The photo of a traditional bread-seller in Goa selling bread at the marketplace with his bicycle displaying details like the bakery name and FSSAI license number as instructed by FDA through a recent order definitely deserved a front-page coverage. Not that there was anything exceptional about the picture. But it did tend to remind one of the fast-diminishing breed of Goa’s traditional poders! Migrant invasion has pervaded every aspect of business in the state. As with all the other traditional occupations that once gave Goa its unique identity, the local poders selling pao and other traditional bakery products too are making way for people from outside the state. With many of the present generation Goans relishing the prospects of moving out to other parts of the country and abroad for better employment opportunities, traditional occupations have been given a skip. The vacuum thus created has augured well for the migrants who have been quick to capitalize on this ‘windfall’. The pandemic in a sense has helped Goans to return to their roots. Ignored and abandoned, the land of their ancestors still holds out so much for them by way of employment and other sources of livelihood. As the economic meltdown due to the COVID situation prevalent across the globe threatens to play havoc with people’s lives, it is their native land that will afford them a gleam of solace in the trying times. Staring at an uncertain future and amidst a scenario where jobs are hard to come by, Goans are at least blessed by an overabundance of traditional jobs which are theirs for the taking. With the exodus of the migrant workers, the locals could now ‘reclaim’ their rights over various traditional occupations which were allowed to be dominated by outsiders for decades. Such a situation had come by only due to follies of a younger generation which has all along held on to the belief that pursuing family occupations are impediments in the path of their progress. However, with the COVID-effect having magnified the problems for mankind, the personal and social costs of unemployment will have a devastating effect on society. However, nothing should stop Goans from becoming self-reliant! Besides providing ample business opportunities, a return to their traditional occupations will definitely ease the unemployment woes of the locals.
PACHU MENON, MARGAO