Konkani Literature Myths

Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese there was highly developed Konkani literature, which was destroyed by them.

There was no literature in Konkani at the time of Portuguese occupation of the tiny island or adjoining Konkan Kshetra. There is no historical or archaeological evidence to support the theory that the Portuguese destroyed literature in Konkani. If they had destroyed Konkani literature than it would have existed in the adjoining areas of the Nova Conquistas, which did not face the wrath of the Inquisition. The Church played a major role in producing religious litereature in primarily in Konkani and secondarily in other languages.

Konkani written in Devanagari script is of high quality and Konkani written in Roman script is of sub standard quality.

The Devanagari is the natural script for Konkani language advocated first by a Portuguese scholar Monsenhor Sebastio Rudolf Dalgado in 1905 and later adopted in the first Konkani Sahitya Parishad in 1939 in Goa. Vaman Varde Valaulikar stressed that ‘Konkani had right to Sanskrit’s script as any other Indian tongue’ (Pereira 1973: 69). The scholars argue against the use of the Roman script because it is not suited for the native languages. William Jones argued against use of the Roman script. He claimed the English alphabet and orthography are disgracefully and almost ridiculously imperfect. Sir William Kirkpatrick stated ‘he employed Devanagari characters to help the student to pronounce more correctly than he or she could be taught either by Persian or English’ (Wakankar 1986: 8).

'16'th century was the golden era of Konkani literature.

Konkani saw better days in the 16th century when European missionaries embarked upon its systematic study and created religious literature in it. The establishment of the printing press in 1556 helped to publish books in as well as about Konkani.This good work continued for about five generations of European missionaries, that is, from about 1550 to about 1675. And then began the dark period. At the instance of the new generations of European missionaries, the King of Portugal issued the Decree of 1684, which abolished the use of Konkani in education as well as other fields. So Konkanis consider the 16th century as the golden era of konkani literature.

Sravana Belagola Inscription
The undated Shravana Belagola inscription ascribed to 983 A.D has the following line in nagari script Konkani language: “Sri Chavunda Rajem Karavailem” meaning that Sri Chavunda Raya caused the statue of Gomateshwara to be constructed.
In marathi 'Chamundaraye Karaviyale' meaning built by Chamundaraya. This statue of lord Gomateshwara was created around 983 AD by Chamundraya, a minister of the Ganga King, Rajamalla
Probablity: It is in prakrit. Both Konkani and marathi are from Prakrit. The first insription in prakrit is neither in konkani nor in Marathi ,but in prakrit. Eventhough the installation of statue is 983AD, the date of the inscription is still in Doubt, it is said to be of later date.

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