Thursday, 14 January 2010

Letters for Goan Identity in Goan Media - Compilation

(1) Swamped by migration Nazir Aga, Panjim
The attempts by certain sections to unjustly accuse Soter D’Souza of propagating communal hatred is downright malicious and disgusting, especially when the issue of immigration is definitely a matter of concern to every Goan, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Protecting Goa’s social, economic, and cultural interests is not unconstitutional. If other states are bent on implementing their culture, language and protecting their economic interests, there seems nothing wrong in Goans doing the same. If not, let all state boundaries be dissolved and let only one language and culture prevail. Colonisation of any state by migrants is definitely not a constitutional right. Why should Goa, which has a negative birth rate, be penalised for the failure of other state governments who have not been able to provide for the social and economic needs of their people?

(2) Goa’s Illusionary Liberation
In 2011, our politicians at the state and national level intend to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Goa’s Liberation; what may I as do they want Goans to really celebrate, other than the slow liberation of Goa from the Goans. Enough of this; years of brainwashing Goans and decimation of the local population and their respective identity; In my view, Goans should now start in increasing numbers, to oppose/protest the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the “illusionary liberation”!! Arwin Mesquita, UAE

(3) 18 Dec, 2009 Reflections on the Eve of Liberation Day
We deceive ourselves if we feel everything in Goa is fine, while our identity, culture and survival are at stake, says DR JOE D�SOUZA
Since 1961, every 19th December, Goans celebrate their �Liberation Day� from their colonial masters. The Indian Army took over the administration of Goa from the Portuguese in a smooth operation, before anyone in Goa knew anything much. Power was peacefully transferred without any bloodshed and with no loss of life.But as I lie on my bed, lazily reflecting on the past, my mind poses a question: �Is Goa truly liberated?�I belong to the generation which can vividly remember and reflect about those good old days with their pleasant times. I belong to the era wherein as a child I could sea no evil, as I wasn�t big enough to know and understand much about the difference between Indian democracy and Portuguese dictatorship. My interaction with the Portuguese pakles was at the check post, each time I visited Goa from Mumbai (then Bombay) for the annual summer holidays. What Aunty Laura used to do as a freedom fighter then mattered to the extent that we missed her company during the time she was in the freedom movement.Good fish, lots of cheese and a tinge of port wine was on the table for us to relish, especially when she was around. Lots of oysters, big crabs and mussels fresh from the River Chapora used to find their way to our home from the nearby fishing canoes. In the 1950s our lives in Mumbai were a bitter struggle, I can remember famines, rationed food and study under dim lights or sometimes under electric poles. But once in Goa, it was like going from hell to Paradise. My granny used to rear pigs and fowls, grow vegetables and ensure that plenty of mangoes, jackfruits and tender coconuts remained on our trees. Taking a bath straight from the brass pot drawn from the village well on a hot summer afternoon and again under the banana plantation, either by moonlight or the dim light of a small kerosene lamp, was an enchanting experience.A wholesome and healthy quality of life for our family all through the erstwhile Portuguese regime under Salazar made me ponder if liberation for Goa is truly achieved, especially as the life in the state for the niz Goemkar is becoming increasingly tough and challenging. Mining beyond sustainable limits has made Goan agriculture reluctant and unremunerative. Our rivers have been silted with mining rejects and our aquiferous hills have been butchered, raped and bled devoid of forest cover, inviting floods and drought. The greed of our politicians, bureaucrats and the manipulative illegal mine-owners lobby has ushered in lopsided tourism and mushrooming of concrete jungles which has transformed Goa from green to grey. I cannot visit the pristine beaches of Goa and swim at Vagator beach as I once did during the Portuguese, era because it is today infested with cancerous tar balls and rich in oil slick and copious amounts of drifting garbage. Industrial pollution has contaminated our air, water and soil. My beloved Mandovi River is today colonised by casino vessels, belonging to rich migrants who employ Russian belly-dancers, women from the North-East and Punjabi managers.The garbage menace is seen all around due to lopsided tourism. Today Goans are prisoners of gambling and victims of alcohol abuse due to faulty planning of economic activities. We accuse Portuguese of colonial dominance, oppression and religious inquisition, but do we realise for a moment that Goa today is seeing increasing religious intolerance, thefts in churches and temples on a daily basis, destruction of public properties, deaths due to suicides, rapes, murders and road accidents � all essentially a result of lax implementation of law.Today more Goans are leaving Goa�s shores to make a living outside the country. Acquiring a Portuguese passport is today not only a status symbol but an identity for receiving international credibility � a recognition which is not available with an Indian passport. Let us not be hypocrites, and let us acknowledge the blessings which we have derived and still derive due to our association with the Portuguese. Genuine freedom fighters and worthy Goans, while accepting the blessings of liberation, do not go hammer and tongs against the Portuguese benevolence.There are a few smugglers and antisocial elements who claim to be freedom fighters. By destroying anything of Portuguese history in Goa, they want to project their nationalism, which is totally absurd and misleading.Elsewhere, in another article, I have recounted that for about 12,000 years of written history of Goa, Goans have yet to learn to accept their mistakes and historical blunders. Goans over 12,000 years have always remained as a subdued society, ruled by invaders, be it the Kolarian tribes, Sumerian warriors, the Aryans, Portuguese, etc.In the past Goa was plundered and looted not only by Mohammad bin Tughlaq, but also by the Bahamani and the Vijayanagar empires, which found Goa and the Goan people an attractive target to exploit. We would be soon heading towards celebrating 50 golden years of Liberation. But alas! Goans call themselves free citizens of a free country but cannot feel safe to live or reside in their own traditional homes, which face threats of demolition due to CRZ laws, Mega housing projects have brought home hordes of dubious migrants and unscrupulous builders from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Belgaum, Bangalore, etc, and Goans are pressurised into selling their homes. It is not the Moguls or the Marathas this time but the Russian, Israeli and Delhi barons who have taken over. Our markets are flooded with vendors from Karnataka. Our hotels and restaurants have cooks from the North-East and our labour force is from Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, UP, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Dancing during meaningless carnival shows and during the IFFI celebrations, if we feel everything in Goa is fine and under control, we would be deceiving ourselves. More than ever before, our Goan identity, culture and survival are at stake. The active protests at Gram Sabha meetings about the destruction of Goa by unscrupulous politicians and obliging bureaucrats is a welcome sign. Actions speak louder then words. We must free Goa from the clutches of vested interests who are looting and plundering Goa beyond sustainable limits. In the next 50 years global warming and adverse impacts of climate change would see a 16 cm rise in sea level and temperatures would rise by 4�C. Being a coastal people, Goans must prepare themselves for the imminent disasters due to affect the state. Let not unscrupulous elements destroy and butcher our hills, fill up low-lying areas and reclaim them, or else the sea would reclaim us and liberate us for ever. Eternal vigilance is the price we must pay for freedom. May I salute the Gram Sabhas all around Goa for working hard to nip in the bud the growing menace of corruption and open rape of Goa by our greedy politicians and unconcerned legal system, which seems truly blind to Goa�s degradation and Goan marginalisation.

