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To the Nations and Nation: Francis Xavier and Joseph Vaz

To the Nations and Nation: Francis Xavier and Joseph Vaz

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The missionary contribution of the two is compared and contrasted in the historical contexts in which the two functioned. Goa Archdiocese took a brave decision at the turn of the millenium to declare Joseph Vaz its patron, replacing St. Catherine who represented the colonial church. Joseph Vaz is seen as a missionary model for post-colonial Asia. Francis Xavier was a an imperial projection and served well the imperial times.
The missionary contribution of the two is compared and contrasted in the historical contexts in which the two functioned. Goa Archdiocese took a brave decision at the turn of the millenium to declare Joseph Vaz its patron, replacing St. Catherine who represented the colonial church. Joseph Vaz is seen as a missionary model for post-colonial Asia. Francis Xavier was a an imperial projection and served well the imperial times.

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Published by: Teotonio R. de Souza on Dec 05, 2009
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= = o HERALD o
Vol No CIX No: 339 Goa, Saturday 5 December, 2009

To the Nations and Nation: Francis Xavier and Joseph Vaz
n 1984 I was invited by the Goa Archidocese to deliver a talk to some pilgrims who had assembled at the tomb of St Francis Xavier. I chose to call it ‘To the Nations and Nation: The Apostle of the Indies and the Apostle of Ceylon’ (Renovaçäo, Bulletin of the Archdiocese of Goa, XV, n.4, Feb. 1985, pp. 65-67). The main argument of that talk remains relevant and open to reflection till date. Francis Xavier represented the powerful Iberian power of those times and simultaneously the hierarchical authority of the Tridentine Roman church, backed by the moral authority of the Society of Jesus in ascendancy. Francis Xavier was consequently backed by considerable authority, notwithstanding his own personality traits and zeal. Francis Xavier had extraordinary means at his disposal during his lifetime, and even his miracles post mortem were supported by the powerful propaganda machinery of the Jesuits. The political power of the Castillian Philips was also helpful and it is not suprising that two of the early Jesuits, both Spaniards, were beatified in a jiffy (Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier) in the early 1620s. The canonisation process and the celebrations that followed in 1623 were a grand manifestation of the political power of the Spanish rulers who could gain added legitimacy for their rule over the Portuguese empire at the time. Francis Xavier needs to be understood in the context of his times and mentality. It is no use attributing to him political motivations of today when he requested the King John III of Portugal to set up the Inquisition in Goa. He also had religious convictions very different from those of Vatican II. Thus for instance, writing from Cochin to the Portuguese king in 1545, he conveys his feelings of pity for the wretched souls of the Indians: “Your Highness has every reason for urging those whom you send here to labour tirelessly in propagating our holy faith and promoting our religion, since Your Highness knows that God will ask an accounting of you with respect to the salvation of great many nations that are ready to follow a better way if there were one to show it to them. But since they have no one to teach them, they are immersed in the darkness of ignorance and stained with grievous sins; and, since they continue to offend their Creator, they are wretchedly hurling their


hen he was 16 years old, Salil Chaturvedi had a scooter accident in Allahabad, and suffered a serious spinal injury. The accident may have broken his back, but it certainly did not break his spirit. Since then, this remarkable young man went on to play wheelchair tennis, write award winning prose, script and act in television serials, and live life to the fullest possible in his circumstances. On Wednesday, he became the first paraplegic (paralysis of the lower half of the body) in India to sail from Mumbai to Goa in a small sailing boat. He completed the journey over eight days, covering a total distance of 240 nautical miles (450 km) in a boat with just the most basic of facilities. Salil’s epic sail concluded on the eve of World Disability Day, on 3 December. However, even though the media featured it prominently, between the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the concluding functions of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and the Feast of St Francis Xavier, it did not make quite the impact it deserved to. This is precisely the point Salil seeks to make, that society needs to be much more sensitive to the needs of the disabled. Basic tasks such as access to shops, government offices, public transport, places of leisure and entertainment such as parks and cinema halls, even public toilets or the ATM, become impossible for a disabled person, merely because of the absence of simple aids like ramps and wider access doors. There is a huge gap in understanding this and taking ordinary measures for the inclusion of handicapped people into normal life. India needs to travel many miles to empower its disabled citizens. “I undertook this journey to bring about awareness on access issues that make life difficult for differently abled people. There is an urgent need to form partnerships, without which we can do nothing. Governments, corporates and individuals need to start thinking about collaborations and understand the needs of disabled people. We should be able to go to cinema halls, parks and other public areas with ease,” Salil said in his brief speech at a function held in Cidade de Goa to commemorate his successful voyage. The 2002 National Sample Survey reveals that Goa has 22,000 disabled people in Goa, excluding mental illnesses. Yet, it is only a few years ago, after it was ordered to do so by the High Court, that the government has set up ramps and railings at government offices. Salil’s feat shows that given just a few facilities, the differently abled can work shoulder to shoulder with most of us. He underwent a strict six-month physical training programme and learnt to sail under the guidance of his coach, Umaji Chowgule, who accompanied him on the trip. More people need to demonstrate the kind of commitment that Umaji did, or displayed the concern shown by the Godrej Group, which sponsored the sail as part of their ‘Brighter Horizons’ programme. While his endeavour may have taught us many things about the human spirit and endurance, Salil too learnt something; that the horizon never ends and there is always more to do. All we have to do is get ourselves a boat...


Voyage of courage


TEOTONIO R DE SOUZA analyses the contributions of Francis Xavier and Joseph Vaz, each within his historical context
when the disorientation was caused by the satyagrahis , regular pilgrimages organised by the colonial Church authorities to the tomb of St Francis Xavier sought the intercession of the saint could deliver them from the deliverance! Contrary to the grandiose missionary figure projected across Asia by the Portuguese empire, the post-colonial Church has returned to the Vatican II-promoted concept of local church and the communion of local churches, wherein Joseph Vaz appears to be a better model of a missionary for Asians: someone who “incarnates” better the values of Jesus, who made no display of his power and political influence. The courage displayed by the Goa Archdiocese in declaring this beatified Goan native Oratorian, who salvaged the practice of Catholic faith in Sri Lanka during the Calvinist occupation of that region, from where white Catholic religious orders were flushed out, as Patron of the Archdiocese needs to be considered a historic mark and contribution to the understanding of the post-colonial model of the missionary Church. I would recommend to all interested in understanding and appreciating more intensely and extensively the role played by Joseph Vaz and his Oratorian colleagues to read the historical documentation translated and published by V Perniola, the former Jesuit provincial of Sri Lanka. It consists of 3 volumes each for the Portuguese and the Dutch colonial occupation of that islandnation, and 4 volumes for the British period till 1863 (The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, 15051863, 10 vols, Dehiwala, Tisara Prakasarakayo Ltd, 1989-2001). Presently, I see no substitute to these volumes, which alone permit us to know about the continuity of the Oratorian presence and enterprise in Sri Lanka, after the Religious Orders were disbanded by the Portuguese liberal regime. Alongside the missionary aspect of Goa’s historical past, a deeper study of the lives and activities of Goan Oratorians could shed light upon other cultural and political aspects that await research. We need complete lists of these Oratorians and their family connections in Goa. Was there any link between them and the colonial politics behind the Pinto Revolt? This trail may deserve some attention.  

souls into eternal death.” In the same letter, Francis Xavier also showed his concern for Sri Lanka: “I believe that Your Highness, whose duty it is to care for your people in India, will be pleased to know the extent of the labours that are being undertaken for the salvation of souls. In Jaffnapatam and on the coast of Quilon more than one hundred thousand souls will easily be won for the Church of Christ before the end of this year.” Right enough the intervention of the Jesuits in favour of the Paravas exploited by the Muslim pearl fishers in the Gulf of Manaar got an abundant crop of souls and pearls to the Portuguese. The interest for Ceylon started there and also in its cinnamon and elephants. A Sorbonne-based lady historian who has been analysing in recent years the Jesuit missionary activities in India, including the historiography related to Francis Xavier, has quite a few texts published and online that could shock the pious devotees of the saint. She tells us, for instance, that Xavier’s mission among the Portuguese was exclusively for the benefit of the men and their heroic mercantile and proselytising enterprises. Women remained obstacles to these lofty concerns (even if the Jesuits themselves encouraged marriages), either as nagging and quarrelsome wives or indigenous “oversexed” concubines. To an early Jesuit chronicler in India, it was “mundo, diabo e carne” that stood in the way of the Portuguese success in Asia, and woman incarnated all of these. The same lady historian, Ines G Zupanov, concludes that Xavier and the Jesuit missionaries in general provided a service to the dislocated and often morally and culturally “disoriented” Portuguese in Asia. When this disorientation was the result of the Maratha menace of Sambhaji, the Viceroy sought security by handing over his ceremonial baton to St Francis Xavier. Much more recently, prior to Liberation,

Tongue in Cheek


It ain’t over

he decline of the US housing market, which triggered off the worldwide recession, is not over yet, Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi believes. He says US home prices will soon start moving downwards again, as a flood of foreclosures looms. US real estate, he says, will hit rock bottom in the third quarter of 2010, after declining 38 per cent. Despite all the hopeful indicators, the recession isn’t over yet. It started with crashing home prices, and will end only when they move up again. The US unemployment rate reached a 25-year high of 10.2 per cent in October, and is expected to peak at 10.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2010. The pain, clearly, isn’t over yet.

he past week or so, the one thing that probably was on everyone’s mind was stars, actors and movies, thanks to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) and the coverage that it got from the print and electronic media. Even if going for the movies was the last thing we would do on a weekend, one was reminded of this world of make-believe due to IFFI. While on the subject, why not go back a few decades into the past and recall what the movie scene was like then. As far as I can remember I was an avid fan of English movies, especially those that had a lot of action. I still cannot forget epics like ‘Guns of Navarone’ ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and classic Westerns like ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ and, of course, ‘Mackenna’s Gold’. These movies, among several old ones, were a thrill to watch. During those days the price for a ticket in the lower stall was seventy-five paise. The price for the ticket in the upper stall was a rupee and twenty–five paise, while tickets for the balcony, which had push –back seats (a luxury in those days) were sold for two rupees and eighty paise. There was always a rush for the morning shows, which mostly featured English movies. Most of those who bought the tickets by jostling and pushing one another were not the ones who had any inclination to watch the movies, but the ones were out to make a quick buck by selling the tickets at a premium as the cops looked the other way. The buzz was that the police were hand-in-


Going To The Movies
glove with these people who sold the tickets on the black market. One of my favourite cinema theatres, which I frequented quite often, was Cine Vasco in my home town which has put off the lights several years ago. Incidentally the other cinema hall – El Monte – has stood the test of time and is still spinning the reels. There was no air-conditioning in the theatres. The only comfort from the oppressive heat and the stale air was the over-head rotating fan, which at times made so much noise that it was difficult to hear what the actors were saying. Every movie always started with the national anthem and people stood at attention through it. Then followed a series of advertisements, followed by the government news reel and trailers of movies to hit the town in the near future. This was followed by the much-awaited feature film. Movie theatres were a get-away for young lovers (they still are). Balconies had special enclosures where the love birds would gather. I vividly recall that a vehicle belonging to the theatre owner would go around the city announcing the latest movie to be screened there. In those days there were nothing like a film festival. There were no massive posters and cut-outs of the popular actors. Every movie was a ‘festival’ in itself. We always looked forward to going for the movies with our parents and, better still, with our friends. Compare this with the modern-day world of cinema. The good old

By Adelmo Fernandes

Unfair pension system
Anjali Desai, Margao
The new pension system of the government involves investing Employees’ Provident Fund in the share market and exposes one’s life savings to the vagaries of market forces. Besides, there is no minimum rate of interest guaranteed. One needs to pay income tax on the accumulated savings under the new tax code at the end of one’s career. Government servants who joined after 1 January 2004 are compulsorily covered under this system. The provident fund contribution of some government employees has not been refunded years after they have resigned, probably due to the government’s indecision on processing funds of those who resign from their jobs (instead of retiring at 60). Some people say they will get back their contribution

only when they reach the age of 60. There needs to be an open debate on the new pension system in the media before making it compulsory for employees. Left parties had objected to this scheme earlier without much success. Some economists need to clarify the implications of the new system.

Letter of the Day
Nelson Lopes, Chinchinim

Midday meals

The Goa Government needs to be in tune with public sentiment in defending the rules and finding ways and means of implementing them rather then looking for ways out.

Letters to the Editor
Paths of Wisdom

cinema theatres are closing down. Some well-known movie halls have been razed down to make way for shopping complexes. Now you do not have to go to faraway theatres situated to watch your favourite movie. All movies are screened under one roof. The concept of multiplexes has taken root. But there is a glitch. The prices of the tickets are quite prohibitive. It appears that watching movies in theatres is now the privilege of a privileged few. Once you enter a multiplex, even buying popcorn and a soft drink can burn a sizeable hole in your pocket. Of course, these modern-day theatres have all the luxury. There is the central airconditioning. The sound appears to be coming from all directions. Then there is piped music even in the toilets, which are incidentally fixed with modern gadgets. This includes a hand-dryer so that you do not have to wet your handkerchief to dry your face. But all these luxuries come at a price. In today’s world, taking out your family for the movies is beyond the reach of many. Movie-going has become more of a luxury. But fortunately such people need not lose heart. They can always rent a VCD and watch the latest blockbusters in the comfort of their home. As for me, I will always miss the cinema halls of yesteryears. Fortunately, there are a handful of them around. Some renovation work on them could help make movie-going a pleasant experience once again.

Dubai crisis only a blip
Gregory Fernandes, Mumbai
The editorial ‘The Dubai debacle’ (Herald, 2 Dec) shows that the economy and financial system of the UAE is strong enough to survive the present crisis. The real impact from financial events in Dubai will not be much for India, except that remittance flows from Dubai, which account for about 10 per cent of overall remittances, could see a slowdown in the short term. It would affect the movement of workers from India and the recruiting trade may take a hit. The economy will bounce back and once the hue and cry dies down, Dubai will emerge as strong as ever.

Educational hub-ris
Averthanus L D’Souza, Dona Paula
The government’s decision on selecting 1.20 lakh square metres of land owned by Davorlim communidade for setting up a ‘multi-purpose utility’ project, which also includes an education hub (Herald, 2 December) is disturbing from several points of view. As education is a fundamental right of every citizen and needs to be provided at the doorsteps of the citizens, the very notion of a restricted space for setting up educational institutions violates the principle that education is for all. Secondly, the ‘multipurpose utility’ space contradicts the very purpose of education and culture. Does the Collector really believe that the overall development of society will be achieved within the confines of 1.20 lakh sq m meters of enclosed space? The statement made by G P Naik, “The government will work out a scheme and offer the same to the educational institutions. The scheme would propose common facility such as playground and other amenities” proves that he has not applied his mind to this project. This appears to be another land-grab scam by the government to acquire land from the Davorlim Comunidade and sell it at a huge profit to private developers in the guise of setting up an educational hub. The citizens of Goa do not need any ‘hubs’. They already have too much hubris to cope with, due to greedy politicians and inept bureaucrats.

100 Years Ago


The midday meal programme is a central government scheme which is extended to every school. Earlier raw rice was distributed only to the primary section. Elsewhere in the country, as schools are conducted in two sessions, meals are a must. As schools in Goa are in close proximity to homes, students can return home for lunch. The Goan standard of living and per capita income is higher than many other states. The menu with suggested items of proportional nutritional content needs to be circulated to the parents and their written consent obtained. The items should be such that it should be convenient to prepare and distribute them. Packed food items available in the market are desirable. The midday meal scheme is not a profit-making or employment-generating scheme. The school PTAs should be persuaded to undertake preparation and distribution in the best interest of their own wards. The appointing authority needs to closely monitor hygienic surroundings, quality and proportion of packed items. The schools are only expected to do a site test and not to certify taking responsibility before distribution. If they suspect contamination to discredit them, the observer needs to be made a part of the distribution process. Food poisoning and foreign bodies are serious matters, even when they are isolated incidents. The application of this scheme en masse is undesirable as the school lags in facilities of siting, drinking water, washing, toilets, etc. These matters need to be attended to first. present coach’s reign against club sides representing their countries in lowly rated football tournaments. Houghton is talking about suspending the Dempo from the I-League for not allowing injured players to participate in the preparatory camp. Dempo Sports Club has made a fantastic contribution to Indian football. Do Bob Houghton and the AIFF have any common sense? How can injured players be called for such camps in the first place, that too when the doctor attending to these players is a medical doctor of the national team and knows about the injuries. We should appreciate Armando Colaco for questioning the AIFF. He needs to inform Bob and AIFF that if any player of European football gets injured while on national duty, the club is reimbursed and compensated by the National Football Association. The player also gets all the support and is not left to fend for himself as is happening in India.

The sabotage at Kaiga
S Kamat, Alto Betim
The deliberate attempt to contaminate drinking water with heavy water (tritium) at the Kaiga nuclear power plant has been exposed. Tritium vials are taken from various parts of the nuclear reactor for testing. Is there no foolproof system for accounting for these vials at the testing lab and at the time of disposal to ensure none of them go missing? Anil Kakodkar has promptly declared that the contamination at Kaiga is an act of sabotage and further mentioned that a similar incident had occured in Tarapur some time ago, where the culprit/s were apprehended. Kakodkar retires soon. One wonders whether he would have branded the Kaiga incident as sabotage or possibly hushed it up, as was probably done with the Tarapur incident, if his term was not expiring. Letters should be 150 words or less in length, and should have the writer’s name, address and telephone number. The editor reserves the right to edit letters for size and readability, and to delete any personal attacks or libellous /objectionable matter.

5 December 1909
Clube Vasco shifts
The new Clube Vasco da Gama was finally installed at the Palace of the Count of Mayem, giving up the claim over the edifice of the Comunidades.

Seeking ways to make noise
A J De Souza, Calangute
The pleadings made by Shantaram Naik in the Rajya Sabha (Herald, 3 December) state that Shantaram Naik MP intends to relax the noise rules. It is apparent that there is a strong vested interest in favor of noise making activities which has both monetary and political components. According to the Rules, the state government may subject to such terms and conditions which are essential for noise pollution, permitting bursting of soundemitting fire crackers and usage of amplifiers during the night hours 10.00pm to 12 pm on or during cultural or religious festive occasions of a limited duration not exceeding fifteen days in all during a calendar year. The concerned Magistrate needs to specify in advance the number and particulars of days on which such exception should be operative.

Overcrowded canoe fined

A fine of Rupees 12 was imposed by the Captain of Ports on a canoe from Sanquelim for transporting to Old Goa pilgrims in far excess to the allotted capacity.

Rice prices come down

The price of rice has come down due to good harvest reaped from many places in British India as well as Karachi and Rangoon (Burma).

AIFF’s weird stance
Praxy Fernandes, Sankhali
What have Bob Houghton and the AIFF achieved in the last 10 years? The graph of the ranking of the Indian football team shows us the victories of the Indian team during the

Dr de Sousa’s work approved

The dissertation of Dr Domingos Roque de Sousa, was approved at the inaugural function of the Medical College.

By William Blake To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. The prince’s robes and beggar’s rags Are toadstools on the miser’s bags. A truth that’s told with bad intent Beats all the lies you can invent. It is right it should be so; Man was made for joy and woe; And when this we rightly know, Thro’ the world we safely go. Joy and woe are woven fine, A clothing for the soul divine. Under every grief and pine Runs a joy with silken twine. Every night and every morn Some to misery are born, Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night. We are led to believe a lie When we see not thro’ the eye, Which was born in a night to perish in a night, When the soul slept in beams of light. God appears, and God is light, To those poor souls who dwell in night; But does a human form display To those who dwell in realms of day.

Auguries of Innocence

Printed and published by Vinayak Pai Bir for and on behalf of Herald Publications Pvt Ltd. Printed at Herald Publications Pvt Ltd, Plot No: L-135, Phase II, Verna Industrial Estate, Verna, Salcete, Goa. Published at PO Box 160, Rua Sao Tome, Panjim, Goa - 403001. Editor-in-chief: Mr R F Fernandes. Editor: Ashwin Tombat (Responsible under PRB Act). Regd Office: St Tome Road, Panjim, Goa. Tel: 2224202, 2228083, Fax: 2222475 (all Editorial); 2230535, Fax: 2225622 (Advertising); Margao: 2737689. Mumbai Office: 16-A, Bell Building, 2nd Floor, 19 Sir PM Road, Fort, Mumbai - 400001 (Tel: 22840702/22844908). RNI No: 43667/ 83. HOW TO CONTACT US: mail@herald-goa.com — For press notes, general queries. junioryouth@herald-goa.com — Junior Herald. heraldmirror@herald-goa.com — Sunday Mirror. reporters@herald-goa.com — For Reporters. business@herald-goa.com — For Business news. editor@herald-goa.com — For Letters to the Editor. sports@herald-goa.com — For Sports news. advt@herald-goa.com — For Advertisements. 2day@herald-goa.com — For Herald 2day. tiatr@herald-goa.com — For Tiatr Reviews and Reports. Disclaimer: Except for the editorial above, articles and letters in Herald represent the views of the concerned authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Herald editor, publisher, and/or owners.

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