Goans on Trial

We are living in interestingly dangerous times. With the eruption of coronavirus, we have acquired the power to cough the other to death even we intending nor being conscious of this.  While all forms of powers came with great responsibility, we certainly have an immense responsibility to the other as we learn to live with Covid-19.  Disruption of all kinds dislocates us from our everyday life and we are facing the same with the arrival of this lethal virus. The disruption corona needs Karuna from our side to all, particularly the power and the needy.  We seem to have it plenty along with heartless insensitivity of those that really matter the most in our country.  We have seen the doctors and other health workers putting their life on the lines while others have let the fear of the lethal virus take the better of them and ended up beating up these selfless angels at time of great human distress.  Petty politics indulged the ruling party and the opposition has often deprived the poor of transport facilities and other essentials supplies at this time of helplessness. As results, we saw thousands among the working classes chose to walk hungry towards their villages in search of the safety of their homes. Hundreds of them died on the road beating hunger, heat and helplessness. 

Unfortunately, compassion still stayed far away as the rightwing so our lockdown as an opportunity to further poison the gullible with their ideology of hate. One such instance is visible in our peace-loving Goa.   A webinar purporting to disfigure our Goycho Saib is on the cards. The right-wing forces do not hold the cards of the game close to their chest but have openly put the cards on the table and we all know its sinister design.   Maybe this event has several lessons for us.  In this old game of aggression was the victim is challenged to prove his/ her innocence is at play.  It has been the strategy of the right-wing for a long time to cover its own vicious agenda. Media reports have also shown how the victims of the Delhi riots have been arrested with FIR filed on them while the real culprits have gone scot-free.   Now that the painful past of Goy is the sort to put on trial by the right-wing in Goa reminds us of Franz Kafka’s novel, The Trail, where an innocent victim is accused of a crime he does not even know and is challenged to prove his innocence.  In the same way, there seems to be an attempt to put Catholics of Goa who have common biological ancestry with their Hindu brethren in the dock.  We may have to wait and see if blood is thicker than the ideology of hate.  Indeed, this event has put Goans on trial. Will we stand tall against this designer division?  For this to occur Goans have to notice the pathology in the intends of this aggression on Goycho Saib which actually scapegoat the Saint to gun down the catholic community of Goa. 

Maybe it is important to delve into this strategy of the right-wing a little.  I intend to do this not in a reactive mode but in a proactive mode so that better sense prevails in our society.  To achieve this goal maybe Kaka can be of some help. Kaka uses a strategy of defamiliarization in the novel that is mention above. We are familiar with criminal being arrested for crimes that they do are also know about.  Besides, we are justice system offers the criminal an opportunity to prove his or her innocence for we believe all  are to be taken as innocent unless one is proved as guilty.   Now our condition is already defamiliarized by the corovirus and as if to rub salt over these wounds there is a disconcerting attempt to defemiliarize Goans by  disrupting  the cultural symbolic capital that has become the uniting  glue for Goans of all walk of life.  This defamiliarization by trying to bring about a shift in the semantic axis of symbolic anchors of Goan-ness.  All meanings shift with time.  Words being conventional terms acquire additional content or lose it over time.  Goa past is written with words that have metamorphosed over time. Even Goa has evolved from first meaning the island of Tiswaddi to the entire state that we know today.   The sift of the semantic axis is not just in the indiscriminate usage of term later origin or old terms with acquired meanings but also in assuming that the experience of simultaneity, democracy, freedom, individuality/ subjective, idea of criminality has been seamlessly same over time. This is exactly is at the heart of this semantic shift that is sort to be brought about by making to look at the past in the image and likeness of our present.  This means,  we have the challenge to look at the past as it is  and not as were.  Unfortunately, by imposing our familiarity of the present into a past, we successfully defamiliarize it. This is because the past is different from the present. This absence of the present in the past accentuate a sense of loss and set in a desire to recover the loss. These dynamics of loss and recovery and blind to the innocent victim that is demonised by the semantic shift.  This is why let the past be past in the sense of amor fati of Fredrick Nietzsche, we have do understand how the imposition of categories of recent origin into the past empties it of its meaning therein and colour it with the biases and prejudices that we have today.  Hence, we are really living in testing times.   The said webinar has but Goa and Goans on trial. We have the great challenge to stand up for harmony and peace and prove that our Goan-ness is thicker than the ideology and politics of hate.  Past has its own faults that can be addressed and reconciled with the present. But using the past to further balkanize  Goans would lead to disaster for Goa, Goans and Goan-ness. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao