Facing Our Political Present

The Politics in Goa is haunted by spectres, ghosts and phantoms of its own past. With the disturbing defection in Goa the politics of the musical chairs has come back to haunt us again. Past as well as the future is always liminaly present in our lives but its haunting intrusion into our present can disrupt it beyond much repairs. In this sense the present is always political. Perhaps, the spectral turn in cultural studies that occurred with the Derrida’s, Spectres of Marx, 1993 might open us ways of understanding some of the several hauntolgies afflicting our societies. The recent merger of ten Congress MLAs with BJP has led some of us in Goa to think like Francis Fukuyama that we have reached ‘the end of history’. We seem to think that the last nail has been put to the coffin of our democracy. The Berlin Wall that separated ideologies and led to principled politics have been buried to let political pragmatism have its sway. We are marked by the haunting past of political games in Goa and are sensing that the present unbecoming move of the ten Congress MLAs has bestowed on us the misfortune of lost futures. The horror of the return of the spectrality of the past in the defection of the ten Congress MLAs is disturbing everyone in Goa for now. If we reflect deeply on our precarious condition, a sense of being haunted articulates a demand for justice and challenges to re-imagine the politics of the present and the future.

Unfortunately, we are facing a calculus of loss. The loss of the past sees a lost future in a lost present. We cannot imagine the present, past and the future without rooting through the loss that we acutely felt in the present. We are facing an absent present. That lost pasts and the fear of lost futures is invading the present and inhibiting our thinking and crippling ways of being Goans. Our Goan ontology is experienced as a hauntology. Goa as well as our country being haunted by the past disruptions like colonization has witnessed what may be called as the spectro-politics. It has produced spectral subjects among us who are haunted by the sense of loss and are driven to recover the lost in the living present and the coming future. Our writing of history is haunted by haunted historiographies that are striving to write back to get back at the demonised other who are often the minorities with whom we share common ancestry. Phantoms from the past do afflict us. Hence, that which has been termed as the spectral turn might open several vistas on our society. We have to resolve the haunting force that often returns in unpredictable manner into our society pushing the demonized other into a ghostly living death existence. We have to set us free from being entangled to the ghosts of the past that ruin our present as well as future. We have to give up the phantom view of our society and find a salubrious ways of responding to the economy of haunting that is afflicting our society.

The attention to Spectral theory has great potential for us. While the past topsy-turvy politics of Goa is casting its shadow on the latest disruptive move of the ten congress MLAs and the BJP generous embrace of them, we cannot lose our optimism and think that all our future is lost to this dark politics that is facing us today. What we construct as absent in the future or what we construe as lost can teach us a lot to respond to our plight in our leaving present. The response that we choose is not one that catastrophizes the future and ruins the present. This does not mean that we don’t have to seek a response to the demand of justice that the political upheaval is raising. The injunction and the ethical imperative that this disruptive politics has triggered in our society has to be discerned with deep reflection and calm attention. Our response cannot be just drawn on ad hoc basis triggered by swings of emotions but we have to re-imagine the entire political enterprise to save Goa as well as save our democracy. We have the burden to clean our politics and revive the democracy that is on the verge of death. The shameful event of recent days that is facing us calls the entire electorate of Goa to responsibility. We as the electorate have the duty to take full responsibility. We have the sacred duty to confront our political present.

Our haunted condition provides opportunities to re-imagine the politics in Goa. The Congress, the regional parties and the independents are duty bound to initiate new ethics into politics. Politics that we have experienced is a tragic treachery. Maybe we Goans can turn the disaster that struck us into a revolution. Our haunting condition repeats the Marxian clarion call – ‘Unite’. Marxian call to us becomes, ‘Goans across the world unite, and you have nothing to lose but your chains’. There is power in our unity. The political opportunists have exhibited unity – BJP has embraced Catholics may be for mutual vested interest of their MLAs. Their unity is opportunistic and anti-Goa and anti-Goans. We have to unite for Goa and Goans and for our democracy. Time is running out for us. It is for us to pay heed to the call of our political present. We experience the present moment as haunted. It is calling us to seek an emancipative response to our political present. The first step is to unite. We cannot save ourselves and our democracy by standing divided. Let no caste, religion, and region divide us as we fight together the disaster that struck us all.

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao