BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Jimmy was riding his scooter merrily, and suddenly it began to rain. As he drove, the rain got heavier and slowly he began to enjoy the splashes created by his scooter as it passed through the puddles on the road.
Slowly, the puddles grew bigger and the roads began to be covered with water. Jimmy lost his balance and plunged into the field as he rode his bike through a pothole, now well-covered by rainwater. What a splash!
Not gauging the situation carefully can have disastrous consequences, as does having little knowledge. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who believes that everything Portuguese in Goa has to be erased, is a good example of the above.
What is written on classroom boards during history class needs to be erased to keep the board clean for the next teacher, but history itself can never be actually erased. Perceptions of what the Portuguese did might differ, but what they did is history and will remain that way.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said quite a bit about Portugal in Goa and Goans in Portugal, and if one adds the sum of the two, it becomes apparent that his musings are preparations for the elections in 2024.
The BJP wants to win the parliamentary election in 2024 and like other parties will go all out, in other words, do anything to win. His advisers must think that dwelling on our past relationship with the Portuguese will be a good gamble to garner votes.
Goa is and always will be a part of India, and Goa will also always be Goa because what we are is primarily because of what flowed down into our system thanks to the Portuguese. On the surface, it appears to be better than what the British did to the rest of India.
The truth is that even today a Goan feels uncomfortable when he is out of Goa, and a person who grew up under British rule feels different (not uncomfortable) when in Goa. This is because our culture has traces of Portugal and the rest of India has English, and the difference is huge.
Before Portugal took control of Goa, we were a society that lived by the gaunkari system (now solidified legally as the Comunidade Code) wherein sharing was about caring. Though, even then, some got a bigger share compared to others since class/caste division was prevalent.
Yet, when Portugal took over, the basic structures of society, like the comunidades, were not disturbed, though they were tinkered with, unlike what the British did to India.
The English saw similarities between Indians and dogs, the Portuguese did not. This is why the psyche of Goans is so different from that of an Indian. This is the crass difference between Indians under Portuguese and British rule.
India gave the BJP the chance to rule primarily because most Indians had seen too much or enough of the Congress rule, and when one says Indians, it refers to all classes, castes and religions.
The Congress ruled and kept ruling. However, the party's corruption became endemic. That change was needed and the BJP was the next option, became evident.
The first five years were not that bad but things became worse during the second term when the house was nearly full and dissent was easily being quelled.
The ruling dispensation wants to win the 2024 election at any cost. Since Goa is different, or at least the psyche of most Goans is thought to be different, playing the Portugal card before the match begins could well have been thought as a good option.
Let us be straight, Goa has always been ruled by the high command - whoever was in power at the centre. We have never had the choice and will never have one, because we do not have leaders capable of thinking for us. So, let us forget about someone thinking for us.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s statement about wiping our history is indicative that elections are nearer to date than what most of us might believe.
The BJP has begun its election march in Goa and the statement of the chief minister could well have been the sound of the bugle.
When it comes to elections, Goa stands apart from most of India because the mandate is usually not respected by those elected. Whatever the reasons, we try to justify or understand the acts of our elected members. But, the truth is that the Goan psyche has turned foul.
We have allowed ourselves to be a sick society. When one says “we”, it is primarily the middle-aged of today because the rot is our creation. We are giving our children what our parents forbade us.
Our greed for a quick fix, instead of being patient and waiting, has led to most of the social and political ills we are experiencing. Let us stop blaming Pramod Sawant because the filth is within each one of us.