(4) Liberation or false dawn?Zino Carvalho, Davorlim
As Goa completes 48 years of its Liberation, despite the tremendous progress we have made since 1961, the people hope that the Central Government would grant special status to the state. But this has not yet materialised.The feeling of being colonised has not yet left us. At present we are concerned by the influx of immigrants, lack of job opportunities, sale of land, exploitation of mines, stench of rancid garbage at every nook and corner, plundering of agricultural fields and green zones for concrete mega projects, sky-rocketing prices and cost of living, full implementation of the Official Language Act, etc. Goa was not part of the Constituent Assembly deliberations. It was liberated through army intervention in 1961. We missed the first two Five-Year Plans. In order to preserve our identity, culture, land we need special status like Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal or Jammu & Kashmir to regulate or restrict ownership and transfer of land to non-Goans. Goa ought to have been given the special status soon after Liberation as promised by the then central government, led by Jawaharlal Nehru, who had assured Goans that he would do this to preserve the unique Goan identity for our future generations.

Viva Liberation!Joel Morais, Cuncolim
Liberation changed Green Goa to a concrete jungle. Liberation opened the doors and welcomed the criminals. Liberation welcomed the communal fanatics to create communal riots and bomb blasts. Liberation opened a market to sell government jobs. Liberation allowed the rich and the powerful to have their own laws. Liberation welcomed pollution to pollute our ground water. Liberation allowed the rape of our virgin beaches. Liberation welcomed the River Princess to take shelter in Candolim. Liberation allowed the sons and daughters of top government officers to use and crash government cars. Liberation allowed the elected people in power to use official force against the sons and the daughters of the soil. Liberation converted us from the slaves of Portuguese law to the slaves of our own law. Last but not the least, Liberation will once again welcome the elected licensed Goa looters to hoist the holy flag of our beloved country on 19 December. to Save Goa for Future Generations GOA was loved by tourists because of its scenic beauty, its natural green environment, clean beaches and hospitality of the local Goans. But alas, all this will be gone in a few years. Just look at the pace at which the greenery of Goa is being destroyed. Are the concrete jungles essential? And for whom? Can Goa sustain the influx of heavy-pocketed people from other states? How is the government going to cater to the needs of these people? Think about the amount of garbage that is going to be produced. What are we going to leave our children–polluted air, litter-strewn beaches, unsafe chaotic roads, consistent power shutdowns and restricted water supply? Will they ever be able to visualise a green Goa? How can the government turn a blind eye to the influx of non-Goans? Non-Goans in Goa have outnumbered the Goans and our very identity is at stake. The immigrants have started their own organisations to propagate their language and their culture in Goa. Is parasitism of cultures justifiable? The price of land has gone way beyond the reach of the common man. What is the government doing about all this? I fully agree with Mr Seshagiri Raghu Kumar who voiced his concern for Goa in the letter ‘Save Goa’ (NT, April 29). Goa is not a destination for employment like the metros of India. It is basically a tourist destination and the government should do all it can to save the natural environment of Goa. It should develop policies to safeguard the interest of Goans in the employment sector by reserving 90 per cent quota for Goans before issuing permission for industries, hotels etc. Are any of our Goan leaders listening? More importantly, will they take the necessary action to save Goa?NANDINI VAZ FERNANDES, Margao

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