Wednesday, 29 August 2012

First books in Goa

Olivinho Gomes, Konkani Literature in Roman Script: A History (Panaji: Dalgado Konknni Akademi, 2010), supplies the following information about the first books printed in India / Goa:

First books: Francisco Cabral, Conclusoes de Logica, 1556. Manuel Teixeira, Conclusoes de Filosofia, 1556. [3.]

The third: Andre Vaz [probably], Doutrina Christam [in Konkani, Roman script]. Vaz was a senior Goan seminarian, a Ksatriya / Chaddhi / Chardo ‘gaunkar’ from Kormbolli (Carambolim), later the first Goan Catholic priest, ordained in 1558. Based on the popular catechism of Marcos Jorge, then popular in Europe and known to the clergy in Goa. Adapted to the needs of his Goan parishioners. [3-4.]

This is the first printed book in any language in India, and that in Konkani. [4.] So popular that it was reprinted in 1560, “as reported in the chronicles of the period.” Unfortunately no copy has survived “the fierce onslaught on these religious Orders that was decreed by several Portuguese governments, notably in 1758 on the Jesuits and later on all other religious Orders in J.A. Aguiar’s infamous mata-frades (priests’-killer) decree of 1834, and the sheer neglect and indifference that it was subjected to by later generations of the missionaries and apathy from its own people oppressed by a self-depression.” [4.]

Andre Vaz was also credited with the first draft grammar of Konkani, on the basis of which he taught the foreign priests. [4.]

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