Tuesday, March 25, 2008
A week or so ago, in the face of the storm that sought to blow the Scarlett Keeling incident totally out of proportion and paint Goa as a sleazy drug den, Maria Aurora Couto pointed out on NDTV’s ‘We the People’ debate that the Goa where this event transpired, was not “her Goa”. Around the same time, Rajdeep Sardesai pointed out in his essay in the Hindustan Times that “The Goa of a tiny strip of beach between Candolim and Anjuna is constantly in the media gaze and makes front page headlines. The vast majority of Goans who live outside this world are rarely documented because their lives seem much too unexciting to be explored.” This
Point well made you guys, since there is a need to strike back at the deliberately created image of
When Sardesai says that
Already following the moral hoo-ha in the course of the Keeling incident there have been efforts to suggest the imposition of an end to rave-parties, a firm stop to the nigh-life post 11 in the evening. And of course, because such events are not in keeping with ‘Goan’ culture, it finds legitimacy, no bother that it is going to impact on the livelihoods of local Goans, who may not necessarily be engaged in drug or sex trade. The morality argument in effect serves two rightist interests. It allows
What was remarkable about the NDTV debate was the total absence of the lower caste and class Goan. Think closely and you will realise how their image of
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Its been going on for sometime, but since the past few years one hears a number of Catholic Brahmins stand up to proclaim their Saraswat status. To be proud that they were (are?) Brahmin we can argue is as old as the sun, but to see themselves as Saraswat is a relatively new phenomenon. It is this fact, and the fact that Chardos can claim to have a Maratha heritage that will ensure that there will be no major confrontation between the two major religious groups in Goa. This does not translate to the fact that there will be communal harmony however. It is clear, especially in light of the recent clamour that there be a ban on cow slaughter in Goa, that the Hindu right will persist in stirring up trouble. However there may be a management of the tension through the alliance that is brought about through the identification of the Catholic upper-caste groups with their Hindu upper-caste brethren. It may not be openly acknowledged, but these two upper caste groups have time and again collaborated to ensure that the status-quo is maintained, the easiest example being the manner in which the Konkani agitation was managed. Upper caste Catholic and Saraswat combine to create the (Konkani) terms for their dominance. And since it was upper caste interests and alliances that were focused on, it is no surprise that where Konkani was concerned, the lower caste Catholic was sold out and deliberately left with no real linguistic option. The implications for communal strife through Catholic upper-caste identification with Hindu upper-castes is more in evidence in Mangalore. Most Mangalorean Catholics are so eager to pass themselves off as upper-caste, that they have in recent years produced Brahmin identities for themselves, and sharpened their weddings with Brahmanical rituals. The result is that whenever there is communal strife in the area, they are able to persuade themselves that it is a Muslim problem and lie low; play the Christian cheek as it were. That this strategy does not work for long can be seen by the fact that not too long ago was the attack on a group of Catholic religious, where one of them literally had his teeth pushed in. Quite clearly then, the assertion of an upper-caste identity by non-Hindu groups works only to ensure a management of communal tension, as these groups work hand-in-hand to keep the lower castes in check, until they realize that the communal situation has blown up in their collective faces!
Goa may not see Catholic-Hindu riots but it has and will continue to see unprovoked attacks on Muslims, because the upper-caste Catholic, who is in control of Church and community has internalized Hindu nationalist logic about the Muslim. As such, rather than realizing that they stand to gain should they identify with a minority group that is being punished for not being Hindu upper-caste, they join in the persecution of the Muslim. Another reason for the persecution is the Goan Catholics’ own insecurity about their status and future in the state. It is a fact of history that rather than stand together against a common bully, the weak fight among themselves. The anti-Muslim feeling in Goa should really be put down to this, the weak fighting the weak, one set of dominant groups stoking the fire and the other playing ostrich trying to blend in. It didn’t help the assimilated Jews in Europe, why would it help us?