‘The Goan is Dead’!

Our life seems to have gathered momentum to such an extent that what we visualise as the future is displacing our present. The future is coming towards us at a rate that we fail to keep pace with and are tossed by its affective intensities that seem to put us in a chaotic direction. The emergence of a future that is refusing to wait to be born immerses us into a responsive mode that loses sight of the present and its opportunities. This has brought about the death of Goan in us. We seem to be ready and willing to give up our Goanness to belong to the future that will never really be ours. This schizophrenic de-centring or split of a Goan seems to have reached its completion in our days. Some would say that fragmentation of Goans really began during colonization. But we may have to disagree with this proposal because we may not have Goa had colonization not occurred. Perhaps, others might hold the fissures began under late colonization in the nineteen century and grew steadily under postcolonial appropriation of Goa in the Indian Union. The threatening ellipse of a Goan is already producing ripples of anxieties among us as the death of Goans seems inevitable. The rates of in migration and out migration exhibit that we might soon have to celebrate the funeral of Goykar. But the shrinking space of Goans in Goa by the day is yet to ring alarm bells amidst us.

This (dis)articulation of the death of Goan has to be viewed within the tradition of Nietzsche’s declaration of death of God, or the Foucaultian (Michel Foucault) celebration of the funeral of Man or the bold assertion of the death of the author by Roland Barthes. It is a metaphoric attempt to (dis)articulate a feeling that fails to undergo the false freedom of repression. The fragmentation and schizophrenic decentring of the self of a Goan in our post-colonial society both in Goa and abroad seems to have reached the point of no return. This leads us to understand how a Goan is living in the borderland, in a condition of being in-between both in Goa and abroad. Hence, we may have to ask the Freudian question: ‘What does a Goan want?’ Some of us feel more Goan when we become more like the white colonizers and hence are on a migration trail to Europe, America and Australia etc., while others seem to feel more Goan by seeking to become more Indian while at the same time ironically several Indians celebrate the in-between, third space that Goa excites in their imagination. These ambivalent psychic identifications indicate the complexity behind the dying Goan. Is this an amputation or an excision of our Goan-ness? The dismembering memory of the past colonial separation and conversion of significant part of Goan community seems to continue to afflict Goans who strive to seek their lost self in two identifiable directions, one into a transgressive cosmopolitan realm while the other into conformist domain of a religio-cultural nationalism. But other minorities Goans like the Muslim and mull nivasi people are also tossed around by the raging storm. The original Goan Muslims are lost in the influx of other Muslims brethren from Karnataka and elsewhere and the mulnivasi people are left to find their place in an ever evolving Goa.

This double alienation of Goans from Goa has produced a culture that feeds our tourism industry which certainly thrives on the loss of a master narrative of Goa. The loss of the integrative master narrative of Goa has allowed the tourism industry to construct Goa as an exotic tourist destination while keeping the two Major Goan communities in an embrace of unease. This unease has also been politically milked by major political parties in the Goan political scene. The loss and recovery of self under colonization has set Goans in search of utopian/ dystopian identities, one of which looks at mainland India while the other goes beyond it. This mimics the self of colonizers in doubly alienated Goan self, wherein, on one hand significant number of Goans are pushed to image the white men by way of attaining of the Portuguese Passport while several others join those who reproduce the civilizing mission (through hinduization) of the colonizers even through violent acts of incivility. One might trace psychic violence on both paths that are being sought by Goans today. Somehow colonial trauma seeks healing in a continuous repetition that hybridizes into a mimicry of the colonizers. It is ironic that Goans move in two directions pushed by colonial trauma without feeling embarrassed in any manner. Both are taking differently the place of colonizers leading to an accelerated extinction of a Goan.

