Konkanverter will solve script ‘problem’; not the ‘issue’

By Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)
10 August 2012 23:53 IST

Vishwa Konkani Kendra from Mangalore needs just not three, but five cheers, from the whole Konkani community from all over the world. Its research wing has made the impossible, possible. The automatic script converter – named as Konkanverter – would demolish all the barriers between varied Konkani scripts and introduce each other with its writings.

The project would be officially launched tomorrow, 11 August, in Mangalore. It’s just not a launch. It’s a dream come true. With a simple copy-paste of one script in one box and click on arrow button, you can actually read it in another box, with the script you are familiar with. Till date, otherwise, we did not know what was written in other scripts of our mother tongue. It was sad; but true.

Konkani community is one of the few communities in the world which has faced such kind of onslaught. The religious conversion by the Portuguese aggressors forced the Konkani community to flee to neighboring areas – called Karnataka and Maharashtra today (Quite a few also travelled through sea to Kerala). The inquisition against converted Christians (and not against Hindus) once again forced our Konkani people to migrate, to protect their culture; if not religion. The third migration was for economic reasons – survival and opportunities – from Mumbai to Portuguese colonies and even to UK. It continues till date – to Gulf, to Europe with Portuguese passport and USA for professional prosperity.

As a result, the migrant Goans have overscored the Goans living in Goa. And on the other hand, there are over 30 per cent migrants in our own state of Goa, to run day-to-day affairs. Interestingly, they have become Goans, like thousands of ‘Goans’, who actually migrated from different areas with over 16 different dynasties that ruled Goa. The factor that united them is only one – Konkani!

The migrant Goans left Goa, but did not leave Konkani. They adopted it with the local script of the land they lived in. It was thus Romi introduced by the Missionaries who conquered Goa or Kannada script and Arabic script in Karnataka or Malayalam script in Kerala, besides its original script – Devnagari. The Konkanverter will now bring all the scripts together with instant conversion. The one ‘conversion’ that would bring the Konkani community together and not divide us.

Of course, this is just the beginning. There are various issues that would confront this whole process. The phonetics of Konkani differs in each area and the styles of writings also differ. In fact the scripts adopted by Konkani are varied in nature, thus making it a much difficult task to transliterate it. Even after transliterating, the work to synchronise remains. But, the process has begun and it could be resolved only if Konkani remains truthful to the Bahujan Samaj (masses) language rather than ‘orthodox’ linguistic theories.

But it is a myth that this technological invention would bridge the gap between the communities, ‘divided over script issue’. The ‘problem’ of script and the ‘issue’ of script are altogether two different phenomena. The problem of script is a genuine issue. It can be very well resolved without sticking to written Konkani. The spoken Konkani – in person or through medias like TV – can and has kept the whole Konkani community of the World together. The transliteration has helped to condense it further.

But the people who are raising the bogey of script ‘issue’ are actually divisive in nature. They will never convert with the Konkanverter. In fact they would be the first ones to clamp down upon the shortcoming of Konkanverter, by raising issues at different levels – from linguistics to communities. The issue of division on the basis of scripts is actually not at all the script issue. It’s an issue of identity crisis. The people who love islands; in fact their survival depends on islands. In Sanskrit, such people are called Koopmanduk! Frogs in a pond. Konkanverter is not at all meant for them. They would look at it as a threat than a survivor.

Let’s look at Konkanverter positively. Let’s welcome it if we are really interested in knowing each other, respecting each other, reading each other and sharing with each other. It’s an inclusive concept; not exclusive. It’s a concept of togetherness. It’s a concept of unity. It’s, in final analysis, is a universal concept. Let’s be Universal with Konkanverter; with an open mind, large heart and great canvas. Let’s spread our arms and embrace it wholly and fully!

Jai Konkani!!!

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Sandesh Prabhudesai (EdiThought)

Sandesh Prabhudesai is the Editor of goanews.com. He has been earlier the Editor of Sunaparant (Konkani daily) and Editor-in-Chief of Pruden (TV channel). His collection of selective editorials of Sunaparant has been published as 'Goff'. He writes brief thoughts as EdiThought for goanews.com, but not on regular basis.

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Previous Comments

I wonder how many people are actually going on that website and using it for any purpose.

- Caitano, UAE | 24 th August 2012 19:19

 

Uniting all knokani speakers seperated by script issue is the greatest act in the history of Goa since the Unity Movement of 19th century. Konkani is the language of Konkan and not just goa. There are not 1 but 7 konkans which make west coast of India and konkani is found in all the 7 konkans. In my limited knowledge there are 7 prominent variations of konkani pertaining to each konkan. Malwani in Maharashtra (or rather sawantwadi state), Official Konkani of Goa, kannada script karwari, manglorian, romi, arabic and malyalam. Besides there are several community and region specific dialects. Konkani Acadamy, if they can find time from their internal politics, should perform a proactive role in conservation, unity and progress of the Language. The next logical step would be joining together all the seven groups into one konkani speaking state either in form of Greater Goa or State of Konkan. That would be the challenge of the 21st century.

- Jayesh Nayak, Porvorim | 23 rd August 2012 15:40

 

There are several marathi sites such as www.maayboli.com, www.manogat.com on the internet, were amateur and professionals share their writings, hobbies, etc.

Such Konkani sites are necessary to popularize the language and also harness skills of new and young writers.

- Jagan Kamat, Canada | 12 th August 2012 03:44

 

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