First World Konkani Convention

Inauguration of the First World Konkani Convention in 1995 by then Karnataka Chief Minister Shri H.D. Deve Gowda in the presence of Union Ministers Smt Margaret Alva and Shri Suresh Kalmadi, State Ministers Shri R.V. Deshpande and Shri Jayaprakash Hegde, Shri N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, Shri K.K. Pai and Chief Convener Shri Basti Vaman Shenoy.

The First World Konkani Convention (WKC) convened in Mangalore 1995 was a landmark event that gave a new impetus in uniting Konkani Diaspora. From a mere suggestion it became a reality with the convention becoming a grand success giving a new dimension to the Konkani movement.  It was a memorable event for all Konkanis as for the first time all Konkani speaking people from all over the world were brought together under one platform demonstrating Konkani brotherhood and bonhomie.

With the recognition of Konkani as an independent language and with its inclusion in the 8th schedule of the constitution Konkani movement had received a fresh impetus. Soon after the suggestion to unite Konkani speaking people sprinkled in different parts and to foster the spirit of unity among Konkanis was taken up by as a challenge by Konkani Bhasha Mandal under the Presidentship of Basti Vaman Shenoy.  An action plan was formed and nearly 60 committees were set up from New Delhi to Kochi to execute the gigantic task.   Six regional committees were also set up in the Middle East, four in the USA and two in UK.

Massive publicity work was undertaken to give wide publicity to the event.  “Bonvdi” a novel method of propaganda was undertaken by a team of artistes who  travelled over 85 places from New Delhi to Kochi, for over a period of 65 days  to create awareness and spread the message about WKC across the country.  The Bovndi gave a glimpse of Konkani culture to Konkani people through cultural events during their tour.

With intense preparations spread over a year and the hard work, dedication and commitment of thousands of Konkanis from Karnataka, Goa, Kerala and Maharashtra toiled untiringly under the able leadership of Basti Vaman Shenoy,  the stage was set for the grand event.   World Konkani Convention was held in Mangalore from December 16 to 22nd with great fanfare and splendor in the presence of thousands of delegates who flocked to the city to participate in a first of its kind gathering of Konkani.    Konkani luminaries like Suresh Kalmadi, Margaret Alva, R V Deshpade and many others who- is-who of Konkani graced the occasion with their valuable presence.  The then Chief Minister of Karnataka H. D. Devegowda inaugurated the WKC and for 7 days Konkanis deliberated on various issues pertaining to Konkani art, literature, music, tradition, culture etc,.  For the first time Mangaloreans were given a peep into the cultural richness of Konkanis.  It was in this convention a resolution was mooted and passed unanimously to establish a World Konkani Centre in Mangalore.