P17 – The Linguistic Question and the Colonial Press

22.05.2017, 17.40-19.00, Auditorium 2, Tower B, FCSH-UNL

Helder Garmes – Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Cielo G. Festino – Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: Plurilingualism is constitutive of colonized societies, once there is a conflictive transit between the local languages and the European languages introduced by colonialism. This diversity is responsible for the linguistic complexity of the colonies and former colonies. If, on the one hand, the language of the colonizer tries to dislocate the local languages from the centre of power and authority of the culture, on the other hand, it ends up being influenced by the local languages significantly transforming itself. Likewise, local languages become a locale of resistance, once they either try to impose themselves on the language of the colonizer, or appropriate European languages so that their own discourse will become visible beyond the national frontiers. This comes to show that in the colonial space languages are not employed as separate units since they are deeply enmeshed. Stories narrated in one language are complemented or contested when narrated in the other languages, in the same way that some contexts demand that one or another language be spoken leading the community to try to become partly proficient in all. Thus, languages become intertwined in an agonistic and antagonistic fashion constituting the sociolinguistic matrix of the colonized society. This process ends up revealing that both colonizers and colonized, simultaneously, are part of various linguistic, political, historical and cultural discourses. Nonetheless, the linguistic hierarchy established by the colonizer tries to keep itself in power. To speak, then, of the colonial press without taking into account this hierarchy, implies not only to misconstrue the journalistic narratives in the language of the colonizer but also those written in the languages of the colonized as well as ignoring the hybrid quality inherent to all these productions. To discuss these themes, this panel privileges the presentation and discussion of the different forms of journals and periodicals, handwritten or printed in the different languages of the ex-colonies, of either political, cultural or social nature, both official and clandestine, as well as the palimpsestic relationship among all of them and their fight for the cultural and political supremacy.

Keywords: Plurilingualism, Colonial Press, Journals, Periodicals

1. Lisa Kuitert – Universiteit van Amsterdam, Holanda      

Translation and censorship. Dutch East Indies 

Translating can be seen as a helpful tool, helpful in the sense that it enables communication and provides a better understanding. In this paper I want to present a different view on the act of translating, as far as the Dutch East Indies are concerned. In this former Dutch colony, the so called Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), in the nineteenth century newspapers arose, firstly in Dutch but in the second half of the century also in Malay and Chinese-Malay (Termorshuizen 2001)  The colonial administration spoke and read only Dutch. Only a few interpreters were employed, so it was difficult to uncover what was going on in local society. This situation became acute when the local population grew more and more discontented, and the number of newspapers increased. After 1900 the government experimented with new initiatives (Kuitert 2016). One of those was the section in the journal for officials, the Koloniaal Tijdschrift (colonial magazine), which was called “from the indigenous press”. It provided the administrators a glimpse of what was going on in the local communities, through abstracts of the press. But only very few of the articles were translated. So the question is: what sort of articles were translated? And what sort of news remained untranslated? Who was this translator and what were his criteria?

Keywords: translation, newspapers, censorship, Dutch East Indies

2. Dale Luis Menezes – Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi

 Global News, Vernacular Print: A Study Of Political Ideas In Modern Portuguese India (1880-1975)

The print-culture of Portuguese India existed in diverse languages, such as Portuguese, Marathi, English, Nagri Konkani, and Romi Concanim. These newspapers are a source of constructing the intellectual history of modern empires. Print-culture has received a decent amount of attention in recent times with scholars like Rochelle Pinto and Sandra Ataíde Lobo working on the intellectual production of elite Goans. However, we do not know much about the subaltern, working class sections of Goan society. How these publications in various languages engaged with news and events from across the globe, and how they selected news items according to their ideological and political proclivities, and their location within empires indicates how politics was negotiated within the setting of the Portuguese empire. This study proposes to focus on three newspapers: the weekly Ave Maria in Romi Concanim, Porjecho Adar a bilingual weekly in Romi Concanim and Portuguese, and the weekly Bharat in Marathi. By putting together different news items in various languages one can analyze the ‘global’ and the ‘local’ through news reportage and how this news reportage was consumed and debated. Focusing on global news as reported in the local or the vernacular press would help us understand the intellectual ideas with which the ‘local’ actors engaged with or was made to engage with.

Keywords: Press, Goa, Portuguese India, Concanim, Marathi

3. Kaustubh Naik – Independent Researcher, Nova Delhi, India

Navigating the ambivalence – Bharat and the Hindus of Portuguese Goa

The end of constitutional monarchy in Portugal and its subsequent transition into a republic in 1910 is a critical moment in the history of Portuguese Goa as it enfranchised Goan Hindus into the state administration, albeit in a restricted manner. Among other implications of this moment perceived as a step towards freedom, the printing and circulation of Marathi periodicals in Goa saw a surge post 1910. Marathi periodicals in Goa have been regarded as the symbols of cultural inertia of the Goan Hindus, who shielded themselves from the so called ‘westernization’. These periodicals, post 1910, emerged as sites that were representative of the efforts of the Goan Hindu communities that were repositioning themselves in an ambivalent political future that loomed over the initial half of the 20th century in Portuguese Goa. As an illustrative case for this observation, this paper will focus on the writings published in Bharat, the longest running multilingual periodical (1912-1949) that was published from Portuguese Goa. Through critical analysis of these writings, this paper seeks to foreground the manner in which the Goan Hindu communities were mediating the Indian nationalist discourses originating from the British India while simultaneously grappling with the autonomy of the Portuguese republic.

Keywords: Marathi, Vernacular, Public Sphere, Nationalism

4. Priyanka Vithoba Velip – Assistant Professor in Sociology, Government College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Quepem- Goa (Affiliated to Goa University), Goa, India

In the process of making Margins in the marginalized Goa via press: re-reading “Dudhsagar” of Colonial Times    

The present paper focuses on the margins of the colonial empire. How was the colonial press implicated with the margins?

The paper will focus on a reading of the semi-monthly Marathi periodical ‘Dudhsagar” from 1954 to 1960. As India celebrated freedom from British rule Goa’s local elite used the press to elaborate their patriotic impulses. Started by a Saraswat (an upper caste) the objective of ‘Dudhsagar’ was reforming or regenerating the Hindu communities specially the marginalized whereas the catholic community largely looked towards the West for inspiration. The Hindu community attempts to draw from rich cultural and intellectual heritage of India as indicated in the Dhudhsagar. This Hindu elite was attempting to recreate itself in a changing context and in so doing it also attempted to replicate its dominance. Marathi was used as the counter hegemonic language and the use of this language itself was embedded in a religious outlook which is demonstrated by this periodical. The press consequently was part of the process of refashioning the Orient and the Occident. The journal shows how the Hindu community negotiated between constructing an indigenous cultural heritage and imposed imperial lusophone culture. The discussion would also look at what was defined as social evil and how it was seen as contradictory to basic human rights.

Keywords: Portuguese Empire, Goa, Margins


Cielo G. Festino holds a PhD in Indian Literature in English from University of S.Paulo, Brazil (2005). She also attended a post-doctoral program on the teaching of literatures in English at the same University (2007-2009) with a scholarship from FAPESP, and a second post-doctoral program on Post-colonial literary genres at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil (2011-2012). At the present she teaches English at Universidade Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil, and collaborates with the Master´s programme at Universidade Federal de Tocantins, Porto Nacional, Brazil. She is a member of the thematic project “Thinking Goa. A Singular Library in Portuguese” (USP/FAPESP). She has different publications on Indian literature in English and in the bhashas.

Dale Luis Menezes is an M Phil research scholar at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He focuses on knowledge production, intellectual histories, and empires, particularly the early modern Portuguese, Dutch, and British empires in the Indian Ocean. He engages with issues of public interest in the Goan press through his op-ed columns and other writings.

Hélder Garmes 

Kaustubh Naik has an MA in Performance Studies from the School of Culture and Creative Expressions, Ambedkar University Delhi. He has been awarded the D.D. Kosambi research fellowship by the Directorate of Art and Culture, Government of Goa for the period 2016-2018. He is currently engaged in studying the evolution of Marathi public sphere in Portuguese Goa. He also writes a fortnightly column in ‘The Goan Everyday’ on issues concerning Goa’s cultural history and politics.

Lisa Kuitert is full professor in Book Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her research concentrates on publishing in the IXth and XXth Century. Currently she is studying the book business in the former colony known as ‘Dutch East Indies’ (Indonesia).  She is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Quaerendo. A Journal Devoted to Manuscripts and Printed Books. (Brill Publishers)

Priyanka Vithoba Velip, currently working as Assistant Professor in Sociology, Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem-Goa and PhD Research Scholar, Women’s Studies, Goa University, Goa. She has presented Research Papers at various National and International Conferences. Interest in Community Outreach and therefore is the Insider’s Voice on Tribal Communities in Goa.

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