Hence, it is as if the proverbial mad man of Nietzsche who declared the death of God and boasted that his ilk has killed him seems to be replaced by a mad tourists roaming on our celestial beaches starting with a sense of déjàvue that ‘Goan is dead and we have displaced him/er’. But, before we go into the sunset, we need to resuscitate the dying Goan. But is this possible? Can we really put the clock back as some among us might feel confident to do so? Some might feel that Colonial residue or karma can be washed away by forcing on the strayed other( Goan) which is metabolized and singularized as national culture in our days. But such mimicry of singularized Indian self itself is un-Indian and certainly un-Goan. It appears impossible and therefore, foolish to reclaim a pure, original and substantive Goan self. The Goan self is not fixed in the sands of time but has metamorphosed over challenging changing conditions. What we have is a hybridized reclaiming of the selves of Goans looking in two directions and Hence, we Goans live in an uneasy embrace. Maybe we need to open ourselves to the plenitudinous and salubrious possibilities of being Goans within the precarious conditions that confront us intimately today. There is no point in looking for the missing Goan in a Goan of today. We do not have to look for a Goan where h/she is not. Such scopic strategies that look for the missing Indian in a Goan can only quickly bring the death of a Goan that is threatening us. Indeed, we have to give up our ‘tendencies of looking and speaking without being seen’. This means what we need is to come to the (dis)comforting table of plurilogue that promises to inaugurate the new Upanishadic moment that will Goanize as well as truly Indianize us all.

Hence, the return of the Goan is not a return of a surrogate colonizers in its dual avatars. It is in the subversion of these substitutes of selves that true Goan-ness can be saved. Far from looking for a virgin Goan self, we have to be able to accept the stained self and give up our quest for an unsoiled, pre-colonial Goan and Goa. We can only look retrospectively at the pre-colonial condition of Goa which is impinged and enhanced by the colonial metabolism of Goa. Hence, the colonial dimensions in the making of Goa and the Goans cannot be exorcised or expelled. Hence, the castration anxiety of the loss of Goan-ness that is being intensely felt in Goa cannot find its closure in an Oedipus complex that erects the phallic law of the father which reproduces multiple substitutes of the colonizer in our society. Hence, the fear of loss of Goan-ness, triggers a castration anxiety. This anxiety ends up producing substitutes that take us to a real loss of self which masks itself in complex triumphant or civilizing avataras of the colonizer. I have tried to (dis)articulate the interminable substitutions in rather generalized dual forms which in reality are multiple and refusing fixity. The wounded self of the colonized seeks healing through repetitions and complexly play the role of colonisers to each other. This has somehow reduced Goans into objects to be displayed (Tourism) or possessed and dominated symbolically (Catholic –Hindu engagement in the past , present. One might look at the MOI issue in this light)

Perhaps the so-called fort/da analysis of Freud might open us to the precarious condition of Goans. Lacan’s insight that the space of the father is established on the basis of the absence of the (M)other might offer assistance in this analysis. This absence produces transgression/ rebellion and conformity / obedience. Fort/da was a game played by an infant nephew of Freud to cope with his anxiety of the absence of his mother. The infant sent a reel attached to a string and shouted ‘gone’ (fort) and then pulled it back saying ‘there’ (da). It appears that the Goans are playing this game like an infant to cope with a sense of absence, a sense of loss that they feel, the absence of (M)others. One community seems to be moving towards the west (fort) but never really feels at home and remains restless while the other community is moving toward northern India but stays restless about some not joining it. Fort/da seems to be the game that de-goanizes us. One thing that we can notice that is common to these two movements is that they are both away from Goa. A sense of lack marks them both. This lack results in a generation of paternal circuits that are continuously trapped in their structures, symbols and functions. Yet both these transgressions from Goa are interstitial. Their origin is in an intensely felt absence of India in one case and absence of Goa in the other case.

