Mauzo at Marathi fest delights Konkani camp too | Goa News

MARGAO: In an article published on April 16, 1975, PL Deshpande, a doyen of Marathi literature and president of the 50th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, wrote that “the decision of the Sahitya Akademi to create an illusion, particularly among the Konkani- speaking people of Goa, that Konkani is a language rich in literature on par with languages ​​like Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, etc, amounts to misleading those people ”.
In his article in Maharashtra Times, the writer went on to say that “(just) because it’s the decision of the expert committee does not mean it’s a Brahmavakya (the absolute truth)”. The target of his ire was Konkani writer Uday Bhembre, and Deshpande was making a point as to how Konkani fails to qualify as an independent language on several parameters, and that it’s only a dialect of Marathi.
Forty-seven years after Deshpande’s adverse remarks, Jnanpith award winner and Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo has been invited as chief guest for the inaugural function of the 95th edition of the festival, to be held in Latur.
While the move has been hailed by Konkani protagonists as a “welcome development” and a “moment of pride” ”for the Konkani movement, the Marathi camp has hoped that the move would end the hostility between the two languages ​​and open doors for fruitful engagement between the two camps in the interest of both languages.
Bhembre offers an interesting perspective to the development. “The honor granted to Mauzo is on account of his winning the Jnanpith,” Bhembre told TOI. “That said, there has been a tremendous transformation among the Marathi community, particularly in literary circles, with regards to their outlook towards Konkani. The prejudice that they had harbored against Konkani as a “boli bhasha” of Marathi is on the wane, and instead a sense of camaraderie, cooperation and co-existence with respect to Konkani and Marathi as sister-languages ​​has been gaining ground of late. ”
Besides, Bhembre said that the development should also be seen from the light of the fact that the dominance of the upper caste – which had a prejudiced opinion against Konkani – in the Marathi literary world is on the decline.
The Marathi camp, however, hoped that the welcome gesture from the collection would usher in an era of love and cooperation between the Konkani and Marathi in Goa.
“The Marathi language has taken one big step towards showing a new path to the new generation to end the hostility between the two languages. It’s now to be seen how the Konkani camp responds to it, ”Anil Samant, a former chairman of Gomantak Marathi Academy, said.“ Goa has a glorious tradition of co-existence of Marathi and Konkani as literary languages, with Konkani writers writing in Marathi as well. Let’s hope this development works towards furtherance of this tradition in the interest of both the languages. ”
Janardan Verlekar, president of Gomant Vidya Niketan and a Marathi protagonist, said that the development was testimony to the close relationship shared by Konkani and Marathi that transcends “political differences” over language issues.
Verlekar however feels that champions of the Konkani movement should now shed their “fighter role” and devote themselves towards upgrading the standard of the Konkani literature.
He however sounded critical of the “current trend” of the younger generation of “serving the Konkani language by writing in Marathi.” “Konkani has fought and achieved what it wanted to. The older generation never wrote with an eye on awards. However, many young Konkani writers choose to write in Marathi while seeking publicity but write in Konkani to bag awards. This calls for introspection. A language does not prosper through “rajashray” (state protection), it prospers on the basis of its literary standards, “he said
Mauzo said he accepted the invitation as a “honor to Konkani”. “It only proves that the era of congruence has begun,” he said.

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