The Goa Question and its Erasures – II

It is painful to unearth pathologies of any society. Most pathologies emerge out of a sense of being put under unjust sufferings or sense of collective loss. Often these pathologies derive their legitimacy from a sense of loss recovery dynamism. The calculus of loss that a community feels is central to almost all pathological formations in most societies. Maybe Freud’s notion of melancholia might assist us to bring to light the pathological developments and their relation to the calculus of loss in a society. In this context, the interpretation of Melancholia by Ewa Ziarek is profoundly educational. She teaches that Melancholia can rise out of a death of a loved person but also from a loss of some abstraction such as ‘fatherland’ or liberty. In such cases she argues that what is felt as lost is a ‘collective identification’ . This loss then is then repudiated and internalized in sadistic melancholic nationalism or a ghettoism. Following this line of thinking, we might view how colonization, having usurped the symbolic space of collective identification goanising has taken different paths of recovery of what has been felt as profoundly lost. Thus, the void of the past has produced and nurtured different arrows of time. We have indeed inherited a damaged past but somehow have often ended up damaging our present in an enactment of lost recovery dynamism that haunts our society .

Freud teaches us in his Totem and Taboo that a symbolic filial patricide is at the bases of social bonds and finds a nation. Drawing from his findings, we might hold that it is not a filial patricide but a suicide of a brother that haunts our society and energizes our melancholic ghettoisations . Some might say this identification of loss is unwarranted. It is also uncomfortable to enter the painful registers of any society. This is why these registers are almost always kept under erasures. Its identification of a loss of brotherhood is done in this context on the basis of the colonisation and conversion which is largely viewed as disruption and loss of brotherhood by the majority community in Goa. The loss is aggravated as conversion is not viewed as mere exchange of gods but as an interrogation of the tradition that was abandoned in favour of Christianity. It has been also construed as a time of great suffering at the hands of colonial bulwark of inquisition. Hence, besides the loss of brotherhood may be a sense of humiliation is also haunting our society which then complexly animates fragmentation in our society. Thus, the Goa question becomes complex, trapped in the painful traumas of the past. These collective identifications produce a sense of loss recovery calculus of our society.

Loss and recovery dynamism is often marked by sadism that takes joy in the downfall of one who is thought to be responsible for the loss in the first place. Ziarek points out that sadism turns inward masochistic messiahnism that is ready to surfer or lose only to teach a lesson to the one identified as the enemy. Thus, the calculus of loss in this context only produces further losses and keeps the society in a perpetual loss and recovery mode. Goan society seems to be trapped in this mode in our post-colonial time. This enslavement to our registers of loss has allowed an elite minority to take control of our resources. Hence, the Goa question which evokes the past trauma, pain and losses acquires profound significance and challenges us to open these uncomfortable erasures and strive to free our society from its toxic effects. This task is care and responsibility. Otherwise we can damage our society further and put it healing down several spirals and render it very difficult. See saw such an attempt in an responsible racking of the working of inquisition only to favour the rightwing votaries recently through a spate of videos by one Shefali Vaidya in recent days. In the name of so-called justice-to-come, such moves rub salts on our wounds and incite divisions that push us often to punish the innocent while the elite then preys on our collective resources un-discovered by us. Paradoxically they end up sinking our society into deeper aeons of injustice. Hence, this cover or erasure that masks the plunder of Goa and its resources has to be contested and unmasked. Justice and healing cannot be a fruit of divisions. These persisting wounds can only be healed in communion and dialogue and never through divisive isolations. Such salutary dialogues cannot be dialectical or masked monologues. This is why we need an ethics of dissensus to animate it.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao