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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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The Puran of Jesus Christ Durable Link to this BLOG
The Fascinating Story of Christa Puran

When in Goa, I heard this fascinating story of how a printing press, meant to go to a Portuguese colony in Africa lost its way and landed in Goa. It was to be the first printing press of India. (prior to it, copies were hand-made by Lipikars).

Anyway, the obvious use of the press for the governing Portuguese was to print Bibles and distribute. But the Europeans didn't know local languages, so all of it was in vain.

Meanwhile a English missionary, Father Thomas Stevens about whom Amma has written this week, had written the story of Jesus Christ using local words, similes and even classical styles of Indian literature. He called his work "Kristapurana" (a.k.a. Christapuran).  It might be the first mechanically mass produced book in an Indian language.

But which Indian language?

Amma read some segments over the phone to me and they appeared to be beautiful Konkani to me -- but of course the Marathi fanatics will hound me and say that it is Marathi. Amma told me that her own cousin who had conducted a thesis on Christapurana argued that it was Marathi work. Konkani, Marathi, whatever. It is a fantastic piece of literature.

The story gets better.

In their infinite wisdom, the Portuguese banned Konkani literature and burned all Konkani books which they considered "Hindu Literature", and work Kristapurana was to suffer the same indignation. That's why no original copies of Kristapurana cannot be found today.

But remarkably, the Konkani Christians who ran away from Goa (to Mangalore) kept the books and importantly, sang the verses from Kristapurana.  The songs are popular even today among the Konkani and Marathi speaking Catholics.

See Also:
• The Puranas
• Christianity in India
• The Konkani Language
• Topics on Goa

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, July 17, 2009
Last Modified: 7/17/2009 2:55:00 PM

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