The Kharvi, who are also known as Koli, are a community found in Goa. Some are Christians, while others are Hindus. They have various sub-groups, among which are the Arrikars, Kantaikars, Magkars, Pagelkars and Ramponkars. They are distinct from the Gabit community found mostly in northern Goa, although they share a similar traditional occupation.
Found chiefly in the coastal talukas of Mormugao, Salcete and Tiswadi, the Catholic Kharvis generally speak the Konkani language but some use Portuguese. They write Konkani using Roman script. Arranged marriages are common but not prevalent, and monogamy is practised. The traditional joint family arrangements are increasingly giving way to the nuclear family. Their principal diet is rice and fish curry but meat and vegetables are also important constituents.
While the Kharvis are traditionally a significant group among the fishing community of Goa, many of the younger generation have moved away from that occupation and also from the area. They are increasingly to be found working in Europe and the Gulf countries, from where they send money back to their families in India. The traditional modes of fishing in Goa have increasingly been supplanted by mechanised methods and the investment required for this, plus the gains to be accrued, have led to an influx of non-Kharvi communities to the industry. This shift to mechanisation has been encouraged by both the national Government of India and the state Government of Goa since the 1970s, and it had first become evident after the annexation of Goa by India in 1961. Those who remain in Goa as fishermen — the women sell the fish and also work as agricultural labourers — operate in groups of around 25 people. These groups are named and fishing licenses are granted under that name rather than to individuals. The groups share a common fishing vessel and nets, as well as a communal shed, and their catches are divided equally between the members.
As of 1996[update], the Kharvi in Goa were designated as an Other Backward Class in the central list maintained by the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). At that time their representation said that they prefer to be known as Kshatriya Marathas but the NCBC listed them as "Koli, Kharvi (including Christian Kharvi)".
- "Goa govt. affidavit to include Kharvi in the central list of Backward classes" (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. 1996.
- "Central List of OBCs for the State of Goa" (PDF). National Commission for Backward Classes. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Gaonkar, Rekha R.; Rodrigues, Maria D. C.; Patil, R. B. (2008). Fishery Management. APH Publishing. pp. 46–47, 62–63. ISBN 9788131303207. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- D'Cruz, Sharon; Raikar, Avinash V. (15–21 May 2004). "Ramponkars in Goa: Between Modernisation, Government and the Deep Blue Sea". Economic and Political Weekly (Economic and Political Weekly) 39 (20): 2048. JSTOR 4415030. (subscription required)
- Gaonkar, Rekha R.; Rodrigues, Maria D. C.; Patil, R. B., eds. (2006). "The Fisherfolk Movement in Goa: A Conflict between Tradition and Modernity". Fishes & Fisheries. APH Publishing. pp. 248–251. ISBN 9788131300350.