The “Caitu Syndrome”

By Ramakant Khalap
11 February 2014 22:44 IST

Caitu  alias Caetano D’Silva  has been hogging the headlines ever since  he was elected to the August Legislative Assembly  of Goa defeating Valanka , the “spirited”  daughter of the Benaulim “Strongman”  Churchill  Alemao . The causes that led to the victory of Caitu or rather the defeat of all four Alemaos from four different Constituencies or for that matter the rout of the Indian National Congress and emergence of a hotchpotch coalition to from the Government of State of Goa a few months more than two years ago is frankly not the purpose of this Article.

I am  trying to dwelve into a more complex issue,  rather an affliction which I would like to call ‘Caitu Syndrome’ which has affected, if  one goes by the estimate of Shri  Pratapsing Rane, the most venerable Leader  of Opposition   in the Goa  Assembly, more than 3 lakh Goans out of a total of say about 9 lakh  Goans  who form the  bulk  of the present Goan population estimated to be around 14 to 15  lakhs. The rest of the population is of immigrants from across the length and breadth of our Country and perhaps a sprinkling of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Nepalese and others.

Our ‘Caitu’, the honorable MLA recently shot into fame once again because of the allegation that he is a Portuguese Citizen. This allegation was made by his bête noir, the spirited and ebullient Valanka in a Petition to the Election Commission and the Courts. Her allegation was buttressed when a declaration was issued by the Central Government that Caitu is indeed a “Portuguese Citizen”. Caitu denies the allegation. He came up with a counter allegation that the entire Alemao clan, are also “Portuguese Citizens” by the same logic as applied to him by Valanka.

As the issue heats up more and more “Portuguese” are being unearthed. A group of “Patriots”, whatever that means, have demanded deportation of such Portuguese and closure of the Portuguese Consulate which allegedly facilitates the migration from Indian Citizenship to the Portuguese Citizenship. And if Mr. Rane’s averment is to be believed and if the Government of India were to generalize that every Goan who has transferred his or her birth \ marriage or death of their parents to the Portuguese registers, a massive deportation program may have to be put in place. In such an  event not only Caitu loses his membership  of Goa Assembly  but  a sizable section of the Alemao family  as well and  the rest of them like Churchill  and Valanka  also  stand to lose a bulk of their Voters and  therefore their chance of winning Seats in the forthcoming elections to the elective bodies outlined in the Constitution  of India.  Caitu  may or may not have transferred his birth or marriage to the Birth, Marriage and Death Register of the Portuguese  Government  but there are indeed a sizable  section of Goans who have  done so and the peril facing them is one of losing their Indians citizenship, and eventually their land, Country, Language and Culture.

Why have our dear Goans, who have no doubt a long history of migration, suddenly decided to enroll their Birth, marriages and deaths in the annals of the Portuguese who at a vulnerable stage in the history of the world enslaved us? Many of us had then lost our original faith and embraced a new faith, new culture, new Language and new belief. A sizable section of the Hindu brethren had embraced Christianity may be on account of the success of evangelization, forced or otherwise. Many were simply pushed into Christianity on suspicion of being converted, by their intolerant Hindu kith and kin.  Inquisition had prevented such converts from reconverting to their Original faiths. In the process Goans were divided into Hindu and Christian fractions. The good part of the conversion was that it added a new facet which enriched our culture and ethos. Over long period of time we developed spirit of tolerance, camaraderie and brotherhood which to – day is being rightly flaunted as our USP.  This was possible because we continued to live together in the same land as good neighbors and enjoyed equal rights.

What fate awaits our “Portu-Goeses”? I borrow this phrase, albeit without permission,  from the singing trio of that name who entertained Goans during  the “Jogos de Lusofonia”. They sing, I am told, old Goan ballads in Konkani accompanied by the “ghumot”, perhaps the only primordial Goan percussion instrument. They sing fados, dulpods, dekhnis and mandos in the homes and cafes of Coimbra, Lisboa, Campala, Rio de Janeiro and other Lusitanian cities. It is reported that the Lusitonized Goans sing to their tunes with moist eyes and choked voices overcome by a longing for their Goan moorings, ancestry, roots and heritage which they have lost forever. The new generations of would be Lusitanians face the same fate. But are they aware of it?

The “greener grass” beyond the Indian shores and particularly in Europe and America lures our youth. The economic turmoil in the European Countries is, as yet no deterrent. The weakening  Rupee in the world Currency Market  conjures up dreams of fat salaries and of course for many an Indian, the white  skinners are objects  of admiration  and their ways worthy of emulation in spite of their known bias for colored people. For such people if paradise does exist it is in Europe. This explains the beeline to Europe.  The citizens  of member countries of the  European Union (EU), now need only an identity card (“Bilhette de Identidade” in Portuguese) for travel,  jobs or for residence in any of the member countries. This bilhette is available to Goans and other residents of erstwhile Portuguese Colonies if they follow the formality of registering their births and marriages or the deaths of their ancestors in the Portuguese archives of Births,  Marriages and Death . The bilhette is therefore, the ticket to the greener pastures of Europe. I am however certain that, very few of the bilhette seekers are aware of the looming threat of losing their Indians citizenship once they register their births, Marriages and deaths in Portugal.

It is time to warn the would be Portu-Goeses  of the pitfalls in their quest for the bilhette and to devise ways and means to facilitate the return of the new “Portuguese” to their original Indian citizenship.  A little tweeting of the Indian citizenship Act,  a few amendments or a fresh notification amending the citizenship order, 1962 may bring about the desired result. A onetime amnesty could be issued by the President of India to our Goan brothers and sisters who have wandered and strayed into Portuguese citizenship whether knowingly or unknowingly .

Fr. Chico Monteiro has left for all  indigenous “Foreigners” a lesson to learn. Way back in 1962 he had opted to retain  his Portuguese  citizenship . He stayed in Goa on resident permit or visa. When he refused to renew his permit or  to leave the Country he was prosecuted and sentenced to imprisonment. Even the Queen ’s Counsel one Edward Gardner who was specially flown in to defend  Fr. Chico Monteiro could not save him. Let not our novo Portu-Goeses face the fate of Fr. Chico Monteiro.   

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Ramakant Khalap

Adv Ramakant Khalap is former Chairman of the Goa State Law Commission. Being a veteran politician of Goa, he has served the political arena as the union law minister as well as Goa’s deputy chief minister and the opposition leader in the past. He also takes keen interest in literature and cultural activities while heading several institutions, especially in the field of Marathi literature.

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Khushal Lisboa , Portugal .

Ola! Com is tu? Take it easy man, why are you taxing your brain?

Enjoy life in Portugal.

BTW, what is culturally drowned, and Marathi-fied? I thought Goa offered plenty of choices and is quite robust. Imagine Pakistan and the gulf states.

I being a catholic and having lived in North Goa before moving to Porto can vouch for that. Have fun man.

- Caitan, Porto | 13 th April 2016 20:05

 

Aside from the failures in life, what makes you think the rest of us would ever want to come back.

It is better to be regarded a second, third or even class citizen in Portugal (a myth perpetuated by those who failed to qualify for immigration), than it is to be cheated, robbed, harassed, culturally drowned, and Marathi-fied.

Yes, I am talking about you Mr Khalap. You and the corrupt cronies of your political and cultural ilk !!

- Khushal Lisboa, Portugal | 13 th April 2016 05:45

 

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