Tuesday, 4 April 2017

‘Christha Purana’ and ‘Goenchem Savasarikikan’ released (Navhind)


Educationist and writer Suresh Amonkar’s two Konkani books--‘Christha
Purana’ and ‘Goenchem Savasarikikan’ -- were recently released by art and
culture secretary, Daulat Hawaldar along with Goa University
vice-chancellor Varun Sahni, Fr Francis de Britto of Shirlai (Vasai)
Church, writer and environmentalist, director of Art and Culture Department
Prasad Lolayekar and Kiran Budkule, former HoD of English department, Goa
University at Institute Menezes Braganza, Panaji.

Director of Art and Culture, Prasad Lolayekar in his welcome address stated
that these books are a perfect representation of merger of Marathi and
Konkani (Devnagri and Romi script) language. The book Christha Purana was
originally written by Fr Thomas Stephen S J around 400 years ago in Romi
Marathi and it has now been translated in Devnagri Konkani by Amonkar. This
is the seventh edition of Fr Stephen’s Christha Purana as the original was
written in 1616 in Rachol.

Amonkar in his address stated that he is paying homage to Fr Thomas Stephen
who was known as Apostle of Salcete. He added: “But now Goa has forgotten
him [Fr Thomas Stephen] and I don’t know why. He deserves a feast which we
need to celebrate every year.”

While speaking about the history related to Christha Purana he said it was
used for 70 years in churches of Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete but then it
was withdrawn in 1684. Fr Stephen had learnt the Konkani/ Marathi from
Brahmins of Salcete in order to write the *Christha Purana* in Romi
Marathi. Amonkar informed that at that time Marathi was the written
language and Konkani the spoken language in Goa. The new converts had only
two prayers in Konkani. So, there was lot of vacuum. In the year 1907 the
fourth edition of the Purana was released in Mangalore. Amonkar described
Fr Stephen as the real author who understood the need of the time.

The second book ‘*Goenchem Savasarikikan*’ throws light on the
socio-religious conditions prevailing in Goa during the 16th and 17th
century. While speaking about it he said: “I have looked upon the encounter
between East and West as a process of globalisation. I would like people to
consider the encounter in the context of indirect influence of Renaissance,
Reformation and counter-Reformation, not just conversions.”

Budkule while analysing these books in her address stressed that Amonkar
has imported the mind and creativity of Fr Stephen while writing these

Hawaladar in his speech spoke at length about the role of translators and
the original writers. He said: “Fr Stephen in *Christha Purana* is telling
story of Christ in a receiving language and in a receiving culture. When we
remember great writers we also remember their translators. Amonkar is
translating from dominant language to vernacular language which takes
techniques from oral traditions. It is to communicate a thought. It is
adding value to his and our lives.”

Varun Sahni in his address stated that due to this book there is a
communication between various ‘*bhashas*’ or languages of the country,
which is very important in today’s times.

Fr Francis de Britto said that this book is an example of inter-religious
dialogue. He focused on the current climate of polarisation and hate and
that’s why we need to celebrate such literary works. He said that Amonkar
is a real Goenkar as he has done this job of translation. He said that
Purana* was possible in Goa as this place is a cradle of many religions
like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. He stated that basic human values
are nurtured here. He also emphasised on the role of mother-tongue and its

These books were released on March 22, which also happened to be Amonkar’s
82nd birthday, which was celebrated with the dignitaries and his well