After 50, Marathi honours Konkani as the Chief Guest at All India Sahitya Sammelan
Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo
22 Aprill 2022 would be a historic day for Goa and Maharashtra. Jnanpith recipient Damodar Mauzo, a Konkani writer, would grace the 95th All India Marathi Literary Meet (अखिल भारतीय मराठी साहित्य संमेलन) as the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony at Udgir in Latur district of Maharashtra.
This gesture by the Marathi literary circle becomes most significant since at the 45th All India Marathi Literary Meet held in Madgao city of Goa in 1964, the Konkani writers were pushed out of the Sammelan venue when they had protested against dubbing Konkani as the dialect of Marathi.
Mauzo himself was one of the protestors among the group of around 20 young writers and activists. He was hardly 20-year old.
Mauzo, 78 today, became emotional while talking to goanews.com about this gesture from the Marathi literary world.
“I accept this invitation as an honour to Konkani, an independent language of Goa state. It proves that an era of congruence (समन्वय) has begun.”
Mauzo, popularly known as Bhaiee all over Goa, has been invited as the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony of the three-day most prestigious Marathi literary meet. It would be inaugurated at the hands of Maharashtra’s eminent politician Sharad Pawar.
President of India Ram Nath Kovind and union minister Nitin Gadkari would attend the concluding ceremony. The literary conference would also be graced by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackrey and several other dignitaries.
Bharat Sasne, 71-year old Marathi short story writer, would be the President of this historic Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.
The organisers have said that the inaugural ceremony would have two prime speakers, Bharat Sasne and Damodar Mauzo.
In the last 60 years, Konkani has proved its literary strength by bagging two Jnanpith Awards including ideologue and writer Ravindra Kelekar in 2006 as well as equally prestigious Saraswait Samman for Konkani novelist Mahabaleshwar Sail in 2016.
However, the language that was included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India only in 1992, had to fight through the aggressive stand taken by the Marathi literary world, which considered Konkani as one of its dialects. On the same grounds, they wanted Goa to be merged into Maharashtra.
In this background, the 45th Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan was held in Madgao in 1964 at the behest of the Goa government, then ruled by the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party. Eminent Marathi litterateur V V Shirwadkar alias Kusmugagraj was the President of this Sammelan.