The Goa Question and Its Erasures – I

When an event occurs it creates its own ancestry/ history. It means no event irrupts from nowhere. It occurs in an already existing context. In some way every event retroactively creates its past. Staying within this chain of thoughts, we may raise what may be called ‘the Goa question’. The Goa Question is profoundly semiotic and carries along with it several shades of meaning, forms of life, genealogies , lines of politics, pains , traumas and losses . It may be viewed as a master signifier of Jacques Lacan that has no substantive core but derives its meaning and relevance from outside itself. This means we have to shun aside amputated meanings, forms of life, genealogies , histories, goanisings and lines of politics. This leads us to embrace not just a linear view of history and progress but also embrace horizontal factors that have enabled the arrows of time that reached actualisations in our society. This epistemic sensitivity opens several vital dimensions that might remain unthought and stay under erasure.

Maybe Slavoj Zizek drives this point home when he speaks of his experience in a coffee shop. He says that once he went to a coffee shop and asked for a coffee without cream. He relates that the waiter told him that they do not have coffee without cream but they can serve him coffee without milk. We all know that it is the same coffee whether one drinks it as coffee without cream or milk. But we think that we construct a way of being coffee (ontology) when we look for coffee without milk or coffee without cream. If we stretch this analogy of coffee to our ways of thinking and being Goa , we may realistically say that the question of Goa is also constructed with several erasures like coffee without cream or milk. Somehow we grant being to our thinking that may not necessarily capture the reality of Goa. Thus, for instance, the upper caste constructs a Goa to legitimate the form of life that maintains its privileged hegemony and hierarchical location that to a large extent assigns bare life in different degrees to other Goans and non-Goans and think that it in the only way of being Goa and Goans.

Goa is also a master signifier in a Lacanian sense and derives its meaning and relevance from outside . This semantic ex-centricity of a master signifier produces politics and can provide us lenses to understand and responds to politics that bears the name -Goa in our society. We can mark out several such political movements . All of these movements rework the Aristotelian distinction between biological existence (zoe) and political life of speech and action (bios), and between mere life and good life. Movements that we notice in Goa that claim to have Goa and Goans to their heart have politics in the sense of bios and good life which Aristotle construes as happy life. But each of them does suffer deficiencies that remain as blind spots to their adherents and are visible only to the outsiders. Hence, the Goa Question and its erasures call our serious attention and scrutiny. Such attention promises to open us to understanding how our wounds from the past refuse to heal and construct genealogies of arrows of times that generate our innocence in several ways. Thus, the histories constructed as Goa Dourada as well as its rival Goa Indica only prolong the wounded past and forgets the several histories/pasts of our people.

Opening the form of life that we view as good life does manifest an uncomfortable fact that we have inherited damaged life. But this does not in any way justify that we continue the damage today. Hence, we have to remain open to the evolutionary past of the land and people that we today recognise as Goa and Goans. This means we have to understand the social contract we have with Goa and Goans. This awareness of the social contract produces and animates our commitment to Goa and Goans. The next therapeutic awareness is: the realisation that we conceive good life in different ways which then introduces differences in the way we conceptualize and prioritize Goa. There are many Goa’s in our minds. These many Goas produce many repossessions and modes of goanisings. This awareness can also reveal to us how what often masks as interest of Goa and Goans is nothing but self interest of some. Thus, opening the several erasures that mark the Question of Goa, we will be enabled to seek emancipative ways of goanising and resist de-goanisation that masquerades as authentic goanising . This resistance to de-goanization in all forms cannot acquire single monadic form and will embrace several forms that challenge de-goanisation though every resistance to de-gaonisation may not be free from self interest. Hence, more than consensus, we need an ethics of dissensus to discern authentic forms of goanising.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao