Konkani! Marathi! English!

By Radharao Gracias
17 March 2011 12:32 IST

There has been a rise but no flow in the demand, for grants to English medium primary schools, in the State since the last quarter of century or more. Somehow the Governments seem determined, not to concede to the genuine demands, of the parents, without much reason.

The refusal to provide grants for English medium schools, is based on false pedagogical premises that young children, must study in their mother tongue, to understand the subject. If this be so, there ought to be a rule mandating that children, must study only in the mother tongue.

Marathi, admittedly is not the mother tongue of anyone in Goa although it is claimed, to be the language of religion and culture of a section of Goan Hindus. Children of these persons, are admitted to Marathi medium schools even though Marathi is not the mother tongue of the child. How is it that these children, for whom Marathi is as foreign as English, are not adversely affected by not studying in their mother tongue?

The demand of parents is that grants should be released to all schools, irrespective of the medium of instruction. It is the parents who will decide, whether the child ought to study in English, Konkani or Marathi. The Government is bound to respect this inherent right of the parents.

As school education goes now almost all students shift over to the English medium in class fifth. Do pedagogists say that it is in the interest of students to shift the medium a quarter of the way up? Will it not be ideal for students to learn in the same language from the beginning? Parents send their children to school for advancement of careers of the children and not for advancement of the language. I fail to understand how studying in Konkani till fourth class will help improve the language. It is much more logical to believe that a student studying Konkani as a compulsory subject up to Class Twelfth will have a better understanding of the language.

Goa is the only State in the union where grants are released to all regional language schools, while there is no reciprocal arrangement, in the other States for the purpose of teaching Konkani. A regional language, is defined as the official language, of any State of the union. By that definition English qualifies as a regional language, since it is the official language of the State of Nagaland. On this count alone, English medium schools are entitled, for grants.

Konkani, we shall continue to speak, whether we study it or not, being our mother tongue. The study of Portuguese language did not destroy Konkani neither has the study of English language, done so. If grants are released to English medium schools it would sound the death knell of Marathi, since not many parents will send their children to Marathi schools. Obviously, if no one studies Marathi, no one will know the language. Konkani will thus emerge, in a generation or two, the sole official language and the hurdle of Marathi, will be cleared once and for all.

The Devnagiri protagonists who are opposing grants to English medium schools are at heart supporters of Marathi. Most of the Konkani writers in Goa have studied in Marathi and that does not exclude Pundalik Naik, Uday Bhembre, Damodar Mauzo, Datta Naik, N.Shivdas, Dilip Borkar and others. There is a feeling that these Marathi educated persons write in Konkani not so much because they love Konkani, but simply because, they stand no chance of gaining recognition, by writing in Marathi a language that is highly advanced and has a vast field of literature. Their loyalty to Marathi is understandable. After all, how can they be ungrateful to Marathi language, in which they have studied? And if they are ungrateful to Marathi, how can we trust them to be grateful, to Konkani which they have not studied? The Devnagiri protagonists write in Konkani at night, read Marathi papers in the morning and oppose Roman script in the evening.

These elements are also opposed to Konkani in the Roman script, because a large number of writers in the Roman script would also compete for the Sahitya Academy Awards, thereby diminishing their chances. The creativity of the Konkani Tiatrists is well known, and many of them would easily corner the Sahitya Academy Awards, if not for the script barrier. These Devnagiri protagonists are therefore intrinsically Marathi wolves in Konkani garb.

Konkani in the Roman script would have much greater acceptability, than Konkani in Devnagiri, has managed as of today. There are greater number of Konkani speaking people, in Karnataka and Kerala than in Goa who write either in Kannada or Malayalam script and are cut off from Konkani written in the Devnagri script. As against this, all Konkani speaking people in Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Mumbai and all over the world are perfectly at home in the Roman script having studied in English medium at higher levels. Hence Roman script can be the natural script for unifying Konkani speaking people. The Devnagiri protagonists cannot see beyond their noses and are destroying Konkani, by excluding majority of the Konkani speakers from the language.

Historically, the Goan Catholic community has been forced to work out, of the State and Catholics were the earliest people, to take up education in English, which enabled them to work throughout the World, particularly in British East Africa and British India. The knowledge of the language, also helped the members of the Catholic community to work, on board the ships and practically all over the world. It is the remittances from the largely Catholic non resident community, that has enabled the Goan economy to flourish.

Today, the trend has changed and the Goan Hindu Bahujan Samaj has realized that their Catholic brethren have advanced, through the study of English and desire to follow suit. Many Bahujan Samaj members have just begun, working on board the ships and in foreign countries, where knowledge of English is a must. These members of the Bahujan Samaj, have been deprived of the opportunity of English education through the dubious policy of grants, made by upper caste vested interests who have historically oppressed the Bahujan Samaj.

