How much Goa has changed in the last 18 years is evident in the frenzy with which the administration has been gearing to deal with the situation following the verdict on the Ayodhya issue. 18 years ago on 6th December 1992, the Babri Masjid at Ayodha came crumbling down under the weight of the thousands of people spurred by militant hindudtva ideology. There were quite a few Goans at Ayodhya on that day including politicians like Mohan Amshekar. But what made Goa stand out was the fact that while the rest of the country went up in flames even before the dust of the demolished mosque settled, Goa remained calm and placid. While rioting, looting, burning and even killing occurred in all the states of the country, in Goa there was not a single untoward incident thereby
justifying the sobriquet that Goa had of being the Rome of the East and Kashi of the West – in short a paradise on earth where peace and calm prevails.
However, since then much water has flowed down the Mandovi and Zuari. The Konkan Railway has come to Goa since then. Industry has taken firm roots on Goan soil and the construction industry has flourished. Tourism has moved quite a few notches higher with more and more visitors coming to this land. But with all these developments, there is definitely a great amount of degeneration too whether it is of the Goan language, culture or identity.
Goa has witnessed communal riots be it at Curchorem or Margao over matters as trivial as a hindu boy ragging a muslim girl. Though not many articulate it, the rapidly increasing muslim population is causing a great amount of discomfort to Goans and the demolition of their place of worship that trigged the conflagration at Curchorem was a manifestation of it. The muslim community too is guilty of being very aggressive and adamant particularly over the burial ground at Margao issue. While parishioners of Grace Church do not have a burial place for their dead, and they die in far greater numbers than the muslims, the muslims can be accused of dictating too many terms to the administration probably because they know the value their votes hold. The discovery of swords in a vehicle near a muslim dominated area recently has brought home the point that peaceful Goa will soon be a thing of the past.
It is probably because of these changed realities that the State administration went into a tizzy to be prepared for any eventuality following the Ayodhya verdict. Police were put on alert, leaders of different communities were consulted and urged to promote peace and sobriety. Indeed what a change in 18 years!
“Why O Why did this have to happen?”