We celebrate 50 Years of Goa Liberation Day today. The mood of the people is one of nostalgia and a bit of disappointment as well. This is mainly due to the fact that while we have been liberated from the shackles of the colonial rule, we are now bound by the shackles of the corruption rule.
Goa has indeed progress, but the progress has come at a price and it lacks a vision that takes people, environment and economics into consideration. And this has happened because successive governments that have governed this state have failed to understand the unique identity of the people of this state, its land and create social and economic activities around it.
In my opinion one of the greatest crimes ever committed on the people of Goa by our government is the slow and planned manner in which many politicians has reduced the role of the very successful Village Republic system in Goa called the ‘Communidade’, this is nothing but sheer greed for land grab and an aim to try and convert Goa into another metropolis. Our lands today are being purchased by people from across India and some even outside of India (though this has been curtailed to some extent) and the real estate value has exceeded beyond the purchasing power of the locals. And with this started the advent of the migrant population in Goa and exodus of the Goan population out of Goa to other parts of the country and world.
Goa’s appeal lies in the identity of its people, its environment and its underlining ethos of cultural harmony and co-existence. If walk back even 15 years ago, you would feel safe to leave the doors of the house open in your village, while you went about doing your chores. Today this freedom is slowly dying; besides looking the doors, many have now started to take security measures on the account of the growing incidents of robbery and crime.
Sex, crimes and drugs were adages that were far away from the experiences of the people of Goa; today, it these words have become the adjectives to describe Goa. Tourism appeal which is something that has come to us by providence is something that our government is hell-bent on taking down the route that Bangkok possessed ten years ago. While some still come to Goa to appreciate its beauty and hospitality; there is growing numbers that are coming to Goa because they see it as their local Thailand of pleasures and frolic. Look at the Russians today, some parts of North Goa in particular Morjim have become mini-Russia in which our local Goans face the brunt and our police-politicians do nothing to curb this menace and free flow of new economy and thrash.
Our green environment and natural cover along with the beaches is the beauty of our state which is akin to a woman with a long glorious hair locks. But today parts of this environment have got a bald patch because of the rampant and unchecked illegal mining. Even after knowing the truth and involvement of certain ministers in the Congress-led Government, no authority is willing to correct the situation and set things right. Just doling out Rs 200 crore for the clean-up of our beaches is like a candy given to a girl child when you shave off her hair for the first time. I will not be surprised that in the Rs 200 crore grants given by the Centre, there is another scam waiting to be exposed.
What I feel most sad about is that we have become of state of people who are ready to blame everyone else for our current state of affairs. If there is anything wrong in Goa, we blame our politicians. If there is a migrant population increase, we blame our politicians. The question which is most pertinent and needs to be asked is, who elected these corrupt politicians in the first place, have we not played a role in them coming to power and putting us in this situation.
We have either joined hands with them on account of their mere goodies or simply ignored our constitutional right to vote for better people in politics. More importantly, the most dangerous of the lot seem to be the people who continuously talk about change and betterment of Goa from an intellectual capacity, but when it comes to taking a stand a leading the people through the electoral process and governance, they chose to hide under the garb that politics in a dirty business or we do not have the money to compete against corrupt politicians.
The situation on issues in Goa has become so skewered that we cannot define what we want from what we need. Today everyone is an activist and everyone is objecting to some issue or the other; and strangely no-one notices that we are not going forward, we are not progressing. The politicians have made money available to people and even those that make noise in the guise of doing social work; so they have become dependent towards that easy money and any real social or economic progress is lacking. And it precisely the reason why some of our educated Goan brothers and sisters are using their talent elsewhere in the world than in making Goa progress and grow.
It is wonderful to be liberated but we would be truly free when every child in our state gets a good education and healthcare, our educated Goans get good jobs, our environment, our culture and our tradition is not wiped out in the process of rampant urbanization.
We will be truly liberated when the Centre gives Goa its ‘Special Status’.
We will be truly liberated when those responsible for the illegal mining and destruction of our environment through real estate are behind bars.
We will be truly liberated when PEOPLE can instill fear into the politicians not politicians instilling fear into the people.
We will be truly liberated when PEOPLE elect because of the good that a person can do and not the money they get to vote for a corrupt politician.
And we will be truly liberated when we as Goans stand united with other fellow Goans irrespective of caste, creed, political preference or economic status.
Until then we are just prisoners and we will continue to be just that…