Why not Romi Konkani? Ask Goa’s language campaigners

Romi Konkani lovers form Global Konkani Forum to fight for recognition of script, take pledge on birth anniversary of Konkani’s first language martyr
PLEDGE FOR KONKANI: Over 30 people were part of a pledge ceremony for recognition of Romi Konkani at the Floriano Vaz statue at Gogol in Margao
PLEDGE FOR KONKANI: Over 30 people were part of a pledge ceremony for recognition of Romi Konkani at the Floriano Vaz statue at Gogol in MargaoPhoto: Kimberly Colaco

You know you are in Goa, when you hear the words Ai Saiba or Patrao or even Avois. Words like these make Goa famous, but the struggle to keep Konkani in the Romi script alive has been real.

This was evident when, on Wednesday, over 30 Goans from as far Mapusa, Aldona and Panjim came to Margao to be a part of the pledge-taking ceremony to fight for recognition for the Romi script.

A little after the noon hour, at the Floriano Vaz circle in Gogol, Margao, and on his birth anniversary, July 10, a group of Romi Konkani stalwarts, under the umbrella of Global Konkani Forum, took the pledge.

Talking about Konkani being the State language, Aplon Rebello, treasurer of forum read out the pledge, which spoke of Floriano Vaz being the first Konakani martyr, who was executed by the forces during the language agitation. Six other martyrs from Agassiam also gave their lives for Konkani.

PLEDGE FOR KONKANI: Over 30 people were part of a pledge ceremony for recognition of Romi Konkani at the Floriano Vaz statue at Gogol in Margao
Konkani singers, here’s your chance to win 20k UK pounds

“The pledge was to wake Goans from the slumber and give justice to Konkani in the Romi script. When we fought for Konkani to be the official language, we were granted it, but why was Romi kept out?” says Aplon.

It was a peaceful event, with even the rains taking a break after having drenched the State over the last few days.

IN THE NAME OF KONKANI: People from different parts of Goa came together to Gogol in Margao for Konkani.
IN THE NAME OF KONKANI: People from different parts of Goa came together to Gogol in Margao for Konkani.Photo: Kimberly Colaco

“When the Official Language Act was drafted, the Goans, who actually fought for Konkani, were betrayed by the politicians. While drafting the Official Language Act, they wrote Official Language as Konkani, written in Devnagri,” said Kennedy Afonso, president of the forum, which has Jose Salvador Fernandes as secretary.

PLEDGE FOR KONKANI: Over 30 people were part of a pledge ceremony for recognition of Romi Konkani at the Floriano Vaz statue at Gogol in Margao
Coming up, an English-Konkani economics dictionary in Goa

Kennedy added, “Under section 29 (1) of the Constitution, the Linguistic Minorities Commission has a right to safeguard their language, script and culture.”

Their next plan of action will be petitioning the Commissioner of Linguistic Minorities, of the script-based discrimination done to the Romi script for the last 36 years. The forum is looking forward to promoting cultural and literary development in the villages of Goa.

FOR THE MARTYR: A cross dedicated to Floriano Vaz outside his home in Margao
FOR THE MARTYR: A cross dedicated to Floriano Vaz outside his home in Margao Photo: Kimberly Colaco

Jose Rose, tiatrist, director, playwright and singer from Aldona who was present at Margao offered his full support for Konkani. “We are known as Goans because of Konkani. There was no need to have Konkani with Devnagri in brackets (as official language). After all that we have fought for, was it worth it?” he asked.

Your Gateway to Goa, India

The Gomantak Times app is the best way to stay informed on anything happening in Goa. From breaking news to the top 10 restaurants to visit, GT helps you navigate your time in Goa.

Download the Gomantak Times app on your Android or IOS device.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Goa News in English on Gomantak Times
www.gomantaktimes.com