Sunday , 24 February 2019

Things Goa Lost After Statehood

Nandkumar M Kamat

No political party can restore what Goa has lost after statehood. Amazingly, unlike the vertical division seen during Opinion Poll, 1967, the camps which had fought each other bitterly and violently on status of official language (only Konkani/Marathi/both) had both supported demand for statehood- about one million Goans. On May 30 Goa would complete 31 years as India’s 25th state. People need to be reminded about Goa Statehood Day, 30 May.

The young generation born after 1987 virtually knows nothing about history of Goa’s statehood. Goans have already forgotten about colonial appendages Daman, Diu and Dadra, Nagar Haveli. Arthur G Rubinoff, now Professor Emeritus of Political Science, The University of Toronto, Canada, had concluded in his research paper- Goa’s Attainment of Statehood (Asian Survey, May 1992). “What is unique in the Goan case is that it was the minority Christian community that risked bloodshed by taking the initiative. As during the 1967 Opinion Poll, the Christians made common cause with the Hindu Brahman community to promote the Konkani language.

What is regrettable is that 25 years after territorial integration, the government of India responded to violence and not democratic politics in granting statehood.” With rapidly and alarmingly falling birth and death rates among Goans combined with increasing rates of emigration it is estimated that by census AD 2041, Konkani speakers would be in ridiculous minority, thus destroying the very basis of demanding statehood. Post AD 2041 it would be very difficult task for the well settled ’Neo Goans’ to redefine the emergent ‘New Goa”.

Even the 40 pre Portuguese kingdoms, the iconoclast, destructive Bahamanis, the Portuguese possessed by notorious inquisition and the repressive Salzarist regime represented by cruel, sadistic deeds of Casimiro Emérito Rosa Teles Jordão Monteiro, the notorious Agente Monteiro, were not successful in destroying the matrix of childlike civilisational innocence which defines Goa.

Statehood destroyed the micro level structural and functional community simplicity of Goa and led to rapid ecological, political, cultural and demographic simplification aided by the powerful market forces unleashed post 1991. Real estate speculation took away whatever that could have been retained as Goa’s distinct landscape and architectural ethos. Goa has lost many things after statehood. Geographically, Goa lost opportunity to demand redrawing of borders to include the entire Mandovi river basin.

People of Goa were kept in dark when the revenue department of Goa vide order dated July 26, 1989 transferred the Anjediv island to Ministry of Defense (MOD), having immense archaeological, historic and heritage value to the new state. Despite terms of the agreement the Navy did not permit the celebration of customary feast of “St Francis de Assis” and “Nossa Senhore de Brotas”. Even Portuguese had permitted their enemies to visit this island but the MOD allegedly treated Goan pilgrims like strangers in their own land.

Excluding Anjediv island, the MOD possesses four sq kms land in Goa and may allegedly like to acquire the Grande and Pequeno islands and the entire Bimvel beach in Mormugao Taluka. Interestingly the only politician who raised voice years ago was late Matanhy Saldanha, who wrote-“ it is time for Goans and its government to take a stand on this matter and study how much of land in Central government agencies’ possession is utilised by them and how much do they really need. This is important when one considers the fact that Zuari Industries Limited were given so much of land to set up their fertilizer factory that most of it was not utilized and the vacant land has only recently been used to set up a whole new campus for the BITS Pilani Institute!” The message for the people and politicians in Goa is that IIT and NIT Goa found it difficult to get land for their public campuses but BITS Pilani Goa private campus came up without any problem with huge hidden land subsidies.

Such administrative anomalies became part of post statehood governance. Post statehood politicians hired expensive consultants to project a wrong image of Goa- which alone is responsible for increasing footfalls of domestic tourists. Who had heard of ‘sex escort’ business in 1990s? Till the dawn of present century people were under the impression that the menace of psychoactive drugs was limited to coastal tourist belt. But narcotics have reached now in the remotest of villages in Goa. So instead of statehood creating a better, self-confident system of morally strong powerful surveillance system, a slew of progressive legislations, the state itself tied its hands by promoting a revenue generation model based on sale of lotteries and promotion of gaming a new gambling culture.

The total moral and intellectual bankruptcy of Goa’s educated political class was biggest loss for Goa after statehood. They weren’t really interested in loss of Goa’s image and the wrong message visitors to Goa were picking up to commit organised crimes here. Every day, I receive half a dozen irritating calls from mobile numbers identified from Delhi, Noida  and Chandigarh , all scamsters talking in trained voices, looking for credit card and banking details but the cybercrime cell shows complete helplessness to apprehend these gangs tormenting thousands of Goans.

Preventive, deterrent policing is unheard in Goa. India’s 25th state has projected its’ image as “a land of simple, nonviolent, gullible, affluent citizens, whom anyone can charm, trap, lure, tempt, cheat, loot and plunder”.  As shown by the recent incidents of rape and planned blackmailing by a gang from Indore and molestations on the beaches and construction sites, the biggest loss is Goa’s image as haven of peace and virtually crime Free State.

With both Christians and Muslims unhappy with post statehood developments alienating them, the church still rightfully agitated over long pending issue of empowerment of local communities under 73rd and 74th amendments and politicians being clueless about need of rapid and radical reforms in public policies, pro Goa legislations and efficient administration, Goa’s post statehood losses far outweigh all claims of developmental gains.

Goa needs to look at Telangana which is rapidly and systematically building up its new image as a new, progressive, IT enabled state, something Goa failed to do in 31 years. Of course the politicians and people of Telangana have the wit, humor, wisdom and intelligence of legendary Tenali Raman in their DNA to guide them and Goa?


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