Goa a Non-space ?

Goa seems to have become a non-Space. French anthropologist Marc Auge says we are living with multiple non-places. Non-place does not let us live our singular identity. The spaces like airports, hospitals, malls, hotels where we all at once become travellers, passengers, consumers, shoppers, diners etc are growing everywhere. We relate to these identities in these non-places Tourists in Goa have to become travellers, sightseers etc. They cannot belong to Goa. Goa to them is a non-place. We, Goans, relate to space intimately, share our sense of belonging to it and relate with each other sharing life, language, culture and history. Goa, therefore, is a place for us but a non-place for tourists.

We need to understand how we produce space. We intimately relate to space. We are living in a moving endless space. We being spatial beings relate to space in several ways. When we invest meaning and belonging to a space, it becomes a place. Auge says with globalization we can see a rise of non-places. Every place is simultaneously a non-place. It is the place for those who share a relationship with it and feel at home in it. It becomes a non-space for those who come to it as guests, travellers, or outsiders. There is an outsidering side of a non-place. We can also feel that our place has significantly changed. We feel nostalgic and feel displaced or exiled in our own place. Our place becomes a non-place for us.

We in Goa are feeling out of place for some time. We feel alienated from our place. The coming of Indian tourists has reduced or kept the high-spending foreign tourists away. Increasing hoards of tourists from our country have changed the scene of tourism in Goa. Our roads are crowded with vehicles as well accidents have multiplied. Even our local language is displaced as we have to speak Hindi and English to remain tourists friendly. There have been episodes of violence and conflicts between tourists and service providers, between service providers (car drivers) and the Government. We can see how the increasing overlap of place and non-place is disturbing Goans.

The changed scene of Goa has led Goans to embrace a struggle to save what is left of Goa. We can see everyone in Goa is rejecting coaloization of Goa. We can see how the issue of double tracking as well as the diversion of Madei is increasing the decimals of discontent of our society with our Government. A disturbing angst has gripped an average Goan and a sense of loss is intimately felt. This sense of loss had set in a loss recovery dynamism. Hence, a politics that is Goa and Goan-centric finds an immediate appeal among the Goans. All this is happening because Goans are feeling that a non-place is approaching their place from all directions. Hence, a trust deficit against the Government is on the increase.

Goans who deeply feel the Imperative to save Goa have to unite. They cannot save Goa from simply becoming a non-place by being divided. The tourists see Goa as consumers of pleasure trips, the coal interest sees Goa as a land of opportunity for the accumulation of wealth. Others see Goa as the place to own a home away from home. All these interests convert Goa into a non-place. Our Government appears to be also favouring non-placification of Goa. Hence, we have to get united and save Goa as a place that our ancestors saved for us.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao