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Goans Need Special Status Inside Goa-II

By Nandkumar M Kamat
The present Goa would have to make the road clear for new Goa. The Konkani stalwarts may still continue to sing “Amritacho Pavas” (shower of divine nectar) of Shenoy Goembab and the Marathi crusaders in opposite camp may sing “ Mazya Govyachya Bhumit” by poet B B Borkar. However, within two decades, Shenoy Goembab’s shower of divine nectar would turn into shower of tears for those who would be left in Goa. The dynamic forces of history, the sweeping undercurrents of change would not take rest. This process began decades ago and all the rulers who disappointed Goans since 1963 played a naïve but mischievous role in precipitating it.
A lot can be written about how MGP, Congress, NCP, UGDP conspired to kill land reforms initiated in 1963. Nothing was heard on completion of land reforms process after the 1973 report of Anthony Desouza house committee on Land ceiling act was shelved. Evasion of land revenue tax is another multiparty megascam. Both the leader of the house and leader of the opposition in the assembly need to tell this state why they are silent on non collection of land revenue tax since 1988? What it takes to redraft a new notification at reasonable tax rates? How this state can lose a legitimate revenue of more than Rs 100 crore a year? Who would recover the arrears of land revenue pending since 1988 which may amount to more than Rs 2,000 crores?
The constitutional, statutory duty of a district collector is to collect “land revenue”. A collector is understood as a government official who collects land revenue from land owners. But both the collectorates in Goa have not collected a farthing under the budget subhead “land revenue tax” since 1988 so the designation of collectorate and collector has lost the mandated meaning. Such disastrous, fiscally irresponsible policies, childish procrastination on matters of public interest and pitiful games played by Congress, BJP and MGP have damaged the basis of Goa’s very existence.
What’s the point in rushing to New Delhi when hundreds of such issues have been swept coolly under local carpet? Such bad governance helped to create a new Goa with radically new demands on limited land and water resources. The expensive Spanish consultants of present government are working day and night to make the new Goa for Goppies (new Goan yuppies) possible. One can see with one’s own eyes how roadsides, countryside, hillsides, bus stands, markets, towns and village squares, festivals are changing. One can contrast patterns of garbage strewn on entrance or exit points of villages and towns with patterns of billboards and sprawling roadside encroachments.
We heard the CM of Goa making a statement in assembly last year that all the encroachments in road widening zones under the control of PWD would be removed by September 2013. Factually these have doubled in past one year which tells us how serious this government is about reduction of chaos and lawlessness in public areas. The mafia has now identified PWD water mains as new areas to build shops. A tempo load of soil is dumped on the exposed pipes and a mini plot is created to conduct business. PWD engineers, MLAs, Ministers, Sarpanchas watch these activities in silence probably in the interest of new Goa. Is there political and administrative will to evict these offenders? Or the action would only target the Goans?
Goans are already paying a heavy price for erosion of their quality of life everywhere. Who receives monstrous kickbacks in PWD, Revenue, Panchayat, Urban development and Police departments to turn a blind eye for years to these eyesore and patently illegal activity is a matter for members of Goa assembly and honorable judiciary to take note of. The social, cultural, entertainment space of this new Goa is invaded by new culture vultures. The new, fully urbanized Goa, Goapolis-2030, would be built and run by new Goans who would not carry any emotional and ideological baggage of my generation. Central and state politicians hardly understand forces of evolution. But the inevitable evolutionary tipping point will reach by A D 2030. Goans themselves have continued to erode their gene pool by inbreeding as caste and sub-caste based marriages are still in fashion.
Governments have done pretty little to heavily incentivise inter-caste marriages among Goans. No Goan politician has courage to speak in favour of inter-religious and inter-caste marriages on public platforms. There would be a heavy genetic price to pay in two decades. By A D 2030, Government of India with assistance of UNESCO may have to launch a project called – “Project Save Goans”. By that year vast advances in genetic engineering, cloning and synthetic genomics would revive extinct species of tigers and the objectives of “Project tiger” would be complete. But by the same year less than 20 per cent Goans would be left in Goa from present 60 per cent. With rapidly falling birth rates, saving Goans from unavoidable extinction would be a national urgency and emergency. Governments would be able to do very little damage control as the history of extinction of world’s isolated ethnic communities and small cultures and languages shows.
As a Goan I was never confused about my origin, roots, identity and what I stand for. The Indian state aims to create a constitutional simplification of citizenship. Constitutionally, legally all Indian citizens are equal. But socially, culturally they are not and this is a fact of history and geography. Therefore Goans inside Goa deserve special status in their homeland. Unless one is fully familiar with all the 41 kinship groups which constitute Goans and their local Konkani and Marathi ethos as the case may be, etymological toponymy, lexiconical diversity, vocabulary, idioms, phrases, proverbs, customs, manners, rituals, folk songs, festivals, thousands of culinary nuances and other micro subtleties of subalterns it is difficult to understand Goa and Goans in an unprejudiced and holistic manner. To illustrate, the spiritual soul of subaltern Goa still preserved with devotion would be found if one visits the grand finale of Kala Akademy’s annual “bhajan” competition, Asia’s largest devotional music festival on August 15. ( To be continued).

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