Fishing in Troubled Waters: Markets and Laborers

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Six months after the shocking revelation came to light that fish imported into Goa is preserved in the carcinogenic formalin, the issue is nowhere close to a solution. Recently, health minister Vishwajit Rane announced that the ban on imports will be in place for six months, except for those traders who comply with health and quality regulations. This apparently unstoppable poisoning (or adulteration) not only brings the governmental authorities under the scanner for being unable to stop such malpractices, but also highlights the manner in which the fishing industry operates in most parts of coastal India. It is important to discuss the labor practices and potential policy decisions that would address allied issues, including the issue of formalin.

 

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Fragile Political Alliances in Goa

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

The political developments in the last 30 days may have surely given Goans a sense of déjà vu. With BJP’s Laxmikant Parsekar appearing to revolt, and two Congress MLAs joining the BJP, Goans may have remembered the decades of political instability from the 1970s. The logical question to ask, therefore, is why has Goa witnessed such fragile political regimes? Is there something deeper than merely opportunism and avarice in Goan politics?

 

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For Past’s Sake: Digitization

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Exactly one month ago, the whole world watched shocking images of the Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil engulfed in flames. The destruction of the fire was so severe that most of the museum’s rare and precious collections of fossils, natural specimens, audio documentation, and archives were destroyed. The most devastating image that brought home the severity of the fire was the aerial photo of the hollowed out building, the majestic former Paço de São Cristóvão, the erstwhile residence of the Portuguese royal family. For Brazilians reeling under a series of political and economic crises, the fire was symbolic of all that is wrong with the present government.

 

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The Denial of Dignity in a Casteist Society

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Pratapsingh Rane’s assertion that Goans abroad are doing no better than cleaning toilets, in the Goa State Legislative Assembly in the context of the resumption of mining activity, has received a lot of flak. Many Goans – via video blogs – said that there is no shame in doing any job so long as one brings an honest wage back home. As the anger over Rane’s comment have cooled down, it would be more apt, as I have highlighted in previous columns, to focus on employments opportunities, working conditions and labour justice as issues that Goan society needs to discuss and address.

 

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The Real (Ethical) Challenge

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

The high-levels of Formalin, a carcinogen, found in imported fish have caused anger, deep anguish, and frustration amongst Goans. This is because the authorities and the elected representatives have failed to convey the truth to the masses, besides checking the irregularities. Goa’s reliability on external sources for fish (in other contexts also for vegetables and grains) has spawned talk about self-sufficiency. Goa needs to produce its own food, this discourse urges. But it doesn’t say who will produce this food, and there is no talk about improving the existing labor conditions.

 

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Sports, Political Passions, and Peace

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

For those who believe that sport and politics should not mix, the on-going FIFA World Cup 2018 might be a tad bit disappointing. The game between Switzerland and Serbia witnessed tense moments, leading to a few controversies. Switzerland, whose squad had many players of Balkan heritage, appeared to be the perfect team for a mixture of political rivalries in a sporting match. Especially, since the match was against Serbia, which gained independence after a bloody war fractured Yugoslavia into countries like Albania and Kosovo. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independent status, which made the clash between Switzerland and Serbia all the more tense given that Switzerland’s star players, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, have Albanian and Kosovan heritage.

 

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Power Failures and Power Politics

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

From April onwards, there have been several power failures in the state; they are not over yet. At the beginning of June, it became crystal clear that the cause of the power failures was not just faulty and aging equipment, but also gross mismanagement by the electricity department. Goans even learnt that to keep a particular big time corporate builder happy, the department had decided that an entire taluka could suffer a day-and-a-half without power.

 

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Pastoral Letters and Indianness

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

Over the last couple of years, pastoral letters written by various bishops in India have led to national furore over their contents. While the writing of pastoral letters is routine, these letters found themselves in the eye of the storm largely because they were written around the time of elections and referenced the problematic political conditions affecting minoritized caste and religious groups. The most recent of such pastoral letters to have received the attention and ire of Indian media is written by Anil Couto, the Archbishop of Delhi. But if one considers all the recent statements together, a particular pattern emerges – one that concerns the health of the Indian polity. Let us proceed chronologically.

 

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Tangible Heritage: Avoiding Monumental Mistakes

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

If it isn’t naked Hindutva, the government seems to be hell-bent in promoting vicious neo-liberalism. In a joint policy-decision by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the government envisages corporate participation in the maintenance of India’s heritage sites, including natural heritage sites like Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. Many iconic world heritage monuments in India will be put up for ‘adoption’. Private companies and individuals, and public sector undertakings now will be able to manage particular monuments through the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme.

 

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State of Education: Exams and Merit

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By DALE LUIS MENEZES

 

This year’s Goa Board examinations witnessed many HSSC and SSC students complain that the physics and science question papers respectively were too tough. Many parents and students wrote letters in the press, pleading with the Goa Board officials to be lenient during evaluation. The anxiety that students and parents shared alike was so much that it also resulted in an online petition.

 

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