| 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.
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