Mangalore is a place, which has been flourishing from the olden days, be it business opportunities or the education provided by Colleges in Mangalore. Mangalore was always in contact with the outside world right from the ancient times, this could be due to the geographical location, which was very accessible. The Mangalorean community, especially the Mangalorean Catholics, have been heavily influenced by the drastic changes around them. These drastic changes in their living standard, has made them forget their culture and roots.
One reason could be the migration of people from villages to the cities in search of a better livelihood. In due course migrated families adapt to the new environments standard of living and become accustom to it. They adopt themselves to a new language and culture by ignoring their own.
Another reason could be that the British once ruled us and although they moved out some 50 years ago, they have left their influence in our society.
It is a well-established fact that most Mangaloreans scattered throughout the world are westernized. With rapid globalization, there is hardly a future for smaller groups and languages. Konkani is no exception. Some younger generations of Mangaloreans living outside of the Konkan/Karnataka region hardly speak Konkani at home. In ancient times, due to poor transportation in India and social isolation, the Mangalorean community adhered to their language, traditions and customs, which made them aware of their identity. Now there is no dire need for unity in the community and the culture has suffered as a result.
A few customs and traditions that the Mangalorean community still holds today have been weakened to a great extent. It?s very difficult today for the younger generation to find their original roots. Some people have accepted these changes.
Earlier we had marriage ceremonies conducted at home, right from the engagement, the roce, the wedding and porthapon. All these functions took place at either the bride?s or groom?s houses, with the traditional “Matoov” (a pandal made of palm and cane sticks) we had the country brass band for music, there was home cooked food where the whole “wado” came for help, women sang the traditional “vovio”. No wedding was complete without the matoov. Thanks to the big parish/community halls we have now, all ceremonies can be conducted under one roof on the same day. The gurkars responsibility has been taken over by the so-called M.C. The famous brass bands are taken over by the music groups/DJ. Homemade food is taken over by the caterers. Life is made simple with less ?tradition & values?.
If we differentiate the modern day wedding and what was before 15-25 years back we see a drastic change in every aspect of the customs and traditions. Everything has been modified and all efforts are made to copy the western culture. The bride wears a gown and the groom wears a suit there are flower girls and Paige boys around them, this was not seen before 15-25 years ago, marriages then were simple.
Most important today the Konkani language has lost its glory. Younger generation living outside never speak Konkani, but when it comes to any government quota or reservation and if a clause is put that mother tongue is konkani, they manage to prove that they do speak konkani but in reality they hide it.
If we had to follow what used to happen 15-25 years ago it would be very difficult, time has changed, so has mankind?s thinking. Today?s technology has brought in great changes for mankind. But then why did we integrate these changes to our traditions and values, why can?t we at least maintain some part of it?
I mentioned about Mangalorean marriages just because that?s the one and only occasion where we see a part of our Mangalorean culture in a much eakened form, can we see it anywhere else?? The answer is no. We do not have any social community events where our culture is displayed. Our culture has become a laughing stock, it cannot come back to the mainstream, because we have left it far behind.
If we compare the present traditions of our community with other communities we see that the Mangalorean Catholic community has changed a lot in many aspects of life and just not our values and traditions. If we meet a Malyalee we right away speak in English, it?s a common factor, as we need to communicate. But when we meet our fellow Mangalorean we right away start talking in English we say hey, how you been? Although we both say Konkani is our mother tongue. Then why are we shy to speak our mother tongue? When a Malyalee meets another Malyalee the next words you hear is only in Malayalam. We comment about them saying they speak in Malayalam. If a Gujarthi meets another Gujarthi it?s the same, they start their conversation in their language. They don?t use a foreign language to communicate, then why do we run behind the western culture?
Is it because we follow the Roman Catholic Church? No it?s not the church, which has influenced us or is influencing us. The prayers and masses at the church remained the same for the last century. It?s we who lean more towards Westernizing ourselves.
Author: Anil Alva- UAE