Bhakti Kulkarni – Goa’s Renowned Chess Player

1)What do you think are the changes that have happened in Goa in the last four years and what do you see in the future of Goa in the next four years? 

The main thing we Goans have achieved in the last four years is political stability. Once the Goans thought beyond caste and religion, we got a stable government.  If this Government does not work satisfactorily, the Goans have become mature to bring another set of stable Government and this fact will force the govt in power to be people friendly. I see very bright future for Goa.

2- What are the most critical issues working towards Goa’s advantage?

I have been travelling a lot and see different cultures from close quarters. I have never come across such mature culture as Goans have. It is typical mix of Catholic, Hindu, Maharashtrian, Portuguese, Karnataka and I am proud to say that we Goans are very tolerant. This works for Goans when we go though any crisis. The Goans stick together and work peacefully without taking any extreme measures. The State will soon go through Mining crisis because of this culture.

The Goans are basically very intelligent people. Dr. Kakodkar, Dr. Mashelkar have proved it beyond doubt. Our musicians like Remo, Mangeshkar family etc have put Goa’s name on International map. In mind sports, I have recently won Commonwealth Woman Chess Championship at Glasgow, Scotland among other titles.

3- What are the most critical issues working towards Goa’s disadvantage?

Basically the Goans have remained happy-go-lucky lot. We do not like to work 12 hours a day to earn more luxuries in our life. However we have to learn something from the Japanese. If we start working more time, not only we personally but whole Goa will prosper. I am not saying about working in factories or offices. Take for example my case! When I was sleeping in the afternoons, I was getting moderate success. I was Champion of Goa in Men, women, Junior-any category you name. I could have been happy. I was getting moderate success on National level. However my coach Dronacharya Gokhale sir changed everything. He forced me to work hard for 4 hours a day and suddenly I started winning not only national but International medals. None of the Goans had done that before. Now hard working Goan chess players have started giving tough times to International players.

4- What does Goa need to do over the next four years to be recognised as a Global destination?

When travelling abroad I always carry with me picture postcards about Goa and present them as a souvenir to the people there. Unfortunately most of them have not heard about Goa, its wonderful beaches, our culture. They go to various other destinations for the same things and spend a lot more.

We could initiate a massive drive in Western Europe to educate people about Goa as a tourist place. Take for an example one Chess Tournament- Prague International Open! Players from 35 countries participate there. And chess is a game of white collared people who do not mind spending on travel. If we have a tie up with the organisers, we can have publicity reaching 35 countries. It I think it will not cost more.

5- Are the people of Goa its biggest drawback or its biggest strength?

I feel that the people is Goa’s biggest strength. They are as intelligent as any other Indian. Only thing they need is somebody to tell them this fact! The Goans excel once they move out of Goa. Lata Mangeshkar, Jitendra Abhisheki, Dilip Sardesai, Scientists Dr. Kakodkar and Dr. mashelkar, Vice President of Citycorp,USA Victor Menezis, Director of CBI John Lobo were Goans! Our sports persons Brahmanand Shankhwalkar ,Bruno Coutinho have brought laurels to Goa. If the players winning Nationals are given further push, Goa can be a force in International sports, too.

The setting up of IIT will be another milestone in Goa. We have to take advantage of it by shedding our lethargy.

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