The Burdens Facing Goans

We in Goa feel something untimely about our present condition. Time seems to be not on our side. It makes us feel that somehow time is out of joint. This anxiety also affects our fellow Indians too. While some bhakts may feel that their time is come. Most Indians feel that time seems to have lost direction. We seem to be made to feel that we are living out of time. This condition displaces and dislocates us from our existence. Everything to some extent seemed to have missed the mark. Time seems to have stopped or have lost its way. We acutely and intensely feel the disruption of time. Everything appears to be apunctual. The actual begin to feel spectral. We seem to have to deal with ghostly presence of a dying Goa. We are haunted by the specter of Goa. Goa as place as become atopic (displaced and dislocated). Atopia has fallen on up. We are living in strange times. Goa has become an atopos . It is fast becoming a strange place and we are estranged from it. This is why it is urgent that we Goans embrace the challenge to come to terms with our condition and devise ways to respond to it.

Here I am not suggesting that Goa has come to an end. I am only suggesting that we can see the signs of its ends. We are haunted by its specters. We are facing difficult , troubling and wrong times. Time is no longer linear and Hegelian. Nothing is at a right time. The future of Goa appears to be wiped away. It is the lost future, that challenges us to live by the courage of hope. A linear , Hegelian conception of time makes us see light at the end of tunnel as a light of hope . But this light at the end of the tunnel may be a light of the engine that is coming to crush us. Hence, a linear conception of time which sees the future as fulfillment can misguide us. But the fear of closed future has to be resisted with courage of hope. We cannot close history by making our own existence its climax. History has not come to end. So to Goa has not come to an end. There is more history to come. History, therefore, is not closed but stays open. There are more Goans to come. They will goanize Goa perhaps differently. The challenge that we have is to find ways to goanize ourselves and Goa facing the dark challenges that we are encircling us today.

We are facing Goa between it’s broken pasts, promised futures and ill-directed presents. Perhaps, some of us are afflicted by a Hegelian wound. Hegelian wound makes us think that time before the wound was glorious. Colonization and conversion , perhaps, is thus assimilated as wound. Time before, the wound is then idealized and glorified. But time before the wound was also perceived as wounded and Portuguese were indeed called to heal that wound of that time. This means past is never really golden. Each time has its own burdens and its wounds which remain hidden to us because of the distance that we have from it. It is this hermeneutics of distance that makes us think that past was better than the present and we take it on ourselves to give future to this past. In fact, what we call Goa came into being with the Portuguese rule and what we call Goan-ness was developed by Goans under-colonial as well as post-colonial times. Hence, it is important for us to see the evolution of Goa as well as Goan-ness in time. We did save Goa at the time of opinion poll. Today we have the challenge to save both Goa and Goan-ness. We will not be able to save Goa without understanding it’s broken pasts , ill-directed presents and lost futures. To achieve our end, it will do well if we give up the notion of history as a Hegelian march towards a crowning point. It is better to think of plural endings rather that one singular ending. Plural endings are fuller endings rather than an closed end running close to Nietzschean nihilism.

Hence, each of us Goans have an important task. We have to groan and protest and do our bit for Goa and Goans. It is in this that perhaps, we have to come to non-positivist notion of who is a Goan. Who is a Goan cannot be essentialized. We have the challenge to resist thinking Goan, Goan-ness and even Goa through essentialist and substantive lens. We may take inspiration from Michel Foucault in this context. Foucault thought of the author as a function. We to can think of a Goan as a function that is intimately linked with Goa and Goan-ness. This means there are many ways of being Goans. We can therefore, goanize in a plural way. Goans have not goanized in one single monolithic way across the length and breathe of time. We can unearth many genealogies of Goans goanizing in Goa and outside Goa. if we close the way of being Goan to a singular mode than we will not be able to respond adequately to the degoanization of Goa and Goan-ness faced by us today. This means Goa and Goan-ness was never a tabula-rasa and will not become a tabula-rasa. When we open ourselves to plural ways of being Goans , we shall enrich our Goan-ness and Goa.

Goanising of Goans has to address that fact that Goa is fast becoming a non-space to others. Bus stops, airports, railway stations, hospitals and shopping malls are non-spaces. We do not invest our affection, love and hopes into these non-spaces. To the tourists, Goa is one such non-space. To them it is only an exotic destination of enjoyment. This is why Goa is fast becoming atopos. This is where our goanizing has a role and responsibility. We Goans have the challenge to play hosts and refuse to be museumized and look at by the tourists. The gaze of the tourist is formed by the advertorial propaganda of the tourism industry. We face the challenge to inform this gaze or bring about a counter-gaze that challenges the one shaped by propaganda that is aimed at milking the cow of tourism for mere profits. We need responsible hosts and responsible guests to save Goa from becoming merely a non-space.

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GREETINGS

Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao