Raknno Academy


Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi and Raknno Weekly, a Konkanni Weekly published from Mangalore for the last 70 years jointly organized a Seminar on ‘The Contribution of Periodicals in the Development of Literature’ on 12th & 13th January 2008.  The Seminar was convened  at the Bishop’s House Hall, Kodialbail, Mangalore.  The Inauguration of the programme was commenced at 10.30 a.m. as published earlier.

Inaugural session: Inaugurator  of the Seminar, Mr. Santhosh Kumar Gulvady – former editor of ‘Taranga’ Kannada Weekly, Mr. Sandesh Prabhudesai Editor of ‘Sunaparanth’ Konkanni daily published from Goa, Dr. Kurshid Alam – Renowned writer in Urdu and Hindi, and an  official of Sahitya Akademi, Damodar Mauzo – a representative of Sahitya Akademi being the member of Executove Committee of Sahitya Akademi and Rev. Fr. Francis Rodrigues – the Editor of ‘Raknno’ Konkanni Weekly were present on the dais.  A prayer song presented in the form of Power Point lifted up the hearts of all those who gathered to the almighty to invoke His providence.  Rev. Fr. Francis Rodrigues welcomed the dignitaries and the participants to the Seminar.  In the welcome speech,  he noted that a periodical is a plate of literature.  As in the plate we get variety of nutritious dishes to our life, so in a periodical there is richness of literature.  He also briefed the achievements of the dignitaries.  In the meanwhile the dignitaries were offered bouquet of flowers.

After the welcome speech, Dr. Damodar Mauzo gave an introductory speech.  In his speech,  he noted that, this is the second Konkanni Seminar of the Akademi in the past five years.  It is a forum for the experts in Konkanni literature as to think with a vision for the future.  The periodicals have the various forms of literature like novels, short stories, reflective articles etc.  ‘Bengal Gazzette’ is the first Magazine in India in English.  First Konkanni Magazine named ‘Udenthichem Salok’ was published in 1889 at Poone .  ‘Konknni Dirvem’ (1912) was the first Konkanni Magazine in Mangalore and ‘Raknno’ was started in 1938.  He congratulated the organizers and wished that it may bring new vision to the role of Periodicals.

Mr. Santhosh Kumar Gulvady inaugurated the Seminar by lighting the lamp.  In his inaugural address,  he pointed out that from time to time, men have discovered different mediums to communicate with others The  literature is a huge tree.  It renews time and freshens again.  There will be different experiments and different issues.  Though the subject matter changes, the value system does not change.  In this literature all the emotions of human beings are involved. This builds up story line of literature in the periodicals.  There was a time when people had the wrong notion that the periodicals do not come under the literature.  On the contrary, the work of such proponents were published in the periodicals and the periodicals have been instrumental in bringing them honors.  Great award winners have written columns in the magazines and they continue to do so even now.  Hence, discussion about periodicals and literature is just like discussing ‘the seed and  the tree’-which comes first?’ Gulvady noted that the great people of Konkanni soil have been great giants in national and international level – like Benegal Narashimha Rao, Kudmul Ranga Rao, Karnad Sadashiva Rao, Rastra Kavi Manjeshwar Govinda Pai etc.  This reminds our obligation to teach Konkanni to the younger generation.

Sandesh Prabhudesai,  Editor of ‘Sunaparanth’ delivered the key note address.  Mr. Prabhudesai began with the literature that existed before literacy came into being.  We call it folk literature.  In the 20th century periodicals in Konkanni have flourished.  At present in the Konkanni world of periodicals there are 5 scripts.  Romi script has got 10 magazines,  Kannada script – 28, Arabi script – 2, Bhovlipi – 6, Devnagari – 31.  In these periodicals different forms of literature such as analytical, reflective, informative, and educative in the form of articles, stories, poems, songs, novels are included.  There are daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly magazines/periodicals. Mr. Prabhudesai pointed out that apart from the printed and published periodicals,  there is radio and Television.  Even through them  lot of literature is published.  The printed magazines serve the people of particular script.  The scope is limited.  But the Radio and TV can reach out to all Konkanni people.  Therefore, there is a need to establish a Konkanni satellite channel which will serve all Konkanni people wherever they may be.  Huge investment is the only obstacle in this regard.  Secondly, we need to get into the E-periodicals.  Here we have the difficulty of different dialects because each dialect has its own vocabulary.  We need to prepare a dictionary and glossary for the whole Konkanni World.

During the interactions, Mr. Paul Moras made an observation saying, that the speaker of key note address did not stick on to the subject.  He has gone beyond the subject.  He had to restrict himself to the contribution of periodicals.  It was clarified by the speaker saying that he took advantage of the word periodicals, since it was not said as ‘printed periodicals’. Because he has a dream to unite all the Konkanni’s in the media.  Fr. Mark Walder seconded saying, his address was also a supplement.  Damodhar Mauzo noted that Desai has shown wider scope of the seminar.  Joachim Pinto wanted a clarification regarding whether anybody has done something as to actualize the dream of satellite channel.  Desai replied that it is his dream.  It needs huge investment but not impossible.

Fr. William D’Silva observed that the speaker has identified medium with the literature.  Media is not message, literature is a message.  Media has an ideology;  Medium does not change, message does.  The speaker clarified saying, that the way of communicating the message depends on the medium.  In Goa, periodicals and internet were able to discuss the problem of Special Economic Zone.  Paul Moras said that the weeklies cease to exist not because of daily but because Devnagari was made official script.  Desai said, he mentioned only one reason;  there could be many such reasons including that  of Paul Moras.

Dr. Kurshid Alam thanked the resource persons and the participants.  Joachim Pinto was the master of ceremonies. The session was concluded at 1.00 p.m.

First Session: The Problems and challenges as experienced by us in Managing Periodicals:

The session on ‘The Problems and Challenges in Konkanni Periodicals’ was started at 2.15 p.m.  Dileep Borkar, the editor of ‘Bimb’ and expert in movie industry presided over the session.  Mr. Borkar is a writer.  He has written about 30 books in Konkanni.  He is expert in Konkanni literature.  The speakers of the session were –

  1. Rev. Fr. Mark Walder: Former Editor of Raknno Weekly.  He has edited-authored many books in Konkanni as well as in Kannada.
  2. Rev. Fr. Ubaldo Fernandes: The Editor of ‘Vavradyancho Ixtt, a Konkanni Weekly in Romi Script.
  3. Kamini Kini – Co-ordinator of ‘Bimb’, Konkanni Magazine.


Rev. Fr. Mark Walder, revealed the truth that the encouragement and guidance of Konkanni periodicals have given rise to great people in Konkanni periodicals and have given rise to great people in Konkanni literature.  Many periodicals organize workshops for young writers.  Raknno itself has organized for about 25 workshops in the past few years.  The Konkanni periodicals have limited readers because of different scripts.  Therefore, the writers do not get more remuneration.  Consequently, research articles, heavy literary works do not take place.  In the globalized world English takes precedence.  Konkanni is not a business language.  In the course of the history Konkanni people are scattered in different places where other languages are predominant.  Hence, in order to earn their daily bread, Konkanni people had to push the mother tongue to the corner.  From the experience of being Raknno editor, Fr. Walder said that when a periodical takes up social issues which touch the lives of common folk, it enjoys popularity.  Today, the globalization curtails the life of Konkanni periodicals.  Because of different scripts,  uni-script magazines will be difficult.  Hence, the existing periodicals are to be strengthened by value system.  There are Siddhi, Kudmbi,  Kharvi people.  We need to bring out their folk-lore to the literature.  Further,  the Konkanni periodicals face the problem that the Konkanni Christian literature remains within their community Kand Konkanni Hindu literature is restricted to their community.  In spite of that, he concluded with the  opinion saying that  the time of Konkanni periodicals has not ended.

