“We were successful in preserving our cultural identity because we won the Opinion Poll,” Fr Mouzinho Ataide
The Opinion Poll day remembrance programme was organised by department of Konkani of M E S College of Arts and Commerce on January16. Fr Mouzinho Ataide was the chief guest and commemorated the day by lighting the traditional lamp.
Fr Ataide expressed that it was because of the victory attained in the Opinion Poll that Goans could successfully preserve our Goan identity, our language Konkani, the Konkani culture and heritage. Principal R B Patil, associate professor Sandhya Bhandare Sequeira and the head of Konkani department, professor Satyawan Naik were also seated on the dais.
The Opinion Poll which took place on January 16, 1967, is a significant historical event for Goans. The opposition tried to merge Goa with Maharashtra by deceiving many with the idea that Marathi was the language of Goans, but the true sons of the Goan soil, namely Uday Bhembre, Jack Sequeira, Purushhottam Kakodkar, Shankar Bhandari, Ulhas Buyao, Shabu Desai and a newspaper daily, “Rashtramat” convinced Goans that Goa should remain independent as it belongs to Goans. Thus, the Opinion Poll was won in favour of an independent existence for Goa. Had the Goans not exercised their power of discretion and prudence then, we wouldn’t be living as Goans today and Goa would have remained as a small district of Maharashtra.
Goa’s all round development has only been possible due to the victory in the Opinion Poll.
“The Opinion Poll gave us a sense of pride towards our language and our land. It took the Konkani language to the Sahitya Akademy, which conferred upon it the status of official language when Goa attained its statehood and Konkani secured a place for itself in the eight schedule of the Indian Constitution,” informed Fr Ataide.
Earlier, R B Patil welcomed the gathering while professor Satyawan Naik briefed about the programme. Professor Gorak Sirsat and Saynex D’souza recited the poems of late B B Borkar which was written on the Opinion Poll. Nikhita Morjkar compered while Sirsat proposed the vote of thanks.