Sunday 21 July 2024

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Nobel to Tagore was 'western politics': Teotonio


Honouring Ravindranath Tagore with Nobel Prize was part of Western politics to pull him apart from Mahatma Gandhi on the issue of nationalism, said Teotonio R de Souza, a renowned Indo-Portuguese historian from Goa.

He was speaking at a release function of his new book “Goa Outgrowing Postcolonialism: Historical Explorations (1961-2014)”, held at GCCI hall in Panaji yesterday evening.

Speaking about much-debated opinion of Tagore on the concept of nationalism and his differences with Gandhi on the issue, de Souza said the Britishers succeeded in this regard as Tagore, after Nobel, spoke publicly on his views of nationalism, which were ‘anti-national’ in nature.

“The same person also wrote a national anthem for us”, said de Souza, the Fellow of the Portuguese Academy of History.

In his brief address, de Souza made a reference to nationalism in view of the ongoing issue of Special Status for Goa, stating neither the issues of identity nor nationalism should divide the people.

While expressing his opinion on the demand of Special Status for Goa, de Souza said we should not reduce our life to an aquarium or a museum.

“Life is made of many visions, visions even conflicting each other sometimes”, said de Souza.

The issue of identity of Goa should not lead to dividing the people, but uniting.

To strengthen his point further, he referred to the famous Gandhi-Tagore debate on nationalism, where Tagore had opposed the concept of nationalism mooted by Gandhi, in a broader perspective.

He also said that history should be analysed in a proper perspective, in order to build a better future and not to create conflicts among human race.

Elaborating on his new book, de Souza, Head and Chair of the Department of History of Universidade Losofona of Lisboa said: “it’s a history of the present, the post-colonial era of last 53 years.”

“The four-and-half-century colonial rule of Portuguese might have impacted our identity as Goans, but our history is not limited to the colonial rule alone. It is deep rooted, the history of the people and not the rulers”, he said.

Dr Satish Shetye

Goa University vice chancellor Dr Satish Shetye, while speaking on the post-liberation Goa, said his generation represents one decade of the Portuguese rule and five decades of the Indian Union.

“I did my primary education in Bicholim where my colleagues from Mharwaddo were made to sit on the ground while we were sitting on the benches. We can’t even think of such discrimination today. Isn’t it a development of the human kind”, he asked the audience.


Recalling his friend from Margao who settled abroad while grumbling about traffic jams and garbage problems, he said the recent elections have proved that people are coming forward for growth and the economy is developing at 10 per cent annually in Goa’s tourism sector alone.

“What is important is economic growth with matured politics and respect for law, which we are witnessing in the last five decades in Goa”, observed Dr Shetye.

Anju Timblo

Anju Timblo, managing director of Cidade de Goa and director of the Fomento Group, observed that Goans who live abroad keep grumbling negatively without contributing in any manner to improve the situation.

She gave a different dimension to the ongoing demand of Special Status, recalling the union territory days from 1961 to 1987 when Goa was almost enjoying a special status for 26 years.

“There was no special status, but Goa was special for the union government”, she said.

There is in-migration because Goa is still special and beautiful, she said, while admitting that it would impact the Goan identity. However, she did not comment on whether Goa needs or not the Special Status to preserve the identity.

The GCCI auditorium was overflowing with the regular readers of de Sousa, who analyses Goa with an objective perspective.

Former union minister Eduardo Faleiro also spoke on the occasion. Sushila Sawant Mendes compered. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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