Goans and Human Development – III

Today we have several indices that enable us to calculate human development in our society. Goa is regarded as the best and the fastest developing small states in our country. But still have many reasons to be concerned as the so-called development continues to leave several Goans (if not all) behind as it marches ahead in triumph on our soil. Development becomes underdevelopment for some. We may trace several pointers that may indicate we have great room for human development. One indicator that might ring several alarm bells is the lack of longevity of life among Goan males. Human development indices are centred on the access to health, education, employment, shelter and dignified life. This aligns with the capability approach to human development. We can identify a big yawning gap as regards the actualisation of several of them among our people. Besides, individual slothfulness, we have to regard that we are living in a largely unequal society. The gap between the developmental indices is growing by the day pushing down the quality of human life of several Goans. This might be among other reasons the main one for thousands of Goans deserting Goa and moving to what they consider greener pastures outside our country.

Maybe we have to raise the Kantian conditions and limits of possibility for this unequal development that we have in our society. This is a way of doing history of the present. It begins where we are. We have arrived here due to the conditions and limits of possibilities that played its course to arrive at the present. Our capacity to pursue development is therefore constituted by the limits and conditions of possibilities embedded in our society in Goa. The earlier work of Michel Foucault might assist us to understand the past limits and possibilities that enable our chain of choices which led to the point where we are now. Seeds of our present and future are in the past. We Indian call it the law of Karma. We are indeed agents of our lives. But our freedom is not absolute but is both constrained and enabled the conditions of limits and possibilities embedded in our society. Foucault calls this method of inquiry genealogical approach. It can open to us different complex pathways that have led to the actualisation of the present. Though we are situated in time, we are not fixated and are able to direct it with freedom within the conditions of limits and possibilities to construct possible futures for us.

This means we have to come to terms with the conditions of limits and possibilities that afflict and enable us. Several of these enabling and disabling conditions have their roots in the colonisation. Some may trace them also in the humiliations felt by the weaker castes and some kind of narcissistic triumph felt by the stronger castes. The institution of caste is also an enabling and disabling condition for human development. Colonisation is associated by the pain of conversion and the consequent sense of loss that afflicts several of our Hindu brethren today. Both colonisation and the institution of caste complexly condition and dispose us to generate pathways that have brought us where we are today. These pathways lead to the ordering of things in terms of economics, social, religious and cultural realms.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao