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The Old Konkani Bharata (Volume 1)

The Old Konkani Bharata (Volume 1)
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Item Code: NAW279
Author: R.V. Miranda
Publisher: Central Institute Of Indian Languages, Mysore
Language: Konkani and English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788173431005
Pages: 458
Other Details: 10.50 X 8.50 inch
weight of the book: 1.06 kg
About the Book

At the University of Minho library in Braga, Portugal, there. are two Old Konkani Manuscripts in Roman script, codex 771 and codex 772, which contain the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and some minor stories. The longest work among these is the Mahabharata. Although the title of this work does not appear at the very beginning, it is referred to as Bharata in several places. The Bharata was narrated by Konkani Speakers to Portuguese missionaries in Goa around 1600 and it was taken down by them in the Roman script. The Roman transcription is remarkably systematic in these works. We do not know when and how these works reached Braga, Portugal.

The Old Konkani Bharata is being published in three volumes: Volume I: Introduction. Volume II: Text. Volume II: Glossary. Here is Volume I of this work which contains introductory .Essays on the work in English and Karnataka Saraswat Konkani in Kannada script. A Goan edition is also being published by Asmitai Pratishthan, Margao, in which the Konkani dialect used is the Goan standard dialect in Nagari script.

About the Author

Roache V. Miranda was born in Mangalore in 1937. BA, Madras Christian College, Madras, 1957. MA (Hindi — literature), Banaras Hindu University, 1960. PhD (Linguistics), Corneli University, New York, 1971. Taught Hindi at S.B. College, Karkala, Karnataka, 1960-62, at Dhempe College, Panaji, Goa, 1962-64, and at the Division of Modern Languages, Cornell University, USA, 1964-69. Taught historical and Indo-European linguistics in the Department of linguistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1970-95. Has published papers on language change, linguistic reconstruction, and South Asian linguistics (especially, Konkani and Hindi). Currently engaged in editing a couple of Old Konkani works: (i). The Old Konkani Bharata (composed circa 1600). (ii). Vocabulario da Lingoa Concani (a Konkani-Portuguese dictionary compiled by Diogo Ribeiro in 1626) with English translation and etymological notes.


‘The destiny of man is inextricably linked to the destiny of his language’

The main objective of CIIL or the Bharatiya Bhasha Sansthan is "to assist in and coordinate the development of Indian languages, to bring about the essential unity of Indian languages through scientific study and inter-linguistic research and to promote the mutual enrichment of the languages and thus contribute towards emotional integration of the propel of this country." When decisions are taken to change the status of a language (for example when new languages are added to the 8" schedule or introduced in school or mass media) the Institute has to ensure that in keeping with its enhanced status, the corpus in the language also expands, and so also must the opportunities increase in those domains where the language makes its appearance ...taking tiny steps.. Before they become a leap forward.....

When Goa attained statehood in 1987, Konkani-in Devanagari script- was declared as its official language though at that time Marathi could also be used "for all or any of the official purposes". The status of the language was further enhanced when Konkani was added to the list of the languages included under the 8" Schedule of the Constitution of India in 1992, and presently it is the sole official language of Goa. The social history of the language therefore marks an intriguing identity movement where the speakers of Konkani have successfully sought to differentiate their language from Marathi but have opted for the same script Devanagari for their official form.........

In the cultural history of the Konkani language the texts —many of which like Ramayana or Mahabharata are shared across Indian languages — are in more than one script and many only in manuscript form. They anchor a process of continuity and change, and the variations in content and form nurture the emergence and growth of that over arching linguistic identity. It is for this reason that Dr. Tanaji Halarnakar rightly remarks in the Goa edition of this book by Rocky Miranda that "the old literature of any language acquires a special significance in the modern times. Transcending the bounds of time, it would have overcome many social, cultural and political obstacles and sustained its identity; it is a great heritage of the linguistic wealth of those times." The presence of old European religious literature in Roman script while indicative of diversity at societal level, also helps in providing samples of Old Konkani. Any research on language is therefore equally a piece on the socio-cultural history of its people........

One literary work of immense value is the Old Konkani Bharata (Mahabharata). Dr. Rocky Miranda has performed the arduous task —which at times is like a journey of chance discoveries and encounters with many personalities —of analyzing this work and has planned to present the research in three Volumes, the first of which is the present Introduction with the Test and Glossary to follow as separate companion volumes. To do his painstaking though most interesting research, he has delved deeply into the original Konkani manuscript, and simultaneously, has also examined the versions of the Mahabharata in Sanskrit, Old Marathi, and Kannada to provide for a comparative perspective, which has allowed him to see the changes in the process of transmission in a scientific way. Being a historical linguist he has brought out issues related to language change at all levels of language- and he is in a unique position to point out the sources of that change which makes the work commendable......

There is no doubt that this is a piece of original research and given the dearth of such ventures in this country it is truly invaluable. As a result of his historical investigation, Dr. Miranda has provided a reference manual to Konkani readers, students and researchers of language and cultural history. The English version of the work will be valuable in acquainting speakers of other languages with the grandeur of Old Konkani literature and surely the author deserves our appreciation for this work.........

We hope the Konkani world will feel enriched in particular and the collective heritage of India will feel they have added another nugget to their collection.......


I first learned about the existence of the Old Konkani Bharata from the work of Dr. José Pereira who wrote about the three codices from Braga, Portugal, that contained some old Konkani and Marathi materials (See Pereira 1964-66, 1973). Many years later, I came to know from Professor L. A. Rodrigues that a copy of these Braga codices was brought from Braga by Fr.

Antonio Pereira and deposited in the library of the Xavier Centre of Historical Research in Porvorim in 1985. He also told me that a copy of the same codices was made for Thomas Stephens Konkani Kendr, which was then in Miramar. I requested Fr. Mathew Almeida and Fr. Pratap Nayak, the directors of Thomas Stephens Konkani Kendr at that time, to have a copy of the codices made for me. I would like to acknowledge my indebtedness to them for responding to my request.

After Professor Rodrigues and Fr. Pratap Nayak edited the Adiparva, the first parva of the Konkani Bharata (see Rodrigues 1987 and Nayak 1990), Professor Rodrigues told me that the editing of the rest of the work would be difficult since many pages in the copy of the codices were illegible and some pages were missing. When I happened to visit Braga in 1992, I checked the original codices at the District Library of Braga and found that at least the pages in the original were quite legible. I first thought of editing the Konkani Bharata in 1999. I typed on my laptop those portions of the Konkani Bharata which were legible in the xerox copies. Then I Stopped in Braga in 1999 and 2000 on my way to the US and visited the archive containing the codices which had now become part of the University of Minho Library. I would like to thank the library staffs who were friendly and helpful — in particular, Luis Filipe Barbosa de Araujo, who helped me in various ways. I spent several weeks at the library copying from the original manuscripts those portions of the work that were illegible in the xerox copies and also those pages which were missed during xeroxing. There were also discontinuities in the original codices which gave the impression that pages were missing there in several places. However, this was due to the fact that the pages in the codices were out of order and the missing pages turned out to be somewhere else in the same codices. When the pages were placed in order, all pages were found except for the last page of the Gadaparva which would have had only a couple of lines from the ending of that parva.

At the end of several stories in the Konkani Bharata, there is the name of Visnudas Nama (Uisttnnudassu Nama) who is said to have told these stories to the listeners. This gave the impression that the author of the Konkani Bharata was this Visnudas Nama. However, while I was reading a history of Marathi literature (Deshpande 1969), I learned that Visnudas Nama was a well-known Marathi poet and that he had written a Bharata in Marathi. It was, therefore, reasonable to suspect that the Konkani Bharata was based on this Marathi Bharata. I thought that no one if Goa was aware of this fact but then I came across another Marathi work (Khanolkar 1977) which referred to an article on the Konkani Bharata by Pandurang Pissurlenkar (Pissurlenkar 1969) which indicated that he knew that the Konkani Bharata was based on Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata. His article had appeared in a Marathi periodical called Mandavi that is now defunct. Professor Ramola Antao (who then taught at Dhempe College, Panaji) was able to locate the editor of this periodical, Mr. Shreeram Pandurang Kamat. He had copies of the old issues of this periodical and he kindly sent me a copy of Professor Pissurlenkar's article. My thanks to both of them." Later, I came across an earlier article of Professor Pissurlenkar on the same subject (Pissurlenkar 1956). From these articles, I learned that Professor Pissurlenkar had examined the Konkani Bharata in Braga in 1954. He claimed in his articles that the Konkani Bharata was just a translation of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata. However, even a cursory examination of the available parvas of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata makes this claim untenable. Although the Konkani Bharata is based on Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata, there are major deviations from Visnudas Nama's Bharata in this work. See chapter I, section 6 and chapter III of the present volume for more information on this subject.

