Saturday, 19 March 2016

Sharing Goan Writing

The symposium on 'Sharing Goan Writing through Discourse and Translation' yesterday in Panjim was a well-thought out one. Most languages in Goa work in their silos with litterateurs and academics having only a slim knowledge of developments across languages.

The point came home to me when I was invited to speak on 'Goan Poetry' at a college. For the first time I mediated the poems of Nutan Sakhardande, Rajay Pawar and a few other Konkani Poets along with a fare of Goan poets writing in English like, Manohar Shetty, Margaret Mascarenhas, Ethel Da Costa, Tanya Mendonca, Mary Mendes and myself.*

I was already 'sharing' literature across languages at that time. In my writings for Gomantak Times Weekender I try to infuse Konkani words and titles to English readers to broaden the literary / cultural space shared by Goan readers. In my article 'Kenna Kenna Man Majhe' I discussed a Konkani poem with its own poetic conventions;>I have also written on Konkani tiatr in articles like 'Kaxanvkar.'

Konkani literature is imbued in the folk idiom which is why it touches the soul. This, English poetry about Goa can rarely achieve except in the poems of Manohar Rao Sardessai written originally in Konkani and translated into English.

Another worrisome aspect is the quality of English spoken by Konkani speakers. In my article 'Teenagers and the English language' I wrote of the appalling English of such students who are nevertheless cocky enough to bypass English for the local language. But what happens when they go outside the State? Many use Konklish, a mix of Konkani and English. Serious studies have yet to be done on this.

As we try to garner articles for Kruti a multilingual research journal, we find it so hard to come by articles in Konkani -- or Portuguese and French for that matter. This reticence costs a language very dearly. If there is no research output in a language and about its literature how can it survive in the comity of nations?

In the special issue No.50 of the online literary e-journal at I was invited to curate we put together around 30 sample works of Goan writers translated into English. This was a glimpse of writing on Goa by Goans from all over the Goan diaspora including Canada, USA, and Iraq.#

On Monday we have lined up a Creative Writing Workshop by author Jessica Faleiro for students. The blind spot here is that it is assumed that the workshop is for students writing in English. Why should other languages be considered pariahs to be steam-rolled by the juggernaut of English? Professor Issar spoke yesterday about globalization leading to a call for hybridity and heterogeneity to contain its complexity.'We need to navigate through cultural difference' he said. 'We need to optimize diversity.' Much work remains to be done. Which is why we are inviting students from Konkani and Hindi streams to sit in as well to hone their creative skills.
*See my blog post titled 'Konkani Poetry.' (2014); <See my blog post titled 'Kenna Kenna Man Majhe' (2015); # See my blogpost titled 'Goan Literature: Fixing the Blind Spots' (2014)

 Symposium on 'Sharing Goan Writing through Discourse and Translation' organized by UGC Human Resource Development Centre, Goa University, Taleigao and Institute Menezes Braganza, Panaji, Goa at IMB on 18 March 2016. In the pix Brian speaks as a panelist on the session on Konkani and English Literature in Goa, chaired by Damodar Mauzo.

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