Kannada Activists Target Konkani Catholics Again at Sadbhavana


BLNN, 02-12-2012 12:55:38


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Bangalore, Dec 2: For the second time in less than a month, the so called "Kannada Catholics” made a futile bid to target Konkani Catholics of Bangalore and sought to frighten them to abandon their worship in their mother-tongue. However, the Konkani Catholics peacefully and with great enthusiasm participated in the Holy Mass.

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If a group of about 20 to 25 so called ``Kannada Catholics” tried in vain to protest against the Sunday mass at the Saccidananda Provincialate of Capuchin Priests on November 18, about 25 to 30 activists, who included a few women and children, turned up at the Sadbhavana Provincialate of Carmelite Priests this morning long after the Sunday Konkani Mass was over and shouted slogans, vulgar invectives and abuses from the roadside.

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Though the Kannada activists had threatened to come and protest in front of Sadbhavana at 10.30 am, they turned up only after 11.30 am obviously getting wind of the presence of large numbers of Konkani Catholics. Having come with banners against the Archbishop of Bangalore Most Rev Dr Bernard Moras and also a loud-speaker and sound system, the leaders of the activists shouted slogans and used vulgar language to abuse the Archbishop by standing on the footpath even as the general public and vehicle owners driving on the busy Dr Raj Kumar Road watched the ``tamasha.”

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The Kannada activists displayed banners against the Archbishop, who was termed anti-Kannada in one banner, while another said the Archbishop was ruling by ``eating the food of Kannadigas, living on their soil and drinking their water and causing injustice to Kannadigas” unmindful of the fact that the Archbishop has risen to his position by virtue of his priestly service, caliber, intelligence and abilities and hailing from coastal Dakshina Kannada, was very much a Kannadiga and is even quite proficient in the State language having studied the language from primary to secondary and even in his collegiate education.

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The Kannada activists shouted their slogans in front of the media and then dispersed quietly. With Raphael Raj of Akhila Karnataka Catholic Christara Kannada Sangha (AKCCKS) sending SMS messages asking people to assemble in ``big numbers” in front of Sadbhavana OCD chapel at 10.30 am ostensibly ``to stop the high handedness of OCD Clergy for offering mass in Konkani,”  Konkani Catholics of Rajajinagar as well as from other parts of Bangalore had turned up for the mass, which normally begins every Sunday at 8 am and stayed on even after the mass was over in an hour awaiting the arrival of the Kannada activities.

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The message of Raphael Raj read: `` Dear Brethren, Kindly assemble by 10.30 am on this Sunday, the 2nd December 2012, in front Sadbhavana (OCD) Chapel, next St Theresa’s Hospital on Dr Raj Kumar Road, Rajaji Nagar, Bangalore, to stop the High Handedness of OCD Clergy offering mass in Konkani, for which the Archdiocese has not permitted. Kindly come in big Numbers. From Mr Raphael Raj, AKCCS (sic).”

The Konkani Catholics, who got the text messages through their contacts, circulated the same among themselves and even used the same to inform Subramanyanagar Police Station, which is less than half a kilometer away, who had come at both Saccidanada and Sadbhavana since morning to provide necessary police protection.

Both Saccidananda and Sadbhavana Provincialates are situated on the busy Dr Raj Kumar Road, next to St Theresa’s Hospital.

While majority of the Konkani Catholics dispersed around 10.45 am, a few Konkani Catholics stayed on just as a matter of precaution and were able to take pictures and even record the entire episode.

Incidentally, Aida D’Cunha, Chairperson of Federation of Konkani Catholic Associations of Karnataka, the umbrella organization of all Konkani Catholic Associations in and around Bangalore and other parts of Karnataka as well as associations of Konkani Catholics from foreign countries too, along with former FKCA Chairmen Valerian R Fernandes and Charles Gomes and office-bearers of other Konkani Catholic Associations had assembled at Sadbhavana.

``We are Kannadigas. We love Karnataka’s official language, Kannada. We use Kannada in our official business dealings and conversations with our friends and associates. But we wish and prefer to offer our prayers and worship in our mother-tongue,” said Aida D’Cunha. ``Nobody can dictate as to which language we should use for prayers and worship,” remarked Fernandes.

``Latin was used in religious service and prayers until the Vatican Second Council, which permitted the use of the vernacular. Consequently, the Catholic Church started its liturgical services in the regional languages of the people,” explained Charles Gomes pointing out Konkani is very much part of Karnataka as Kannada.

"In fact, the Karnataka Government has constituted separate academies for Konkani, Tulu, Kodava and Beary languages and is providing budgetary grants for these academies for the development of these languages, their literature and culture. Nobody has any right to prevent the Konkani Catholic faithful from offering prayers and worship in their mother-tongue,” said Valerian Fernandes.

"Sadbhavana is a provincial house. We don’t need anybody’s permission to offer mass,” said Fr Archibald Gonsalves, Provincial of the Carmelites in Karnataka, pointing out that the Konkani mass was being organized for the benefit of a large number of Konkani Catholics who were unable to offer prayers and worship in their mother-tongue in their respective parishes.

Said Fr Gonsalves: ``If the parishes permit the faithful to offer prayers and liturgical worship in Konkani, their mother-tongue, we will happily discontinue Konkani masses. We want the faithful to go and worship in their respective parishes. But if anybody thinks, we need permission to offer mass in our Provincial House they are mistaken. It is only ignorant people, who make such comments.”

Rajajinagar Konkani Welfare Association President Francis Lewis and former Presidents Edwin D’Souza and Valerian Baretto made it clear that the people want to worship in their mother-tongue. ``Just because we speak Konkani, we can’t be asked to go to Goa. Karnataka is our home State and we have been born and brought up in this State. We are very much part of Karnataka. We also love Kannada.”

Subramanyanagar Police Inspector Somegowda personally met and assured the Provincial of Carmelites Fr Archibald Gonsalves that the police would provide full protection to both the chapels and ensure that the peace was not disturbed during mass and prayer services on Sundays or during the Christmas season. ``We don’t want to interfere in the language issue. But maintaining peace and law and order is our priority,” he added.

One wonders, why the ``so called Kannada activists” are targeting Konkani speaking people when they dare not touch or speak against people belonging to other communities. In any case, what matters in religion surely is not the language but the relationship and even communication between man and God.

Comments on this Article
Jossey Saldanha, Mangalore/Mapusa/Mumabi Mon, December-3-2012, 9:45
Would you call them CATHOLICS.......
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