Being a Goan at a time of Hindutva

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What comes to mind when one hears the word Goa? It does something to us Goansand produces a sense of bonding. What does it do to tourists or non-goans? It is a doing word rather than simply a saying word. There is performativity packed into it.  We are invited to thinking of Goa as an event word. Goa is an event not merely a place. It is happening to us and other visitors all the time. It disrupts normal life and produces a desire for a happy and fuller life. Goa is eventing in its singularity. No one can have the exactly the same experience of Goa though there are several levels of commonality in this experience. But we are not simply passive receivers of happening Goa. We also do things to Goa. There is mutuality in the happening. Goa is Goanising us and we are Goanising Goa. Our Goanising can be de-goanising to us and Goa. This happens when goal is commoditized and put on sale. The commoditization of Goa, Goan-ness has museumizedGoans of all walks of life. Several people use it as raw material to create wealth. The presencing of Goa becomes a representation that can be exchanged for a price. Representation is only a copy and not the original. As a representation, it is seductive and fails to really satisfy anyone. Insatiability is the basis of  market-driven capitalism. It makes us long for more. ‘Yehdilmaghe more’ is the way of the market. To dodge the market, we will have to think of Goa dynamically. Thus, thinking of Goa as happening in the dynamic mode of the event enables us to view it in ethical terms. Hence, our concern here is what Goa is doing or rather made to do in tourism-centric conditions marked by the politics of Hindutva. 

When we focus on the happening or eventing dimension of the term Goa, we resist its reductive representation and let its irrepressibility arise. This lays open the Goa experience and does not close it into pre-fabricated categories that are demanded by the market and the politics of Hindutva.  One can find a common denominator between market-driven capitalism and Hindutva. Both require pre-packaged narratives that purport to capture the experience of Goa in reductive categories. Market-driven capitalism desires notes while the politics of Hindutva desire both notes and votes. There is something sublime about Goa that remains beyond all conceptual representation. This openness to the beyond in the lived Goa does not look for a dressed experience of Goa. It stays open to the real Goa as and how it is really giving us. Viewing Goa without the strict apparatus of representation is the primary ethical option we have to make to be Goans at a time of Hindutva. This choice can assist us to displace and dismantle the rule of representations that control both the market and the politics of Hindutva. This option of the ethical will have to deal with the aesthetical. The market and the politics of Hindutva are largely grounded in aesthetics. Yet both narrow down possibilities of being a Goan. They lay down only a few options for being a Goan. Hindutva politics unfortunately only allows conflictual options for being Goans. The conflictual options cut down the possibilities of being an inter-religious goal today.  

Saying what Goa means can be problematic. The happening dimension of the term Goa opens us to a plunge into the doing depths of Goa. Entry into the dynamic and happening Goa opens us to a zone that is beyond representation.  The zone of reductive representations is a zone of conceptual oppositions. This means in this context the reductive term Goa can be opposed to another reductive term non-Goan. We cannot fix and freeze Goa in time. A Goa that is fixed in time as the politics of Hindutva loves to have will also produce several abnormal fixations among Goans. Such abnormal fixations can open the flood gates of a haunting past that would trouble our present.  This is why letting Goa happen to us may be an authentic way of being Goan in the context of Hindutva. Letting Goa happen is critical as it shuns aside already pre-given reductive Goa and stays open to the Goa that is pouring out into agoanizing flood that goanizes both Goans and Goa. It is an unbound experience of Goa. Such an unbound experience builds bonds of humanity, love and inter-communion among Goans and even non-Goans. It becomes a radical way of being human in Goa.  Such an experience opens us to the humbling fact that we cannot say everything about Goa using our language. There always remains the trace of the other in Goa. This means in a profoundly real way Goan, Goan-ness and Goa live into each other and cannot be separated. Hence, forces that put Goans against Goan-ness and Goa cannot be allowed to win the day. It is for us to let Goa and Goans win so that Goan-ness flowers to its fullest potentials. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao