A Goan Waltz around Postcolonial Dogmas

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

Some days ago I found myself invited to a ball in Lisbon hosted by the Austrian embassy in Portugal. Revived after more than a decade, the current initiative was conceived of a way to generate funds for deserving causes. In this inaugural year, funds were raised in support of A Orquestra Geração, which is the Portuguese application of the El Sistema method created in Venezuela. Another objective was to introduce Portuguese society to aspects of Austrian, and in particular Viennese, culture.

 

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No Bamboo Banawing!

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By VISHVESH KANDOLKAR

 

On a recent visit to the Konkan Bamboo and Cane Development Centre (KONBAC) at Kudal, I came to know that there has been a drastic change in strategy to promote bamboo as construction material. Rather than endorsing bamboo as an affordable material for the poor, especially to build cost-effective houses, it is now being popularised as a material that satisfies the upwardly mobile elites’ fad of sustainability. Although the desire to replace unsustainable materials is laudable, the question is whether these projects, using bamboo, are truly as sustainable as they claim to be? Moreover, there also arises an issue of appropriation of material culture, especially of the poor in tribal areas by the dominant elites.

 

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Conflicts, Ideals, and Idols

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

The conflict in the temple of Navadurga in Marcaim has begun to attract some amount of attention. A superficial understanding suggests that the conflict revolves around the question of the future of the deity currently worshipped in the temple. It appears that the mahajans of the temple wish to replace the deity because it has developed cracks. They argue that this is standard ritual practice and it is hence not an unusual decision. The villagers of Marcaim, however, will have none of it. They argue that they are attached to the idol, that She has been worshipped for generations in the temple, and they do not wish to see the idol replaced.

 

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Divining Reasons for the state of traffic

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By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

Last Christmas season my family and I fled tourist-invaded Goa for some peace and quiet. Little did we realize, despite friendly advice, that our destination, Sri Lanka, was also one of those holiday favourites that gets flooded at Christmas time. Along the five days that we were on the island, in addition to experiencing the incredible beauty of the country, we were also forced to spend much of our time in traffic jams, whether in the capital city Colombo, in Kandy, home of the famous Temple of the Tooth, or on the roads between these two cities.

 

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When Transgenders Organise

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By ALBERTINA ALMEIDA

 

An organisation, possibly the first, of transgenders, was recently established in Goa. If one carefully listened to the voices of the persons from the community, the issues were typical – difficult to get a house on rent, difficult to access hospitals and clinics, a dehumanizing gaze, harassment from the police, lack of decent job opportunities. “When we go to a hospital, which ward do we get admitted to – female ward? male ward?”, was a poignant question asked.

 

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Zaha Hadid and our Starchitect Culture

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By AMITA KANEKAR

 

The death last week of Zaha Hadid saw expressions of grief from both the architectural world and the general global media. Because Hadid was not merely a highly successful architect but a ‘starchitect’, one of the tiny group of the world’s most sought-after architects who are also global media celebrities in their own right. Along with others like Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and Norman Foster, the Iraqi-born and London-educated Hadid was an international brand, whose prestigious projects, with their trademark gravity-defying forms, included a cultural centre in Baku, museums in Milan and Glasgow, an opera house in Guangzhou, and the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics. A winner of the top international awards for architecture, like the Pritzker in 2004, the 2016 RIBA gold medal, and the Stirling prize (twice), she was also celebrated for being the first woman, the first Muslim, and the first person of colour in this largely white man’s club.

 

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