The pioneering Goa Heritage Festival spread over five days commenced today at the Campal Heritage Precinct in the capital city Panaji. Jnanpith awardee, short story writer and Goan novelist Damodar Mauzo opened the festival with an insightful commentary on the Konkani language and how integral it is to the heritage and culture of the state.
Besides Mauzo, the inaugural ceremony had in attendance Dr. Jorson Fernandes, Chairperson of the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG), participating artists and authors including Laila Tayabji, members of the GHAG Carlos De Souza, Heta Pandit, Pritha Sardessai and others.
Damodar Mauzo put the spotlight on the heritage of Goa through the lens of language. Mauzo reinforced the fact that the state has been multi-linguistic over the decades across generations and called for a revival of Goa’s mother tongue konkani to preserve the state’s cultural roots.
“Konkani is an independent language and many celebrated personalities such as Sant. Namdev, Dr. Francisco Luís Gomes, Dharmananda D. Kosambi, Abbé Faria studied it along with different languages, in turn showing how being a multi-linguist can bring diversity and unity”, said Mauzo in his inaugural address.
He added, “Multilinguality runs through the veins of every Goan and has been nature’s gift to our land. Although the trend is on a decline, I have witnessed and been amazed by the stories I have heard of, it makes me feel proud that it is still prevailing in many places.”
On Goa Heritage Festival’s efforts to showcase the cultural journey of the state through a different lens, Dr Jorson Fernandes, emphasised the importance of absorbing and taking back the knowledge the festival brings forth.
“It is crucial for us to understand how science has evolved through decades and how communication plays a part in this. What took skills, blood and sweat in the past has certainly been made easier with technology taking over. The same goes for heritage and culture. It is our responsibility to reminisce and relive the past so as to connect and build a new pathway for the future”, explained Dr. Jorson.