Language Movement

Although literary activity in Konkani language among Konkani – speaking people started in the last quarter of the 19th century the movement for recognition and development of Konkani began in the first decade of the 20th century. Interestingly, the movement had its birth in the opposition to recognize Konkani as an independent language and to its development through literature. For political reasons most Maharastrians claimed that Goa was historically and culturally a part of Maharashtra and that Konkani was a mere dialect of Marathi. Pro – Marathi elements in Goa too supported that baseless theory.

Shenoi Goembab alias Vaman Raghunath Varde Valaulikar, a Goan settled in Mumbai, defied that claim by advancing cogent arguments while writing in Konkani on various subjects to show the strength, the power and the capacity of the language. It was in this decade that awareness on the issue of mothertongue grew also in Mangalore and Goa.

  • In the year 1939 in Karwar, All India Konkani Parishad was founded by the efforts of Madhav Manjunath Shanbhag. And the First Adhivation was held.
  • 1940. The second Adhivation of All India Konkani Parishad was organized at Udupi by Dr. T.M.A Pai. 1942 the Third Adhivation of All India Konkani Parishad was organized at Mumbai by Vaman Raghunath Varde Valaulikar.
  • 1961. Goa was liberated by which Konkani movement gained momentum. 1962 after liberation of Goa 8th Adhivation of All India Konkani Parishad was organized for the first time in Goa. A resolution in its 8th Session held at Margao, Goa urging Sahitya Akademi, the national academy of letters, to recognize Konkani. Later Konkani Bhasha Prachar Sabha of Kochi in Kerala took up the matter with the Government of India and the Linguistic Minorities Commission. Sahitya Akademi referred the issue to a committee of eminent philologists. The committee unanimously recommended that Konkani is an independent language. The Akademi accepted that recommendation and recognized Konkani as an independent literary language in February 1975.
  • 1962. Fortunately, with the liberation of Goa, Konkani education commenced and soon afterwards, two schools in Kochi started teaching Konkani to primary school children.  From the academic year 2007-08 Konkani became an optional language in the Schools of Karnataka. It is heartening to note that in Goa Konkani is being taught from Pre School to University level and that this trend is spreading to more and more states.
  • 1967. Opinion poll was held in Goa to decide through popular vote whether Goa should be merged with Maharashtra or remain a separate entity. Propaganda leading to the opinion poll strengthened the Konkani movement further as majority of Goans opted to maintain the separate identity of Goa on the ground that its language is Konkani as well as on other grounds.
  • 1976. Konkani Bhasha Mandal Karnataka was founded in Mangalore.
  • In 1985 Goa witnessed a powerful movement led by Konkani Projecho Avaz. The KPA demanded three things: Enacting of Official Language Act with Konkani as the Official Language, Statehood for Goa; and Inclusion of Konkani in 8th schedule of the Constitution.
  • The movement was unprecedented and fierce. The Government of Goa was forced to accepts the first demand and the Official language Act was passed in the Legislative Assembly on 4th February 1987 making Konkani the official language of Goa.
  • Soon the Government of India conferred statehood on Goa. The state of Goa was inaugurated on 30th May 1987 by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
  • 1992 It took 5 more years for achieving the third object, that is, inclusion of Konkani in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. KPA, Goa Konkani Akademi and others had to lobby with the Government of India and the leaders of various political parties for smooth passage of the Constitutional Amendment which was ultimately passed by both Houses of the Parliament on 20th August 1992.
  • 1994 Government of Karnataka founded Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Akademi in Mangalore bowing down to the wishes of Konkani people in Karnataka.
  • 1995 The First Vishwa Konkani Sammelan was held in Mangalore wherein 5000 delegates from 75 centres in India and from Gulf Countries and U.S.A, U.K etc.
  • 1996 First North American Konkani Convention was held at New Jersy USA to unite Konkani people living in USA and Canada organised by North American Konkani Association.
  • 2001 Konkani Language & Cultural Foundation was founded in Mangalore to construct World Konkani Centre.
  • 2005 Foundation was laid for World Konkani Centre to further the cause of Konkani World level with a VISION in a 3 acre land in Konkani Gaon, Shaktinagar, Mangalore.
  • 2009 World Konkani Centre was inaugurated by Honble Chief Minister of Goa Shri Digambar Kamat on 17th January 2009.

However the movement is not over. It continues though in a different form. Now the emphasis is on enriching literature in Konkani, standardizing the language and promoting its use in all the fields of life.