Inculcating a love for Konkani literature
While English is a universal language and has a wider reach in terms of children’s literature, Konkani is also catching up with great books for children. Various organisations and writers are taking the initiative to reach out to children and make them fall in love with Konkani at a young age
Speaking in your mother tongue at home is different from reading and widening your imagination through the depths of literature. The Konkani language is now reaching children in both Devanagari and Roman script. Founded with the aim of promoting Konkani literature and education, the Konkani Bhasha Mandal was founded on September 30, 1962 by then President Pedru Correia Afonso. Anwesha Singbal believes that children should take an interest in Konkani literature and the Konkani Bhasha Mandal has been promoting writers to take to writing especially for children. “There has been a rise in Konkani literature for children over the past few years and especially during the MOI agitation, Konkani Bhasha Mandal started developing more children’s literature, which was earlier ignored. There were books that were text heavy; but we needed books that had pictures and were more colourful,” says Anwesha. Konkani Bhasha Mandal also has a team of writers who regularly conduct workshops to create awareness about literature for children. They have collaborated with Riyaaz Academy for Illustrators, Bhopal to create illustrations for storybooks. Vincy Quadros, Secretary of Dalgado Konknni Akademi, writes children’s literature in both Devanagari and Romi scripts. A noted Konkani literary personality, he was recently awarded Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar for his book, ‘Jaduche Pettul’. The story is for children with the moral that one should live their life with good qualities. The story was earlier written in Romi script for magazines and then written as a novel in both Devanagari and Romi scripts. He will also release two children’s books this year. “I have been writing books for children mostly in Romi Konkani. The book sales usually take place at various events and book events but whether children are really reading books is difficult to tell. The sales of the books are quick but it should also reflect in the children. I appreciate Anwesha Singbal and the efforts she is putting in through the Children’s Festival- ‘Majja’ organised by Abhinav Creationz. She takes Devanagari Konkani books right to the students in their schools and since they are studying in that script, it is an advantage for the books,” says Vincy. Rajshree Bandodkar Karapurkar won the Konkani Bhasha Mandal award for her book ‘Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa’. She also won the Second place for the Best Published Book in Indian Languages from Publishing-Next and the Bal Sahitya Puraskar from Konkani Sahitya Kala Kendra of Curchorem. She began popularising science through books and short educational films since 2000. Her Konkani books include ‘Saimakaden Samvad (dialogue with nature)’, a Konkani illustrative book for children; ‘Malabakaden Samvad (dialogue with the elements in space)’, Konkani illustrative colored book and ‘Space talks’, a book in English on space for children. “Chitkulya Chinkichye Vishal Vishwa’ is an illustrative colourful book in Konkani written for students to simplify the scientific concept of water cycle. The book is written using interactive format. The main character here is ‘Chinky’, a baby ant who is always curious to know more about the secrets of the nature. In her life’s journey, her mother is always protecting and guiding her to solve her problems. Their conversations vary from philosophy of life and science to the environment. It’s a must read book for the students and a general reader,” explains Rajshree, who is currently teaching Physics at Ponda Education Society, Farmagudi. Speaking about how she attracts children to pick Konkani books for reading, she says, “I popularise science mainly in regional languages because they understand science better when it is explained through a story format using relevant illustrations. I feel it’s high time that we give children some meaningful literature and not just stories and poems. Only then, students will start reading and liking the regional language literature.” She has six books and two videos to her credit.
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