There are several responses that may be possible to these complex crises facing us. We might examine some possible roads that are already taken. We can palace those responses among some that are viewed as the mourning for the loss of the (M)other. This mourning for the loss of the (M)other is an intestinal space where both the transgressions, one looking at North India and the other looking at the Western world have their generating force. But we have to trace a salubrious response. This other response will have to stay in an unstable space without flying into the arms of the father. This quest literally brings us to our senses about the fact that we are chasing pseudo-fathers to fill in the gap introduced by the loss of the (M)other. It opens us the path to stay beyond the father figure and thus stay away from a game of loss and recovery. The father figure is divisive and decisive. It is a figure of the limit which cannot be crossed. The very uncrossability of the limit embeds an imperative to cross it. While the father figure legitimates and polices the boundaries of the meaning, behaviour and identity of the Goan , it cannot totally sanction the Goan to speak, act, and desire in a prescribed way. It is this gap that can bring us to a realm that is beyond the Father, the realm of the anti-Oedipus. This means that the Father no longer functions as a point of resolution but as a point of corruption and disruption of the chain of loss and recovery dynamism and leads us to place our feet on the ‘unplaceable’ ground, our mother Goa. This is the liminal space where the Oedipal self of Goans is dismantled and reassembled not in the image of the paternal symbolic order. This act of closure is certainly post oedipal.

The movement into freedom away from the paternal symbolic economies resists the temptation of redrawing of the boundaries by following the oedipal laws. It will free us from the envy for the desire of our other (colonizer/other Goans ) and come to a heightened awareness of the operation of loss recovery dynamism that afflicts us. Awareness is therapeutic and produces resistance. But we still need to critically watch that this resistance does not take us on the other end of the spiral of the Father. Hence, a movement beyond the father requires us to look at the matriaxial zone where we Goans understand each other’s co-emergence. This entry into the matriaxial zone can produce empathy, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and a caring critic of each other’s journeys without placing a demand to turn the other into us. Such a demand flowing from the law of the father, forces the abjection or expulsion of the other Goan. Hence, coming to the matrixial zone, is truely Goan that will keep us Goans together. Staying beyond the father, it takes us to the (M)other who accepts all her children in her maternal embrace. Our (M)other offers us space of love and we are challenged to inhabit it. This allows us to meet the vulnerability of each other and understand our co-emergence so that staying together we can direct our destiny with compassion, always leading to the co-flowering and co-fruition of Goa and all Goans.

The matriaxial zone is non-phallic and draws our attention to the humanizing/goanizing process that every Goan undergoes both collectively and individually. This focus on co-emerge of the selves of Goans can certainly liberate us from the phallic logic of the law of the father. This puts the spotlight on the complex social womb that nurses and nurtures the dual mourning responses of us Goans. Hence, a matriaxial zone is a border zone which is dynamic and unstable. It invites us to recognize and acknowledge the simultaneous and inter-related emergence of ourselves as Goans and Goa. Co-poiesis (co-creating/ co-becoming ) of the Goans and Goa keeps us focused on the non-hierarchical horizontal ground removed from the hierarchy embedded in the phallic logic. Within this zone, the psychic field of resonance continuously determines and undermines the self and its other. The awareness of working of the web of psychic resonance can trigger compassion and lead us to an anti-oedipal state that manifests empathy to the vulnerable and fragilized self-cultures pursued by all in Goa. This opens up the shareable space among Goans, particularly for those of us that look at the West and others that look at north India. This shareable space is Goa and Goanness which is simultaneously co-present to us as well as undergoing co-metamorphosis with us. This co-metamorphosis can open the space that will illuminate how Goans under the weight of the sense of loss choose to run away from the matrixial zone (Goa and Goan-ness). Perhaps the loss and recovery dynamism that haunts our post-colonial society being the felt absence of (M)others is a delusion of the loss of triaxial zone.

