Lessons and Choices at Hand

Image Source: SCOONEWS

The discourse around the denial of permission to four higher secondary schools among other things to the Diocesan Society of education opens several widows to look at our Goan Society.  One might say that the discourse centred on it is haunted by the spectre of absence.  Absence or void has become the chief lens through which we seem to be viewing this vital issue.  The denial of the permission can be seen as the primary absence or void which triggered the gathering of the Catholic MLAs. This coming together led others to view in the presence of Catholic MLA’s an absence of MLA’s of other religious persuasion. Some went further to view communalism in this absence and painted the move of Diocesan society as unbecoming. The ruling party seems to have felt another void, one of being left out. Thus, the issue is caught is a chain of real and imaginary absences or voids, while the real void or the absence of the educational infrastructure for the underprivileged children of Goa in its remote areas remains invisible.  The primary absence or void that erupted due to the denial of permission remains hidden, we seem to be busy deliberating on the secondary absences. This has both disrupted and corrupted the discourse and contributed in reinforcing of the primary absence that we are all concerned about. This does not mean that the voids that are identified by the several interlocutors in the discourse under our consideration are useless or irrelevant. It only means that they hide the real issue and promotes active denial of educational opportunity to children of weaker economic backgrounds.  

Perhaps, we need to elaborate on the vital issue of active production of absences or voids.  Being argumentative that we are, we instinctively perceive an absence in what comes before us. Thus, in the gathering of the Catholic MLA’s we immediately identified the absence of MLA’s from other religious persuasion. This absence in the presence of the catholic MLA ‘s though very significant yet can obfuscate the real lack or absence that is actively constructed by the act of denial by the Government. This brings about the exclusion of the prospective children who might benefit from the said institutions.  Thus, while we succinctly indicate the legitimate void or absence of the other MLA’s in the gathering of the catholic MLA’s,  we often forget that the primary absence generated by the active denial of permission remains mutely copresent in our discourse.   But this substantive issue that remains copresent yet hidden cannot be ignored.  If we do that then we might provide cover to the power interests who wish to maintain the status quo.  Such a disruption of the real issue, can only be of help to other  vested interests who have begun to speculate that the denial of permission has brought about an impasse between the ruling BJP and the Church. 

There is another side that is opened by discourse that deserves our attention. It opens us how a perception of lack or a void can push us into a psycho-dynamism of recovery. The perception of the relation of lack produces a desire to fill the perceived void. Indeed, the perception of the absence of the other MLA’s in the meeting of the catholic MLA’s is certainly a perception of a void, or lack. This perception of being left out produces a psycho-dynamism of recovery, which can pluralise into various responses that may not be free from communal shades. Hence, it is vital that we understand how a perception of lack, void or absence can take control of our life and community.  The politics that is driven by a perception of lack can make us believe that somehow the filling of the void and transubstantiate into progress, growth and harmony.   This means the coming of the golden future can lay its bearing on our present where the condition of lack is felt intensely.  This can lead us to escape into the promise land through the joy that active construction of absences can provide. Yes! there is a libidal economy to the production of absences. Often, it can be truly intoxicating. Thus, some of us might feel a libidal surge in the denial of permission to Christian institutions. Others might experience the same in the very act   of denial of such a permission.   

Therefore, as we look through the widows opened by the discourse under our consideration, it is important that we learn our lessons.  It has thought us that we Goans wish to fight our issues together cutting across religions. That is why several among us have decried the Catholic alone approach.  It opens doors for more meaningful engagements in the coming days  for the sake of Goa and her Children. Further, we are challenged to understand how absences, voids and non-existences are actively created often by vested interest. Besides, we need a leap of consciousness to understand how we can come under the grip of libidal economy and might   get sucked into a desire to attain a libidal high by actively generating absences, particularly for the weak and the poor.  We can certainly reverse our quest for libidal highs. Our passion for Goa and its people can contribute to this process.  Working to include all Goans to enjoy all the benefits in our society can be deeply fulfilling. Therefore, in the case of the issue at hand, we have to make an honest choice. We can choose the libidal surge that an act of deprivation or denial of schooling facilities provides us or we can as mature citizens rise above petty consideration and stand up for the right of our under privileged children and seek fulfilment and contentment in the opening the doors of education  in the far flung areas in Goa. This means for the love of Goa we are challenged to remain united and promote the common good of all. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao