THE STATE OF GOA

**************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!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

CHIP OF A BLOCK OF GOEMCAR GRANITE

COMMENT: Erasmo was a dedicated son to Jack. Jack was a great son of Goem. Where Jack led, Erasmo enthusiastically followed. Just as Jack was a man of intergrity so was his son. When Bandodkar commenced the now famous Goemcar 'aya Ram gaya Ram' yatra by buying the first two independent MLAs to form his MG government, everybody knew that Jack had stoutly refused to kowtow to baseness. When Erasmo could have lapped the milk of self aggrandisement by backing Indira Gandhi he chose to go with the Lok Dal. Whether this was wrong judgement or scruples we will never know. We do know he did not back the winning horse and lost.
Erasmo contributed, like a myriad other Goemcars during those heady days of the Opinion Poll. He did benefit personally for his labours. However, he symbolises the fighting spirit of Goemcars. Remembering him will be tantamount to creating a memorial to all those Goemcars who fought and won the right for Goem to be.
I remember, long ago, working for Farbril Gasosa. In my political life I strongly supported another political party. This was when the Sequeiras were no longer United Goans. This support of mine brought me in political conflict with Erasmo's candidates. Erasmo's wife did not take kindly to my activities and had a word claiming that I was being disloyal. Erasmo overheard her and told her not to try to dissuade me from my political convictions as all that he was paying for was my work and not my political leanings.
He was a democrat.

ERASMO DE SEQUEIRA

by Maria Aurora Couto

The naming and renaming of streets to honour our freedom fighters, an ongoing exercise, has sometimes been fraught with dissent and contention, not least in the case of Dr Jack de Sequeira, but for whom the State of Goa might have been an appendage of a larger state.It is therefore laudable that a few months ago the lead taken by the Panchayat of Calangute to unveil a statue of Dr Jack at a prominent junction, was followed by the Corporation of the City of Panjim that has named the NIO circle and Dona Paula Miramar road after him.
Most recently the meeting point of two highways on the Merces-Panjim circle/junction near NH-17 and NH-4A has been named after Dr Jack on his 92nd birthday on April 20 this year.
What prompts my intervention in what is indeed a much delayed recognition of Dr Jack’s contribution, is the deliberate omission in all the celebrations, speeches and reports of the name of Erasmo de Sequeira, the son and comrade in arms of his father, who in his brief life was as active politically as his father.
It was my privilege to have been living in Goa at that historic time preceding the first ever democratic elections when everything seemed possible, a time to dream, a time of idealism when Goa struggled to realize a long held vision.
Dr Jack did not have to enter politics, he was not politically or personally ambitious in that sense. His foray into politics was the result of his deep commitment to Goa when he realized that a political party was needed to represent the aspirations of Goans who did not want to merge with Maharashtra and were disheartened with the Congress Party whose members were divided on this issue.
With deep sadness I recall seeing Erasmo at dead of night pasting posters, walking the quiet streets with his group of activists, planning strategies, doing the legwork his father required.
He was Dr Jack’s trusted lieutenant, a Member of Parliament for ten years, and would have been made a minister by Mrs Indira Gandhi, she sent him on missions abroad at a time when he preferred to remain an Independent.
The Opinion Poll was a natural follow up to Dr Jack’s vision when he formed the United Goans Party. No to merger. And in this second and bitterly fought battle, Erasmo’s role was pivotal as countless in Goa will testify.
Why then is history being hijacked and by whom and to what end? Why has Erasmo de Sequeira’s name been wiped out? This is a plea for an objective perspective in a crucial period of our history.
While rightly, if belatedly, acknowledging Dr Jack de Sequeira’s decisive role in a momentous period of our history, due recognition needs to be given to those like Erasmo de Sequeira who paved the way to the preservation of our distinctive ethos.
Erasmo’s contribution broadened the battleground to include all Goenkars irrespective of religion, caste and class. We need such a vision more than ever in the Goa of today

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