Monday, October 24, 2016

Marginalization Of Goans Must Not Be Tolerated - by Jose Maria Miranda

Having watched helplessly our beloved land being destroyed and disfigured by our greedy and selfish rulers, past and present, and their accomplices, some from outside but many from our own soil, and our Goans being overwhelmed by a heavy and uninterrupted inflow of migrants, the time has run out for us to unite and go all out to stop such attempts which are solely aimed at marginalizing Goans and making them irrelevant in the political and electoral scenario of the State. Though belatedly, we may still manage in salvaging what is left of Goa if this last opportunity afforded to us, is availed of to send the crooks home and elect few good people, who truly love Goa.
The process of disfiguring Goa and crushing its distinct identity was a well-conceived plan of the Indian rulers, at the time of the so-called Liberation, carefully executed thereafter with active connivance of Goan politicians and mostly outside bureaucrats. Even the most preposterous movement of Goa’s merger with Maharashtra, with its own leaders realizing, in hindsight, what a blunder it would be, was part of this long-term plan. It goes without saying that if today Goa is a preferred tourist destination, it is not alone because of our beaches and the scenic beauty of this place but also because our culture is a fusion of East and West, of the people’s savoir faire and savoir vivre.
Freedom of the Press and of expression was suppressed by the Portuguese in Goa. Perhaps, this made us highly submissive and docile. But many Goans of yesteryears stood up to the might of the Portuguese and yet, in a democracy, we have turned into a spineless, meek and cowardly lot, over-tolerant of the abuse of power and highhandedness of a highly authoritarian, despotic and fascist Government. The crude, insensitive and irresponsible way this Govt. goes about giving orders and implementing works with least regard to environment and ecology and the sentiments and livelihood of the people of Goa, as if this State is its private property and Goans some cattle bound to follow its directions, is highly reprehensible.
It is not alone the Police who were treated inhumanly by being served food unfit even for animals, during BRICS summit. Poor women coming all the way from Canacona, Quepem, Shiroda, etc. to Margao to sell their produce like vegetables, mashmelons, etc. were asked to stay away for four days when they squat nowhere close to the dignitaries’ route, while handcarts were seen moving freely through the town.
Who pays for their losses on the produce and livelihood as also of the fisherfolk prohibited from fishing during the period? Anyone with two inches of sense uses such opportunities to help the locals earn some additional income, but not so with selfish imbeciles who deprived our people of their daily bread. Though I hold no brief for our taxi drivers’ tantrums amounting to biting the hand that feeds them, it was grossly unfair to hire, for BRICS a Delhiite, who took only a few Goan taxis and apparently went back without settling some dues.
As it is, Goans are struggling to get jobs and are compelled to migrate, either to other States or abroad to earn a decent income. This sad exodus is a testimony to the impotency of this Govt. in providing employment to locals. Yet, it is using the EC to delete names from electoral rolls of those who, for this sole reason, obtained Portuguese passports and are desirous of trying their luck abroad. One wonders whether the Govt. and EC took similar pains to ensure that migrants, having voting rights elsewhere, are not enrolled here or whether bureaucrats were in fact instructed to ensure the contrary. Our rulers, being proponents of Hindutva, are averse to the West and their culture.
Yet, the Central Govt. finds it expedient to seek support, aid and cooperation from the West. Millions of Indians also enjoy Western hospitality and nationality, have made West their home and are unwilling to return because of the mess this country is in. Has the EC gone an extra mile, as it is doing in case of Goans, to ensure that they too have no voting rights in India?
No self-respecting individual will tolerate being discriminated and treated shabbily in his own land. I recall the protest in Margao in 60s when MG Minister Tony Fernandes called Goans second-class citizens. Today, we are treated worse than that. Goans are too docile and decent to take up cudgels to fight the threat to our very existence posed by heavy influx of outsiders and preferential treatment given to them. This is bound to have serious repercussions, particularly when one’s identity and culture are in danger. The anti-migrant agitation in Usgão and the incident of razing tribals’ huts in Nirankal are signs of things to come. It is not right that those who came here to earn a living be driven away.
But, it is equally unfair that undue advantage be taken of Art. 19 of a Constitution dictatorially imposed on us, to import people to destroy the character of our land and the identity of our people. The farce of the BJP in demanding Special Status and the false promise of the PM were attempts at throwing dust in our eyes and eventually promoting the opposite. This Government, while gifting us with some cosmetic development, is diverting our attention from their larger plan of destroying Goa and Goans, through marinas, port at Betul, nationalization of rivers, etc. which will eventually kill our small communities, their trades and livelihood solely to satisfy their bosses in Delhi and their magnate acolytes. It is imperative that we destroy them and their plans before they destroy us.

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