The beast of Democracy is at the Gates!!!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
04 January 2016 16:42 IST

If you hadn’t noticed, there are three distinct agitations gripping Goa, at the moment. Like all things Goan, all agitations are being fought with passion, with heart and with ferocity, uniquely Goan.

The three issues at hand are, the MoI issue, the mining conundrum (especially from the trucker’s perspective) and the endless battle for RP 2021. Of course, Remo is an issue, but only for my amigo Aires Rodrigues and the Rector of the Se’ Cathedral.

Let’s dissect them one by one

1. The MOI issue:

I will not get into the merits of pedagogy or the preservation of “Culture” (whatever that is) and the merits or demerits of primary education in the mother tongue. Nor, will I touch upon the horrifying and appalling vitriol poured by doyens of Goan society like Arvind Bhatikar, Uday Bhembre and Nagesh Karmali on the Christian community.

I am more interested in the dynamics that’s keeping “Force” led by the redoubtable Savio Lopes, sniping at the heels of this flat footed government. They are tenaciously demanding that their position on MOI be understood and considered into law.

There is only one driver that is pushing Savio and his army of parents, and sadly for the bigots, it is not the much reviled Catholic Church.

In one word that driver is DEMOCRACY. Savio’s argument is simple, convincing and very persuasive, indeed, the cornerstone of Democracy, anywhere in the world. “what is good for the goose, must be good for the gander”.

If affluent parents of kids (like mine) can have a choice to educate their kids in English at the primary level- culture, patriotism, nationalism, and Akhand Bharat be damned-  then all non affluent parents are saying: “Give us that choice too!”.

“Since I Savio pay my taxes as much as a Bhatikar or Bhembre do to the government, I have as much of a right on grants for my child’s welfare as anyone else does”.

They are clearly not frightened of governments or polarising attempts of abuse or arm twisting.

They simply want their rights. The first example of the Democratic beast now at the gates!.

2. The Mining issue:

The truckers are not lying down and dying after all. All the mining giants, now in a giant makeover, are demonstrating to this   genuflecting government, that they are doing a giant favour to all the midgets in Goa, by restarting mining.

And that the insolent, naughty, wayward truckers are putting a giant spoke in the economic engine, just when it was chugging into the warm embrace of mother China is completely unacceptable to the giants.

I am not bothered about the merits of the dollar to ore  price, or how low or high grade the ore is. Nor am I arguing about how mining families may go hungry if the industry doesn’t kick start again?

 I am only interested in the mind set of the truck drivers wanting  their pound of flesh.

 In one word, the sentiment is about our familiar friend DEMOCRACY .

Again , what is good for the goose, must be good for the gander.

The truckers, the most visible, cog in the mining engine are telling you this. “We all know, the kind of windfall profits, you mining giants, made  in the boom years. We made only a modest earning ferrying all those profits. We didn’t charge you exorbitantly then, when all the loot was being transferred to Geneva; oops Shanghai”.

Since, we didn’t charge you exorbitantly   then, this is our reasonable price, now, when the chips in the business are down. You still have that small piffling amount Rs 35,000 crore, to fall back on. We have nothing. So, give us our fair deal.

Even if BJP MLAs, the biggest beneficiaries in the business, have been hired to douse the flames, they can’t do so.

Why? Because, the beast of Democracy is uncontrollable when it is at the gates.

3. The Regional Plan:

Everyone in Goa, are seeming experts at the regional plan, except the experts, of course.

I always wonder why every section of Goan society has his/her own interpretation of R.P making it near impossible to come to any sort of consensus on the issue.

It’s taken me a long while to get to the bottom of it and surprise, surprise it is DEMOCRACY  all over again.

The reason, everyone wants the R.P scrapped is because the rich connected and powerful can get their conversions, permissions and land changes, done illegally, in a heartbeat, whereas an ordinary mortal has to go through hell to get a single file cleared even if completely legal and above board.

Laws have been flouted with impunity during the Congress regime and it has been elevated to a fine art by the current BJP dispensation.

Hence, the demand is simple: Freeze the eco sensitive zones, don’t overwhelm villages with concrete monstrosities, and most importantly keep the process, simple, transparent and fair.

“You don’t do this and continue to feed us Lies; lies and more damned Lies, that’s fine, but be aware of the beast of Democracy, waiting at the gates”.

What is the solution to Goa’s problems then? Are we destined to a life of protests, street fights, litigations and chronic unhappiness and resentment in society?

Clearly the Congress, who first drove us into the ditch and then, the BJP, which ensured we remain there can give us no cogent answers to the problems. They will continue to  play their cloak and daggers games; games of brilliant subterfuge and deception. They are too compromised to offer solutions.

The only answer can come when the people of Goa snatch their destiny as if it is their birthright and chart their own course by a political transformation that is guided, driven, cultured, cultivated and owned by them.

As a famous saying in Hindi goes

Aap Ki Kismat aur Aap Ka Naseeb AAP ke haath mein hai!

P.S Kismat/Naseeb means Destiny. I don’t need, to spell out what AAP means, surely!!

Blogger's Profile

Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

Drop a comment

Enter The Code Displayed hereRefresh Image

Previous Comments

Democracy means improving the level of literacy,economic status of the BPL citizens.

Mind you, I am not going by any caste,religious or political affiliations.

For that all affluent pay taxes.

To demand that the BPL child be given facility on par with affluent child is fallacy no 1.

In the mining gold rush , all involved made money .The only discrepancy was the bigger fry made more money and smaller fry made small money.Suffice to say that all was ill gotten wealth. Nobody has right to make any demands ... Fallacy no 2.

And regarding sale of land ,rules have been flouted by one and all. It has been the greed for money that allowed lands to be sold to land sharks... And now that we have awakened ,albeit late to save our precious Goem, we decide to oppose one and everything ...fallacy no 3

- Dr Ravindra Panandikar, Margao | 06 th January 2016 22:46


The article is okay but why it is linked or has sympathy to a Remo because this Portuguese colonist is of same caste as the writer? Why the writer did not comment when Mickky was targeted by Aires ? Because Mickky was of low caste? The alleged offence of this Portugal national on an Indian minor on Indian Soil and also breaching of our nation’s laws after getting another nationality is more serious than that done by Mickky on fellow corrupt countryman. Let the Police do their job.

- Goa for Goans, Goa | 05 th January 2016 19:07


Well written

- Dr Alan Rocha, Porvorim | 04 th January 2016 18:43


Related Blogs