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Mangaluru: 'Claim that Devanagari script is superior will hinder Konkani's growth'

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (DV)

Mangaluru, Mar 4: The Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy on Friday March 4 decried efforts by some individuals to portray Devanagari script as superior to other scripts in which Konkani is written, following the dismissal of a plea over the issue of scripts by the Karnataka high court.

Addressing a press meet here, Academy president Roy Castelino said, "The Central Sahitya Akademi considers only Konkani works written in Devanagari script for its annual awards. A PIL was filed by an individual in the high court of Karnataka against this, urging the court to direct the Akademi to consider Konkani works in all the five scripts. The high court dismissed the PIL stating that as per the Akademi's bylaws, importance is given only to works in Devanagiri and that the court could not interfere as the Akademi is an independent body.

"This verdict was restricted only to Central Sahitya Akademi, but using this verdict, some individuals are claiming that only Devanagari script is superior and other scripts are not important. This will lead to confusion in Konkani language and education. It will also lead to decline in the language. This has also disappointed institutions which support Konkani language in Kannada script," he said.

"Konkani Sahitya Academy is an independent body under the government, and from the past 22 years it has been serving the language. In Karnataka, the official language is Kannada, and Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy has supported students, teachers, artistes, theatre actors and literatteurs who have used Kannada script for Konkani. In coastal districts, Konkani is being taught in 76 primary and high schools to 1,089 students. The Konkani Acadmy has never discriminated among the scripts, be it Devanagiri, Romi or Kannada, and also provided grants for workshops in these languages. These types of statements will mislead the people of the Konkani speaking community," he added.

"Everyone should support the growth and development of Konkani language. If we fight over different scripts, it will divide the language and will also hinder its growth.

"Students in DK district have been learning Konkani for the past eight years. In the year 2011-12, students wrote Konkani SSLC exam in Kannada. Even this year, 77 students of 12 high schools will write Konkani exam on April 13. We have also reccommended to the government to include Konkani in PUC. Under Mangalore University, Padua, Rosario and Pompei colleges have started Konkani language course at the degree level. In the coming years some more colleges will join the list. St Aloysius College, which is autonomous, has been teaching Konkani language from the past 20 years. Last year, Konkani Sahitya Academy set up Konkani study chair in Mangalore University. The university vice-chancellor has shown interest in starting MA course in Konkani.

"All 41 communities in Konkani language, five scripts and three religions should unite for the development of Konkani language," Roy Castelino stressed.

Dr Devadas Pai, registrar of Konkani Sahitya Academy, members Shekar Gowda, member, Lawrence D'Souza and K Devdas Pai were present.

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Comment on this article

  • John Tauro, M'luru / Kwt

    Sat, Mar 5 2016

    A script is not a basis for any language, yet a language is identified by its script. We know in what scripts English, French or Hindi are written. Script is one of the unifying factors for a language. Therefore it is necessary for a single script in order to unify and bring about oneness in the language.

    Konkani was being written in Devanagari script for about 800 years, at least 300 years before the advent of Portuguese in Goa. The converted Catholics under Portuguese dominion were compelled to learn and use the Roman script while the Hindus continued to write the language in Devanagri. Roman script was imposed by the Portuguese with the intention of obliterating local culture. Those who fled towards Mangalore learned and adopted the local Kannada script, since there were no schools to teach Devanagari. Likewise those settled in Kerala adopted the Malayalam script.

    Now the time has come to go back to the original script which is popular and read all over the country. Secondly Konkani being an Aryan language, Devanagari is more suitable as a script, since the language is akin to Hindi and Marathi. Thirdly, it will be convenient for students all over the country and abroad to study the language written in a single script. Finally, books and periodicals will have a wider readership if the language is printed using a single script.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Edward Nazareth, Mangalore

    Fri, Mar 4 2016

    These days, many of the Indian languages are struggling for their survival inspite of state support because of increasing basic education in English language. Except for few of the Dravidian languages, many languages are affected by the English medium schools. Even languages like Kannada are affected. Most of the children who do their education in English medium schools are not able to read or write in other languages. Some are able to converse in the native languages, but are not able to use it for reading or writing.
    In Karnataka Konkani is mainly, and probably exclusively written in Kannada script. There are several Konkani periodicals in Karnataka which use Kannada script. Hundreds of books are published each year in Karnataka using Kannada script. People here are more familiar to Kannada script than other scripts. Even in Goa there are hardly few periodicals in Devanagari script and more are in Roman script.
    Though the younger generation of towns today can not read the books or periodicals of Kannada script, there is good demand for books and periodicals of Kannada script in rural areas. In many of the schools now Konkani is taught in Kannada script. In our churches Konkani is the main language and all the scriptures and prayers are written in Kannada script. By teaching Konkani in Kannada script we will be able to nurture Konkani and allow it to grow.
    Devnagari is not a popular script in Karnataka like many of the southern states. Even in Goa, Roman script for Konkani is more popular than Devanagari.
    Our aim should be to support the growth of the language and not the script. This is exactly what Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academi is doing. In Karnataka if we want Konkani to grow we have to nurture it in Kannada script while also supporting the language in other scripts. Karnataka Konkani Sahitya academi has not discriminated any script. Several books written by other scripts are published, so that those who want to read Konkani in the particular script

    DisAgree [7] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • R J Soares, Brahamavar/ Mumbai

    Fri, Mar 4 2016

    To the growth of any language, there should be one uniform widely accepted script. Presently, Devanagiri seems to be widely accepted script and can be made official script.

    If all five scripts groups demand 5 scripts, then, konkani language will remain the same without much progress, which we can see since so many years. Therefore, it is in the interest of Konkani and its people, all these group should work towards a single script.

    I also understand that Devanagari script is accepted by the Central Government for Konkani. In that case, what is the harm in accepting it and make konkani language grow rich. it is difficult to adapt to new things, but a good beginning will go a long way to make history and make available the wealth of the konkani language available to all script groups, which will not only find big audience but also see the growth of language which it deserves the most.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Mangaluru: 'Claim that Devanagari script is superior will hinder Konkani's growth'


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