Tuesday, October 20, 2015

India Made Goa Portuguese By Frank Rodrigues

So the common man has received a shot in the arm which will not be taken by the political class lying down. It is hell bent on achieving its goal and will spring some other sinister surprise on us. But we have the Apex Court on our side.
Three cheers to the highest court of the country! Long live the independent judiciary! I don't agree entirely with the piece titled ‘India made Goa Portuguese’ by Jason Keith Fernandes ( Herald 16 October). Soon after the so- called liberation in December 1961, street names were changed.
Rua de Abade Faria became Abade Faria Road. I cannot for the life of me understand the need to do this and with such indecent haste. If anything, retaining the former might have excited the interest of the inquisitive tourist. One could go on listing the decisions of successive post- liberation Governments to deprive Goa of its Portuguese identity.
Church names have been changed to the English equivalent, with the exception I know - that of Chandor, which has retained the Portuguese name of Nossa Senhora de Belem. As this is the village of my paternal ancestors, I must say, I do feel a swell of pride.
It took Vasco de Gama some 14 months to reach Calicut in 1498, in one of those wooden caravels, in what must have been extremely uncomfortable and insanitary conditions, a far cry from the luxury of our modern cruise liners.
At one time the change of the name of our Port town to Sambhaji, was mooted. But, perhaps, the biggest act of historical vandalism was the removal of the statue of Afonso de Albuquerque, and replaced by that Mahatma Gandhi. We have statues galore of the latter all over India (and abroad) to remind us of the debt we owe to our great Indian to gain us freedom from British rule. It was, however, crass stupidity to remove the statue of Albuquerque who, a great pioneering colonizer in his own right, had earned his place in history as one who helped open the trade route of Europe to the East Indies. Margao has become Madgaon, or to confuse us still more, Madgaum, Panjim to Panaji, Mapuca to Mapusa or Mahapusa, et al.
Good grief! Have we not anything better to do? Stop the world, I want to get off! And, do not forget, not so very long ago Parrikar mooted the idea of getting rid of Fundacao Oriente, which has done so much sterling work to retain the Portuguese connection.

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