Centre for Internet & Society

Rusita Paryekar is one of the 38 students from the MA Konkani department of Goa University gathered at the State Central Library to learn writing and editing articles on Konkani Wikipedia. Currently Konkani Wikipedia is in incubation and needs more voluntary participation from enthusiasts who want their language, Konkani to strengthen its base in the digital knowledge domain.

Thirty-eight M.A. students from the Konkani department of Goa came together for a four day long Konkani Wikipedia editing fun workshop and created history. Konkani Wikipedia is one of the Wikipedia projects that went into incubation (a phase every new Wikipedia project goes to allow the editor community to grow and take the project to a sustainable position) seven years back. Sadly it is still in incubation. One of the major reasons is the conflict for script. Konkani is written in 5 different scripts; Devanagari in Goa (as the official script of Goa) and Maharashtra, Roman (also known as Romi) and written by Goan Christian population, Kannada in Mangalore region of Karnataka, and Malayalam in Kochi region of Kerala. The Konkani speaking diaspora is now very much part of the the socio-ethnic groups of these neighbouring regions. The language of these states has naturally influenced Konkani spoken and written by the Konkani diaspora which has resulted in multiple writing standards and dialects. There are four standards of writing systems:

  1. Writing standard that is officially approved by the Directorate of Official language, Government of Goa written in Devanagari script. Majority of the books (includes all Government of Goa publications) are written in this standard.
  2. Writing standard that was influenced by the Portugese language during the Portuguese rule. Earliest available writings in Konkani including The Holy Bible are written in this standards.
  3. Writing standard that Mangalorean Konkani diaspora use.
  4. Writing standard that Keralite Konkani diaspora use.

Interestingly Konkani diaspora of all these regions have produced books in the writing standards mentioned above. The Konkani Wikipedia incubation project currently has 133 articles written in 3 different scripts; Devanagari, Roman and Kannada which has been a problem to get the approval. But this has not stopped the language enthusiasts to stop contributing. While meeting these students I felt that urge for bringing up Konkani in a digital domain and telling the Konkani diaspora about the untold story of Goa. This is the motivation that drives Rusita and many others to contribute to Wikipedia. Her first contribution was about Goan folk songs (गोंयची लोकगितां) which is the first Konkani article about this topic on the internet that is available for free. ‘If I would not write about my culture in my language who would do that?, says Rusita.

Further reading
Manohar L. Sardessai. Influence on Konkani. Journal of South Asian Literature. Vol. 18, No. 1, Goan Literature: A Modern Reader (Winter, Spring 1983), pp. 155-158.

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