Mangaluru: Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Mangalore Press Club, Roy Castelino – President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy said, “It’s sad to note that the Sahitya Akademi which is under the central government’s Ministry of Culture, considers only Konkani works written in Devanagari script for its annual awards. Regarding this a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the high court of Karnataka urging the court to direct the Akademi to consider Konkani works in all the five scripts. But unfortunately, the high court dismissed the PIL stating that as per the Akademi’s bylaws, importance will be given only to works in Devanagiri and since the Akademi is an independent body, the court could not interfere in any issues.
” It has come to our notice that efforts are being made by some individuals to portray Devanagari script as superior to other scripts in which Konkani is written, following the dismissal of a plea over the issue of scripts by the Karnataka high court. Although this verdict was restricted only to Central Sahitya Akademi, and taking advantage of this verdict, few people are claiming that only Devanagari script is superior and other scripts are not important, which leads to confusion in Konkani language and education, and also lead to decline in the language. The impact of this has also disappointed some institutions which support Konkani language in Kannada script,” said Castelino.
Roy further said “Konkani Sahitya Academy from the past 22 years it has been serving the language, and also that it is an independent academy managed by the government. Kannada being the official language of the state, KKSA has always supported students, teachers, artistes, theatre actors and so on, who have used Kannada script for Konkani. In coastal districts, Konkani is being taught in 76 primary schools and 1,089 high schools. The Konkani Acadmy has never discriminated among the scripts, be it Devanagiri, Romi or Kannada, and also provided grants for workshops in these languages. These types of statements will mislead the people of the Konkani speaking community,”
While concluding Castelino said “Therefore I urge everyone to support the growth and development of Konkani language. If we argue over different scripts, it will divide the language and will also slower its growth. Last year, the Academy had set up a Konkani study chair in Mangalore University, and the vice-chancellor has shown interest in starting MA course in Konkani. All 41 communities in Konkani language, five scripts and three religions should unite for the development of Konkani language,”.
Dr Devadas Pai, registrar of Konkani Sahitya Academy, Lawrence D’Souza, K Devdas Pai and Shekar Gowda all members of the Academy were also present on the dais.