What's so embarrassing Madam President?

By Sandesh Prabhudesai
06 January 2011 23:11 IST

Her Excellency Pratibha-tai Patil

The President of India

Respected Madam,

It was quite surprising to hear that our three local photo journalists were summoned to the police station for clicking your photos on the Benaulim beach. One photo showed you coming out of the water after a boat ride. The other photo was showing Your Excellency sitting on the bench, amidst foreign tourists. We Goans did not find anything wrong with it because we are nowadays used to such photos.

In fact we Goans were very happy and honoured that President of India has come down to Goa for a holiday. Everybody was delighted, including our photo journalists. They probably wanted to show the whole world how our own President enjoys her holiday in Goa.

Initially, the police told our photo journalists that they wanted to know how they could click such close ups of Your Excellency in spite of tight security. Obviously, they clicked it without disturbing your security ring. If they had intruded it, then not our photo journalists but your security personnel should have been taken to task by the appropriate authorities.

It appears your officials are not exposed enough to the simple technology cameras have. The zoom lenses can easily take close ups. It was thus a foolish question asked to our photo journalists: where did you click the photos from?

The interrogating police officials however told our photo journalists later the actual reason for media interrogation. It seems your officials were ‘embarrassed’ with the kind of photos they published. The photos were not in ‘good taste’.

Is it?

But, Madam President, this is the ‘taste of Goa’. This is the way Goa is being promoted world over. You were fortunate enough that you could see foreigners around you, who were wearing ‘something’. Otherwise, you see hundreds of foreigners lying on the beach benches, wearing ‘nothing’.

The foreigners come here to lie down nude on the beaches for a sun bath. And many Indians come from various parts of India to watch the ‘white nudes’ (You know Madam, in Marathi they are called Ambat Shoukin). In the bargain, Goan tourism ‘prospers’. Nobody is worried about anybody getting embarrassed.

In fact Your Excellency should have visited more ‘happening’ places in Goa. You should have taken a ride on our ‘off shore’ casinos anchored ‘on the shores’ of river Mandovi. You should have seen our 'atithis' gambling there and losing lakhs of rupees on roulette tables.

You should have visited our massage parlours, just to see who gives what kind of massage to whom.

You should have attended at least one rave party after 12 midnight, to experience throughout the night a charged scene of youngsters from all over the world smoking chilams (read as drugs)  and dancing at blasting music at the cost of trying-to-sleep aged villagers and students studying for exams in and around that area.

You should have seen how police are overfriendly with 'selective' tourists and supplying them 'everything' what they want. Did you see Madam the TV news during your visit of one Anti Narcotic Cell PSI selling drugs to the foreigners and telling them the haftas reach all his higher ups? Even this has become a routine news for us nowadays.

Prostitution is inherent part of tourism. But the ‘inheritance’ has crossed all the limits in Goa. There is male prostitution also.  And paedophiles roam without fear on Goan beaches, holding helpless small kids. Nobody dares to ask them anything, thanks to apathy of our law enforcing agencies.

You may call it perversity, Madam President. But, sadly, we in Goa have adopted this kind of pervert tourism. It’s not so much prevalent in Benaulim or the South Goa’s coast, compared to our most 'glittering' North Goa coastline: Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim, Arambol...

Yes, long long ago there was a protest against these 'minor' issues of over-exposure of body and nudism. The Goa government had created a special tourist police cell to monitor all such immoral acts. There were boards on the beaches saying ‘Nudism Banned’. Now, there is an unofficial ban to put up such boards or to tell the tourists to cover themselves properly.

If not, don’t you think the local authorities should have taken enough care that no such ‘embarrassing’ tourists come near you? But the authorities simply don’t care, no matter even if President of India gets embarrassed.

Were you; Madam?

Yes, we know it was your private visit. But where the President of India can enjoy private life like us? Obviously the necessary security arrangements were a MUST. We fully understand it. But due to peak season of tourism when you came to our Goa, roads were full with tourists and their vehicles. As a result, our private lives got disturbed. We were stranded on roads for hours together.

