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Updated: March 11, 2012 12:44 IST

Rodrigues: do not restrict Konkani to just one script

Staff Correspondent
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Valerian Rodrigues, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, at a seminar in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: R. Eswarraj
The Hindu Valerian Rodrigues, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, at a seminar in Mangalore on Saturday. Photo: R. Eswarraj

‘Maintain the diversity of the language'

Valerian Rodrigues, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University's Centre for Political Studies, on Saturday stressed the need to maintain diversity of Konkani and not just restrict it to just one script.

Prof. Rodrigues was speaking at a seminar on “Scripts and languages of modern India with specific reference to Konkani” being organised here by Jogotik Konknni Songhotton (JKS) and Global Konkani Organisation.

Konkani, he said, was being spoken by about two million people along the West Coast and could be written in several scripts, including Devanagari, Roman, Kannada and Malayalam.

To some extent, Konkani speakers had also used Gujarati and Urdu scripts. “While a language need not be necessarily expressed in a script, not every language finds an appropriate expression in a script …” he said. Prof. Rodrigues said the association of Devanagari with hallowed tradition and particularly with Sanskrit had created sections of Konkani speaking upper castes to look at Devanagari script.

This script reinforced a specific kind of dominance and it would marginalise low castes and minorities writing the language in other scripts. This issue had become divisive with starting of Konkani schools in recent years. This teaching-learning regime in Konkani schools threatened to break down due to split with regard to the employment of script. Though Konkani-speaking people were united in their struggle for recognition to the language in the constitutional schedule, there was a growing feeling among non-Devanagari Konkani speakers that Sahitya Academy tended to favour Konkani literature in Devanagari.

The script, therefore, had been a divisive issue with regard to larger recognition of Konkani. Resources should be ploughed in to sustain diversity and also the egalitarian edge of the disadvantaged groups, he said.

Eric Ozario, general secretary of JKS, said attempt to impose a particular script would mean imposition of a particular dialect. The slogan, “Ek bhas, ek lipi, ek sahitya, ek samaz …” smacks of fascism and would be dangerous for the future of Konkani.

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