On chat a few minutes ago, a friend in his ‘twenties was telling me something unusual. He said: “We asked 20 people on 18th June Road (Panjim’s main throughfare) on a Sunday
afternoon if they could speak Konkani … Only five knew or could
Like many in most Indian states, Goans too are acutely concerned about their identity. About migration. About changes taking place here.
I describe myself as an “unpatriotic” Goan. An accidental Goan. One whose identity has been shaped by accidents of history (which I accept, but I’m neither terribly proud nor ashamed of). To me all languages are the same. All deserve support; specially smaller and endangered ones. If I were to support Konkani, it would be on this grounds alone.
So, I commented back: “It also depends what time you ask them this question! I think at 7 am at the Mapusa market, 2% would…. And at the Red and Black dance at Carnival 98% would.”
To me the issue is not ethnicity.
We need to accept a few things. People everywhere (Mumbai, Bangalore, Orissa, the entire North East, Kashmir, wherever) feel a sense of alienation from a growth pattern that empowers an elite and seems to leave the majority out in the cold.
Goa has long been a melting-pot, and will probably long be. The challenge is: how do we get more people to “speak Konkani” … to build up a fair and larger “Goan dream” (not one based on chauvinism and fear-of-the-other) and to make sure we have more us-and-us rather than just see things as them-versus-us.