The rise of Konkani literature and journalism in Karnataka

The rise of Konkani literature and journalism in Karnataka

Submitted by alvin on Mon, 2016-09-12 11:17 Konkani Literature in Karnataka 1.1  The presence of the Konkani speakers in Karnataka dates back to 1500 CE. However, no written work of these early days has been traced. Some enthusiasts are of the opinion that there was a rich Konkani literature with Kannada script of pre-Tippu Sultan period, which was destroyed by the ‘risals’ of Tippu. This theory stands no water. We undoubtedly have a rich Konkani oral literature tradition but it is only 150 years old. To be exact, in the year 1858, the first Kannada script Konkani work was published. A person named Christamus, whose details not known, wrote and published ‘Somi JezuKristachi Paxchvanchi kotha’. And with this small step, Konkani literature embarked on a new era of writing. From then on to the days of Mgr Angelo Maffei, we find the publication of Konkani handbooks on Christian religion and church. ‘Oktober Mhoinyak 31 Niyalh’ (1883), ‘Devcho Poot Kristalen Janan’ (1883), ‘Khursachi Vaat’,  ‘Sotmantancho Orth’ are some of the works of this period.  1.2  For sake of academic convenience, our study of the growth of Kannada script Konkani literature can be divided into five stages. 1)      Religious positions period (Pre Maffei  and Maffei Era)-                 : 1858- 1904 2)      Days of  secularization ( Louis Mascarenhas and others)               : 1904- 1950 3)      Pancha Pandava Era                                                                       : 1950- 1970 4)      Period of speedy growth                                                                   : 1970- 1990 5)      Days of changing trends                                                                   : 1990- onwards   One would naturally expect to see classical forces, colonial influences, nationalist trends, post-colonial or neo-colonial classifications etc in this study, but we are unable to identify any one school of thought influencing or any single idea being prominent throughout the period. Even the chronological division given here need not to be taken in strictest sense, as one can find the contributors contributing across periods. This is to be taken as an arrangement for convenience. 2.1  Coming of the Jesuits to Canara and the starting of the Basel Mission as well as Codialbail printing presses gave new impetus to the growth of Konkani literature in Karnataka. In the first stage, Kannada script Konkani was used to serve the interest of religion. Msgr Angelo Maffei, an Italian by origin, described the language as the “sweetest voice of wilderness”. It was Maffei who compiled the first ‘English-Konkani Dictionary’ as well as ‘Konkani-English-Dictionary’. His model of writing was followed by prominent Jesuits of the St Aloysius College as well as by other Monsignors and the Vicars. For them it was the time to fulfill the needs of the faithful. The lack of Novena and other prayer books had to be fulfilled. God, Holy Trinity, Jesus, Mary, saints, virtues, church, martyrs, way to heaven, good Christian life were the subject matters. 2.1 (1) J M Suvares, who wrote ‘Jezuchya Povitr Kalzacho Moinho’, Ek Sorgincho Ghut’, ‘Jezucho Mog’ , ‘Jezukristachya pashanvancho vivar’, ‘Kristanv Dotornicho Katekizm’ and others played a prominent role in the growth of Konkani in the first stage. Fr Louis John Dsouza also contributed prominently to the growth of Konkani. He wrote books on our Lady of Pompei. He also brought out a book of Konkani idioms and proverbs. Servant of God Msgr Raymond Mascarenhas wrote and published many works of religious importance including ‘Mellyancho Opis’, ‘Morn Korchi Reet’, ‘Jezuchen Lanh Phul Bhagevont Terez’ He also translated the New Testament into Konkani. He demanded public instruction in Konkani and prepared textbooks by name ‘Poilem Pustok’.Msgr Sylvester Menezes, though of a slight later period, belongs to the same school of thought. Being the editor of the diocesan organ Raknno, he wrote many books of religious instruction. Msgr Paul Buthello is another important name of this period.  2.1(2) Among non-Christian writers of this period, Goud Saraswathas played a major role. The first Konkani drama ‘Chandrahasa’ was written by Bolanthoor Krishna Prabhu in the year 1912. ‘Prahlada Charita’ (1922), ‘Krishna Janmashtami Katha’ (1929),  ‘Nala Charita’, ‘Damayanti Kalyana’ (1932) are some other important works of Bolanthoor Krishna Prabhu. In 1919, poet Mulki Narasimha Rao wrote ‘Geethamritha Saki’. Maffei period basically presents literature as an instrument to bring about good, condemning bad, considering man only as the player to fulfill the designs of providence. Man and his aspirations have no role in the providential planning. The literary figures of the period are not only well educated but highly placed. The scope and growth in the literary quality of the period may have been limited, but it is never to be forgotten that during this period quantitative growth took place in the Konkani literary world. 3.1 In 1904, Lawrence Vas, the lay man, wrote ‘Ruchik Amruth’ and hence started the publication of works that took interest in the life of a commoner. ‘Chaltim Podam’ of JJ Rego was in a way a challenge to ‘Chaltim Magnim’. Joachim Dsouza Bejai brought out ‘Novim Podam’. Alex Pais, a renowned barrister of the time, wrote many humorous works in Konkani, namely ‘Philuchi Bhovnddi’, ‘Kistorbugeli Naad’, ‘Tenkddi Lores’ etc. His writings went a long way in making Konkani writing popular. Many learned gentlemen moved towards writing in Konkani. Poet Joseph Saldanha, Peter Dsouza (Pedru Soz), and PJ Sequeira are some of the writers of this period.  3.1(1) Undoubtedly, the best representative of this period is Aloysius Mascarenhas (Luvis Mascarenhas). He started the first Kannada script Konkani magazine ‘Konknni Dirvem’ (1912) wrote ‘Suzanna’, Abrahvnchen Yajndan’and other important works. He is considered to be the beginner of new trend in the poetry writing in Konkani. Though of quite a later period but belonging to this school of thought are Shri Felix Paul Noronha, Shri Irenev Lobo and Shri Henry Dsilva (Ranh Udyavar). ‘Amruth Bhandar’, ‘Ranh Ani Dhyan’, ‘Phul Phulalan’, ‘Swarthacho Shevott’, ‘Amchen Ghor’, ‘Jeevan Tupaan’ are some of the important works of Henry Dsilva. Irenev Lobo wrote ‘Tippu Sultankhal Konknni Kristanvanchi bondodh’. Secular writers, they were writing to tell people what is good and bad, what is to be followed and discouraged, their writings undoubtedly upheld the preachings of the Bible, saints and of the church. Yet there is a substantial progress in the theme and area of writing, a subtle attempt to reach out to man and his aspirations, his desires and dreams. 4.1  Third and perhaps the most important stage in the growth of Kannada script Konkani writing came with the beginning of mid-twentieth century. Five men (Pancha Pandavas) of great writing skills, almost together, started contributing in Konkani. Joachim Santan Alvares (JoSa), who started and edited Konkani Magazines Mitr and Jhelo, and is considered as the father of Kannad script Konkani Novels. His ‘Angel’ was published in 1950 and after that he wrote more than 30 novels (Agnes Moushi, Tereza Chotrai, Angovnechi Kals, Avilachen Joit.., Bejilachen Sopanh, Alesachen Daiz, Kovi Ani Rozemary, Ivak 13vi Soirik, Chotto Borovpi, Juze ani Sevrin, etc). Vincent John Peter Saldanha, popularly known as Khoddap (Rock), has written novels on the history of Konkani people. Though he has written many works, he is popularly remembered for the two sets of fictions he produced. First being a series of 5 works set around Goa-Mangaluru connections (Saibha Bogos, Purvoz Pordeshant, Vanjelache Vater, Jivo va Mello, Ya tori Mangalhapuri) and the next series of seven works built around Tippu Sultan and the Canara Catholics (Devache Kurpen, Infernchin Daran, Sardaranchen Sannidan, Sardaranchi Sinol, Bachavechi Chavi, Bondadenth Bachav Kellen Dirvem, Beltangadicho Baltazar). Apart from these, Khodap has authored more than 45 dramas and many more important novels. 4.1(1) Atyel is the pen name of Apollo Thomas Lobo, the third of these five great men. ‘Velh Goddi’ is one of the great novel's penned by this great son of Konkani. Characterisation, narration, skillful use of language are some of the hallmarks of his works. ‘Tun Boro Ja’, ‘Dada va Kedi’, ‘Devachi Khushi’ are his other renowned novels. ‘Reed’ and ‘Hordyar Khuris’ are two prominent novelettes which have become very popular among Konkanis. Undoubtedly,  Chafra Dacosta (Charles Francis Dacosta) is the best representative of this period. He has succeeded in bringing out the best in all genres of literature he worked in. However, his name is mostly connected with dramas. His dramas analyse human beings, trying to bring out their complexities, deep rooted desires, limitations and expectations. ‘Bhangar Monis’, ‘Ankwar Mestri’, ‘Sunhem Majar Hasta’, ‘Tornem Tornem Mornem’, ‘Jorji Buthel’, ‘Vishentiche Bhav’ are some of his popular dramas. Apart from being a playwright ChaFra is a renowned poet and a short story writer. His anthology ‘Soshyache Khan’ received the ‘Sahit Akademy’ award. 4.1(2) Gabriel Dsouza, fifth of the Pandavas, is known as Gabbu Urwa. He has authored many works centering on love and other intimate human relationships. ‘Mogachi Masti’, ‘Mogachi Mahima’, ‘Tuji Dhuv Mhuji Bayl’, ‘Sivri Simistrent’, ‘Mogacho Ulo’, ‘Solvallen Sot’ are some of his renowned works. During this period, Editor of ‘Panchkaddayi’ BV Baliga  wrote ‘Geetha Sanchaya’, ‘BhagawadGeetha Sathi’ etc. This period witnessed a tremendous literary production. Literary contributors of this period were both clerics as well as the lay faithful. Most of the literary personae were well educated and coming from the ‘respected families’, influenced by the idea that the literature need to serve the purpose of the society, safeguarding the value system, defending the good and fighting the bad. Those who deviate from the agreed value pattern were shown in dark colours and, at the end of the day, had to suffer various punishments meted out by god! 5.1 By late 1960s, we find new blood coming in in Konkani literature. The Pancha Pandavas had a definite influence on the young Konkani minds. Edwin J F Dsouza, who, even to this day is producing powerful novels, was prominent among them. Irene Pinto (Castelino) made a name for herself with her novels, JB Moraes, who won Sahitya Akademi award his anthology of poetry ‘Bhitarlen Thufan’, J B Sequeira, whose ‘Ashim Ailin Lahran’ won him the Sahitya Akademi award, Prof Edward Noronha, Dr Willie R Dasilva, short story writer Vallie Vagga (Valerian Dsouza), writer-publisher Sirivont (Jerome Cyril Veigas), novelist, story writer Eddie Netto (Edwin Marian Netto), Victor Rodrigues, Dr Edward Nazareth, Jerry Kulshekar, Liyab (Leo Dsouza) and many others started writing in this period. 5.1(1) Though each of the above mentioned writers contributed richly to the Konkani literary world, the works of Edwin J F Dsouza and Irene Pinto deserve special mention. Both of them are contemporaries and by the grace of god are alive even today. While Edwin graduated from St Aloysius, Mangaluru, Irene did so from St Agnes. ‘Nimanhi Shelhi’, ‘Jovlhi Vojran’ the early works of Vasu Valencia (E J F Dsouza) signal a turnaround in the then prevailing style of Konkani novels. Having received the acceptance of new readers, he went to produce more than 30 very important novels. Most of which analyse human complexities, relationships, struggles and ethical conflicts.  ‘Pilatan Dillen Formanh’, ‘Hanv Jiyetan’, ‘Khursa Patlo Uzwadd’, ‘Kalhen Bhangar’, ‘Judasank Kurov’, ‘Jerikoche Pagor’, ‘Mhonv Ani Rogat’, ‘Unhya Bhavadtache’ are some of his important works. Irene Pinto nee Castelino is one of the prominent feminist writers of the Konkani world. Her works bring out the harder side of male-female relationships. Her ‘Mujen ontoskorn Visorchren Na’ is a novel of major reference not only as a feminist novel but as an important literary work in the Konkani world. Her works bring out the conflicts between masculine and feminine. ‘Bolidhan’, ‘Stree’, ‘Hanv Chukon Podonk Na’, ‘Tuven Negar Keleyn’, ‘Mog ANi Bhorvoso’, ‘Asha Ani Nirasha’ are some of her other important works. 5.2 The other important names of this period are Fr CCA Pai, known as Swamy Supriya, Fr Pratapananda Naik, Prof(Dr) William Madtha, Cyril Madtha, Sylvester Dsouza Mysore, Fr Prashanth Madtha, poet-singer Wilfy Rebimbus, dramatist Francis Fernandes Cascia, GMB Rodrigues, Smt Gladis Rego, Dramtist Mick Max (Michel Maxim Dsouza), Sandhya Shevghoor, Indira Nayak, Hemacharya (Stephen Mascarenhas), Stan Agera, CGS (Cyril G Sequeira) Taccode, Gopal Gowda, Vasudev Shanubhague, Austin Dsouza Prabhu  are some of the renowned authors of this period. The magazines that were being published required novels (for serial publications), short stories and articles, and authors went on writing. Sheer love of the mother tongue inspired them. 6. By the last decade of the twentieth century, we have a new trend of writing setting in. Mostly influenced by the works of forerunners, Konkani poetry became richer through the works of Cha Fra Dacosta, Willie R Dasilva, Edward Noronha and others. Poets like Melwyn Rodrigues, Maurice Shanthipura, Fred Kumar Kuchikkad, George Pinto Aikala and others  experimented with a new style of poetry. ‘Jage Kovi’ (Alert Poet) movement initiated by Cha Fra was instrumental in this change. In 1993, a book on literary criticism ‘Sahitya Ani Vimarso’ was published by Stephen Quadros Permude. At the same time ‘Samvad Cholvhol’ came out and these two played a major role in shaping the prose writing after 1990s in Konkani. 6.1 Melwyn Rodrigues can be considered as the representative poet of this period. ‘Moga Pelho’, ‘Phintam’, ‘Bhesam Jallen Kaliz’, ‘Godd’decho Ganv’, ‘Shabdulim’ are some of his important works, ‘Prikrratecho Paas’ won him the Sahitya Akademi award. He has spent his energy in organising ‘Kovita Fest’ (festival of Konkani poetry) and other poetry related programmes, thereby contributing to the growth of Konkani poetry. ‘Kira Bonch’ anthology of poetry brought out by Maurice Shanthipura, ‘Koidyacho Kovita’ by HM Pernal (Henry Mendonca), ‘Volhu Volhu Valh Valhya’ of Andrew Dcunha, ‘Porot Porot’ of George Pinto Aikala, ‘Chindiyachen Gombe’ of Shabeer Baida, ‘Daktya Devchin Bhurgin’ of Kishoo Barkur (Kishore Gonsalves) are some of the works which shaped the world of Konkani poetry. 6.2 The drams produced during this period speak richly of the progressive changes that were taking place.  Fr Pratap Naik produced ‘Judas’, Arun Raj Rodrigues has given very effective dramas like ‘Mister Jesus’, ‘Santanam’, Melya Uprant’, ‘Vallu Jillu Jindabad’ etc. These dramas attempt to question the belief patterns. Short story writing also took a new dimension. Human nature as well as  issues related to environment started coming to the centre stage. Ozy Permannur and David Dsouza Vamnjoor are the important short story writers of this period and of course Dr Edward Nazareth and Edwin J F Dsouza continued their writings. Stephen Quadros Permude wrote Vachtam… Vachtam, a book on literature and criticism, and Bannem on poetics. He also compiledEnglish-Kannada-Konkani Trilingual Dictionary and a Select Vocabulary while Fr Valerian Fernandes compiled works on orthography and dictionary. 6.3 In the 21st century, Konkani literature written in the Kannada script is moving forward. Of course there are challenges. Progression towards qualitative growth from mere quantitative growth is the pressing need of the day. Literary personae need to strive hard to bring Kannada script Konkani literature to the standards of ever enriching Indian literature. There is hope. New blood is coming in, more and more youngsters, educated and well-read, are entering into the field. Poet Wilson Kateel, Jo Cy Siddakatte, Wilma Bantwal, Avina Miyar, Venkatesh Shenoy, Gurudatt Bantwalkar, Melwyn Kolhalagiri, Darrel Vamanjoor etc are contributing richly to the ever growing Kannada Script Konkani literary world. Another welcome development is that of works being produced in many dialects of Konkani. Varija Neerabail brought out her anthology of poetry ‘Pushpamalh’ in Balavalhikar dialect, Suchetha Joshi wrote in Chitpavani dialect, and we have works of this period in Siddi and Kharvi dialects.   B.  Konkani Journalism in Karnataka 7    It was Louis Mascarenhas who was the pioneer of Konkani journalism in Karnataka. He started the renowned ‘Konkani Dirvem’ in 1912. This was mostly to bring about progressive change in Konkani literature and society. In 1917, the diocese of Mangaluru started publishing ‘Jejuchya Povitr Kalzacho Ange’. In 1937, ‘Samajecho Divo’was started with the intention of reforming society. The intention was good but methods were a little harsh, and soon various social groups started taking offence and the publication had to be stopped within a few years. Raknno, the oldest surviving weekly, started in 1938 as the organ of the diocese of Mangaluru.   7.1 Sukh Dukh (1948), Poinhari (1953), Phul (1958), Samajechen Vojr (1958) are some of the important Konkani magazines which encouraged the growth of Konkani literature. Of these, Poinhari published from Mumbai was instrumental in bringing renowned writers like VJP Saldanha, ChaFra Dacosta, ATL, JB Moraes etc to the forefront. JS Alvares (Josa) edited and published Mitr and Jhelo. Catholic organisational organs like Sevak, Amchi Mai, Ange, Amcho Yuvak were also playing an important role in the growth of Konkani literature. Umalho, Udev, Kannik are some of the magazines by the lay faithful which did try to question the patterned beliefs and attempted to ‘reform’ the society. Eventually, they failed and had to stop publication. 7.2 Presently, Raknno and Amchi Mai of the diocese of Mangaluru, Uzwad, that of the diocese of Udupi, Dirvem, edited and printed by Mr John Monis, Amcho Sandesh official organ of the Catholic Sabha, Sevak published by the Capuchin Friars of Mangaluru and Naman Balhok Jezu of the Carmelites of Mangaluru are having good circulation among the Konkani magazines published in Karnataka by the Catholic Konkani people. Most of the parishes publish their own parish magazines, a few of which are published on a monthly basis while most of them are brought out on a quarterly basis. Divo and Kutam are the two Kannada script Konkani magazines published from Mumbai. Amar Konkanni an half-yearly published from the Konkani Institute of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, is the only academic journal published in Kannada script Konkani. 7.3 We find the substantial growth of journalism even among the non-Christian Konkani people of Karnataka. VS Kudva started ‘Saraswat’ and ‘Panchkadayi’ was another important magazine. BV Baliga took ‘Monglhoor Mogren’ to great heights. ‘Kodiyala Khabara’ was another important magazine. ‘Sarawati Prabha’ of Hubbalhi, and ‘Jai Konkani’ of Kundapura were two other important magazines. 7.4 These days we find Konkani magazines starting and closing within a short period. Even with all the sentimental attachments, our magazines are not able to cross 20000 subscriptions. Most of them have a very limited number of subscribers. Quality of contributions today is not up to the mark, while the reader has changed. Subjects discussed are limited. It is unfortunate to note here that the editors use magazines to settle personal scores. People mostly do not encourage or appreciate magazines across dialects and caste groups. These days, we see the growth of Konkani websites and portals. Konkani Poetry.Com, Kittall, Budkullo, Poinanari.com, Maibhas.com are some of the important attempts. A long way to go but the future is bright provided we are willing to give our best. Annexure 1 Kendra Sahitya Akademi winning Kannada script Konkani works 1        Charles Francis Da Costa – Sonsyache Kaan 2        J B Moraes – Bhitorlen Tupaan 3        J B Sequeira – Oshim Ailim Lharan 4        Melwyn Rodrigues – Prikrotecho Paavs   Annexure 2   Bird’s Eye View of (Kannada Script) Konkani works published since 1858 in Karnataka Total Konkani works 1858- 1900 = 26 1901-1950 = 349 1951-2015 = 3011  Hence  a total of  3386 Bibliography: ·         Sardesai, Manohar Rai:  A History of Konkani Literature (2000); Pub: Sahitya Akademi, Rabindro Bhavan, 25, Feroze Shah Road, New Delhi- 110001, Pg 365 Rs 160-00 ·         Gomes, Dr Olivinho: Old Konkani Language and Literature - The Portuguese Role; (1999)  – Pub: Konkani Sarasvot Prakashan – Chandor Goa, Pgs 923, Rs 850-00 ·         Quadros, Stephen Permude: Konkani Kasturi(2014); Pub: Hemantha Sahitya,  No 972, C, $ E , 10 A Main Road, RajajiNagar, Bangalore 560010, Pgs 108, Rs 75-00 ·         Quadros, Stephen Permude: Vachtam…Vachtam… (2012); Pub: Paul