Saturday, 21 June 2008

Unity is the Key.

Hope at last, with groups/individuals on overtime to Save Goa & its Unique Identity. However, some with “perceived” objectives for the same, are fighting/sabotaging others working for the same objectives. What am I missing?

I discussed with some MLA’s, issues on Employment, Identity, Mega-Projects, Uncontrolled Migrants Influx, Mining, Non-Goan Land Sales, Corruption etc; they seem reluctant to address any critical issue. Empty Promises, Political Excuses, Passing the buck etc summarises their response. I think that they will not antagonise their Delhi Masters; who control their political destinies and they will not jeopardise their illegitimate incomes or migrant vote banks. They are in politics only to selfishly loot /destroy Goa. The Government will act for Goan Interests ONLY if the people actually force them to do so; for which we need unity!!

Clearly our historical disunity, immature crab mentality & simultaneous exploitation by politicians, has affected Goa & Goans. It’s high time we set aside our personal differences/interests & work in unity for Goa. My plea is that IF EACH ONE OF US TRULY WANTS TO SAVE GOA FOR THE GOANS, then let us at least work together on agreed, issue based, common objectives. Our Unity is the Key to Saving Goa.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Respect our Right to Identity.

Goans are increasingly opposing Land Sales to Non-Goans. I request Non-Goans to appreciate our basis. Yes, Goans can buy land in many Indian states/Western countries. But let’s look at this in a bigger perspective; this time globally; I’ll take the UK example, just to drive my point.

I read an impressive column recently in the UAE media by a UK government minister. It was ref. the new UK immigration laws; highlight was while the UK has to be fair to other countries, at the same time it needed them, particularly India in the letter, to respect each nations right to protect its genuine interests.

We appreciate why the UK/Western Countries i.e. Main Globalisation/Democratic Free World drivers enact controls against non-locals. In UK, non-locals can buy land, but immigration controls ensure that the UK is not open to all. Those questioning my views from UAE, please note that although locals here are in minority there are safeguards e.g. No Expatriate Political Rights, No Citizenship, Restrictive Real Estate Buying laws etc. to ensure that the UAE remains with its people.

Each community has limits to which non-locals can buy land/emigrate (with political rights). Goa has way crossed this limit; beyond which we have to put safeguards; the current rate will make Goans irrelevant & no community can accept the same for themselves. I’d argue today that Goans are more tolerant than most other communities. The REAL ISSUE is that GOA HAS NO CONTROLS ON REAL ESTATE PURCHASES/IMMIGRATION (mostly non local Indians). For those quoting the constitution (A) Goa had no influence to framing of the constitution i.e. India acquisition of Goa much later in 1961 (B) Some states have special provisions; Goa is also an exception; just because we “failed” to get safeguards in 1961, does not right the wrong (C) The Constitution is not cast in stone and for just basis, should be modified to protect the people; from which a democratic constitution should have been driven; not vice-versa!!

I accept criticism that Goans are to be blamed significantly for the issue because of our actions/in-actions; but also issues of Land Sales to Non-Goans & Uncontrolled Migration are significant and need to be addressed urgently. Goans should support your right to your identity/interests, likewise please respect our right to the same.

Arwin Mesquita, Abu Dhabi.

Goa's Liberation Day

December 19th is celebrated as Goa’s Liberation Day. I no longer want to celebrate the latter; because with every passing day, it looks more like the Liberation of Goa from the Goans; rather than from the Portuguese.

With all due respect to all freedom fighters, I would really request to know, what really happened in 1961? With key strong factors on our side (A) The United Nations behind Goa, stating self-determination (B) Goans being aware of constitutional provisions to states like Kashmir etc. I really can’t digest the fact that, Goans so easily agreed to accession, without any safeguards.

Apologies, if I missed something or not aware of certain facts: In which case, please can someone
enlighten me?

Arwin Mesquita, Abu Dhabi.

Enemy within – Salcete.

Salcete Today, is the Ruling Congress/NCP alliance stronghold. Many here accuse Politicians in other Taluka’s/BJP, in the communal/anti-Goan perspective. I don’t want to judge/defend “Other” politicians/BJP, but to look at politicians in our own taluka. Most Salcete Politicians have looted/destroyed Goa for selfish interests: Decades in power, jumping parties, destabilising governments, communalising politics, amassing wealth & using wealth to buy votes, ignoring promises or legislation’s for Goan Interests etc; yet people have elected them repeatedly over; many for a few pieces of silver; which amazes me; as to how we can allow ourselves to be fooled, in such a manner!!

Ask our Politicians some hard questions: Why are there many Land/CRZ irregularities? WHY HAS NOT EVEN ONE SALCETE MLA COME OUT IN SUPPORT OF SAVING GOA’S UNIQUE IDENTITY; IS THEIR PRIORITY “HIGH COMMAND IN DELHI” OR GOA? How many encourage migrant vote banks? Why is there no opposition/action on the critically high migrant invasion or land sales to Non-Goan’s? Why are so many Non-Goans employed in Goa; can’t MLA’s force higher incentives/pay scales for majority Goan’s to be prioritized/employed in Public/Private/Tourism sectors? How many support greedy builders or actively Sell Land to outsiders? How many supported peoples protests against mega-housing projects? The Konkani Agitation was boon to these corrupt politicians, who used it be in power for decades & then worked, to destroy Goa. Even after 20 years, Official Language Act is not completely implemented!!

Fellow Sashtikars (including those overseas), before we point fingers at others, let’s look within; our own Politicians have worked/are working selfishly, against Goa’s Interests? TODAY, WE HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE GOA FOR ALL GOANS, BUT STRANGELY SEEM SATISFIED OR GRATEFUL, FOR A FEW PUBLIC AMENITIES, WHICH SHOULD COME TO US ANYWAY AS A BASIC RIGHT. With increasing Non-Goan Vote-Banks & Land Sales, soon we will not matter to the Politicians, particularly the Congress/NCP Alliance. A Prominent Goan told me, that if Salcete wakes up, the whole of Goa will erupt & DEMAND ACTION. Let’s DEMAND that our MLA’s EITHER ACT on Goa’s Identity i.e. Stop Land Sales to Outsiders, Migrant Control etc; OR RESIGN!! Also, we can CALL for Mass Boycott of Future Elections in Salcete; to force our MLA’s to act on Saving Goa’s Identity. Politicians can’t afford to ignore the CALL; particularly the “Congress/NCP High Command” in Delhi!!

Arwin Mesquita, Abu Dhabi.

Indian vs. Goan

Dear Goans,

I am proud to be citizen of a country with the Worlds major religions and a variety of different cultures.The essence here is that different types of people make up our great country; Goan culture & identity being part of it. It is very important that these cultures & respective identities are preserved.Opinions are voiced that since Goans are free to buy land/migrate to any part of India (exception Kashmir); the same should be for all other communities towards Goa.

I appreciate this view but do not agree; most of the states in India have sizeable sizes/populations and migrations from other states will not make a significant change to their culture. One argument for example; Mumbai has majority non-Maharashtrian population but; Mumbai is a non-local minority city in a local majority state. Bottom line is that there is no threat to the Maharashtrian culture!!What we face in Goa today is a threat to our culture and identity; in a few years time will there be a place we can call home? With the current trend, I seriously doubt it. It is in this view that we need to push for an exception to the norm; which could even mean taking up the issue the Indian Government for constitution changes to preserve Goan Culture & Identity.

In hindsight, I believe that we should have negotiated this at the time of liberation.There are many communities e.g. The Kurds in Iraq/Turkey who long for a place to call their own and here we have a place but, are giving it away.Lastly my opinion is that each individual needs a sense of belonging and identity; A lot of Goans shun our language, culture and customs either due to embarrassment or other reasons. Each one of us should ask ourselves the question i.e. Do we want the Goa we know to go away? If the answer is yes, then I rest my case!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

My Message to All Goans Worldwide

Dear Goans,

I am very pleased to know about World Goa Day & other Goan Events held regularly across the world; and am sincerely grateful to the pioneers/organizers of these events. I appreciate that a lot of passion & hard work is involved, not only for the events but also in the normal co-ordination of Goans across the globe, which in itself is an incredible task.

Kindly allow me to ask the question; what is each one of us doing to preserve & strengthen in GOA; Our Home, Our Culture & Our Identity? It is good that the sole aim of the Global Goans Alliance is on the latter question and I am aware of projects being done to address the cause. I have seen with pride, Goan activities worldwide by Goan Associations.

The primary issue is the deterioration of our Culture & Identity in our home state Goa, which I appreciate we all understand, that if lost there, the same will also start vanishing overseas. My view is that each and every Goan has an obligation to address this issue and will know of how he/she can contribute. The reality is that although Goans are concerned, the majority have a passive attitude and seem to be content in leaving the issue to the minority,who are working hard to reverse the trend; for the benefit of all Goans. We can no longer stay in state of denial as our very existence is at stake!!

Yes, the world is going through a Globalization but, please let us look at it in a clearer perspective. Even advanced countries e.g. US, UK, France, Australia are working towards norms for immigration e.g. English Language, French Culture/Integration etc. So even with immigration, they want the essential culture/identity of these countries to remain. Many communities today worldwide are fighting for a homeland and in this regard we should not take Goa for granted. If Goa goes, we will only realize too late, what we have lost for ourselves and for our children. In my opinion, each individual needs a sense of belonging & identity.

First & Foremost, Our attitude has to change: if we think that the battle is lost then unfortunately this will be the end result. All efforts of our earlier leaders i.e. Anti-Merger, Language etc. will be in vain. I believe that we still have the passion and capabilities to address the issue and reverse the trend. One fact as a weakness is that, Goa has seen a huge migration of Goans which is understandable for economic reasons, but now this can be our biggest STRENGTH with not only the resources at hand, but also the Best of Global Skills gained. Let us start now giving back to Goa; we owe it that much. Let us put our words, love and passion into action for Goa.

The clock is ticking; the time to act is now. We Goans wherever we are, will be responsible for the final outcome.Yes, Goa has its positive and negative realities; but the bottom line is that it is our HOME, which we should always REMEMBER.

Dev Borum Korum,
Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Open Letter to Goan Overseas Organisations

Dear Overseas Goans,

There are many Goan Organisations worldwide involvedin many goodwill services to our Community.

To each Organisation; we need to address a priority ona urgent basis i.e. to mobilise a mass awareness amongoverseas Goans to protect Goa's Identity; else we will no longer have a place to call home. The time to act is now!!

This awareness programme needs to be well planned &co-ordinated to spread the facts; This is veryimportant as many Overseas Goans are unaware of thefacts threatening our identity. People will only actif they are aware.

Goans generally seem to have resigned themselves to loosing their Identity. If this is the case, then weshould stop creating Goan organisations or having Goan Conventions as in my view what is the point; if we carry on as we are; soon without a Goa with Goan Identity, all these organisations not be relevant.

Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi.

Goan Identity is NOT Anti-Indian.

Is the need for Goa to preserve her Identity, Anti-Indian? I surprisingly notice some using the “Indian card” to oppose a genuine issue. (A) They don’t understand the real perspective of India or (B) Vested Interests trying to intimidate concerned Goans.

Concerned Goans are not Anti-Indians or are any less Patriotic!! India is NOT ONE language/religion/culture/community/identity etc but a Great Country based on UNITY IN DIVERSITY; that’s why we have many states with its different Identities. Goa also has a unique identity; blend of east & west and contributes to this rich mosaic; culture & identity of India. So what’s wrong in preserving Goa’s part of the mosaic? We don’t advocate separation from India or Violence; We request peaceful dialogue to address the issue fairly. Is this wrong in a Democracy?

I think 4 major factors of Goan Identity are People, Culture, Language & Land. Let’s face these honestly and not be in Denial. Those valuing our Identity & think differently are welcome to give their views on what constitutes Goan Identity. We can have an honest, open/frank dialogue.
We should address the 4 factors urgently. Many have given proposals/suggestions or acted on the same; then there are the critics. Of course, all have right to criticize (civilized way of course) but to criticize is easy; I request the critics to give alternatives; if they don’t agree with views given. If the critics have something else then let’s go with/support the same or can start a dialogue, on what works best.

With respect, Each State has its unique characteristic; so we can’t generalize that what works in one, should also work in another. Goa with its small size/population is a unique exception. Surely the founding fathers of Our Great Country had the best intentions & did not want to decimate any identity; else something would have been done at the time of framing the constitution. Unfortunately, Goa joined the India Union much later.

Maybe the critics are not interested in Goan Identity or think it’s irrelevant. Well it is their view; I hope this is not the view of Majority of Goans; who only can decide on our Identity. Irrespective, Concerned Goans should be persistent; constantly express their views or act in a peaceful/civilized way; with the hope to mobilize Goans to preserve our identity.

Arwin Mesquita.


WE CAN STILL SAVE GOA AND ITS THREATENED PRIZED IDENTITY IN A POSITIVE, CIVILISED AND CONSTRUCTIVE MANNER.For Goans concerned, but show helplessness to act e.g. Non Residents saying that they are far away or Resident Goans saying that nothing will help, etc please allow me to suggest the following, practical action points: (A) Media/Awareness Blitz: (1) Write regularly (few words at least) to the local papers/media (Work to create awareness and change the attitude of Goans; in Goa & Overseas)
(2) Internationalise/Nationalise issues that are destroying Goa. E.g. Excessive Mining, Unnecessary Mega-projects, Slums/Vote Bank Politics etc (this can help put pressure on the Government to act for Goa & Goans)
(3) NRG’s should raise critical Goan Issues with respective Goan Organisations in overseas countries and agree at lease some minimal action for Goa.
(B) Political Blitz: (1) Email/Post letters to the President, Prime Minister, Governor, Chief Minister, Opposition Leader and all 40 MLA's (or at least one MLA) to Save Goa & Its Identity (2) Conduct a well publicized signature campaign in your respective areas, addressed to Indian Government, Goa Governor, Goa Government, Opposition, Media and as many MLA’s possible; this will not only spread significant awareness but also put pressure to act for Goa.
(3) Civilized Protest against Goan Politicians visiting overseas and challenge them with critical issues facing Goa. (E.g. a Black Band Protest)(C) Adopt your area (Non Resident Goans in particular): (1) Take time to understand the critical issues facing your village/town. (2) Identify with genuine activists on the ground, who are addressing the respective issues.(3) Network with others in your overseas region; who from your home village/town.(4) Agree support to local activists; if possible jointly with overseas colleagues.(5) Financing activists (if needed) can be done on an issue basis; transparent & clearly accounted.IMAGINE THE IMPACT, if countless Goans act on the same & do not stop!! Key is persistence. This will send a very strong message demanding action & undoubtedly fuel a VERY STRONG UNSTOPPABLE MOMENTUM amongst Goans, to rise & speak/act. Having addressed the above points with a few others and seen the reaction for myself; I am confident that more joining will simply amplify the effort i.e. the combined action will be extremely powerful!! BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF ONE; YOU CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE!!LET'S START THE BALL ROLLING FOR GOA AND ITS IDENTITY. THE TIME HAS COME FOR EACH ONE OF US TO SPEAK UP OR ACT. WHAT WE SAY OR DO NOW WILL DECIDE THE FATE OF GOA & GOANS. PLEASE SPREAD THIS MESSAGE.

Employment opportunities for Non Resident Goans

From,Mr. Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE.07TH May 2008.

To,Mr. Eduardo Faleiro,Honorable Commissioner for NRI Affairs,Government of Goa, Secretariat,Porvorim, Goa, India.Email:

Subject: Employment opportunities for Non Resident Goans

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you on ideas, for possible Employment of Non Resident Goans. Contrary to the common view, there are Non Resident Goan’s eager to return to work in Goa and are looking for suitable employment opportunities; even in the Private Sector.

I understand that your Overseas Employment Agency helps Goans with Jobs overseas. However, please appreciate that priority today is to stop the demographic reduction, by offering Goans suitable opportunities in Goa itself.

I visited the Government Employment Agencies in Goa and found out that the 80% Jobs reservation is a toothless policy; I am addressing this separately with relevant people, as I clearly see opportunities for Goans.

Please can you consider my ideas below and take them up with the Goa Government:
(A) Employment Exchange should be transparent in all jobs available (public & private sector). This can be done by managing a professional website; which can be easily accessed by Non Resident Goans.
(B) The Governments needs to review the minimum wages by sector for a valid wage increase; which will enable interested Goans to afford a satisfactory lifestyle in Goa.

Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Employment Solutions – Goa

I left Goa “temporarily” reluctantly, due to lack of opportunities. Many with me agree the need, to seriously address, opportunities in Goa for Goans passing out annually from various educational bodies. We could also create opportunities for Goan’s to return home. Lack of opportunities in Goa, is one main reason for our Identity Erosion.

But I don’t support proposals which employ’s Majority Non-Goans without safeguards; to an extent that Goan/Goa is no longer relevant!! I hear views advocating a one-track approach for development; at times with the Globalisation view. I think with the latter, we loose focus on the Objective i.e. “Opportunities for Goans with a balanced need to preserve Goan Identity”. There has to be ways that works best for us. With Respect, we are not against Non-Goans but safeguards are must to preserve our Identity. Let’s debate, discuss & agree a model that works for Goa. We need to think strategically with a vision & avoid quick fixes. Let’s think differently & agree solutions that could also be a model for other threatened Identities. We should Think Global but Act Local.

Can we Set up a High Level Expert Committee with key people from (A) Government (B) Local Experts (3) Goans returned home (4) Overseas Goans(I think many spend considerable time in Goa) (4). This committee can use multiple ways to agree solutions; one could be open forums where opinions are raised, shared & common points are agreed and at least start to be done in parts. Forums could be by (A) Holding Area wise meetings in Goa (B) Identify Key times when Many Overseas Goans are home & then have meetings with Goans in Goa. Please appreciate the need to be united in this effort to do what we agree, is best for Goa & Goan identity.

I can volunteer my time from abroad or when in Goa for the same. When next in Goa, I’ll try meeting with Key Goans to push for idea. I will contact Overseas Goans & NRI Commissioners Office, to get their views/support. Of course if anyone has better idea/different approach, they are welcome to propose.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Migrant Policy - Goa

Migrant Labourers/Vendors are seen as (A) Goa’s Necessity (B) Demographic Threat, (C) Political Vote Bank etc. Firstly I will state that Migrants have to be respected & treated well with basic human dignity. But let’s debate/address this sensitive issue fairly in a civilized manner; which in my view is a major factor diluting our Identity.

Like other places, we need migrants to develop/sustain Goa, but also as other places we need a migrant control policy e.g. The UAE with a minority local population has controls to ensure that the UAE remains with its people. All developed nations have/are pushing for tighter immigration controls. A humane policy is needed to protect both, Goan & Migrant interests which can include: Controlled migrant intake subject to requirement, Welfare e.g. Medical/Lodging, Human rights, Encouraging return when jobs are over etc.

Critics say migrants can live anywhere in India & there should be no controls; OK so what do we do? Do we accept/allow this to erode our Identity; if the latter is what the critics/majority wants then, let’s boldly declare Goa the 1st Cosmopolitan Indian State with no specific Local Identity/Language & term Goan no longer relevant? If there are ways we can preserve our Identity without such controls; then let’s hear it & accept it if feasible. Yes, some will quote the Constitution; Surely the threat to any identity was not foreseen, whilst framing the constitution else India’s founding fathers would have made provisions; then again there was no Goan input to framing of the constitution, as Goa was not part of India at that time!!

Politicians are mainly responsible for the migrants issue; way beyond our needs and give false reasons to us Gullible Goans E.g. Margao migrants are major vote bank of our Chief Minister; a clear manipulation of Democracy!! Can he work for Goan Interests when he does not need our Votes? How much Goan Taxpayers money/land is given to maintaining/growing the vote bank? Demographics are rapidly changing in Margao. Politicians use Migrants for Power; then what? Goans will pick up the pieces in the future. Margao had disturbances recently; this is simply because different communities will have different views; sometimes radically different. No community can accept a major demographic change in a relatively small period!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Proposal to Preserve Goan Culture, Land & Identity to Goa Government

Dear Goans,

At the Last NRI Global Goan Convention in January 2007, I queried the then Goa Government (Dr. Wilfred D'Souza, Mr. Digambar Kamat & Mr. Dayanand Narverkar) at the Secretariat, on the issue of preserving Goan Land, Culture & Identity; and asked how Overseas Goans can help in the same. At that point, I was requested by the NRI Commissioner Mr. Eduardo Faliero & The then Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Wilfred D'Souza to give a proposal for the same to the Goa Government. Please see my proposal below. I have followed up with the NRI commissioner to get a reply from the Goa Government at his visit to Abu Dhabi in December 07; and his office has promised to help at the earliest.

To,Dr. Wilfred D'Souza,Deputy Chief Minister,Government of Goa.
From,Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE,Dated: 03rd Feb 2007.

Respected Sir,
As it was requested at the Global Goans Convention, in presence of Mr. Eduardo Faliero, Commissioner of NRI Affairs; please see my proposal below to save Goan Identity.
Set up a Goa Government Committee to preserve Goan Identity and initiate the below:

(1) Urgent Dialogue with Government of India.(Very Important)
- Initiate a Government Committee to start an urgent dialogue with the Government of India on how to protect Goan Identity, Culture & Land. Given the fact, that we are a small population and cannot afford to take in so much migration & sell out land to non-goans, at such a rapid rate. Most other states can manage to keep their identity, as their populations/states are larger.
- I think that the Indian Government has an obligation to protect Goan Identity; since they had liberated Goa for the better.

(2) Global and Local Awareness Programme.
- Start an awareness programme on the need for Overseas Goans to return home, invest & help preserve our Identity; before its too late!!
- Start an awareness programme for Local & Overseas Goans on the ill effects of selling Land/Prized Houses to Outsiders and the negative implications, it will cause for Goa's Future and its Children.

(3) Culture and Language.
- Make it mandatory or offer incentives to promote Goan Culture aggressively vs. other cultures.
- Setup an action plan to effectively promote Goan Language and Culture.

(4) Opportunities within the Indian Constitution.
- Appoint a legal team to look at opportunities within the Legal Framework and Indian Constitution, on how Goa can protect its Identity & Land. There has to be something in the constitution to protect communities; where there is a real threat to its respective identity?

(5) Land- Setup a Land Bank to preserve Land that can only be Sold to Goans.
- Stop all land sales to Foreigners and investigate/ nullify any transfers done in the past.- Investigate all big projects thoroughly to ensure all norms are met before approval; Housing Complexes particularly that are not in the interests of Goans, should not be approved/passed i.e. ones that will not largely accommodate Goans permanently.
-Set up an professional anonymous hot line to report any land violations to a vigilance cell in the Government i.e. Agricultural Land Conversions etc

I strongly feel we should do something now, when we are in the majority and before its too late!! This committee I am proposing can also start getting ideas/suggestions from Goans (Local & Global) on how Best to preserve Goan Identity, Culture, Land & Language. Appreciate if you can please help address this very important issue urgently and let me have a reply at the earliest.

Yours Sincerely,Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Goan Tolerance

There is currently a lot of talk about the tolerance of Goans, particularly because Goans are in increasing numbers, starting to speak out against the fast deterioration of Goan Culture & Identity; mainly with the rapid influx of Non-Goans and hence the fast changing demographics. While I full appreciate that Tolerance is the need of the hour to make the world a better place, I want to put tolerance into a correct perspective for Goa.

Nobody today can dispute the enormous tolerance & hospitality exhibited by Goans in Goa, simply with the fact that 40% of the population of Goa are Non-Goans; I would like for the critics to compare this with the demographics of other states in India. We, Goans should continue to be Tolerant & Hospitable to all other people, but this does not mean it is wrong for us Goans to put in safeguards now, to reverse the erosion of Goan Identity and protect Goan interests.

In the UAE where I temporarily reside for example, the vast majority are non-nationals and many are allowed to even buy land, but this country in its wisdom has put in fair safeguards to ensure that the UAE will always remain with its own people. Yes we are Indians, but India is made up of some many cultures & identities; each of which has a right to be preserved and protected.

To drive home my point, say for instance in the homes that we live in, we can be very tolerant & hospitable to our guests or any person for that matter, but does this mean that we should give away our homes to the said people? Surely nobody will agree to this, not even the critics.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Sale of Land in Goa

Dear Goans,

Many Goans selling land indiscriminately are justifing themselves in many ways.

Yes, I appreciate that some are justified for veryimportant/critical reasons but am convinced that the vast majority is purely to make a fast buck with total disregard to the preservation of Goan Land for Goans which will ultimately lead to the decline of Goans in the population mix. In Colva, for example I seriously doubt Land will be available for Goans at this current rate.
I do not believe money is always the answer; we should also know our obligations towards our state.

Why can't Goans keep the land & look for other avenues to make money in PROSPEROUS GOA; particularly in caseswhere there is no desperate need to sell the land to non-goans. And to re-iterate, i am not againstnon-goans; but we cannot afford being a minority inout own home; or in a few years not having a state for Goans.

Why can't more overseas Goans clearly aware the future potential of India; start buying Goan Land? Each one of us can make a difference.

Many Goans have told me that that everybody else is doing it so why shouldn't they; I do not agree as I know a lot of Concerned Goans who are not doing thisbut preserving their land for Goans/Their siblings.

Seriously!! Goans wake up and join in this united front to save Goa, our simple decisions can help;please think about tomorrow consequences; just not for today gains.

Please spread this message.

Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Goa's Identity Movement

Dear Goans,

This message is only for those concerned, on the threat to Goa's Unique Identity. We don't have to sacrifice our rich essence (which has developed over a long time) or abandon our home GOA, to be part of the Global Community. In fact, by keeping our Identity & our Home, we can contribute in a much better/meaningful manner to India & the World. Our Identity is our key untapped strength; preserving it will indirectly instill self-confidence, direction, energy, values & self-pride within Goans; which will not only maximise each ones personal ventures but also on the whole, make our community, a powerful & well respected asset, to the Indian/Global Community.

Various Movements in Goa have started on the same. All Goans including Non Residents need to support and power the cause. Goa is deteriorating today mainly because, we are letting it happen. Let's not regret tomorrow that we did not act today. This is not about, being against other people; it is only about preserving who we are and what Goa is, in a civilized manner. This right applies to all Identities, across India and the World Over.

With our expertise, resources & even minimum time, we can work together as one force and make it happen. I believe that we can do it. I believe that we can find solutions, to most of the obstacles/anomalies. Please see BELOW my proposed plan, on how I think we should act. Kindly feed back your views

Arwin Mesquita. Abu Dhabi/Colva
Goa’s Identity Movement - (Proposal)

Mission: Preserve Goa’s Identity via a Consistent/Persistent, Civilized Mass Global Goan Movement.

1) Goa’s Identity is seriously deteriorating and has undoubtably reached a crisis situation; it’s now or never!!
2) Can no longer allow the corrupt/greedy few in collusion with specific outside elements, to destroy our home & our identity.
3) Misconceptions/False Propaganda amongst/to Goans; on the need to preserve Goa’s Identity.
4) Mistrust/Pessimism amongst Goans about various groups, persons, past efforts etc which hamper a successful united front.
5) Global Goans Individual Strengths put together, can have an extremely powerful impact.

1) Launch a Massive Co-ordinated Global Goan PR awareness, on at least the fundamentals & need of Goa’s Identity (unique selling point).
2) Establish/establish a strong network of Global Goans to work together with Resident Goans.
3) Lobby for Government legislations on Banning Sale of Land to all Non-Goans & also Migrant Control policies.
4) Maximize usage of Konkani (Devnagiri & Roman Script) and Propagation of Culture in Goa and with Global Goans.
5) Propose plans for development/economy of Goa and employment of Goans in lines with Goan Interests. (Goa by Choice for Goans)

1) No political affiliations/obligations and will work solely for the cause of Goan Identity.
2) Need to guard against vested powers derailing a “just” movement e.g. False Xenophobic Allegations, Quoting the constitution.
3) A non-profit volunteer movement, which would provide sponsors with clear account/receipts on agreed campaigns.
4) A non violent civilized movement that will work with any group/person irrespective, but only for the said objectives/Goa’s Identity.
5) Will welcome new ideas, suggestions & possible revisions to Objectives/Action plans, if it’s within the interests of Goa’s Identity.

Action Plan:
1) Launch a massive co-ordinated Global Goan PR awareness, on at least, the fundamentals of Goa’s Identity (unique selling point).
A. Setup a Global Website to co-ordinate the awareness campaign in addition to other action plans.
B. Highlight facts that most communities despite promoting globalisation enact controls to safeguard their identities (1) More Western Laws vs. immigrants (2) UAE allows non-locals to buy land with safeguards e.g. e.g. No Expatriate Political Rights, No Citizenship, Restrictive Real Estate Buying laws including 99 year lease etc. to ensure that the UAE remains with its people.
C. Monthly advertisements on Agreed Identity Basics in newspapers, sponsored by Goans who can pay direct to the respective papers.
D. Awareness meetings in various parts of Goa/outside Goa with significant Goan populations. Encourage Goans to blitz the media/government.
E. Setup an Expert Group to answer questions on misconceptions to Goans, on at least the fundamentals of Goa’s Identity.

2) Establish/establish a strong network of Global Goans to work together with Resident Goans.
A. Website to maintain network & respective communication. Need to co-ordinate with all Goans irrespective of Caste, Creed or Religion.
B. Monthly Communication with Various Global Goans.
C. Set up a database of Goans in various regions, fields, freedom fighters, important positions (meet with them to discuss the cause).
D. Meeting of Non Resident Goans with respective Local Goans in Goa & outside, where significant amount of Goans reside.
E. Take up the issue of getting NRI VOTING RIGHTS immediately with Commissioner for NRI Affairs.

3) Lobby for Government legislations on Banning Sale of Land to Non-Goans & also Migrant Control policies.
A. Meet up with all 40 MLA’s and address the Goa Assembly, to act on same for safeguarding, Goa’s Unique Selling Point.
B. Get the Government to implement immediately what is possible, within Constitution and on studying legislations from other states.
C. We need to seriously start looking at negotiating Constitution Provisions, as Goa has a just basis for the same:
Ø Have a Goan Legal team to look at all legal/historical aspects of India’s Goa acquisition dating back to the 1961.
Ø Goa had no input to current constitution, i.e. India acquired Goa later; can Goa get/demand special constitutional provisions as other states.
Ø Surely The Constitution should decimate any Indian Identity!! It’s not cast in stone; for just basis, should be modified to protect the people.
D. Meet with freedom fighters & people responsible for Goa’s liberation to ascertain the facts/promises on India’s acquisition of Goa.
E. Get the Goa Government to start an urgent dialogue with the Central Government, on how Goa can protect its identity (unique selling point).

4) Maximize usage of Konkani (Devnagiri & Roman Script) and Propagation of Culture in Goa and with Global Goans.
A. Get the Goa Assembly to use Konkani (Devnagiri & Roman) at all communication (business, public signs etc) in Goa.
B. Ask Goa’s Musicians of all communities to volunteer participating in a Well Publicised Mega Star Goan Musical Show in Goa & Possibly overseas, to POWER the Identity Issue (Local Sponsors could support setup costs in Goa; Overseas Goans towards setup/travel/lodging costs)
D. Meet with Goa’s Cultural Communities and formulate a plan, to spearhead a cultural revolution and spread the message via tiatrs, plays etc
C. Emphasis via Public Relation (PR) and Press the importance of Konkani to Goa’s Identity.
E. Convince Overseas Goan Associations to start introducing Konkani at various events, in addition to local language/English.

5) Propose plans for development/economy of Goa and employment, in line with Goan Interests. (Goa by Choice for Goans)
A. Get Facts on the current development/economic and employment policy via RTI etc and possibly propose a complete revamp.
B. Experts to Study above in detail with SWOT methodology i.e. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
C. Experts to propose Economic policies maximizing strengths e.g. Tourism currently mismanaged, correct weaknesses & suggest opportunities.
D. Experts to propose Employment policies maximizing strengths e.g. Tourism can prioritise Goans at higher pay scales & suggest opportunities.
E. Experts to Study Welfare Policies of other States/Countries e.g. Canadian Famed Health Policy/Social Security etc; to introduce in Goa.
With development, employment, welfare plans in place, Goans would be encouraged to return. i.e. addressing the very issues which
Have caused Goans to leave the state; and of course start reducing migrations of Goans from Goa.

Proposed by Arwin Mesquita, Abu Dhabi/Colva. Dated: 21st April 2008

Mass Movement Required to Save Goa's Identity.

Dear Goans,

To my concern, I was asked at the Jan07 GlobalConference to forward a proposal to protect & preserve Goan Identity/Land & was to get a reply in a months time. Its more than a month, since my proposal was presented & I am still waiting.

I am convinced that what we seriously need is acivilised mass movement using the tool of democracy to demand that our elected representatives initiate a concrete plan preserve & protect Goan Identity/Land.

In addition, Overseas Goans should mobilise Goans in respected foreign countries to do what possible to help in this urgent cause.

There is a saying that we will never know what we have until we have lost it!! Let's act now or the latter statement will be the unfortunate fact for Goa, its Identity & its people.

Arwin Mesquita

The only Positive thing about SEZ's

The only positive thing about SEZ would be that thiscould be a strong WAKE UP call to Goans, for savingtheir identity. Goans should recognise that there areother issues which are also affecting this fast deterioration of identity; one of which is the high exodus of Goans to foreign lands.

While I fully appreciate that there are economic reasons for thesame, I appeal to Goans to consider the below points:(1) Please consider opportunities in Goa before takingdecisions to leave. I personally know individuals who could have done much better in Goa itself and alsoknow many for who earn salaries in the Gulf, which are not that significant to what they could have earned inGoa.(2) As an overseas Goan myself in the UAE, I appeal to fellow Goans to do our bit to reverse this threat.Today 40% of Goa's population is non-Goans; I am notagainst non-goans but believe that we have a right to preserve our land & identity; just like people in other States of India. Let us start using our resources to invest, create jobs & buy Land for Goans.For Gulf Goans, there is a strong trend to emigrate despite being financially well-off. In the wider perspective, it is strongly predicted that the economic focus is shifting from the current developedworld e.g. US, Western Europe, Australia etc to Asia;particularly India. We can see this shift happening today. So why are Goans going the other way? Doing it later will be too late because by then, there will be no Goa left for Goans!!(3) To the Goans already emigrated to foreign lands, Iam aware that many Goan Events are held and and think you all are doing great job of keeping Goa alive in those countries. But please appreciate that we need your help as well in the just cause; else in the future, Goan Identity will be present only outside Goa; and that too will die off naturally with no Goa left.Majority of Goans are concerned; both inside & outside Goa. But just being concerned is not enough; each of us need to act now. Let us stop complaining, making excuses and act instead. Each one of us can make adifference; in particular because we are not a very large community. In particular 40% of Goans reside outside Goa; to see it positively, these Goans are keyto saving Goa. If each one does even a small contribution then together, this will be a very massive effort to Save Our Goa and its Identity. This is our home and we should not loose it!!

Arwin Mesquita, UAE

SEZ Good News and Goan Land

I was extremely happy to hear that the Goa Government has decided to do away with the current SEZ's. Goans now wait for the speedy implementation of the same. My sincere thanks and appreciation, to the leaders and people of the Anti-SEZ movement/protests, as well asspecific politicians who have been involved in the realisation of the same.

It was also music to my ears, to know that the issueof land allotment to Non-Goans is also on the agenda.The government indicates that it is looking atlegislation in other states, for possible use in Goato prohibit SALE of agricultural land. My strong view is that our Government should not stop here, we shouldinclude non-agricultural land as well; because Goansneed this scarce land. Today, Many Goans cannotbuy/afford land in our their home state. Extremelywealthy non-goans are buying Goan Land indiscrimatelyand this has made land prices sky-rocket, beyond thereach of an average Goan.

As accommodating as Goans are, there has to be a pointwhere Sale of Land to Non-Goans has to be stopped.And I am sure no other state in India would stay idle,if the similar threat faced their states. India is agreat country made up of so many cultures, identitiesand different types of people; each of the latter hasa right to be preserved and protected. To Goa inparticular, the Indian Government has an obligation toprotect Goan Culture, Land & Identity; Our Governmentneeds to start a dialogue immediately with the CentralGovernment. We need to act now before its too late.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

MLA’s Call to preserve Goan Identity

Better late than never!! Our MLA’s have at last started to call for preserving Goa’s Unique Identity. Now my question is what are they going to do about it? It is still not too late to prevent the fast erosion of Goan Identity, provided the Goa Government acts now on a war footing!!

My suggestion is for our Government to set up a Permanent Task Force immediately, with the objective of addressing this issue. This Task force should take Goans (Local and Overseas) into confidence and have area wise meetings/discussions to get our views, ideas & suggestions; based on which relevant Government Legislations/Laws/Policies can be proposed and enacted for the same.

Yes, we might need to take some difficult/bold decisions which could come into conflict with the Central Government, but then again when our very existence is threatened, our Government should have the will & courage to make these decisions, through an open & frank dialogue with the Central Government.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Goans are not opposing everything without any reason

This is with reference to the recent statement of our Honorable Chief Minister on Goans that "opposing everything will not help". I have heard this before and would like to give my views on the same. Goans are NOT against everything without any reason. These statements are many times made by vested interests to justify their corrupt actions and pursue hidden agendas.

Can we really help it if everything being proposed, is for the benefit of corrupt politicians working in vested interests inside/outside the state; to make absurd profits from the SALE of GOA?

With due respect, I think it is the lack of competence from our Governments to propose suitable projects in the first place. My kind advice to the government is to PLEASE COME OUT WITH A FAIR POLICY THAT FIRST SAFEGUARDS THE INTERESTS OF GOA & GOANS and then propose projects which honour the same? If the government does not have the will or the capabilities, then reach out to Goans and ask them on how such a policy can be formulated. If such a policy was in place, Goans would definitely vouch for the right kind of progress

Governments Stance On Goan Land

Senior Goa Cabinet ministers stated that the problem is mainly because Goans are selling the land.

I am disappointed with this view and disagreecompletely based on the below points:-This is a relevant issue as the very Goan Identityand ties to the soil are threatened. Yes, we can buy in other states but those respectivestates/populations are large enough to withstand identity change.-Certain critical areas has to be controlled by theGovernment where the local society can be affectede.g. Traffic, Stock Market, Insurance, Economic orProtection policies etc which are done by India andeven advanced countries like the US and France.

-One main reason the price of land has shot up;various politicians in the Government and Panchayats,who have been paid huge sums to clear land illegallyand support huge projects for Non-Goans elite. Not tomention threats and intimidation.I request each and every Goan to start with the firststep and demand that MLA focus on the issue ofof "Goan Identity/Land" and flood the media with demands.Let us start doing our bit for Goa before it is toolate. Equally I hope that at least 1 Goan MLA has thecourage to address and action this very important issue.One idea could be a formation of acell in the Government which (A) Starts a dialoguewith the central government on how to preserve Goanidentity and (B) Identifies opportunities to protectGoan Land, Jobs, Culture, Language and interest.

Will this decade will known for liberation of Goa from the Goans or will we do something to prevent it!! Let us look at "Can do" NOT "Cannot Do"

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Voting Rights for NRI Goans. (Letter to the Honorable Commissioner for NRI Affairs)

From,Mr. Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE.05TH April 2008.
To,Mr. Eduardo Faleiro,Honorable Commissioner for NRI Affairs,Government of Goa, Secretariat,Porvorim, Goa, India.Email:
Subject: Voting Rights for NRI Goans.

Dear Sir,
I am writing to you to request voting rights for NRI Goans.

While this may not be priority at the National Level or for most other States; Goa differs with a large percentage of Goan NRI’s with no influence, on the state of affairs in Goa.

I believe that this is a very important; it will benefit the NRI Goans & Goa, on the whole. Appreciate if you can address the same with the concerned people at the earliest.

Thanking you for your support,

Arwin Mesquita

CommentTimeApr 11th 2008

Dear Mr. Faleiro,

Thanks for your reply & efforts. I will circulate this amongst NRI Goans.

We hope that this turns into a reality at the earliest. Goa & Goans will be the most to benefit from the same.

Please let us know if NRI Goans can do anything; in anyway possible to expedite the same.

Kind Regards,Arwin Mesquita,Abu Dhabi, UAE.

On 11 Apr 2008 07:13:27 -0000, Lokseva wrote:
April 11, 2008

Dear Mr. Mesquita
Thank you for your e-mail regarding voting rights to NRIs. I support this demand and I had taken it up with the Prime Minister and the Law Minister when I was in Parliament. A Bill was introduced in Parliament for this purpose. However, in reply to Unstarred Question no. 3151 in the Lok Sabha on December 7, 2007 the Union Law Minister stated "With a view to enabling citizens of India who are absent from their place of ordinary residence in India owing to their employment, education, or otherwise, outside India to get their names enrolled in the electoral rolls and cast their votes when they are in their constituency at the time of polls, the Government introduced the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2006 in Rajya Sabha on the 27th February, 2006. The said Bill was referred to the Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice for examination and report. The Committee presented its 16th Report on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2006 to Rajya Sabha and laid the same in Lok Sabha on 4th August, 2006. The Government has not taken any decision on the recommendations of the Committee so far". As of today, it does not appear that there is likelihood of any such law being enacted during the term of the present Parliament. I intend however to pursue this matter with the Government of India.


Inspiration - Goan Identity

Dear Goans,

I came across this inspiring quote from Robert Fritz and I think its very relevant to movement for Goan Identity. Let me share it.

"If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise"

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

(British) Overseas support for the Save Goa Campaign -

CommentAuthorSusan Casey
CommentTimeMay 27th 2008

Good afternoon to all at the Save Goa campaign,

I wanted to write a mail to you to express my support for your campaign. It may sound a little crazy but I am also a resident of England and I have been in the very fortunate position of visiting India and Goa for over 11 years now and I not only feel outraged by the current situation in Goa posed by the infiltration of so many tourists and foreign settlers but really severely sickened. I know that not all foreigners arrive with a negative view and influence and some really do feel the same as we all do here in this forum but I cannot express my sorrow and apologies enough to the Goan residents for the severity of the situation both ecologically and culturally due to the demands of the ever growing tourist sector. I adore Goa and its people as I do India as a whole but my recent visits to Goa have left me with a very bad taste, and this I may conclude is not due to the influence of Goans but from the negative influence of my fellow man visiting from various parts of Europe and the westernised world. And yet with every visit I make to Goa the evidence is laid bare with more and more land being converted to apartment blocks and hotel / housing projects at an alarming rate that the scene is only set to worsen. The situation has upset me so much that I decided to devote my major university project to the documentation of the negative effects felt through over and irresponsible tourism practices within Goa, both on an ecological and cultural basis. My project looked not only at the coastal belt but at the blatant destruction and demise of important ecological niches and cultural inheritance across all areas including the Goan interior and as far as the majestic Sahyadris.

Unfortunately the supermarket culture of the UK and other westernised countries is encroaching into your homestead and I urge you take action before it is too late. The very reason that people began to flock to Goa was due its incredible display of natural beauty in all its varied and diverse forms along with the wonderful susegad lifestyle. In this whimsical world we live, once the natural beauty has expired due to degradation caused by the ever increasing demands of the tourism industry the tourists themselves would never return. This may sound over the top and melodramatic but unfortunately, and I am ashamed to say that this is the mantra of a huge percentage of our society as ours is increasingly delving into the deepest depths of a throw away society / lifestyle. I know that with a healthy tourism sector money comes too, but as time passes more and more international chains and foreign investments are taking over the market in Goa and as they do the demise of local industries goes hand in hand. Who is actually benefiting from this infiltration?

I hope to return to Goa for many years to come as my experiences, mainly away from the coastal belt still leave me intoxicated by the beauty and warmth displayed by the nature and incredible people of Goa. Please do not let my countrymen spoil the beauty you behold, it is far too vitally important on so many levels to let that happen. Allow the beauty which Goa beholds to shine out for many years to come; please do not allow it to become another statistic as a ruined and rotten place which was once so much more. On a biodiversity point your species richness within the state of Goa is really quite phenomenal but already it is massive decline again partly due to the influence of over and irresponsible tourism with its destruction and fragmentation of important habitat sites, excess garbage contaminating ground water and killing marine and terrestrial species and wasteful energy consumption. Goa has well and truly exceeded its carrying capacity and without careful reconsideration of how to build its future the future could look very bleak indeed. It is up to us all to provide safe and protected areas for all species to thrive, the beaches, forests and hills which are now effected were for thousands of years home to other species other than man himself, we should all respect this fact and help in this plight to provide protection at every level.

I thank you for your patience and I wish you every success with this campaign.

Kind Regards
Susan Casey.Yorkshire,England.

Not So Simple

Opposition to mega-projects/land sales for Non-Goans are argued by some critics on a "one simple logic" i.e. Goans can buy real estate elsewhere so outsiders can do same in Goa. Simple logic? I don't think so. Surely we appreciate that each community has its unique characteristics and one simple logic cannot be followed for all e.g. Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir etc which have special status.

Globally, many countries allows real estate purchases but please note that each have different controls to ensure that FIRST their identity/interests are safeguarded e.g. UAE allowing non-locals to buy real estate on 99 year lease, Western Countries continuosly improvising already strict immigration norms. To re-iterate, they have different policies within reason, so as to not sell themselves out completely. Can I ask why all these Countries not just follow One Simple Logic?

In India, critics please focus on the core issue and not the 1 track "simple" logic. Each community has its core issues to be safeguarded first and then only relevant real estate purchases can be allowed. For example, is the deterioration of Identity an issue for Maharashtrians or Goans today? Surely Goans will not oppose real estate sales to Non-Goans, if this did not threaten our identity. Will Maharashtra/Others not do the same if they faced the same threat? Goa's core issue is its unique identity which is being threatened mainly because of its different characteristics/size vs. others; hence what works in other states cannot apply to Goa. Do the critics not selflessly understand that there is a real threat to Goan Identity? Yes, we are Indians but India is a not one single culture but a mosaic of so many identities; each one has a right to be preserved.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.

Gulf Goans Support

Gulf Goans today face many difficulties i.e. declining living standards, localisation, reduced savings etc. Many contemplate leaving the Gulf soon. We must take strong interest on Goa’s Identity, mega-projects, corruption, mining, destruction, alarming outsider land sales, uncontrolled migrant influx etc. We must work with residents to save Goa for Goans; including future generations. Gulf Goans can help Goa significantly; if only we wake up immediately and think positively/constructively.

Have we lost hope/belief in ourselves/Goa? Our home is in region (including China) where the economy is booming vs. others; education (all layers) & medical are getting international respect. Rich nations are targeting our region as the future; there is strong demand for Goa by outsiders and strangely today, we have on a large scale “Entire Well off Gulf Goan families” migrating; abandoning Goa; selling off properties!! Are we really a short sighted community in general; lacking a real long term vision? How much wealth is really enough? Is so much migration really relevant today and does it not influence the erosion of Goa’s Identity? Are western societies really better off as a whole? Think about identity/value/family issues that our future generations will face; or is it just the materialistic things that interest?

Let’s stop complaining & looking only at all the negatives of Goa, which are just excuses for our reluctance to act or to justify today’s “debatable” migration. Surely, Goa also has positives vs. other societies. We should start from the positives, address the negatives and see how we can together make Goa, the place we want it to be. I believe we can do it, if we just put our heads together and look at what we can do and not, what we cannot do!! After all, there is no place like home.

Arwin Mesquita, UAE.