in religious, cultural and educational fields. Take the case of Roman script Konkani, which uses the Bardesi dialect. Ninety eight percent of Goans understand this form of Konkani. Literature in this variant existed right from the sixteenth century. The Tiatrs that uses this Bardesi Konkani is highly successful and today its turn over is in multi crores. Hundreds of cassettes of Kantaram are released every year. VCD'S of Tiatrs are flooding the market by the hundreds and are bought by the people over the counter. Vavraddeancho Ixtt weekly and monthly magazines are sold by the thousands by paper vendors. Novels written in Roman script sell like hot cakes the moment they are released. Religious hymns, Bible readings, masses and other religious literature and church bulletins are in the Bardesi version Konkani. This shade of Konkani is sought to be suppressed and eliminated by the Devanagari fanatics. They have succeeded to a great extent in denying government support to the people's Konkani and vociferously oppose any government grants or efforts to revive the Roman script Konkani literature. Are these people really supporting the real cause of Konkani? or are they the true enemies from within? The Bardesi version of Konkani continues to survive and thrive, without any Government support. Had there been Government grants to the people's Konkani, one can imagine to what extent it would have flourished and prospered. The myth that Konkani can only be expressed well, in Devanagari script, has been shattered by the Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy. A Statuary Government Body. The KKSA recently adopted on 30th May 2005 the Kannada script as the official script for Konkani in Karnataka. Children in Karnataka will learn Konkani in Kannada script and in the dialect that is universally acceptable to all. Why are Goans who used Roman script Konkani for centuries willing to kill the goose that lays golden eggs and adopt an archaic, three tier cumbersome Devanagari script? Are the Goans ready to transform a Tiatr into a Natak? a Kantar into a Bhavgeet, a Mando into a natyageet? or a Dekhni into a Dhalo? Why can't both the Bardesi Konkani and the Antruzi Konkani co-exist and bloom independently and side by side? Take the case of the omni present English where there are several versions. For example: The Queen English, the American, the Australian, the Afro-American and the Indian Hinglish. No one version claims superiority or works to subdue and obliterate the other. It is predicted that Indian Hinglish will dominate the world in the years to come. The church schools should switch over to the Roman script Bardesi Konkani with immediate effect. The minority schools have a right to teach their children in the script of their own, under article 29(1) of the Constitution of India "Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same." Let us avail of this fundamental right to teach Konkani in Roman script to our students from the next academic year onwards. The students would find it easier to understand and grasp the subject, when they find the Konkani with which they are familiar is in their books. It is a well Known fact that the Devanagari fanatics do not teach their own children in Konkani. Die hard so called Konkani pundits educate their children in Marathi and English Medium. So far whom is the Devanagari Konkani meant for? Only for the minorities and to a handful of majority community? The Devanagari Antruzi Konkani pundits find it economically wise to learn Marathi. Employment opportunities are easily available to them in the Marathi print Media, Marathi folk art, nataks and bhajans. Why should only church schools continue to use the unwanted Antruzi dialect? Isn't the alternative Bardesi Konkani more appealing and profitable? Or are the church schools unwilling to experiment. Though it was argued that government jobs would go to those who learn Konkani in Devanagari script, statistics available with the writer speaks otherwise. No catholic has been given a government job purely on the basis of Konkani. Take the recent postal recruitment case. The vacancies were put into cold storage, moment the postal department made the knowledge of Konkani mandatory. What is the use then opting for Konkani at the S.S.C, H.S.S.C. and degree level when you are unsure of getting Government jobs?Political leaders who galvanized the masses, during the Konkani agitation are back in power. Konkani lovers were stabbed in the back by the adoption of the Antruzi dialect in Devanagari script, thereby alienating true Konkani lovers. It is not too late to undo the damage done. Let the Goa Konkani Academy be headed by representatives of both the communities in rotation. Let the Kala academy revive the literary awards and all other schemes which are available to Konkani in Devanagari script, to Konkani written in Roman script as well. Let also the Kala Academy subsidize the hall booking charges for Konkani Tiatrs. Let a Roman script Konkani wing be established in the Kala Academy to look after the interests of Tiatrs, Kantaram, Mandos, Dulpods and other genuinely Goan art forms. Let also travel grants be given to Roman script writers as they are at present given to Antruzi and Marathi writers. Recently adopted resolution in the Government Assembly during the BJP regime may be put to effective use by releasing government grants to the Dalgado Konkani Academy, which is a Registered Society under the Societies' Registration Act XXI of 1860, set up to look after the interests of Konkani in Roman script. The Directorate of art and culture could also be revitalized and reorganized. Presently it favours culture and art forms of the majority community. The funds earmarked could be judiciously and equitably utilized by also encouraging upcoming Tiatr artists. Tiatr could be promoted at the national and international level. Government should sponsor Tiatr groups and Mando groups to put up shows in different States of India. The Catholic community has been emotionally blackmailed in the name of Konkani over the years. They have received no tangible benefits in return. Whereas, the Devanagari activists enjoy Government support and occupy positions and jobs at the expense of Roman script supporters. They conveniently switch their allegiance and loyalties to Marathi and Konkani as and when it suits them. Now the time has come to demand our pound of flesh. We have waited for twenty long years, and to wait for even more years will be foolish and self defeating. Roman script Konkani is our Konkani. Therefore it is not shameful to patronize it and demand what we rightfully deserve. The Congress Government which treats the catholic community as its rightful vote bank should deliver and deliver now. It is time to watch your promises with actions, for actions speak louder than words.

1 comment:

naik said...

If we go to history, Devangiri was used to write Konkani.Devangiri is used to write Hindi, Marathi, Gujarti, Punjabi, etc.Kannada script is used to write kannada only.People today are easily influenced by other languages. If kannada script is used to write Konkani then it means Konkanis don't have base.It means we depend on other language. Devanagari is real script to write konkani