The convention of Comunidades held under Article 652 of the Code of Comunidades was a show of strength that left the government wondering and confused because what appeared dead still had a lot of blood running through its veins.
The 170 components of Comunidades – there could have been 446 – who gathered for the convention, coherently disapproved the manner the government thinks that the village communities can be trampled upon when the law itself says otherwise.
Land is of the creator given to men created by him to live communally. This is the A to Z of comunidades. Sharing and caring were the roots around which the community grew.
Through time, the focused shifted from sharing – with some taking or getting more than others – and in the bargain a line defining the poor and rich got created and the convention showed that components have not let go of the focus on caring.
If anything, it was the care shown by all present at the convention that has left the government in a bit of worry.
Comunidades may have been sleeping; they may have been looted by their own people; they may have been forgotten, but the convention on Sunday showed that a sleeping giant cannot be considered dead. Just the massive presence of police during the convention and no untoward incident occurring indicated that the giant knows when to stand.
There were 12 resolutions and there was even unanimity that elected members found doing wrong should be barred from contesting elections again. The soul searching was not deep but it had begun.
One aspect clear is that all components of Comunidades cannot be taken for granted. They reasoned, they were well aware of the laws that govern them and the judgments that helped when law makers tried to betray them.
From the convention, it was clear that the government’s eye was not to correct the wrong in the system but on the land. A land that the government wants, not for development of the State, but for their individual political development and it is here that the battle lines get drawn.
Unfortunately, land in Goa is God today and God has been reduced to a commodity that is supposed to talk to human mutants and guide them to do wrong – to rob.
Fortunately, the link between good and many gauncars is still intact and vibrant and that belief was reinforced when a few gauncars from the Comunidade of Anjuna re-enacted the story of David and Goliath in a modern setting – patience is needed to see good triumph.
After the convention it was also clear that the government would try to beat, bend, break or do anything to lay its hands on what is not theirs and the Comunidade components are equally clear that truth will keep triumphing.
Goa has been governed by the High Court of Bombay at Goa when the elected government has failed and the latter has failed innumerable times. But the courts, like the extended hands of God, kept our faith on the truth intact.
Point number ten on the agenda was to “deliberate on the issue of perceived discrimination against women in eligibility for registration as a ‘jonoeiro’.”
Even here, the discussion was on why the word discrimination was used and not about women. Some Comunidades in Goa have women in their executive committees; women have shares of many Comunidades and some Comunidades even give ‘jon’ to widows, orphans or even adopted.
Each comunidade or each community is governed by its own laws and the Code of Comunidades is the set of laws that define the role of the government vis a vis comunidades.
If many outside the ring thought the issue would raise a hornets’ nest during the convention, it did not. Except for a blur, the matter was discussed with goodness best understood by gauncars and women can expect to be always treated first.
“The tempest calmed after bending the branches of the trees and leaning heavily upon the grain in the field. The stars appeared as broken remnants of the lightning, but now silence prevailed over all, as if Nature’s war had never been fought,” wrote Kahlil Gibran in Peace – that could startle many.