Goan literature

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Goan literature is the literature pertaining to the state of Goa in India.

Small region[edit]

Goa has a population of around 1.4 million and an area of 3,700 sq. kilometres (1,430 sq. miles). For a small region, it has a significant amount of publication activity, possibly in part because its people write in a number of languages—as many as 13, according to one count—and also because of the large expatriate and diaspora population of Goans settled across the globe.

It was the first place in Asia to have a printing press, which was brought by the Jesuits in 1556;[1] Goa's Portuguese colonial rulers also believed in meticulous record-keeping.

Early roots[edit]

Goa has had a long love affair with the printed word, although growth has been slow, and punctuated by problems like linguistic breaks and censorship.

Goans, with a long history of emigration and foreign-rule, seem to have also adapted, either out of necessity or choice, to writing in languages that had their origins in distant Europe, like Portuguese and English.

Writing by Goans in other languages[edit]

Books from Goa.

Professor Peter Nazareth points out that that Goans have written in thirteen languages, of which the chief are Konkani, Marathi, English and Portuguese. The first of these, is the mother tongue, being written in four different scripts. Nazareth is editor of an anthology of Goan writing[1], Professor of English and African-American World Studies and adviser to the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He writes:

(By saying Goans are cultural brokers, I mean) Goans mediate between cultures, Goans live between different cultures, Goans are travelers from one part of the world to another. This, in my opinion, happened when East and West met in Goans under pressure with the Portuguese conquest. Since that time, our usefulness to the world, wherever we are, is that we can understand different cultures and help people from different cultures understand one another. The disadvantage is that if we don't work on it, we may end up not knowing who we are."

Edward D'Lima, who has done his PhD on the Goan writer Armando Menezes, argues that Goan writing in English goes back to the late nineteenth century, when Goans were migrating out of this Portuguese-controlled colony in favour of jobs in the growing English-speaking British-ruled colonial world. One early example was the writer from the village of Pilerne (in Bardez) named Joseph Furtado.

Dr. S. M. Tadkodkar, who was conferred Ph.D. degree by Goa University for his exhaustive research work on Prof. Anant Kaakaba Priolkar, contends that while the Kannadd language of Karnataka province was dominating the Goan culture, Marathi language and culture was embraced by Goans. Now, Marathi has embraced the Goans and would not leave them, willingly. Maximum literature is published in Marathi. There are 8 Marathi dailies published from Goa. Prominent among them are Dianik Gomantak, Tarun Bharat, Lokamat, Navaprabha, Pudhari, Goadoot, Sanatan Prabhat. Marathi daily Lokmat has the highest circulation (50000+) among all dailies.

Goans now read (and write) in different languages. English is probably the most influential. Marathi is another widely read language. Konkani, the widely spoken and official language of the region, is studied in schools.

Goan writers[edit]

  • R. V. Pandit (poetry)
  • Philip Furtado (poetry)
  • Eunice De Souza (Mumbai-based, poetry and fiction)
  • Lino Leitao (short stories) used Goan imagery in plenty in his writing from North America.
  • Lambert Mascarenhas' book Sorrowing Lies My Land carries traces of the Rammanohar Lohia-led anti-colonial movement launched in Margao in 1946.
  • Konkani writer Pundalik Naik's short stories[2] touches traditional themes very important in yesterday's Goa. His book from the 1970s titled 'Achev' (The Upheaval) was translated into English and published from New Delhi earlier this decade. It is a story based in a Goa wrecked by rampant mining.
  • Margaret Mascarenhas'is a Goa-based writer (literary fiction, poetry, essay). Her Diasporic novel Skin, published by Penguin in 2001 moves from a bar in California to life in a Goan village.
  • Victor Rangel Ribeiro's Tivolem has earned praise as a well-written book.
  • Vasco Pinho
  • Melanie Silgardo (poetry)
  • Joao da Veiga Coutinho's "A Kind of Absence: Life in the Shadows of History"
  • Maria Aurora Couto's Goa: A Daughter's Story has received wide attention.
  • Frank Simoes (advertising and journalism)
  • Jerry Pinto (poetry)
  • Melanie Silgardo (poetry)
  • Abhay Sardesai (poetry, translation)
  • Damodar Mauzo (fiction) Author of "Carmeline
  • Dom Moraes (poetry, belles-lettres)
  • Sonia Faleiro (Mumbai-based writer of fiction and narrative non-fiction. Her critically acclaimed first novel The Girl was published by Viking in 2006. See www.soniafaleiro.com for more information).
  • Nandita da Cunha's fantasy novel 'The Magic of Maya' moves back and forth from a village in Goa to an imaginary world, Maya.
  • Silviano C. Barbosa's first Canadian/Goan romance novel The Sixth Night, taking you from a typically legendary life in Portuguese Goa in the 1950s all the way to Toronto, Canada.
  • Prakash S. Pariekar
  • Dr. S. M. Tadkodkar
  • Savia Viegas (fiction)
  • Alexandre Moniz Barbosa wrote the novel Touched By The Toe (2004) and translated from the Portuguese to English essays by Jose Inacio de Loyola published in book form titles Passionate and Unrestrained (2008). In 2011 he published the book Goa Rewound, a socio-political commentary on Goa.
  • Dr. Antonio (J. Anthony) Gomes (New York-based writer of poetry: Visions from Grymes Hill and a much acclaimed novel, The Sting of Peppercorns, published by Goa 1556).
  • Ben Antao (fiction and non-fiction)

Indo-Portuguese, Konkani writing[edit]

Besides English, Konkani and Marathi, Goans, particularly those of the past generation, have contributed significantly to writings in Portuguese.

  • Adeodato Barreto Civilização Hindu (Hindu Civilization) and O Livro da Vida (The Book of Life)(poetry)
  • Francisco Luis Gomes, In the Land of Brahama
  • Nacimento Mendonca, Through the Mythical Ayodya
  • Fanchu Loyola
  • Laxmanrao Sardessai (poetry)
  • Luís de Menezes Bragança (journalism)
  • Floriano Pinto (poetry)
  • "Gip" Costa, author of Jacob e Dulce' (Konkani flavour of Goa's spoken Portuguese)
  • Alvaro da Costa (journalism)
  • Manohar Sardesai (poetry)
  • José da Silva Coelho was a short story writer active in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Mário da Silva Coelho (poetry)
  • Ananta Rau Sar Dessai (poetry and radio-theatre)
  • Alfredo Bragança (poetry)
  • Júlio Gonçalves published short-stories called Os Contos da Minha Terra and Aventuras dum Simplicio
  • Carmo Azavedo's From the Tip of the Pen (Ao Bico da Pena)
  • Amadeo Prazeres da Costa (journalism)
  • Alberto de Meneses Rodrigues published three novellas in Caminhos de Luz (Bastora, Goa: 1958) and a collection of short stories and novellas entitled Flor Campestre in 1968
  • Fernando de Noronha's Nostalgic Memories of the Past
  • Dr.Olivinho Gomes, former Officiating Vice chancellor of Goa University
  • Dr Carmo D'Souza, Angela's Goan Identity, Portugal In Search of Identity and other books. In a recent lecture, Dr D'Souza himself traced the indigenous imagery, and the impact of Portuguese on Goan writing.
  • Orlando Costa eminent novelist and poet, author of prize winning novels O signo da ira (1961) and O Último Olhar de Manú Miranda (2000) and of many other literary works. Died in Portugal in 2006.
  • Carmo Noronha including Contracorrente (Panjim, Goa: 1991) and Escalvando na Belga (Panjim. Goa: 1993)
  • Alberto de Noronha translated a collection of short stories written in Marathi, Konkani and English under the title Onde Canta o Moruoni (Panjim, Goa: Third Millennium, 2003). It includes stories by Damodar Mauzo, Olivinho Gomes, Uday Bhembré, Laxmanrao Sardessai, Armando Menezes and Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, amongst others.
  • Vimala Devi (the pseudonym of Teresa de Almeida), author of 'Súria', 'Hologramas' and 'Telepoemas' (poetry) and 'Monção' (short stories)
  • Agostinho Fernandes published the novels Bodki (1962), ...por além do além (Panjim, Goa: Third Millennium, 2008) and "Alucinações" in 2012.
  • Epitácio Pais, a writer of short stories, a collection of which was published under the title Os Javalis de Codval in 1974
  • Maria Elsa da Rocha's Vivências partilhadas (Panjim, Goa: Third Millennium, 2006)
  • Leopoldo da Rocha's Casa Grande e Outras Recordações de um velho Goês (Lisbon: Vega, 2008)

Resources for and about Goan writers[edit]

  • The Goa Archives
  • Fundação Oriente, Panjim-based Portuguese cultural body, which has helped some writers with small grants of a few thousand rupees.

Goa University Library: It has a large collections in the languages of Konkani, Marathi, English, Portuguese, French. It has old manuscripts, microfilms and prints of the 17th century in Goa.

Central Library, which is run by the Government of Goa is the oldest library in the South Asia. It is one of the largest depository of all printed volumes pertaining to Goan languages and literature since the 17th century.


  • COSTA, Aleixo Manuel da. Dicionário de literatura goesa. Instituto Cultural de Macau, Fundação Oriente, 3 v., 1997.
  • DEVI, Vimala, & SEABRA, Manuel de. A literatura indo-portuguesa. Junta de Investigações do Ultramar, 2 v., 1971.
  • NAZARETH, Peter (ed.). "Goan Literature: A Modern Reader", Journal of South Asian Literature Winter-Spring 1983


  1. ^ A.K. Priolkar, The Printing Press in India: Its Beginnings and Early Development being a quatercentenary commemoration study of the advent of printing in India in 1556, (Bombay: Marathi Samshodhana Mandala, 1958).

^ "Goan Literature: A Modern Reader", Journal of South Asian Literature Winter-Spring 1983

^ Translated in Manohar Shetty's Ferry Crossing

See also[edit]

External links[edit]