By Dr. Jose Colaco, Dabolim Airport, Goa. January 18, 2002.
All this Foolish Talk about Goan Independence
©'The Goan Forum'. ©Boa Vista-Bahamas Presentations.
See my rebuttal: Woolly Thinking
It is already January 2002! Happy New Year.
The weather in Goa is pleasant and Goa is full of tourists. It was a real treat to be back home in the village. It is time to leave Goa and go back.
Out there in cyberspace, there are still some odd voices making silly noises about Independence for Goa. What Nonsense!
Wake up fellas. Seriously wake up.
Independence from India will NOT happen for Goa. It is a non-starter. Let's not waste precious time on it. Goa is not East Timor, and Thank God for that.
There is enough bloodshed and suffering in this world. Goa has its own share of woes. No need for any more.
Go high up in the mountains and bury this "independence" foolishness where no one will find it ever again. However, from our vantage point, we might wish to look at the WHY
of these noises.
There is always something to learn from any episode of disgruntlement. Yugoslavia should have paid attention to it, the USSR should have paid attention to it, but they both did not. Look what happened when they used force under the guise of "national unity" to suppress popular expression.
India is a joint family. It needs to revisit the various bones of contention in the various parts of India. Every attempt must be made to understand these issues and resolve them in the best interest of the people.
When members of a joint family feel that they are all treated with dignity, respect, fairness and equality, they will stay together happily and work more productively. Families and countries where Force is used to suppress reasonable aspirations, eventually disintegrate.
Let us return to Goa and WHY
these fringe groups continue to make "Free Goa" noises 40+ years after the Indian Armed Forces expelled the Portuguese and annexed Goa.
There are 3 major troubling elements about December 19, 1961 and thereafter:
- Goans were never asked whether they wanted to be part of India or to be independent.
- Members of the Indian Armed Forces looted Goan shops and raped Goan women during the December 1961 action. Many have justified these misdemeanours as acceptable vagaries of armed action, and even as justifiable "spoils of war".
- The Indian Armed Forces continue to behave in Goa as though they are an occupying force. Where, sometimes, their will is above the rights of the local people, and the law of the land.
To the vast majority of Goans, it mattered very little who was in power in Pangim/Panjim or Ponnje (as the locals call their capital city). Whether it be Salazar or Nehru, very few Goans knew much about either, and cared even less.
Intellectual Goans were distinctly anti-Salazar. No intellectual, anywhere in the world, accepts dictatorship, arrogance or brute force. Salazar, to most Goan intellectuals, was an epitome of what they definitely could not agree with. Much disquiet, albeit polite, was afoot among the Goan intelligentsia. Salazar had got to go!
Conversely, Nehru and Mahatma's sensible, middle of the road, moderate pacifisms and the principles of non-violent self determination had many admirers in this group. Many a Goan intellectual struggled actively and openly to get Salazar out of Goa. These are the Freedom Fighters of Goa who suffered much personal hardship at the hands of Salazar's ruthless cronies.
These Goa Freedom Fighters must
be distinguished from Pseudo-Freedom Fighters, dacoits and other PDAs (public disorder artists) aka Anarchists or Terrorists.
Terrorists are Terrorists. They create terror. Nobody who uses terror as a means towards his end, can claim to be a Freedom Fighter. Terror causes a loss of freedom. No body who loves Freedom will intentionally cause the loss of Freedom. These Pseudo-Freedom Fighters (PDAs) caused many an innocent Goan to lose a life or limb.
In any event, the True Freedom Fighters were so busy fighting the Salazar dictatorship that they gave very little thought to post-Portuguese Goa.
Goa, perhaps, serves as the only example of a land where anti-colonialism Freedom Fighters have had very little role in the development of their land after the colonists left.
The resultant vacuum was filled by Pseudo-Freedom fighters and Delhi controlled hacks and hawks with vested interests.
What in effect was a largely welcomed intervention by India in 1961 has turned out to be a source of disappointment to many a true Freedom Fighter. Even the octogenarian Dr. Martins who suffered incarceration at the hands of the Salazar recently hoped that "the Portuguese were still in Goa."
Only a stubborn ostrich head will not read deeper into the exasperation of Dr. Martins.
The following are some of the factors which have made a wee bit bitter, something which should have been sweet.
- The Indian Army Units in Goa continue to behave, NOT like liberating family members but more like victorious invaders.
- Every now and again, there are reports of unnecessary confrontations between the "forces" and locals.
- Indian Armed Forces units have just taken over large tracts of prime Goan land, and occupied Heritage Buildings, virtually destroying their original character.
- The previously civilian airport at Dabolim has been taken over by the Indian Navy and converted into a Navy one with only limited access and use for Goa and Goans. Civilian flights into Goa are only possible after the Indian Navy has completed its schedule of training flights.
Talking about Indian Navy flights in Goa, the planes flying over Goa are are antique Russian MIGs and Ilyushians. Besides the noise pollution these planes create, their safety record is abysmal. The USSR has collapsed, and parts for these antique planes are being purchased from companies in the breakaway Republics. Over the last 10 years, numerous planes have crashed during training exercises all over India. A couple are reported to have come down in the rice fields of Cuncolim and Canacona. What happens when one of these antiques comes down in a crowded Goan village or town?
- In this period of Cultural Revisionism, the multifaceted culture of Goa is taking a severe hit. The revisionists are working on the premise that Goa and Goans will forget (after a generation or two) that they have any element of Portuguese in their genetic makeup, culture, language, cuisine or heritage. After that, "THEY" (who have never experienced Goan village life, tiatr or zatra) will become "Goans" like
- A serious attempt at Cultural Dilution was attempted by the Maharashtravadi Gomanatak Party which contested Goa elections on a platform seeking merger of Goa with the neighbouring State of Maharashtra. In the Opinion Poll of 1966, the majority of Goans told the mergerists (i.e. dilutionists) that they did NOT want Goa to become a retrogressive part of Maharashtra a la Ratnagiri or Savantwadi. They voted NO. Importantly, a significant minority voted YES! Many of these mergerists now are supporting the ruling Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
- Similar opposition was mounted when Goans struggled to achieve Statehood and recognition of their language Konkani. It must be noted that the majority of those who opposed the movement towards Statehood for Goa and recognition for Konkani, now support the BJP. Note must be made that the BJP started out as a minority party and slowly climbed into the driver's seat courtesy a series of well executed coups and defections.
- The irony of the Konkani language which is officially introduced and taught, is NOT the one which the VAST majority of Konkani protagonists speak or understand. Even the Catholic Church, with its ineffective and spineless leadership, introduced this S-Konkani as a medium for the conduct of Church services. It is a language that the vast majority of Catholic Goans still do NOT comprehend.
The revisionists have learnt well from the History of Hindi (Is this Hindi, the HINDI spoken by the vast majority of Hindi speakers when Hindi was introduced as an official language (1888) (Please read Alok Rai's Hindi Nationalism).
Time will take care of it, the revisionists have reasoned. The Goan Catholics don't vote for us anyway. Now, they will be properly disgusted with the happenings. They will either emigrate, forget about attending Church services or just "swadeshify" the Church in Goa.
We did it quite effectively to the Buddhists.....Why not to the Catholics
- One of the political acts to destroy the opponents of the Revisionists was the Mundcar Act aka Land to the Tiller Act. This was an Act which took away the ownership of the land FROM the landowner and gave it to the one who tilled the land.
One wonders HOW it is that the ownership of the MINERAL ORE MINES was not taken away from the mine owners and handed over to the miners!
No need to stretch anyone's imagination. The mine owners are among the Revisionists!! Some are major players!
- As a place develops or becomes affluent, the locals are known NOT to get involved in menial jobs. As Goa has been for several centuries, more affluent than other parts of India, labour from other parts of India have traditionally come to Goa to look for better opportunities. Nothing surprising about that. Happens all over the world.
What is troubling, however, is the fact that appropriately qualified and trained Goans have been intentionally denied jobs in Goa. Often, these very same jobs have been filled by sub-standard non-Goans from Delhi, Bombay or Kerala.
Some "Liberation" this!
- The once clean, peaceful, serene and safe Goa has under the Indian administration of 40 years been callously allowed to become filthy, chaotic, corrupt and crime ridden. There are those who believe that this degradation was intentional and part of the revisionist's policy of bringing Goa fully within the Indian fold a la Pondicherry.
The Indian subcontinent has a history full of Masterful Revision, all done with a near straight face. If one destroys evidence, there is a good chance that future generations will not remember - a technique relatively recently borrowed by the Communists and Fascists. It is no wonder therefore that most residents of the Indian subcontinent do not know that:
- The original people of the subcontinent are the Negrito tribes people who have been pushed into the hills.
- There is NO such thing as a Pure Indian Race. This might come as a major shock specially to Caribbeans of East Indian descent.
- The Mohenjo Daro and Harappa civilizations were Dravidian.
- There is genetic evidence which links the majority of Aryan Indians to Europeans.
- The Konkan Brahmins are genetically linked to Ashkanezi Jews.
- The Rajputs are actually the invading Huns.
- The peoples of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sindh and Punjab have significant Greek genetic input in them. (Do the names Jallandhar, Sikander, Maninder and Alexander, all ring a familiar sound?)
- The Horrible Caste System of India was based on Varna (Sanskrit for Colour)
- The Buddhism born out of a revolt against Brahmanical oppression, was the dominant religious faith in India and famous for their temple building; yet Buddhist Stupas and Temples are few and far between these days in India.
- Many Goan Intellectuals have developed a sense of disappointment, disgust at what is seen as a betrayal by the hypocritical Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister.
- Nehru preached non-violence but used armed force in Goa.
- Nehru promised that Goans would be consulted about their future. Goans would be free to decide whether they wanted to join India or not. No Plebiscite occurred.
- Nehru talked about the importance of United Nations resolutions but showed absolute disrespect for the 1961 one relating to Goa.
In the final analysis, it boils down to these indisputable facts: MIGHT IS ALWAYS RIGHT
and Politics is an exquisite form of hypocrisy.
India put together a massive show of strength in 1961 to dislodge a few Portuguese soldiers and policemen from Goa, but see what she has been doing with Indian territory captured by China in 1962. She is still scratching her head (and other parts no doubt), wondering what to do about that. China is a powerful nation, comprende?
India talks about ending colonialism. If so, why exactly is she still in the Andaman Islands?
And.....you are still surprised that there are those who clamour about the impossible Free Goa?!
Frankly speaking, TGF is. But only
because such talk is a total waste of time
The way forward:
Instead of wasting time and energy on nonsensical talk about so called Independence, TGF invites Goans to sit down and work towards making Goa, once again a place of peace, tranquility and happiness.
Sure, it is going to be difficult especially with the coming to power of the Hindu Right Wing BJP and the chaos in the present Opposition Congress Party.
One needs to take heart. History has a way of repeating itself. Time is a big equalizer. If Goans are really interested in Goa, they need to work towards bettering themselves educationally and financially. Difficult as it is, they MUST shun people who are corrupt and places which are filthy. They should particularly be wary of the religious bigots, especially the ones who come in sheep clothing.
India, as a nation, will definitely benefit from picking up on the WHY
of the signals of dissent in the various parts of the country. Learn from the lessons of the Indian joint family and its disintegration.
It is unfairness, discrimination and central arrogance which destroys a family; a nation too!
Goa must be all inclusive, accept the multiethnic nature of Goa and develop ALL the facets. This means that the Goa Govt must STOP denying the Portuguese influence in and on Goans. Accept it for what it was and is, and move on.
Goa must actively promote indigenous culture especially Village festivals, Zatra, carnaval, shigmo and Konkani tiatr.
Goa must afford able, trained and qualified Goans the opportunity to develop in Goa. And for Heaven's sake, let us not overuse the worn out cliché that "Goans do not like to do menial jobs, so others come in and fill the vacuum". Menial jobs are NOT what Goans are talking about. Qualified Goans are tired at being deprived of management opportunities in Education, Medicine, Engineering and Information Technology.
The Indian Navy must allow Dabolim airport to revert to civilian status. The other units of the Indian Armed Forces must avoid unnecessary confrontations with local inhabitants, and must make every endeavour NOT to disfigure and destroy the Heritage buildings they occupy.
Goans have enjoyed centuries of religious harmony. This after a millennium of violent inter-religion warfare. Goans do NOT wish a return of this butchery. Indian politicians with Religious battles to fight MUST stay out of Goa.
Go, help burn another place. If that is what you want to do.
Do NOT tell us that THIS is what you meant by the so-called Liberation.
TGF believes that ONCE the discrimination and revisionism is reversed, there will be no reason for this feeling of ALIENATION to persist.
Even the fringe groups will stop worrying their little pinheads about Goan Independence. We can all then start concentrating on the challenges of life itself.
Hopefully, those in denial will wake up and smell the Caju!
By Dr. Jose Colaco, Dabolim Airport, Goa. January 18, 2002.
©'The Goan Forum'. ©Boa Vista-Bahamas Presentations. See my rebuttal: Woolly Thinking