Rev. Fr. Ubaldo Fernandes, Editor of 75 year old Romi Konkanni Magazine brought out the challenge of Goan Magaziness due to patronizing the script.  Limited readers are a cause of the death of periodicals.  In Goa some feel inferior about their own Konkanni dialect.  Even the advertisements do not back up Konkanni periodicals.  In order to bring a better future, he suggested that the young generation has to be motivated towards the love of mother tongue.  Today, our children learn Konkanni in the schools and colleges.  Unity has to be fostered among them.  Konkanni has to be used in all the Konkanni social functions.  The script is a big dividing factor in the Konkanni world.  We need to push it to the corner  because our aim is to enhance our mother tongue and not to divide the Konkanni people.  With an invitation to unity, he concluded his presentation.

Kini, coordinator of ‘Bimb’ monthly enumerated the financial difficulties which are faced by Konkanni periodicals.  There is limited support from the advertising industry.  The readers do not increase at once.  Hence,  there is need of quality in the literature.  There should be literature pertaining to different categories of people.  This enkindles interest in the readers and it is a motivation to work for journalism,  said Mrs.  Kini from her experience in the ‘Bimb’.

The chairperson Dileep Borkar  opined that there are three magazines, Raknno, Bimb and Vovradyancho Istt.  These three magazines serve three categories of people namely, Kannadi, Devnagari and Romi people.  We have respect for our language.  Hence,  there should be a move to exchange literature from one script to the other.  There is need for unity of these three scripts.

During the interactions, Prof. Vasanthmony said that, the Konkanni periodicals have remained at the regional level due to script.  We need to bring them upto the national level.  Therefore at least once a year, an issue can integrate all varieties of literature in important scripts.  Fr. William D’Silva observed that every magazine has its own ideology.  For example Raknno has catholic tradition.  Today,  periodicals are not run from the point of view of literature but of sale.  The limitation of the periodicals is not due to script, but due to ideology.  The chairperson said that we need to give and take within the Konkanni Community.  The session was mastered by Mrs. Daphny Lewis and it concluded at 3.45 p.m.

Second Session: Periodicals:  The only Patroniser to Poetry, Essays and Topical/Serious writings

The Second session of the Seminar started at 4 p.m. Mr. J.B. Moraes was the chairperson.  He hails from Mangalore,  but he is in Mumbai.  He has written many books and penned many poems.  ‘Novi Hokal’, ‘Bhitarlem Thufan’ are his famous works.  ‘Bhitarlem Thufan’ has won Kendr Sahitya Academy Award.  Sathish Mallya, Kamalkar Mhalshi and Madhavi Sardesai were the speakers of the session.  Sathish Mallya is a senior assistant editor of Udayavani Kannada Daily.  He works in Journalism for the last 22 years.  He has authored many short stories, articles in different periodicals.  He has authored ‘Anavarana’ and ‘Hongirana’ in Kannada.  Mr. Kamalkar Mhalshi is a lecturer by profession.  He was assistant secretary in Goa Konkanni Academy.  He has won many awards.  He is writer of drama and short stories.  Madhavi Sardesai is a professor in Goa University.  She is well-known translator and she has received the best translator award.

Sathish Mallya described the role of periodicals as a link between language and literature.  There is difference between spoken language and literary language.  There is difference between business language & literary language.  Business or language of daily usage is lively and attractive; literary language is richer and beautiful.  Therefore periodicals transform business language into literary language.  In present scenario  publishing books is a costly affair.  On the contrary, publishing in the magazines as columns is economical.  Today journalism is an industry.  Making journalism profitable and making it profitable are different questions.  In Konkanni there are dialects.  We should create unity in diversity.

Kamalkar Mahalshi explained that there are many writers due to the periodicals.  They form and reform writers and poets.  Poets get lot of encouragement.  Because, their works are published in many magazines.  Since Magazines serve to all the categories of  people, they are an encouragement to many thinking minds.  Periodicals have got this mission to perform.

