Goa – Question and Its Erasures

The socio-political inheritance that afflicts our society in Goa demands us to conceive new ethical modes of solidarity of being Goans. This means the well being of all Goans is to become a moral imperative to us. Our fragmented solidarities based on caste, religion or geography have to give way to a more inclusive and all embracive Goa solidarity. But this would also entail an attempt to bring recognition to the oppressed, the tribal, out caste and the women. To come to this new solidarity, we have to scrutinize the aesthetics that undergirds the sense of being Goans in our society. There are several aesthetic sensibilities that produce the socio-political grammar that constructs our society. It depends on which voice of the several aesthetic sensibilities is heard and allowed to dominate in our society . Often it is the aesthetic sensibilities of the upper caste that go on to produce the mainstream socio-political grammar of our society pushing the aesthetics of the tribals, the low castes and others on the periphery. This pushes our society into a dynamism that is attuned to sanskritizing principles. This means everything has to be born again. All aesthetic sensibilities are then subjected to social Darwinism. The end result is that the upper caste aesthetic sensibilities become normal and natural for everyone among us. This policing of every other aesthetic sensibility through the purity pollution lens of the upper caste results in an impoverishment of other aesthetic sensibilities.

The dominating aesthetic sensibilities determine the visible and audible, and the sayable and maintain the line around that which some things are to be confined to the invisible, inaudible and unstable realm in our society. This means aesthetic sensibilities are profoundly political and they decide the distribution of the sensible in a society. The work of Jacques Rancier might open new windows on our understanding of this politics. Rancier views politics as disruption of the sensible. Thus, politics becomes the interrogation and dismantling of the distribution of the sensible. Such a politics re-configures the distribution of the sensible in the community and dismantles the walls for those who are rendered invisible and lets them come to visibility or those that were inaudible to become audible and those that were silenced to begin to speak. We might see how an aesthetic sensibility that is dominated by caste, gender and religion has marked the boundaries of sensibleness by determining that which is visible, audible and sayable in our society. This is even visible in the kind of nationalism that has come to define the sayable, eatable and adorn-able or dress-able. Hence, this attention to the politics of aesthetics is profoundly important to raise the Goa question and open its erasures.

Politics is essentially a dissent against the reigning distribution of the sensible. We may also call it the reigning order of aesthetics. It is a revolt against the distribution of the sensible and what remains outside it. In short , politics can be viewed as is an attempt to realign the sensible. This can let us understand how the politics of Hindutva strives to redistribute the sensible. it is not just Hindutva but every shade of politics is the one that wishes to realign the sensible. Therefore, while we raise the Goa question, we have to open the dynamic clash of plural sensibilities that strive to put up a regime of distribution of the sensible. Being subject to social Darwinism, we can discern how several sensibilities are reinventing in the image and form of the upper castes subjecting themselves to reigning distribution of the sensible. This means the hierarchies, divides and the hegemonies of our society remain untouched as the visible, the audible and the sayble remain! undisrupted. True emancipation can arise only when the invisibilized, the inaudibilized and the silenced become visible, audible and sayable. To allow this to happen we will have to contest the reigning discourses or the sayables which mark the sensible in our society. Such a contestation will make room for the unthinkable and the unsayable and thus we may be able to bring about a reconfiguration of the coordinates of our society. This attention to the aesthetic regimes is indeed required to change the reigning ethical regime in our society. Yes !we need a politics of dissensus that disagrees with the reigning distribution of the sensible.

The Goa question that we have raised requires this politics of dissensus so as to open several erasures that afflict our society. More than anything, we need to understand the politics of aesthetics because Goan-ness is a shared common-ness. This shared common-ness is dynamic and its boundaries are redrawn from time to time to include and exclude depending on the kind of interests they serve. Thus, for instance, nagraization of Konkani is not just an attempt to redraw the boundary between what Konkani can be, but with the same stoke, it is an attempt to de-konkanize Konkani in other scripts and becomes a politics that excludes the adherents of these other scripts. Thus, such a politics clearly pushes other forms of Konkani and it’s speakers to the realm of invisibility, in audibility and instability. This and for other reasons , we need to understand the politics of aesthetics to save our shared Goan-ness from becoming a tool in the hands of a vested interest.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao