Konkani - Official State Language

Goa is a multi-lingual state, thanks to its chequered history of thousands of years, which has seen people of various regions, ethnic races and religions from India and abroad coming over to and settling in Goa, while influencing the local language.

At present, Marathi and Konkani are two major languages of Goa. Hindi, the national language of India, is well understood in Goa. In major towns, English is widely used in writing and conversation.

On the other hand, Portuguese, the language of the colonial rulers and the official language till 1961 before liberation, notwithstanding the official patronage and a compulsory medium of study, failed to make a dent in the mind of the majority of Goans.

It remained only the language of the elite but alienated the masses. Thus just after the departure of the Portuguese, Portuguese lost all its favour and usage. However, very few - particularly the older or pre-liberation generation - still use Portuguese.

Konkani and Marathi, much related, survived in Goa by secret studies at home, in temples and public places in villages. Both Konkani and Marathi are derived from Sanskrit, the mother of majority of Indian languages. These two languages use Devnagari script like Sanskrit. Hindi is also written in Devnagari script while Roman script is used for English and Portuguese.

Goans speak Konkani. Konkani is also written in Kannada in Karnataka and in Malayalam script in some parts of Kerala. People residing on the Canara Coast have been following the Kannada script, whereas to the extreme south of Karnataka, on the borders of Kerala, konkani has been written in Malayalam script.

Famous Goan poets and writers have written and published their literature in Konkani. The prominent poets of Goa, Manohar Rai Sardesai, Bakibab Borkar, R.V. Pandit have written various poems on Goa, Goa's natural beauty and its culture. The writers such as Chandrakant Keni, Pundalik Naik, N Shivdas, Dilip Borkar, Mrs. Hema Naik, Mrs. Sheela Kolambkar, have played dominant role in developing konkani lierature.

Konkani plays called "Tiatr" or "Natak" are held in each and every village. "Tiatr" are held by the Goan Christian community and "Natak" are held by the Goan Hindu Community. It is a must for the local Deity's feast. May it be a Local Saint's 'Fest' or a 'Zatra'. It is the way of life for Goans.

Tiatr plays are the folk variety. The Tiatr groups now a days stage plays in prominent towns of Goa and are quite popular. Subjects such as Fiction, Politics, Family life, Social problems are also gaining ground. The prominent Goan Roman Script Monthly magazine being 'GULAB'.

Konkani is also widely spoken in Mangalore, Bombay and some parts of Kerala. Konkani is the official language of Goa and is being used in all the offical correspondence. Konkani Bhasha Mandal is the prime body working for the development of Konkani.

Important Dates in history of Konkani Language

1187 First Konkani inscription
1209 Jnaneshwari is written in Konkani
1548 Portuguese destroy all Konkani works
1808 Konkani Bible is published
1932 Portuguese start Konkani school
1987 Konkani recognised as a National language