I came across two parvas of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata (Virataparva and Karnaparva) in Braga codex 773 which includes several Marathi works in verse. Then I came across Professor M. R. Joshi's edition of Visnudas Nama's Nalopakhyana (Joshi 1970-71) in which he gave details regarding the location of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata parvas. From this information, I was able to locate two versions of the Adiparva of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata at Marathi Samshodhan Mandal, Mumbai. However, I was not successful in locating any of the other parvas in Goa, Mumbai, and Pune in the libraries mentioned by Dr. Joshi. I would have liked to have access to Dr. Joshi's personal collection of manuscripts since he had mentioned that he had many parvas of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata in his personal collection. Dr. Joshi had written about this almost forty years ago when he was a professor at Nagpur University. I was not sure I could locate him after such a long period. My friend Mr Kamal Bagai, a retired officer from the Anthropology Survey, Mysore, who used to work in Nagpur told me that he would write to his friend Captain Wankhede in Nagpur and see if he could locate Dr. Joshi. Within a few days, he was able to furnish me the address and phone number of Dr. Joshi who now lived near Delhi at his son's place. I wish to express my thanks to Mr. Bagai and Captain Wankhede for their efforts in locating Dr. Joshi. Dr. Joshi kindly agreed to let me examine his copies of Visnudas Nama's Bharata parvas. He told me that he occasionally made trips to Nagpur and during one of these trips I could come and see him and make copies of the required manuscripts. At last, in January 2009, I was able to see Dr. Joshi in Nagpur. He was very gracious and helpful. I am greatly indebted to him for his help and generosity. I wish to thank also my brother-in-law, Mr. Datta Bhosle, who accompanied me on this trip with a digital camera and copied all the required material. I was particularly interested in those parvas of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata that corresponded to the parvas found in the Konkani Bharata. Therefore, I copied from Dr. Joshi's collection manuscripts of Visnudas Nama's Sabhaparva, Udyogaparva, Bhismaparva, Dronaparva, Gadaparva, and Susuptiparva.

The Konkani Bharata has a few Sanskrit verses which are in very corrupt Sanskrit. In these verses, the language is ungrammatical and the lines are not in accordance with the rules of metre. I needed help in reconstructing their correct forms. Dr. Anantanarayana, formerly professor of linguistics at Hyderabad University, who was then residing in Mysore suggested that examine Sanskrit subhdsitasangrahas in this connection. Later, I met Dr. S. Jagannatha of Mysore Oriental Research Institute who offered to reconstruct the verses that I could not find in the subhdsitasangrahas. I was able to find five of the fourteen Sanskrit verses in the subhasitasangrahas. I still needed help with the other nine verses. Dr. Jagannath was kind enough to reconstruct for me these verses according to correct Sanskrit grammar and metrical rules. wish to thank Dr. Jagannath for his help and for letting me take advantage of his expertise in Sanskrit grammar and Sanskrit metre.

In order to compare the Konkani Bharata with the Sanskrit Mahabharata, I needed an edition of the Sanskrit Mahabharata with an English or Hindi translation as my knowledge of Sanskrit is inadequate. I used the Mahabharata edition of the Gita Press, Gorakhpur, which has a Hindi translation. I also wanted to consult an expert on the Sanskrit Mahabharata who could guide me in this connection. I approached Dr. Ashok Kelkar, retired professor of linguistics from Deccan College, who had taught me phonetics at the summer linguistics institutes in 1963-64. He suggested that I consult another retired professor of linguistics from Deccan College, Dr. M.A. Mehendale, who had taught me historical linguistics at the same summer linguistics institutes in 1963-64. Dr. Mehendale is an eminent expert on the Mahabharata and he was engaged in preparing a Cultural index to the critical edition of the Mahabharata edition published by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. When Dr. Mehendale taught me historical linguistics in 1963-64, I was in my twenties and Professor Mehendale in his forties. It was my good fortune that now when I am in my seventies and Professor Mehendale in his nineties, I have still been able to benefit from his guidance. In spite of his age and poor health, Professor Mehendale carefully went through my chapters on the Konkani Bharata and the comparison of the Konkani Bharata with the Sanskrit Mahabharata and made numerous corrections. He also patiently answered many of my questions on the Mahabharata. I had used the Gita Press edition of the Mahabharata in noting the references to the Mahabharata In my comparison of the Konkani Bharata with the Sanskrit Mahabharata. I wanted to convert these references to those of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) edition of the Mahabharata. In this connection, Dr. Mehendale guided me in using the BORI Prafika index in order to convert the reference numbers. I have received so much help from Dr. Mehendale that I cannot find adequate words to express my gratitude to him.

I was intrigued by the fact that the Asvamedhaparva of the Konkani Bharata bore hardly any resemblance to the Asvamedhikaparva of the Sanskrit Mahabharata. Then I learned about Jaimini's work called Asvamedha from the preface to the Asvamedhika-parva in the BORI edition. The editor of the Asvamedhikaparva has given a complete summary of Jaimini's version in his preface. From this, it became clear that the Asvamedhaparva of the Konkani Bharata was based on Jaimini. My thanks are due to my wife, Pushpa Bobde, who suggested that I examine the Marathi works found in a math in her village, Gowdagere, and see if there were any that were relevant to my research. I soon learned that the Marathi people in the village were planning to cast all these old Marathi works into the Gowdagere lake since no one was around there now who could read these works as they were in the Nagari script. I hastened to the village before these precious works were consigned to a watery grave. On examining these works, I found that they were mostly Old Marathi works in verse (ovi metre) printed in the nineteenth century which included the Mahabharata stories such as Pandavapratapa and Kathakalpataru (see, respectively, Stidhara 1868 and Krsnayajiiavalki, no date). Among the works at the math, there was even a printed version of one parva of Visnudas Nama's Marathi Bharata: Svargarohanaparva. The Konkani Bharata, however, does not have any parvas from the Mahabharata after the Gadaparva except for Asvamedhaparva. Jaimini's Asvamedha appears to have had a very influential position in the Marathi area. In Marathi works like Pandavapratapa and Kathakalpataru which include the Mahabharata story, although the general account is based on the standard Sanskrit Mahabharata, the Asvamedhaparva stories are based not on the standard work but on Jaimini’s Asvamedha. I found among the works at the math also a Marathi version of Jaimini's Asvamedha (Stidhara 1894). However, I had not been successful in finding a copy of Jaimini's original Sanskrit work. Then Dr. Mehendale informed me that the Bhandarkar Institute had a copy of this work edited by Vishnushastri Bapat along with a Marathi translation (see Jaimini. No date). He kindly arranged to get a xerox copy of this work for me from the library.

At some point, at a CIIL linguistics conference, I met Professor T.R.S. Sharma who told me about a conference he had organized on the Mahabharata versions available in various Indian languages. He said he would have invited me to present a paper on the Konkani Bharata if he had come to know about my work before that conference. However, he still wanted me to contribute a paper on the subject to the volume he was going to edit based mainly on the proceedings of that conference. It was to be published by the Sahitya Akademi (see Sharma 2009). When it came out, Professor Sharma was kind enough to send me a copy of it. I was eagerly waiting to learn from that volume about the Mahabharata versions in other languages of India. In particular, an article by C.N. Ramachandran in that volume made me aware that among the innovations in various versions of the Mahabharata in Gujarat and Karnataka some were common to the Konkani Bharata (see Chapter I, section 6). I was looking for a Kannada Janapada Mahabharata edited by P.K. RajaSekhara in 2004 which was mentioned by C.N. Ramachandran. Although it was published in Mysore, it was unavailable in the Mysore bookstores. When I went to see my friend Mr. Harihareshwar, a Kannada writer, he simply donated me his personal copy of this work. A number of innovations in this Kannada folk version of the Mahabharata were in the Konkani Bharata as well. I have included this information in Chapter I, section 6. My initial plan was to prepare an edition of the Konkani Bharata in the Kannada script for the Konkani readers in Karnataka. Then I met Dr. Tanaji Halarnakar who was the Vice President of Goa Konkani Academy at that time. He urged me to prepare a Goan edition of the work as well. Also, Dr. Madhavi Sardesai, Department of Konkani, Goa University, pointed out that publishing a Goan edition of the work would be beneficial to the Konkani students in her Department. She invited me to give lectures to her students on the Old Konkani Language and the Konkani Bharata and also to publish an earlier version of the first chapter of this work in the Goan Konkani monthly periodical Zaag which she edits. She corrected numerous spelling errors in the article that I sent to her for publication in Zaag. Later, she also checked the entire Konkani version of this work for errors. I am greatly indebted to Dr. Madhavi Sardesai for her help and encouragement. Once Dr. Sardesai took me to see her uncle Mr. Ravindra Kelekar whose beautiful rendition of the Sanskrit Mahabharata in modern Goan Konkani has been a source of inspiration for me. Mr. Kelekar advised me to read certain important works pertaining to the Sanskrit Mahabharata such as Irawati Karve's Yuganta.

