MARGAO: Konkani author Anwesha Singbal has been in the news for being the youngest Konkani Bhasha Mandal president and its first woman president. But what can’t be ignored is what KBM achieved in the last eight years with Chetan Acharya at the help of affairs for the last eight years. Hailing from Loliem, Canacona, 47 year Chetan took over the reins of KBM at the age of 39 and he had a big task in his hand. “Sadly the KBM after being formed in 1962 to safeguard the interest of the Konkani language, the only factor that unites Goans across culture, caste, religion and cuisine but there was a split and it became an issue of Konkani language and which script, so I had a lot of work to do, to unite these groups,” explains Chetan. Chetan believes that Goans and Goaness and Goenkarponn is only about Konkani and we speaking our heart out in our language is all that matters. When we speak, our script, our religion doesn’t matter and hence, the focus should be to keep everything alive in this state by speaking the language. When he became president, he took Konkani to schools, students, teachers, educators, instructors and trainers by organizing numerous training programmes in Konkani, multiple singing competitions, storytelling, elocution, drama and monologue competitions for youth and children in various groups across schools, villages, talukas, districts and panchayat levels which automatically saw parents, teachers and students adopting stories from the English language and other content, translating it and putting into practice thus creating Konkani content.
“We also got teachers and Goan authors to take up Goan folk stories and other stories and translate them and publish them into Konkani which them means we have content to adapt to textbooks for various age groups and this movement has now picked pace. Youth are interacting in Konkani and commenting in Konkani across social media, be in Romi of Devangiri Konkani and I feel our job is half done,” explains a happy Chetan, who is also happy to hand over the reins to a much younger generation. He believes we should unite on the platform of one language of Konkani and not be divided politically or culturally in the name of multiple religions. Chetan believes he will stick around to guide the new KBM committee but wants to do his bit also to safeguard the Konkani language.