Political Discourse in Goa and its Genealogy

What good is genealogy for praxis? Nietzsche practised genealogy as a reflection on history. Nietzsche later used it to write his famous book, Genealogy of Morals which many might say is inflected by antisemitic bias. This method of genealogy was perfected and deployed by Michel Foucault to study history which he called the history of the present. All history is written in the present with language and concern of the present besides, being written from the privileged location of the Victors. What we write and believe as history is always privileged present and uses present concerns, fears, hopes, expectations as well as hurts that look for closures of the pasts. This is why there is no history but only genealogy to view and articulate episodes of the past. Maybe the sudden interest in the Portuguese past in Goa led by none other than the chief minister has/is a genealogy. It is nothing but looking at the past from the privileged location of the present. Histories of the present produce genealogies. There are several ways of looking at the past through a genealogical lens. Here I will try to look at it from the lens of Foucault. He looks at the emergence of a subject or form of practice in our present as having an origin in the past or he says the subject that emerges from the discourse has a family tree. Maybe this method will open our eyes to view critically how the political discourse that in Foucaultian terms is giving us a discursive position in the present. We can inevitably trace at least two kinds of discursive positions which are sort to be binarized in order to privilege one pole of the polarity. One pole is the Hindu and the other is the Other of the Hindu. The polarity of the Hindu and its other undergirds all other polarities like the Majority/ Minority, Mandir/ Masjid/ National/ Anti-national etc.

We have to see the recent rants of our C M within this discursive polarity that is reigning supreme in the new India inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi. Out of this discourse, we can see the emergence of privileged Hindus or Sanskari Hindus as subject and its Other as enemy or at best rival to the economic as well as political pie of our country. We can see this in the practice of denial of political seats to the Muslims in several states of India or even the denial of a Chief Ministerial berth to the late Francis Desouza in Goa. Even, we can see legal absolutism that seems to think that it is a waste of time for debates in the parliament or legislature as big majorities of the ruling benches and almost weak opposition make it clear that our democracy has given way to a so-called supreme leader who embodies everything that is deemed as a natural order. In India, the natural order is viewed as to be lying with the Hindu Majority although even the nomenclature of people identified as Hindu came to be fully accepted by those very people in the nineteenth century. While admitting its complexity and changes over time, the genealogy of the term Hindu accepts everything that was in our country as Hindu using a genealogy of history that sees the past from the present location.

Maybe in Goa, the genealogy of the present opened by the political discourse of our CM carries with it other similar genealogies which also opened socio-political spaces for the split-subject or polarized subject to arise. Those genealogies were the history of the present in those days. Thus, we have the Hindu/Kristanv of the Portuguese era or the ’Ubo / Advo’ of the thirteenth century, Vjaynagara and post-Vijaynagara period. While some of these binaries or polarities are collapsing in our present emergence of spilt-Subject: Hindu and its Other, the subjects that were always on the other side of the polarities are mostly incorporated as the others of the present Hindu. This may also account for why a present Goan Hindu reluctantly accepts as being a Konkno of the yester years. Maybe we may get an insight if we ask: Goycho Konkono Kedna Hindu Zalo? This question is a genealogically loaded one as it opens us genealogical emergence of ‘Goycho Hindu’. This genealogical analysis might manifest how the present discourse of the CM is aimed at displacing the minoritized other of the Hindu by trying to align the present Catholics of Goa to the colonial misdeeds of the Portuguese while covering the genealogies of the upper caste’s active collaboration with the colonial state. Thus, the reigning political discourse unearths the wounds of the past for both votes and notes

This discourse analysis using Foucault’s genealogical method has been done with a profound love for Goa, Goans both Hindus and others. It is aimed to show how the present discourse of our CM is assigning space for the new split-Subject in Goa to emerge. Once again, our wounded past is instrumentalized, politicized and used to divide Goans only to silence the already majorities Hindu Goan brethren and thus become silent signatories to burning issues like the diversion of Madhei, the conversion of Goa into a coal hub, unemployment and price rise etc. Therefore, maybe we have to resist this splitting of our society that works to cover the looting of our natural resources as well as engendering our human resources that are left unemployed. Maybe we have to refuse to accept the subject position that is given to us by the reigning discourse. This means we have the challenge to refuse to accept the space assigned to us in our society. The reigning discourse is making us seat silently on two chairs ( subject positions). We are to sit as Hindus on one chair so to say and Others on the other chair. Why do we have to accept this seating position assigned to us Goans by the reigning political discourse? This is why perhaps, to save Goa, Goan-ness and our resources, we have the challenge to stand up as Goans undivided by the discourse that is craftily setting the rift between Hindus and Others in Goa. Let us take up upon ourselves to be Goans first.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao