An Ode to Fr Bismarque
Father Bismarque was a simple man with a simple mission in life ‘Save Goa’ from those working towards destroying its social, environmental and cultural foundations.
His enemy was the enemy of Goa. It did not matter to him who was the person, company or lobby, that he stood up against. He rose against those projects and ideas that he earnestly believed were against Goa. He even fought the powerful forces of the Catholic Church in the state during the Vanxim Island agitation.
I, having known Father Bismarque in our few encounters and I admired the fact that he had an unconditional love for Goa – its people, its environment and its social fabric. More so he had this unwavering joy in the belief, that life and the Universe had created each one of us for a purpose and we should find that purpose, cherish it and give back to nature our best.
He was passionate but not naïve or impulsive. He was committed to his mission and he believed that through his endeavors, if he could, one person at a time, bring about a constructive change in thought and action in the people of Goa. The state could save some of its cultural and environmental glory that it was slowly loosing to rapid development without care or concern for the environment and the locals.
When I heard that Father Bismarque was missing. I feared the worst. My instincts told me something untoward had happened to him. It is also got me thinking hard whether Goa has reached a stage now, where an activist could be bummed off. In so many years of activisms against large-scale projects no such incident of death comes to mind of an activist in the forefront of a campaign being silenced.
When I heard he drowned and learned about the sequence of events surrounding his death, I was left pondering that the most simplest of fact seemed to not have crossed the investigation officer’s mind that “Do you think Father Bismarque was that kind of person who would go out for a swim at that time in the night, in a claimed, drunken state? Would you like the people of Goa to believe that Father Bismarque acted or behaved like a drunk-man with no care of life or death?”. This reasoning alone should have spurred the investigators on in the direction of foul-play.
There are only two possible explanation to his death. One that he got caught in a whirlpool in the river and in a intoxicated state might may not have been able to rescue himself from the unexpected predicament of life and death, as told by the two-boys who were last with him.
Or it could all be one big plan to eradicate Fr Bismarque and the two boys, now witnesses, were plants to fabricate a story of an accidental death.
It stumps me to think, knowing that Fr Bismarque was swimming in the waters late at night and in deeper whirlpool-claimed terrain, not one of the boys decided to wait for him. Just left and went to sleep. Even when they woke up, did not feel the need to raise an immediate alarm, in fact they after a few calls to him, walked back home and avoiding being noticed by other villagers.
Sadly, the lethargic attitude of the Goa police in understanding the seriousness of the death and its impact on the people of Goa, who looked up to crusaders like Father Bismarque is shocking. The second autopsy also throws light on the doubts that family and other well-wishers continue to have – an injury on the head and genitals. According to their beliefs and information at hand, the death of Father Bismarque is a murder and not an accidental death.
Truth can never stay hidden. It will find a way to surface to the top, just like a body that drowns or is drowned in water. The truth of Father Bismarque’s death will come to light soon. Everything about the sequence of events surrounding his death smells fishy. It appears to be a well-spun story.
The question I am baffled about is, who amongst his enemies would go through such an elaborate planning to execute him and who would have the resources. In fact on November 4th, Father Bismarque did file a complaint against a person who had threatened him with dire consequences.
The other question that baffles me is why has the Church not yet made a statement on the death of Bismarque who was one of their own, till he decided to rebel against the corruption within the Church.
When bad things happen to good people, it gets the community thinking and acting to fight for justice.
May your enthusiasm live on Fr Bismarque!