History repeats

By Radharao Gracias
25 February 2011 14:09 IST

We live in a mystifying regime teeming with trickery, fraud, hypocrisy and dishonesty. At the caprice of the passions or of emotions, or at the whims of that half dozen of characters who have taken over the reins of the future of Goa, reputations are made and unmade, foot stamping is quelled with an impudence that sends shivers down one’s spine. The Governors and the governed live at the mercy of a whim or the egoism of a smugglers’ cartel, which has impudently captured the politics in the State. Those who bend to the tyranny of the impositions are commended, even proclaimed, as worthy lads; while others who maintaining their self respect, resist the incredible exigencies of those who command, are shooed away. Displaying neither discernment nor principle, the citizens like a docile flock of sheep, applaud or boo, according to the wiles of those who have elected and who direct them to cheer or jeer.

The honest intelligentsia, rather than reacting effectively to the intolerant dictatorship that dictates the law in Goa, converting white to black and overturning social stability, prefer in a gesture of resigned defeat to sit back with arms crossed and watch the shameful spectacle unfold. And as they establish their law – their predominant arrogance in full view – the administration gains courage, capturing all and establishing their brutal despotism everywhere, through threats and bribery.

It is precisely those who are at odds with the aspirations and feeling of Goa that speak in the name of Goa – as if they hold Goa in their palms. Those that should have bowed their heads in shame and avoided being seen in public, strut along the streets, in ostentatious insolence, a majestic air about them. In an incredible inversion of all principles, these leaders, sinister creatures, that the people of Goa, in the past as in the present, have every motive to hate and hang, these men as though anointed by their popular election, come armed in the defence of the proletariat.

Like mushrooms taverns have been sprouting all over, unplanned and unwelcome. There’s one every few paces, and what’s worse is that they are all well patronized. All of them, teeming with customers, prosper before your very eyes.

Pick any village at nightfall and you will be witness to a large gathering at the entrance of every tavern. They drink and they gamble. Farmhands returning from the fields, pour half, if not more, of their already meager wages into the tavern. The number of alcoholics in each village is frightening and a survey of them would be both intriguing and enlightening.

The Archdiocese of Goa is living on appearances. Its religiosity is a mask. We have many churches, where many feasts and high masses are celebrated. We have many priests, an abundance of monsignors and of baccalaureates in the sacred theology. Yet, with all this ostentation, Portuguese Goa – this land where rests the body of St.Francis Xavier – is a pagan nation. Our religiosity is a mere buff, our beliefs superficial. All are Catholics, but very few are Christians.

We desire to see the worship in our churches purified of all the vulgarity – ear splitting music, fireworks, décor of hideous gentile fashion – that which robs it of all its grandeur and spirituality. We desire that in the area of religious aspects simplicity, sobriety and spirituality should dominate. Preachers who would take to the pulpit must be led by the fervour of setting afire the faith of the listeners and not by pride of exhibiting their oratorical abilities. Vicars who would know how to teach their flock to worship God with their hearts rather than by words, to love God by doing good, being charitable, aiding the afflicted and the needy and not flitting away money in showy feasts, that neither help the splendour of the religion nor the salvation of souls. Faith is augmented neither by shindigs in the church halls nor by ostentatious processions with canons, monsignors and baccalaureates in Sacred Theology.

Periodically, the Press rouses from its slumber. A newspaper will occasionally raise its voice to make half a dozen points, which are forgotten as fast as they are read, somewhere one terrified soul will raise his hand to the heavens and let out a shout of alarm, the echo of which quickly fades, and just as quickly, everything returns to a sepulchral silence.

What you have just read, you would agree (except for apologists of those wielding power, political or ecclesiastical) most appropriately sums up Goa, as it is now. None of it, is written by me. (I would not be able to write so succinctly) None of it, has been written now.

The first three paras are from the essay “Frankly Speaking” dated October 6, 1926; the fourth and fifth from “Mushrooming Taverns” dated October 17, 1926; the sixth and seventh from “Missionaries” dated June 16, 1937 and the last from “This cannot continue” dated May 19, 1937. I have extracted the same verbatim, from the writings, of perhaps the greatest Goan patriot, of the twentieth century, late Jose Inacio de Loyola, as translated by Alexandre Moniz Barbosa, from the book “Passionate and Unrestrained”.

I was actually planning to write, my own assessment of life in Goa. On going through the writings, of late Loyola, I felt there was no need to. What he had written, then holds true almost a century later. Nothing has changed in Goa. It seems nothing ever will.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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Previous Comments

...it was like listening to the man himself talk..so very true that we Goans live in this false pride of not embracing change.well said Mr. Gracias, i've always admired your guts

- adrian, Goa | 22 nd July 2011 22:00

 

initially when i completed reading two paras, i was amazed to find the astounding vocabulary my friend Radharrao possessed. but then .. .. i am amazed that Mr. Jose Loyola could write this article way back in the yer 1927. any how i know that my friend Radha has enough guts to call spade a spade even it antagonise his so called the preachers of his own religion

- jayant prabhu, margao goa | 28 th February 2011 23:01

 

When I started reading, my blood was slowly but surely boiling and when I reached the concluding paragraph, it all came down to normal including the pressure, when the identity of the writer was revealed. It is good news though a feeling of relief that nothing in Goa has changed for the last 100 years, in that respect. I am told, by my elders first hand, that, he was a great man and a brave one too. Many anecdotes about him too. You could have been ex-communicated you know?

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 25 th February 2011 16:59

 

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