25 Mar 2023  |   05:00am IST

Konkani activist with a mission to protect Konkani identity

61-year-old Konkani Bhasha Mandal has been contributing immensely to Konkani language. Former president of Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Chetan Acharya, led the committee for three consecutive terms and enriched Konkani through various initiatives
Konkani activist with a mission to protect Konkani identity

Chetan Acharya, a well-known activist, writer and a leader is considered as one of the leaders who courageously took steps forward without any fear in taking several initiatives for the betterment of Konkani language. He is a man who is very much instrumental in transforming the Vidya Bhuvan Konkani Shalla into a model school, and providing resources to all other schools, especially the Konkani medium school in the state of Goa and he has a dream to contribute more in the field of children’s literature.

It is pertinent to note that a soft-spoken and unassuming Chetan Acharya has interacted with and led the vast Konkani Bhasha Mandal (KBM) team with great affection and respect. He is considered as one of the greatest KMB presidents of all time in the history of Konkani.

Chetan was not afraid to challenge the rather rigid views held by some older Konkani leaders. He advocated a more inclusive approach to bring its various peoples together. KBM collaborated with the Fr Freddy Da Costa Memorial Trust, Vavraddeancho Ixtt, and other Konkani organisations to bring Konkani speakers and writers together.

Konkani language has witnessed a tremendous growth under his leadership as a head of the KMB for eight years (2012-2020). His contribution to the cause of Konkani is immense. According to Anwesha Singbal, President of Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Chetan focused on the future of Konkani through the hands and hearts of today’s children.

“He scaled up the Kathamall program, a popular contest, which sees thousands of school children from all over Goa narrating stories. He mentored younger leaders to assume responsibilities and moulded them into an efficient and affectionate team,” she adds.

It is pertinent to note that Chetan himself started out as a young volunteer and rose to the top position at KBM. Anwesha informs that under the leadership of Chetan, the KBM website was revamped and enlarged, with both Konkani and English options. KMB’s social media presence also increased.

“We cannot forget the last months of his tenure as he worked hard to establish a strong modern Konkani dictionary online. His efforts resulted in the English-Konkani dictionary which is now on the Shadkhosh.com website”, says Jose Lourenco, former Vice-President of KMB. He says that the efforts of Chetan have led Konkani to be on Google today, something he pursued continuously for the last several years.

“Besides the Shanni Masti music CDs and the dance event, Petul, numerous workshops on children’s literature were held in collaboration with top national level experts resulting in publication of over 50 books for children of various age groups,” says Lourenco. Anwesha further informs that Chetan is now pursuing his own literature wholeheartedly. “Chetan’s poems weave words in a beautiful manner. His proficiency in the Konkani language and his ability to express emotions through his poetry is a testament of his talent. He has both; skill and creativity,” she adds.

Chetan has also immersed himself in children’s literature and is working closely with Ektara Trust which is Takshila’s Centre for Children’s Literature and Art that endeavours to enrich the body of Hindi literature for children. Based in Bhopal, this trust organises workshops with the top children’s writers in India and Chetan is now one of the integral parts of the same.

Through his numerous initiatives, Chetan appeals to today’s generation of Konkani movement to keep Konkani language at the top level in order to protect the identity of Goa.


Iddhar Udhar