David v/s Goliath

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
21 December 2012 20:08 IST

As the mining shutdown enters its fifth month and Goa tips at its inflection point, the mining imbroglio simply gets curiouser and curiouser. Old positions have changed and skillfully airbrushed with new fangled, geo-political arguments; new actors have emerged on the stage and the grandstanding in Goa’s latest soap opera continues with unfailing regularity.

Let us try to figure out the stated positions of the various players and read between the lines.


Easily, the loudest, the fiercest and the most vitriolic. The sudden blanket mining ban has been unduly harsh on the small time beneficiary in the food chain of the mining industry and our collective energies must go out to help him/her. However the most shrill and intimidating response comes from MLAs and owners of a fleet of trucks and barges, looking suitably depressed and hungry, for the cameras.

Surely, these players must have seen this eventuality setting in after so many years of rampant, savage mining and all the warnings that came their way; surely they didn’t assume that some rag tag coalition headed by the corrupt Congress in Goa would forever bail them out; surely, they didn’t presume they were mightier than God Almighty himself and could bully, intimidate and dominate the “non mining dependent” people of Goa forever.

Or maybe they did!!!!

And when a criminal matter is pending before the Supreme Court, do you request the court to look into the matter leniently or do you threaten it???

And I hope that that this lobby is not making the fatal mistake in thinking that Digambar Kamat is the present Chief Justice of the country.


This group of leaders, otherwise admirable in their commitment to workers’ causes, all these years have been rather cockeyed in zooming in on their targets of opprobrium and disapproval.

They have targeted the government (whose hands are presently tied), the green ecowarriors who have only been messengers of the truth as they see it; and the media who has only been a mirror and a voice for all Goans- mining and non-mining dependent.

So the question that begs an answer is this:  Why are mine owners and lease holders outside the purview of their wrath? Why are easily identifiable politicians whose hands were deep into the mining pits still roaming around scratchfree?

I thought communism was a war cry against crony, conniving capitalism, not some battle between different segments of the proletariat itself.


Being the CM of Goa must be the singular most unenviable position to be in today.

Imagine the greens (environmentalists); the browns (the miners); the Reds (workers); the Whites (activists) and the Blacks (party financiers) all bombarding you with their conflicting agendas 24X7 and chewing your brains out demanding immediate solutions to all of Goa’s problems. The phone calls and pressures must be insane.

And, thank God, the saffrons are silent for now at least.

Goa understands the humungous problem of a depleting treasury and the potential for serious social unrest in the mining belt; but that can be no excuse for Manoharbab to harangue and abuse activists and greens for only doing their job, the way they see it right. (Of course, many activists can also be equally abusive, but then that is in the nature of the beast, I guess!)

In a storm, a captain needs to keep his head; hold his nerve and seek all hands on deck to help him resolve the crisis and navigate the waters. Manohar needs to do this.


There is an eerie, almost surreal silence from this end. The mafia is so flush with cash and political trump cards, that they still believe nothing can touch them. Hence  they keep chuckling on as the mess unfolds, knowing fully well that greater the social unrest, the bigger their gains.

But then iron ore  castles like sand castles in the air built on “ Goa’s foundation” sometimes have the propensity to come cruelly crashing down.


Dignified, articulate and unflinching in their resolve. These guys are prepared to put their lives on the line so that Goa may not be devastated forever.

Whichever way this battle may swing- victory or defeat for green Goa –  their position in the pantheon of Goa’s greats when its history is written is assured.

Their real place lies hidden deep in the hearts, minds and the conscience of the non mining dependent folks of Goa and a silent prayer of gratitude goes out to them every night.

Now if only they could use all their goodwill and be the beacons to Goa and  Goa’s government/environmentalists/activists and other stake holders to kickstart an alternate economic activity in the hinterlands to compensate for loss of mining, then David will have conclusively conquered Goliath from the face of this land.

For now even though the pits look frighteningly deep and the dumps ever so threathening, one can certainly see green shoots of hope peeping out through the dark bowels of the earth.

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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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