Socio-cultural, Political and Ecclesial Context of Goa

Socio-cultural Context

Goa is a post-colonial society. The colonial experience that lasted for 450 years continues to manifest in multiple ways. Besides the colonial past which being a Portuguese and catholic colonization which is different from the Aglican British colonization in the rest of India, Goans are still afflicted by the conversion of a part of its population during colonization. The colonial trauma and pain manifest in different forms. The Goan Christian looks towards the West and often several among them go to the extent of surrendering Indian passports and acquiring a Portuguese Passport and chase a dream life in England / France and other countries in Europe. The Hindu looks at how India continues to acculturate in the larger north Indian cultural ways. In fact, the Goan Konkani (local cult) has evolved into a Hindu along with other similar local cults in 19th century India because British Government classified the birth, death and marriage of Indians along with caste and religion. Goans konkne migrated into this mainstream religious culture by the 1920s and steadily came to think of them as Hindus. Goa being blessed with natural beauty has evolved into a tourism hub in the post-colonial era. Being cut off from the rest of India and culturally perceived as more western, the Indian tourists flock to Goa to have a holiday and run away from strict traditions of other parts of India.

Political context

After liberation, Goa became part of India and is Governed by a democratically elected Government. Right from the beginning, Goa was hit by severe caste laden communalism. The south being vastly catholic and dominated by the high caste Hindus stood for Goa while the North being vastly Hindu and dominated by the Bahujan Samaj/ low caste chose to merge with Maharashtra. The opinion poll of 1968 saved the special identity of Goa for Goans and prevented Goa from being merged into Maharashtra. The communal divide continues to be exploited by the political parties even in our day. The openly communal BJP and its ally MGP along with its natural ally MGP remain on one side while secular INC stays on the other side. Both political formations are neck deep in corruption but the communal politics hid their corrupt ways. With elections coming closer, new parties have risen on the scene. Parties like AAP and Goa forward have offered ideological, secular and anti-corruption intent to the people of Goa. For the first time, Goans have options to back new political formations besides the familiar and tried and tested Congress, BJP and MGP.

Ecclesiastical Context

In the colonial times, the people had to be where the Church is and now in the Post-colonial times the Church has moved where the people are. The Church has backed all people’s agitations in the post-colonial times while it also executed the renewal ushered by the great Vatican council II. The synod of Goa 2002 was the main highlight of the post-colonial era and led the Catholics in Goa to live their life of faith with joy of the Gospel. The leadership of Archbishop Filipe has focused on the deep personal renewal of the community backed by profound experience of Abba father. Led by divine experience, the Church has initiated steps to live catholic life in dialogical structures at three levels: the diocesan, deanery and the parish.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao