Sunday, November 29, 2009



Date: Sunday, November 29, 2009, 5:53 AM

Wishing all members of the Kuwait Konkanni Kendr on the eve of the silver jubilee of your cultural institution on 30/11/2009 all good wishes and strenght to pursue issues dear to Goans and Goa as you have done in the past.

Goans worldwide are on the treshold of completing 50 years of our Liberation from the erstwhile 451 years of Portuguese rule in the "Velhas Conquistas" and 198 years of Portuguese rule in the "Novas Conquistas" on 19/12/2011.

There is an alarming distortion of the demographic composition of the State; visible more particularly in the "Velhas Conquistas" .

Among several reasons one of the most important being that "what exactly is Goan identity" continues to elude us and be in a state of flux.

The enemy is identified as within us. There is a miniscule but dominating and influential section of the majority community among Goans who have since 1925 clandestinely working overtime to consign the 451 years all of the erstwhile Portuguese rule as an aberration and a blot on pre -conquest ( 25/11/1510 Feast of St Catherine) cultural identity. That cultural identiy they envisage is the rule of Ram or "Ram Rajya" making Goa the "Kashi of the South". At the same time these votaries propagate the cultural symbiosis of "East meets West " only to project the State as a tourist destination. to fill their economic coffers.. Carnaval celebrations is promoted towards this end, by the Department of Tourism and not Department of Art & Culture for this does not according to them fit into "Ram Rajya" The present Government too advocates this policy under the garb of a "secular" outfit.

Kuwait Konkanni Kendr will recollect that its efforts during Konkani agitation since 1984 eventually resulted in Konkani in devanagari script being granted the official status and Konkani written in the English script wiped out on 4th February, 1987. Today short of lip sympathy and doles there is no effort made to grant official language status to Konkani written in the English script. Most of the enthusiastic leaders have been "silenced" with loaves and fishes by the present dispensation.

Ironically elected representatives of our Legislative Assembly who write Konkani written in the English script have shied away from pursuing this issue to its logical conclusion even 23 years after the first martyr Floriana Vaz sacrificed his life on 20/12/1986. A statue is being erected at the Gogol junction (traffic island) Fatorda Salcete Goa but this gesture amounts to a mockery without official recognition to Konkani written in the English script.

The Tiatr Academy of Goa has been constituted on 16/2/2009 . Yet without official recognition to Konkani written in the English script. It will be a matter of time but definitely well before the end of 2020 when the present crop of Konkani playwrights fade into oblivion and the new crop of Goans conversant only with Konkani in devanagari script that will conitnue to emerge in large numbers from our campuses the Tiatr academy of Goa will not have any takers for those conversant in Konkani in the English script. Konkani Nataks will be the order of the day.

If one reads carefully the emphasis laid on "Konkani in the Roman script " in the Constitution of the Tiatr Academy of Goa one will understand the sinister design of the one language one script ideologues which will be a reality by 2020.

In the Konkani film industry already films like Alisha, Savariya dot com, which do not register audiences in cinema houses are given national recognition .
No doubt the contents of such film do merit awards but are they meant for the archives then why spend State funds on cinema which the Goan audiences hardly or never view? If Amchem Noxib, Nirmonn receive rave reviews even to this day does the message not sound loud and clear of the injustice done to those conversant in Konkani in the English script?

Hence there is a need for the Kuwait Konkani Kendr to fire the first salvo against our very own elected representatives who have betrayed the cause of official recognition to Konkani written in the English script despite assurances given by the ruling dispensation on the floor of the Goa Legislative Assembly to discuss and sort out the issue at a specially convened session of the Goa Legislative Assembly, but which is yet to see the light of the day.

There is also a need for the Kuwait Konkani Kendr to lend moral support to the issue of getting the Indian Navy to allow the Catholic faithfull to celebrate the customary feasts on the Island of Anjediv (still a part of Canacona taluka ) located off the coast of Karwar Sate of Karnataka. Since 4th October 2004 the celebration of the Feast of St Francis de Assisi has been banned so also the Feast of Nossa Senhora das Brotas since 2nd February, 2005. To achieve this the Kuwait Konkani Kendr needs to petition His Grace Archbishop of Goa and Daman to move the Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance -II Ms Sonia Gandhi to get the Defence Ministry to honour in letter and spirit the terms of use of the Island since Dec 1987 for its prestigious Sea Bird project by allowing the customary feasts celebration if need be by deploying the defence forces to ensure its smooth conduct.

Kuwait Konkani Kendr also needs to petition the Government of Goa to preserve the rich cultural heritage of the state by preserving the over 140 year old "House of Pai Tiatrist" of late Joao Agostinho Fernandes who pioneered the cause of "tiatr" having written nearly 30 original scripts and bringing about orderliness in this performing art which despite not being granted status of an industry till this date attracts the largest audience to witness this form of performing art both in Goa and world wide.

"Pai Tiatrist" is also credited for introducing his wife late Maria Regina Fernandes a native of Raia to act on stage ..thus being the first lady ever to set foot on stage, at a time when women making public appearances moreso on stage would result in such women being ostracised from society.

If the 140 year old house at Modsai Margao is preserved it would serve for future generations to understand the travails of the "tiatrists" who penned down immortal original scripts without the wherwhital available to present day "tiatrist"

It would also ensure that our rich heritage is preserved by making a part of this House a must visit destination to witness the works ( 30 original tiatr scripts now lying with the Goa Konknni Academy ) and humble settings of the noted tiatrist of those times (1871 - 1947)

Kuwait Konkani Kendr would also need to lend a helping hand to the cause of Mandos, Dulpods Dekhnis another form of Goan culture which needs to be preserved.

Presently the Goa Cultural and Social Centre has been conducting Mando festivals for well over 38years. It is necessary to document these songs, sing them at cultural events social functions to preserve this rich Goan cultural identity.

The Kuwait Konkani Kendr needs to ensure their support to ward off the rampant ecological damage caused to the State in the name of development. Let Goa remain exclusively for Goans and those who would want to make this tiny State their future home but not for real state speculators mega projects glass houses, box houses do not blend with the natural settings of the State and your support to activists who have spearheaded movements to save us from such travails will be needed.

If every state in the country is keen to maintain their own cultural heritage as Maharashtrians, Tamilians, Keralites etc why should Goa breed a new set of post Libearation --- population of "Goans" of Maharashtrian, Punjabi, Bengalee, Keralite, Tamilian, Gujarati origin and dilute the unique identity of indigenous Goans.

There are a number of non Goans who have usurped legitimate jobs which should rightly belong to Goans. If a Goan cant secure a job in other States why should we extend hospitality to others in our State. Kuwait Konkani Kendr should ensure that they lend their support to this effort of our Goan youth

It is hoped that a time bound programme formulated to achieve this before 19/12/2011 or we will miss the bus.

One way would be to network with a band of dedicated Goans who see merit in these causes which are dear to Goa and Goans . As a pressure group in the diaspora your support is valuable to causes Goan. Kuwait Konkani Kendr should ensure that elected representatives who are on overseas visit at the cost of your hospitality are asked to provide documentary evidence of their support to the above causes dear to Goans made by them on the floor of the Goa Legislative Assembly and not on public platforms which are intended merely to appeal to the emotive sentiments of Goans at such public gatherings and forget them later.

+91 98221 58584 (24 HRS)
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo dot co dot in


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A big e-welcome to you. Tumcam Maie-mogacho ieukar. Enjoy Life - This is not a rehearsal! Konkani uloi, boroi, vach ani samball - sodankal. Hich Goenchi osmitai ani amchem khalxelponn. Goenchi amchi Konkani bhas! Ekvottachem saddon Goenkaranchem. This is Gaspar Almeida from Parra, Bardez, Goa, based in Kuwait and am connected with the website created by Ulysses Menezes, and as Moderator of the famous first of its kind Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter (since 1994) and The Goan Forum and several Goan and Indian associations and forums and e-forums in Goa, India, Kuwait, The Middle East and worldwide.