Tiatr: Shaming, Humiliation, and the Dignity Project

Jason Keith Fernandes

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2022.003827
Published Date: Feb 28, 2022


Despite the popular acclaim and the sparse but enthusiastic academic attention that it has received, tiatr, the Konkani language theatrical tradition from Goa’s Old Conquests region, has battled a profound deprecation. It has consistently been dismissed as unsophisticated and “lacking in standard” and has regularly submitted to rigorous efforts to upgrade its standard. This essay locates this dismissal as the result of the shaming of working class and lower caste Catholics by those promoting British-Indian nationalist sensibilities, and examines the claim of humiliation by the tiatrist and activists promoting the rights of the largely Catholic communities using the Roman script for the language. In placing tiatr within the theoretical framework of humiliation studies led by Gopal Guru, the essay brings the question of caste, always lurking in the background of studies on Goa, but almost never effectively articulated, into the foreground. The essay demonstrates how caste is critical to understanding the development of tiatr and how the actions of the tiatrist and the Roman script activists are ways in which dignity is restored to Catholics in Goa from working caste and class locations.


Dalit-bahujan, dignity, Goa, humiliation, Konkani, shame, Tiatr

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)