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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Konkani Literature Today

Konkani Literature Today

A Research Paper read by

Dr. S. M. Tadkodkar

(1) 1/B, S-5, IInd Floor,
Kamat Plaza, Panaji, Tiswadi, Goa – 403 001
Phone: 0832-2423577
(2) Head
Department of Postgraduate Instruction and Research in Marathi,
Goa University,
Taleigaon Plateau,
Tiswadi, Goa – 403 206

Presented during the Meet of the North-Eastern and Western Indian Writers
organized at Pune (Maharashtra) on October 18th and 19th, 2008 by

Sahitya Akademy

On the outset, let me thank Shri. Sunil Gangopadhyaya, the Chairman of Sahitya Akademy, Shri. Pundalik Narayan Nayak, Convenor of Advisory Board for Konkani and Chairman of Goa Konkani Academy and Shri. K. S. Rao, who is Regional Secretary of Sahitya Akademy for giving me an opportunity to present my research note amidst an august audience,

The Konkani language is spoken along the Western coastal land of Arabian Sea. There, we come across varieties in spoken structure of the Konkani. Obviously, all that is being written in these varieties could have been termed as Konkani literature. Regretfully, one has to mention here that due to political ambient – surrounding – a large number of Konkani speakers cannot embrace the Konkani language officially, which has been included in the eighth schedule of Constitution of India and which is the state language of Goa.

Karmelin, by Shri Damodar Mauzo.

This book is the English translation of the original Konkani novel. Translation by Vidya Pai. ISBN-10: 8126019182

Today, when we say about literary language of the Konkani, then we have to consider the literature produced in Kannada, Malayalam, Devanagari and Roman scripts, which is spread in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Goa and Maharashtra. I am not aware of any other fact about such a language, which has as many as four scripts that are being adopted at various places for reading, writing and publishing valuable literary books in a quite large number.

Whenever we mention about standard Konkani literature, then we just cannot overlook the literary contribution in the scripts, which are mentioned above. Quite often, we come across these two terms ‘Modern’ and ‘Modernity’

Literature in this, which is one of the most beautiful languages in India, can be viewed in sequence of the concepts ‘modern’ and ‘modernity’.

‘Modern’ is the concept, which relates to the specific times, which identifies to latest style of life. It may also be defined as “contemporary or characteristic of the present moment in time” or “modern is applied to writing marked by a strong and conscious break with tradition”.

The term ‘Modernity’ indicates to the values based on rationalization of thoughts. It is believed that the modern sociological thought begun with Ibn Khaldun, an Arab sociologist from North Africa. His Muqaddimah was written in 1377. Modernity is a term that refers to the modern era. It is indeed distinct from modernism; this term is viewed in different contexts viz. cultural and intellectual movements of between 1630 and 1940. Modernity is a term, which also indicates to the universal values of life accepted in modern era. One may hold an opinion that the process of modernity ended in last phase of the 20th century. It is replaced by values of post-modernism. One might stretch the concept of modernity “to cover the developments denoted by post-modernism and into the present”.

Well, on this backdrop modern period of the Konkani literature could have been viewed simultaneously in terms of advent of values of modernity as well. If this view-point is accepted then the day of liberation of Goa on December 19, 1961, from the 450 year colonial oppressive rule of Portuguese regime can be said as the beginning of modern period and modernity in the Konkani literature.

Late Dayanand Bandodkar, the first Chief Minister of the then Goa, Daman and Diu, (which was union territory in the Union of India) and his able lieutenant late V. S. S. Karmali, who was Education Minister of the government, opened primary and secondary schools at every nook and corner in the newly liberated part of Goa. This enhanced literacy among the peasants and other working class. Generation after that educational upheaval offered a special flavor to Konkani literature.

Pictured: Shri Padmabhushan Ravindra Rajaram Kelekar
Update: Since Dr Tadkodkar's presentation of this paper, Shri Kelekar has been awarded the prestigious Jnyanpeetth Award.

The much honoured writers in Konkani today are Padmabhushan Ravindra Rajaram Kelekar, A. N. Mahambro, Damodar Mauzo, Chandrakant Kenny, Hema Naik, Mahabaleshwar Sail, Ramesh Veluskar, Madhav Borkar, Edwin D’Souza, Devidas Kadam, Dilip Borkar, N. Shivadas, Sheela Kolambkar, Meena Kakodkar, Gajanan Joag and others.

Among the research scholars are Suresh Amonkar, Harischandra Nagvenkar, Mrs. Priyadarshini Tadkodkar, Dr. Kiran Budkulay, Dr. Ram Bhat, Dr. Maria Aurora Couto, Dr. Madhavi Sardessai and others.

Other renowned writers are Prakash Thali, Dr. Prakash Vazarikar, Prakash Parienkar, Dr. Jayanti Nayak and others.

I also should make a special mention of periodicals in Konkani. They relentlessly assisted the litterateur folk representing Konkani language and literature. Some of the names are ‘Rutu’, ‘Jaag’, ‘Kullagar’, ‘Konkani’, ‘Konkan Times’, Sunaparant, Vavraddeancho Ixtt (Roman-script Konkani, weekly), Gulab, Bimb .

It is very difficult to embrace all genre of Konkani literature, in such petit note. As such today, I will try to focus only on the Konkani poets and their sensibility in view of the modernity.

But, one thing should be made amply clear that when we make mention about certain Konkani literature, which belongs to modern period, some historians do not hesitate to mention Ligorio da Costa, Carlos Trinidad Dias and Arnold Menezes, who were the early Mando (a semi-literary folk song) composers of the 19th century and also Smt. Kamalamal, Narahari Prabhu, Suhas Dalal and Manjeshwari Govind Pai, who wrote devotional poetry during the late 20th century.

Konkani poetry began shedding its traditional skin after Kashinath Shridhar Nayak (1899-1983, whose pen-name was ‘Bayabhau’.). His ‘Saddyaavelim Fulam’ (1946) opened the doors for those who longed to break the shackles of traditional mode of writing. He is therefore known as the pioneer of Konkani modern poetry. Another attempt of shedding anxiety of influence is seen in the ‘Painzonnam’ (1960) of Padmashree Bakibab Borkar (1910-84), and so also Manohar Sardessai for the concept traditional exhibition of love and philosophical, introspectional trance, still remained at the core. Basically, he and his contemporary Pandurang Bhangui, Shankar Ramani (1923-2004) represent the poetic genre of the entire classical romanticism in the Konkani poetry.

Traditional patriotism i. e. love for country cannot be shed for it is omnipotent. It presents glimpses of anxiety of influence, in the poetry of Manohar Sardessai (‘Gomya Tuzya Mogakhatir’). Waman Sardessai (1923-94, pen name ‘Abhijit’) was a freedom fighter. He said, “Silent is my sorrow like nameless wild flower in forest” This element, indeed, represented the contemporary Konkani poetry.

This poetry was rich in idiom and had assurance of touch as well as touch of assurance. It had dipped in the realm of solitude and at times into recluse and silence. These and other poets were singing a swan song. When they came across the stark naked reality, they screamed saying that the contemporary ground reality was not the dream they had visualized. Their dream had shattered! Shankar Bhandari’s (1928-87) ‘Ganarajya’ is a satire which presents contradictions in the basic value systems of romantic and classical politics and stark naked ground reality. “Gonnachem ailem raj, khoyancho Gonna konn janna.” (We say, Ganna’s – Common man’s - rule has arrived, but who knows Ganna – the common man? Which Ganna?)

In this note, I have attempted to present, through a bird’s eye view, the glimpses of modernity in the Konkani literature today.

Sociological thought, which is omnipotent in the modernity, is distinctly visible in the poetry written by Padmashree Raghunath Vishnu Pandit (1917-1990). Pandit gave a war cry against social injustice and inequality, hegemony and hypocrisy. He, apparently, was the torch-bearer of this era from 1963. Earlier, stray instances did take place, which may have links with sociological thought, e. g. a poem by Adeodoto Barreto (1905-37). He addresses laborer class in 1937 in his poem ‘Bekaryanc’. He also longs for liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule and unification with India. His dream came true in 1961. But the spurt for sociological thought in Konkani poetry is seen only after 1963. Manohar Sardessai rightly said once that Pandit’s poetry is rooted in the Goan soil. His poetry brought in rustic language.

Pandit was followed by a rich generation of poets, which indeed brought the genuine touch of modernity. The first among them is Nagesh Karmali. Pandit did not foresee a classless society, but Karmali did and advocated for it. He opposed the measures, which are repressive in character. He adhered to force revolts and revolutions. This was only the medium for the creation of a free and democratic classless society, at least in theory. The transition from feudal institutions to modern institutions was marked by a series of revolutions, reference of which is found in the Karmali’s poetry.

Karmali, intuitionally a socialist, says,”Poetry had visited me in several forms, sometimes soft and silent, at times troubled and all at ease. At times (it came as if) roaring destruction like invading waves.”

Another tall descendant of Pandit is Pundalik Narayan Nayak. His ‘Bangarbaeel’ (the bull, which is not castrated) is the perfect and ultimate product of tyranny. As such, he appears to be oppressive. He would not listen to injustice and would surge ahead with might. Pundalik’s poetry worships equality and comradeship, but he is not canonically a communist. His, the then, poetry did not believe in popular democracy, but his plays have trust in it. While Pandit’s poetry brought in rustic language, Pundalik’s poetry nourished classical brutality. It is its forte.

He says, “You just cannot castrate the bull / You have no guts to sell the bull / Let my bull go, wherever he desires / Let him do that pleases him / The bull is the savior of fifty two generations / The bull is the descendant of my race.”

But even his staunch critic will not deny that Pundalik’s poetry is brutally honest. I strongly feel that his poetry destroys the unpleasant but uncanny, weird and necessities of the times in which he lived.

Vijayabai Sarmalkar did ask about woman’s stature in the then social matrix. But her voice does not appear to be dominating. To fill in the gap of strong voice of a woman, some of poetesses viz. Hema Nayak, Nutan Sakhardande, Shakuntala Arsekar, Jayanti Nayak, Prashanti Talponkar, Shanti Tendulkar, Maya Kharangate, Neela Telang ventured upon social inequality. Some of them are romantic feminists. Rather the number of female litterateur exceeds the male writers in Konkani literature as far as impact of modernity is concerned.

Glaring point of ‘modernity’ is that it postulates encouragement of advance or progress in useful sciences and arts. Surprisingly enough, Konkani poetry does not glorify this aspect of modernity. Especially, another modernist poet Prakash Padgaonkar does not have any admiration for ‘rapid, unplanned and senseless industrialization.’ This poet is a romantic modernist. Universally, sensibility about human agony lies beneath the essence of modernity. This is evident in the poetry of Padgaonkar.

While Shivanand Tendulkar, Arun Sakhardande, Su. Ma. Tadkod (pen name of Dr. S. M. Tadkodkar) have ardent faith on approach to the modernity, the other glaring names are of Sudesh Lotlikar, Jess Fernandes. Apparently, they do believe as the American Christian fundamentalists still agree with Martin Luther who recognized that "Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it struggles against the divine word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."

Tendulkar (pen name – Kashinath Shamba Lolienkar) represents the vein of radical existentialism in Konkani writing. He believes in this context that man defines himself. Though this belief has a part of philosophical bearing, it indicates the presence of tenets of modernity.

Neelba Khandekar could have been one of the fore-runners as far as the concept of modernity is concerned. A strong germ of modernity exists in his poetry but it slips in the realm of radical existentialism.

Rajay Pawar could have been another descendant of Pandit, Karmali and Pundalik Nayak. Surprisingly, it is apparent that, the commitment vanished in course of time.

One cannot disagree that people have begun in believing that modernist shop has global implications. Reason is being searched to comprehend this failure. The approach, which is in the name of sociological thought under the pretext of humanism, has come under various scanners. Modernism is a flaw, corrupt in the name of modernism and humanist tradition and has played itself out and is now floundering and directionless. If Modernism is at an end, we are now facing a new period. The name given to this new period is Postmodernism.

But this viewpoint or commitment is not imbibed as yet in the Konkani poetry. But poets write for joy. An attempt of shedding anxiety of influence is not seen for the concept traditional exhibition of love and philosophical, introspectional trance, still remained at the core.

Uday Bhembro, Ghanekar Bhicajee, Tomazinho Cardozo, (1941), Yusuf A. Sheikh, Gajanan Raikar, Sharatchndra Shenoy, Ram Prabhu-Choddanekar, R. Ramnath, Dattakumar Vyankatesh Kamat, Paresh Narendra Kamat, Shashikant Punaji, Gulab Vernekar, Guadulup Dias and others, Suresh Borkar are the core romanticists of Konkani poetry.

Yusuf Sheikh says, “In these entangled threads there are knots, and many minds are entangled in these knots.” Suresh Borkar says, “What does my life lack? Receiving is joy. Giving is joy. Cup of my life is full of happiness.” Both these poets represent the poetic genre of the entire classical romanticism in the Konkani poetry.


(Please note that the dates given against some of the names need corrections.)
1. Bakibab Borkar (1910-1984), ‘Painzonnam’ 1960 and ‘Sasai’, 1980
2. Barreto Adeodoto (1905-1937), ‘Bekaryanc’ (the only poem), 1935,
3. Bhandari, Shankar (1928-1987),
4. Bhembro, Uday (1939), ‘Channyache Raatee’, 1966,
5. Borkar, Madhav (1954), ‘Chonvor’, 1969,
Vatacheo Sanvelleo’, 1972,
‘Uzvaddacho Rukh’, 1975,
‘Porzollachem Dar’, 1986,
‘Yaman’, 1999,
‘Avyaktachim Gaannee’, 2002
6. Borkar, Suresh (1938), ‘Vajrathikam’, 1985,
7. Bhangui, Pandurang (1923), ‘Odrushtache Kalle,’ 1972
‘Dixttavo’, 1972
‘Chanfelli Saanz’, 2000
8. Cardozo, Tomazinho - ‘Mando’ and ‘Pakllyo’,
9. Kamat, Paresh Narendra, ‘Allang’, 2000,
10. Karmali, Nagesh (1923), ‘Samvar’, 1974
‘Zoargat’, 1975
‘Vaunshvrukshanchem Dennem’ 1992
‘Thang-Athang’, 2003
11. Kharangate, Maya, ‘Kayapanjee’,
12. Khandekar, Neelba, ‘Vedha’, ‘Suryavaunshi’, 1999
13. Kelekar,Yeshawant, ‘Punzalelim Fulam’
14. Lolienkar Kashinath Shamba, Kashi Mhonnta’, 1982,
‘Kashik Mhannachench Paddtta’, 1997,
‘Kasheen Mhannapachem Soddunk Naa’,
15. Lolienkar, Prasad, ‘Mullam’, 1995
16. Naik, Kashinath Shridhar (Bayabhau) (1899-1983) – ‘Saddyaavelim Fulam’, 1946,
17. Naik, Bharat, ‘Mana Mana’, 1982
18. Nayak, Manoraya, ‘Kalp-Ful’, 1993
19. Nayak, Pundalik Narayan 1952), ‘Ga Ami Rakhanne’, 1976
‘Raan Sundari’, 1974
20.Padgaonkar, Prakash (1948), ‘Uzvaddachim Pavlam’, 1976,
Vascoyan’, 1977
‘Hanv Manis Ashwatthamo’, 1985
‘Kavita: Kaal Railwaychyo, Manharashyachyo, Pavasa- Pantyachy’, 1993
‘Ani Sarg Ghaddpak Dhartarecho’, 1994
21. Pawar, Rajay, Pawas-Fulam’, 1997
22.Pandit, Raghunath Vishnu (1917-1990), ‘Ailem Tashem Gailem’, 1963,
Mhojem Utor Gavdyanchem’, 1963,
‘Urtalem Tem Dhortolem’, 1963,
‘Dhortorechem Kavan’, 1963
‘Chandraval’, 1963
‘Darya Gazota’, 1979
23. Raikar, Gajanan, ‘Banwad’ and ‘Sumwari’,
24.Ramani, Shankar (1923-2004), ‘Zoglanchem Zadd’, 1987
‘Nillem Nillem Brahma’ 1993
‘Brahm-Kamal’, 1995,
‘Niranjan’, 2002
25. Sardessai Manoharrai, (1925-2007), ‘Aiz re Dholar Padlee Badee’, 1961,
‘Goyam Tujya Mogakhateer’, 1961,
‘Zayat Zage’, 1964
‘Zayo-Zuyo’, 1970
‘Pissollim’, 1978 (SA Award)
26.Sarmalkar, Vijaya (1924), ‘Gontthalam’,
27.Sheikh, Yusuf A., ‘Gantthee’, 1982,
28.Telang, Neela, ‘Kallzachee Bharatee’,
29.Veluskar, Ramesh (1947), ‘Morpakham’, 1977,
‘Matee’, 1983
‘Angani Nachata Moar moaraya’, 1988,
‘Savulgoaree’, 1989,
‘Hiranya-Garbha’, 1993,
‘Surya-Vaunshee ani Tanarjyotee’,1999

© Dr S M Tadkodkar

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Ambe Saasam - A True Konkani Salad

A good meal starts with a good salad. If anyone were to ask the recipe to a Konkani salad....there’s just one thing that would come to mind....Ambe Saasam (Mangoes in coconut sauce). Salad!!! Yes, you read that right. Fresh cut mangoes dressed in grated coconut with a dash of salt and spice - what better on earth could be termed a true parallel to any exotic tropical fruit salad!

Ambe Saasam is probably of the many ways that our Konkani ancestors came up with to enjoy and relish their harvest of mangoes. Traditionally the recipe calls for a combination of freshly grated coconut (raw), dried red chilies and tamarind to be ground together into a semi dry base that forms the dressing. Peeled and diced mangoes are then folded in with a pinch of salt to create this simple yet delectable salad.

As any other Konkani recipe, the Ambe Saasam has evolved from being the regular Ambe Saasam to a more versatile Avnaas-Ambe-Saasam (Diced Pineapple and Mango in coconut sauce). Throw in a few grapes and you make it that much more of a fruit “gajbaje” (mish mash). No matter what you toss into that salad, it forever has retained the traditional name. It makes you wonder if the additions were an art developed by the home-cook to feed a huge family, especially when one specific fruit wasn’t sufficient or available in plenty.

Almost every book on Konkani cuisine has given the Ambe Saasam its much deserving share of limelight. The uniqueness of this recipe is that it could be a salad – all by itself, served as ‘salsa’ or as a ’side’ with rice. Another distinctive feature about this recipe is that though termed “Saasam” – implying mustard seeds – there is very little of it that is used, compared to the coconut and chilies. It’s all of these that make it exclusively Konkani.

When Dr.Tadkodkar suggested ‘Ambeyche Saasam’ for Save My Cuisine, all I could think of is summer, mangoes and more mangoes. My first introduction to Ambe Saasam was when I was little and spending summer with my grandmother in Mangalore. Every Konkani wedding I have been to, including mine, has not had a menu without Ambe Saasam! It’s interesting to see how this seasonal recipe caught on to become the most sought after, even after decades have passed by. I say that as my parents (and am sure their’s too) had Ambe Saasam on the menu at their wedding.

Konkanis have taken pleasure in not only enjoying this fruit sugar and calorie loaded salad, but we have also developed a way to balance out our diet. Conventionally, this Saasam is served at lunch and less often at dinner, making it much easier on the digestive system and maintaining the blood glucose level. It’s not till you question things that we realize the value behind it!

In all, Ambe Saasam is truly an exotic yet humble Konkani dish that elevates a simple meal to a banquet!

Do you have an Ambe Saasam detail to share? Feel free to share your experiences and stories on Ambe Saasam.

Save My Cuisine- An Introduction has helped me communicate with so many fellow Amchis around the world. I truly appreciate all your inputs and response. A special note of thanks to Roshan and Dr.Tadkodkar for their encouragement and enthusiasm to start and sustain this effort.

© Eskay (Article & Image)

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Save My Cuisine - An Introduction

“Dalitoy” is the very soul and identity of a Konkani table. Though a humble lentil soup it is the trademark dish that crosses all the socioeconomic boundaries. It is something that every Konkani grew up on, relates with and continues to savor. It reflects the simplicity and the sophistication of our cooking. It completes a homemade Konkani meal when combined with rice, “upkari” -vegetables stir fried with coconut.

Konkani cooking, for most part, has evolved from the local produce. Unlike other styles of cooking, it is largely dairy–free. There are various permutations to a given recipe based on the region, the ingredients available and the time of year. However, overall the essence of our cooking remains the same – a unique blend of taste, love and simplicity. The backbone of the Konkani cuisine has always remained what is harvested from the ground. Coconut, rice, lentils, onions, potatoes and red chilies make up the list of ingredients that are interlaced into our culinary lore.

Our cuisine boasts of innumerable recipes for vegetables, legumes, greens and grains in endless combinations that call for a little embellishment with coconut. Meat has never played a primary role, in part because most Konkanis were and still remain “Brahmins” and this strictly calls for a vegetarian or in some cases a “Saatwik” diet – vegetarian food without onion and garlic. Even today, when meat is consumed by most Konkanis, it often plays a subordinate role. The dalitoy and an upkari continue to remain the main course while the meat is a cooked and served truly as a side. This however is not the same for fish and other sea food like – shrimps, prawns, crabs and oysters. Seafood has for generations been a part of the staple diet in most households – surprising and quite contradictory to the Brahmin beliefs. This can be attributed to the coastal settlement especially on the Western Indian Coast extending from the Malabar to the Konkan and beyond. Seafood is cooked as a side or as a main course- more a weekend or a weekly once deal. Everyday meal essentially comprises the dalitoy – and it is rightly termed – the “Kuldevu” (KUL = family , DEVU = deity) of our cooking.

A Konkani table respects both regional and seasonal produce. Our cuisine speaks volumes of the creativity of the home cooks when faced with – limited ingredients, limited storage and refrigeration facilities and tight grocery budgets. We have found out ingenious and innovative methods of presenting the same vegetable or fruit in different ways and at different times of the year. For example, mangoes are cooked as “Saasam” in combination with pineapples, cooked by themselves as “Ambe Upkari” or churned into chutneys with coconut or pickled into jars. On a similar note Jackfruit is mashed into jelly, turned into “Gharayi” or “Ghare Wada” – also known as “Moolik” and even sun dried as “Ponsa happolo” to be stored for consumption during the monsoon.

Each dish associated with a season or a feastly fare has always had an amusing story to it. This highlights the importance of entertainment and communication that has taken place around food since ancient times. An anecdote that stands out and has probably been narrated in every Konkani household is that about the “Tendle ani Bibbe Upkari” (Indian Ivy gourd stir fried with Tender Cashewnut and coconut) –

A mother invited an eligible bachelor home for lunch to meet her daughter. One of the many dishes prepared for the feast was Tendle-Bibbe Upkari. The generous quantity of Bibbo in the dish impressed him. There was hardly any Tendle in the dish. Upon his marriage with the girl, he visited the home and the mother, his mother-in-law now, served the same dish, but now he could see that the number of Tendle in the dish had gone up considerably compromising that of the Bibbo. Over the years the Tendle just seemed to gain an upper hand in its proportion to the Bibbo- since the purpose of getting the daughter married was served the requirement to impress was no longer required.

Though the art of baking was not very predominant in early times, the Konkani cuisine incorporated fried bread that we call “Buns” using a yeast-free technique to raise dough – a combination of mashed bananas and buttermilk. This reflects on the fact that we as Konkanis have adopted the word “variety” in everything we do including the food we eat from very early on in our way of living.

Religion has been one of the main influencing factors on Konkani cuisine and is something that cannot be overlooked. On ‘holy’ and ‘auspicious’ days, staples like par-boiled rice, onions, garlic and tomatoes are forbidden. Vegetables that are termed “English”, to name a few French beans, cauliflower, peppers, cabbage are refrained from as the food prepared is first offered to the presiding deity. Further, separate utensils are used for cooking and serving on ‘holy’ days and for the rest of the other days. Locally grown yams, tubers, pumpkins and squashes are paired with lentils and coconut to prepare an entirely “Saatwik” meal with white rice. This certainly brings out the uniqueness of our cooking especially around vegetables and grains as many dishes come in two or more versions – one for the holy days and one for the remaining times of the year.

In the last couple of decades or so, we as Konkanis have learnt to incorporate various styles of cooking into our kitchens, yet we continue to consume large quantities of the old traditional foods. We continue to endorse foods that have sustained our past generations for eons in spite the modern foods of material comfort.

Konkanis today, are in a sense, inadvertently cosmopolitan eaters owing to the fact that we reside all across the globe, yet the love for our food is so deep that a simple meal of rice and dalitoy is always welcome and looked forward to by a Konkani anywhere in the world. The soul of our cuisine is still the foods with which we have grown up and still has an unswerving connection – in the dishes that have an authentic Konkani trademark on it – the Dalitoy, the upkaris, the saghles, the sukkhes and the randhayis.

Just as our language, our cuisine forms an integral part of our culture and traditions. We as the Konkani people need to understand our past, cherish it in the present and preserve it for the future. This article is an effort to throw light on the Konkani cuisine- An introductory attempt to preserve and highlight the overall breadth and wealth of our cooking to the present generation and many more to come.

© Eskay (Article & Image)

Eskay - Author Introduction

Eskay, will be penning a few articles for the 'SaveMyLanguage' project. The articles pertain to Konkani cuisine.

A Mangalore-born Konkani, Eskay cultivated her passion for the traditional flavors of Konkani cooking very early on from the family kitchen.

A food blogger based out of Texas, Eskay shares family recipes and a multitude of various others through “A Bon Vivant’s Chow Chronicles” (

Thursday, 8 May 2008






1.1. Gaud Saraswat Brahmins: Their Origin and migration
1.2. Tutelary Deities' (Kul-devata)



3.1. Migration of Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins to Goa
3.2. Tilling of the land in Goa


4.1. What is Gotra?
4.2. Gotras of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins
4.3. Tutelary Deities (Kul-Devata)and Gotra
4.4. Vatsa Gotrians among the Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins in Goa





The Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins have been a full fledged social system known to be in existence since last 5000 years in Goa.



The term Saraswat has been synonymous with the title 'Brahmin'. Goddess Saraswati is the tutelary mother of Saraswats, Lord Brahma being their tutelary father. Saraswats are Brahmins by virtue of which they are intellectuals. The roots of Saraswat Brahmins go up to times of Bhrugu Rushi, the great Sage of Aryans and father of Chyawan Rushi, Dwaadash Rushi Bhargava and Shukra Rushi. Dadhichee was a youngest son of Chyawan Rushi. The two other sons were Aprwaan Rushi and Pramati Rushi. Dadhichee son was Saraswat Rishi. Saraswat Rishi was the first ancestor of the Saraswat Brahmins.

Aprwaan > Ourwa > Ruchik > Jamadagni are branches of the tree, that began from Bhrugu Rishi.

Bhargava Parashuram was the fifth son of Jamadagni Rushi (other four being Rumnnwaan, Sushenn, Vasu and Vishwaavasu). This family tree explains the reason, as why Bhargava Parashuram chose only the Saraswat Brahmins and brought them to the reclaimed land of then Konkan-Goa.

Painting showing Lord Parshuram,
an avatar of Lord Vishnu, asking Lord Varuna the 'God of the waters' to recede, to make land for the Konkani people i.e. The Saraswat Brahmins

Image © Shri D R Shenoy, available via GNU Free Documentation License

H. A. Rose, on his "A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province" has summarized the variety of families and tribes of Vedic origin at the time. The Jaitly, or Jetley family is one of the five families that constitute the "Panjzati." The late 19th Century book by Jogendra N. Bhattacharya, "Hindu Castes and Sects" also gives the historical details of this Brahmin family.The "Panjatias" are the highest order of Brahmins in the Punjab. The other families being: Mohle, Jhingan, Trikha and Kumaria. The "Panjzati" were also known as the purohits (chief Brahmins and royal courtiers) of the Dhaighar Khatris and have had very close relations with the Khatris of the Punjab for many millennia. Rose points out the story of Parashurama destroying the Kshatriyas of the world, when a pregnant woman of the caste took refuge with a Saraswat. When the child was born, the Saraswat invested the knowledge of the Vedas in him. The boy married 18 Kshatriya girls and his sons took the names of the various rishis and founded the lineage of the Khatris. It was this that led to the foundation, supposedly, of the Sarawats being the purohits of the ancient Khatris.


These ancestors of Saraswat Brahmins had accepted some of the SHAKTI deities as their KUL-DEVATA. One should remember that there is coherent difference between adoptions of the term 'deities' and 'tutelary deities' (KUL-DEVATA). A person or his family may have deity as per their inclination, convenience, and change in region etc. Sometimes, servants, protégés, refugees, appellants, mistresses, courtesans attached to the temples of their employers, worship 'tutelary deity' of their masters. But, that does not entitle them to inherit 'tutelary deity' of their masters to become member of the masters' families or their temples. 'Tutelary deity' cannot be changed for it has descended from the 'kul-purush' (the first ancestor) of a kinship, which had surrendered his life and lives his posterity to a particular deity. The tutelary deity is of the particular kinsmen. All these high caste and hard core Brahmins won't leave their tutelary deities and migrate. Later, during the 16th century, at the time of their exodus from Goa during the Catholic forceful conversions, from the Cortali and Keloshi to Antruz (Ponda praant), they took their tutelary deities first. They had brought their tutelary deities (KUL-DEVATA) from Trihotra. Names of the deities were Mangesh, Maha-Deva, Maha-Lakshmi, Mahalasa, Shanta-Durga, Nagesh and Sapt-Koteshwar.

Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins, traditionally, do not construct a temple of their own ancestors and worship them, unless he happens to be the KUL-PURUSH. None of them are God and they would consider it blasphemous to say so. That is the main reason for which the Saraswat Brahmins do not worship Bhargava Parashuram. The Saraswats termed Friday (the sixth day of a week) as 'Bhruguwaar' in the beginning, to commemorate their roots to Bhrugu Rishi. Dadhichee was a sanctified ascetic. After his martyrdom in the name of gods, the vicinity of Saraswati River faced a great deal of famine consecutively for twelve years. Even, the rivers viz. Shatadru (Sutlej) and Vyaas-Ganga (Beas) were dried up because of the dreaded famine. Consequently all, except Saraswat Brahmins left the place, known as BRAHMAA-VARTA (the location comprising of present AMBAALAA, KURUKSHETRA, JIND and HISSAR, which is towards the north-east of DELHI). This was known as SARASWAT DESH. All the Saraswats approached Lord Shiva for their survival. He told them that since he is the master of destruction, they could approach only Lord Vishnu, who was the master of balancing the life on the earth. These Brahmins were known as Saraswat, because after they descended from Kashmir, they settled down on the banks a river namely Saraswati. The area was from the source of Saraswati River to 'Binshan Teerth'.

The Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins had to face all these upheavals in course of time. They approached Lord Vishnu. He told them that he would remain in their flesh and brain in the form of fish and would save the Saraswats from extinction, as He had saved mankind during his Matsyaawataar (the first incarnation of the Lord in form of Fish). He then, assured them that He, in the form of Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, would save them from all the wicked tyrants. Saraswati River is known as 'Naditamaa'. She could produce the staple food, as much wanted by the Saraswat Brahmins. Thus, the Saraswat Brahmins opted for fish, which was only the staple food during the course of famine and there after. This is sufficient to say that the Saraswat Brahmin knew sea-faring and fishing. They, thus, preserved their identity. The Saraswat Brahmins are brilliant in learning, if compared to the rest; it is because of their choice for fish, which is clinically proved today as a ground reality. After the famine was over, sixty thousand, among the departed, Brahmins returned to BRAHMAA-VARTA fold. They had forgotten the Brahmanistic excellence during the search for food and shelter in the wilderness. Also, in the meanwhile, elderly people had expired. The Saraswat Brahmins taught the youngsters everything, which is required for their day-today livelihood. Such learning is known as the Vedanta-paatth or the Saraswat Paatth. Later on, even Swami Adi Shankaracharya, the pontiff of Vedic Indian traditional society accepted Swami of Saraswat community, as his Guru and then took lessons from him.

