A collaborative effort. You are welcome to contribute, especially if you happen to be an expert. The aim is to collect as comprehensive a bibliography of Indian Christian Writings as possible, both primary and secondary, according to author.
Educationist and writer Suresh Amonkar’s two Konkani books--‘Christha Purana’ and ‘Goenchem Savasarikikan’ -- were recently released by art and culture secretary, Daulat Hawaldar along with Goa University vice-chancellor Varun Sahni, Fr Francis de Britto of Shirlai (Vasai) Church, writer and environmentalist, director of Art and Culture Department Prasad Lolayekar and Kiran Budkule, former HoD of English department, Goa University at Institute Menezes Braganza, Panaji.
Director of Art and Culture, Prasad Lolayekar in his welcome address stated that these books are a perfect representation of merger of Marathi and Konkani (Devnagri and Romi script) language. The book Christha Purana was originally written by Fr Thomas Stephen S J around 400 years ago in Romi Marathi and it has now been translated in Devnagri Konkani by Amonkar. This is the seventh edition of Fr Stephen’s Christha Purana as the original was written in 1616 in Rachol.
Amonkar in his address stated that he is paying homage to Fr Thomas Stephen who was known as Apostle of Salcete. He added: “But now Goa has forgotten him [Fr Thomas Stephen] and I don’t know why. He deserves a feast which we need to celebrate every year.”
While speaking about the history related to Christha Purana he said it was used for 70 years in churches of Bardez, Tiswadi and Salcete but then it was withdrawn in 1684. Fr Stephen had learnt the Konkani/ Marathi from Brahmins of Salcete in order to write the *Christha Purana* in Romi Marathi. Amonkar informed that at that time Marathi was the written language and Konkani the spoken language in Goa. The new converts had only two prayers in Konkani. So, there was lot of vacuum. In the year 1907 the fourth edition of the Purana was released in Mangalore. Amonkar described Fr Stephen as the real author who understood the need of the time.
The second book ‘*Goenchem Savasarikikan*’ throws light on the socio-religious conditions prevailing in Goa during the 16th and 17th century. While speaking about it he said: “I have looked upon the encounter between East and West as a process of globalisation. I would like people to consider the encounter in the context of indirect influence of Renaissance, Reformation and counter-Reformation, not just conversions.”
Budkule while analysing these books in her address stressed that Amonkar has imported the mind and creativity of Fr Stephen while writing these translations.
Hawaladar in his speech spoke at length about the role of translators and the original writers. He said: “Fr Stephen in *Christha Purana* is telling story of Christ in a receiving language and in a receiving culture. When we remember great writers we also remember their translators. Amonkar is translating from dominant language to vernacular language which takes techniques from oral traditions. It is to communicate a thought. It is adding value to his and our lives.”
Varun Sahni in his address stated that due to this book there is a communication between various ‘*bhashas*’ or languages of the country, which is very important in today’s times.
Fr Francis de Britto said that this book is an example of inter-religious dialogue. He focused on the current climate of polarisation and hate and that’s why we need to celebrate such literary works. He said that Amonkar is a real Goenkar as he has done this job of translation. He said that *Christha Purana* was possible in Goa as this place is a cradle of many religions like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. He stated that basic human values are nurtured here. He also emphasised on the role of mother-tongue and its promotion.
These books were released on March 22, which also happened to be Amonkar’s 82nd birthday, which was celebrated with the dignitaries and his well wishers. http://www.navhindtimes.in/christha-purana-and-goenchem-savasarikikan-released/
Just came across this piece of news: a new translation of Thomas Stephens' Khristapurana, this time into Konkani. The news item does not carry any reference to Nelson Falcao's rendering into modern Marathi and then into English. As of today, no other news seems to be available on the net about Amonkar's book.
Christian epic in Marathi by English Jesuit translated to Konkani
Kristha Purana was read in Churches up to 1684, until the linguistic policy of the Church and state changed.
posted 2 March 2017
With his translation in Devanagri Konkani, 81-year-old educationist Suresh G Amonkar has breathed new life into an almost forgotten 17th century Christian epic on the coming of Jesus Christ.
Written in Marathi with a profusion of Konkani words in the Roman script by an English Jesuit Fr Thomas Stephens, Kristha Purana was published in Rachol in 1616.
Amonkar who has already translated four Buddhist, three Hindu, two Christian and one Sikh scripture into Devanagri Konkani, devoted seven hours a day over five years while battling cancer relapses to complete the colossal task of translating the 10,962 verses written in ovi metre or quatrains, a poetric metre used in narrative poems in Marathi.
There were Spanish Jesuits, Portuguese and Italian missionaries but only Fr Stephens undertook the mammoth task of studying the local language and writing in it, perhaps because of his gumption and scholarship. He went on to master not only Konkani and Marathi but Kannada and Sanskrit too.
"Fr Stephens realized the importance of the local language in spreading the new faith. He felt the Kristha Purana would enlighten new Christians and have their faith deepened and strengthened," Amonkar says.
Calling the Jesuit's magnum opus the best example of inculturation, he feels Stephen was the first to follow the principles of inculturation to make the Christian faith acceptable to new converts. The former chairman of Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Amonkar studied Marathi for only four years in school but he continued to pursue it.
His study of the Bible in college too helped him translate the text. He opted to attend scripture classes along with his protestant classmates much to the surprise of his principal at St Wilson's College, who permitted him only after he produced written consent from his father who was a liberal.
Today he has a number of Bibles in his collection.
Kristha Purana was read in Churches up to 1684, until the linguistic policy of the Church and state changed. Instead of being celebrated, Fr Stephen's work was sidelined and withdrawn. One of the reasons for this, Amonkar believes was because he was ostracized by the Portuguese. "If it were a Portuguese or Spanish who had written it, they would have been put on a pedestal with a feast celebrated in their name every year," he says.
Kristha Purana is even more relevant today than it was 400 years ago since it was first published, Amonkar believes. "It is important today because services are held in Konkani in churches."
The book has been scheduled for release on March 22 with Amonkar, a 'cancer survivor par excellence' eagerly looking forward to its release.
The scene was Arambol, one of the frontiers of Goa, 500 years ago. A family mourns the passing away of its eldest member. That night a man was summoned. Known by the locals as 'Purankar', he had to sing the verses of a holy text called the 'Krista Purana' for the entire night.
Such was the scene half a millennium ago, when Goa's natives embraced Christianity. The influence of Latin culture had not yet reached Goan shores, and the new converts sang their hymns to the beats of the dholak, ghumot and other folk instruments.
The 'Krista Purana' translates as the 'The Christian Puranas', an epic poem on the life of Jesus Christ written in a mix of Marathi and Konkani by Fr Thomas Stephens, SJ (1549-1619). Adopting the literary form of the Hindu Puranas, it retells the entire story of mankind, from the creation days to the time of Jesus in lyrical verse form. The Christian Puranas comprise 11,000 stanzas of four verses.
Three years ago, Fr Glen D'Silva, who served on the executive board of Kala Academy, met its member secretary, Shrikanth Bhatt, who told him, "Father, someone must revive the Krista Purana."
Those words stuck in his mind, and he began to look for the book, learning later that a handwritten copy lies in the Pilar seminary museum, while a new edition of the book was in the possession of the Don Bosco educational complex in Panaji.
D'Silva certainly had illustrious predecessors to follow. Fr (Dr) Nelson Falcao had translated the works into English, while Padmashri Suresh Amonkar, educationist, social worker and writer had worked on the Konkani translation.
Eleven thousand verses dwelling in 49 chapters divided into the old and new testaments, D'Silva worked steadfastly in his mission to revive the almost-defunct 500-year-old 'Krista Purana'.
"My main aim in reviving the 'Krista Purana' was to bring about a cultural integration. It is important for us Goans to know our rich musical heritage in order to appreciate our own culture and traditions," says D'Silva, who, at present, serves the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Vaddem-Curdi as its parish priest.
Two years ago, in March 2013, D'Silva sang the first 11 verses in a public performance at the XVI Bhakti Sangeet Samaroh held at the Kala Academy.
D'Silva is also former director of the Pilar Music School and he was instrumental in starting music schools in Porvorim, Moira and Margao. His labour of love in revitalizing the devotional songs materialized in the release of his album 'O Namo', comprising 11 songs which is symbolic of the 11,000 verses in the 'Krista Purana'.
The album comprises the songs, 'O Namo' (Oh! Hail to thee), 'Tu Parmananda' (You are the absolute bliss, pervading the universe), 'Tu Sakshat Parmeshvaru' (You are the very God, Eternal and Infinite), 'Tu ani Tuzaa Ekach Sutu' (You and your only Son), 'Namo Visvachiye Dipti' (I bow to you, the light of the universe), 'Namo Spirita' (Hail to you, Oh! Pure and Holy Spirit), 'Tu Sapta Divya Dannacha Dataru' (You are the giver of seven divine gifts), 'Jaisa Baap Taisa Putr' (The Father as well as the Son), 'Teenazanache Ekach Tatva' (The three are made of one substance); 'Putr to Baapa Pasuni Vartala' (The Son, of course, came from the Father); 'To Amchaa Svami' (He is Jesus Christ our Lord).
Of the 11 songs, 'O Namo', 'Namo Spirita', and 'To Amchaa Swami' are his favourites. "'O Namo' is a rare composition in Raag Bhupali, 'Namo Spirita' is Raag Hem Kalian. These are unheard of by today's generation and 'To Amchaa Swami' is in Raag Shaym Kalyan, which is my favourite raag," he says.
"The 11 songs comprise the first chapter of the Krista Purana with 25 verses. It is difficult to measure the hours and time which I have put in. It was an inspiration and God's grace that worked. I have not done any great research as such, but, whatever I learned in Indian music, I applied it in the compositions," adds D'Silva.
The music in 'O Namo' features the harmonium, tabla, electronic tanpura and the violin, which D'Silva has played himself. "The audio CD is available at music stores. It has been produced by Brian D'Silva, who is my brother," he says.
"Fr Thomas Stephens began writing the 'Krista Purana' while he served as parish priest of Benaulim almost 500 years ago. Having roots in Salcete myself, I felt that God provided me a task to preserve, propagate and promote the 'Krista Purana' through 'O Namo'," says D'Silva, who is a native of Carmona.
"When I completed the first chapter comprising 11 songs, I realized that my efforts were supported by divine grace as the 'Krista Purana' itself comprises 11,000 verses," says D'Silva, who doesn't forget to appreciate the support given by his congregation. "My love, devotion and gratitude will always remain second to none to the Society of Pilar," he says.
Thomas Stephens. Birth and Childhood of
Mother Mary, St John the Baptist and Jesus Christ in the Kristapurana of Father
Thomas Stephens, S.J. Tr. and ed. Nelson Falcao. Bengaluru: Kristu Jyoti
Publications, 2014. 6+154 pp.
Thomas Stephens. Fadar Thomas
Stiphanskrta Khristapuranatila pavitra Mariya, santa Yohana Baptista va Prabhu
Yesu Khristaci janmakatha va balapana. Tr. and ed. Nelson Falcao. Bengaluru:
Kristu Jyoti Publications, 2014. 6+154 pp.
Nelson Falcao. Fadar Thomas Stiphanskrta
Khristapuranatila Prabhu Yesu Khristace duhkhasahana. DVD.
Nelson Falcao. Fadar Thomas Stiphanskrta
Khristapuranatila Prabhu Yesu Khristace punarutthana. DVD.
Nelson Falcao. Fadar Thomas Stiphans
Khristapurana. Tr. and ed. Nelson Falcao. DVD. Pär Eliasson. "Mukti in Kristapurana. How Thomas Stephens S.J. (1549-1619) conveys a Christian message of salvation in words with Hindu connotations." MA thesis, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 2015. Available online a the university site https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/40770.
Dr Ananya Chakravarthi has been working on a project to digitise old records from Goa. On December 22, 2014 she outlined the work done in this direction and what could be done ahead. A recording of the talk. Part 1 of 2. This has been taken up under the
aegis of the British Library Endangered Archives Programme. It is hoped this work would prove to be a useful resource for scholars and others interested in the history of Goa.