World Konkani Centre spearheads language conservation efforts, calls for govt support

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Public TV English
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MANGALURU: The World Konkani Centre in Mangaluru is focused on preserving the endangered Konkani language, which is at the risk of becoming extinct over time. Since 2009, the Konkani-speaking community has been striving to rejuvenate their traditional language and encourage the next generation to speak and write Konkani.

Konkani people, known for their intellect and talent, have contributed significantly to various fields worldwide. Figures like Guru Dutt, Girish Karnad, Shyam Benegal, Ravindra Kelekar, Basti Vaman Shenoy, Shankar Nag, Benegal Narsing Rau, Hari (Hundi) Vishnu Kamath, and Benegal Shiva Rao have left a mark as actors, directors, Constitution-makers, and prominent figures in big IT companies.

The late Basti Vaman Shenoy, born in Bantwal, Dakshina Kannada district, established the World Konkani Centre. Nand Gopal Shenoy, the president of the World Konkani Centre at Shakthinagar, Mangaluru, expressed the objective of the Centre as encouraging the next generation to speak and write Konkani.

“To achieve this goal and promote Konkani education, we require financial support through grants, as our activities are aimed at conserving language and culture, constitutionally guaranteed”, he said, adding that both state and central governments need to provide financial aid, particularly for Konkani education.

He also emphasised the importance of Konkani education in Karnataka, suggesting that it should be a priority for the state government, especially by appointing Konkani teachers in schools and supporting their salaries. “Today, the Konkani-speaking population alone totals 35-40 lakhs worldwide, comprising various dialects and spread across three religions and over 40 communities,” he pointed out.

The Vishwa Konkani Kendra has been supporting higher education, particularly in engineering and medicine, through scholarships, amounting to approximately Rs 40 crore over the past 14 years. “We should take pride in our ancestors, recognizing the intellectual strength of Konkani people, which has enabled them to make significant contributions worldwide”, he emphasised.

Shenoy said that a lot of initiatives, like encouraging literature and conserving various manuscripts, have been taken up by the Centre. Besides, Vishva Konkani Kendra is taking care of the younger generation by supporting their higher education, especially in engineering and medicine, by providing them with grants. “This has been going on for the last 14 years and the sum of around Rs 40 crore has been spent on these scholarships”, he claimed.

“We should take pride in our ancestors; that’s how we established that the Konkani people are intellectually strong and they spread across the world with that intention”, he said.

The Centre boasts an auditorium and a facility for excellent programmes and Konkani language culture. Additionally, a state-of-the-art studio was established two years ago to record YouTube channel videos, disseminating the views of Konkani people worldwide.

“We require financial support through grants to fulfill our mission of conserving language and culture, as constitutionally guaranteed. Both state and central governments should provide necessary funding, especially for Konkani education”, he reiterated. (ANI)

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