Does Goa (or India) need another Revolution?

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
19 June 2011 13:54 IST

“Revolution” is clearly the new party in town. Lit up with candles (and a generous dose of patriotism);  colored by graffiti  and thundering words; led by the pious, the seemingly infallible and the myriad opinion makers (and seekers), this is one big party of the unelected and the unelectable and thank God for their tyranny!! Because has this tyranny ever threatened our entrenched , wretched political class until now?.

So the question that is often tossed around like a confused Greek Salad these days is “ Does Goa need another Revolution “? Gee whiz, and I always thought that Goa had still not completed its Evolution.

Jokes ( or Joke Pal ) aside, for every Revolution (Violent or non violent) to succeed you need PEOPLE. Hordes and hordes of palpably furious people. Leaders you’ll find a plenty but you can’t succeed without people desperately wanting change or as is fashionable nowadays “ parivartan “!

Look at the Arab spring.  There is not a single telegenic, bright eyed, blue blooded leader charting the course in Libya  Syria or Egypt. The people are the leaders and the led.

So in Goa (or India) do we have that critical mass of the people to rock the party ?

Look at it this way.

(i)                 The rich, affluent, connected political / business class, the corporate sharks that are at the top of the food chain mocking the working class DO NOT  want a Revolution.  Not in hell. They’d prefer a dictatorial Narendra Modi like character at the helm of affairs to crush rebellion and the alternate view of the “ dirty” peasants. So this class is OUT of the party even before it has started.

(ii)               The “dirty” peasant, mason, plumber, nurse, fisherman class. They are just so desperately busy coping with inflation and corruption to feed their families and put a roof over their heads that they just don’t have the time for a revolution and even if these unwashed millions were to march to Jantar Mantar would anyone even notice unless the odour got to the driving Delhi class?.

(iii)             Which then leaves us with the rollicking, raucous, rambunctious great middle class of India. This Revolution is  certainly  ours. Squeezed out despite merit; carrying the guilt of small time. Corrupt acts to survive, trying to follow rules and seeing the rule breaker emerge trumps and generally disillusioned with the Idea of Crony Capitalist India. This is the class of people desperate for a change – Any bloody change.

So, the middle class (and a large number of them BJP supporters, a party which has spectacularly failed them on the issue of fighting corruption) has given the clarion call for Change, articulated the viewpoint from every conceivable platform, but are they ready to bite the final bullet? Did the middle class, anywhere , ever have the stomach for that? Or will it retreat into its comfortable cocoon if the  furnace  gets too hot?

In Goa, presently there are three overlapping, simultaneously  occurring “ Revolutions “ unfolding around us.

The Cultural Revolution

This is the most infernal, tiresome, bleeding battle that has dogged Goa since inception. We waste all our energies and time pursuing this mirage of the perfect Goan “asmitai” that puts a permanent drag on all other do-or-die  issues plaguing Goa. Whatever the outcome of the current language imbroglio Goa certainly loses even if the slippery. Churchill/ Mickey/ BJP win.

The Moral Revolution

You have a lot of these revolutionaries” who say “Don’t drink”  “Don’t gamble”, “Ban skin shows” !,  “Kill him if he smokes”!, “Don’t look at someone else’s wife”! “OK just stop looking altogether” ! “Crush the homosexuals”! “Burn Inox if it stages Dum Maro Dum “! “ Eat grapes but strictly no wine”! “Exile Paresh Parab from “ just Imagine “ on Prudent !

Since Adam and Eve, and till planet earth signs off in a ball of fire this moral revolution will continue with no success. So just take  a chill pill folks and simply get out of the way.

The Governance Revolution

Now this frankly is the Real thing. We  the middle class will constantly require to immerse ourselves in this Revolution which may have no immediate visible success but it will pay us handsomely in  the long run.

So when Patricia Pinto and Clinton Vaz work ceaselessly to clear Panaji’s Garbage; when Shashi Kamat marches off to file his next RTI application; when Prajal and Dean and Heta save that next heritage site; when the Pilerne Citizen forum or the VGG bring errant officials to book; when Ramesh Gawas and Rajendra Kerkar and Rajendra Kakodkar expose the ravages of illegal mining, when Floriano Lobo and Rui Gama file in their next PIL when Matanhy fights for fishermen. And when thousands of activists and sincere politicians in Goa demand and get systems in place that work for the greater common good that my friends and only that will be the Real Revolution.

The rest are op ed pieces and TV debates, scoring brownie points or gnarling your teeth at opponents. They dazzle but they do not illuminate the night sky.

In sum then, Happy Revolution Day ( English )/ Kranti Disachi Parbim ( Konkani / Marathi ) to the good people of Goa for whatever  its worth.

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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.

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