The Question of Goa and It Reassures – V

Goa being a tourist destination is a place of desire. People flock to Goa imagining it as an exotic place. It becomes a space to transgress, to slide away from the stress of everyday and just relax and rejuvenate. Being fissured from mainland India it has evolved under the colonization of the Portuguese as Other India. One can find both the east and the west in Goa. This unique commingling has produced our Goan-ness . Being a Goan is being in-between. It is fully Indian but is its hybridized version. One can find India as well as west in Goa. Some people refer to this unique blend of culture as Indo-Portuguese. Our culture coupled with its natural beauty makes it a perfect tourist destination. It brings people from all across the globe as well all parts of our country. Tourism has its good sides as well as dark sides . The sun, sand and surf along with the fish, feni and feasts keeps the tourist attached to Goa. We can clearly notice a desire for Goa among the tourists. Therefore, it is important to understand the dynamics of desire.

All desire is a surrogate desire. It is the desire of the other. Some scholars like Rene Girard teach that desire is mimetic and show how the self is drawn to imitate its other. Hegel thinks that desire is power. Offering the instance of a slave, he says the desire of the slave is to become the master. We can trace a dialectical relation between the master and the slave. The master cannot exercise his authority if the slave does not desire his position. This desire to be the master is not fully conscious. It takes us into the world of the unconscious. We can say that desire is manifested in the way one fixes the relation of the self to its other. The tourists feel the imperative of Goa. Lacan’s notion of gaze may provide a framework to understand how the myth of Goa is constructed by the tourism industry and how it works on tourists who are attracted to it. It generates a desire not just to see or experience Goa. It desires to be seen in the manner it is to be seen. This means the gaze already gives the tourists the eyes to see. These eyes are not their own but those that give them perspective/ lens or light to see. This means the gaze colour is the entire visual field. Hence, the desire of the tourist is a borrowed desire. It is a desire of the other. The tourism industry capitalizes on the surrogate nature of all desire. Besides desire being the desire of the other, it is based on the relation of lack.

Tourism in Goa is constructed on the sense of lack. Goa thus becomes a place where desire is fulfilled. Goa as a tourism destination has an intoxicating spell over tourists. We may see a seductive element into it. Hence, we need to study the gaze that produces the tourist as subjects subjected to the tourism experience. The tourist is subject to the gaze because it triggers a sense of lack which is promised to be fulfilled by what the tourism industry claims to offer. A sense of lack produces desire that tries to negate otherness of Goa by appropriating it into the self. This is why Goa operates in India for several Indians and other tourists. But the otherness of Goa cannot be fully negated. As a result , the desire for it does not die along with its tourism industry continuing to stay alive and kicking. This Lacanian perspective on tourism might assist us to understand and respond to the several challenges possessed by tourism in Goa. The invasive power of Gaze as well as its constructed nature can assist us to dialogue and displace unbecoming construction of the Gaze by the tourism Industry. This piping into the production of the gaze on Goa might open several discomforting issues that are nurturing a type of tourism that we are operating in Goa. Indeed the opening of the gaze promises to open the process involved in the manufacture of this gaze and may provide us ways of addressing some elements that provide active ingredients in the production of the gaze. We need to counter the gaze

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao