Spectres of Goa and Haunting Return of a Lost Future

Image Source: The Economic Times

Elections have come to an end. The results are declared yet a cold sense that makes us feel that time is out of joint in the Shakespearean sense has gripped us all. If not all most Goans are sensing that something is not right. It makes us feel that we are standing on the wrong side of time. Things are felt to be in disarray. We are experiencing a profound sense of kind of disruption of the state of affairs in Goa. We have a feeling of being pushed out of time and out of place. A kind of anxiety of being displaced has taken hold of us. A desire and effort for new life seem to have had a stillbirth and a sense that Goa, Goans and Goan-ness seem to have been dragged on the edge of mere survival is haunting us profoundly. We are indeed facing a new politics of time.

The BJP and its supporters that won Goa certainly view with triumphant air that seems to say, ’yeh waqt hamara hai’. To the rest of us, it triggers fears of doom of Goa, Goans and Goan-ness. The very fear of devastation of Goa through the three linear projects and Coalolization of Goa has come back to haunt us. We may think that this haunting is also afflicting the BJP as it seems to be hesitatingly inching towards the formation of Government. While we know that the reign of BJP or any other party is not set in stone as the anti-incumbency before the elections remain hauntingly present even in the victory of BJP. We have a feeling that something is not adding up and fear of the loss of futures of Goa is staring into our eyes. While Francis Fukuyama celebrated the end of history in the progressive march of democracy, we in Goa have a melancholic sense that history has come to end crashing down on us through the results of the recent election. This sense of that history has reached its endpoint seems to have triggered a panic that we are facing a lost future.

This sense of time is not on our side is typically Indian. It is because of this that we are desperately calculating the auspicious time. We are told that even the formation of Government in Goa and other states that BJP had won was held up due to the prevailing inauspicious time. We in Goa felt that BJP was certainly experiencing adverse times due to its inner struggles for the chair of the Chief Minister. BJP in Goa seems to be haunted by conflict for the chair. This sense of time has lost its equilibrium is also haunting the opposition in several ways.

The state president of Congress had to put down his papers while notorious rumours circulated that some of its own MLAs were thinking that their tenure as opposition members is nothing but a waste of time and therefore they seem to be trying their luck with the BJP. Maybe these were rumours circulated to damage the already sinking ship of the Congress. Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward seems to indicate that he too suffered from those rumours. To a large extent, a sense of reluctance to accept the present state of democracy in Goa has hit us all. Maybe this uncanny condition has aggravated because of the unprecedented victory of AAP as well as an unimagined number of votes polled by RG. All in all a sense of imminent destruction of Goa has put us in the mood of deep angst. We are already anticipating its destruction and hence are hit by the spectres of Goa. This means the future of Goa has become a hauntology to us all.

Goa is immersed in anachronism. It has become spectral. As the spectre/ a ghost, it presents to us with the figure of what is left of Goa after its destruction. Therefore, the spectrality of Goa consists of the haunting of the coming of what is left of Goa after the event of its destruction. This means a sense of loss of the futures of Goa is animating the spectres of Goa. The spectres of Goa are haunting everyone. Maybe R G effectively played on the loss of the futures of Goa and openly portrayed the MLAs that constituted the then legislative assembly as the villains that are accelerating that loss.

We may say the same about APP and even Goa Forward, TMC-MGP combine. The figure of Goa on the path of destruction was exploited in different degree by the opposition. Perhaps, the opposition failed to play this fear of death of Goa or the loss of the futures of Goa effectively. BJP has always played the politics of hauntology. It played it mainly on the Hindus. It accentuated the fears of the Hindu community and presented the minorities as its enemy in chief. Goa politics, therefore, is deeply marked by hauntology from all sides.

The results of the elections also are haunted by the spectral return of Goa in the hands of the BJP. The spectre of Goa destroyed by the three linear projects, handling and transport of coal, corruption, rising prices and land tangles etc is acutely disturbing Goans of all walks of life. Hence, the new assembly that is formed before the installation of the Chief Minister of Goa is a haunted assembly. It is certainly haunted by the delayed installation of the Chief Minister. Besides, the spectres/ ghosts of Goa are all howling in the assembly halls.

Not just the eyes and ears of Goans in England but in Goa are directed to observe what is going to happen to Goa. We may have to grudgingly grant a great tourist destination like Goa that welcomes everyone has become a haunted place for Goans. The spectres of Goa that represent the lost futures of Goa are haunting all Goans. The spectres of Goa stand for all losses that Goans anticipate and foresee. These losses include the loss of land, natural and green heritage, cuisine, demography, opportunities for education etc. We have come to experience anxiety about everything that we consider as sacred to our Goan-ness, Goans and Goa. None of us is free from this haunting. Being aware of these hauntings, we can shape the future of Goa by vision-centric collective shaping of the present of Goa.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao