Goans and Human Development – II

There is a spirit of Goa that animates Goans and their goanising everywhere. It is both within and outside Goans and embedded everywhere in Goa. It populates everything that we are and do and becomes glue that gives meaning to our life as Goans. While the spirit of Goa is undying, it seems to be steadily losing its grip over Goans and we seem to be running a rat race that is called with a soft euphemism that we call development. With the exponential rate of transfer of land resources from Goans to the highest bidder, the coming generation of Goans are endangered to become exiled in their own land. This dislocation threatens to snuff out the spirit of Goa from the ecosystem and culture that continue to breathe Goa into us. We seem to be in danger of getting lost in Goa as the architectural motifs, the kinds of cuisine, modes of celebrations that have entered on the backs of tourism which itself steadily becoming sick are threatening to degoanise Goa. This is why we may have to carefully consider whether what we pursue as development is degoanising Goa. In several real ways our developmental initiatives fail on many human development fronts.

With Goans having lost their ability to replace themselves with their children, we seem to have pushed ourselves into a fast aging society. The shrinking of the demography hides behind the number of other Indians continuously migrating and may render us deaf to the sound of the alarm bells that have been ringing for some time now. Besides, the growing number of Goans leaving Goa for greener pastures has also struck down our demography considerably and with Goan couples delaying childbirth as well as going for less children, we are fast heading towards the thinning of our Goan gene pool. There are already fears about the male /female ratio being uneven and with sons outnumbering daughters leaving us less brides for some of our sons in the coming tomorrow. Besides, our educational arena seems to be also grim as we can notice a gradual feminisation of Goa University . We can take pride that our daughters consistently outperform our sons but the sheer growing absence of our sons in the portals of higher education has to be a cause to be concerned.

This suggests that there is another Goa within Goa. This Goal can remain hidden around the spectacle of life, the tourism boon. Now that Goa seems to be a less preferred destination among the big budget foreign tourists, though high spending other Indians continue to visit us, several market observers seem to suggest that our tourism bubble is about to burst. The situation has become worse as we have several online squatters trying to extract their pound of flesh who act as interlocutors on the wings of several apps on the mobile and the internet. This has put pressure on several small and big hotels in Goa. With the mining plunder being an ecological blunder, the lot of mining dependents does not show any sign of improvement. The constant promises and confusing assurances of the Government on the mining front as well as there being no sign of recovery of a single penny from the violators we cannot see any happy ending in the days to come. The delayed shifting of the casinos as well as the musical chairs of the committees on the MOI, everything in Goa seems to be suffocating the spirit of Goa.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao