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Konkani
Konkani
Konkani
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History

History of Konkani

Early Years
Konkani flourished in Goa. Brahmi script was initially used for writing in Konkani but it fell into disuse, giving way to the Devanagari script. It was used extensively for religious purposes as well as daily use. The word “Konkan” and, in turn Konkani, is derived from Kuṅkaṇ or Kuṅkaṇu. Different authorities explain etymology of this word differently. Some include: Koṇ meaning top of the mountain. Name of aboriginal mother goddess, which is sometimes sanskritised to mean goddess Renuka. Thus the name Konkane, comes from the word Konkaṇ, which means the people of Konkan.


The People
The Konkani people (Devanagari: कोंकणी लोक Koṅkaṇī lok, कोंकणे Koṅkaṇe, or sometimes कोंकणस्थ Koṅkaṇstha) are a linguistic community found mainly in the Konkan Coast of western India whose mother-tongue is the Konkani language. They originate from Goa. They share different ethnicity. The Konkanies are said to have originally hailed from central Asia. According to the available evidence around 4000 B. C. they were settled to an agrarian life, supplemented by cattle grazing, on the banks of river Sraswathi which is a tributary of River Indus.


Around 2500 B.C. they are said to have migrated to Thrihotrupura now called as Tiruth. It was here that they separated themselves into families or ‘GOTHRAS’. The next migration was around A. D. 1000, at this time they went in search of greener pastures. They were 2 groups. One of them retains Konkani even today while the other group settled in Bengal and has assimilated the Bengali culture. The Konkanies were experts in farming and reaped three crops a year, which was a new phenomenon in those days.


The Konkani culture has suffered many attacks by the Muslim invaders, Marathas and majorly by the Portuguese. During their infamous Inquisition, a program for religious and cultural conversion the Konkani culture was ruthlessly suffocated and valuable documents were permanently destroyed. This led to the diversification of the Konkani into different religions.


Konkani encompasses 3 religious groups which include more than 20 casts, sub-casts and sects. The largest group consists of the Hindus – Saraswath Brahmins ( Chitrapur Saraswath Brahmins & Gauda Saraswath Brahmins) and the Daivajna Brahmins, the others are Vaniyas (merchants), Kudmis (Construction and field workers), Chaptekars ( cooks and caterers), Gudikars (drama props suppliers and puppetry artistes), Konkani Chamgars ( cobblers), Maesths (stonecutters), Bhandaris (barbers), Kharvis (fishermen), the Guravs of Goa, the Mrata Konkanies, The Rajpuri Saraswath and Brahmins of Maharastra. The next largest religious group is the Christians. The Goan Christians, Mangalorean Catholics (who were originally converts from GSBs) and the Gowde Christians. Among the Muslims few groups have retained Konkani language and culture. The Navayets are mainly settled in Bhatkal and the Kufis of North Kanaka and Ratnagiri.


The Language
Literary evidence prove that Marathi is an offshoot of Konkani but the matter still remains controversial. Konkani was written in the Brahmi script and later by Devanagari. In 1556 the Portuguese brought the first press to India. The machine was later utilized by Fr. Thomas Stephens, a British missionary who published in an Asian language. The Konkani people speak different dialects of Konkani, their native tongue; although a very high percentage are bilingual.


Konkanis Today
The Konkani community, however, rebounded from every setback. With the end of the British and Portuguese Empires in India, the community has made significant strides. Konkanis are well educated and mostly financially well-off. A large section of the community works in the banking sector, given their background in trade and commerce. However, the community has diversified into various professions and made a name for itself in the industrial, technical and medical fields. A high percentage of Konkanis are now engaged in tertiary occupations as compared to other communities.


Useful Links:
https://kininaren.wordpress.com/2007/04/17/konkani-language-and-community/


Credits:
 Wikipedia
 Naren Kini
 http://www.udupipages.com/art-culture/history-konkani.php

About Konkani Association

The KonkaniAssociation.com was founded in November 2013 in San Antonio, Texas, USA. This association was formed to bring together all Konkani speaking folks worldwide where we can get to know and appreciat...

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