FRANKLY FRANK: Goa's land is its honour, save it

If we call ourselves true 'Goemkars' (Goans), then have we been able to live up to this billing of 'Goemkarponn' (Goanness)?
The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?
The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?Photo: Rohan Fernandes

The 54th International Film Festival of India rolled down its curtains on Tuesday, November 28, thus bringing to an end the nine-day extravaganza of storytelling that had film lovers glued to their seats.

In the end, Iranian film Endless Borders, directed by Abbas Amini, rightfully walked away with the Golden Peacock honour. The jury praised the film's ability to transcend physical and emotional borders, lauding director Amini's courageous storytelling.

The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?
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The eminent jury chairperson Shekhar Kapur said with the kind of conflicts and wars at our borders today, it was very important for us to tell our stories because, “the stories that we tell explain who we are and where we come from."

These beautiful words of Kapur should give us some food for thought if we are to understand who we really are in Goa. And if we call ourselves true Goemkars (Goans), then have we been able to live up to this billing of Goemkarponn (Goanness)?

Goa's stories are deeply rooted in its land and the age-old institution that is the rightful owner of this land -- the Comunidade.

We too have our stories and these stories need to be told to the world. The current story here is that we are losing our stories because we are losing what we possess at a very fast rate. Goa's stories are deeply rooted in its land and the age-old institution that is the rightful owner of this land -- the Comunidade.

So, the question here is what are we without our land, the same land that has nurtured us for generations? Our land is our mother and we can't allow anyone to take her away.

The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?
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Those trying to trick us in the name of development are the same people who are working as agents to sell their own mother and I equate them to Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

There are many among us today, who want to change the discourse of Goa, for the sake of money and their own gain and pride. Our fields and forests have been handed down to us by our forefathers and we cannot let these be taken away from us.

Those trying to trick us in the name of development are the same people who are working as agents to sell their own mother and I equate them to Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ for thirty pieces of silver.

Let us not fool ourselves into submission that everything is going to be alright, that this government, and the one to come, is going to come to your rescue. No, it's time to train your eyes to see what's going on around you. It's time to ask the right questions.

In many villages, people are asking these questions but they're not getting the answers. Goa's story is one of richness and abundance of its natural resources that we are losing at a very fast pace.

The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?
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Don't allow those who want to cut through our forests in the name of development because there are stories that are deeply rooted in these forests, and we are so very much part of these stories.

Today, Goans are being continually challenged, day in and day out, to rise and save their land. Those who are supposed to be protectors of this land have turned their backs on us or else how do we justify those ravaged hills, not too far away from the seat of the government across a river that's also in danger of running empty.

Don't allow those who want to cut through our forests in the name of development because there are stories that are deeply rooted in these forests, and we are so very much part of these stories.

It's time for Goans to look at their land as a living being and go back to history to know how our ancestors had nurtured every plant and tree on this land, and how they existed in harmony with the nature around them. Coming back to Kapur's words, the conflicts and wars that he is talking about are within our borders, in the nature of our greed to want more.

The question we need to ask is what will our future be without our land?
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The wars that he refers to are terrorism that we have inflicted on our hills and valleys. In Goa, the war we are fighting is within our borders. Yes, there are stories to be told about our land which is in flux. These stories are important to be told so that people across our borders know the reality. The deals being struck to take away our land is a war against Goa and Goans, against their identity and culture.

If we don't have these two, we will become foreigners on our land. Let us raise a rallying cry or else someday you will be branded as ghantis and the outsiders will be honourable Goemkars.

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