Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation celebrated the Konkani Manyatha Divas (recognition of Konkani by its inclusion in the 8th schedule of the constitution) by releasing the first volume of the three-part Encyclopedia of Konkani at a function held at World Konkani Centre, Shaktinagar here on Saturday August 20.
Prof Rajesh Sachdeva Director-in-Charge of Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, who released the book in the presence of Dr Tanaji Harlankar, guest of honour and Chief Editor of the Encyclopedia of Konkani emphasized on the importance of contribution of the community in safeguarding and developing their language.
“Recognition of the language is extremely important for all of us because ours is a multi-lingual country and we have to understand the value of the distinct diversity of this country. One must respect the fact that different languages are valuable aspects of qualitative heritage of any country. To develop language is to develop the community. It is the responsibility of the community to take the language forward”, he stated.
He reminded the Konkanis that by the addition of Konkani in the 8th schedule of the constitution there is an additional responsibility on the Konkani speaking people to develop the language and safeguard its diversity and heritage. Giving an example of the efforts put in by the Israelis in reviving the Hebrew language which was on the verge of extinction, Prof Sachdeva cautioned that if we cut the roots of the language we will have to pay a very heavy price in future. He commended the Konkanis for coming out of the shadow of Marathi and for finding its own place in the 8th schedule.
Pointing out that Sanskrit could grow as a language by adopting different scripts he stated, “Language is more important than script. Don’t let script come in the way of working for the betterment of Konkani. Recognition is usually for the language and script is just like an outer garb. Being a multilingual country, it offers a number of opportunities for the languages to grow together. Konkani has found a place among other 22 languages in the 8th schedule because there is lot of literature in the language and deliberate and conscious efforts have gone into its development. To take it a step further concerted efforts must be made to teach Konkani in schools. Centuries of efforts are required for it to grow”, he declared.
Dr Tanaji Harlankar, Chief Editor of the Encyclopedia in Konkani was felicitated on the occasion by Prof Sachdeva and Basti Vaman Shenoy, President of Konkani Language and Cultural Foundation. Gokuldas Prabhu introduced Dr Halankar to the audience. Dr Halankar, who is also the editor of the first world encyclopedia in Konkani, in his speech stated that bringing out the encyclopedia in Konkani has given him as much joy as bringing to the world his first child and his first book.
“For any writer his/her book is like a child because lots of efforts go into bringing out a book”, he pointed out. The encyclopedia in Konkani released today is the first of the 3 volumes brought out subsequently. This book contains 500 pages and the remaining two volumes will be of 500 pages each. “The encyclopedia covers Goa in full and Konkan parts of Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra. It deals with Konkani people of the Konkans, their linguistic, historic, geographical and cultural activities and Konkani art, literature, feasts, traditions, customs and rituals”, he said.
He also pointed out that he had to work under certain limitations that include restricting the volumes of the encyclopedia to 500 pages each. Hence Tanaji said he has concentrated mainly on important events pertaining to the Konkani community. “Though there are many famous Konkanis whose number goes beyond 500 I have been able to include only 100 of them due to space constraints, he stated. As a parting shot he said “I am just giving you the menu. To taste the dish you have to buy the book and read”, Halankar Stated.
Dr Kasturi Mohan Pai who distributed books and scholarship to the students who have taken Konkani as the medium of study in school, stressed on the need to adopt Nagari script so as to bring standardization to Konkani script all over the country. “If formal education is taught in Nagari script then it would usher in standardization in Konkani script in the country”, he maintained.
Earlier Basti Vaman Shenoy welcomed the gathering. Basti Vaman Shenoy, Shri Subbu Krishna, Raghunath Shet were present on the dais. Guru Baliga compered the programme and also proposed the vote of thanks.