This descent in the matriaxial zone is significant; but it has not yet reached fuller utterability. Often the remaining orthodoxies rooted in the phallic logic censor and constrict its articulation. But the domain of this descending into the matrixial zone can lead to a deep sense of coevalness of co-poiesis of Goa and Goans and lead to a heightened awareness of a shared self that has undergone a split due to the colonial past and yet we are enabled to realise that each of us somehow has the other in him/her. The schizo living in the Goan self indicates this presence empathically and the fact that most often we fail to acknowledge the presence of one in the other, we schizolize, (divide and break) our society. Our redemption lies in the recognition of the co-emergence as well as co-presence of one Goan in the fellow Goans. Hence, besides the co-emergence of our Goan-ness, we are faced with the fact of each other. Hence, the Goan Catholics, have the Goan Hindus or Muslims within them and vice versa. This recognition of one in the other can bring us to not just accept each other’s vulnerability but also strengths which would lead our society to a new level of integration and harmony. This will certainly challenge the erasure and occlusion of our shared Goan-ness and let our shareable space expand. This recognition of the (other)Goan in the Goan is not easy. We have the challenge to decode its presence by reading it against the grain of phallic logic that renders its absence.

We might understand the presence of matriaxial zones within our culture by identifying some of the interesting elements embedded within it. Recently, Alexander Henn, an Anthropologist based in Arizona and interested in Goa, brought to my notice, the fascinating work of Goan linguist, late Mhadvi Sardesai on the existence of linguistic parallels like Moti dongor, Anz Bhodvo, Saib Salvador, Sobit Sundor, Redemtor Saib etc. These linguistic parallels are not mere tautologies. Indeed, by being co-present, they bring about a co-emergence of meaning. They offer the semantic and semiotic resource that embeds in them and bring forth meaning that they together constitute. This analogy embedded in our mother tongue can assist us to understand how a collective co-emergence of Goa is occurring through the simultaneous emergence of Goans. Besides, the Goan myth of ‘Kolo ani koli’ shows how a goanizing founded on the basis of phallic logic that we have tried to understand here is fated to the destruction of Goa as Goans move into two directions that degoanizes us all. Hence, the Goacide that appears inevitable can be averted by living in the synergy of the martiaxial zone. The stay in the matrixial zone can open us to the co-evolution of our subjectivity and alterity. Hence, it enables us to accept each other not in terms of privileged sameness of the phallic logic but in the recognition of the otherness of the other on the basis of co-emergence. This attention to the co-emergence is not like the awareness of the foetus and the dynamic environment in which it lives before it is born but one that is of an adult who is aware of the womb, the dynamic matriaxial zone, that nurses ones journey and development in tandem with that of the other(s) in Goa. Just like a mother who does not assimilate the foetus and reduce it to an organ, Goa nurses the otherness of her Children. This dynamic inter-webbed journey of Goans has the power to ring in a new springtime of a harmonious future for both Goans and Goa.

The non-phallic matriaxial zone opens up a new way of thinking Goan-to-Goan relations. Hence, the resolution of the profound sense of loss haunting Goans is not in the institution of the new regime of phallus but is in the entry of the matriaxial zone. This will make us sensitive to the process of metamorphosis that Goa and Goans are undergoing. Staying within the martriaxial zone, we will be able to view how our phallic logic leads us to see (a scopic temptation) our fellow Goans in foreclosed categories, which are only substitutes for the name of father. Thus, for instance, when we view Catholics as de-nationalized and Hindus as untainted by the West, we are within the phallic logic. The phallic nature of this logic induces libidinal flows that make some of us feel more Goan by leaning to North India while others feel more Goan through a rebellion and lean to the West. But both these directions do not cross each other and are reproducing complexly the British and Portuguese colonizations. But the phallic order being hierarchical, privileges one over the other. That is why the often Hindu appears more national and by that logic becomes more Goan. Hence, the more Goan and the less Goan among us are naturally brought into conflict by the phallic logic that we call into question.

