Resilience of Cultures: Role of Language and Religion in the Context of Goa
Prof. Gajanana Prabhu-Gaunkar, IIT, Goa, India
Hindu culture has demonstrated tremendous resilience in wake of colonisation and forceful religious conversions all over India. The reasons for such resilience are ingrained in the language, and beliefs of the society, both contributing to a collective Hindu identity. Giving example of the state of Goa, we will address some of the key factors that contribute to the resilient nature of the Hindu culture and also discuss factors which weaken it today.
Goan identity is a “sangam” or confluence of several languages, communities and cultures. We will examine language as a resilient agent. Presently only about sixty percent of the population declares Konkani as their mother tongue. Konkani can no longer play the role it did in the colonial times particularly in inculcating the values amongst the youth. The stratification of the Hindus along communal patterns remains strong. Faith nurtured by traditions and religiousness, shrines and cohesive social structure has a special significance in maintaining resilience of a uniform cultural identity even with communal diversity.
We will discuss how the landscape, the emerging profile of its inhabitants, industrialization coupled with rapid urbanization and changing socio-economic scenario are posing a new threat to the core Hindu culture and identity. Furthermore, we assess attempts at strengthening the resilience of the local cultural traditions which include use of technology, rejuvenation of cultural actions, prospering shrines, introducing learning options from school to university levels, research programs in social sciences, dialogues at national and international level and introduction of pathshalas for Sanskrit learning.
About the presenter…
Professor Prabhu-Gaunkar, a global scientist and academician, has combined his rich industry, government, administrative and primarily academic experience (IIT-Bombay and presently IIT-Goa) for the development of research and technology in Metallurgical Engineering & Materials Science. Additionally, he has active participation in Social Sciences and collaborations with personalities like Umberto ECO on topics of cross-cultural interactions & inter-cultural reflections on evolving societies and languages. For his contributions to academics, research and culture he received the honours of “Officier des Palmes Académiques” and “Chevalier dans l’Ordre Nationale du Mérite, two of the highest awards for national and international personalities, awarded by the French Government.