A Bahujan Challenge to the Mining Mafia

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The ironies of the so-called development of Goa are indeed unlimited. On the one hand, the government and elites of this state hard-sell it to India as a place of unlimited ‘good times’, to be used for holidaying, partying, drinking, gambling, and other increasingly unpleasant pleasures, the price of which is paid in many ways by common Goans. On the other, the Bahujan communities, esp. Bahujan Christians whose culture is sold as Goa’s tourism USP, are painted as anti-nationals by the Goan elites when they ask for their Konkani – i.e. Roman script Konkani – to be recognised as one of Goa’s languages, or even for English-medium education for their children. As for the physical landscape of Goa, hyped as paradisiacal again for consumption by largely Indian tourists, it is disappearing before our very eyes. Whether it is destructive tourism of the casino and golf course variety, ‘development’ projects like DefExpo, the cancerous growth of second-homes and holiday-homes eating up the hills, or a refusal to mine Goa’s mineral wealth in a transparent, sustainable and community-conscious way, Goa’s ruling elites, in close collaboration with those of India, seem determined to squeeze out the maximum profit in the shortest possible time, leaving a desert behind.

 

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Banking on Flamboyance, Electronics and Brand Values: The Signs of the ‘Good Times’

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

March saw the ‘King of Good Times’ Vijay Mallya in the news for defaulting to pay a debt of 9000 crores. It was reported that Kingfisher’s gross block (investment in fixed assets) was a fraction of its total debt from day one. Some of these loans were given by the 17-bank consortium of lenders on pledging office furniture like folding chairs and electronic equipment such as boarding pass printers, and on the so-called brand value of Kingfisher. SBI petitioned the North Goa Collector for assistance to attach Mallya’s villa in Candolim, but unlike the prompt action when it comes to small borrowers, or small people who are not even liable, in this case, if you please, the Collector chose to have hearings.

 

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Cantaram as Political dissent

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By KAUSTUBH NAIK

 

Earlier this month, Goa Government’s Department of Information and Publicity held a ‘Konkani Kantaram Utsav’, a cantaram singing competition in which the participants were asked to sing about the achievements of the current Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government. This competition attracted a lot of criticism, noticeably from the tiatr community, questioning the government’s intentions behind organizing such a competition. Cantaram competitions are usually held without any pre-decided themes and certainly not with a rule that prohibits participants from criticizing the government. On the contrary, one of the several requirements of a cantar and cantorist is that of political sharpness. Cantorists ranging from Conception-Nelson-Anthony (famously known as the Trio kings) and William de Curtorim in the past, to the current sensation Francis de Tuem, have been famous for their radical political positions. Cantaram carry a huge affective magnitude for the Goan Catholic communities and it has played a key role in influencing public opinion at various historical junctures in post-colonial Goa.  The concerned department, in its official press release, stated that “[s]ong and drama is one of the medium used to propagating various policies, programmes and the schemes of the Government [sic]”. While using traditional cultural practices to propagate government schemes is not unheard of, there is more to the said cantaram competition than meets the eye.

 

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Fooling the Eye, Eyeing the Fool

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

The writings of the great Roman savant Pliny the Elder in Naturalis Historia present to us an interesting episode from the history of art. In this anecdote Pliny recounts a contest between the two great Greek artists, Zeuxis and Parrhasius. Keen to settle which of them was the greatest artist of the time the two agreed on producing an image that was most realistic. For his part Zeuxis painted an image of fruits that is reported to have been so life like that it deceived the birds that came to peck at it. Parrhasius then invited Zeuxis to view the former’s painting that was hidden behind a curtain. Zeuxis attempted to pull back the curtain only to realize that it was in fact the curtains that constituted Parrhasius’ image. While Zeuxis may have possibly felt like a fool, Pliny recounts that Zeuxis is supposed to have been gracious in defeat acknowledging Parrhasius as the winner with the acclamation: “I have deceived the birds, but Parrhasius has deceived Zeuxis.”

 

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Between Scylla and Charybdis: Catholics and their Dilemmas

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

In recent times the Catholic Church across the world has hauled up not merely for the sexual abuse committed by priests against minors, but also the inept, and unjust manner in which the complaints about this abuse was received by diocesanal authorities. All too often, rather than take strict action against such priests, the response of the diocese was to transfer these offenders who merely continue their abuse. In doing so, these dioceses violated not only the integrity and dignity of these individuals, but also compromised the ministry of the Church. Priests are looked up to; they operate as figures of trust. When such figures violate this trust, and their superiors look the other way, it impacts not merely the persons involved, but the Church itself.

 

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The Bahujan Challenge to Goa’s Brahmanical Shrines

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

Goa’s old temples need change, but they also need to be protected from change. There is no contradiction here: the change – or even revolution – they urgently need is in the realm of the social, political and economic; but connected to this is the issue of their unique Portuguese-era art and architecture, which needs protection. And the solution to both problems might be the same: the bahujan take-over of these currently savarna establishments, as is being attempted with the Navdurga temple at Marcaim.

 

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