But not the case with foreign tourists who were moving on the beaches. Our photo journalists were not even allowed to enter the beach. But the foreigners were not even told to move little away from you. Because they are more privileged than the President of India.  And even the Citizen of Indian Union.

Atithi Devo Bhava!

(No sentiments hurt when these ‘Gods’ move nude – Live!)

May  be you were embarrassed to see your photo with  the semi-nudes, but we were delighted. Not because of the semi-nude foreigners standing around you. Because you were sitting on that bench. You know Madam, we Indians are not allowed to sit on those benches. It seems our Atithi foreigners get embarrassed if they see ‘other skin’ sitting on the benches. Your Excellency represents us – all Indians. You sat down and we felt overjoyed, as though WE were sitting on it.

Don’t  feel embarrassed, Madam President. This is real Goa. The President surrounded by semi-nude foreigners. Symbolically, the Indian Union surrounded by semi-nude (and even fully nude) tourism industry of Goa.

Yes, we too don’t like it. But Madam, this is our tourism. The world famous tourism! Everybody’s favourite tourism!! Free  tourism!!!

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

Blogger's Profile

Sandesh Prabhudesai

Sandesh Prabhudesai is a journalist, presently the Editor of goanews.com, Goa's oldest exclusive news website since 1996. He has earlier worked as the Editor-in-Chief of Prudent & Goa365, Goa's TV channels and Editor of Sunaparant, besides working as a reporter for Goan and national dailies & weeklies in English and Marathi since 1987. He also reports for the BBC. He is also actively involved in literary and cultural activities. After retirement from day-to-day journalism in 2020, he is into Re-Search Journalism (पुनर्सोद पत्रकारिता), focusing on analytical articles, Video programs & Books.

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Previous Comments

A bold piece by you, Sandesh, written in excellent satirical style.

- Jose Lourenco, Margao | 09 th January 2011 20:13


Nice article depicting the reality of the tourism industry!

In fact the photographers deserve to be congratulated for clicking the rare photos of the President of a great country- amongst the tourists -bringing dollars to the country!

Infact the VIPs visiting the State should be taken on the tour of the North Goa beaches and the night spots to to see why the tourists visit Goa and what are the their tastes to which our Tourism policy caters to!

When we look at the other tourist destinations all over the globe like Bangcok, Havai, Pataya- we can depict the clear picture of the direction in which Goa is progressing!

Already we are seeing the younger generation falling prey to AIDS, drugs and sex related crimes and Gambling!

May be when the History of Goa will be written a few decades since now- one will see the names of the present policy makers responsible to promote tourism in its present form- mentioned in black letters who created the Frankenstein of Tourism - all ready to engulf a whole generation of its people- mercilessly!

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 09 th January 2011 12:39


The pictures were taken when the LADY was at a public place, they were not taken from inside of her house. If she didn't want to be photographed than she shouldn't have visited a beach, a public place, in the first place.

- Jim, USA | 07 th January 2011 19:46


Our President has shown her simple way of enjoying her private holiday. In doing so she is the same private person as she is the President, and never the two are separated, in other words, the security personnel must have been more 'embarrassed' rather than our esteemed President, for the seeming stark open security lapse. Even the position or range of the camera could have been holding an offensive weapon. But the point is she was at a touching distance from anyone in the area.

The accredited photo-journos with their equipment and professioinal gear could not have been unseen, if security personnel sanitized the area in that radius. Now is that not a lapse ?

Besides all the above it was a candid and nitty gritty assessment of Goa's tourism and the lens spoke it all, thousand words in one frame multiplied by three. And our journos should not be disheartened by this. Jai Hind!

- Ludovico, Old-Goa | 07 th January 2011 16:23


excellent views sandesh.. maybe the government if it functions can correct the wrongs in tourism.

- Deepak Datar, Goa | 07 th January 2011 11:57


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