Mangaluru: Konkani Kutam, Bahrain presented “Konkani Kutam Award 2015”, to Edwin J F D’Souza, at the St Sebastian Platinum Jubilee Hall, Bendore, here on October 10.
The convener of Konkani Kutam, Bahrain Richard Moras welcomed the gathering. CGS Taccode read out the citation. The award consisted of a citation, memento and a cash prize of Rs 50,000/-.
After being felicitated with the award, Edwin shared his old memories and the start and development of his writing career. “When my first work was published and I was informed about it, I felt scared. I was scared because in those days, Konkani literature did not have a good name; it always received negative criticism and I was scared of what people would say about my work. A priest once told me that a writer should never lose his originality and to do that he needs to learn to use the red pen.”
Speaking on the occasion, President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Roy Castelino shared his views on the shape that Konkani literature has taken over the years. “Fifty years ago, people heavily and unnecessarily criticised any literary work of Konkani, saying such things as they are unoriginal works, they have been copied from other languages and stereotyping writers with labels. Today, the same tradition continues; we can say that we are consistent in that aspect. So why has there been no change? For change, we need younger generations to be a part of the literary field, have positions in literature and write. But, we look at all our organisations involving in literature, we see only old faces. Kids today are taught English to such an extent that even though the state’s language is Kannada, some don’t even know to read or speak it.”
He further said that earlier Kannada had many different dialects like Kundapuri Kannada, Uttara Karnataka Kannada, etc., but today we do not hear them. “Today, Kannada has been standardised and all speakers use the same dialect of the language. This has been possible due to the teaching of standardised Kannada at the school level. Konkani will also require to be standardised, but a major problem of this is the question of which dialect should be used. Which is greater than the rest? This is an endless debate in and of itself; so instead of spending the next 30-40 years debating on that topic, it would be more beneficial to Konkani if people from all of its various dialects contribute to Konkani literature in their own ways, so that the language can reach greater heights,” he added.
Leslie Rego compered the programme. Vitori Karkal delivered the vote of thanks.