**************DEVACHEA NAVAN ANI GOEMCARANCHEA MANNANK******************* This blog is an attempt to delve into the traditions, heritage, culture, lore and ambience that spawned an enigma. A state of mind. And to perchance perform a perfunctory probe into the psyche of the Goemcar. ************************************************************************************************* GOEMCAR: Any person anywhere in the world - Goemcar rogtacho!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Valente Lobo - Rest in peace

A son of the vaddo of Pirazona in the village of Moira, Valente lived most of his life abroad. In Africa and the UK. He was the brother of the well known engineer and Goan environmentalist Urban Lobo and the first cousin of Padr Athanasio Lobo; who used to be a Professor in the Seminary of Rachol and the Secretary to the Patriarch of the East Indies. Padr Lobo was considered in his time and even now is, one of Goa’s foremost preachers’. Valente's wife is the sister of the late Goemcar culinary genius Gines Viegas of O'Coqueiro, the erstwhile flagship of Goan cuisine.

Valente was amongst the founder members of the Moira Association in London. He was also its President, being elected to the role unanimously on at least three occasions. As a leading light in his community he was well known, liked and respected.

In his death the Moidecars in London have lost a very socially active and an ever helpful fellow ganvcar.

May GOD grant him eternal rest.


Xanno Moidecar

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Uncle Jose rest in peace

Jose De Souza was not really an uncle of mine. But that nice Goemcar practice of anybody over forty being given the avuncular title, meant that this man was, as the norm dictated, Uncle. And much liked.

Jose was well known in Moira. He was the scion of one of the ‘vhoddli’ families. I believe, his family tree spans the Nazares’, Gamas’, Pais’. All societal pillars in the village of Moira. As is with such families, Jose was related to myriad men and women of the cloth, as also dotors and advocates. Padr Luis Caitan, his brother was the long standing chaplain of the capella in the vaddo of Pirazona. And the present Patriach of the East Indies too, is one of his multitudinous cousins. An aside to these facts, virtually every house around Jose’s has given forth either a priest or a nun.

In his own right Jose was extremely proud of the fact that he was a member of that famous Paranjoti Chorus. He never tired of narrating his trips to Europe where he and his fellows regaled, apparently, distinguished audiences.

The vaddo of Pirazona has lost a stalwart. Moira a good and well liked ganvcar.

He will be missed. Very much.

May GOD grant his soul eternal rest.


Xanno Moidecar

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Rip Van Winklian interlude

The story of Rip Van Winkle is set in the years before and after the American Revolutionary War. Rip Van Winkle, a villager of Dutch descent, lives in a nice village at the foot of New York's Catskill Mountains. An amiable man whose home and farm suffer from his lazy neglect, he is loved by all but his wife.
One autumn day he escapes his nagging wife by wandering up the mountains. There he encounters strangely dressed men, rumored to be the ghosts of
Henry Hudson's crew, who are playing nine-pins. After drinking some of their liquor, he settles down under a shady tree and falls asleep. He wakes and returns to his village, where he finds twenty years have passed. He finds out that his wife has died and that his close friends have died in a war or gone somewhere else. He immediately gets into trouble when he proclaims himself a loyal subject of King George III, not knowing that the American Revolution has taken place.
An old local recognizes him, however, and Rip's now grown daughter takes him in. Rip resumes his habitual idleness, and his tale is solemnly believed by the old Dutch settlers, with certain hen-pecked husbands wishing they shared Rip's good luck.

Copied from Wikipedia

I feel like old Rip Van Winkle. That quixotic creation of Washington Irving. Only it’s not been twenty years but nigh eight months since I last contributed to this blog. Unlike the old man, I have not been slumbering up the Catskills Mountains.

Life for me, has been hectic and full of change. And will be for the next few months. Luckily for moi, unlike poor Rip, I am not burdened with a nagging other half. Au contraire. And my children too are a joy.

So my e-absence and Winkle's disappearance are similar only in terms of time lost. But here I am now. I will not be in a position to contribute regularly. Not just yet. I have missed a lot. And though I've kept myself abreast with khobor from Goem, I have not been able to comment, because of both time and professional constraints.

Much water has flowed down the Mandovi. Much has changed. Many Moidecars and Goemcars have gone to their final reward.

To mention a few that I knew, liked or admired: Casmiro Cunha, a good and wise man of the world; Prudencia Mendonca, a pious and devout woman ever willing to help those in need; Robert Mendes, he brought much joy to many; Gonzaga Da Gama Pais, a lively, likable lad, much loved by his family and a very decent gentleman; Regina D'Cunha, beloved mother and grandmother, ever popular in her vaddo and the village; and Prof. Olivinho Gomes, an erudite and eclectic genius, a niz Goemcar.

May the ALMIGHTY grant their souls his eternal peace and light.

I shall try to update this blog as often as I can. However, I will not be in full flow for a few more months. My attempts at highlighting Goem, Goemcars and Goemcarponn will continue.

My distaste of all bullies, braggarts and blackguards is unabated and will find expression whenever needed. Mind you due to other priorities, I may be forced to go easy on the brag---- and blackg-----.

Other then that, my readers will have to carry on without my sagacity or pomposity, depending on what you think of me.

Till next time.

Au revoir.

Tumcho ixtt ani ganv bhav

Xanno Moidecar

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Novem Voros

Magtaum soglea somestank khuxalkaen bhorlelem Novem Voros!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Xmas

Khuxalborit Natallam


Xanno Moidecar

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Golden Oldies


Always a pleasure to raise a glass or two to the golden oldies. As we all did, once upon a time ......

Many thanks.

Xanno Moidecar

From Nash Lobo:


Mozo poti Bombaim gela, tacho usko maka zala...2
Ani nimanne rati sopeacher boison, beiju maka dila ...2

Ch.Poti ie Poti ie, tujea gopan maka ghe..2

Potti attik dorun voddi, sogli rath tho chimtte kaddi...2
Ani thambo nastanam khobro sangtaloi, ghodi ghodi....2
Poti ie Poti ie, ani gopan maka ghe...2
Khattir eksurim anv lovtam, sopnant tujexim re pavtam...2
Tum mhunnon sozmon uxeak veng marun gopan mojea ghetam...2
Poti ie Poti ie, ani gopan maka ghe...2
Kuttumb ghodunk vell lainaka, veguinch bombaim vhor re maka...2
Kalliz hem mhojem axeta poti gopant gheunk tujea....2
Poti ie Poti ie, ani gopan maka ghe...2
Mhojea poti-xim vetelim, akhem voros bhor rautelim...2
Ani dogam assam tim tegam zatokoch, babak gheun ghara ietelim....2


Kavlea kiteak rodtai daran, konnui marit tuca faran - 2
Mojea potichi khobor, hadleai tor taran, vegim sang re borean....2
Kavlean recad macam dilo, mozo jui fuxeal zalo...2
Rautam poti mujea aikomcheac talo, mateac marun zelo..2
Mozo poti etoch gara, macam capdam adit bara..2
Tuca saguadic pilam ditelim tera, Kanvlea muzea dera...2
Aizu dissu noire sonvar, poti gheun ailo monvar..2
Poti gara pavosor boschina zeunar, korun rautam zinwar...2
Potik vorsam zalim tissu, Sodanch mezun aslim dissu...2
Kanvlea ugdasac tucam ditelim missu, voni tuzi consu...2
Mozo poti ietoch zoddun, novem ghor bandtelim moddun...2
Kanvlea sodankal amguer ieo re, tum uddun, gunter tuzo soddun..2
Kanvlea kiteak zatai tensar, udon zadar bos re pontarAni khoxechem tujem korxi re kantar, anvium koratm zentar...2
Kanvlea moipas tuzo dacoi, ani pakam tuzim kissoi...2
Sarkich poti xim muzea marre zompoi, veguim gara apoi...2
Kanvlean recad maca adlo, mozo poti gara ailo..2
Ani suca sontosacho abrasu dilo, poleac tenkon polo...2

Viva Amchi Bhas

Dnyanpeeth awardee Kelekar calls for formation of Konkani state:

Noted writer and Gandhian thinker, Ravindra Kelekar, who has bagged the prestigious Dnyanpeeth award, on December 15, has called for the formation of a Konkani state with the inclusion of all Konkani speaking areas from Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, Goa and Jog Falls in Karnataka. Kelekar made the statement while replying to his felicitation jointly organised by the Goa Konkani Academy, Konkani Bhasha Mandal, Asmitai Pratishthan and all the Konkani kendras from different talukas of Goa.


Language row mars Kelekar’s felicitation:

Goa’s official language politics cast its shadow on the function held at Ravindra Bhavan to felicitate Jnanpith award winner Ravindra Kelekar, which was otherwise a somber occasion. The president of Goa Konkani Academy Pundalik Naik warned Chief Minister Digambar Kamat over any attempts to amend the official Language bill. “Give what is good for the people, not what people ask,” he advised Kamat. Continuing with his tirade, Naik then directed his barbs at Roman Konkani protagonists saying he tolerated ‘diversity’ but not ‘separatism’. “Separatism mixes poison and indicates terrorism. There are efforts to disturb unity,” he warned the Chief Minister.



I know Pundalik Naik from the days of the Konkanni agitation. He was a good Convener. A good publicist. A good figure head.

Thousands of Goemcars gave money, time, and even their lives. Amongst these a vast majority of active participants were members of the Catholic populace of Goem.

I do not know how logical or ethical it is for Pundalik-bab to deny the chief participants, nay the architects of the agitation, their wishes. His directive to the Chief Minister, not to give to the people what they ask for but only that what is good for them,unfortunately, has been the mantra of those down the ages, whom have been bent on denying the rights of man.

Is Pundalik is wannabe dictator?

The clarion call by Bab Ravindra Kelekar sets my blood racing. This could be one of the best opportunities available for us 'Koknne', the Konkanni speaking masses, to seize the initiative and seek our very own state, where our mother tongue, though in varied accents, will be spoken by an overwhelming majority of the denizens.

If we can set aside our religious bigotry then the sky is the limit.

Viva Konkanni.


Xanno Moidecar

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goemche Dottorevoilo; Bab Ravindra Kelekar

A Herald Editorial:

For the greater glory of KonkaniThe Jnanpith Award is the highest literary award in the country.Ravindra Kelekar, a living legend of the Konkani movement, has brought honour and recognition to Konkani, taking it to an altogether new literary level by becoming its latest recipient. The octogenarian Kelekar is a multi-faceted personality; scholar, activist, linguist, and creative thinker. A Gandhian freedom fighter and a disciple of Kakasaheb Kalelkar, he fought in India’s as well as in Goa’s freedom struggle. Post Liberation, he dedicated his life to Konkani, and has worked tirelessly for its cause.Kelekar has seen Konkani through all its struggles and triumphs. It first got recognition as a modern literary language by the Sahitya Akademi despite strong protests from Marathi protagonists, as well as from the then MGP-led Goa government, which cited potential law and order disturbances in Goa as one of the reasons why it should not get recognition. But Konkani got recognition nonetheless, and Kelekar won the coveted Sahitya Akademi award for his Konkani book Himalayant, in 1976. In 1987, Konkani became the official language and gained statehood for Goa. Included in the Eighth Schedule in 1990, Konkani one of India’s official languages, making writers in the language eligible for the Jnanpith Award. But the award means much more than just Kelekar’s recognition as a writer par excellence. The Jnanpith elevates Konkani to its rightful place, recognising that it produces literature of a quality that is on par with any of the country’s leading regional languages.The last two years have been full of accolades for Ravindra-bab. He was made a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi in 2007. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan – the first Goan ever to be accorded the honour. Ever unassuming, Kelekar then said the Padma Bhushan should have been given to the late Konkani poet Manoharrai Sardessai before him.Apart from nearly 100 books in Konkani – fiction, non-fiction, as well as literary criticism – he has also translated the epic ‘Mahabharata’ into Konkani, in two volumes. But his literary felicity goes much beyond. He has written books in Marathi and Hindi. His books have been translated into other Indian languages, and even form a part of university curricula elsewhere in the country.He also edited the Konkani literary magazine ‘Jaag’ for more than two decades, to showcase the works of other Konkani writers. Prior to ‘Jaag’, he edited Konkani periodicals ‘Mirg’ and ‘Gomant Bharati’.Born in 1925, Kelekar lives in his native village of Priol. When the Konkani movement was picking up steam, he was instrumental in persuading Goa’s Konkani writers – most of whom were equally adept at writing in Marathi – to agree to write only in their mother tongue till all the goals of the Konkani movement were achieved. It is a moment of enormous pride for Goa, and for Konkani, that this great son of the soil has gained rightful recognition as one of India’s finest litterateurs. Now that a new door has opened, let us hope there will be more writers who will bring this great honour to Goa’s official language in the years to come.


Fitting recognition for a true son of Goem. Goemche dottorevoilo; bab Ravindra Kelekar

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moira - The Truth

For years now the ‘niz ganvcars’ of Moira have been compelled to creep where others strode.

While the rest in Goem proudly proclaim their ‘mul ganvs’, Moidecars have had to do with sheepishly acquiescing when confronted with the accusing “Arre tum Moidecho re?” Those amongst Moidecars, not too bothered with the truth, have either stoutly come out with an outright denial, “Konnem sanglan tuca ****** (expletive deleted), or the more honest, side step the issue entirely, “Arre Fernandes-achi bail boreech mirroita mure!” The ensuing debate on Fernandes’ woes, hopefully fending baiters off the scent.

This sorry state of affairs has persisted since, well, any one can remember. All of us, ‘niz Moidecars’, can narrate a thousand tales of providing comedic fodder for assemblies of Goemcars. O the number of anecdotes told and re-told. All with an air of novelty that seems never to stale. Never mind that they are regurgitated ad nauseam.

So much so that one has come to dread the thought of attending festas, funerals and family weddings. The person you see sulking in the lonely corner, trying to blend in the background, is no gate crasher; it’s just some poor Moidecar hoping to be mistaken for someone from some other village.

And what is the reason for this stigma? What horror has the Moidecar perpetrated that permits, nay, compels the rest of Goem to pick on him? Are there some horrible skeletons in the Moira cupboard? Has there been some inexplicable inhumanity committed by Moidecars in the days of yore? Was a major calamity brought about, by an act of the denizens of this lush little village nestling in the bosom of Bardez?

The answer is obviously an emphatic, none of the above. But before I come to the cause of this canker, let me tell you a bit about God’s very own little acre. The village of Moira is famous. I do not believe there are any Goemcars, in Goem or for that matter anywhere in the world, who have not heard of this little beauty.

We are famous for our bananas, or used to be. We have one of Goem’s best churches and biggest of church bells. We are renowned for our horticultural prowess, or were. Our intelligence is unparalleled, unfortunately this is considered peculiar. We have our share of famous, successful people. Apply any criteria and Moira stands far above the average run of the mill Goan village. And this is the reason, I believe, that Moidecars are singled out for, it can only be described thus, abuse.

The tales told of eccentricity, nay outright idiocy, apparently exercised by Moidecars, are legendary. How they chuckle. O did you hear the latest? And out will come another story, allegedly recent, but in fact one of the trusty ancient corkers which go toward smiting the last ounce of gravitas out of any Moidecar within hearing distance. Take for instance the one about the ‘sarrem’ that is said to have been used to erect the grand edifice that is the church of Moira.

All Goemcars have heard this little anecdote. It goes thus. The villagers of Moira overcome, with religious fervour or maybe feelings fuelled by inter village rivalry, decide to build a church that would stand out as an exemplar. Nothing not impressive would do. They were and wanted the best. This erection of sacred masonry, a visible symbol of the villagers faith, was meant to make the world of Goemcars aware that Moidecars had arrived.

So commenced the gargantuan task of building, for the glory of God and Moidecars. Work moved apace, all appeared hunky-dory. That is till the monsoons failed. Moira being an agrarian village, the rains were vital for its wellbeing. The mainstay of the villagers, their fields, suffered. A version of the credit crunch ensued. There was not enough wealth generated to enable the Moidecars to continue with their inspiring project. Following the dismal showing by the weather gods, work on the church ground to a halt.

The next year all that changed. The monsoons poured forth. The fields revived. All was once again, well. However, a year had been wasted. The work on the church needed to be attacked with not only renewed but increased fervour. The Communidade de Moira decided to double their efforts and catch up with lost time. Additional funding was needed for this extra effort.

How could the villagers get the extra financial support?

So began a mighty push to increase the produce of their fields. The mainstay of Moira’s fame and farming was their famous ‘kellem’. This renowned fruit was to be made the saviour of the church. The way to increase its yield was simply ‘sarrem’.

Deals were struck with suppliers far and wide to procure fish manure; ‘sarrem’. This was delivered by ‘patmaris’ that sailed down the river all the way from distant fishing villages. The traffic was impressive. On any given day the river winding along the village was lined by these ‘patmaris’ delivering good old ‘sarrem’ by the ‘khanddi’and ‘kumb’. Day and night they toiled.

Their travails were blessed. The harvest of Moidechim kellim was abundant. That year and the next and the next. Enough wealth was generated. The Moidecars built their lovely impressive ‘igorz’. And there it stands today. A fitting memorial to the graft and genius of the Moidecar. An edifice of eminence and eloquence and excellence.

When the rest of Goem saw the endless armadas of ‘patmaris’ sailing up the river to Moira, and enquired about their raison d’etre, Moidecars told them, “Arre tem sarrem igorzec re”. Goemcars have since believed or have chosen to believe, that Moidecars were literally sprinkling the foundations of their church with manure. My ancestors did not bother correcting this view, just had a good giggle over it.

And so my fellow Goemcars that is the genesis of the canard about the church of Moira and ‘sarrem’.

A little aside to the above. It was a well known fact that Moidecars always returned home to answer the call of nature. This stems from those turbulent times. Every little bit helped. So at the express urgings of the then Padr Vigar and the Regedor; Moidecars used to suffer in silence, holding back for dear life, and only relieve themselves when they were back home. In a utensil called, if I remember right, the ‘vunnell’, or something that sounded like that. This ‘vunnell’ was then carried, laden with the goodies, in the early hours of the morn, ‘fanttiar, combo rodchea adhim’, to the fields and poured with precision and love on to what ever was required to sprout or blossom. The results, always outstanding.

That brings me to the next church related tall tale.

Soon after the erection of this excellent etc. etc. edifice, jealously as is its wont, reared its ugly head. The green eyed monster roamed rampant. Denizens of neighbouring villages unable to digest this achievement set about with a vengeance to find fault. And they came up with one. The church, they remonstrated, was not properly aligned. Don’t ask me what or how. Just go along with this for now. Anyway, not aligned was the grouse.

Senhors Frederico Fortas Fernao and Augustinho Arsole Azavedo make an entrance. These two characters spearheaded the diss the Moira church movement. Both came from prominent villages of Goem. If I mistake not, Saligao and Sangolda. I may be wrong. Arsole for instance may have been from Guirim. Not that that matters. Just bear in mind that envy was all enveloping.

Fortas and Arsole missed no opportunity to highlight the mis-alignment of the church. This soon got under the otherwise tough skins of the Moidecars. A ‘sabha’ of the ‘ganvcars’ soon assembled and came up with a fitting, clever nay cunning riposte.

A ‘pergaum’ was sent to all the neighbouring villages. The best ‘kampincar’, bell ringer, was dispatched. Soon all knew that on such and such a day, the villagers of Moira were going to try to re-align their crooked church. Assistance was sought from all men of good will. And would all attending please come along with their best ‘kamlins’; the traditional knee length woollen hoods, used for centuries to fend off the rain and cold. These ‘kamlins’ were to facilitate the movement of the church.

Fortas and Arsole imploded. How they cracked up. Was nothing too stupid for these Moidecars? The two made sure that all their friends and family, with their best ‘kamlins’ were present on the appointed day.

Come the hour, all assembled were made to spread out their ‘kamlins’ on the east side of the church. This was neatly done. Hundreds of hoods. The Padr Vigar then instructed all the assembled to move over to the far western side. All did.

The Regedor announced, that in order to give the helpers an added boost, free fenim was being dispersed. Womenfolk went round with ‘battli’ and ‘copp’. The libation was liberally lavished.

At long last the order was given. All hands on the church. At the count of three, all would give a mighty heave and push the church athwart the east. This ought to force it into the correct alignment.

It was done. And then all rushed to the eastern face.

Lo and behold. The church had moved. Or so it seemed. It certainly had covered all the neatly laid out hoods. Not a single one was visible. All presumably buried under, when the church lurched over them.

A shout of elation went up from the Moidecars. “The church”, they cried, “has moved and covered all the ‘kamlins’ ”. A groan from the visitors. All their ‘kamlins’ had disappeared.

They received much commiseration from the Moidecars. That did not bring their expensive hoods back. But they could do nothing about it. At least they could all leave with the warm feeling of having helped their neighbours right the alignment of their church.

To this day, all of Goem thinks that Moidecars moved their church using muscle and hoods.

Moidecars did not get wet or cold that monsoon, thanks to the excellent ‘kamlins’, courtesy of their helpful neighbours.

Of course Fortas and Arsole were not happy. They knew they had been had. They just could not do anything about it. They carried this resentment to their graves. And this legacy of abhorrence for Moidecars and all things from Moira has been passed on through their generations.

Even today there are families in Saligao and Sangolda that bear a grudge and will do anything to demean and demonise Moira and Moidecars. And if I mistake not, some Sangodcars have even moved into Moira to carry on this centuries old vendetta.

This feud has come to be known as ‘enganando os idiotas’, tricking the idiots, or something like that.

And so my fellow Goemcars, when you next come across any such insinuations about Moidecars, think carefully before you guffaw.

It could well be that the Moidecars are ‘enganando os idiotas’.


Xanno Moidecar

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A wise man from Moira


A tour de force. Dr de Souza has in his inimitable way once again unpeeled the layers from Goemcars and Goemcarponn. A must read for all Goemcars.

This doyen amongst Goemcar historians has over the years dissected the essence of Goem like no other.

It is with no little proprietorial pride that I claim him for a Moidecar, possibly the cleverest of the clever lot.

I hope Teotonio does not mind this ' borrowing' of his wisdom. I am disseminating the genius of a Goemcar whom all others should read.

Xanno Moidecar.


Finding the right distraction toschizophrenia?

By Teotonio R de Souza

When asked to write this short note, the recentautobiographical and polemical novel of Gunter Grass,"Peeling the Onion", came to my mind. That is exactly how Isee the Goan identity, with its many wrappings.Some of these make me cry, due to the ambiguities and contradictions involved in the process of the historical growth of "my people". In the course of my 62 years of life-- 12 of these spent in India but outside Goa for University studies, and the past 14 in Portugal accompanying the formercolonialists in their University studies -- I have been partof the Goan onion wrappings.

This is not a damage controlling Gunterian confession, but I may admit that I was born legallyas Portuguese in colonial Goa without my choice inFebruary 1947 (while rest of the country was on thethreshold of independence). I became an Indian without my choice by a legislative process which followed the expulsion of the Portuguese colonial regime.

Our personal destiny greatly shaped by such unchosen developments of the collective history. Mine was no exceptionand some important life decisions became dependent upon thebest available opportunities, but hardly of my choice.It was only in 1995 that I could find the right conditions tore-orient my life. Recovery of the Portuguese nationality wasthen an option. Similary, the recovery of the Indiannationality as OCI in 2007 was another option. These werehard and thoughtful decisions, and reflect my way of integrating consciously, freely and appreciatively the major elements that have contributed to shape my identity as a Goan.

In the past I had seen the same elements as forced into my identity. Now I feel that I have come to terms with my identity and feel proud of it. That is a process I wish for every Goan. Post-liberation generations, and most visitors and recent settlers in Goa are not sufficiently clear about what precisely makes up the Portuguese cultural legacy. Many"outsiders" (bhaile for the native Goans) come imbibed withSalman Rushdie's imagery of Goans who love to light candles to the kababed saints and tandooried martyrs which they preserve reverentially in the home oratories.

At the close of the Portuguese colonial regime in Goa, after nearly four and half centuries of intense and sustained batterings of the Portuguese law, church rituals and inquisition threats on a small enclave, Goans could notescape adopting overt and covert cultural habits that distinguish them from the rest of the inhabitants of the subcontinent.To illustrate the reaction of the Goan Christian elite to liberation, I cannot resist quoting a somewhat lengthy paragraph from Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh depicting a character modeled after Mario Miranda:"When the Indian Army entered Goa, ending 451 yearsof Portuguese colonial rule Vasco was plunged forweeks into one of his black-dog depressions. Aurora encouraged him to see the event as a liberation, as many Goans did, but he was inconsolable. 'Up to nowI had only three Gods and the Virgin Mary to disbelieve in,' he complained. 'Now I have three hundred million. And what Gods! For my taste, theyhave too many heads and hands'"On the night of India's independence, the red mist came over him in a rush. The contradictions of that high moment tore him apart. That celebration of freedom whose engulfing emotions he could not avoid even though, as a Goan, he was technically not involved -- he drank vinho verde in quantity and at speed, sunk in darkness."But the impact of the Portuguese brand of Christianity could also be felt on ordinary rural Goan Christian women.

For instance, they all love to put flowers in their hair just as would any other Goan woman, but they take them off when leaving home.When I asked my mother once why she did that, her only explanation was: Kristanv bhail ghara bhair fulam mau na. I discovered a reason in the course of my research, namely inthe course of the 16th century the church provincial councils had decreed under severe penalties that women should discontinue the practice of divination by sticking flowerpetals with saliva to the left or right side of a temple idol and waiting to see which petal would fall first to decide if a wish would be granted or not. By banning the use of flowers in the hair while outdoors would thus prevent the woman from being tempted to continue an old "gentile" practice.

For such and other "lapses and re-lapses" many Goans were hauled before the Inquisition tribunal and punished at autos-da-fe during two and half centuries of its operation in Goa.We can only imagine from distance in time the intimidation and terror it may have had on men and women torn away from their families and kept in the dungeons of the Inquisition. Several of these never returned to their families, or perhaps some did after serving six to ten years as forced labour in galleys or gunpowder manufactory.The Provincial of the Goa Jesuits, my co-villagerand a trained psychologist, Fr. Tony da Silva S.J., analysed once in a seminar organized by me at theXavier Centre of Historical Research in 1992 the permanent impact such intimidation left upon Goan psyche for times to come.

We are experiencing the unwinding in some of the social excesses that we have been witnessing in the post-liberation era. I wish to recall another incident that left me baffled some years ago. It was the statement of an orthodox Hindu Brahmin from Pune. He came to Goa in the wake of the liberation asthe Director of Goa Historical Archives and stayed in that job till his retirement about 20 years later. Like many other such non-Goan officers that were little welcomed by Goans and were labeled as "deputationists", he too decided to live his retired life in Goa. Dr. Gune acquired a house near Mangueshi temple and believed that he could continue his hobby as astrologer (jyotishi) and earn some complement to his pension. My surprise was to hear from him some three years later that he had decided to leaveGoa. He was disillusioned with Goan Hindus, whom he denounced as "different", a milder way of saying that they were corrupted by the Portuguese influence. They did not meet his requirements of Hindu orthodoxy!

Until this moment I had only noticed -- like mostGoans do till today -- the differences between Goan Hindus and Christians. I needed a Hindu from outside Goa to bring the similarities to my notice. Goa had been in its past history, at least since the 11thcentury, under the Kadambas, linked to a widespread networkof Afro-Asian seaborne trade, and of hinterland trade with the Deccan through ghat passes.The integration of Goa into the Portuguese eastern empire after 1510 catapulted it into an unforeseen scale of operations. As headquarters of an early modern European empire from 1530, Goa exposed its inhabitants very early to the challenges of modern globalization.

If the early decline of the Portuguese failed to sustain this process, the economic pressures and the cultural acquisitions permitted the Goans to avail of the opportunities presented by the British empire in the neighbouring territories,particularly since the establishment of the rail link.Ironically, the allegedly harassed Hindu community of Saraswats -- one-sided historical perspective conveniently bandied around for political gains in post-liberation times-- sustained the fiscal-commercial structure of thePortuguese in Goa, and the Hindu dubhashis effectively served their diplomatic needs in Asia as extensively documented byDr. P.S.S. Pissurlencar in his Agentes da DiplomaciaPortuguesa na India (1952).

Without such vital support the Portuguese colonialism in Goawould have short-circuited and burnt out very much earlierthan it did. But the self-interested collaboration of Goan Hindus gave lots of time for masses of poor Christians, and allegedly protected by the Portuguese Christian rule, to makea bee-line as emigrants to eke out their living in British India. It should never be forgotten however that it was the structure of the Portuguese Church Padroado throughout Asia,manned largely by native Goan clergy from the 19th centuryonwards, that gave the scattered Goan emigrants the emotional sustenance they needed away from their homeland.

The Padroado parishes in Bombay and the village kudd dedicated to the patron-saints of the respective parishes in Goa were the visible and effective props in the process of adaptation to painful socio-economic challenges.The church connection also helped developing the musical talent of many Goans, and the westernized culinary skills opened job markets for many Goansin British India. Sad to say also, the tradition ofan international slave market where females and males from different countries were bought and sold(and that made Portuguese Goa famous through the writings of the Dutchman Linschotten and otherc ontemporary foreign travelers) contributed to the exodus of many Goan women who earned their living with prostitution in Bombay.

If language is a core component of any social identity, it may surprise us to find that Goans preserved their language even during the colonial period; barely five percent of Goan population could read, write and speak in Portuguese according to the last census of the colonial regime. These included ethnic Portuguese serving in Goa and and one hundredor so mestizos and luso-descendentes.According to statistics presented by Dr. Froilano de Mello as deputy to the Portuguese Parliament on 24 January 1947,English schools were experiencing fast growth in Goa, while the Portuguese Lyceum languished! He referred to 63 privateEnglish schools in Goa employing 389 local teachers and 71foreigners. They had a total of 8890 pupils! That meant 22times more than those who frequented the Portuguese lyceum!The needs of emigration to British India fuelled this trend.Rural folks in Goa and low middle class emigrants held fast to their Konkani. However, close contact with the Portugueseclergy during the early centuries after conversion,elementary training in the parish schools, and compulsory primary schooling in Portuguese since 50s, resulted in the absorption of a hefty proportion of Portuguese loan-words into the spoken Konkani of Goan Christians.

Fuj-da-put (filho da puta), bonku (bom c?),fodricho (foder), etc. became common folkutterances alongside besanv (ben??o), maldisanv(maldi??o), etc Such linguistic colonialism,despite the colourful ingredients, greatlyendangered the healthy growth of Konkani language and many decades of sustained efforts became necessary after 1961 to restore its linguistic-cultural legitimacy and standards so asto make it acceptable as the official State language in 1987 and to permit its entry in the Constitutional schedule in 1992.No discussion on Goan identity can be complete by ignoring the caste system that dogs the Goan society. To konnalo (to which family does he belong?) is a question which a good Goan usually asks or intends to ask, be it in Goa or anywhere inthe world. Goans married to non-Goans and living in non-Goan ambiance may care to ignore the caste linkage, and even in Goa today money and power call shots.

However, deep in the unconscious a Brahmin knows he is aBrahmin, a Chardo resents being a Chardo, and the same old trap works. Spoken Konkani retains grammatical inflections and vocabulary preferences that identify castes, such as aila and eila, taka and teka, sokoilo and khailo, etc.Despite all the haute couture and other external shenigans that Goans have acquired over time and make them presentable global citizens, the Goan identity has yet to break out of its caste-shell.

A glance at the archives of Goanet (,the oldest and global Goan Internet discussionforum) should confirm my point.Thus caste remains a challenge for Goans for yet another millennium. It is what the Portuguese would call a pedra nosapato, a cultural irritant that we need to learn to freely detach from the requisites of our personal and collective identity. Until we can eradicate it, we can hardly call ourselves global Goans. We will remain puny caste-bound Goans doing relatively well globally. In the meantime only the common cause against the "bhaile" will distract us from our schizophrenia.--

Dr Souza is a prominent Indo-Portuguese historian.

This essay was written for the recently-published 'Semana deCultura Goa 2008', edited by Vivek Menezes

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ms Venita Coelho responds


I thank Ms Coelho for taking the time and trouble to respond to my queries. Her zeal was never in doubt.

I accept her assertions about her garage. I take them to be right. I take her point about the Sarpanch being under investigation himself. Are any of the other activists under scrutiny? Have any of them been served with show cause notices?

Also what is the equation regarding Marie Yvonne, James and Reis? Why did they oppose Ms Coelho's intervention?

As for the Panchas and others present not intervening, I am still gathering information.

I apologise for wrongly labelling the 20 year plan and accept that if implemented in the way Ms Coelho projects it, the incidence of illegalities will be better controlled and even reduced.

As for the EPIC card, my stance is that though not required, its production would have set to rest the controversy regarding her eligibility. The fact that she had secured her name on the electoral rolls, a few days before the Gram Sabha, made it an even more logical thing to do.

Bearing in mind , if I read it right, the fact that Ms Coelho was not registered and not qualified to participate in the two previous Sabhas that she attended, and the fact that the Sarpanch and his allies were aware of this, it was only natural for her to be questioned and when there was no evidence proffered... the rest is history. Would all this have been avoided if the proof was shown by Ms Coelho? Yes it would have been. And if Ms Coelho had then been ejected, it would have been a far more straight forward a matter of an injustice inflicted.

In support of this assertion I point to the fact that Tanya, Ms Coelho's colleague and fellow 'zuzarri' was not ejected . I suppose in the present imbroglio, this is neither here nor there.

The Sarpanch and the panchas are the legally elected representatives of the people of Moira. Unpalatable but true. Whether one respects them or not is immaterial. It is the office of the Sarpanch that demands that we acknowledge his authority during Sabhas. Or else there will be chaos. I mean, even more of the same..

The fact that people will try to make a fast buck when permitted is an unquestionable given. It is laudable that the MAC and the MCF have taken the trouble to formulate the plan and offered to pay for it. The Sarpanch claims he has a counter plan and that he is trying to ascertain the views of the villagers. However good Ms Coelho's plan is, the elected representatives have the right to implement and impose their version. The way to scupper the Sarpanch's version is to best him at the hustings.

Innuendos and allegations will only muddy the waters. Maybe, a fund should be started and whereever any illegality is noted or suspected, legal procedings should be initiated. This is a suggestion from someone who is not present in Moira, would love to be, but isn't.

As I've said, Ms Coelho's zeal was never in question. The end she had in mind was, as far as I am concerned, extremely laudable. It was the means, I think , that needed fine tuning.


Xanno Moidecar

Dear Xanno
1. What is in question is not a 20 point programme - it is a 20 year plan for the village which is yet to be created.
2. I do not need an EPIC card to attend a Gram Sabha. My name needed to be on the electoral rolls which it was. I repeatedly asked for the rolls to be produced as evidence - which the Sarpanch refused.
3. The garage in question is 15 years old and built by the previous owner. Perhaps you should ask the Sarpanch why the Communidade has sent him official notice asking him to explain why his house is on communidade land.
4. The 20 year plan is obviously a threat. If correctly done, and all land usage mapped, there will be no longer any more scope to illegally convert land usage. I leave you to work out why it was then important to silence me when I stood up to ask 'What is the status of the 20 year plan?
'5. The Sarpanch as Advocate should have known that the burden of proof lies with the Panchyat not with the individual. Even if he has lost his copy of the rule book, the rules still exist and I asked several times for the rolls to be produced.
6. Our upright and god fearing Panchas from good families sat by and watched while a woman was dragged from an assembly by the police.
7. What is at stake is not settling of personal scores. What is at stake is crores of rupees. Issuing licences to large projects is now a lucrative business. Awkward questions get in the way.
8. Planning is the key. Open and transparent planning that correctly maps land use.
9. Not just two people, but the MAC in association with the MOira Consumer Forum had submitted and entire plan on how we could go about doing a 20 year plan - we had put together a panel of experts to advise, and we even offered to raise the funds for the entire effort. All of which was rejected by the Panchayat and completely ignored. For obvious reasons.I would suggest that you understand the issues at stake since you seem to be a concerned party. The issues are great cause for concern. They are nothing less that the survival of the village.
Thank you
Venita Coelho

Friday, November 07, 2008

Is there something rotten in the state of Denmark.....?

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd." Voltaire

I have read the two interviews. The Sarpanch and the 'sundori'. And despite or rather because of the hubris of some, I am still a wee bit unsure. A nagging feeling deep down.

Maybe I have misread the whole thing. I do not find the situation all black and white. There are a lot of grey areas. For one, is there an illegally constructed garage or was there an attempt to illegally construct one? Have other activists been served with show cause notices? Are they all whiter than white? Have any of them broken the law, been penalised for it, and now is this payback time?

I accept that the swallowing of Moira by the behemoth Mapusa is the last thing one wants. Unthinkable. But was there a bit of 'elitism' in this crusade? Are the populace not being involved in the fight? Why were only two people forthcoming with suggestions regarding the twenty point plan?

Surely absolutely no one in our village wants to be a mhapxekar? And I am 'cent per cent' sure that if approached, 99.99% of the ganvcars and ganvcarns, would have vociferously backed the no to the urbanisation campaign.

And however well conceived and intended the twenty point plan, its quality does not ensure or even require uncritical acceptance. The people of Moira, or at least the majority, must agree to accept it. That is democracy.

The Sarpanch and Panchas, even if one views their elections with incredulity, are the representatives of the villagers. That does not make them perfect or honest or right. And when they fail in their duty to the people they must be held to account. By the people of Moira. By the majority of Moidecars.

A small cabal however well intentioned cannot ride roughshod over the whims of the electorate.

The best way to prove this is at the elections. And even making allowance for corruption and graft, when the chips are down, the good people win. They have to.

The other thing that I could not understand was why, if the main thrust was to expose or espouse a cause, was proof not furnished when requested? Evidence of eligibility to attend and participate in the Gram Sabha. The paramount consideration for Ms Coelho, I would have thought, should have been to present her case at the forum and enlighten those present with her views, ideas, fears and hopes. The scoring of points, technical or otherwise, should not have played any part in this tamasha.

A simple production of the EPIC card, I am given to understand, would have sufficed to set at rest the objections of the Sarpanch and his coterie. In any case it would have made sense for someone anticipating such objections to go prepared with the requisite proof.

Not fair, I accept, but prudent. Irritating but necessary.

So why did Ms Coelho not produce the proof which would have permitted her presence? Was her obduracy in questioning the authority of an elected Sarpach, to verify and ascertain her eligibility, the catalyst for this cause celebre?

Also, if I read the interviews right, Ms Coelho, though she did not display it, did have the necessary qualification, to sign on and be present this time. But did she break the eligibility rules in the two previous instances?

The conundrum of Marie Yvonne, James and Reis also needs solving. Why would these upright Moidecars back someone or something unpalatable? If it is that. I find it very hard to accept that they are the bad guys. Are these three privy to some undisclosed details? Has anyone approached them for their version of the events? Or are we all being blinded by the 'glamour' of the persons perceived as the victims?

I do not know. I want to know. I am in the process of finding out.

I know of Philip the Pancha. He comes from a God fearing family. Is he tainted? Why is he being tarred?

Is there a hint of settling of personal scores in the equation?

To be able to accuse someone of graft and corruption, one needs proof. Is there any? If there is, this needs to be put before a court of law. Moidecars, or at least one of them, has a history of succeeding with public interest litigation. If the evidence is available, is there a possibility of a filing of a case?

I shall be contributing to this debate.

Till then.


Xanno Moidecar

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Land of hope and glory

I quote:

"Rosa Parks sat, so that Martin Luther King could march
Martin Luther King marched, so that Barack Obama could run
Barack Obama ran, so that ALL the children of America could fly
Barack has won, and now the limit is far far beyond the sky."

'Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected,
now shines on the stream: 'T is the star-spangled banner:
O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave! '

This great shining city upon the hill.
Once again Camelot.......

God Bless America


Xanno Moidecar
Martin Luther King Jr.
'The' I have a dream speech

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."
But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.
We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.
The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom.
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-hood and robbed of their dignity by a sign stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."¹
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."²
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!³
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
"It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
"It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
He complimented Sen. McCain, mentioning the phone call he had received earlier in the night.
He thanked "the love of my love" Michelle Obama as well as daughters Sasha and Malia, "I love you both more than you can imagine. You have earned the puppy that is coming with us."
And he took a moment to remember his grandmother.
He promised, "I will listen to you... I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation... Block by block, brick by brick, callused hand by callused hand."

President-Elect Obama had a message for those listening around the world, "A new dawn of American leadership is at hand."

The Gettysburg AddressGettysburg, PennsylvaniaNovember 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Dr Teotonio De Souza and Leroy Veloso have written. That is enough for me.

Venita has had her rights trampled upon. All power to the elbows of those Moidecars going hammer and tongs against the bullies. An ugly breed they are too. Both on and off the Internet.

It was never my intention to criticise the behaviour of anyone present at the meeting. (I deleted the 'only one wearing the trousers ' bit almost immediately I wrote it.)

Mine was a fact finding missive.

I am well aware as to how intimidating the situation can get. In my time, in Goem, I have been on the receiving end of some quite nasty turns. Such episodes are not very pleasant experiences. The one irrefutable axiom that has always given me great succour is: all bullies are always cowards. Always.

The very fact that some village folk took the time and trouble to attend, deserves the thanks and kudos of all Moidecars. And in this acknowledgement I include the notables amongst those that natter.

And for those who disagreed with it, my paean to democracy was to emphasise that it would be the best and most lasting way to secure the goals of the village.

I am, however, still puzzled with the alliance between the three I've named in my earlier post and the Sarpanch and his supporters. Has anybody approached them for an explanation? Kitem chollta re thuim? I find it very hard to accept that the daughter of the doughty niz Moidecar Miguel Pinto Correia and the affable James would stoop to something that is unpalatable. There must be an explanation.

What is it?

I never criticise those that do and achieve things, specially when I am not at this point in time, in the position to contribute myself. And I am not alone in this quandary. It has been the lot of Goemcars for as long as anyone can remember, that we go abroad 'vet bor pottac lagon'. People who criticise my absence from Goem are either themselves working abroad for virtually the whole year, or they come from families where their parents worked abroad. As all niz Goemcars, I hope and pray, that one fine day I shall be able to return to my motherland.

My ire is always aroused when those who do nothing point fingers and decry those who do.

In this spirit I thoroughly commend the suggestions for initiating Gandhigiri. What a fine concept. In the land of the Mahatma, the power of Gandhi's policy of peaceful resistance will hopefully resonate. My prayers will be with those who embark on that satyagraha. Even for those, or rather the one, whom I do not like.

And it causes me great chagrin that at this exciting point I am being compelled to take another sabbatical. The nature of my 'pottac lagon cortan tem', requires me to go on spells where I'm nigh incommunicado. This time I shall be away for roughly a fortnight; I had initially thought it would be a month.

Inshallah, I shall return and recommence my blog writing. In the meantime, to all Moidecars, please note I'm wishing both the niz and the other kind; good speed in their public spirited activism and success.


Xanno Moidecar

Monday, October 27, 2008

Moira - Que bono?


I had intended posting further suggestions regarding the ills that are infecting and affecting the Christian populace in India.

However, matters closer to home have gripped my attention. And because this incident too has a connective vein, that of cowards and bullies, I shall permit myself to digress.

I have always believed that all bullies, cyber or otherwise, are cowards. Whenever they think they can get away with it, they will, well, bully. But stand up to this lot and they turn tail.

The spectacle that is making headlines in the village, at the moment, best illustrates this. I do not know the specifics of Venita Coelho's battle. I understand that she is waging a war against perceived illegalities being committed in Moira. Construction and its planning has always been a hot potato for Goan villages.

Communidade lands have borne the brunt and been usurped since 'Liberation' by the Government, its flunkeys and functionaries and their chamchas and chelas, who bank on political patronage to ride roughshod over local resentment.

I do not know whether Venita is right in this particular instance. I can only go by what I read and hear. And at the moment the water is still muddied. I have been 'privy' to many a similar scenario, I mean the tamasha in the Panchayat, where the supporters of one faction strong arm the opposition into retreat. And it can seem and at times be an extremely hairy situation.

I do not blame the niz ganvcar menfolk of Moira, who I presume made up the majority of the catholic men present, for not making a spirited stand. They considered discretion the better part of valour. It is far better to live to fight another day . Though from what I hear, besides other notables known for their natterings, there was at least one tough lone wolf amongst the gathered. So why did these seasoned do or die-ers not intervene? Is the whole thing not as kosher as one would want it to be? Are there wheels within wheels? Is there something we are not aware of? Something that made those present pause? Was it all not black and white?

I do not know. I want to know.

In any case nobody ought to point fingers and blame anybody. For not intervening, I mean. No one knows how one would react under fire until one actually is being fired upon.

I would caution Venita and her band of brave lady 'zuzaris' to make absolutely certain that they are 'whiter than white'. Because when one takes on a monolith of vested interests, one can always expect to be subjected to microscopic scrutiny and if there are any chinks in one's armour , these will be exploited and used against. When they are challenged and obstructed, the thwarted will zero on every minor and petty infringement by the activists and exploit these weaknesses.

I do not know if Venita had the locus standi to address the gathering. She claims she had and has furnished details to back her membership of the Gram Sabha.

To most of those affected, this was a foray into terra incognita. Their baptism of fire. If they persist in this 'guerre', there will be much more of the same. But in the end truth will always.... or as they say in Bharat, satyameva jayanti.

Marie Yvonne and James are niz Moidecars. Reis sounds as if he has been around for some time too. Why did these three hector Venita? What was their reason and rationale? Is there another angle to the equation? The three should be approached for an explanation. Unfettered fulminations against them will result in reticence and we will not get the full story. There is a golden thread that runs through most of the world's legal systems and that is, everyone is innocent till proven otherwise.

It is of utmost importance for all to ensure that there is no settling of personal scores. There has already been a hint of this.

In the interest of fair play and in order to secure as near as possible universal consensus, individual duels must not be permitted to be aired in any public forum or fora that is or are formed to secure the interests of Moira.

And though I have myself been, many a time, in straits where I have heartily condemned our elected representatives, they are whether we like it or not, OUR elected ones. We have put them where they are. The people have spoken. And if they fault and falter the people must deal with them. At the ballot box. Ranting and raging against them and trying to outshout them at public meetings is not the way forward.

Convince the villagers of Moira, that someone else is more suitable for the job. And if you can not, then accept the verdict of the people. Or else you put yourself in danger of being anti democracy. For however much we may like to think that we alone are in the right and that we alone have all the answers, and that it is all the others who are completely and utterly wrong and untrustworthy; history has proven that the will of the populace, enigmatic and eccentric though it may appear, is indubitably and inevitably right.

Democracy is the worst amongst the forms of governance, bar the rest.

Being out of touch with the facts on the ground I would accept the judgement of only two persons. Dr Teotonio De Souza and Leroy Veloso. If these two state that Venita has been wronged, that will be good enough for me.

In these times of turmoil we must stand shoulder to shoulder and gather together all good men and women of my village.

The time is nigh for all to come to the aid of nossa terra.

Amchem bhangarachem Moidem.


Xanno Moidecar

Activist attends meet, lands in police station

The Moira gram sabha on Sunday witnessed chaotic scenes, as scriptwriter-activist Venita Coelho was forcibly bundled out of the meeting by the police.According to reports, Ms Coelho had to bear the brunt of the wrath of Moira Sarpanch Advocate Raghuvir Bagker, when she questioned him about illegal constructions and development of the village.When Ms Coelho questioned the sarpanch “What has happened to the 20 years development plan of the village”, sarpanch’s supporters started shouting that Ms Coelho’s name is not on the electoral roll. “Hence Ms Coelho cannot participate in the gram sabha proceedings,” stated a supporter of the sarpanch.The supporters even went to the extent of threatening Ms Coelho in the presence of all the panchas that she would have to face dire consequences if she intervenes in the affairs of the panchayat.Sarpanch Bagker immediately called the police and ordered them in writing to “Remove Vinita Coelho as she is not the member of the gram sabha”.Upon receipt of written instructions, the police physically lifted Ms Coelho and took her to the Mapusa Police Station. Ms Coelho was detained for 3 hours between 12 pm and 3 pm.Speaking to Herald, Ms Coelho condemned the act of police and stated that she had told the police that she is a resident of Moira and her name is on the electoral roll.“But the police did not listen to me, instead lifted and brought me to the Mapusa police station. I was treated like a criminal,” said Ms Coelho.“In fact, I had asked for police protection in advance fearing that sarpanch’s supporters may assault me as I am fighting on the issues of illegal constructions and mega projects, which are coming up in the village,” she added.“But police in spite of protecting me, prohibited me from participating in the gram sabha at the behest of the sarpanch. Police did not take any action against the rowdy villagers in the gram sabha,” complained Ms Coelho.Since Mapusa PI C L Patil was not present, Ms Coelho was asked to wait till he arrived. PSI Chandrakant Gawas, who was heading the police force present at the gram sabha said that she had not been arrested but admitted that the police had forcibly brought her to the police station.Speaking to Herald, Police Inspector C L Patil said that they have acted as per the written instructions of the Sarpanch. “Ms Coelho was detained at the police station to avoid any untoward incident at the gram sabha,” said Mr Patil.When asked about the contents of the complaint, he said that the complaint was that Ms Coelho was not a member of the gram sabha, but was insisting on disrupting the proceedings.He also said that he has been informed that police saw Ms Coelho had been surrounded by a threatening group of people and removed her from the venue for her own safety.A member of Moira Citizens Action Committee (MAC) Diana Jambonathan said that Indian Constitution has given the freedom of sarpanch to all the citizens.“But this right is being suppressed in Goa, whoever dares to speak the truth is penalised. The action of police is deplorable,” said Ms Jambonathan.Tanya Mendonca of the MAC said that this was a conspiracy to prevent uncomfortable issues being raised, while Veronica Mascarenhas said that the gram sabha meeting continued after Ms Coelho was ejected, despite protests from the members.“The Sarpanch even claimed that Ms Coelho was evicted as she is not a member, and that a resolution was passed to that effect. No such resolution was passed — it would be illegal in any case — and the panchayat took advantage of the pandemonium after this incident,” Ms Mascarenhas.Attempts to contact Sarpanch proved futile as his mobile phone was switched off.Ms Coelho has subsequently filed a counter-complaint with the police against the sarpanch, alleging that she was illegally and forcibly evicted and that the entire gram sabha be declared null and void. She has also complained that she was threatened during the meeting.Ms Coelho is a member of the Goa Bachao Abhiyan and Moira Action Committee, which has been fighting against alleged illegalities in various construction projects in the Moira panchayat area.

From the Herald

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marekar vadoll

India is burning. Evil is afoot. Forces of darkness, in the guise of godly fervour, are sowing the wind. They have to realise that they will reap a whirlwind. And if they do not, they have to be made to.

I wrote that paragraph in my last blog entry. Don't go looking for it. I have deleted that entry. It had nothing to do with anything of importance.

A 'vadoll' is blowing across Bharat mata. A hurricane of hatred. The thin veneer of civilised co-existence, prevalent, by and large, over the centuries, is showing very pronounced signs of wear and tear.

In this storm, it would not be wise to start a journey or a crusade with fanfare or bombast. And so, in my first attempt at assisting to come up with some; any, solution, I shall launch my extremely modest venture, with all the caution of a fisherman setting out in his tiny dugout canoe, while the wind thunders and the waves crash all around.

I am angry. And I am scared. My ire is obviously fanned by the cowards who pillage, rape and murder the innocent, in the name of gods. My fear is for all that is and all that are precious to me. I am stricken with a malaise. A strange feeling of weakness is threatening to overwhelm.

A change is imminent. And instead of being for the good, this altering of the status quo, appears to be rendering the future of my traditions into tatters and putting at risk the lives and happiness of my people.

The history of Christianity has always been a chequered one. Temporal authority has perennially blown hot and cold in its treatment of the followers of the man from Nazareth. And the only consolation those that
claim to be Christians have, has been the stark fact that in the most adverse of circumstances, the Church built on Pedro, the Rock, has always prevailed.

This latest typhoon that is assailing the flock in India is no different from the ones that battered the faithful in ancient Rome or down the ages. This too shall pass. But before it does, the blood of martyrs and the tears of the innocent will flow.

Like many of my ilk and beliefs, I have been giving much thought to this state of affairs. And, like many, I have thought of reacting in the ways of the world. An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. But then the 'novo korar', has expressly forbidden its believers from taking recourse to the sword. And so we have to think of alternative ways of influencing our persecutors.

I believe that a vast majority of our Hindu countrymen and women are good and gentle folk, tolerant and magnanimous. Unfortunately a minority of morons amongst them is bent on fomenting hatred and their clamour and callousness is magnifying the horror that is being perpetrated on the innocent.

At times like this there is need of a person. A being who is looked upon by all with if not reverence, than at least respect. Unfortunately for Goem, amongst the Catholic clergy and laity there are not very many who can claim this accolade.

However, there is one man who I think fits the bill to a T.

The Patriarch of the East Indies, the Archbishop of Goa, Philip Neri Ferrao.

This man of God, the first amongst the servants of Christ in Goem, is a person justly known for his humility and integrity. He is also a very educated man. In fact, if I am not mistaken, he is one of the most qualified to have ever occupied the hallowed seat of the Patriarch. He knows that we are all children of God. Unlike the church of old, present day Christianity does not condemn all other faiths and their adherents to eternal damnation.

And so this man of God should open up a dialogue with the hierarchy of Hindu priesthood in Goa. He should visit their places of worship and address their faithful. The fact that Christianity is not a threat to Hinduism should be stressed and assured.

The latest desecration of Hindu places of worship must be condemned with vehemence. Our Patriarch is and must continue to be at the forefront of those denouncing the guilty. Even if there is suspicion that this has been a deliberate attempt to fan the flames and perpetrate religious hatred and the culprits belong to fundamentalist Hindu organisations.

The fact that we are all children of the very same God should be reinforced. And in Goem we have an additional and closer to home link. All Goemcar catholics are descendants from our Hindu forbears. Every one of us Catholic Goemcars has Hindu lineage. We are not foreign in our genetic origin to Goem, it is only our beliefs that are the latest in the long line of influences that have marked our Goem and Bharat mata.

Philip Neri Ferrao is no ordinary Patriarch. He is the first, that I have heard of, who has publicly, when on visits to foreign lands, expressly indicated that he does not want to be wined and dined at the residences of the well to do. He is known to be an excellent communicator. He is a humble man. He is a honest priest. He is a highly educated holder of the most prestigious of Roman Catholic posts in the East.

All Goemcars, irrespective of caste and community, know that this man of God is a good human being. They will listen to him. Of course the Patriarch is obviously already hard at work doing his utmost to ensure the safety of his flock. And lines of communication will already have been opened with the various parties.

Goemcars must pray that our shepherd, the man entrusted with the flock in Goem, can and will work a miracle.

Only a miracle can save Christendom in Bharat Mata. So let us take refuge in our belief, praying as our fathers did, "Santa khursache curu, Cristaon ponachem khunu......"


Xanno Moidecar