Are you a Konkani?

If you are staying or travelling abroad, it is most likely that you have come across this question at least once: “Are you Hindi?”

Probably they mean to ask “Are you an Indian?” or “Are you a Hindu?” or “Do you speak Hindi?”

Yes, some languages denote nationality too – like The French or The German. But not Hindi.

I have come across this question many times in my life: “Are you a Konkani?”

Alas, most of the time, the intention behind the question is identification or generalization.

Konkani is a language. It, in fact, is one among 17 languages are present in an Indian Currency note.
Konkani is my mother tongue.

But, no, you cannot generalize people who speak a language. There is a huge mistake in generalization.
For, infamous people like Dawood Ibrahim, Zakir Naik and Vijay Mallya are Konkanis.

Yes, Indian film personalities like Late Guru Dutt (Vasanth Kumar Shivashankar Padukone), Deepika Padukone, Ganelia D’Souza, Amrita Rao, Urmila Matondkar, Illeana D’Cruz, Girish Karnad, Shyam Benegal, Anant Nag are Konkanis. Or Politicians like Late Abdul Rehman Antulay, Suresh Prabhu, Manohar Parrikar, Late George Fernades or journalists like Fareed Zakaria, Rajdeep Sardesai and M.V. Kamath are Konakanis. Or singers like Lata Mangeshkar or activists like Medha Patkar. In sports, you can find famous Konkanis like Sachin Tendulkar, Prakash Padukone, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar.

A significant number of Konkani speakers are found in Kenya, Uganda, Pakistan, the Persian Gulf, and Portugal.
Obviously you cannot generalize any individual based on language, caste, creed, religion and even nationality.

How many of you know that Konkani is one of the oldest languages in Asia which dates back to pre-classical Sanskrit?

Ancient Hindus….

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7 Responses

  1. Dr Kasturi Mohan Pai says:

    कोंकणी लाचुंग आनी बराक शिक्षण घेरा, सगळीं दुबला पयस्वनी जाताच.
    करनाटकाचया 16 शाळेंत 500 छात्राओं देवनागरींत कोंकणी शिक्षण घेवु आसात.

  2. Shesh says:

    Till the age of 3? Ha ha….If not consistently spoken by both parents till age of 8.atleast, they won’t retain or feel confident, so wont speak on use 10% konkani mixed with English. Parents should realize. When kids become parents they will blame parents. In most families kids have taken parents role in all matters except finances. Who is the parent? Unless we reclaim certain roles, this is going to continue.

  3. Satheesh Kumar Kamath says:

    What ever you said in the above article is correct. Konkani language is slowing vanishing. Especially our own konkani speaking people are not volunteering to learn Konkini as a language, instead they learn English and other local languages. It may be out of compulsions also

  4. VASANTH pai says:

    there are.many blanks here. if you have read Dakshinatya nl Saraswats by late.Mr.Kudva ICS we GSB s first migrated from Kashmir to Trihotri.(Tirhut t division of Bihar) thence to.Gaud Bengal and when the Kalamba king of Gomantak wanted priests to perform vaidik duties 96 families (sHenri is Konkan.and marathi for 96). hence the surname Shenoy. it is here we picked up.Konkan a language spoken along the Konkan coast. As regards the other Saraswts who left kashmir and settled in Punjab they speak Punjabi and others who went to Rajasthan and Gujarat speak local languages of these states. Lan gauges are syncretic.they evolve. Religion is what people.choose or born in ir.converted forcibly to. they do bring in new words bur the language gets enriched. there is no sacrosanct immutable.language in this world. yes we should nit give ut up in favour of the state where we live in. As regards death.all things in this universe are destined to die . Not all thy prayers and tears prevent it.

  5. Anusha says:

    I totally agree with you sir. Generally, when my friends ask me to translate sentences to konkani or speak anything in konkani, I’ve faced the difficulty to translate many words. The concern that you have raised has been going on in my head for a while.
    Many konkani songs, stories and lullabies, they are getting lost with generations. I wonder whether the language will survive much.

  6. Leslie says:

    I don’t agree with you pai. This is your personal opinion.we find everywhere Konkani speaking people till date. Dont try to yo become dictator

    • M. Nagesh Kini says:

      Mr. Leslie, you disagree with Mr. Pai’s points in his article. OK, how he became the dictator? Has he forced upon you to accept his points, or did he dictated your disagreements. Please be humane while putting up your opinion. Decency don’t provide such hard words.

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