Marathi has been given a special status in the Official Language Act because it is claimed to be the language of religion and culture of a section of Goan Hindu community. Fine. No grievance there. But what about the Catholics?

Konkani in the Roman script, is certainly the language of religion and culture of the Catholic community. Our liturgy is in Roman script. Our Tiatro, mando, etc. are in Roman script. So why not a similar status for Roman script Konkani? Does secularism mean pandering to the majority community and sacrificing the interest of the minority? The Hindu has Marathi and Konkani in the Devnagiri script. The Catholic has nothing. That is Goan secularism. Support Gomantak. Oppose Goa. That is the scenario.

Have you seen the supporters of Devnagiri Konkani? You will notice all have given up the dhoti and dress up in Western style trouser/shirt. That does not make them anti national. But if the Catholic choose to dress in Konkani in the western script that makes them anti national. And this article confirms that Radharao Gracias is communal. If you do not believe it watch out for the comments that will follow. On the net. In the press.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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Looking at various above comments one can understand that it is a sign of big storm ahead,we have seen above Marathi wolves in Konkani garb and also portuguese wolves in english/konkani garb.

today countries which are challenging America are China,Japan ,, are they powerful bcoz they study in english,do they study english and answer is absolute no,

what about others like germany-german, franch-french,spain-spanish,Japan-Japanese,china-chinese.

now when we meet chinese/japanese and surprise to know they dont understand english, but they dont feel ashamed like you and me they are proud of their language ,nation and development.

I studied in Marathi till 4th std ,it was chance and not my choice, as Konkani schools were not there.

but if you ask me today if i had same maturity as i have today and if i was given choice between Konkani, Marathi or English ,I would have opted for Konkani.

language is means of communication with self and others ,Intelligence does not depend on how good or bad english you speak.

yes we had switching problem in 5th std, but we were not introduced to english till class five,,as against today we are thinking of introducing english as one subject right from class I so there wont be switching problem.

all of you please understand our identity as true goans is not English ,Marathi or portuguse.

language we learn first from our parents is primary language(mother tongue) we always convert data into this language to understand ,for true goan it is konkani and only konkani...................... there is exception ,some people have made english as their primary language,some have made marathi, some even portuguse ,that is their choice and problem,,, for Goa it is Konkani...all demands cannot be met,something common is required and that is konkani.

be neutral in posting your comment.............

- Dilip Naik, Ponda-Goa | 16 th June 2012 21:13

 

Well spoken Radha, as usual! You could possibly be the only person in the political arena who could infuse common sense into the goan masses and pull a triger on the corrupt deciding factors.

Some how the private schools catering to those desiring to educate their wards in English are doing tremendously well.

I mean: Fat donations, exploding strengths and chilling fees. Not that they are doing great on the quality of learning and teaching, which could be a lot better in our normal schools affiliated to the Government. It's just that the Government does not care about the kids, it's thier pocket and their votes that matter.

The poor kids are not even aware of what our state is making of them.

I have my doubts- The private schools must be taking care of the concerned people's pockets. For if grant should be granted to the existing Konkani medium primary schools, to persue English as medium of instruction, What will become of all those mighty private schools !

Tell them Radha, The Language will not feed our children, It is their mother tongue and will be respected in it's due place. Let them learn what will aid them for the rest of their lives. It is pathetic to even listen to some of our news reporters with their konkenglish accent.

NO offence it is a fact.

We Goans, were regarded as those with the best and nearest accent but sad, that does not remain a fact today.

Rina

- Rina Almeida, Dubai | 11 th June 2011 19:51

 

The bigger picture is, who should decide upon the medium of instruction? According to me this should be decided by the experts on the basis of international professional and their views and many of the reference books also many of the experts who are not the today but have written in their books.

Now why experts and not the parents, the simple answer is today’s student our children’s are tomorrow’s parents and so on and so forth. Now is every generation starts to or asks for change in medium of instruction the Govt. will have no other business to do and only keep on changing the MOI, therefore, we all should believe that the scientific study done by experts and its views has to be considered for deciding upon MOI and not the parents.

- Purushottam, Ponda | 20 th April 2011 15:21

 

what mr. r. g is writing is nonsense. yes as in GOA English is made compulsory we are forced to learn ENGLISH . not by choise but by force. only one side of coin is focused . what about average students ? as there are many drop outs at level tenth who are of ENGLISH MEDIUM . last 20 years people who learned in konkani scored good marks & some of them are doctors ,engineers ,advocates etc. where high level ENGLISH is must. only now why this issue raised? THIS is communilisation of GOA. few peoples demand cant be GOAS voice. and tomorrow people will ask liqueur intent of water,should government provide this ?

- amol, goa | 03 rd April 2011 00:37

 

Your article is really thought-provoking but some selfish elements wont accept your written facts. Radharao keep up your good work,we are behind you

- Aurelio Viegas, Mumbai | 31 st March 2011 17:23

 

Are we discussing the importance of our Mother tongue or Our Child's Future?

