The Past that prevents the Future

By Dr Oscar Rebello
15 November 2010 21:52 IST

Can I add my two penny’s worth to the raging Portuguese V/S freedom fighter debate?

It is an indisputable fact that the Portuguese are the warmest, most generous and hospitable people in perhaps the whole of Europe.

It is an indisputable fact that for over 400 years, Goans were subjugated to the worst human right abuses and tortures under the Portuguese rule. These memories can never ever be erased. They can only be forgiven.

It is an indisputable fact the just as the modern Muslims cannot and should not carry the cross for Babar’s sins, the vast majority of Hindus cannot and should not carry the cross for the heinous acts of lunatic Hindutva groups in Gujarat and Orissa, the present day Portuguese generation can’t carry the cross of their ancestors’ barbarism.

It is an indisputable fact that an entire generation of Goan freedom fighters sacrificed their youth, their dreams, their aspirations and their lives so that we, the present generation, may walk free and no amount of piddly pensions or doles can ever compensate those sacrifices.

It is an indisputable fact that we identify ourselves as Goan Indians and not as Goan Portuguese (hopefully !!)

It is an indisputable fact that cultural, economic and the one I love the most  - the bacalhao and porto ties with the Portuguese will continue forever, because people are always smarter than their Governments.

It is an indisputable fact one can either celebrate the enslavement of one’s mother 500 years ago or her liberation 50 years ago - NOT BOTH - and a wise Governor and a cunning Chief Minister read the writing on the wall.

It is an indisputable fact that Sangh affiliates will rightly call for a boycott of the 500 years’ celebration but will never champion the call for justice of Indian citizens who were butchered in Gujarat and Orissa who were neither Pakistani nor Portuguese.

And lastly it remains indisputable that the current garbage dump called Goa that stinks of the refuse of corruption and avarice is the creation of us Goans, certainly not a legacy of the Portuguese.

With so many indisputable facts staring in our face do we need to carry on another cantankerous and ill tempered needless debate to expose the Goans’ historical divisive tendencies?

Or do we, the older and middle age generation, require to break away from our split down - the - middle past and forge a paradigm shift in thinking and ideas for our future generations - ideas based on economy and Governance : on pluralism and tolerance : on law and order and selfless service.

The past as they say is a true bitch that prevents us from exploring a brave new future.

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Dr Oscar Rebello

Dr Oscar Rebello 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.

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Previous Comments

Dr. Ferdinando dos Reis Falcão is not a hypocrite. And those who worked with me are very much aware of it, much more write on this blog as if they are ignorant of this fact. Dr. Ferdinando dos Reis Falcão will never write praising India even at the present time, leave aside writing during Portuguese time. Only politicians can write that India is shining, whereas the educated know the contrary. It is not my cup of tea.

- Dr. Ferdinando dos Reis Falcão, Margão | 17 th December 2010 18:46

 

A nice article by Doctor Rebello!

No religion teaches or preaches violence and hating each other! And the history shows us that if this was followed in letter and spirit- may be the world would have become a far more better place to live!

It is the vested interests of a few to keep the society divided on religion/cast basis. Time has come for all the right thinking people to work together to foil such nefarious plans , because there are far more important issues to be tackled to make the human life more fulfilling and rewarding!

It is for each one to think whether he would love to celebrate and re-live the moments of his initiation in to slavery by foreign powers!

There is nothing wrong in trying to forget the bitter memories of past and initiating a new era of friendship because perpetuating enmity, never pays in the long run!

The corruption, nepotism and loot of the common man and the environmental degradation being carried out so ruthlessly- by our own people- could easily put to shame any foreign power who colonized this country in the past! It is time to wholeheartedly work together to restore probity, values and ethics- so essential for survival of the society!

- Vishwas Prabhudesai, loliem | 01 st December 2010 10:41

 

I would like to ask Akshar: you are saying "What applies to Muslims applies to Christians as well"

My question is Why does it not apply to the hindus? if it applies to the muslims and christians it should also apply to the hindus who kill and rape nuns, create casteism

- Joe Rebello, Panjim | 29 th November 2010 17:29

 

We Goans are well protected from any evil of this religious divide and misunderstanding. And let that rest at that. No offence taken. Cheers.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 29 th November 2010 14:23

 

It may sound ridiculous to people who do not want to believe it, but it is true.

Anyway, do a study of the NorthEast and you will see for yourself.

Again no offence meant.

- Mahesh, UAE | 29 th November 2010 10:06

 

It sounds ridiculous to even think that Christians are killing Hindus anywhere in India.

Hindus are everywhere in the world including Christian countries and hardly anything but the oddliest report will nbe found supporting it.

It all depends on the medium through which anything is sighted.

Be mindful of distortions.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 27 th November 2010 12:19

 

The good doctor has pointed to Sangh and Muslims but what about the evils of the Christian community? It is an undisputable fact that in certain states of the North East, Christians kill Hindus. However the media calls it differently. It says Bodos kill hindi-speaking people. These Bodos are Christians (tribes converted by foreign missionaries) who are instigated to secede.

In Nagaland, Nagalim for Christ is openly propagated. Isn't this is a communal act by the Christian Nagas? Nagas must also have freedom of religion.

What about the Hindus in Goa who were persecuted by the church backed monarchy for so many centuries?

What about the killing of Swami Lakshmananand by the Christians?

- Mahesh, UAE | 26 th November 2010 14:55

 

Usually, these sites do not allow discussion of religions, because that leads to arguments and unnecessary hassles.

The Muslims do not like reference to "cross" in their context.

The Portuguese are associated by some with Christians. This is to say that being born into Christianity is sin, or something unthinkable.

No religion teaches evil, On the contrary they all stress on unity or brotherhood of man. It is sad that some people live engulfed by the phobia.

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 25 th November 2010 18:53

 

True that modern Muslims need not carry the cross of Babar's sins but at the same it is the responsibility of Muslims to ensure that it is not carried. This would happen if the acknowledge the history, acknowledge the mistakes and show willingness to reform their religion.

What applies to Muslims applies to Christians as well. In particular the Portuguese. But they have chosen a different path. They are trying to glorify the barbarism and sadly few goans are supporting them as well.

- Akshar, Panaji | 23 rd November 2010 02:27

 

Infact i read what oscar wrote later. but i got very curious to a letter by Dr Ferdinando Do Reis Falcao in GT in response to Oscar's letter. How can he deny the fact that there was no human right violation by Portuguese? Inquisition and the torture that follwed to prevent Hindus from following their customs were the worst form of human right violation. Yes , certainly a certain priviledged class who were close to the then rulers had conviniently forgotton their loyalty to the land to dabble in the luxuries that came as a package deal. But then these same people could go to Portugal and be loyal to Portuguese. Why did they stay back home? To enjoy the best of both worlds? If one feels that Portuguese did not inflict any violence on Goans then the history will have to be re written. God forgive their confusion and helplessness.

Note: I wonder if Dr Ferdinando would dare write praising India during the portuguese rule in the local newspapers. Boy, Thats freedom.

- Dr Babita Angle, Margao | 19 th November 2010 18:29

 

It is also an indisputable fact that the caste system remained intact under the Portuguese regime. But after 50 years of "freedom" we have improved upon the system by adding pseudo-caste classes instead of having a classless society, leaving the "Sudras" or general class to the mercy of gods..

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 17 th November 2010 11:45

 

One indisputable fact remains un covered by respected Dr. Dr Oscar Rebello is the fact that 50 years after, Goans are still “Susegad” and hence all the problems Goa is facing today , ie, Garbage, Corruption, Un employment, Drugs, so on and so forth will continue. The Only way forward is that “ Hey Goa Goeinkara Jago Ja”

- Purushottam Sandye, Ponda | 17 th November 2010 09:00

 

YES

"IT REMAINS INDISPUTABLE THAT THE CURRENT GARBAGE DUMP CALLED GOA THAT STINKS OF THE REFUSE OF CORRUPTION AND AVARICE IS THE CREATION OF US GOANS"

- Sanjay Dessai, Curchorem | 17 th November 2010 00:11

 

Apart from memories, our possessions is a physical manifestation of our past in this present.

Can we break away form it?

- Nanvnam, Earth | 16 th November 2010 01:16

 

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