Bringing a Upanisadic Moment in Goa

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The historiography of Post-colonial history of Goa appears to be drunk on an anamnestic intoxication of the memory of colonial disruption. It seems to view memory as literally re’membering’, that is, putting together the dismembered past. But is this project of totalising the de-totalized pasts into a framework a of singularized as well as linearized narrative legitimate?Will this anamnestic totalisation of the plural pasts into a singular narrative mainly from the upper caste locations bring about a greater dismembering of our society in Goa? Indeed, it is time that we begin to reflect and contest how the archival power has been (ab) used by the paradigms that ruled the writing of colonial history in Post-colonial Goa. Though we cannot move away from anamnestic recollections of our pasts, we need to be ethically sensitive to the manner in which these recollections acquire legibility and can disrupt and dismember our society. These anamnestic recollections of the traumas of the past often blur the boundaries between painful events of the past and its representation as a represented experience in the present. This displaces the past events and cloaks them into the stream of the present.  This means the remembering of the past produces a new angle of vision that seems to provide a redemptive fixation of the unease of the past that bears upon societies living with the afterlife of colonization.  This new angle of vision brings about a ‘messianic arrest’ of the thought. That is, thought gets imprisoned into categories that promise liberation from the unease of the past.  

It would be enriching if we humbly engage with profound respects to our intellectuals in Goa and attempt to seek the ‘messianic arrests’ in our thought.  We can trace a forgetting of ‘pre-Portuguese Goa in the ‘Goa Dourada’ paradigm which seems to indicate how some of our historians got trapped in a ‘messianic arrest’ as they reduced pre-Portuguese, Goa into a tabula rasa and saw an ameliorative future with the Portuguese regime. The same ‘messianic arrest ’seems to affect those that follow the ‘Goa Indica’ paradigm, who often reduce pre-Portuguese Goa as Hindu, forgetting the Islamic detours as well as the tribal and other local Goan religious formations.  Paradoxically, this freezing of thought appears redeeming and liberative. That is why one might say that our historiography in Goa is under a ‘messianic arrest’ that makes us unmindful of our blind spots. The issue of the Romi/Nagri conflict seems to have reached un-resolvable dimensions because along with other complexities each side seems to have found a messianic future for our mother tongue. Hence, it is important to understand how a ‘messianic arrest’ of our thought and moral sensitivities can produce communicative deadlock that continues to dismember our society in Goa. The ‘messianic moment’ promised by these fixations of our thoughts is forever delayed and always remains in the future that promises to come but remains always at a distance.  

Hence, an awareness of the ‘messianic arrest’ of our historiography is indeed urgent and relevant in the context of crass majoritarian communalism. Communalism of all shades and colours is wobbled in a ‘messianic arrest’ of thought. Communalism presents itself as redeeming and messianic and manufactures our consent. The ‘messianic arrest’ of our thought reaches fullness when we become signatories of the promised golden future for our community alone. We seem to become ready to walk the slippery slope which seems to hold us captive to the thought that we can allow and tolerate some level of hate, intolerance and violence because at the end of it all we shall reach the golden future. We seem to suffer the ‘messianic arrest’ of our thought as we begin to accept what is crude communalism a form of nationalism. Our thinking acumen seems to be paralyzed and we cannot notice how what we deem as nationalism is in fact de-nationalising a sizeable portion of our citizenry. We somehow cannot view how it is unreasonable to lay a demand on the minorities of our country to belong to India (hindia) by being a (h)Indian. What we need is to understand how the colonial disruption has dislocated us and we feel homeless and view a messianic future in the days to come. Will this Future ever arrive without the minorities? Are we not fooled by some forces that make use of the unease with our past to gain power and control our resources?  It’s time to break the shackles of this ‘messianic arrest’ of our thought. Hence, as Goans, we need a ring in a newUpanisadic moment, a new metanoia that will enable us to embrace our plural pasts with detachment, dynamic present with freedom and a promising future with realistic hope. This Upanisadic moment will challenge the communalization of History and politicization of Religions and bring peace for all in Goa. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao