A Minority University – a Master Stoke of Herald

The Eurocentric models of knowledge production and theoretical traditions are mainly reining in most of our academic institutions in our country including Goa. The noble proposal for a new minority university made by Herald in its editorial on 1st Feb 2014 is indeed a welcome move that can open a dawn of hope and promise for Goa as well as our country.  This proposal thinks the unthought and says the unsaid and perhaps the unsayable in several quarters in our society.  The proposal in no way disqualifies or   calls into question the existence of Goa University. That is why, we can consider the merits of the master stoke played by the distinguished voice of the voiceless.  A minority university will certainly create an alternate space of knowledge production and circulation and would produce healthy and lively debate that is profoundly essential for a dynamic academic growth of our country. As knowledge and power intersect and cross each other, we cannot allow monopolies to make hay and stagnate our society. Two universities in Goa can certainly become sites of academic excellence producing competent alumni. 

Goa has played a central role in the past as a nodal point for the encounter of the East and the West. Unfortunately, the contribution of Goa remains forgotten and India is still chiefly understood through the window of  the British orientalism. Kudos to the proposal of Herald ! it has irrupted on the horizon and interrupted as even disrupted our one dimensional consciousness and we are led understand the value of a university of the minority in a place like Goa.  Goa that seems to be treated merely as a tabula rasa when it comes to knowledge production and is viewed as a space of knowledge consumption produced elsewhere in our country will have the opportunity to open new vistas on our country as its past remains entirely different and largely insulated from the main land of India. The vibrant plural histories, geographies, anthropologies, theologies etc of our country can  be brought to our heightened  awareness from Goa. The forgetting of Goa’s role in the past has kept under cover an important issue, the part that Goa played in the shaping of religious demographics of India. India today has become a majoritarian  Hindu demographic space may be because the Portuguese kept a Virgil in the Arabian sea in the 16th-17th centuries , and checked  the Arabs and prevented their logistic assistance to the  to the Mogul empire. Otherwise, with due respect and love for my Muslim brethren, I must say  we would be a happy Islamic country like Indonesia of today. 

Goa though being a marginal location cannot be simply marginalized. But this rendering of Goa as a tabula rasa in the academic arena can be interrogated from a minority university. The minorities in our country are steadily disenfranchised, delegitimized and    brought under interrogation by the mainstream politics that has become a politics of culture and identity. There is a constant un-homing of the minorities in our motherland as they seem to be reminded in multiple ways that they are not Indian enough. Hence, a minority university might be a space that can re-position the several un-homing discourses and contest and responds to them so that no one is un-homed by anyone in our country. The silenced, subaltanized  and sidelined voices of the minorities will certainly have platforms to be heard in a minority university. The subaltern knowledge production being transgressive, will subvert the main stream knowledge production and circulation which is mainly based on the discursive formation of consensus and privilege a knowledge economy based on dissensus. Dissent and alternate modes of thought and values being paramount to the consciousness of the subaltern, the overall knowledge culture would produce excellence and competence in our society. Hats off to the Herald for bring the vision of Minority University. Indeed, it will bring fresh energy and dignity to all, particularly those minoritized and infantalized in our society. Hope that Goans will rise to the occasion and actualize the dazzling vision   of Minority University in Goa. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao