A Goan Waltz around Postcolonial Dogmas

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.

 

(more…)

No Bamboo Banawing!

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.

 

(more…)

Conflicts, Ideals, and Idols

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.

 

(more…)

Divining Reasons for the state of traffic

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.

 

(more…)

Fooling the Eye, Eyeing the Fool

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.”

 

(more…)

Between Scylla and Charybdis: Catholics and their Dilemmas

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

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.

 

(more…)

The Lady and the Diplomat

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

There is an old and still popular joke about the difference between a lady and a diplomat, of which only the reference to the diplomat is still acceptable. The joke goes that when a diplomat says “yes,” s/he means “perhaps.” When a diplomat says “perhaps,” s/he means “no.” And when a diplomat says “no,” s/he is no diplomat!

 

(more…)

Not Going, Merely Coming

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Popular Essays

By JASON KEITH FERNANDES

 

Sometime in the morning of 25 October, I received an SMS from a friend. The SMS contained the word ‘traitor’, followed by a link to an article in that day’s Times of India titled ‘Goan with the wind’. The article, authored by Lisa Monteiro and Andrew Pereira,offered figures and comments on the phenomenon of scores of persons from the former Portuguese State in India (Goans, for the sake of brevity) ‘migrating’ after claiming Portuguese passports. The article itself made no suggestion of traitorous behaviour on the part of these persons, leading to the conclusion that it was not the facts that were problematic but their interpretation. Such an interpretation requires that we supplement our analysis with additional information.

 

(more…)