Moving beyond the universe of Phallus, we may understand the process of metamorphosis of Goa triggered by goanizing of Goans. All Goans differently goanize themselves and Goa. This means Goan and the (other)Goan are co-goanizing. Being awakened and reawakened to co-goanization, we are stimulated to understand and gain access to each other’s co-journeys of life. These co-journeys move in different directions but are not disconnected. They pulsate together, influencing and composing each other’s co-journeys. Hence, Goan-to-Goan relation is trans-connecting in-jointness. Goans carry the traces of the trauma of each other and realization of this fact can lead to an ethics of compassion and co-responsibility. This ethics of compassion will inject new synergy into our co-goanizing. This ethic is asymmetric in a sense that it always calls one to respond to the other. It has the matrixial elements because one carries the other in freedom of care. This ethics acknowledges the space of the other and does not unhome any one. Goa carries every Goan with care and hence, the matriaxial ethics that we have evoked in this context as ethics of compassion and co-responsibility can address our co-goanising that can lead us to new levels of cohabitation in Goa. This brings the Goan face to face with Goa and other Goans.

Facing the Face of Goa, we can trace a mattern (not pattern) that carries us all Goans and nurture even our freedom of walking a path of de-goanization of both Goa and Goans. Hence, we have a mattern to imitate the communicaring of Goa. Perhaps, a painting in the making can illustrate the co-poiesis or co-making of Goa through our goanizing. The different colours and their shades together make the painting. Moreover, the painting carries diverse colours. In a way the colours mingle to make the painting. Drawing on the inspiration of painting, we can understand how diverse gaonizing of the Goans make the Goa that we have. There is no one kind of goanizing. It is in this variety that we experience Goa and co-construct Goan-ness expanding the shareable life and space for each other. This will result in a co-making of Goa as a joint abode for all. In this joint abode, we are enabled to respond to the cry of every Goan and we cannot abandon our fellow Goans. Hence, a reciprocal responsibility draws us into the ethics of compassion. This ethics informs our being-with resulting in a Goa with(h)nessing. This heightened awareness is the side by side ness/ besidedness of Goan-to-Goan. The Goan-to-Goan relation is intensely experienced as common futures and common pasts meet the common present. Hence, the ethics of compassion does not see time and space as absolute or isolated from Goan-to-Goan besidedness and generates what we can call compassionate hospitality, that builds the shareable space for all Goans.

Hence, Goan-to-Goan life is not just bound by co-emergence but is intertwined to co-fading. This means we Goans are continually com-posing our lives and shaping Goa. While, Goan-to-Goan in a multiaxial zone does not become a monster to his/her Goan other, can a Goan become a monster to the other of a Goan? Since the phallic logic is estranged in the matriaxial zone, the other of a Goan stays within the scope of ethics of compassion. Besidedness flowing from the m/Othernal matriaxial zone has the resources to hold the other of the Goan (non-Goan) in the Goan-to-Goan embrace. Hence, the compassion emanating from the m/Othernal matriaxial zone will enhance the compassionate hospitality that will overflow for Goan-to-Goan to the other of the Goan. This means Goan-to-Goan in-tension translates into ex-tension and keeps the other of the Goan in our embrace. Hence, it is in the resonance and co-emergence that Goa flowers through the shareable space in Goa for all. Co-presence of all in Goa is Copoeises of Goa, Goans and the other of the Goans. The ethics of compassion that we have located in the matriaxial zone transcends the phallic logic rooted in the either/or and subject/object/ abject dichotomies and takes us into the matriaxial zone of besidedeness, co-presence, co-emergence, co-fading and co-response-ability. Even death does not destroy our situatedness in the matriaxial zone. This transcendence is ever not-yet-ness and is profoundly embedded in the m/Othernal matriaxial zone. The is a co-birthing (co-naissance) of Goa, Goans and the other of the Goans in mutual resonance and coeval give and take. Such a mutual co-transcendence is also co-trans-sensing of the plight of the other. It is living mercy, compassion and love to the fullest. It is truly a humane metamorphosis of Goa, Goans and the other of the Goans .

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao