Building the Third Space for Goa

The cultural theory and translation studies can help us to understand and resist the drive towards homogenization that we experience in our country. These studies assist us to critically analyse the representation of the other.  In the light of these studies, we are led to approach our analysis from pluri-centres. This requires us to treat cultural processes as practices originating from pluri-centres. Homi Baba, a theorist of culture and literary theory invites us to view every subject that is produced by and is producing cultural practices is neither ahistorical nor  apolitical.  The evolution of cultural practices is a result of multiple processes that interact, collide with each other. Different cultural practices lead to the emergence of new diverse and hybrid cultural forms and cultures.  This cultural dynamism opens up the third space.  The third space is not a static place but a cultural practice. It is something that we do. It enables everyone to discover new ways of being human and resist hierarchizations, exclusions and homogenized representations of the power elite. This means the third space is the transition zone where new solidarities can be forged and new strategies of resistance can evolve. 

The third space opens new possibilities of inter-active encounters that enable us  to evolve a re-contextualization of our difference  where differences can cross each other and lead to  deep social inter-actions that can break barriers and build bridges and bring diverse people to act together for common goals that are deemed as vital to all.  The third space is based on an ethical claim that leads to the acceptance of the other as different. It is enables us to negotiate differences to reach  zones convergence as well as acceptances of legitimate otherness. This leads us to an in-between position that remains rooted and open to a prologue that resists every shade and form of identity erasures.  The third space is a creative space that leads us to view reality not only from our side or from that of our opponents but from the third side that both overlaps as well as marks its difference. Most conflicts require the third side or the third way of viewing our world. 

Goa is certainly a complex in-between place.  Parag  D. Parobo  makes this point emphatically when he points out that  Goa is imagined as a space of difference in his latest book, India’s First Democratic Revolution: Dayanand Bandodkar and the Rise of Bahujan in Goa.  The natural beauty, colonial history, existence of Christian community and our hospital culture render Goa to be construed as a space of difference for the tourists both from our country and outside. Besides, the Goa boon attract elites both Goans and non-Goans (Indians and foreigners) to create wealth of the cultural and material resources belonging to us Goans. The new novel, Raw Earth, by Alexandre Moniz Barbosa, released just last Sunday beautifully grapples with the conflicting lines of interests under the backdrop of   mining industry and its operations in Goa.  The critical   articles of  Fredrick Noronha’s, in his book , Another Goa are compelling eye openers that reveal how Goa and Goans are sliding into debris of ruins at a quick pace.  This seems to leave us with limited options.  Faced between eluding utopia and  ever threatening dystopia, we need the third space that can save Goa and Goan-ness.      

The rise of the third front in scene of Goan politics opens a contested space that may provide platform to voice and resist the kind of displacement that Goans are beginning to feel due to socio-politico-economic policies of the national parties that ruled us for long.  The urgency of the ethical call that we feel to fight back and dismantle several goal-posts representing vested interests that are imposed on Goa and often deemed as development of Goans cannot be played down.  The  authentic interest of Goans and Goa seem to have no room in the trajectory of these goal-posts or initiatives like Investment promotion Area, the de-classification of the coconut tree, the new regional plan set by our Government. Confronted by these destructive goal-posts, we cannot stay silent witnesses to the rape and loot of Goa right in front of us.  Thankfully, several Goans are already alert to respond to the cry of Goa. What we need is to construct the third space that will synergize our multi-pong resistance to the full scale destruction of Goa. 

The immediate task at hand is not to dis-entangle our different affiliations but to bring about affiliations that put Goa first without leaving out the dissenting voices from our embrace. The third space that we can collectively construct does not need us to abandon our often conflicting affiliations but lead us to rise to a common minimum non-negotiables for the sake of Goa and its people.  This would mean we will have to review the complex burden of the colonial past that we Goan Hindus, Christians and   Muslims carry with compassion for each other.   The construction of the third space requires us to look at our common past and the approaching future with profound compassion. Hence, we are challenged to recognize in ‘the now’ (present), the call to reverse the destructive storm that has hit Goa.  This challenge of  ‘the now’ that faces us, invites us to realign our fundamental options and advance solidarities that will enunciate Goan interest  as well work  to save Goa from sliding down the hill of destruction. Hence, we may have to transcend our primary affiliations that are religious, caste, region (North /south, Salcete or others) and join hands to lead to the formation of the third space in Goa. 

 The third space is profusely political space. It will enable us to understand how we are enslaved by the idea of the different.  The idea of different through some privileged lens of self sameness makes us think that Christians and Muslims are different while the majority community marked by some kind of sameness.  Is that really true? Are we not thinking difference through positivist and essentialist mode and end us equating difference to sameness? Can difference be made to fit a same mould? Are we not subtracting differences from all?  Unfortunately, the main stream thinking marks difference as chief quality of the minorities. This is crassly reductionist and a form of impoverishment that imprisons the majority into static prison of sameness. Hence, we are challenged to be realistic. We are all differently different. But our different differences do not have become a divisive force.  Our different differences can enrich us as we enter together  the third space for the sake of Goa. Yes, we need leadership that will enable every Goan to stand up for mother Goa.        

     

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao