Thursday 23 May 2024

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

A Time to Celebrate


We must also give new meanings from our experience to what we are all searching for, namely the grammar of the new politics.

On the eve of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Liberation of Goa, I am drawn back to September 1962 when my husband, Alban, arrived in Panjim to be part of the new civilian government.

It was a time of idealism and hope.

It was a time when much care was being taken to see that justice was not merely done but was seen to be done.

An opportunity arose to resume my teaching career.

In appointment to posts, local Goans needed to be employed and my husband who as Development Commissioner was also in charge of Education, was not keen at all and could not be persuaded that there was no one available with the necessary qualifications. He was, of course, finally persuaded by Dr Lawande, Principal of Dhempe College.

I reflect on all of this sadly as the vast changes that have taken place in subsequent decades mean that these days, nepotism has almost become a way of life.

Celebrating the Goan mind

To get back to the teaching of English, where in 1962 it was near impossible to find staff qualified to teach the language at undergraduate and post graduate level, the educational scene has changed and grown dramatically. One of the strengths of Goan youth seeking employment is their command of the English language.

There is much to be proud of 50 years on and much to celebrate.

Goa has its physical borders; but there is also what is now called psycho-geography - the soil and the language that has created the Goan mind which transcends physical borders.

Alban, who was involved in the most crucial years of the development of Goa, always spoke of the need for developing the entrepot economy in which Goa has had a comparative advantage in trade and financial and managerial services for the hinterland of the rest of the country and for foreign countries. 

Unlocking our value

Surely now we must continue to strive harder and work past the usual barriers of corruption and bureaucracy to find the appropriate framework for a financial and managerial economy, a hub for India and the rest of the world.

After all, Goa is already well equipped with its IT network as well as its road, rail, airport, and seaport network.

Goa has always prided itself on giving priority to the acquisition of knowledge and fortunately the new sunrise information technologies are ideally suited to the development of the Goan mind, and will feed into Goa's strengths in pharmacy, medicine, management, trade, and finance.

It is what Francis Luis Gomes, more than a century ago, and what the late Prabhakar Angle in our own times, called social capital.

It is this which will give the bread and butter and the poetry and music to our vision for our State.

Politics and the marginalized

We must also give new meanings from our experience to what we are all searching for, namely the grammar of the new politics.

This would mean giving secularism more credence by appreciating the pluralism of culture and religion.

We should also encourage people's participation in governance with the strengthening of municipalities and panchayats, the adaptation and perhaps even the replacement of institutions like the communidades provided we can devise ways of carrying on the good work which some of them did in the past for agriculture and fisheries and for protection of the environment.

Most of all we need to protect the share of entrants - the young, the professional, women, and the marginalized and vulnerable sections into the party system and government.

To the next 50 years.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

A very nice blog! I like and appreciate her views. Many people like me would love to read her views on the corruption and nepotism that has slowly crept in our system and if not eradicated speedily, will cause complete collapse of the system in the very near future!

Vishwas Prabhudesai |

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Maria Aurora Couto

Maria Aurora Couto, recipient of Padma Shri in 2010, is a writer and an educationist. Her book "Goa: A Daughter's Story", a cultural history of Goa, analyses the state of the tiny state from pre-liberation Portuguese regime till date. She has also translated “Etnography of Goa, Daman and Diu”, a classic work in Portuguese by A.B. Braganca Pereira. Both books have been published by Viking, Penguin. Yet another book to her credit is "Graham Greene: On the Frontier, Politics and Religion in the Novels" by Macmillan, London published in 1986. She is also known for fearlessly voicing out her opinions on Goa's social and environmental issues. 


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