Bhargava Parashuram also chose the Saraswat Brahmins from SHRAAWASTI NAGAR of north Koshal Pradesh (South Bengal), which was also known as GAUD. Hence the Brahmins from that region were also known as the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. Gaud was known for rich heritage. The Saraswat Brahmins, who have passion for literature. They are also well known for their sharp memory. They are non-violent too.

The shat karmas or six fold acts enjoined on the Saraswat Brahmins are as follows:

1) Yajna or performing sacrifices by officiating as priests.
2) Yajna or causing the performance of the sacrifice by being the financier or the yajaman (These sacrifices were performed for the spiritual benefit of the whole human society).
3) Adhyayana or engaging oneself in academic pursuits.
4) Adhyapana or teaching.
5) Daana or giving gifts.
6) Prateegraha or accepting gifts.

The gift given, however small, must be accepted with all humility (In Marathi the priestly profession is called 'bhikshuki'). The Saraswats, therefore, also known as 'Bhatt' and 'Dikshit'. They were also known as 'Vaidya', since they ran an Ayurvedic medical clinic, in the name of Chyawan Rushi. In the course of time, they accepted the people coming from other regions, in search of shelter. They were allowed to shoulder the responsibilities of other work.


The lush green long land-strip on the western coast of India, from Vassai in the north to down south Tiruvanatpuram, is known as Parashuram Kshetra. Later on, perhaps in attempt of wiping out the breathtaking work of Bhargava Parashuram by the vested interests, it was re-named as KONKAN. It was named after KUNDALIKA River. It was divided among seven parts, because of which, the strip was known as SAPTA-KONKAN. An Indian epic Mahabharata refers the land Goparashtra or Govarashtra which means a nation of cowherds. Gopakapuri or Gopakapattanam were used in some ancient Sanskrit scriptures. These names were also mentioned in other sacred Hindoo mythological writings viz. the Harivamsha and the [[Skanda Purana]]. [[Goa]] is also known as Gomanchala. Gove, Govapuri, Gopakpattan, Gomantak and Gomant are some other names that the region is referred to in certain inscriptions and texts such as the Puranas.

These references make it very clear that the Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins had brought herds of cows, while they migrated to the region of Goa.

Goa, which is part of southern Konkan, is also known as 'APARANT'. The land from Brahmpattannam in northern Gujarat to down south Gokarnn was known as Aparant. Aparant means the last part of territory in the west. Besides Aparant, Gomant, Govarashtra, Goparastra, Gopakpuri, Gopakapattana, Gove are the other names for this territory, the last four being the names of its capital.

The entire strip in Konkan, as has been believed since ages by the Sanskrit scholars and laity, is the creation of Bhargava Parashuram. He was so brave and benevolent, though he was a Shaivite; he was known to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Noted historian Kanhayyaalaal Munshi historian dates about the existence of Bhargava Parashuram during the period of 5000 B.C. or before that. He, after he committed an act of annihilating almost all the tyrant Kshatriya dynasties in the land occupied by the Aryans, was penalized by the then high powered sacerdots. He was requested to leave the land for good since Brahmins are expected to engage themselves in shat-karmas or six-fold duties. For his stay, Bhargava Parashuram did land reclamation on the western coast of India and created a new society on it. While the reclaimed land is known today as Konkan or and the society he created is of Saraswat Brahmins.

According to Skanda-Puranna (Sahyadri Khanda, Uttarardha 1-3), the Brahmins those lived in the North of the Vindhyas were known as Gaud Brahmins and those from the South the Dravidas. Each group was divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement. The five (Panch) Gaud Brahmin groups were: the Saraswats (from the banks of the Saraswati River), Kaanyakubja (from Kanauj), Goudas (from the banks of the South Ganga or Bengal), Utkala (from Orissa) and the Maithili's (from Mithila in Bihar). The five (Panch) Dravida groups were: the Maharashtras, Andhras, Dravidas (from Tamilnadu), Karnata (from Karnataka) and the Gurjaras (from Gujarat). Shri. Campbell, the editor of Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency says: "This legend is probably confirmed by the fact especially in Goa, Shennavi like Bengalis, freely rub their heads with oil, also like them are fond of rice gruel, pej and fish. The honorific 'Bab' as in Purushottam Bab is perhaps corruption of Babu in Bengali. Their broad pronunciation is also like that Bengalis." (Vol. X, p. 116). All the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins from the Smaarta sect and some from the Vaishnnav sect are identified with prefix with 'Shennavi'. They were known as 'Shohanne Brahmins' meaning SANCTIFIED, sacred people. (This reference is found in Kalidasa's 'Abhijnan Shakuntalam'). Shri. Ganesh Ramchandra Sharma in his book 'Saraswat-Bhushan' (p.71) says that Bhargava Parashuram had brought 96 families (66 among them were settled in Salcete and 30 in the Tiswadi region.) Members of the 96 families from the ten gotras are known as 'Shennavi'.

They, in course of time spread all over the north India or ARYAAWARt, as it was commonly known then. All of them were collectively known as 'Panch-Gaud Brahmins', because they have been inhabitants of five holy places, viz. Utkala, Kaanyakubja, Gaud, Maithili and Saraswat. Necessary references in respect of these names are available in the 'Skanda-Puranna (Sahyadri Khanda, Uttarardha 1-3). SHATAPATH BRAHMANNA speaks about the spreading of these Brahmins from Saraswati river towards a place in Videha (upper Bihar) namely 'Tira-Bhukti' (Trihotra).


3.1. Migration of Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins to Goa:

Bhargava Parashuram brought sixty-six families from ten scholarly kinsmen (DASHA-GOTRI SARASWAT BRAHMINS) from the then holy place namely TRIHOTRA for purification of this reclaimed land. They were Atri, Kaashyap, Kaundinnya, Kaushik (Kamsa), Gautama, Jamadagnya, Bharadwaaj, Vatsa, Vasishtth, and Vishwamitra. After the fire-sacrifice etc. ('SHRADDHA-YAJNA' and 'BHOJAN') for purification of land was over, Bhargava Parashuram initially distributed the land among eight "AGRAHAAR". Agrahaar means the lands assigned to Brahmins. These Agrahaar set the pace for agriculture and development in the area.

The lands were named as follows:
Kushsthali (Cortali)
Kardali (Keloshi) and
Matthagrama (Madgaon)

Their settlement is known as Sasashtee (Sanskrut - Shat-Shashti>Sashti> Salcete). In a book titled 'SARASWATS IN GOA AND BEYOND' (1998), it is said that with their help Bhargava Parashuram performed an Ashwameda Yajna at Harmal (Arambol) in present Pednem praant. A second batch of thirty Saraswat Brahmins followed. They belonged to Angirasa, Garghya, Dhananjaya, Nairdhruva, Mudgala, Vainnya, Shandilya, Samkhyana, Sankha-Pingala-Kausta (Kamsa), Harsha and Hariha gotras.

They were absorbed as per their nearness to their tutelary deities. Reasons for arrival of the second batch of thirty Saraswat Brahmins could be as follows:
(i). Population of the land might have increased.
(ii). Since most of them had to maintain the land from barbarism, aggression, tilling of land, indulge in creating unavoidable infrastructure required for day-to-day requirements, quite a few of them had difficulties to carry on religious rituals viz. 'archana' (homage to be paid to gods), 'pujan' (adoring deities), 'praarthanaa' (prayers), 'hawan' (oblation by auspicious fire to a deity).
(iii).They also needed protection from own people and outsiders, for all these rituals. The Brahmins in the second batch took over the responsibility expected from a religious society.

3.2. Tilling of the land in Goa:

Agrahaar (settlements) were founded to help the Brahmins to engage themselves in these six-fold duties by donating land grants to them and providing them houses. These Agrahaar were separate Brahmin settlement villages or streets of Brahmins called brahmapuris in existing villages or towns. Such Agrahaar were found all over the country, and the lands granted were 'sarvamanya' free from the commitment of revenue payment, or were subjected to a quit-rent or nominal revenue. Goa also had a number of such Agrahaar. The Brahmins who received such grants were called mahajans. Salgaon was an Agrahaar, the name derived from Shalagrama, Marcella or Mashel too, the name being derived from the word Mahashala, Madgaon also, being derived from the word Matthagrama, and math being an institution where the teacher and the taught stayed together. Agarvada, Karmalli-Brahma (there is a Karmalli Budruk to distinguish it from this nearby place), Maisal, (Mahashala), Odshel (Hodil Shala), Salavali, Saleli, Sal etc. are some names which clearly indicate their being centres of learning or Agrahaar. Stone epigraphs announcing the founding of such Agrahaar in Goa have been destroyed as most of these inscriptions were in the premises of ancient temples, which were also destroyed on a large scale. > The scholarly Brahmins invited to settle down in these Agrahaar were expected to be well-versed in Chaturdasha Vidyas or 14 branches of learning including the four Vedas. Founding of an Agrahaar, like the building of a temple or excavating of a tank, was considered as an act of bringing one merit or punnya.

Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins saw that the Gram-Saumstha (which was later known as Communidade, during the Portuguese reign) and temples formed economic and cultural impetus for social upbringing and peace in day to day life. Noted intellectual from Goa Shri. Chandrakant Keni says: "Portuguese tried to pervert the former (Gram-Saumstha) and destroy the latter (temples). In the process, the Gram-Saumstha lost their basic character and utility and became a tool in the hands of rulers."



[[[Gotra]]] means kinship among the Saraswat Brahmins. Scriptures say that children of a Brahmin mean 'Gotra'. The first two letters in the word i. e. 'go' means a cow and land; and the last three letters i.e. 'tra' means 'a protector'. Hence the term 'gotra' means the protectors of the Saraswat Brahmin-kinship from all tyrants and impurity on a land full of cowherds. This scheme tells the story of the Saraswat Brahmins, who were farmers and cow-herdsman as well. Besides, the Saraswat Brahmins would perform all functions. Viz. the shatt or six karmas enjoined on the Brahmins are as follows The gotra system was instituted for the purposes of identifying one's ancestors and pay respects during various invocations and other rituals to honor their fathers, fore-fathers and so on, up to their respective Rushi. This was later extended to other aspects of the Brahmin life, such as marriage and temple worship. Marriage is not allowed within the same gotra in order to avoid impure matrimony. This thinking is in tune with the modern day genetic paradigms of hybrid vigor. This scheme of gotra forbids of having sexual alliance within the kinship for genetic reasons. It also encompasses a vast genetic upbringing among the Saraswat Brahmins. The term of GOTRA has been bane of existence of the SARASWAT BRAHMINS. Their presence in Goa is itself based on this concept. The gotra system is part of a system of classification or identification of various Brahmin families in ancient times. The gotra classification took form probably sometime during the Yajurveda period, after the Rig Veda period. It is believed that the gotras (now account to a total of 49) started to consolidate sometime around 10-8 Century B.C.


Herein, glimpses can be seen about the structure of the GOTRAS OF GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS.The present day gotra classification is created from a core of 8 rushis (The Sapta rushis + Agastya). The Seven rushis are Atri, Kaashyap, Gautama, Bharadwaaj, Jamadagni (Vatsa), Vasishtth (Kaundinya), Vishwamitra (Kaushik); Seven Rushis (Saptarshi) are recognized as the mind born sons of the creator Brahma. If any Saraswat Brahmin fails to recollect the name of his gotra, then the tradition allows him to embrace a 'Bharadwaaj' gotra. All present day Brahmin communities are said to be descendants of these eight Rushis. The gotras of GSBs is believed to be originated from the ten Rushis viz. ATRI, KAASHYAP, KAUNDINYA, KAUSHIK, GAUTAMA, JAMADAGNYA, BHARADWAAJ, VATSA, VASISHTTH, and VISHWAMITRA (KAMSHI)

Importance of Gotras The lines of descent from the major rushis are originally divided into Gannas [sub divisions] and each Ganna is further divided into families. However, subsequently the term gotra is frequently applied to the Gannas and to the families within the Gannas interchangeably. These Rushis belonged to different sects like Shakta, Shaiva and Vaishnnav and had different deities for worship. Such deities came to be known as the Kul-devata (tutelary deities). GOTRAS, SURNAMES AND KUL-DEVATA The gotra is also interlinked with the surnames and the Kul-devata. An illustrative list is given below: Bhargava Parashuram brought sixty-six families from ten scholarly kinsmen (DASHA-GOTRI SARASWAT BRAHMINS) from the then holy place namely TRIHOTRA for purification of this reclaimed land. They were Atri, Kaashyap, Kaundinnya, Kaushik (Kaunsa), Gautama, Jamadagnya, Bharadwaaj, Vatsa, Vasishtth, and Vishwamitra. Bhargava Parashuram also chose thirty Saraswat Brahmins from SHRAAWASTI NAGAR of north Koshal Pradesh (South Bengal), which was also known as GAUD. Hence the Brahmins from that region were also known as the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins. Gaud was known for rich heritage. The Saraswat Brahmins, who have passion for literature. They are also well known for their sharp memory. They are non-violent too. The families belonging to various gotras settled down in Goa as follows: Vatsa, Kaundinnya and Kautsa at Kushsthali (Cortali) and Kelloshi (Cavelossim), twelve families of Kirvants (families performing dignified rites) spread throughout out Salcete, ten families at Chorao (Chuddamanni), eight families at Divar (Dipavati), six families each at Lotulim and Madgaon. Except Kirvants, all others performed normal religious rituals. A second batch of thirty Saraswat Brahmins followed. They belonged to Angirasa, Garghya, Dhananjaya, Nairdhruva, Mudgala, Vainnya, Shandilya, Samkhyana, Sankha-Pingala-Kausta (Kaunsa), and Harsha and Hariha gotras. They were absorbed as per their nearness to their tutelary deities. The families belonging to various gotras settled down in Goa as follows: Vatsa, Kaundinnya and Kautsa at Kushsthali (Cortali), twelve families of Kirvants (families performing dignified rites) spread throughout out Salcete, ten families at Chorao (Chuddamanni), eight families at Divar (Dipavati), six families each at Lotulim and Madgaon. Except Kirvants, all others performed religious rituals.


Every Gaudd Saraswat Brahmin worships his TUTELARY DEITIES' (KUL-DEVATA). Those have been worshipped in well structured temples. Following is a list of such TUTELARY DEITIES' (KUL-DEVATA) in view of their respective Gotra:

SHRI. MAANGUIRISH GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS: The Mangesh Linga is said to have been consecrated on the mountain of Mangireesh (Mongir) on the banks of river Bhagirathi by Lord Brahma , from where the Saraswat Brahmins brought it to Trihotrapuri in Bihar. They carried the linga to Gomantaka and settled at Mathagrama, the present-day Madgoa, establishing their most sacred and ancient temple of Mangesh on the banks of the river Gomati or Zuari as it is called today. Lord Mangesh is worshipped here in the shape of a Shiva linga. According to the legends Lord Shiva had manifested in to a tiger to scare Parvati. Paravati who was paranoid at the sight of the tiger went in search of Lord Shiva. Parvati was supposed to say "Trahiman Gireesh" but instead out of nervousness she said: "Trahimangeesh"VATSA GOTRA: - Borkaar (They are 'Waangadd'* of Shri. Maanguirish but Mahajans of Shri Devi Shanta-Durga), Kavyalapur), Walawalkar, Dhumay, Kanttack (Ttaanckee, Sallkar, Ussagaonkaar, Kaakoddkaar), Kenddaary, Kenckaray (Laawannis, Aagashikar, Addwalpaalkaar, Toarsekaar Priollkar, Koanekaar, Kawade, Gunjikaar, Khoat, Phaddnis, Ambiye, Tinaikaar, Telang (Dewan-halli), Dalvi, Naik-Hingatay, Naik-Sanzguiri Netraawallikaar, Brahmay (Shirpurkaar), Bhissay (Aatthawannkaar, Boanddasay, Pattkaar, Bhaatikaar), Naik-Kollambay (Karandday), Laad (Dubhaashee, Saangaddekaar), Shinganna

GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS : KAUNDINYA GOTRA: - Bhaandaary (Pataawarkaar, Satyawant Bhaandaary), Dalvi, (Aarass, Shinganna Dalvi, Shingabaall, Raajaadhyaksha Dalvi, Dhaayamoadde, Gaddnnees, Mannerkaar, Naaddkarnnee, Raangannekaar, Mayenkaar, Gudde-Manddurkaar, Nagarcenkar, Saalelkaar, Pillagaonkaar, Paawasay, Deshapaande, Ussgaokaar, Mullagaonkaar, Karnnick, Deshakullakarnni), Paalekaar, Paalekaar (Aambaye, Koallmulle, Nerlikaar, Kaayasulakar, Bastoaddkaar), Kaissaray (Kesari), Waagalle (Waagh, Vaishnnav, Majaallkar, Aursekaar, Aajagaonkaar), Bhendde (Paaganis),

SHRI DEVI SHANTA-DURGA (Kavyalapur) GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS : KAUSHIK GOTRA: - Bhaandaary (Bhandarkar, Chinnarkaar), Rege (Mantri, Bakshi, Kulkarni, Assolddekaar, Kuddchaddkaar, Kotthambkaar, Talwaddkaar, Malkarnekaar, Shirwaikaar, Shelddekaar, Hoddaarkaar, Balldikaar, Saanvorddekaar, Saallaawalikaar, Surlakaar,, Saankorddekar, Kholkaar, Zhannkaar), Saakhardaandday (Naaringakaar), Dhounday, Raamaanni (Raamaayanni, Dessai), Mahaale (Shirodkar), Harapati (Pissurlenkaar), Vaidya (Hawaaldaar-Sthallekaar, Koppikkaar), Sukhatthankaar (Ghanttkar, Surlakaar, Saankhallee, Kuvelkaar, Kaaraapurkaar, Kaansaarkoddkaar, Nilkundkaar), Shridharpai (Punerkar), Shinsaannee (Kunddaikaar), Gaayatondday

VATSA GOTRA: Borkaar (Varde, Shennavi), Waalaawalikaar, Bharanne, Jaakhee, Sabanis, Aachamani, Khaasanis, Ballanawallikaar). They are 'Waangadd'* of Shri. Maanguirish but Mahajans of Shri Devi Shanta-Durga.

GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS: BHARADWAAJ GOTRA: Pai Paanandikaar, Gangollikaar, Kalyaannkaar

SHRI. MAHALASA NARAYANI: Bharadwaaj Gotra - Pai, Atri Gotra - Pai, Kaushik Gotra - Pai, Gaargya Gotra - Shenoy, Gaargya Gotra - Kamat, Gaargya Gotra - Bhat, Kaushik Gotra - Bhakta, Atri Gotra - Bhat

SHRI. RAMNATH-SANTERI-KAMAKSHI: Vatsa Gotra - Shenoy, Vatsa Gotra - Baliga, Kaundinnya Gotra - Shenoy, Kaundinnya Gotra - Nayak, Kaundinnya Gotra - Pai, Kaundinnya Gotra - Bhat, Vatsa Gotra - Bhat, Kaundinnya Gotra - Kini

SHRI. DAMODAR MAHA-LAKSHMI and SHRI. DAMODAR ARYAADURGA: Kaushik Gotra - Prabhu, Kaushik Gotra - Kamat, Kaashyap Gotra - Hegde, Kaashyap Gotra - Baliga

SHRI. NAGESH MAHA-LAKSHMI: Bharadwaaj Gotra - Prabhu, Vatsa Gotra - Mallya, Kaushik Gotra - Nayak


SHRI. DEVAKI-KRISHNA RAVALNATH: Atri Gotra - Prabhu, Kashyapa Gotra - Prabhu

SHRI. NARSIMHA SHANTADURGA-VIJAYADURGA: Shankha Pingala Kounsa Gotra - Nayak, Shankha Pingala Kounsa Gotra - Padiyar, Shankha Pingala Kounsa Gotra - Bhandarakar

SHRI. MAHAAMAAYA: Kondinya Gotra - Kamath

'Waangadd' means the kinsmen of the GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS, who shouldered their tutelary deities to safe places at the time of religious onslaught by the Catholic Orders during the 16th century Portuguese regime in Goa. An eminent historian late Vinayak Narayan Shennavi Dhumay has done in depth research on the kinship and their nearness to their tutelary deities.


It has already been mentioned that the term SARASWAT has been synonymous with the title 'Brahmin'. Goddess Saraswati is the tutelary mother of Saraswats, Lord Brahma being their tutelary father. Lord Brahma approved all the Saraswat Brahmins to adopt their kinship based on the lineage with great sages. Accordingly, the gotras of GSBs is believed to be originated from the Rushis viz. ATRI, KAASHYAP, KAUNDINYA, KAUSHIK, GAUTAMA, JAMADAGNYA, BHARADWAAJ, VASISHTTH, and VISHWAMITRA (KAMSHI). But, Lord Brahma adopted some among them and called them as VATSA. Vatsa means a babe/ babes. Traditionally, it is also believed that the Vatsa Gotra is belongs to Jamadagni Rishi lineage. Bhargava Parashuram was the fifth son of Jamadagni Rushi (other four being Rumnnwaan, Sushenn, Vasu and Vishwaavasu). So, it is possible that because of their in borne virtues, Sage Jamadagni might have adopted Saraswat Brahmins belonging to the Vatsa Gotra. Bhargava Parashuram brought sixty-six families from ten scholarly kinsmen (DASHA-GOTRI SARASWAT BRAHMINS) from the then holy place namely TRIHOTRA for purification of the reclaimed land of Konkan. They were Atri, Kaashyap, Kaundinya, Kaushik (Kaunsa), Gautama, Jamadagnya, Bharadwaaj, Vatsa, Vasishtth, and Vishwamitra. So, Vatsa gotra was already therein as one among the ten gotras.

No wonder, in course of time, these babes were more and more pampered. Pampering by the tutelary mother Saraswati and tutelary father Lord Brahma made them snob. By nature all the Vatsa gotrians are stinking snob. They are in-borne egocentric and would prefer a fire-test to prove own self-respect. But their snobbish attitude and ego has been positive and constructive. So also, they are known for their sense of superiority in comprehending ability and liberal (rather non-conservative) in approach. They are bold, modern in their approach. Since at core they are human beings, they believe in welfare of all, irrespective of any reservations. In course of time, all of them were collectively known as of a gotra namely Vatsa. All of them followed 'Paurohitya' (acts of sacerdots, priesthood). Vatsa-Kaannva, Vatsapri-Bhaalndan and Vatsa-Agneya are known as contributors of Rig-Veda. Vatsa-Kaannva was the son of Kaannva. He was abused by Medhyaatithee, which brought shame to the Vatsas. He underwent a fire-test and proved purity of his soul. He contributed to the eighth 'manddal' out of 10 'manddal' of Rig-Veda.

The sixth 'sukta' (incitation no. 8.6.46-48) mentions of Tirinder, who was also known as Parshwya, the king of Parshu-desh (Persia i. e. Iran). Hemadri has also made his mention. Coincidently, Hemadri belonged to Vatsa gotra. Hemadd Pandit, one of the celebrated personalities from the twelfth century and prime minister of the Deogiri Empire belonged to the Vatsa gotra. Vatsapri-Bhaalndan contributed to the ninth and tenth 'manddal' out of 10 'manddal' of Rig-Veda. The 68th sukta of the ninth and 45th and 46th sukta of the tenth 'manddal' make a mention of Pawamaan Soam and Agni. His name also surfaces in 'Panchvinsha Brahman (12.11.25) as a contributor to Sam Veda. It is known as 'Vaatspra'. His name is also referred in Taittariya Samhita (, Kaatthak Samhita (19.12), Maitraayanni Samhita (3.2.2), and Shatapath Brahman ( Vatsa-Agneya had contributed to the tenth 'manddal' of 10 of Rig-Veda, (incitation no. 10.187) eulogizing Agni. One is reminded of Vatsa-Kaannva, who too had lauded Agni.

While the 96 families of Saraswat Brahmins had already left for Konkan under the leadership of Bhargava Parashuram, others were engrossed in for several centuries, in creating own domain for farming and rearing cows so as to concentrate on their normal religious activities. This lineage was so mighty that, later on, Vatsa gotrians formed one of the sixteen powerful provinces ('Janpada') in the north India on the bank of Yamuna, during the 6th century. This land was known as Vatsabhumi. Its capital city was Kaushambi. Today it is known as Kossam, which is about thirty miles away from Prayaag. Vatsa province was very fertile one and was known for fine cotton/muslin. This province fought Kauravas, while supporting the Pandavas. After the war was over, the people of Hastinapur preferred Vatsabhumi, for asylum, considering the benevolent nature of the Vatsas. Udayan has been the well known legend of this province. Unfortunately, this province, later on, was conquered by Shishunag of Magadha Empire. Jain KALPASUTRA also has mentioned 24 teerthankar and gotras viz. Kaashyap, Gautama, Vatsa, Kautsa, Kaushik, Mandap and Vasishtth. Therein seven more sub-groups have been mentioned among the Vats in the Jain Kalpasutra viz. Vatsa, Angiya, Bhittiya, Saamlinn, Selveaa, Asthisen and Vayukrushnna. This background exhibits the salient history of Vatsa Gotrians. But, for conspicuous reasons our so called historians do not mention this chronology. They take so many references at a time, mostly, which are not so relevant to each other, and make all confusing statements without arriving at certain conclusions, if at all they are annoying their godfathers, who have been feeding borrowed viewpoints.

While N. B. Nayak mentions that all the Saraswats, who came in the Konkan land, were Vaishnnav, Anant Ramakrishna Shennavi Dhumay stresses that until the 15th century, Vaishnnavism was not known to the Saraswats. These historians also deny people their own rights. Nambudri Brahmins follow Parashuram Shaka, and these historians call it as Kollam Shaka. N. G. Chapekar denies the right of Chitpavan Brahmins of maintaining their belief of having affiliations with Parashuram. These historians will not hesitate to prove that Buddhism was the state religion of Andhra Pradesh, on the ground that a huge statue has been erected in water tank at Hyderabad during the late twentieth century, which was brought from outside India. They will also emphatically make a statement after one thousand years that the Shri Mahalasa temple at Mardol near Mangesh temple (Priol) was indeed a Buddha temple, because small idols were found on the roof top of the temple. They even do not attempt to go to the roots. Some of the students of history pass on remarks that Gaud Saraswat Brahmins do not worship Bhargava Parashuram, who had brought them down the Konkan. Some of them also mention that there are temples dedicated to Bhrugu and Bhargava Parashuram viz. Bhrugu temple (6th century) at Barouche (Bhrugu+Kutcch) and Parashuram temples at Luhaaraa and Travancore; but Saraswats have not built even one. They forgot the fact that the Saraswat Brahmins, traditionally, do not construct a temple of their own ancestors and worship them, unless he happens to be the KUL-PURUSH. None of them are God and they would consider it blasphemous to say so. That is the main reason for which the Saraswat Brahmins do not worship Bhargava Parashuram. Bhargava Parashuram brought sixty-six families from ten scholarly kinsmen (DASHA-GOTRI SARASWAT BRAHMINS) from the then holy place namely TRIHOTRA for purification of this reclaimed land. They were Atri, Kaashyap, Kaundinnya, Kaushik (Kaunsa), Gautama, Jamadagnya, Bharadwaaj, Vatsa, Vasishtth, and Vishwamitra. Bhargava Parashuram also chose thirty Saraswat Brahmins from SHRAAWASTI NAGAR of north Koshal Pradesh (South Bengal), which was also known as GAUD. Hence the Brahmins from that region were also known as the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins.

Gaud (the north Bengal) was known for rich heritage. The Saraswat Brahmins, who have passion for literature. They are also well known for their sharp memory. They are non-violent too. The families belonging to various gotras settled down in Goa as follows: Vatsa, Kaundinya and Kautsa at Kushsthali (Cortali) and Kelloshi (Cavelossim), twelve families of Kirvants (families performing dignified rites) spread throughout out Salcete, ten families at Chorao (Chuddamanni), eight families at Divar (Dipavati), six families each at Lotulim and Madgaon. Except Kirvants, all others performed normal religious rituals. It appears that the temples of Shri. Mangesh and Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga, the tutelary deities of Smaarta Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, was not constructed at Kushsthali (Cortali) and Kelloshi (Cavelossim), until then. All the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins were worshipping their tutelary deity viz. Shri. Mangesh, Shri. Shanta-Durga and others with full decorum in own residences, every day. For various reasons, the Brahmins traveled out for days together and the daily worship hampered. While they were facing such a precarious position, to their rescue came another Gaud Saraswat Brahmin, namely 'Dwija-Shreshtth' (meaning a sacerdotalist) Devasharma belonging to Vatsa gotra from Kanauj! Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma was on pilgrimage. While returning from Rameshwar to Varanasi, he halted for a while at Aghanashini River at Kushsthali. Most probably, he must have been staying with another Vatsa Gaud Saraswat Brahmin. Other GSBs also might have expressed to Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma, their woes about the intolerable break in their daily worshipping ritual for obvious reasons. Every day Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma bathed in the Aghanashini River, with all religious fervour.

While Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma had gone in the waters of the River, he saw a cow entering into the waters. She dipped in for some time and returned. Indeed, it was an amazing view! This continued for three days. On the fourth day, Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma caught the tail of the cow and followed her. After she went in the deep waters, she began flowing milk on a Shiva-lingam. Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma started eulogizing Mangesh (Shiva-Shankar) and Shanta-Durga and requested them to explain the entire incident. They told him that the name of the cow was Kapila from the heaven. He requested Shri. Mangesh (Shiva-Shankar) and Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga to remain in the vicinity. Shri. Mangesh (Shiva-Shankar) and Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga blessed him and agreed accordingly. The religious predicament of the GSBs was instantly over. Their tutelary deity was consecrated inside sanctum. In stead of worshipping in the residences, all the Saraswats began to worship Shiva and Parvati, in various appearances, with full religious decorum at one place i. e. temple. Shri. Mangesh was considered as the patron of Kushsthali and Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga of Keloshi. Thus Dwija-Shreshtth Devasharma from the Vatsa gotra fulfilled the duties of a benevolent Brahmin. The GSB Mahajans (worshippers) of Shri. Mangesh belonged to two gotras, viz. Kaundinya and Vatsa. But, the GSB Mahajans (worshippers) of Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga belonged to only one gotra, viz. Kaushik. Both of them had arrived at certain understanding, since all of them belonged to the Smaarta sect. Marriages and all prominent festivals would take place in connivance between the two groups of Mahajans. . In the sixteenth century, during the Portuguese atrocities in Goa, all the GSBs had exodus to safer locations. At that critical moment, again all the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin of Vatsa Gotra came to the rescue of tutelary deity. They carried away the tutelary deity of Mangesh in a palakhi. It was a hazardous task and consecrated the deity at present location at Priol. Since then, in token, the honour of shouldering the palakhi of Shri. Mangesh and Shri. Vitthal-Rakhumaai is being offered only to the Mahajans belonging to the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of Vatsa Gotra. The Mahajans of Shri. Mangesh, apparently due to certain misunderstanding, broke away from the Mahajans of Shri. Shanta-Durga. The Mahajans of Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga would not see a bridegroom from another sect of Vaishnnav for obvious reasons to get their daughters wedded. They remained unwedded for pretty long span of time. The Mahajans of Shri. Mangesh were not in a mood of budging. At these tense hours, came forward, none other than the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of Vatsa Gotra. Some of them were annoyed for this uncanny situation created by their fellowmen. They revolted. They rejected the honour of being a Mahajans of their tutelary deity en masse. The Mahajans of Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga gave a sigh of relief and offered them the honour of being the Mahajans of Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga. They were blessed with another title viz. 'Varde' and approved Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga as their tutelary deity. As such they are 'Waangadd'* of Shri. Mangesh and Mahajans of Shri. Shanta-Durga simultaneously. In course of time, the Mahajans of Shri. Mangesh repented, for they were in the some piquant situation. On the advice of Vatsa gotrians, the Mahajans of Shri. Devi Shanta-Durga adopted one more gotra namely Bharadwaaj for their fold. Thus, the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of Vatsa Gotra have always been on the forefronts for the well being of the oppressed. Today we find a number of them are well respected members at local as well as international level. Many of them have been honoured by the contemporary rulers with awards considering their commitment, dedication and sincerity.

The following are some of the names belonging to the Vatsa gotra of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins fold: Borkaar (Varde, Shennavi), Waalaawalikaar, Bharanne, Jaakhee, Sabanis, Aachamani, Khaasanis, Ballanawallikaar), Varde-Borkaar-Tadkodkaar. (They are 'Waangadd'* of Shri. Maanguirish but Mahajans of Shri Devi Shanta-Durga), Kavyalapur), Walawalkar, Dhumay, Kanttack (Ttaanckee, Sallkar, Ussagaonkaar, Kaakoddkaar), Kenddaary, Kenckaray (Laawannis, Aagashikar, Addwalpaalkaar, Toarsekaar Priollkar, Koanekaar, Kawade, Gunjikaar, Khoat, Phaddnis, Ambiye, Tinaikaar, Telang (Dewan-halli), Dalvi, Naik-Hingatay, Naik-Sanzguiri Netraawallikaar, Brahmay (Shirpurkaar), Bhissay (Aatthawannkaar, Boanddasay, Pattkaar, Bhaatikaar), Naik-Kollambay (Karandday), Laad (Dubhaashee, Saangaddekaar), Shinganna, Shenoy, Baliga, Mallya Bhat.

'Waangadd' means the kinsmen of the GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS, who shouldered their tutelary deities to safe places at the time of religious onslaught by the Catholic Orders during the 16th century Portuguese regime in Goa One need not forget that, India has never written (re-written) her history since ages, in the sense, that is being considered today. In fact, the entire concept of history writing in India is a borrowed viewpoint. In reality, history can be traceable through the scriptures and other relevant literature. Historicity has to be accepted on the basis of this literature. Today, unfortunately, the entire history of India, which can be viewed through literature, is considered as a myth, for various reasons and vested interests. But, curiously enough, while most of the so called historians are bent upon the rejecting the history of Saraswat Brahmins, and propounding own theories, for some or other vested interests, most of the Saraswat Brahmin historians have been apologetic for the entire historical background. They, clandestinely, appear to be killers of their own species, just as a wooden handle of an axe cuts off a tree! It is understandable, when, all the envious, lazy, hater of virtues, stand against an upright and progressive society by spreading various rumours. But, it is unfortunate, when ignorance and changing criterion reject the reality. All the Christians stick to their Bible (specifically to the 'The New Testament') and Mohammedans do not even imagine getting away from Quran. All the Saraswat Brahmins should make determination of sticking to their own history, and need not make an attempt to join hands with those people, who are bent on rejecting the history of Saraswat Brahmins. Earlier they were skeptic about the very existence of Saraswati River. Fortunately, the existence of Saraswati River has been proved by the Americans in the late nineties of the twentieth century. We must believe in the historicity based on the literature, which is available since thousands of years. This concept is not new for us. This has been the practice among all the religious communities in the world. So far we have come to know about Saraswati River, Ram Setu, and Dwaaraka. More and more instances will come on the fore, which will substantiate the real appearance of the so called myths. Shri. Shankar Pandurang Pandit and Sir Ramakrishna Bhandarkar the great scholars of eighteenth and nineteenth century approved this historical fact. It is an obvious fact that when a civilized and cultured society settles down in a particular locality, then people, the transgressors, who are desirous of employment, also start pouring into the rich settlements from remote places. They are migrants but transgressors. Initially, these transgressors exhibit their virtues with all humbleness, modesty, honesty etc. because they are in need of bread and butter. In course of time, a few among these people, mostly offspring and their spouses, intentionally grow a tendency of obstinacy, arrogance and later on they wait for quarrels. People, who are despised by own society among the settlers, for their unwarranted opposition for opposition sake attitude or for their 'attention-seeker' behavior, also begin joining hands with the people brewing nuisance. They engage in various theories and make successful or unsuccessful attempts in infusing violence and confusing history.





BRAHMIN:a member of Hindoo priestly class
DASHA-GOTRI SARASWAT BRAHMINS: Atri, Kaashyap, Kaundinya, Kaushik (Kaunsa), Gautama, Jamadagnya, Bharadwaaj, Vatsa, Vasishtth, and Vishwamitra.
GSB MAHAJANS: worshippers of tutelary deities in the temples of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins
GOTRA:a kinship among the Saraswat Brahmins
GAUD:SHRAAWASTI NAGAR of north Koshal Pradesh (South Bengal)
KUL-DEVATA:tutelary deities among the Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins
SARASWATs: The Brahmins, who descended from Kashmir and settled down on the banks a river namely Saraswati.
WAANGADD:the kinsmen of the GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS, who shouldered their tutelary deities to safe places at the time of religious onslaught by the Catholic Orders during the 16th century Portuguese regime in Goa.


1. Campbell, the editor of Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency (Vol. X, p. 116)
2. Cochin Tribes and Castes, L. K. Anant Krishna Iyer, Government of Cochin, 1912
3. Cabra de Andrea Corsali, Hobson Jobson, London, 1903
4. Dhumay, Vinayak Narayan Shennavi., Deobhumi Gomantak, Goa, 1987
5. Existence of Saraswati River: Evidences from Remote Sensing and GIS: LANDSAT imagery, Digital enhancement studies of IRS-1C data (1995), LISS-III data of IRS-1C satellite, NRSA used Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS- P3) Wide Field Sensor (WiFS) data, WiFS and SIR-C/X-SAR images,
6. Kalidasa's 'Abhijnan Shakuntalam')
7. Munshi, Kanhayyaalaal, a noted historian dates about the existence of Bhargava Parashuram during the period of 5000 B.C.
8. Ramani Pandurang shennavi, Shri Shantadurga Deosthan, Goa, 1991
9. Saraswats in Kanara, Kanara Gazetteer, 1883
10. Sharma, Ganesh Ramchandra., 'Saraswat-Bhushan'
11. Keni, Chandrakant., Saraswats in Goa and Beyond, Goa, 1998
12. Skanda-Puranna (Sahyadri Khanda, Uttarardha 1-3), 13. Taittariya Samhita (, Kaatthak Samhita (19.12), Maitraayanni Samhita (3.2.2), and Shatapath Brahman (

This article should help the students of history to take a note of remote past and the Gaudd Saraswat Brahmins in Goa. One should also take a note that these Brahmins have never ruled India but were instrumental in forming the progressive fate of Indians, mostly in all spheres of life.

© Dr S M Tadkodkar

Saturday, 3 May 2008


It is claimed that 25 languages are being annihilated every year for obvious reasons. (Could the UNESCO Report be an authentic one?) Indian languages have become victims of an onslaught invasion of English (language) since the day they have come in its contact.

They have already lost their own grandeur, luster and are presently on the verge of losing their identity.

All are requested to make an attempt of having an entourage into any dictionary of Indian words of a particular language. Indeed everyone will explore flora and fauna of Indian lingua franca. Indian languages have bloomed in the company of their mother, viz. Sanskrit. Sanskrit has its own Art (and Science) of Poetics. It has its own Science of Rhetoric i.e. Alankaar Shastra.

Sanskrit is being patronized at university level, outside India. While the learning-teaching process in Sanskrit has come to a screeching halt in almost all the institutions in India, the Indian languages have lost the reservoir of Alankàr Shàstra. They have, clandestinely, been adopting the Western Poetics. The new generation wonders about, whether they have any roots in the Indian soil.

Presently, Indian languages have been boasting about having their own grammar. Indeed, they have their own grammar. But, how much is their own grammar and how much has been borrowed from English?

Why has English been taking toll from the Indian languages? This is not only the pertinent question to be asked.

Instead, "Why are you surrendering, unconditionally, to the global icon in the ocean of languages?" is the question that should be raised first.

India has been taking pride of shutting schools in their vernacular languages. Why? Simply because,

"We have to compete with the West?" is the stern reply.

If asked, "How many of the countries in the West have shut down schools being run in their own native languages to gain an edge over English? If they have not shut down their schools in their own languages, then, how are they going to survive?"

No one has any answer to these questions.


I. Learning-teaching process in Sanskrit
II. The rule of 'Paras.warNa'
III. 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य)
IV. The Roman script is surging

I. Learning-teaching process in Sanskrit:

Basically, Indian languages have the following consonants (वर्ण) in the alphabetical order:

'क्' वर्ग : क्, ख्, ग्, घ्, ङ्
'च्' वर्ग : च्, छ्, ज्, झ्, ञ्
'त्' वर्ग : त्, थ्, द्, ध्, न्
'ट्' वर्ग : ट्, ठ्, ड्, ढ्, ण्
'प्' वर्ग : प्, फ्, ब्, भ्, म्

य्, र्, ल्, व्, श्, स्, ह्, ळ्, क्ष्, ज्ञ्

II. The rule of 'Paras.warNa':

Indian languages have a perfect arrangement for their nasal sounds.

As per the orthography, the nasal sounds follow the rule of 'Paras.warNa' (परस-वर्ण) except in case of the following consonants:

य्, र्, ल्, व्, श्, स्, ह्, ळ्, क्ष्, ज्ञ्

'क्'-वर्ग वर्ण (consonants) follow the nasal sounds inculcating guttural (कण्ठ्य) - 'ङ्' e. g.

'कंकण' > 'कङ्कण', 'कोंकणी' > 'कोंकणी', 'ब्यांक,' > 'ब्याङ्क', 'शृंखला' > 'शृङ्खला', 'मंगल'>'मङ्गल', 'जांघ'>जाङ्घ';

'च्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating palatal (तालव्य) - 'ञ्' e. g.

'चंचला'>'चञ्चला', 'कंचन'>'कञ्चन', 'लांछन'>'लाञ्छन', 'रंजन'>'रञ्जन, 'झंझा'>'झञ्झा';

'त्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating dental (दन्त्य) - 'न्' e. g.

'तंत्र' > 'तन्त्र', 'मंथरा' > 'मन्थरा', 'आनंद' > 'आनन्द', 'अंधार' > 'अन्धार';

'ट्' वर्ग consonant follow the nasal sounds inculcating cerebral (मूर्धन्य) - 'ण्' e. g.

'घंटा'>'घण्टा', 'थंड'>'थण्ड', 'षंढ'>'षण्ढ', 'पंढरपूर'>'पण्ढरपूर';

(please note that 'ऋ' (short vowel), 'ऋ' (long vowel), 'र्' and 'ष्' may also be included under the cerebral (मूर्धन्य) category)

'प्' वर्ग वर्ण follow the nasal sounds inculcating labial (औष्ठ्य) 'म्' e. g.

'परंपरा'>'परम्परा', 'फांपर'>फाम्पर', 'गुंफा'>'गुम्फा', 'अंबा'>'अम्बा', 'दंभ'>'दम्भ';

In view of the above

1.'अन्जीर'= 'a fig' should have been written as 'अञ्जीर'

2.'आन्ट'='an intestine' should have been written as 'आन्त' or 'आंत'

3.बाळंतेर can also be written as बाळन्तेर

1.'आम्ब्शे'=sour 'आम्ब्शे' is more appropriate word formation than -

2.'आम्शे'= sour

III. 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य):

We write 'रुख' ('Rukh') for 'a tree' (Sanskrit meaning 'Vruksha') because generally people residing in the Western Indian belt (especially Goa and Maharashtra) write 'ऋ' to pronounce cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य). The logically convincing answer behind this acceptance is very simple:

Grammarians of Indian languages have included pronunciation of the cerebral 'ru' (मूर्धन्य) in the category of the vowels of 'उ' and 'ऊ' and not in the category of vowels of 'अ' or 'इ'. Therefore the word to pronounce as 'Sanskrit' is incorrect. Indeed, it should have been pronounced as 'Sanskrut'.

Today, most of the 'progressive' people have forgotten about the rule of paras.warNa (परसवर्ण).

It was because of hegemony of the Hindi, the English language adopted the pronunciations from the former during its colonial rule. In course of time, it compelled clandestinely all the Indian languages to follow a universal rule, which was acceptable to both Hindi and English. In the bargain the pronunciation of 'ऋ' in the Indian languages has become 'ri'.

e. g. 'अम्रित= nectar of immortality

This immortality has been snatched away from the Indianness. The structure of Indian languages has been in doldrums, historical pride of having identity and integrity has been dwindling.

IV. The Roman script is surging:

In the beginning, English (and Portuguese culture) drove Indians out of the Sanskrit umbrella. Presently, it is pushing Indians away from their own Indian languages, in the name of economic development under the carpet of English languages. The fierce competition between the Urdu (along with Arabian, Persian) and English languages to rule the fabric of secular element among the Indian languages has become more prime ambition than anything else…

… and that is the reason the Roman script is surging …

Archbishop D. Francisco da Assunçao disallowed 'Crista Puranna' (written by Father Thomas Stephens,a British Jesuit priest, published in 1616, comprising more than 11,000 strophes) a classic in Marathi that saw immeasurable popularity (printed six editions), for reading in temples of Jesus Christ, in 1776. Such ban was the beginning of the end of writing in vernaculars. While the British, during their colonial regime, were encouraging vernaculars in India, Portuguese were out to give a clean shave to Indian languages. It was 1684, the year, that saw sadly the extermination of vernaculars. The Viceroy Francis de Tavera, Count of Alvor on the June 27, 1684 published a decree of Law that screamed:

"In order to put an end to all conveniences, it would be suitable to set aside the use of vernacular idiom and insist that all apply themselves to speak Portuguese since the use of both the languages at one and same time gives us cause to various conveniences; including that being not understood…I assign three years, period within which the Portuguese languages is ought to be studied and spoken. Moreover, this language alone should be used in their parts in their dealings and other contracts, which they may wish to enter into, those using the vernacular being severely punished for not obeying this mandate." (Anant Kakaba Priolkar,The Printing Press in India, Bombay, 1958)

While Dr. Joaquim Heliodoro da Cunha Rivara, who was an ardent lover of Konkani language, publishing an essay on Konkani in 1858 had appealed to its speakers to revive their lingua franca. But, the policies, those are being adopted (and being admitted) today in the 21st century are not that different to those, which were followed in the 17th century by the foreigners.

A question that remains unanswered is – Is it good or bad for Indian languages?

© Dr S M Tadkodkar

Thursday, 1 May 2008


It is quite heartening to talk on Goa's mããya-bhaas i. e. Konkani. The Sun and the Moon do not speak about their own identity. Konkani speakers too, leave apart some respectable names, did not speak aloud about own distinct identity then. The most astonishing fact is that until mid-twentieth century intellectual non-Goans, in quite a large number, spoke more on existence, nature and lineage of the great traditional language of the Konkan region. The neez-goemcaars got moral and technical support from them. John Leyden (1775-1811), William Carey (1761-18340), John Wilson (1804-1875), Dr. Joaquim Heliodoro Da Cunha Rivara (1800-1879) can be named among the best lot. Some of them were viciously critical too. The Maharashtrians too were not lagging behind. But quite a few among them were interested in focusing on the opinion that Goa's mããya-bhaas was a dialect of the principal language of Maharashtra i. e. Marathi.

Among all of them Rao Sahib Dr. V. P. Chavan (some time vice president of THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF BOMBAY), Dr. Sumitra Mangesh Katre, Dr. S. B. Kulkarni, with in-depth study, maintained that Goa's mããya-bhaas has distinct and independent identity. For Rao Sahib Dr. V. P. Chavan it was a painful experience to observe that although the Goa's mããya-bhaas was spoken by over a million and a half people in 1924, it still remained neglected and uncared for. He said, "…its pristine beauty, its mellifluence, its picturesque, its natural sweetness, all these produce a homely sort of feeling. These characteristics, perhaps, have given it vigour to withstand the onslaughts of more powerful and classical languages in its neighbourhood." Dr. V. P. Chavan expected a lot, on this count, from the Press. He said, "We look to the Press to give us all sorts of news from all parts of the world. But the influence of the Press is not limited to being what is called 'Newsy'. The Press has a higher function to do, i. e. to educate the people and direct its intelligence to higher and nobler things in life." The Press did not fail him. Dr. Chavan delivered, in the presence of fifty erudite listeners (who had arrived from Pune, Thane as well), a series of lectures on the subject, titled "The Konkan and the Konkani Language" under the auspices of THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF BOMBAY during the span of three months. After the second lecture was delivered on Wednesday evening, the 5th September, 1923 (All the three lectures, later on, were printed in Volume XII of the Society's Journal), the Indian Press did shower accolades for the bravery (!) The Times of India (TOI, Bombay), 7.9.1923), a daily of esteem said that the lecture (followed by a discussion) showed that Mumbai (the then Bombay) was not quite as heedless of things of the mind as it was supposed to be. A letter written by some one, namely 'S. V. K.', and published in TOI (5.10.1923) after the third lecture was delivered on Wednesday, the 3rd October, 1923, mentioned Dr. Chavan as a member of a backward community and opined that those who had the fortune to listen those lectures, enjoyed a literary treat, which was hardly to be met with in scientific associations those days. He further underlined that those lectures revealed a depth of knowledge, considerable accuracy, high culture and hard work in the absence of any available literature.

Konkan and the Konkani Language, Dr V P Chavan
ISBN : 8120606663

This book is the reprint of a series of lectures delivered under the auspices of
the Anthropological society of Bombay in 1923 by Dr V P Chavan.

On the backdrop of these lectures, TOI (11.10.1923) was worried about the future of Konkani. Further, it suggested that the only thing likely to arrest the decay of Konkani would be a revival of that particular kind of local patriotism, which had emerged as a political phenomenon in more than one part of the world! The Prajamitra and the Parsee (Bombay, 9.11.1923) has sketched the lectures as follows: "Dr. Chavan had to break his own ground in as much as there was next no previous guide. The elementary grammar published several decades ago by Dr. Gerson Da Cunha was not available to him. He describes Konkan, traces its relation to Maharashtra, defines its geographical limits, for a moment turns aside to dilate on the castes and creeds of Konkan, establishes the proposition of Konkani as a feeder of the classical language, refers to the destructive activity of the Portuguese, comes down to the number of Portuguese words, and discusses its relation with Canaries… One cannot but admire Dr. Chavan's concentration, which helps to reveal the unknown depths of the Konkani, which one would, otherwise, have regarded as a negligible patois.''

Instantly, one would remember Itihasaachaarya Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade, who had mentioned that the literature written, during the 17th century, by the catholic missionaries in Goa was in Paishaachee language and great scholar Prof. Anant Kakaba Priolkar proved the contention as a wrong one. The Bombay Chronicle (Thursday, 21.2.1924) had to take cognizance of the lectures delivered by Dr. Chavan. It observed them as follows: "The innate conservation of the people of India has given a vitality to some of the dialects, which is truly wonderful. Take, for example, the Konkani dialect, which is spoken at present by at least a million and half people in Western India. Though it has had no alphabet of its own and no literature worth mentioning, it has continued to live even in a vigorous condition at times, for nearly 1500 years, and this, in spite of the fact that a sister language very closely allied to it, namely Marathi, with an alphabet and a literature of its own, has been trying to crush it out of existence by the sheer force of its wider popularity with the governing class. The study of the origin, growth and vicissitudes of such dialect, therefore, cannot be lacking in interest to the students of anthropology, and Indian history." An evening periodical Advocate of India (Wednesday, 27.2.1923) complimented Dr. Chavan for his learned paper and passed on some remarks as follows: "Though the dialect has held the field for fifteen hundred years, Dr. Chavan, is not sure that it will survive a century more, since Konkani-speaking Christians are taking more and more to the use of English or Portuguese even at home…Still, to philologists the charm of this dialect, which has shown such a wonderful vitality for a thousand years and more will never cease."

The Voice of India (Tuesday, 4.3.1924) had appreciated Dr. Chavan in the following words: "There is no tawdry exterior betokening laboured vacuity in Dr. Chavan's studies. The disciplined thinking of a scientific man, this – he imports into the letters…Unless we are greatly mistaken this scholar and medicine man, in more senses than one, is the author of those enlivening letters contributed to the Times of India under the nom-de-plume of Kunbi. …broad-minded appreciation is reflected in Dr. Chavan's pages, which gives ample evidence of how the apparently insipid pursuit of antiquated dialects can be translated into refreshing studies infusing in the reader a desire to hear more and more from author." The lectures delivered by Dr. Chavan convinced The Indian Mail (Thursday, 20.3.1924) about the distinct quality of Konkani language. As such, this periodical wrote, "People in these days are inclined more or less to adopt a language, which has the greatest utilitarian value, and it is therefore a significant feature of the Konkani language that, in spite of its not being a written language, it is still a live one." While exclaiming kudos to Dr. Chavan, The All India Saraswat (April 1924) said, "Dr. Chavan has an interesting explanation to offer regarding the origin of the words Konkan and Canaries. He suggests that the former is derived from kim kinnwam – what is this drug? The drug being the intoxicating beverages derived from palm trees abundant on the west Coast. As to the latter word, Dr. Chavan shows that it has no connection with Canaries language as such. The expression Lingua Canarina used by the Portuguese to denote Konkani was only meant to suggest that it was the language of Canarins or Christians born of Indian parents." The Goan World (May 1924) expressed a sense of gratitude for Dr. Chavan's onerous but fruitful research, saying, "As Goans, we consider it to be our duty to convey to Dr. Chavan our deep sense of indebtedness for the invaluable work he has done on behalf of the language of our forefathers, and we feel sure that the highly appreciative words in which the leading news and political organs of this city have spoken of his scholarly achievements. "We, as Goans, have it in our hands to contribute something to the great national movement that is now being spiritedly carried on, by cultivating our purely Indian tradition and by making an organised effort to save our mother-tongue from its present state of stagnation."

All these views on Konkani language and reviews on the lectures delivered by Dr. Chavan in 1923 form into a significant documentation for the students of history and languages.

© Dr S M Tadkodkar

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