Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Early printing in Goa

One of the galleries at the Goa State Museum has these amazing ancient printing presses.

Wikipedia says:
1556 - D.Joao Nunes Barreto, the Patriarch of Abyssinia (roughly corresponding to the current-day Ethiopia) introduced the printing press to Goa; situated at the Jesuit College of Saint Paul at Old Goa, it was the first in all of Asia. The first book published that year was called Conclusiones Philosophicas.

1557,a year later, the printing press published its second book, Catecismo da Doutrina Christa, posthumously, five years after the death of its author, St. Francis Xavier."

There's a lot of authoritative information on the fortunate circumstances by which we got the first printing press in Asia in Manoharrai Sardesai's History of Konkani Literature .

The picture below is of a rack of print types.

Here are some copies of prints from the first printing press in Goa,
The Life of Saint Peter, the Apostle in verse form :

(Below) A government bulletin '(Boletim do Governo) printed on the early printing press.
In his History of Konkani Literature Manoharrai Sardesai says " was only in 1821, that the press reappeared in Goa with the starting of a weekly called "Gazeta de Goa" followed by Chronista Constitucional de Goa (7th Dec.13thJune 1835) and Boletim de Governo do Estado da India (7th December 1837).

I found the plate below very interesting and a challenge to my limited lingual skills.

This plate is from the "Doutrina Christa – Rachol 1622" , an early Christian primer. Given below are my renditions in Old Konkani as it appears on the text, modern Konkani and a rough translation in English.

Old Konkani :

G: Satemanita, anny vcharita, aisse mhannatassi quitea?
S: Quitea bhauarthia Christauana, IESV Christachy see satema nuchy, taissichi, zari yecade uello ti muqhi ucharunchy zaita, tari tichè qhatira maranna paualoi tari, muqhi ucharunchy.

G. Mannussu Christao zalea nimitim, connu manu, conni uhaddiua taca zoddata?
S: Paramesparacho dharma putru hounu, suarguicho ddaizy zata.

G: Anny Christau nhoe to?
S: Ho aissalo saitanacho gulamu. Anny suarguinchea ddaizaea chucata.

G. Christaû nãua conna upraunu amaca labalã?

Modern Konkani :

G. Soth manta, ani vicharta, oxem mhonntat kiteak?
S: Kiteak bhavarthi Christão-ano, Jesu Christ-achi see soth-manchem, tosench, zor ekadim yelo ti mukhi ucharunchy zata, tori tiche katir moronn pavlem tori, mukhi ucharunchy.

G: Munis Cristão zalea nimtin, konn manu, kosli vhoddai taka zoddta?
S: Pormesvoracho dhorm put zavun, sorgincho daiji zata.

G: Ani Cristão nuim to ?
S: Ho oslo soitanacho gulam. Ani sorginche daiz chukta.

G: Cristao navam konnache fatlean amkam lableat?


G: I believe, I ask, why do we recite so?
S: Because devout Christians must believe in the truth of Christ. In the same way, if he lives, he will speak the truth and even if he dies, he will speak the truth.

G: By becoming a Christian, what respect, what greatness does he attain?
S: By becoming the son of God, he attains the kingdom of Heaven.

G: And he who is not a Christian?
S: Such a man is a slave of the Devil. And he does not attain the Kingdom of Heaven.

G: After whom have we been given Christian names?

This plate reads out the "I believe" (The Creed) in Latin, Hindi (Devanagari script) and Hindi (Roman script).

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José Lourenço - Margao,Goa

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