The Konkani community has launched the largest-ever project towards the growth of their culture, said Cooperative Minister R.V. Deshpande at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Vishwa Konkani Kendra at Shaktinagar near here on Monday.
Mr. Deshpande, who promised "substantial help" from himself and the Government, said the centre should become a landmark institution in research, scholastic endeavours and other culture and language-based studies. Konkani is spoken by Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Siddis (tribal people) and 14 other communities in three different States, and this makes it the most secular language, he said.
A language like that should have its own world centre in Mangalore, which is known to be the homeland of a large number of Konkani speaking people, he added.
Language, culture and art should transcend the borders of religion and community, and this is the only way to ensure that a culture survives, said leaders of the Konkani community. Philanthropist
Dayananda Pai of Bangalore, who volunteered to donate a sum of Rs. 25 lakhs towards the Vishwa Konkani Kendra, said people should encourage such projects not merely through financial help, but by various other resources too.
Vishwa Konkani Kendra project convener Basti Vaman Shenoy said the Konkani community outside the country had given its mandate to have such a Kendra in Mangalore and suggestions and funds are now pouring in from all parts of the world.
Blasius D'Souza, MLC; N. Yogish Bhat, MLA of Mangalore and N.S. Rao, former chairman of the Pest Control Corporation of India spoke.
Union Minister for Programme Implementation and Statistics Oscar Fernandes made a brief visit.