Madhavi Sardesai appreciated the support given by the periodicals to writers and poets.  Magazines are a forum to the people to write.  Many writers began their carrier writing to the ‘litters to the editor’.  Magazines have enkindled the fire of literature which was hidden in the hearts of common people.  Predominance given to Devnagari has increased the variety of subjects in the Konkanni Magazines.  Earlier it was limited.  Now the scope has been broadened.

J.B. Moraes pointed out that the periodicals are the pillars of Konkanni literature.  Periodicals have brought the oral tradition to written form.  The first Kanadi script ‘Konknni Dirvem’ was a foundation for the growth of literature.  There was a time when the thinking minds were groping in darkness without a forum.  Today we come together crossing all the barriers.  Unfortunately, there are no drama writers.  Drama do not find a place in periodicals .  Secondly, we do not have people for analyzing literature.  Writers are analyzers and vice versa. Melwyn Castelino mastered the session.  The session was ended at 5.15 p.m. with presidential message.

Third Session: ‘Serialization of Novels in the Periodicals’

ChairpersonL: S.M. Krishn Rao.  Paper readers: Devidas Kadam, Bhiku Bomi Naik.

Dolphy Lobo’s paper was read by Mr. Pachu Ferar.  Devidas Kadam said that the ‘Serialization of novels in the periodicals’ is a  tradition that  was existent from the beginning.  The novels bloom and  flourish in the periodicals.  Konkanni literature is developing through the novels.  Periodicals have given a special place for novels.  Raknno has played a certifiable role in this regard.  In these days novels are difficult to emerge.  Because there are less readers and as also the cost of the novels is more it is also difficult to buy for the ordinary people.  So serialization of novels in the periodicals is a great help.  If this provision was not there perhaps the readers would have lost  many best novels.  Periodicals have given life long opportunity for the readers to read novels.

Dolphy Lobo: Konkanni is an ancient language.  From 10 A.D. this language was in use  tells the history.  In the 1992 Konkanni language was accepted into the eighth schedule of the Constitution.  In the world there are about 55 lakhs Konkanni speaking people among whom 28 lakhs hail from Karnataka.  Others are  from Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala etc.  But the sad note is that there are  not even 10 lakhs of Konkanni readers.  The role of Konkanni Christians in the field of Konakanni Literature is great.  At present there are 5 weekly, one fornightly, 12 monthly & more than 60 parish bulletins which are  prevalent.  There are big number of readers throughout the world.  These are published in Kannadi script.  Raknno has 20,000 thousand subscribers. The question is whether Konkanni language is preserved by speaking or writing. We must make an effort to make the people to love the Konkanni literature.   Editors need knowledge and experience to develop the Konkanni literature & the periodicals.

Till the beginning of ‘Konknni Dirvem’ only the religious were holding & managing the papers but later lay people came forword.   In every Konkanni periodical there is short story, serial story, jokes, poetry published.  This is also seen in the parish bulletins.  So we can roughly say there are at least 10,000 short stories published in the papers.  Konkanni writer is not writing merely as hobby or for self satisfaction but he writes for the progress of the literature.  He puts lots of efforts in literature.  But the sad thing is that many of our readers prefer only stories, jokes & light literature.  This is a draw back for our literature. It is also true that  mostly women buy this literature and periodicals.  However we should be happy to say that  Konkanni  literature has grown to a great extent.  But once again the sad note is that we have not preserved this literature in the form of a book.  This work should be taken into account at the earliest.  Konkanni journalism has 94 years of history.  In which 80 periodicals have played their role for the growth of Konkanni literature, of which  we should be proud of.  We are sad to mention that the government has not given sufficient importance for the growth of Konkanni literature.  Finally let me appreciate our Konkanni periodicals, editors and all those who support for the growth of Konkanni literature.

Bhiku Bomi Naik said that there was need of periodicals as to bring the literature to the light. Before a novel gets published in the form of a book  it is serialized in the periodical, readers read, it is analyzed and thus the literature grows.

Fourth Session: Periodicals Nourish Short Stories

The fourth and the last study session of the Seminar started at 11.45 a.m.  Edwin J.F. D’Souza was the chairperson.  The speakers of the session were Mahabaleshwar Sail, K.R.  Vasanthmony and Sheela Kolambkar.  Edwin J.F. D’Souza, author of 31 novels presided over the session.  His first short story was published in 1964 A.D.  His short stories have been translated into different languages.  He is a regular writer to many magazines of Konkanni and English.  At present he is the director of St. Aloysius Konkanni Institute and editor of “ Amar Konkanni.” He is the member of Sahitya Akademi.  Mahabaleshwar Sail is a novelist and writer of short stories.  He hails from North Canara.  He has been honoured with  awards.  His novel are translated into English.  Sheela Kolambar is a Konkanni story writer of Goa.  She has authored novels and other books.  She has won Sahitya Akademi Award.  K.R. Vasanthmoni from Allepy in Kerala.  He is a retired physics professor.  His two books on short stories are translated into Malayalam.  His book has been awarded with ‘The Best Konkanni Book award’  by T.M.A. Pai.   Foundation. He is the chairman of Kerala Konkanni Academy.

Mahabaleshwar Sail described literature as the social documentary.  Literature speaks of a common man,  his emotions and feelings.  Konkanni short stories were first published in the magazines.  Thereafter, they were collected and published books.  Many editors take lot of efforts to publish short stories in books.  Many a time the editors encourage and direct story writers.  Stories have found growth due to periodicals.  Renewals have taken place.  When there was a criticism for not having Konkanni literature, periodicals fostered the literature.  Periodicals are part and parcel of Konkanni culture and literature.  Due to short stories the standard of literature has increased.

Vasanthmoni said that periodicals have been instrumental in flowering of Konkanni language.  Stories come out of the writer’s imagination and thinking.  He is happy when his stories are published.  An individual story writer cannot make available his story to large number of people.  Magazines are able to do so.  Stories cannot be published in books because of the cost involved.  Writer does not get awards but periodicals make him popular.  He presented the survey of magazines throughout the Konkanni land.  He appealed to raise the periodicals to national level.

Sheela Kolambkar began with a personal story.  How she became a story writer was her personal experience.  Because of a teacher she could get into this field of literature.  A few years ago there were no sources to study on short stories.  Today we have, because there are lot of short stories published.  Shot stories make the readers to write for magazines.  Transliteration will increase the vocabulary and richness of Konkanni.  We need to translate stories from other languages.

The chairperson,  Edwin .F. D’Souza said, that the story writers have brought our beautiful subjects of daily life.  Literature is the dairy of culture.  Short stories are slice of life.  Periodicals nourish short stories and short stories nourish periodicals.  A writer need to keep oneself open woth all his senses. The world of experiences makes good literature.  We need to learn from others. Daphny Lewis was the master of the ceremony.  The session ended at 1.p.m.

Concluding Programme of the Seminar:

Rev. Msgr. Denis Moras Prabhum, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Mangalore  was the chief guest of the concluding programme.  Devidas Kadam, Kurshid Alam, Damodhar Mauzo and Fr. Francis Rodrigues  were  present on the dais. Damodhar Mauzo, the co-ordinator of the seminar said that this seminar  has been fruitful in bringing together all the Konkanni thinkers from Goa, Karnataka, Kerala & Mumbai.  We have a task of transliterating the literature that we have.  We need a mechanism for this because we do not get the Konkanni literature by  itself.  Through out the world there is a lot of literature & we need to make it available for the Konkanni readers.  We are optimistic in this line.

The prizes for the Literary competitions held by Raknno were distributed by the dignitaries.  The chief guest Rev. Msgr.  Prabhu said that Konkanni is a rich language & the credit goes to all the writers of Konkanni.  He congratulated the organizers & wished fruitful service of Konkanni.  Rev. Fr. Francis Rodrigues proposed the Vote of Thanks.  Walter Pinto was the master of ceremonies.  The programme  concluded at 1.15 p.m.

(English Reports from Fr Rajesh Rosario and Fr Felix Monteiro)