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The Struggle to Preserve Konkani: Challenges and Revival Efforts

Explore the historical suppression and challenges facing the Konkani language, along with efforts to revive it through education, community engagement, and digital initiatives. Learn about
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Konkani Language
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Konkani, primarily spoken in the Konkan region, is one of the 22 scheduled languages recognized in the constitution. World Konkani Day, celebrated on April 9th, commemorates Konkani Activist Shenoi Goembab, who was born on June 23, 1877, as Waman Ragunath Shenoi Valaulikar in Bicholim. He authored numerous works in both Konkani Roman and Devanagari scripts, including short stories, dramas, poetry, and essays, making him an ideological founder of the Konkani language movement in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Historically, Konkani faced suppression under Portuguese colonial rule, leading to its decline in official use and education. Despite this, efforts post-independence, including an agitation in 1986, led to its recognition as Goa’s official language and inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

Challenges to Konkani’s survival include fragmentation into various, sometimes mutually unintelligible dialects, Portuguese influence, and the dominance of Marathi among Konkani Hindus. Additionally, migration, preference for English in education, and animosity between religious and caste groups contribute to its decline.

To revive Konkani, key strategies include education programs from primary to higher levels, standardized language guidelines, digital archives for literature, and community engagement through workshops and cultural celebrations. Government support in official documentation and media platforms is crucial, along with collaboration among Konkani-speaking communities locally and globally. Digital media can be used for the preservation of the language.

Efforts by organizations like Konkani Parishad, Konkani Bhasha Mandal, and the World Konkani Centre, as well as initiatives such as Konkani language awards aim to unite factions of the language and promote its revival. Bhangarbuin is the only Konkani Newspaper in Goa.

The Konkani Language is an integral part of Goan identity, there is a need for local speakers to unite and protect the language before it goes extinct in the Modern Era.

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