Cries of Konkani Revolution Rocks rent the air at Campal on the evening of June 18, the day that is celebrated as the revolution day of Goa, with live music and a spirit of bonhomie. It was an evening to promote the cultural extravaganza of Goa by some of the best musicians that Goa has seen. They were still fresh from a recent trip to Amersfoort, where several Goans went with the banner of Konkani Rocks Europe, mesmerizing the crowds there with the message of promoting Konkani and its culture.
The evening at Campal was in stark contrast from the developments of the day at the Azad Maidan in Panaji, where members of the Bharatiya Basha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) led by Konkani artistes, litterateurs, writers and activists like Vishnu Wagh, Dilip Borkar, Damodar Ghanekar and Pundalik Naik went on a protest against the government's decision to provide aid to primary schools where the medium of instruction was in English.
Protesters marred the official function of the state as soon as chief minister Digambar Kamat rose to speak, raising slogans against the government's decision. They were voicing their concerns against the decision.
The medium of instruction issue has been on fire in the state for over three months now. A bandh by BBSM and BJP on the day of reopening of schools, disruption of activities of government, demanding a reversal of decision, even as parents across the state are opting for English as a medium of instruction for their wards in most areas.
The revolution day though was celebrated by the forward thinking Goans in a much more peaceful and celebratory way, with a promise to take Konkani to the world. Armando Gonsalves of Heritage Jazz argued against the brand of politics being played with the mother tongue issue. Konkani and its culture need to be promoted. There is nothing wrong with English being the medium of instruction at schools, because such is the demand of the world. Instead of taking the government head on, let us take Konkani to a different level. "Why would any Goan not learn Konkani? Make Konkani attractive and teach children the culture and they will adapt to it very well. This approach by those opposing English as a medium of instruction and pushing Konkani as a medium of instruction will in effect actually pull down Konkani," he argued.
India has had several lessons in the past, when brain drain happened, with all students passing out of the prestigious IITs left the country for greener pastures abroad for better opportunities. If the politicians and the advocates of the Konkani language start pushing our kids to learn Konkani, soon the best will leave Goa and look for greener pastures. As it is, many youth are leaving Goa for lack of opportunities in Goa. The Goan youth has already gone away. Not many are staying back in Goa for the lack of opportunities.
Some Goan parents are already shifting their children to study in Mumbai and Bangalore, scared of what mess the politicians could inflict on them. It is time that the thinking Goans put their thinking caps on to see how to attract the youth to stay back right here and improve the Goan economy for the years ahead. Stop thinking for today, think for tomorrow.
The Goan society will have to think what is good for them very carefully, for a mistake could cause colossal damage. The approach by those trying to force Konkani on students only shows that they do not have trust in their mother tongue's ability to stand the test of time. Konkani is a great language, and has tremendous potential.
This was shown by Konkani singers and musicians like Ronnie Monsorate on the piano, Diego on the drums, vocalists Veeam Braganza, Sonia Shirsat, Varun Carvalho, Brian Bones on the bass guitar and Olavo Rodrigues. The evening was light, uncomplicated, and all wanting to promote Konkani the right way. They love their Konkani just like all others do and are doing more for the cause of the language. As Sonia Shirsat says, any language forms the culture of the place. If you promote the culture in whichever form, either through literature, drama, art or music, the language will grow and will have a longer life. The language will then move into the next generation seamlessly. But by just learning the language to score marks in an exam and getting percentages does not always promise the long life of the language. These are words well said. So if Konkani has to rock, the answers are quite clear. The choice is yours. – Courtesy Times of India


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