A course on ‘Digging Deeper – Creating short comics about the story of mining in Goa’ by visiting chair research professor, Mario Miranda chair in Art, Illustrative Art, Cartooning etc, Goa University, Orijit Sen was inaugurated on Teacher’s Day, September 5 at Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Sanquelim in the presence of Vice Chancellor, Goa University, Satish Shetye; director VRPP, Maria Aurora Couto; ecologist and VRPP, DD Kosambi chair professor, Madhav Gadgil; Orijit Sen; college principal, Lucy James and writer, Githa Hariharan.
The ongoing course (till October 3) at Government College, Sanquelim, will look at Goa’s mining history through graphics created by students.
Speaking at the event, graphic artist, Orijit Sen said that in this consumerist world one should stop and think about the devastation caused towards our ecology. He further elaborated that one should discover its power to be the change.
Sen also appreciated VRPP’s efforts as it enables one to interact with new people and take on new journeys.
Speaking about the course, Vice Chancellor, Goa University, Satish Shetye said there are stories associated with mining, at Sanquelim and also its development from a village to now a town. “There are many stories which need to be documented and such a workshop is a good attempt,” he said.
Director VRPP, Maria Aurora Couto, while speaking about VRPP said inter-disciplinary studies are very important and does not restrict students to a syllabus and time-tables. While speaking on mining she said the students will tell stories that are heartbreaking and also inspiring. Ecologist Madhav Gadgil in his address spoke about Goa’s ecology and how mining companies have painted a misleading and illusionary picture of Goa.
“When I was one of the members of Golden Jubilee Council, to draft a vision document ‘Goa 2035’, I was told that the future of Goa lies in two industries—mining and tourism. At the same time there was Cauri mine agitation. When I went there I realised that there was mining carried out in sacred forests of the Velip community. I also went around this place, I found a waterfall and I even took a dip. When I went to one of the mining sites, I came across a report which stated that this place is a barren land. Even though it was full of greenery, a waterfall, etc,” said Gadgil.
After the incident, Gadgil checked the 75 EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) reports of mining and each report stated that Goa is a treeless, waterless, barren land with no hills or plateaus and mining is the future of Goa. “It only shows that one can make reality an illusion and an illusion reality,” he said.
Gadgil also spoke about Mopa land which is also branded as barren land. “During my visit to Mopa I stayed in a farmer’s house and also went through the area. This place has sacred groves, indigenous trees, etc. However, the EIA report doesn’t give a clear picture of this place and states that there are just five types of mammals found here—dog, cat, black rat, squirrel and Bengal fox. “When I was interacting with activists of this place they told me that they approached various academicians but none were ready to provide a written document stating this EIA is misleading and incomplete. However, piercing the smoked skin of illusion is mostly done by artists and journalists,” he said.