Language, script, controversy…

As any media-watcher would know, the Fourth Estate has played a key role in stoking various sides of the language/script controversy in Goa, right since the mid-eighties. Sometimes, this was done because of ideological reasons, at other times because it helped to boost circulation, or because of the editor’s/proprietor’s understanding of what was “right”.

Rajan Narayan, editor of the Goan Observer (who played a key role in shaping the understanding of and demands on the Konkani side of the language front in the mid-1980s) argues the following in the Goan Observer of Aug 12-18, 2006.

* Granting equal status to Marathi would destroy the status not only of Devanagari Konkani but (of) Romi Konkani itself.

* Granting Marathi official language status would “revive the ghost of merger and threaten the unique and distinct identity of Goa”.

* The silver lining to the language controversy is that the Devanagari Konkani group seems to have finally woken up to the fact that they
cannot ignore the legitimate grievances of the Romi Konkaniwadis any longer.

* Narayan approvingly cites the argument that if Romi Konkani is given official language status, it would become politically impossible to prevent Marathi from securing equal official language status.

* This, it is argued, may spark off similar demands from “Mallus and Kannadigas and perhaps the Oriyas who now have significant numbers living in Goa”.

Would you agree? If yes, why, and if not, why not?

The media, they say, doesn’t tell you *what* to think. It tells you what to think *about*. But the above comes across as an attempt to frame the language debate in Goa along certain lines.

It would be interesting to see how Goanetters view the above arguments.


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