I had decided to use the Karnataka Saraswat dialect of Konkani in the Karnataka edition since I could expect the maximum number of readers for this work from among the speakers of this dialect. However, my knowledge of this dialect was quite inadequate. I went to Manipal to see Mr. Shantaram Baliga, editor of the Konkani monthly Panchkadayi which 1s published in this dialect. I wanted his advice in finding a Saraswat Konkani writer who could help me with the translation of the material I had prepared. 1 was delighted when Mr. Baliga kindly agreed to do the translation himself. I wish to thank him for this. I should also thank him for going over the portions of the text which I translated into Karnataka Saraswat Konkani and for making corrections there. The Karnataka Saraswat dialect has a number of regional and social variants. The dialect used here is that of the Gowda Saraswat Brahmans of South Kanara district. I wish to thank also Mr. Ganesh Mallya for going over the entire Konkani version of the Karnataka edition and checking it for errors. I would also like to thank Mr. Damodar Ghanekar, Mr. Prakash Thali, and Mr. Seby Fernandes who kindly agreed to translate various portions of this work into Goan Standard Konkani. I would also like to thank Mr. Seby Fernandes and Mrs. Hema for typing major portions of the Konkani versions of this material. The text of the Konkani Bharata has virtually no punctuation. I must thank Mrs. Sonia Castelino for her assistance in introducing punctuation into this text. Mr. Shubhakar has helped me in converting the Macintosh version of my manuscript into the Windows version. I wish to thank Mr. Shubhakar and also my son Shawn Miranda for their help in many matters that required computer expertise. My thanks are also due to my daughter Sheila Miranda who went over the English manuscript and corrected a number of errors. I am particularly obliged to Professor S.M. Borges of Goa for his careful examination of the Konkani version in the Goa edition. Apart from spotting many errors, he has also given me many valuable suggestions for revising the manuscript.

I am grateful to Dr. Udaya Narayan Singh, former Director of Central Institute of Indian Languages, for inviting me to publish the Karnataka version of this work through the CIIL. I wish to thank Dr. Rajesh Sachdeva, the present Director of CIIL, for accepting this work for publication. I am also thankful to the Deputy Director Dr. Rajyashree (Retd.,) and several other friends at the CIIL for their encouragement and help in my endeavor. Dr. Rajyashree introduced me to typists who could type the manuscript for me. Mr. Damodar Mauzo of Asmitay Pratisthan, Goa, contacted me to inform me that Asmitay Pratisthan was interested in publishing the Goa edition of my work. I wish to thank Mr. Uday Bhembre, President, Asmitay Pratisthan, and other members of the Asmitay Pratisthan for their interest in this work. Mr. Bhembre was particularly helpful when I visited Goa in connection with the publication of this work. Dr. Tanaji Halarnakar has been kind enough to agree to write a foreword to this work in spite of his busy schedule. I wish to express my thanks to him. I would also like to thank Mr. Soter Barreto of Margao for his help and hospitality whenever I visited Goa in connection with my work. Msgr. Alexander D'Souza, former president of Karnataka Konkani Akademi, read with interest the parvas of the Konkani Bharata I had transliterated into Kannada script with punctuation and later the essays in this volume. I wish to thank him for his constant encouragement.

I wish to thank Dr. Srinivasacharya and Dr. K. Kapfo, Head of Publication & Printing press for their support. I would also like to thank Mrs. B. Shobha Rani for working with me patiently on the final version of this work and for the DTP work. I owe my thanks to Mr. H.Manohar for the cover design and to all the CIIL press staff for their good work. | have probably forgotten to acknowledge my thanks too many people who have helped me in this endeavor. I hope they will forgive me for my oversight.

When I got interested in editing the Konkani Bharata, I was in the process of editing another Old Konkani work, Diogo Ribeiro's Konkani Vocabulario compiled in 1626 - just the Konkani-Portuguese part of this Dictionary. When I examined the Konkani Bharata, I felt that it would make more sense for me to first work on the Konkani Bharata and then go back to the dictionary project since the dictionary has lots of vocabulary from the Konkani Bharata and even entire quotations in some of its versions. These can offer a deeper insight into the Old Konkani vocabulary and aid my editing of Diogo Ribeiro’s Vocabulario.

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