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The Konkani Prestige of 19th Century
Born on this day was a well-known writer, historian, and activist from Goa, who not only verbalized Konkani literary account with his noble words but also stood strong to voice out for the identity and language inbred to him, with a lifelong contribution to patronize the declining status of his community against the episodes of colonialization in Indian history.
The Konkani Activist Waman was famously recognized with his pen name Shenoi Goembab in the early 20th century; Source: Goa News

Born on 22nd June 1877

In the Bicholim district of Goa, Waman Raghunath Varde Walaulikar was born in 1877, to a very noble family with dynamic and respectable forbearers. Even so, he spent his childhood in destitution but remained incredibly inclined to his family progeny. He was meant to turn the tables and put one's thinking cap on.

With an implicit willingness to learn, Waman began with his studies at the age of four and learned Marathi till his 6th standard. Thereafter, he impressively completed a three years degree course in a year, from a Portuguese school and went to Mumbai for higher studies with his uncle. Irrespective of financial or social constraints, his commitment and persistent effort to grow while schooling never really ceased to exist.

Subsequently, after some years of administrative job, he started producing and researching varied literary work in the Konkani language. He contributed vastly to modern Konkani Literature with the publishment of some 22 books in Konkani with Devnagri script and 7 in Latin structure. Apart from this, he bestowed the language with a number of short stories, poetry and proses, drama and different series to count in.

For more than two decades he greatly contributed to the Konkani and carved its way for the re-establishment of language disoriented from its community. He even recognized himself proudly among people with his pen name- Shenoi Goembab, attributed to him in jollification.

"Shenoi Goembab was chosen above everyone else for his most unique and unparalleled contributions to Konkani language and literature and for his life-long commitment and inspiring leadership of the Konkani movement and the cause of Konkani identity", - Eric Ozario, President of Mandd Sobhann

However, after the Portuguese invasion of Goa, the status of the Konkani language was brought to the incessant risk of being forgotten in its homeland as it was largely confused with the Marathi dialect. This was later worsened, even during the English administrator's colonialization.

While Marathi still remained popular among the Hindu population with a deep insight into the history of this language, Konkani was consistently declining to behold its status and linguistic efficacy among its people.

It gradually became a major threat to the identity and culture of the people associated with Konkani and therefore, Shenoi Goembab's work didn't just produce a significant account in preserving the language but also shaped a Konkani movement to appraise the status of language in Goa's history.

By the time of the early 20th century, pro-Marathi and pro-Konkani groups were formed especially to take hold of their community and cultural influence among the masses. People were consciously working for the rejuvenation of Konkani heritage and made efforts to pull out the looming threat to their identities.

For Shenoi Goembab, Konkani was a revolutionary term that certainly preserved the crucial individuality of Goa as a state. Today, Goa is very tolerant in terms of cultural diversity while Konkani is recognized as the official language since 1987. The struggle and fight of people to recognize, protect and safeguard one's community are immense, but Shenoi Goembab made sure to not just nourish its roots but bring a remarkable change in this respect.

Ishita Gupta Author
While I write life stories of others, make sure to get me the perfect 30 words that define me. Otherwise, I will mess it up with my own silly jokes.

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