Konkan is the rugged section of the mid-western coast of the Indian Subcontinent, the coastal hinterland of Konkan consists of numerous riverine islands, river valleys, and the hilly slopes of the Western Ghats, that lead up into the tablelands of the Deccan region. Geographically, Konkan is bound by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Deccan plateau to the east. The Konkan coast proceeds from the north at Damaon in the Gulf of Cambay, extends southwards all along the western seaside areas of Maharashtra and Goa, and meets the Canara coast at the northern edge of Karwar District in Karnataka. The most well known islands of Konkan, are Ilhas de Goa, the site of the capital city of Panjim and Salsette Island on which Bombay (Mumbai), the capital of Maharashtra is situated.

Devgad beach on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra

DefinitionEdit

Geographically, the stretch of land from the Daman Ganga River in the north to the Gangavalli River in the south is considered to form the Konkan.[1]

The ancient Sapta Konkan was a larger geographical area that extended from Gujarat to Kerala.[2] The whole region of coastal Maharashtra and coastal Karnataka is included within the Konkan.

However, this segment overlaps the Konkan and Malabar coast continuum; and usually corresponds to the southernmost and northernmost stretches of these locales respectively.

EtymologyEdit

 
Beaches dotted with swaying coconut palms are a ubiquitous sight along the Konkan coast

According to the Sahyadrikhanda of the Skanda Purana, Parashurama threw his axe into the sea and commanded the Sea God to recede up to the point where his axe landed. The new piece of land thus recovered came to be known as Saptah-Konkana, meaning "piece of earth", "corner of earth", or "piece of corner", derived from Sanskrit words: koṇa (कोण, corner) + kaṇa (कण, piece).[3][4] Xuanzang, the noted Chinese Buddhist monk, mentioned this region in his book as Konkana Desha; Varahamihira's Brihat-Samhita described Konkan as a region of India; and 15th century author Ratnakosh mentioned the word Konkandesha.[5]

GeographyEdit

Konkan extends throughout the western coasts of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.[5] It is bounded by the Western Ghats mountain range (also known as Sahyadri) in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, the Daman Ganga River in the north and the River Aghanashini in the south.

The Gangavalli flows in the district of Uttara Kannada in present-day Karnataka. Its northern bank constitutes the southernmost portion of Konkan. The towns of Karwar, Ankola, Kumta, Honavar and Bhatkal fall within the Konkan coast.

 
A schematic map of the Konkan belt in Maharashtra, showing hill stations and the roadways and railways connecting them

The largest city on the Konkan coast is Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra. These are, from north to south:[6]

  1. Palghar district
  2. Thane district
  3. Mumbai Suburban district
  4. Mumbai City district
  5. Raigad district
  6. Ratnagiri district
  7. Sindhudurg district
  8. Goa

Uttara Kannada is also generally included within the Konkan coast and considered to be the southernmost part of the region.[7] However, due to its geographical and historical connection with Kanara (Karavali) or the larger Malabar Coast, it was transferred back to Mysore State (later renamed as Karnataka) with some other Kannada-speaking districts of the southern portion of Bombay State in 1956.[8]

EthnologyEdit

The main ethnolinguistic group of the Konkan region is the Konkani people. Specific caste and communities found in the region are the Aagri, Koli, Kunbi, Bhandari, Maratha, Kharvi, Mangela, Karadi, Vaiti, Mahar, Chambhar, Kumbhar, Dhobi, Teli, Sutar, Gabit, Padti, Dhangar, Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (also includes Rajapur Saraswats and Chitrapur Saraswats), Daivajna, Kudaldeshkar, Gomantak Maratha Samaj, Chitpawan, Karhade, Kayastha Prabhu, Somvanshi Kshatriya Pathare, Vadval, Pathare Prabhu, Vaishya Vani, Komarpant, Gavli, Ghorpi, Nath Jogi, Gurav, Ghadi, Namdev Shimpi and others. Billava, Bunt and Linghayat communities found in the parts of Karnataka which are near to Konkan.

Tribal communities include the Katkari, Thakar, Konkana, Warli and Mahadev Koli are mainly found in northern and central parts of Konkan. Dubla and Dhodia tribes in southern Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Palghar district of Maharashtra. Palghar district has the largest percentage of tribal population in Konkan. A small nomadic tribe called Vanarmare is found in southern parts of Konkan, which was originally associated with the hunting of monkeys. The Gauda and Velip tribes found in Goa.

The Jew community called Bene Israel is mainly found in Raigad district. The Christians formed of East Indians in North Konkan and Mumbai, Goan Catholics in Goa, Karwari Catholics in Uttara Kannada as well as Mangalorean Catholics in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada. Minorities of Muslim communities like Konkani Muslims and Nawayaths are scattered throughout the region.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bhandare, Vasant Ramchandra (1985) Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute: politics of manipulation. Kirti Prakashan. p. 63.
  2. ^ Saradesāya, Manohararāya (2000) "The Land, the People, and the Language". A History of Konkani Literature: From 1500 to 1992. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 1–14. ISBN 9788172016647.
  3. ^ Shastri Gaytonde, Gajanan (ed.). Shree Scanda Puran (Sayadri Khandha) (in Marathi). Mumbai: Shree Katyani Publication.
  4. ^ Satoskar, B. D. Gomantak Prakruti ani Sanskruti. Part 1 (in Marathi). Shubhada Publication. p. 206.
  5. ^ a b Saradesāya, Manohararāya (2000). "The Land, the People and the Language". A History of Konkani Literature: From 1500 to 1992. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 1–14. ISBN 8172016646.
  6. ^ List of districts in Konkan division, http://www.swapp.co.in/site/indianstatedistrictlist.php?stateid=j1YKCtUvHkShwKBqk6iHow%3D%3D&divisionid=bRbHGKvCu7LMDJJGUsYuQA%3D%3D
  7. ^ Charlesworth, Neil (2001). Peasants and Imperial Rule: Agriculture and Agrarian Society in the Bombay Presidency 1850–1935. Cambridge South Asian Studies. 32 (revised ed.). CUP. p. 60. ISBN 9780521526401.
  8. ^ "States Reorganization Act 1956". Commonwealth Legal Information Institute. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2008.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 15°36′N 73°48′E / 15.6°N 73.8°E / 15.6; 73.8