The Janave Across Goan History

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

In the popular imagination, Goan history generally begins with the arrival of the Portuguese, followed by conquest and religious conversions. This four-and-a-half-century long period contains periods of oppression and cultural efflorescence, but mostly unbridled oppression. However, this changes once the Indian army marches into Goa in December 1961, leading Goa and its people, from the centuries-long darkness that they suffered, into the light of unfettered freedom. What the average Goan knows about this narrative is filtered through the lenses of a good amount of political machinations, besides family lore and myth. These unreliable and fragmented memories lead to a skewed understanding of Goan history and identity. The hold of this narrative is so complete that one finds it pervading in all walks of Goan life. Using Kalidas Mhamal’s installation “Caste Thread”, this essay will talk about the popular narrative of Goan history and its tenacious hold on the people of Goa.

 

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Jobs and Feel-Good Politics

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

In a move that will surely not go down well with the private companies in Goa, the government has issued show cause notices to 22 firms for participating in a trade fair in Sawantwadi. The rationale for the notices served by the Department of Labour and Employment, on the instruction of Labour Minister Rohan Khaunte, is that private companies operating in Goa should hire Goans – or at least should give preference to Goans first. In order to tighten the screws on such companies, the government is also mulling a move that would make it mandatory for private companies to obtain NOCs from the Employment Exchange to hire non-Goans, and also link jobs in private sector to the controversial Aadhaar card.

 

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Disastrous Planning: Development and Goa’s Future

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Goans are constantly bombarded with large-scale infrastructure schemes and this has become routine. If there is a successful protest mounted against the expansion of coal handling in Mormugao/Vasco, then the battle-ground shifts to Mopa, from there it shifts to the mining areas, and currently we are at this juncture where something called “vertical development” is promoted through the controversial Regional Plan 2021 (RP-21). As protests have already begun against the revival of RP-21, it would be useful to check out what exactly the plan seeks to achieve.

 

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On Those Who Do(n’t) Depend on Mining

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Irrespective of whether one does or does not depend on mining, one will suffer from the ill-effects. If one isn’t involved in the sector, the dust, pollution, and the destruction of the ecology will nonetheless affect one’s daily life. If one is a service-provider – such as a truck owner/driver, machine operator, and barge owner/worker – in the mining industry, the rampant illegalities (and even legalities that keep changing) in the sector bring in a lot of uncertainties. Thus, whether one depends for sustenance on mining or not, in Goa all are ‘mining-affected’.

 

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Jharokha Darshan: The Visible Political Power

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

That a politician was compelled to make a public appearance despite ill health tells us something about the political culture in India. Manohar Parrikar’s rather dramatic entry at the budget session of 2018 should make us not only enquire into the short-term machinations in contemporary politics, but also the culture in which the visibility of the ruling authority is of paramount importance. For one thing was crystal clear in the political spectacle surrounding Parrikar’s sudden appearance at the budget session: the importance of his visibility for colleagues, allies, and the masses.

 

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Nuisance and Social Drinking

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

From 2016, the Government of Goa – starting from the term of former Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar – has tried to tackle the menace of drunken tourists by legislating a ban on drinking in all public spaces which are notified as “No Alcohol Consumption Zones”. Of course the law has been implemented neither in letter nor spirit. About a month ago, it was reported that the Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar planned to introduce another law that would impose even more stringent fines than before, and also amend the Garbage Management Act to tackle the joint problem of drunken nuisance and littering.

 

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Idle Trucks, Striking Taxis, and a Broken System

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The recent ban by the Supreme Court of India on mining activities in Goa for a second time reminds us of the plight faced by those dependent on the mining industry. But the court order also brings to mind other Goans stuck in a similar situation of facing economic uncertainty and the consequences of large-scale illegalities. For instance, it is, I think, useful to compare the mining industry and the tourism industry as both have been touted as the ‘backbone’ of Goan economy, and both these industries witness conflicts and illegalities in equal measure.

 

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The ‘Mothers’ of Goa

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Every few months the issue of identity emerges in Goa, and vociferous debates and discussions undoubtedly follow. One can observe a certain tendency wherein political issues are reduced to issues of Goan identity. This is done by emotionally appealing to the masses that their existence solely depends on protecting an abstract idea – the Goan identity. This abstract and loosely-defined idea assumes different forms around events, symbols, and objects as the political and ruling classes see fit. One way in which these emotional appeals are made is through the idea of ‘mother’.

 

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Bhima Koregaon and Lessons for Goan History

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The commemoration of the East India Company’s victory against the Peshwas at Bhima Koregaon, and the subsequent violence that was witnessed, provides some pointers to understand Goan history. In recent times, those lakhs of Dalits who congregate at Bhima Koregaon to pay their respects to the fallen warriors have been termed as “anti-nationals” by the Hindu right. The ostensible logic of the Hindu right is that commemorations such as those at Bhima Koregaon signify the celebration of ‘foreign’ victory over ‘Indian’ forces. We are thus presented with a history that appears to contain a clear divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’. The ‘us’ here is a unified political and cultural community called India, and the ‘them’ being the foreign rulers who did not have their origins in India.

 

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