Thinking Konkani 360 Degrees – III

Becoming anti-Oedipus requires us to challenge the law of the father that has been cast into a strong cultural apparatus of our society. The law of the father offers legitimacy for the reining power equations and triggers what has been named as castration phobia in those who try to topple the status quo. Such a politics of status quo naturalizes and normalizes the state of affairs and masks its violence. This makes it difficult to those who interrogate the politics of status quo. It can be discerned that a kind of castration anxiety is afflicting the Konkani world, particularly in Goa in several ways. It brings about a sense of loss to both the Romi as well as nagri followers. All of them seem to be haunted by a sense of a dying Konkani. This sense of loss has also brought about drives for recovery. Unfortunately, it is these drives for recovery, along with other factors that seem to have brought about a vertical split in the Konkani. Both these conflicting groups work for Konkani differently but fail to see eye to eye.

The different mode of working for the growth of Konkani is worthy of celebration but the lack of comradeship among the nagri and romi champions is a matter of concern. Staying within the calculus of loss and recovery, we may understand the state of English and Marathi in Goa. The inclination towards English among the Catholics may be recognised as a substitute to the humiliation and derecognition of romi Konkani. Similarly, the acceptance of Marathi among our bhaujan brethren may also be a substitute for the caste-contaminated Konkani. While cognizing this sense of loss/recovery calculus that haunts Konkani, we will also have to deal with the sense of loss of innocence that troubles the Romi enthusiasts. This is a sense of being deceived by the official language movement and the legislative act. This loss of innocence has done tremendous damage to the Konkani movement and has proved itself to be difficult to heal. Maybe, it is also because of the burden of loss/recovery calculus operating in our society that we have not been able to think in Konkani 360 degree.

The Oedipus complex that haunts us has been translated as Ganesha Complex by Sudhir Kakar for our society in India. Like the Oedipus complex, it also has a family. We have the father, mother and the son in the wonderful narrative of Shiva, Parvathi and Ganesha. Again the law of the father prevails but in place of castration phobia of Freud, Sudhir Kakar puts the fear of losing one’s head. The father has a sword that can decapitate the son. The sense of loss of one’s head seems to correctly read our Indian psyche which seems to be haunted by the caste principle of purity and pollution. Loss of the head can be viewed as the fear of going mad. This fear is threatening us today as several among us have taken up the legendary sword of Lord Shiva and are out to decapitate all those who are deemed as anti-nationals (Mad). The gau rakshaks, the anti-Romeo quads, Karmi sena, and their ilk seem to be operating on the fear of our society landing into madness. Paradoxically, this quest for purity and order through violence and bloodshed seem to depict the madness of these lawless upholders of law. Konkani movement is also inflicted by the fear of going mad. Some among us appear to think that the development of Konkani in all its five scripts is a form of madness. It is thought to bring about anarchy and impurity in the Konkani world. The quest for standardization masks the principle of purity and pollution. Hence, we may understand why nargrization of Konkani is chosen to protect its sanity and purity. It is here, these fascists tendencies that are triggered by what has been rightly described as Ganesha Complex seem to come into play.

In a scholarly article, ‘can a language go mad? Arendt, Derrida, and the political significance of the mother tongue’, published in the famous international journal Philosophy today, Jennifer Gaffney studied the debate between Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida on the possibility of mother tongue going mad. Derrida seems to say that language being the home of racism and other inhuman exploitation can certainly go mad while Hannah Arendt suggests that it is not the language but the speakers of that language who go mad. Both these prominent philosophers have their own strengths. In the light of these discussions, we may still ask: is Konkani going mad? Do the speakers of Konkani have the fear of going mad? Do we also have madness taking over our Konkani movement? The answers to these questions may be distressing. But for the sake of Konkani, Goa, Goans and Goan-ness, we need to address these fears of going mad. We cannot continue to circum to the Ganesha complex. It has brought disaster to Konkani mai. Hence, to think Konkani 360 degrees, we will seek therapy and healing to the deficits and the sense losses calibrated by societal calculus.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao