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Article from SOD 13 (From Archives)

Last Updated: 01 January '09

Article published in SOD 13 

Konknni Devanagari Script Supporters should Act Immediately

Ancy D'Souza

In the recently concluded Goa State Legislative Assembly, the Leader of the Opposition Mr. Manohar Parrikar raised the issue of the grievances by Marathi group and supporters of Roman script for Konknni group. He said that the Govt. should appoint a committee and settle this issue. The opposition parties will fully cooperate with the govt.

While replying to this point the Chief Minister Mr. Digambar Kamat has assured the house that, he would form a committee to settle this language issue once and for all.  In this background, the Nagari lobby should join hands with the supporters of Roman script to give equal status to Roman script at the earliest to avoid Marathi also to become the State Language. If the Nagari lobby delays there is a danger that Roman script supporters and Marathi supporters will join hand and succeed to their objectives and in the bargain Konknni will be defined the New Act "Konknni means Konknni in Roman script". If this happens, that will be the end of Konknni in Nagari script because as it is, it exists mainly due to the financial support of the state and Central governments.

In Goa, most of the books in Nagari script are published with the government aid and practically there is no readership, as the books are not sold in bookstalls. Childrens of Nagari lobby people study either in English medium or in Marathi medium. Their schools are either in Marathi medium or English medium. In Karnataka, Konknni is taught in schools only in Kannada script in 102 schools. More than 1800 children study Konknni in Kannada script. Though there is a provision to study Konknni in Devanagari script too, not even a single student has opted for it. All the proceedings of Karnataka Konknni Sahitya Academy are done only in Kannada. In Kerala, too there is a provision to study Konknni but no student has opted to study Konknni in Devanagari script. Such provision is not available in Maharashtra.

In democracy, no 'Act' is final and permanent. If the constitution of India is amended several times what prevents the Goa government to amend its own Language act 1987?  Government exists to serve the people and their legitimate aspirations.

For the survival of Konknni in Goa, Roman and Nagari scripts must be recognized as official and equal in the Language Act.  If Marathi too becomes the official language of Goa, the blame has to be borne by Nagari lobby only.  For its own survival and honour, Nagari lobby should immediately take necessary steps to rectify its past sin and join hands with Roman script supporters to obtain the official status to Roman script in the Language Act.

Roman script literature has a history of more than 450 years. Devanagari script was only forced on people. It was not a spontaneous script of Konknni people. Though it enjoyed all kinds of grants and honours from both state government and central government it has not yet become the natural script for its people. Though 21 years have passed since the Language Act was passed, Devanagari periodicals, books have not gained momentum in the bookstalls. Where in Kannada script there are 5 Weeklies, 14 monthlies and a number of regional and other periodicals that do not receive even a single government advisements and available in the Book Stalls of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gulf Countries. But there is not even a single weekly in Devanagari script of Konknni. It looks as if people use the script only to get honours, awards, grants, position, jobs and Government advertisements.


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