Goa’s first Konkani book on Birds of Goa was launched at Goa’s first Bird Festival which kick-started on the 11th November, at Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary.
The author, Harsha Shetye, a recipient of the Roque Barreto ‘Sahitya Puraskar’ (a literary award) in 2013, has to her credit many travelogues, poems and short stories.
Harsha’s passion and curiosity right from childhood led her to gather names of different birds she saw. The names were available in English and other languages but not in her mother tongue, Konkani. Says Harsha, “this is the first time someone has documented the Konkani names of birds found in Goa.”
Called ‘Goenchi Sukni’ (Birds of Goa), Harsha credits the idea of this research book to a group on Facebook called ‘Konkani Speaks’. According to Harsha, Photographer Vedang Sawant posted pictures of different birds on the group with a question to ‘guess the bird’. Being able to answer most of the bird names correctly, Vedang suggested that Harsha put her knowledge into a book.
130 bird photographs in the book are from Vedang’s collection. Besides, Deepa Kamat, Arabinda Pal, Vivek Naik, Justinho Rebelo, Omkar Naik and Sudhir Inamdar have also contributed their pictures.
Goenchi Sukni is published by the Goa Forest Department. Each page includes a picture with the Konkani, Marathi, English and Scientific names of the bird, along with a short description; Harsha has also added Goan folklore associated with that particular bird.
There are 432 birds in Goa though she has only found the names of around 182 birds till date. “I have just found 25 per cent of names of local birds. Mostly, I found these birds in Sanguem, Canacona, Sattari and a few in Bardez,” says Harsha.
Harsha gained a lot from Dr Salim Ali’s book on birds and the internet, during her quest to find the names of the uncommon birds in her surroundings.
We hope this book helps stir up the curiosity of many a Goan towards ‘amchem’ ‘Goenchi Sukni’.
Information credit: The Navhind Times