Sunday, April 5, 2009

The need for Goans to learn Portuguese

Of late there has been some interest shown amongst Goans to learn the Portuguese language. This is indeed welcome news given the fact that some years back since the time of liberation, any issue related to Portugal or the Portuguese language was viewed with utter disdain and repugnance.

There is a select group of miscreants inside Goa who don the mantle of self-appointed nationalists whose version of nationalism is itself warped and garbled in religion based fundamentalist ideologies and who in the name of culture and religion, language or heritage have sought to maim and disfigure many engravings and marble slates or written historical data in the Portuguese language.

It is essentially due to this notion of hatred spread by certain elements that the spread of the Portuguese language was declining in Goa. Some of the schools and colleges had also abandoned the idea of having classes for Portuguese studies as the second or the third optional languages.

Under the circumstances prevailing , even the elite classes among the hindus and even catholics and the well spoken Portuguese Goans reluctantly switched to English in their respective homes. It is therefore important that the Portuguese language be revived vigorously for a variety of reasons. In fact it should be ensured that the new generation of Goans should have atleast a working knowledge of the Portuguese language so that they can use it in many areas where it is still applicable.

Firstly, knowledge of a foreign language and proficiency in it can be a valuable asset Portuguese language in Goaand can help you manage yourself in a foreign country like it is at home. Also, in Goa, we have old documents either of property or legal documents or historical records, in the Portuguese language dating back to atleast five centuries. Presently most Goans who do not know to read Portuguese have to seek the help of a translator thereby causing themselves an inconvenience. If they knew the language themselves it would be an invaluable asset.

In this regard there is the example of a hindu family in Goa, the Keni family from Taleigao who are credited to being one of the few Hindu families in Goa who converse at home in the Portuguese language very fluently, with Mrs Keni having studied  till 'quinto ano'( class V) and her husband having studied in Portuguese till 'setimo ano' ( Class VII).

Goans need to be clever and rise above petty politics of disgruntled elements who only have divisive and foolish policies.We need to ensure that Goans rise in all fields of education thereby excelling in our academic careers without being misled by select groups.

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