Denationalised? Who? Me or You?

By Radharao Gracias
10 August 2012 22:36 IST

Goa in the 1970’s:

The Catholic male dressed in western style, with shirt tucked in and shoes on the feet. The female would wear dress or unisex apparel. The hair could be short or long, styled in different fashions. Ear rings, could be any fancy design. The Catholic, was vehemently pro Konkani, but education was invariably in English, was sports oriented, football being the main passion. Recreation meant western music and western dance, movies Indian or western/teatro. Food omnivorous and drink, essential. The Catholic Bahujan Samaj worked as seamen (Tarvotti) or in the “Gulf”. To study or work abroad, was a matter of pride. The Catholics had imbibed many of the characteristics of western culture, through their interaction with the Portuguese. The detractors of the community coined the derisive term “denationalised” to describe the Catholic Community.

The Hindu in Goa, resolutely refused to give up any aspect of pre-Portuguese Goan culture. Strangely, post liberation, the Hindu gradually changed. The dhoti which was the quintessence of Hindu dress was given up and replaced by the trouser-shirt. However, the shirt or bu-shirt was always worn over the trousers. Shoes were never worn, only chappals. The female dressed in saree, hair worn long and always plaited. Nose rings were mandatory and earrings meant rings and nothing else. The Hindu spoke Konkani but studied in Marathi. Food was largely vegetarian. Sports was not much of a concern. Recreation meant Hindi films or Indian music/natak. The Hindus stuck to Goa and rarely went abroad. The Hindu Bahujan Samaj were small time traders/motor cycle pilots. The behaviour was typically Indian. And so, the Hindu was “nationalist”.

The Catholic and Hindu communities in Goa, could thus be easily differentiated and identified at a glance.

Goa 2012:

Today, it is impossible to distinguish a young Catholic and a Hindu Goan. Every male wears the shirt tucked in the trousers and has shoes on the feet (Manohar Parrikar may be the only exception). Food is omnivorous, drink universal. The saree has disappeared. It is now western style jeans or Islamic style salwar kameez. (Ironically, the Missionaries of Charity may soon be the only Indians seen in a saree) Music is regae/rap or some western contortion in desi imitation. The nose ring is a distant memory and ear rings are anything but rings. The hair plaits are untangled. In my own neighbourhood, I meet sons of local barbers, masons and goldsmiths, who are working as seamen, doing the same work and eating the same food that the Catholics have done for ages. All in all, it is impossible to distinguish a Catholic from a Hindu, which by itself, is hugely welcome.

Today, practically every well-to-do Hindu takes pride in saying, “mazo cholo/chali Amrikek xikta”. And, that includes the cream of the Hindutwa brigade; not excluding the Chief Minister.

How did this situation come about? Why did the Hindu, who so strongly stuck to his dhoti during Portuguese rule, give it up post liberation? Why has the Hindu now so unequivocally accepted the lifestyle that the Catholics had adopted centuries ago? Why has the Hindu opted to be “denationalised”?

The answers to these questions are simple. Functional superiority of western lifestyle is prevailing over the superstitions and fake beliefs held so dear by our ancestors and which the Portuguese compelled those who embraced Christianity to give up. Today, Goa is emerging as a cohesive, cultural entity because everyone else is now accepting the Catholic way of life. It is for this reason that Indians from elsewhere are flocking to Goa because Goa represents a window to the west, which has emerged from the superstitions and false beliefs that keeps the rest of the country backward.

The Goan propensity to adapt to any environment is what has enabled Leander Paes to represent India, and Siona Fernandes to represent New Zealand at London Olympics, Zeno Rodrigues to Captain the Mexican Hockey Team at Mexico 1968, Trevor Fernandes to represent the USA at Los Angelos 1984 and Steven Pereira to carry the Canadian Flag at Beijing 2008.

By far, the Goan Catholics have assimilated seamlessly and merged with the local environment wherever they have settled, from London to Swindon, from Lisbon to Melbourne. The Goan Catholic is not “denationalised” but “universalised”. The others are following in their footsteps.

The Ram Sena decision to set up a Goa unit is possibly in the context of the fact that all Goans are now getting “denationalised”. If Pramod Muthalik comes to Goa, he may not have to wait for 14th February. Every day in Goa, is Valentine’s Day!

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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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

Come on my friends you need to read the article maybe thrice. I don't see an inch of insult to hindus.

There were instances where hindus would not eat whatever was cooked by Christians which no longer happens now. As for me I always consider myself a hindu Catholic. Roman Caholics don't have caste in their belief. But in Goa even the church allowed casteism to thrive for the survival of Christianity. Earlier hindus used to brand portuguese speaking Catholics as Pro Portuguese when so many catholics have served the top designation in the Indian Army (Please read the book by Valmiki Faleiro) Lt. Ehrlic Pinto bombarded the Emisor de Goa.

And as for dressing the Goan girls wear Churidhar, etc

Radhrao is one person who does not fear to tread upon sensitive issues. Other writer from both communities have always play too cautious no to hurt each other sentiments.

So lets real goans Hindus and Catholics join together and throw out the "pann" culture by driving the Ghanttis who are pampered by the politicians for votes.

- Rohan Pinto, Saligao | 30 th October 2012 12:30


I am sure, Radharao, did not mean to hurt the sentiments of our Hindu brothers. If that were so he would have changed his name, to some Churchill or Einstein or Mountbatten....and moreover cursed those who gave him that name...relax all...

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 04 th September 2012 17:34


Dear Radharao,you are mistaken...the shirt/pants/suit/tie are EUROPEAN attire of the modern era...these garments are NOT ASIAN...but Christianity is ASIAN... and NOT EUROPEAN...Jesus NEVER NEVER WORE THESE CLOTHES .!!!!!!! HE WAS 100% Asian like us INDIANS.HIS ATTIRE WAS CLOSER TO US ,THAN YOUR EUROPEANS !

- Dalvi, Goa | 28 th August 2012 13:52


Dear Bab Radharao

You are correct all the way. I Think most should read your article twice or perhaps thrice. You have made yourself understood. Its hard for some to laugh at themselves but when they see others laughing at themselves, they follow suit because of the fear of being left out and isolated. People may comment in whatever form they desire but not one can say that what you have written is wrong.

I for one have numerous hindu friends like Pravin Lotlikar, Tukaram Gadekar & Manoj Kesarkar who have adapted to our Christian lifestyle & admit that it’s a way of modern life. They also admit that if they don’t do it, then they are lost. Life on earth has flourished only when those living on it have adapted to the surroundings. This does not exclude the hindus. So be sure that Hindus are not offended. There is always the exceptional case.

Radharao, keep writing because your stuff is great. Remember one thing – You will never reach your destination if you stop & throw stones at every dog that barks at you.

Who will disagree that hindus have done the right thing by discarding the dhoti? The nationalistic lifestyle may have worked in the Gandhi era where he even attended high profile conferences in England. Our Hindu brothering have wisely discarded the dhoti and embraced the pant and shirt for they know that they would be in trouble riding even a hero Honda bike where there would be a fear of the good old dhoti getting tangled in its wheels.

Well done Radharao!

- Calvert Gonsalves, Colva salcete | 23 rd August 2012 19:30


Someone said the right place for Radharao is Portugal.

Today's Portugal is 100% democracy, a very decent place to live, no political disturbances unlike in some parts of India, minimum racism or negligible.

The visitors are well received, respected and treated.

The portuguese generation of today is well informed and educated, and are not interested in colonization like in the .past

- Avadhut, Margao Goa | 21 st August 2012 12:41


I am a Mangalorian Roman Catholic ,the ancestors of ours were driven out from our beloved Goa or had to escape the dreaded INQUISITION of Radharao`s admirers ,the Pacles ! Once my mother and her sister visited Europe in a travel tour ...they were wearing western dress of skirts ...when they were visiting a museum in Rome ,an elderly European couple met them and smiled had a small dialogue ...during the conversation ,they asked , " where are you two from ? '. My aunt and mother said, they were from India and Indians. Upon hearing this the couple was perplexed and asked them," in that case where are your sarees and Bindis ? "! my folks HAD THE SHOCK OF THEIR LIFE ! After that ,they have NEVER worn the frocks/skirsts even here in Mangalore. Our ladies here ,wear western attire only upto their wedding...the married ladies all wear ONLY sarees And BINDIS ! I wd also like to add ,that we in India had great universities like Nalanda ,Taxshila and others when the europeans were mere SAVAGES !

- Fr.Rego Prabhu., Bankapur, | 19 th August 2012 15:32


Bab Radha-RAO-Gracias,

Sir, your coments are totaly against the tradionality of GOA. It shows that you are blindly looking toward west and admiring the bush-pant-with belt. it shows how much you love your traditional value & past of your mother land. your belife on cut & pest is exposed.



Radharao here is confusing Western way of life with Catholic life which is absurd. Catholic lifestyle for me is the one lived by putting Catholic faith at the centre and accepting Catholic dogmas. West has progressed by rejecting Catholic way and adopting rationalism. This is contrary to what Radharao is trying to indicate in the article.

Celsus, Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin were more critical of Christianity than probably any hardline saffron leaders. It is the openness of such thinkers to accept the logical and reject the illogical, which shaped the functionally superior Western lifestyle. The western scientists and philosophers rejected fake beliefs within Christianity, whichever they found unscientific and illogical. At the same time, they were more than happy to appreciate and accept good things from different philosophies which they found acceptable to their logical mind.

In Goa, both Hindu and Christian community is still plagued with many fake beliefs such as birth based caste system, apart from numerous faith specific beliefs that may not fit rational mind. If Western rationalism helps to remove such fake beliefs, it is a welcome step. But calling this as a move towards ‘Catholic lifestyle’ is a travesty of truth.

- Goenkar, N America | 15 th August 2012 08:57


@Bhushan, I think you are wrong.

People here are pissed off because of the mis-characterization of Hindus by RadhaRaosaheb. It has nothing to do with Parrikar or somebody else. You know very well that if Parrikar fails, people will dump him too. I think guys like Radharao are Mutaliks of Christians.

- Jitendra Lawande, USA | 14 th August 2012 16:23


Rada Rao Re?

I don't expect such a write up from an elite personality like you.

I understand that the present BJP government in Goa in general and Parrikarbab at the helm of affairs in Particular might have created frustration in you. But to give out your bitterness in the public forum against Goan Hindus has exposed your deep rooted hatred of Hindus. It is an irony that you have been named as "Radharao" a Hindu name? You should do some good reading on Goan history. Hindus in those days were harassed by Portuguse Pakle and were suppressed by the community of bhatcars and hence could not get education. Whereas christians got the favors of Pakle and were employed as cooks, waitors, cleaners on the ships and in other Portuguese colonies. Hindus were wearing dhotis as it is an hindu atire and christians used pant and bu-shirt as it is an western attire. The scenario is changed now due to education of hindu goans and it is the need of the present and they have not leaned towards christianity. Anyway a subject like this needs good analytical approach that is lacking in your writings. Please refrain from this type of subjects. It is not your cup of tea. You can write on dirty politics (sic) of goa or goans alike Alemao, Colemao, Monse-Rats. That should be your subject if at all you want to write. Don,t create discord between Hindu and Christian Goan brothers.

- Ratikant, UAE | 14 th August 2012 10:12


If anyone of you who are born in the 60's will fully agree to Mr. Gracias. Nothing wrong in remembering some memories. Please take it +ve. I don't think He is a racist.

- John W D Souza, Margoa Goa | 13 th August 2012 22:14


Hi Radha,

Rather controversial even if it is arguably correct. Leaving the sentiments and beliefs which remain as 'inner-dresscode' ,and sensitive and avoidable topics. your articulation of the dress sense certainly drives a point and the fact that for whatever evils perceived ' westernisation' is a trend and direction .

boyish looking Francis D'sousa CEO of India's second largest IT co. COGNIZANT which has overtaken Infosys says that it was his exposure to multiple cultures including AFRICA which is also West of India has actually given him the edge.

The newer generation will teach you and me about 'Steaks' and Sushi not to forget the moitos and the margaridas .

Goans demonstrate their cultural fit anywhere in the world.

The GOAN in 2012 is an unique '' SINGLE MALT''.

- gerson rebelo, bangalore | 13 th August 2012 17:10


Mr. Radharao, Portuguese have ruled Goa for more than 450 years. why at that time people were nationalised and not denationalised? why didnt they accepted so called western culture at that particular time?

It is so called time. Since the years changed, there was improvement in lifestyle, in technology. These are major factors which changed peoples life.

In earlier days white dhotis and cutas were prefered more, coz at that time your so called Air Conditioners / Ceiling Fans were less / not available.

