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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Opinions differ over choice of script for Konkani books

The Konkani Sahitya Academy has started the process of arriving at a consensus among Konkani-speaking people on the script to be used

MANGALORE: The issue of adopting a script for Konkani textbooks to be brought out by the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) is under debate as opinions vary over the choice of Kannada and Nagari script.

The Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, headed by its Chairman, Eric Ozario, chose to revive the issue of teaching Konkani in schools and set about the process of forging consensus among Konkani-speaking communities on the script to be used.

A majority opinion was in favour of Kannada script and the academy accordingly sent its recommendations to DSERT.

This effort received a setback when the Karnataka State Konkani Linguistic Minority Educational Institutions' Association rejected the use of Kannada script and demanded that Nagari script be used instead. The association said it used both scripts to teach Konkani in schools run by it up to fifth standard and wanted Nagari to be the official script in textbooks.

Joining this debate here on Monday, the Konkani Writers' Forum, Karnataka, criticised the stand taken by the association. Extending its support to the decision of the academy to use Kannada script, Edward L. Nazareth, its secretary, said the view taken by the association on the script would derail the process of introducing Konkani as an optional subject in schools in the State.

Dr. Nazareth said the move to teach a language using two scripts was impractical and would not only confuse the students but also their parents. Noting that a majority of Konkani-speaking communities in the state are well versed in Kannada, he said all stakeholders would have to make extra efforts to learn Nagari script.

Criticising the few facts presented by the association in its defence of Nagari script, Dr. Nazareth said this was not borne out of their love for Nagari script but out of opposition to Kannada. Terming this as detrimental for the development of Konkani, he said it could spoil the harmonious relationship between Kannada and Konkani.

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