Long History of Romi Konkani

Posted on 2008-09-05
THE first printing press in India was brought to St Paul’s College, at present day Old Goa by the Jesuit missionaries. Between the years 1556-1561 “Doutrina Christam”, a catechism book in Konkani in the Roman script was printed.One would expect that Hindus from Goa were the first people to write and publish Konkani books in the Devnagri script. The reality is quite different. The credit to write and publish the first Konkani book in the Devnagri script goes to a Catholic of Goan origin, Dr George Octaviano Pires who published “Kristanv Doton ani Katisism” at Sholapur in 1894.
The first book in Konkani in the Devnagri script by a Hindu was written by Varde Vaman Valaulikar (alias Shannai Gõybab). His “Gõykarancho Mumbaikar” was published by Gomantak Press, Bombay in 1910. Valaulikar began his Konkani literature mission through the Roman script. He has written 15 Konkani books in Roman script. If he had believed the Devnagri script as the ‘natural’ script of Konkani, then why did he adopt the Roman script? He has also written may other books like Akbar Patxea ani Birbal, Bakaulechem Ful, Razput Hamlet ani Bapaichem Bhut, Gore Bailecho Callo Ghov, Mogachem Logn, Ghatmaro Ixtt, Bailechi Porikxa etc.
The first Konkani vocabulary and Konkani Grammar in the Roman script was formulated by the year 1570. This was used to teach Konkani at St Paul’s College. In the 1830s, Manddo came into existence in Salcette, Goa.
On February 02, 1889, Eduardo Jose Bruno de Souza started the first Konkani periodical in the Roman script called ‘Udentechem Sallok’ in Pune. On April 17, 1892 the first Tiatr ‘Italian Bhurgo’ of Lucasinho Ribeiro was staged in Mumbai. Today Tiatr has become one of the most successful entertainment industries in Goa.
The first Konkani novel ‘Kristanv Ghorabo’ was completed on July 31, 1905 by Eduardo J Bruno de Souza. It was printed in 1911.
On April 24, 1950 the first full length Konkani film ‘Mogacho Anvddo’ produced by Mr Jerry Braganza was released at Mapuça. ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Bhunyarantlo Monis’ and ‘Padri’ film producers too were Konkani in Roman script users.
In September 1962, Pedro Correia-Afonso of Benaulim started Konkani Bhasha Mandal in Margão.