People of Goa even today, do love their state, whether they are in Goa or working abroad.

- Prashant Raul, Birla - Zuarinagar | 13 th August 2012 14:30


Isn't there enough water left in Arabian sea to dump him?

- Sandesh Anvekar, Mapusa | 13 th August 2012 12:42


Bab Radha Gracias

What is motive of this your writing? A ‘kaillolli” of random thoughts to create division in harmony?

You read TB Cunha on Denationalised Goans. Many roots are in Inquisition and its rules which divided us as Christians and pagans by making latter forcefully give up how they lived for years.

Your ways to spoil harmony are well known. You must be up to something sinister trick in near future writing article this type. Or are you hurt that Hindoos today have left wrong belives of past and moved on?

Why think of Sena or Sene. Goa don’t need you to frighten us with such monsters. Either they will be made impotent or tackled as is seen with such outfits in past.

- francis pereira, margao | 13 th August 2012 12:36


Radharao, they are hurt because you expose their beloved parrikar. but you dont care about this brigade. there is a saying in hindi roughly translated "elephant walks his own path disregard to the barking of dogs." They want to please the person who is cm. hardly a few months back when parrikar was a nobody there was not a single person to defend him. now that he is a cm so many want to display their loyalty.

as far as your article is concerned goan society has become westernised and not catholic. If goans were becoming catholic they would have started avoiding 7 sins and following 10 commandments. the actual picture is contrary to it. Regards.

- Bhushan, Panaji | 13 th August 2012 12:05


What a kay-che-kay write up. Even a high school kid will write better, with depth, insight, research, and thought.

All is evident is christian bias and an expression of its superiority over Hindus. The hatred for Hindus is clearly evident. The Author make some sweeping statements, such as, Hindu women not wearing saree, etc. which are blatant lies that I am sure only Kiristavs in Swindon and London will believe.

It is a reality that most Hindus suffered during Portuguese rule and hence remained backward, Hindu society being cast-ridden and divided didn't help either. The neo-converts were benefited from the umbrage they received from the Pakles and hence could get educated, move abroad and do well, wherever they went.

And the Author is supposed to be a well-known Lawyer in Goa ( with a shady background of course-- remember the countermanding of elections in the 80s).

Anyway, why that Radharao 'shikko' is still stuck on your back man? Carrying the burden of your Hindu ancestors ha.

- Viany, UAE | 13 th August 2012 08:08


Hi Radharao, Why are you offending Hindus in general and Brahmins in particular in most of your so-called articles? Cant you write on genuine issues? In the past you have offended Lord Ram himself, I dont know what pleasure you get by offending God himself. How will you feel if somebody wrote against your 'saviour' in most of his articles? In this article you have written that Portuguese compelled the converts to give up their fake beliefs. Their beliefs were not fake. Their beliefs were true.

Kindly observe restraint while writing and never offend someone else's belief in the almighty or their customs and traditions. The almighty may be known by various names, but he is not exclusively possessed by any one religion. Hope this reply drives some sense in your head.

- Mahesh, Margao/UAE, | 12 th August 2012 15:54


Aditya you are absolutely right. Mr. Radharao why don't you flee to Portugal ? That is the right place for you and your denationalised thoughts.

- Adita , Panaji | 12 th August 2012 12:54


I have high regards for incisive and well thought out write-ups by Radharao Gracias,. Unfortunately, this time, by being superficial, he has wasted a good theme. I would like to write another article of my own so no further comments

- Kalidas Laxman, Panaji Goa | 11 th August 2012 12:21


ग्रासियस बाब,

नाक खंय आनी आदोळी खंय??? कोणाच्या खांदार आर्म आनी फार कोणाचेर गा???

तुमका पर्रीकाराक वां मुथालिकाक जे किते म्हणू जाय ते तांका सरळ सरळ म्हणात.... गरजे शिवाय धर्म मदी हाडून हिंदू आनी किरीस्ताव भावां मदी झुझां लाव नाकात.

अशी झुझां लावप्यांक एकवेळ डिनेशनलायज्ड म्हणू येत.

- अंजली अमोणकार , पणजी - गॉय | 11 th August 2012 06:26


Radharao bab, its ur time to leave goa, i think u will do better there...

- Aditya, Panaji | 10 th August 2012 23:01


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