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Vol No CX No: 57 History of Goan culture Post-Orientalism
Goa, Saturday 27 February, 2010

Go figure A more documented study in the context of the intensity of the Goan emigration is needed, says TEOTÓNIO R DE SOUZA

W ith so many figures raining down on us all day, it’s


hard not to get carried away with the Budget hype.
It has become a tradition for every sector to analyse
M uch has happened in post-liberation
decades in favour of the revival of his-
torical studies in Goa. There has been a
great degree of internationalising of its research,
but this positive aspect has also put back the
the unification of Italy which sought its own place
in the concert of Europe following the Berlin Con-
ference and in the prevailing mood of the impe-
rialist Europe. Florence had hosted the Congress
of the Orientalists in 1878, where Gerson da
the huge Budget exercise in terms of how it would be affected ideal traced by D D Kosambi, the doyen of Goan Cunha was present. Ever since, two leading Flo-
— by way of income tax, or items they consume like cigarettes cultural studies, who insisted that history of Goa rentine scholars, Gubernatis and Mantegazza,
and fuel, or at best the possible impact of inflation. should not be viewed nor reduced to episode or deeply involved in Orientalist studies had main-
In this exercise, we might just be missing the wood for the episodes of national histories of the foreign colo- tained contacts with Gerson da Cunha, who had
trees. Is the Central Budget really that important to the state nial powers. It ought to be studied as a process also been their chaperon during their study visits
of the economy, and how it shapes our lives? of successive developments in the means and re- to India. Gerson da Cunha had even translated
lations of production that transformed the terri- into English Gubernatis’ Italian dramatic piece
While we see a few percentage point changes happen in
tory and its population. We wish to see the Goa Savitri based on Mahabharata and organised a
specific taxes or concessions, the fact is that a poor monsoon University providing a stronger lead in the efforts public performance in Bombay through a Parsee
could still have a bigger impact on all of us, than all the pro- in this direction through the projects of its De- sponsor.
posals of a Pranab Mukherjee. partment of History and motivating private insti- Central to the discussion in Filipa L Vi-
Inflation and devaluations have happened time and again tutions and individual researchers in the territory cente’s research are the personal misunder-
in recent decades, outside the hallowed halls of parliament. under its jurisdiction and beyond. Such efforts standings between Gerson da Cunha and his
Even competent analysts are willing to concede that Indian will necessarily represent challenges to its quality Italian scholar-friend, based upon and re-
budgets, once an important annual fiscal exercise, now have and competence, but in the long run will ensure vealing their individual cultural self-image.
their “sheen eroded” as many important Union budget deci- its prestige and academic standing. The author of the book provides us her own
sions are taken outside the budget exercise, with deregulation By referring in the title to ‘Goan Culture’ I wish reading of the reactions of the various actors,
and decontrol growing. to call attention to the need of a critical post-ori- and does not hesitate to state that the Eu-
entalist approach to Goan historiography, and ropeans in India were quite happy when the
At another level, the country’s huge black economy makes not merely to downplay the traditional emphasis natives accepted their differences, but were
its impact felt by stealth. How many times have we experienced upon political history that provided the easy edge HISTORICAL EXPLORATIONS usually disturbed when they affirmed to be
the reality ourselves, when we are told even a simple purchase to historians who depend almost exclusively upon a wider and critical debate. tuguese Numismatics (1880) and his essay – The equal to the Europeans (p 21), who wished to
would “cost extra” is we need a bill for it? the colonial archives, whether in Europe or in Filipa L Vicente is a young but senior Portuguese Konkani Language and Literature (1881). Through see the genuine ‘Indianness’ only in the difference.
Incidentally, 2007 figures suggest that India, a country of India itself. The change to cultural history and scholar with good experience of research in cul- the surviving correspondence of Gerson da Cunha Points out, for instance, the difficulty that Gerson
1170 million, has just 31.5 million taxpayers! So much for all so-called post-colonial studies demands explo- tural history, and brings to us this brilliant pro- with the Italian Sanskrit scholar Gubernatis, pre- da Cunha expressed in being referred to as Brah-
the many hours of televised programming, and rain-forests ration of different sources and different analytical duction that questions and demands a more served in the archives of Florence, we have now min (outside Goa), because he did not want to
of newsprint, that focuses on the nitty-gritties, while probably approaches. critical analysis of the manipulation of manipula- a clearer picture of the personality and ticks of be mistaken among his western contacts as a
missing the bigger picture. I am watching curiously but also with some tors (call them elites or cultural-brokers if you this influential Goan doctor that was part of the Hindu, particularly after having received a
apprehension a neo-orientalist trend, which looks prefer) in the colonial context or at all times. The leading Goan elite in Bombay in the second half Papal award. It would be interesting for us,
Everyone sees just what they wish in the Budget. The point the Saidian orientalism as simplistic, and seeks also, to know what were Gerson da Cunha’s
study explores private correspondence, which of the 19th century.
has been made of how businessmen and regional satraps to identify and illustrate active native collaboration for me always had special fascination for recon- Filipa L Vicente offered to me her book a couple relations with the low-caste Goans, who
use the Budget exercise to flatter the ego of those in power. in the construction of knowledge that may have struction of cultural history. Mhamay family of weeks ago when we met at the Academia Na- were crowding Bombay and were expressing
Others see it as a timely exercise to wrest concessions. Critical been manipulated by the dominant colonial in- records were one such example which helped me cional de Belas Artes (Lisboa) where I was invited their socio-cultural divergences and discon-
biographies of some of India’s largest business houses have terests, but also served in the long run for the to reconstruct with greater clarity the commer- to speak on the Goan Tiatr as a cultural and tent through Tiatr.
told the stories of how empires were built by a strategic shift building of post-colonial nationalisms. I shall refer cial-cultural activities of that family, but also bring counter-cultural dramatic expression. There could From my limited information about the linkages
of a few percentage points over imports of certain products. here very briefly to a very recent post-doctoral to life some other little-known personalities like be no better coincidence that this to get this of Gerson da Cunha’s family with Sir Rogério de
But alternative perspectives have come up too. Centre for study by Filipa Lowndes Vicente, entitled Outros Rogério de Faria, a pioneer of the opium trade in book into my hands. I had spoken about the gen- Faria, I had mentioned in my past writings about
Science and Environment, from New Delhi, has called the Orientalismos: A Índia entre Florença e Bombaim the late 18th century. esis of the modern Goan Tiatr in Mumbai in 1892, the welcome that Goan Christian visitors received
1860-1900 (Lisboa, ICS, 2009). I see it as a good Filipa L Vicente puts more flesh upon the flashy inspired by an Italian Opera group that was touring in their home at Mazagaon (Mumbai). But this
“mere two per cent” hike in excise duty on oil-guzzling big example of a post-Orientalist research, rather needs a more documented study in the context
cars, sports and multi-utility vehicles as “too little too late”. and fleshy Gerson da Cunha, whose orientalist India at that time, and not unsurprisingly the first
than neo-Orientalist as some cases that I have research was known to us through – Notes on Tiatr performance was named Italian bhurgo (The of the intensity of the Goan emigration and the
It said the Budget failed to reduce excise duty on badly- referred to in recent past. We look forward to an the History and Antiquities of Chaul and Bassein Italian Boy). The book of Filipa Vicente helps us socio-economic problems and religious (Padroado)
needed buses or incentivise public transport for India’s highly early English version that could make it more ac- (1876), Sahayadri Khanda of the Skanda Purana to understand the fascination that India had for conflicts that troubled the community during that
congested cities, or stop the “rampant growth”of diesel per- cessible to a wide range of readers and promote (1877), Contributions to the Study of Indo-Por- the Italians at that time. It was in the context of period.
sonal vehicles that threaten our air quality. In its view, the
new National Clean Energy Fund and more allocations for
new and renewable energies, plus Rs 200 crore for a Climate
Resilient Agriculture Initiative were all welcome. CSE also
Tongue in cheek
Budget Blues By Adelmo Fernandes

I
noted that while the MoEF last month identified 75 “critically
polluted areas” across India, the finance minister agreed to n this world nothing can be said to be certain except the price of the gas-lighter and match-box has been reduced. and you get the other shoe of the same pair absolutely free.
clean up just one — the Tamil textile city of Tirupur. death and taxes,” wrote Benjamin Franklin. If taxes Well the average housewife is expected to be happy with To woo the student community the Government has decided
are certain then so is the budget. The budget, in a the reduction in the price of the tubing, the gas lighter and to bank on the students’ weakness. That is, of course, the
Goa meanwhile got a Rs 200 crore as a “Special Golden Ju- way, determines how much we have to contribute to the the match-box, even though she will have to pay through all prevailing mobile-phone. The Government, in the budget,
bilee” package to “preserve the natural resources”, restore government kitty. People, especially, those from the business the nose for the LPG cylinder. The price of all the vegetables has announced a special mobile package for the students.
erosion-prone beaches, and increase green cover through world, wait with baited breath for the sops and announce- has been increased. But the house-wife need not worry. It is called the ‘Talk-till-you-drop scheme’. In this scheme
“sustainable forestry”, as the finance minister put it. This ments to be made by the government in the Union budget. The price of green chillies has not been touched. Well, we the students can talk late nights without paying. You can
drew comment from a Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi Those belonging to the salaried class have to see whether will be able to eat mirchi-bhajia to our heart’s delight. The talk till you drop to sleep. For the average businessman:
and Kerala’s finance minister Thomas Isaac. they have to pay more by way of tax. The man of the hour price of saree has increased. But the women-folk need not The sales tax has been increased. But, then, there is a
But to see this in context, the Rs 200 crore is a relatively is, of course, the Finance Minister. Everyone, right from worry. The price of blouse-pieces has been reduced. Price scheme introduced by the Government. If the business man
small figure compared to what Goa itself spends in its own the house wife to the CEO of a multinational company, is of cosmetics has been increased substantially. But, then, pays the taxes honestly in a year, he can have a tax-holiday
Budget each year. Secondly, how much comes is not as im- circumspect of the budget. But, then, for the aam admi the all prevailing face-powder has been spared the increase the next year. He and his family can go on a government-
portant as how the money is spent; and India’s smallest states budgets come and budgets go but their life goes on as in price. paid holiday to any hill-station within the country.
has a reputation for leakages in its programmes and faulty usual. There is hardly any change. This is probably because For the student community: Unfortunately the amount of The Government has announced several schemes in
delivery mechanisms. Lastly, mis-spent funds are hardly any the budget does not touch the price of those things that money parents will have to pay for the education has gone the budget for uplif ting the poor and the marginalised
compensation for the battering the Goan coastline and its actually matter to the common man. Unfortunately, every up. Tuition fees have gone up. Books will be expensive as in the society. All the BPL families will be sold rice at
greenery has seen — including due to faulty policies — in budget, if anything, is just an eye-wash.A typical budget per the budget. But, then, the student community need not Rs3 per kg. The scheme comes with a rider. The rice
could go something like this with sops (?) announced for worry. Refills for the pens will cost less. While the price of will be supplied till stocks last. Surprisingly, one never
recent years. The bonus for Goa could, in fact, act as balm on every class. school shoes has gone up, the bright side of the budget is finds sops being announced in the budget for the politicians.
our conscience and spur on more business as usual policies For the average house-wife: The price of LPG has been that the price of shoe-laces has not been touched. The Gov- But, then, on second thought, do our politicians really need
without a care, instead of real concern for the coast and di- increased by a whooping fifty percent. But, then, the price ernment has also introduced the ‘Buy-one-get-one-free’ any sops? They have stacked up enough wealth not only
minishing greenery. of tubing for the LPG cylinders has been reduced. So also scheme as far as shoes are concerned. You buy one shoe for themselves but for another four generations to come.

Letters to the Editor


Sunday, there is a need for the Holi revelers you eat must be produced by somebody, Paths of Wisdom
You too, Police!
Socorro DSouza, Fatorda
to play Holi safely. They should avoid using Letter of the Day somewhere.
plastic bags, water and harmful colours. Most of our farmers are marginal farm-
The Police are supposed to protect the cit-
izens but they themselves persecute them.
It is nothing but anarchy. Few corrupt po-
Sometimes dirty gutter water is used to
throw on unwary people, mainly two wheel-
ers. Play safe Holi.
Injustice to Class IV ers, living a hand-to-mouth existence. They
cannot afford the modern agricultural equip-
Vinayak Naik, Goa Velha ments; they do not take loans whatever
licemen and high ranking government of- may be the rate of interest because they
ficials are bringing disgrace to the august Why not Goan contractors? In GMC, the doctors are doing private practice and still drawing non-practicing know the consequences.
institutions and making mockery of those S Kamat, Alto Betim allowance in thousands of rupees besides receiving hefty salary in Goa Medical
At present agriculture is un-remunerative
very offices they hold.
The newspapers in the last fortnight had
College. Similarly, they are also performing major and minor operations in private
with high labour cost, and non-availability Science and Spirituality
Police officers extract bribe from crim- hospitals. Thus, government is losing crores of rupees every year for paying NPA. By Kalidas Sawkar
inals for destroying prosecution’s case, for carried the news that the Government is This should be stopped forthwith. of farm labour. Our agricultural scientists
manipulating evidence, and for false impli- appointing CRRI (Central Road Research In- Similarly, all Class IV employees at GMC are drawing Patient Care Allowance whether and agricultural administrators sit in air- Life is always in quest of its surroundings,
cation to fix up innocents in criminal cases stitute) to advise them on planning, layout they are working in the hospital or not, to take care of the patients. These allowances conditioned offices in the cities and ser- to assimilate, to know, to be. In higher
while letting free the real criminals by filing and structuring of the entire road network should be given to those class IV employees, who are working years together in the monise the farmers what they should do, forms, besides eating it also wants to be
summary reports to close prosecution cases, within Goa down to the village level for hospital without any transfers. Some of the Class IV employees, especially the without ever entering a field and actually comfortable… and then, to control the
to involve innocents in fake encounters, to which the CRRI had quoted a handsome attendants, are drawing salary and patient care allowance by working in the offices demonstrating what is to be done. environment…
apply 3rd degree torture on innocents, etc. amount. One fails to understand why our and not in the hospital. This is not correct and the Patient Care Allowances should The government should provide farming In man, this takes him to a next level
The powers of arrest granted to Police are government is hell-bent on wasting money. be withdrawn. These attendants with their influence work in the offices without ever equipments such as tractors, transplantation of intelligence…
misused and bail business commenced in Why is the work not given to the town working in the hospitals for years together and the less fortunate work in hospital and harvester machines to a cluster of vil- In the beginning, as man observed,
connivance with few lawyers and APP’s. planners and architects within Goa, who years together without any transfer. There are cases in GMC that class IV employees, lages free of cost on a pilot basis, which learnt and tried to form ideas, vague con-
In addition, such connivance is also ex- can study and recommend the road network fortunate ones, continue to work in offices since their appointments in GMC for cepts helped him. He formed groups,
will boast agriculture instead of loans and
in Goa down to the village level at a much years together without any transfer to hospital. Our dynamic Health Minister Vishwajeet managed them and later controlled…
isting for giving favourable bail orders, and sermons. In the long run, the initial invest-
lower cost? Rane, should effect the transfers of Class IV employees, who have been working in Vagueness was workable. It could be
then by manipulations to set free actual ment by the government will be off-set by understood, or else, imagined, envisioned
Our own politicians and administrators, the hospital and vice-versa, since great injustice is being done to them.
criminals. All these goes to prove false the greater productivity. and accepted in Faith.
with little or no knowledge, tend to spoil
public perception that persons behind bars things in a big way or in some cases per- Some men used utilitarian approach,
are the only criminals and those outside are good manently as far as traffic flow is concerned. tians to reflect, meditate, fast and to pray on my wife’s birthday to one popular bar- Fish curry and rice calibrated and became technical and then
ones. Many-a-times innocent people are wrongly The other thing about contracting things for forty days in commemoration of the and-restaurant by the Bogmalo beachfront. Prof Robert Castellino, Calangute scientific…
implicated and put behind bars, whereas some out to CRRI is that this government shouts forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness The waiter ignored me and my wife for As the majority of Goans depend on marine These groups were not rigorously de-
criminals go around free. from the rooftop time and again that people fasting, meditating and reflection before about 15 minutes, while we sat by the table products for their food, the plan to have fined. There was semi-permeability to
The criminal act of corrupt majority is bringing passing out from our engineering schools beginning his ministry. Lent was also the helplessly waiting for him to take our order. fish markets at the 20 jetties will be seen travel across…
disgrace to the honest few in police service and and other professionals fail to get jobs time of preparation for those who were to He was catering to the needs of other Eu- as a boon for the people. Some became very proficient but could
to the institution as a whole. within the State and exhorts industry to be baptised, a time of concentrated study ropean tourists, who entered the scene It is expected that this move will bring not relate within the group itself, much
give them jobs. When it comes to handing and prayer before their Baptism at the much later than us. down the prices of fish considerably. In less across…
Play safe Holi out contracts by the government, it fails Easter vigil. There definitely needs to be some law order that the benefit accrues to the com- The accuracy and vagueness expanded
Cajetan Peter D'Souza, Mumbai to keep its word and gives these to those Somewhere down the time line, this in our state so that such incidents will never mon man and not the rich hoteliers, sale beyond measure in both groups...
from outside the State. changed to a period of prayer, penance and recur again to any Indian. It is shameful to of fish at these markets should be restricted In the end, don’t both, Science and
As the festival of colours is celebrated on
Is it not time enough that our govern- charity with some abstinence. But aren't see our own people (waiters) being lured to a quantity sufficient for the daily needs Adhyatma, talk about the same attrib-
ment takes action commensurate with its these to be practiced by every Christian by foreign money and ignoring our own of a family only. utes?
100 Years Ago pronouncements? on a daily basis till death? When Jesus said people. Isn’t this discrimination under our But just as they can converge, they di-
‘take up your cross and follow me’, he did own roof? Live peacefully verge; one keeping in tune with time,
Why only 40 days? not mean for forty days only. The same ap-
Xavier J Thottan, Curtorim
other paradoxically, oblivious while talk-
Oswald Mattos, Ribandar plies to some Lenten resolutions made by Agricultural crisis ing of it.
PRIMEIRO DIARIO NAS COLONIAS PORTUGEZAS some people to abstain from vices/bad SND Poojary, Miramar Recently, there was a big hue and cry about For Science, understanding is to make
The letter by Michael Vaz ‘On Lenten an audio CD titled ‘Dogui Bodmas’ by some use. For Adhyatma, understanding is
habits. After the forty days, they go back
27 February 1910 hypocrisy’ (Herald, 24 Feb) made me to
think deep.
to the same old bad habits/vices. There is a famous saying: A country that
neglects agriculture is doomed. This is what
Goan artists followed by riots, road blocks, being just happy in knowledge.
It was Carnival on 26 February 1910 protests etc. Archbishop Rev Filipe Neri re- One is scientific, other ascetic.
The Lenten period, which is believed happened to the ‘Green Revolution’ India.
and the office of oHeraldo had a holi- to have come into practice in the fourth Why discriminate? Over the years, our planners paid more at-
quested these talented artists not to misuse Then, why the two should be skep-
day, so there was no issue on 27 Feb- Noel D'mello, Vasco da gama their talents, but rather use it to edify tical of each other? One is eating
century CE, was originally called ‘Quadra- tention to the manufacturing, tertiary (ser- everyone in this land of Goa. fruit knowing its genome, happy for
ruary 1910, 100 years ago. Hence the gesima’ meaning forty days, before it was I had often heard of discriminatory service vice) and the IT sectors as they create wealth
column ‘100 Years Ago’ is not published But what about lyrics and songs that are understanding what he is really eat-
replaced by the Germanic word ‘Lent’ used towards Indians at several places where and employment. However, though it may sung against ‘Malayalees’ using words like ing; other just fruit, names not im-
today. to refer to the spring season. foreign tourists were frequenting. I expe- sound childish, it is true that when you are
– Editor ‘Undaa-Gundoo’ in many CDs blaring in portant for his digestion.
This period was used by the early Chris- rienced the same when I went out for dinner hungry, you cannot eat money! The food market places all over Goa?
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