I do respect Our Mother Tongue, "Konkani". But having the learning medium in Konkani makes me think, 'what about the pressure it will create when the child will have to remove their old coat of "Study in Konkani medium" and wear the new coat of "Study in English medium"? i.e. when the transition from Konkani medium to English medium takes place?. Because, everywhere you go, Higher Education is in English! How will these children cope up when this transition takes place?'

Are these so called politicians and educationists thinking about this?

It is better for a child to learn a new language(which would benefit their future) right from the beginning than making a mess of their education/career..Life ahead is very demanding and challenging and we need to prepare our child for it right from the beginning.

I am not against Konkani, however, there is nothing wrong in learning a new language which is accepted globally.

Instead of having Konkani as an optional language, it could be made compulsory, but it does not make sense to change the entire learning medium to Konkani.

- Veena, Margao | 26 th March 2011 14:23

 

The medium and language issue only divides the Goans and which helps the politicians deceitful interest Most of the politicians are not academicians and ill equipped to decide the issue for the highly educated parents.The idea of mother tongue has undergone the fixated principle as the only best alternative with no competitors. As they say that English has not progressed beyond the shoulders of Shakesspear With smattering knowledge of English many politicians can earn their living only in Goa.Goans every where have progressed and Goa is on the map because the tourists are comfortable at home with communications What avenues does Konkani provide Goans beyond the shores? Official language is not implemented. Are there two mothers. The books in devanagri are freely distributed.and Govt is the buyer and reader too Kon has survived 450 years in a hostile environment without being a medium and it will continueThe contributtion of the church and tiatris is greatt...

- Nelson Lopes, chinchinim | 23 rd March 2011 18:02

 

"The Devnagiri protagonists who are opposing grants to English medium schools are at heart supporters of Marathi. Most of the Konkani writers in Goa have studied in Marathi and that does not exclude Pundalik Naik, Uday Bhembre, Damodar Mauzo, Datta Naik, N.Shivdas, Dilip Borkar and others. There is a feeling that these Marathi educated persons write in Konkani not so much because they love Konkani, but simply because, they stand no chance of gaining recognition, by writing in Marathi a language that is highly advanced and has a vast field of literature. Their loyalty to Marathi is understandable. After all, how can they be ungrateful to Marathi language, in which they have studied? And if they are ungrateful to Marathi, how can we trust them to be grateful, to Konkani which they have not studied? The Devnagiri protagonists write in Konkani at night, read Marathi papers in the morning and oppose Roman script in the evening.

These elements are also opposed to Konkani in the Roman script, because a large number of writers in the Roman script would also compete for the Sahitya Academy Awards, thereby diminishing their chances. The creativity of the Konkani Tiatrists is well known, and many of them would easily corner the Sahitya Academy Awards, if not for the script barrier. These Devnagiri protagonists are therefore intrinsically Marathi wolves in Konkani garb."

these comments by you, reek of communal ism, and frustrations in not getting elected to assembly, even after numerous attempts, and also due to the fact, that you have no managerial skills, as demonstrated by your inability to keep your MLA's under control. it is persons like you, who have a crooked mind, a mind which dwells and revels in spreading communal hatred amongst the secular hindu's and Catholics of Goa, may i know, what language you speak in your home? do you speak Konkani at home? then why are you pushing for English? and if you dont then why push for Konkani language at all. i have seen you speak in english most of the times, are you a Goenkar??? u cant be. u are nothing but communal, and that gives you the so called popularity on which your crooked mind works. all the best. and for you information. I SUPPORT THE CHILDS RIGHT TO CHOSE THE MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTION, FOR GOVT TO ENFORCE MOTHER TONGUE, IT SHOULD FORST DEVELOP THE NECCESARY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE FORM OF GOOD TEACHERS AND BOOKS ETC AND THEN CARRY ON, NOT BY BEING COMMUNAL AND CROOKED LIKE YOU

- Ashesh Pai Dukle, Margao | 23 rd March 2011 12:58

 

There are some advantages of primary education in the mother tongue and some disadvantages. Same thing for the primary education through English.

It is the parents who should decide as to what is good for their kids.

If the importance of English has to be reduced over the years---the initiative should start from the top. The use of English needs to be discontinued from the Courts, Government Offices, University education, Parliament , Assembly, and so on. When the parents realise that the english is no more needed in day to day dealings---no one would like their kids to learn in English.....

Grants from the tax payer's money --to schools in other languages like kannada and telgu or Tamil --in Goa---is not clearly understood or appreciated...as this could mean encouraging small ethnic groups...which could cause other social problems...

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 19 th March 2011 16:08

 

Bravo.... Mr. Gracias. I have seen you fighting for the love of konkani and I know for sure you will fight it till the end, your article say's it all, we are with you.

- roy, caribbean | 19 th March 2011 08:48

 

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