Goans Abroad

By Radharao Gracias
10 September 2012 14:26 IST

Wherever you go, in Goa, huge mansions in ruins, are visible. A person in the vicinity will invariably tell you with a smirk, “te pensao farir korta”, implying that the owners are paying for the sins of their ancestors.

Actually, for every ruined castle there are dozens of smaller habitations equally ruined. Only, they do not catch the eye. Such ruins simply melt away, being mud houses. The ruins of the rich man’s house, being built of stone, remain as stark reminders. And the mansions have gone into ruins, not because the owners have been failures but are indicators that the owners are thriving elsewhere. The properties in Goa, no longer matter and stand neglected.

A case in point would be, the house of the da Costa family near the Damodar Temple at Abade Faria road, Margao, which was in near ruins until a relative purchased and renovated it. The descendants of the original da Costa are owners of the prestigious Maternidade Alfredo da Costa, in Lisbon. And another descendant Alfredo Nobre da Costa was the prime minister of Portugal, in the 1980’s.

It is only now the scattered descendants of the original owners come down to sell off their inheritance in view of rising real estate prices. Only to be cheated by builders or brokers.

A few years ago, Libia Pereira, based in USA, came to see me with a plaint. She had leased out an outhouse in her compound at Navelim, Salcete, to a rickshaw driver who had come begging for accommodation as his family had no roof over his head and had offered to vacate whenever required. After some years, she wanted her premises back but the tenant refused to move out.

I explained to her the pitfalls of the Rent Control Act, the languorous judicial processes and that success was not assured, after decades of litigation. Along the way, someone took her over to a Congress leader in Margao, (who himself was refusing to vacate tenanted premises) and who later got elected to the Assembly from North Goa and was a minister until he lost the last elections. With his intercession, a settlement was arrived at and the tenant was paid rupees seventy five thousand to vacate the premises. The total rent he had paid to her was rupees seven thousand!

Libia saw me a couple of years later for some documentation. I went through her documents, and realised that she is the mother of Romulus Savio Pereira, a successful entrepreneur and multi millionaire in the USA. So, I gently reprimanded her for not informing me that she was his mother. And she asked me. “Does that matter?” And I responded, “Yes it does. I may give you a higher bill now!”

I then urged her, to get her son to invest in Goa. And here is what she told me. “My son was all set for such investment, but after I had to pay money to get my tenant out, he simply refused to have anything to do with the country of his birth. His question was, how can you do business in such an environment?” Incidentally, Romulus Savio does contribute to Goa through Goa Sudarop.

A neighbour and a relative, Jose Pio Pereira completed his M.Tech from IIT Delhi and proceeded to USA, about ten years back. He went for an interview at Silicon Valley. The interviewer asked for his State of origin in India. He then asked for his village and he replied “Majorda”. “You are hired” said the interviewer. “I too am from Majorda”. The Chairman and Managing Director of the Company is Norman Godinho whose father and namesake was a very successful businessman in Uganda until Idi Amin expelled the Asians.

“To Konknno bhair sorona” (the Hindu is not vacating) was the complaint of an elderly Mumbai based couple, who had come to see me. They were mundkars somewhere in rural Salcete and had allowed another person who happened to be a Hindu to occupy their house, in their absence. He now claimed to be a mundkar and refused to get out, hence the visit to my office for professional advice.

In the course of my discussion, I learnt that the husband has been working in Mumbai for more than forty years and the family were living in quarters rented out from a Parsi in Dhobitalao. So, I asked them, whether they had quit the premises. The response was prompt and vehement, “why should we? We have been living there for so long and the builder has now made an offer and we are negotiating for more”.

I questioned them, whether they knew what the Parsi is saying. The response was in the negative. “To Kristanv bhair sorona!”, is what the Parsi is saying, I told them.

I never saw the clients, again.

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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I would like to further illustrate to pursue the line of thought Sunita has put forth.

Last year when I came to Goa, I spend half of my holidays in investigating why was I getting such exhorbitant electricity bills for an agricultural connection that we stopped using. The cause was that I was sent bills of someone who had the same name of my mother living in a different ward.

The remaining part of my holidays proved futile as I could not manage to rectify it. Reason: The Junior Electrical Engineer started playing hide and seek. I wonder whether it's immaturity or greed. I never managed to catch the JE.

Come to the UK.

I received a letter from the council with a form and stamped envelope enclosed. The authorities wrote to get it confirmed if our names were correct on the electoral role. If there were changes to be done I had to fill the form and use the stamped envelope to post it. If there were no changes to be made, I had to simply text 'names correct' to a given four digit number. How convenient!

I dont intend to brag about the system in the UK. But wish to start a thinking process of knowing where exactly is the government of India utilising money collected from taxes.

- Cajetan, Goa | 14 th September 2012 20:39


Salute to your writing Sir Radha, its great. I too love Goa. Recently someone questioned me "are you planning to settle in Goa" and my immediate reply was " I’m a Goan, do you remember that? At the moment I’m working in UAE and I had all the opportunity and ways clear to settle elsewhere but I choose only Goa. I just want to share a small incident and what we face in comparison. Recently, I was in Goa and for the first time had to visit the Collector office in Margao, I was shocked to see that state of administration, the public files scattered on the floor, the officer is stepping on someone’s files to search for another file, and in half a minute there is an answer "tuji file hanga nam" The Mamlatdar is sharing responsibilities of some other Job and is not able to do his Job and the dates of appointments are taken forward and the sky is the limit. To retrieve a document it takes 8 days, there is no public information desk, one has to go from desk to desk to collect a piece of information and the official answer" thuim vos, thuim vos". The same procedure where I reside would hardly take me 1 hour or even can be done on the phone sometimes. Its love for the mother land I want to come back to Goa but at the same time I'm thinking about the quality of life I will leave behind. On any given day, why do I choose to stay in a queue if I have the opportunity to get the same thing done in a minute, what matters if it’s another place in the world where you were not born from? What is that we don’t have abroad, just the passport in some countries? My point is not complaining, its just the balance of pros and cons of staying abroad.

- Sunita Andrade E Viegas, UAE | 11 th September 2012 11:38


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