Abhimukham with Payyanur Ramesh Pai on Konkani
Pinkerala News Desk | Jun 13, 2018
Payyanur Ramesh Pai is an eminent Konkani writer and former Chairman of Kerala Konkani Sahitya Academy. He participated in the ‘Abhimukham’ conducted by Sahapedia, an encyclopaedia of Indian arts and culture at Kochi on 8th June 2018. He opined that Konkani, spoke and kept alive by people living in different places is perhaps the only language in the world that ever met with the fate of being banned, though briefly. The talk was conducted to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Konkani speaking people. Although more efforts are required to preserve Konkani and the culture and heritage generated by the language, little efforts are being made to save it.
Konkani language has even been declared as endangered by UNESCO. He pointed out that if there is any language that can retain our culture, values and ethos, then it is Konkani. He also added that when a grim famine struck the sub-continent and river Saraswati dried up, the Konkani people got scattered over different regions of India as far as Kutch, Goa and Kashmir. Later, most of the Konkani speaking people moved to God’s own country. They settled down and flourished there. When the Portuguese took over Goa, they banned Konkani. However, they later recognized the fact that banning the local language was a hindrance to carry on with their rule and to establish their colonial interests. So the ban on the language was lifted and the Portuguese started learning it.
The first Indian language in which The Bible got translated into is Konkani. The Portuguese dictated that the Konkani people had to convert to Christianity if they had to live in India. Though a few Konkani people converted to Christianity, many of them went on with their Hindu practices. If this practice was reported, then the concerned people were sentenced to death. As a consequence of this, very many people left Goa and reached places like Purakkad, Kollam, Kodungallur and all the Coastal areas of Kerala. The King Zamorin of Calicut was on good terms with the Portuguese and he refused to give refuge to Konkani people. But the Kochi ruler gave them a warm welcome and that is how they settled mostly in Mattancherry and Cherai, on the outskirts of Kochi.
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