Amchem Goem: The sweet and sad chapters

By Prabhakar Timble
19 December 2011 22:12 IST

Harmony in social relations, balance in environment, a culture of acceptance and tolerance, poise in personal life and synchronisation in every aspect of human endeavour is the major component of the sweet chapter of Goan community life. The later part of the first fifty years of liberated Goa has witnessed attacks on this harmony. The sourness has set in with everybody making inroads into this proverbial harmony. Goa is a small cosmopolitan State and a presence in Goa, means a presence in one State of India. This is the approach of political parties, outfits dishing religious, spiritual and ‘patriotic’ products; all shades of Ram or Vanar Sena; all shadows of Durga Vahini and Bajrang Dal of all colours have gradually injected doses of hatred and false notions of patriotism and nationalism to divide communities. Goa is vulnerable to this because it is considered to be a good ground for testing by all organisations and NGOs. All are working for a share in Goa. As we move beyond fifty, the threat of the secular, progressive and seekers of harmony being reduced to minority looms large. Norman Dantas described our land as a place where “disagreements are dissolved with jest”. We are losing or might have already lost this great tradition.

Although liberated in 1961 from the Portuguese, the first 25 years has witnessed the struggle for a different liberation.  Hence, Goans lost valuable years of qualitative and positive growth asserting their identity to soil, culture and language. In the Opinion Poll, 44.5% chose merger with Maharashtra, though finally Goa retained its separate identity. The native language was looked down upon by majority of Hindus and elite Catholics. The first popular government established primary schools in Marathi medium throughout Goa, thereby sending the signal that Konkani cannot be accorded the status of a language. The victory of anti-merger forces, the official status to Konkani, recognition by Sahitya Academy and the grant of statehood are all sweet events. All these controversies now remain settled. The sad chapter is that, many are still hesitant to accept and embrace Konkani as the language identity of all Goans. That’s why even in 2011, we come together under the banner of “Bharatiya Sanskruti Manch” and not “Konkani Sanskruti Manch” because we are still unsure of the unity of Goans to accept that only Konkani is the mother-tongue of Goans worldwide. The communal forces are gleefully having a jolly good ride by planting rodents in the   secular Konkani force. You will not see such a contradiction in any other state of India. Mother-tongue anywhere else unites the community. In Goa, it still continues to divide. The roots of this lie in the seeds sown during the days of the Opinion Poll, the primary education policy of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party which ruled Goa in the formative years and the hunger for political gains out of language and communal divide.

The sweetest thing about Goa is its undemanding and non-invasive culture and about Goans is their friendly lifestyle. Goans have a natural gift of saying enough to need and greed. The saddest thing is these aspects are misrepresented and this harms the true picture of a God-fearing, peace-loving and trustworthy community. Tourism promoters project Goa as a “mouj-masti ka Pradesh”, Goan cuisine as Portuguese and Goans as descendants of Portguese. The rest of India looks at Goa as a location where drinking is a way of life and that Goans are people out to have good time. We market Goa not as it actually is, but as tourists and other Indians want to see. For sustainable and quality tourism, this vulgarity should be brought to a full stop.

Goa’s march to social and economic equity deserves mention. The land to the tiller legislation, The Mundkar Act and the bahujan samaj taking control of local self-governing institutions are the soothing winds of change and development. The gloomy side is lands kept fallow, alienation of lands to non-locals and the representatives of OBC, SC/ST using their less privileged brethren as doormats to enter the world of greed. They use the name of the oppressed but once in power and position, they just do not represent their community. The tragedy of Goa is total lack of pure social leadership and progressive thinkers across communities. As opposed to this, the neighbouring States are fortunate to have it in abundance.

The saddest of all is Goans being ridiculed by the outside world due to distasteful and disgraceful   politics and politicians. We have reduced politics to gaming and gambling in an on-shore or off-shore casino. Even otherwise, all ‘successful’ politicians are frequent customers at casinos and they have also converted the Secretariat into a venue for dealing, brokerage and commissions. And Goans aggressively and jubilantly work as cheerleaders for these jokers and prove to the world that Goa is free for all and Goans are clowns!

 

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Prabhakar Timble

Mr Prabhakar Timble is an educationist and a legal expert. He has served several educational institutions, especially as the Principal of Government College at Quepem, Kare College of Law in Madgao as well as couple of Management Institutes. He was also the State Election Commissioner of Goa.

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Beautiful writeup, i enjoy reading your writeups.

Thanks.

- Alan coutinho, The Netherlands | 28 th December 2011 00:08

 

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