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OPINION Pg8

HERALD
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o= HERALD o=Vol No CIX No: 17


Dying and killing for forged identities
Saturday 17 January, 2009 Language, regional, national or religious identities are just social constructs, says Teotonio R de Souza. But can we do without them?

Darker shade I
t is increasingly clear from current studies that there to our pre-historic roots in Africa.
is no such a thing as a single or unchanging identity, The SNP markers are often referred to as ‘time and
either individual or collective. Mutations belong to date stamps’ because each marker can be traced back

of coal?
the essence of any living being, and they affect the to a particular time and place in history. My confirmed
building blocks of our living cells, as well as the vari- paternal haplogroup is J, which passed through three
ous external physical and cultural components. earlier phases since the past 100,000 years of the phy-

I
Identities on the basis of language, caste, region, logenic tree, namely BT, CF, F, before arriving at the
n a country that is suffering a crippling shortage of power, Goa nation, religion, etc, are no more than social constructs present one of J (M304+) 15,000 years ago.
is relatively better off. Residents of both our neighbouring along the history of mankind for the purpose of dom- Geographically it moved out of the Ethiopia-Sudan
states have to live with long hours of power outages every day. ination or survival. They are not very different from border and passed through Egypt and Iraq. Further test-
While Karnataka has a 15 per cent shortfall of power, it is family feuds on a larger scale, resulting generally in ing could narrow down the search to one of the 33 var-
Maharashtra, the industrially most developed state in the country, mutual diabolisation. iant subclades of haplogroup J. That may perhaps point
that is reeling under power shortages. Each and every city, town We are told by the geneticists that all people living out to my paternal ancestry’s entry point into India.
and village in the state, with the sole exception of Mumbai city today descended from one of 18 ancient Y-DNA haplo- It is only this kind of DNA-based deep ancestry trac-
(not Thane or Navi Mumbai), has a power shutdown each day of groups on their paternal line and 26 ancient mtDNA ing that could save us from depending solely upon oral
not less than two hours. Villages in the interior can be without haplogroups from their maternal line. Despite sizable traditions and documentary evidence that is very prone
power for as much as 14 hours each day; the usual minimum power costs, I decided to join the Vancouver-based Gene- to political manipulation. The tradition of the Goan van-
cut in rural areas of the state is at least eight hours. base DNA Ancestry Project for social networking. Its godd (village clans) may assist some dominant castes
website announces 923,210 active members! Proba- in Goan villages to assert their Goan identity during the
Goa, in comparison, has a 40 MW shortfall. Thanks to some bly not all very enthusiastic about regular fresh sug- past few centuries, but came the Portuguese to bap-
enlightened politicians and bureaucrats in the Power Department, gestions for new paid tests, each costing around $99 tise Goans belonging to the same vangodd with differ-
this is not allowed to badly affect the daily life of ordinary citizens, on average! ent family surnames, reducing thereby the reliability of
and it is industries that suffer the power cuts in Goa. The 40 MW An individual’s Y-DNA is the same as his father’s Y- the earlier identity configuration based on castes and
of power generated by the Reliance Infrastructure plant at DNA and it is also the same as the Y-DNA of all paternal deities.
Sancoale is naphtha-based, and far more expensive than the ancestors along the paternal line. The mtDNA stands In my ‘ancestral’ Moirá, for instance, Souzas come
power supplied to Goa by the National Thermal Power Corporation for ‘mitochondrial’ DNA. All of us, both males and fe- from the first, third and fifth vangodds. Some were
(NTPC), as it fluctuates depending on the price of crude oil. At the males, carry mtDNA, which is unique because while Kamats, and others…? Shantappa Kamat was writing to
peak oil price, it was selling power at Rs13 per kilowatt hour (unit). most of the DNA in our body is found in the nucleus of King Philip I of Portugal in 1620 that he was baptised as
Today, the price is down to Rs5.60. Therefore, the only solution our cells, the mtDNA is found in small structures called Diogo de Souza by the Franciscans, who brought him
for Goa to have adequate power for its citizens and to bring mitochondria, found in the cytoplasm of our cells, not up at their Reis Magos convent. He helped them to cat-
industries to the state is to generate its own power. in the nucleus. This is important when we discuss how DNA IDENTITY echise his co-villagers in Moirá, and was granted in com-
mtDNA is inherited. pensation some plots of land belonging to the old vil-
This was made possible by the central government, which Our mtDNA comes from our mother, and our moth- tion, the mtDNA remains unmixed because it has a strict version of Goan Gaud Saraswats coming from Bengal? lage temple that had been pulled down.
has awarded a coal block in Chhatisgarh to Goa, whose reserves er got her mtDNA from her mother, and so on. The line of descent from mother to child. Or explain Frederick Noronha’s doubts about why “For That should suffice for illustrating changing religious
are estimated to be adequate to support a 1,800 MW super reason for the maternal inheritance pattern of mtDNA This means that our mtDNA is the same as our some (inconsistent and unexplained) reason, I still eat identities. In more recent times, several Souza families
thermal power plant. It is to be hoped that a public-private is due to its localisation in the cytoplasm. When an egg mother’s and our mother’s mother’s mtDNA, from hun- fish… Maybe it has to do with the dietary habits of a moved out from Moirá to settle in Assonora, Morjim,
partnership (PPP) venture to put up a power plant will bring much- is fertilised, the cells of the resulting embryo contain dreds, even thousands of generations ago. By testing Goan, where nearly 95 per cent of the population eats Sirsaim, Sao Matias and other localities in countries
needed relief to Goa. However, the way the Goa government has the mtDNA and cytoplasm of the egg, not the sperm. our own mtDNA, we are in fact able to indirectly read fish”? (Goanet, 12 Jan 2009) worldwide.
gone about dealing with this venture is definitely not in the realm As the embryo continues to develop into a full- the mtDNA genetic code of our own maternal ances- STR (short tandem repeat) markers are short What deities could our deep ancestors have brought
of good operating practices. grown human, all of the cells in the resulting human tors from thousands of generations ago. stretches of DNA in the Y-Chromosome. The number from Ethiopia or Sudan, passing through Egypt, Iraq and
contain the cytoplasm and mtDNA of the mother. It is The D-Loop, or the non-lethal / non-vital part of of repeats varies from one family lineage to another, Afghanistan from the pre-historic times? What deities
Instead of giving the Power Ministry the charge of this project, passed down along the maternal line from a mother to mtDNA contains two regions, namely the HVR1 and and is unique to a family line. The mutation rate of STR are they venerating today, if any?
the government has given it to the Goa Industrial Development all of her children. Males will carry the mtDNA of their HVR2. Only mutations in these regions are passed down markers is quite rapid, with one mutation occurring on The more we relativise identities, the safer and
Corporation (IDC). The IDC’s job is to acquire and develop land for mother, but when they have children, their children to ancestors. My confirmed maternal haplogroup, M, average every few generations. healthier it could be for all concerned. It could certainly
industries in the state. It has expertise in neither coal nor power will carry the mtDNA of their own mother, not their arose from two key detectable genetic events, pass- The rapid mutation rate of the STR markers allows promote greater social harmony and expose sectional
generation. The IDC has drawn up a memorandum of father. In this way, only daughters pass the mtDNA on ing through L3 to the present form over the past genealogists to estimate how long ago two male indi- self-interests.
undestanding (MoU) with K S K Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd, by which to future generations. 140,000 years. viduals shared a common ancestor. The SNP markers Can we really live without forged identities? If that
the Chhatisgarh government has the first right of refusal for 37.5 The maternal inheritance pattern of the mtDNA has Geographically, the maternal ancestors moved out mutate slowly, at a rate of one mutation every few thou- was the capacity which distinguished us as homo habi-
per cent of the power, while Goa has first right of refusal for 15 important significance for ancestral studies. While from Sudan to Libya, Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and Ben- sand years. The slow mutation rate of SNPs allows such lis and sapiens sapiens, it was a tragic capacity indeed;
per cent, aggregating to 240 MW, and would have a further first most of the other types of DNA in our body are mixed gal, with some branches moving towards Mongolia and markers to provide information for deep ancestry, and the fountainhead of natural selection and perfection of
right of refusal for another 10 per cent, or 180 MW. But there is no as they are passed down from generation to genera- Australia respectively. Does this confirm the Kosambi allows us to trace our ancestors back thousands of years the species.
firm formula on the pricing of this power, or a draft Power Purchase
Agreement (PPA) anywhere in sight, though it has been
mentioned that the state could avail of this power at the rate
prescribed by the central regulatory authority.
Tongue-in-cheek
Sum of all security By Adelmo Fernandes

A
Besides, at a press conference addressed by IDC Managing fter the terrorist attack in Mumbai, security in Goa seems to have safest place happens to be home. Even wild animals, no matter how fero- set-up. In a family where the parents fight frequently, the children grow
Director A V Palekar, no mention whatsoever was made of any gone into overdrive. The Police increased patrolling, they began cious, feel secure in their dens. Cows return home at dusk. in an insecure environment. This can have an adverse psychological im-
competitive bids being floated to select the state’s strategic cracking the whip on migrants, a few of them were rounded up. Unfortunately in today’s world, one is not safe even in one’s home. pact as they enter adulthood.
partner for the operation of this coal block. If this is indeed the Patrolling was also increased along the coastal belt. Foreign and domestic House breaks, burglaries, thefts, rapes and murders take place with a dis- As adults, we look for emotional security in a relationship sanctified by
case, and K S K Energy Ventures Pvt Ltd is a favoured allottee in a tourists and even foreign students were under the scanner. Surprise raids turbing frequency. Home security comes with a price-tag; it has become a marriage, built on a foundation of love. “A single man is an incomplete
direct deal, then this venture has all the potential of turning into were carried out at various places. multi-crore business venture. animal. He resembles the odd half of a pair of scissors,” wrote Benjamin
a scam. Even the centre’s 4,000 MW Ultra Mega Power Projects All this is of course expected after a terror attack when a red alert is Several security agencies are doing roaring business providing security Franklin. Some agree that before marriage a man is incomplete, but say
(UMPPs), which require highly specialised companies to build sounded across the country. Any government worth its salt has to provide to homes and commercial establishments, especially banks. A security- that after marriage, he is finished.
them, have only been awarded after transparent competitive adequate security to the citizens. After all, a government will be securely guard in uniform is a common sight outside a bungalow or an ATM. Their Social security is also important. Man is not an island. By nature, he is a
bidding. saddled in power only as long as the people feel secure under its rule. job is to provide security 24x7. social animal. So he lives in the society of other people. A person needs to
But it is not just security of life and limb that concerns an individual. We Probably, only two things occupy a politician’s mind. The first is to win be accepted by other people. Life can become hell when a person is iso-
It is not our contention that this is a fraud company; quite the look forward to emotional security, financial security, social security, secu- the next election. The second is concern for his personal security after lated. Then we have financial security to look into. We have to be financial-
contrary, it actually generates and sells power. But it is certainly rity in relationships, etc. As a matter of fact, one is concerned about secu- winning the election. No wonder they are surrounded by gun-toting secu- ly secure in this world, so saving for a rainy day becomes all the more
not in the league of big players like Reliance Infrastructure or Tata rity in almost every aspect of life. rity personnel and black cat commandos, and rarely come in close contact important. Whenever a large payment is to be made at a later date, a se-
Power, for example, both of which could possibly have been We prefer to live in a secure environment. A foetus feels secure in the with the common man after elections. curity deposit is essential.
equally interested in bidding for this coal block, which would have womb of the mother. When the child comes into the world it looks to the You can tell how powerful a politician is by the number of security per- We look forward to a secure job. Interestingly, a government job is
given the state the opportunity to choose the best terms. mother for security. The baby feels secure in no place other than the arms sonnel that surround him. A small-time politician’s guards could be armed considered to have more job security than private employment. In a pri-
The IDC, which has already been exposed in its grossly of the mother. with lathis but high profile politicians’ guards carry AK47s and AK56s. Crores vate company, you can be sacked at will – incidentally, it almost happened
Parents try to see that their children grow in a secure and safe environ- of rupees are spent to keep our politicians safe in a country where millions to the employees of Jet Airways not too long ago. With security
irregular allotment of land to the disgraced SEZs, seems now to
ment. For a growing child, besides being physically secure, it needs to of poor people go to bed on an empty stomach. That is the greatest irony. (of every kind) being so essential for a happy existence, no wonder we
have added one more feather to its dubious cap. grow in a home where there is emotional security. For any living being, the We also look for emotional security. It comes primarily from the family attach so much importance to it in life.

Letters to the Editor


Goan people. The need of the hour is ities will come after him asking for evidence. Just
Bandh, a welcome relief to have strict police and public vigilance, curb- Words of Wisdom
Keny, by e-mail ing and controlling of all these illegal activities Letter of the Day let me say this. If I’m a police constable/officer
stopping someone disobeying the traffic rule,
Sikh philosophy
including cyber-crimes. Goan youth should make particularly a motor-cyclist speeding at over 100
Operating of casinos on
Peaceful bandh of Goa was a welcome relief by
all and sundry. Anybody can forcefully shut a shop the right choices and decisions in life which can kms recklessly overtaking the other traffic via
but, this peaceful bandh showed real unity protect our state from going down the drain. the wrong lanes and even crossing the yellow Guru Granth Sahib
lines on bridges – most of them talking on mo-
condition
among traditional Goan Hindu, Christian and
Muslim families that we are united to fight this Toothless water Act biles. If I fine them Rs 100/- pocket the cash and The holiest of the Sikh scriptures is the Guru
scourge. This bandh should drive a clear mes- S Silveira, Xettia-vaddo, Mapusa let the disobedient go, what are our chances of
Granth Sahib. It was called Adi Granth (first
sage to leaders at helms to better act fast against By S Kamat, Bardez surviving from such illegalities in our Goa which
Though the Government has passed the ground now has 70% most unwanted and unwelcome scripture) until Guru Gobind Singh conferred
this scourge before it turns into Frankenstein. on it the title of the Guru in 1708. The
water regulation Act, it is toothless, for, the We are back at doing things in complete contradiction of base realities as far as government so- called migrants from rest of India, (to sell
number of violations carried right under the action is concerned. The casino issue, as far as Goa is concerned, primarily relates to dealing with their votes I guess) making Goans in their own Guru Granth Sahib is the only world scrip-
Protect Goa nose of the authorities is alarming; with the au- the definition of ‘off-shore’ and the aspect of gambling and its impact on local society. However, ture which was compiled during the lifetime
state only 30% or less? It is time for Goans to
Errol D’souza, Porvorim thorities showing helpless as the act has no suf- as reported in the papers the current casino policy, which is being reviewed, is completely silent wake up fast, get united and defy the so-called of its compiler. All other world scriptures were
With progress over the years, there have ficient provision to book the defaulters. Rubbing on the ‘off-shore’ issue. The problem of overcrowding in the river by the casino vessels and in democratic government. This government compiled many years after the death of the
been increasing crime reports of drug peddlers, salt to injury the electricity department is indi- some cases where some of the casino ships are constructing pylons to anchor themselves in the should be willing to act as servant of the people, prophet.
murderers, rapes, robberies, rectly helping them to run their business. It’s river in contravention of the CRZ policy, were urgent matters that required attention. It was for the people and by the people. It is the peo- The Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by
unplanned development, corruption and irreg- like this; the water lobby takes electricity con- required that the ships anchor out at sea in line with the definition of ‘off-shore’ maybe 3KM or ple who have given the government the power Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs.
ularities in Goa. Now we have desecration of the nection for agriculture purpose as the depart- 5KM whatever the limit is thus relieving the river from the space occupied by the casino vessels and the government should use this power, not The work of compilation was started in 1601,
places of religious worship and religious ment does not demand NOC from the local body and related additional traffic. Instead of that, the government is concerned with protecting misuse it to help the people and not swindle with and finished in 1604. The Granth, called by
idols resulting in communal division among the for this category of connections. A valve is fitted gamblers, who try their luck at the casinos and ensure that they are not taken for a bigger ride. bribery and corruption. The inactions of the gov- Guru Arjan as Pothi Sahib, was installed at the
to fool the electricity officials so that the pur- Look at the humour in the situation. The gamblers go to exercise their vice and the government, ernment has brought our little and peaceful Goa Golden Temple (then called ‘Harimandir’ – the
pose can be changed from watering the farm in the larger interest, attempts to protect them from the casino owners and their machines, almost to an end – so help us God – Amen. house of God) with great celebrations.
100 Years Ago and filling the tankers. This wise consumer then, which, in a sense, is encouraging the vice of gambling. Is the role of the Goa Government to Guru Arjan included the hymns of the fol-
applies for change in tariff from agriculture to foster and encourage vice? Beaches regaining lost lowing in the Granth: Guru Nanak, Guru An-
commercial, as it is legally impossible to get NOC Further, the manner of policing that is being proposed of the casinos and their machines
seems to be clearly for the government and its officers to extract their pound of flesh from the gad, Guru Amardas, Guru Ramdas and himself
for commercial purpose. Some, still worse, con- beauty! (Guru Arjan), as well as 15 renowned saints of
PRIMEIRO DIARIO N AS C O L O N I AS P O RT U G E Z AS tinue to use it for filling tankers (commercial casino operators. This encourages another vice; corruption. What should be done is that, no on-
purpose) and the department only charges them shore casinos should be permitted, and the off-shore casinos for the sake of the tourists should both the Guru period and the pre-Guru peri-
Merlyn Dias, Vasco
the agricultural tariff. be thrust as far into the sea as is legally permissible. It is only under this condition that the od.
The Beach cleaning project started by Centre for
17 January 1909 As per the water regulation Act, the amount
of water allowed to be pumped in a month, is
casinos should be allowed to operate in Goa.
Responsible Tourism and Department of Tour-
Farid and Bhikhen were Muslims and oth-
ers were Hindus. Hindu saints were from both
There are many people here like wolves in ism is taking a good shape and well appreciated higher and lower castes; Ravidas, Sain, Sadh-
Defamation case pumped in an hour, thereby causing the domes- uncultivated, garbage strewn, trees cut, concrete by the tourists for their daily cleaning activity.
tic wells to go dry in the summer month. structures coming up, sewage seeping into sheep’s clothing. Goans beware, don’t fall prey na and Namdev were from lower castes,
Yesterday commenced the trial of our Herald to sweet talk. Through this process it is not only the tourists whereas Parmanand, Surdas, Jaidev and Ram-
colleague in a lawsuit instituted by Francisco The tankers are a nuisance to the public as drinking water wells, etc. Is there really an au-
but also the locals also who would enjoy the anand were Brahmins.
Mourao Garcez Palha, Administrator of the they not only cheat but also damage the roads thority or a government existing here? People
(causing big potholes) and cause traffic jam on God, save us! beaches free of rubbish and without the fear of The Bhagats also represented different
Confrarias of Unas, for having defamed him are forced to fend for themselves. If they dare
the internal roads. They also put the public to treading on broken glass pieces. parts of India. Farid was a Punjabi, Dhanna was
through the pages of the newspaper. to resist, their own elected government in Peter Noronha, Fatorda
great risk of accidents, especially when they are league with real estate sharks, unleashes police The schools and the colleges need to be proac- a Rajasthani, Jaidev was a Bengali, Namdev,
Matrix matters parked on the turns and junctions. force or files defamation cases for crores of ru- Appreciating the first two letters (16 Jan, Her- tively involved for the beach cleaning drive and Parmanand, Trilochan and Pipa were Mahar-
It is reported that the illustrious Municipality pees. ald) from Arwin Mesquita – Abu Dhabi re: Whith- create a mass movement to avoid littering and ashtrians, Sadhna was a Sindhi, Sain was from
of Salcete contradicted itself during the Ses- People vs govt? These are intimidating and arm-twisting tac- er special status? And from: Vivek Salgaokar, dirtying our beaches. Our Government needs to Madhya Pradesh, and Kabir, Bhikhen, Beni, Ra-
sion held on 22 December last, over the mat- tics, like dictatorial methods in use in dictator- Porvorim re: Stiff penalties needed I would com- recognise and appreciate each individual who is
Franco Fernandes, Mapusa manand, Ravidas and Surdas were from Uttar
ters of matrixes. ships. But we thought ours was a democracy, and ment as under: directly involved in the beach cleaning activity
Pradesh.
The Goan public is singlehandedly fighting its that too the largest in the world. 1) Thousands of Goans wholeheartedly sup- and provide proper waste bins on the beaches
Panama Canal own elected government, which is bent on sell- The best brains are hired to silence and prop- port Arwin Mesquita. Perhaps he could be the that people can use to throw the garbage.
Guru Gobind Singh later (1706) added the
Mr Hopkins has introduced a Bill in the [US] Obama of Goa. The people who dirty the beaches should hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur in it and declared
ing Goa to the highest bidder in the name of agate vested interests. Here I would like to point
Senate empowering the issue of new shares development. Goan fields everywhere are be- 2) As to Mr Salgaonkar, he is more than 100% become more civilised and stop throwing rub- it to be the Guru of the Sikhs.
to Sujay Gupta. Until this day, I thought he was a The scribe of the first version (Guru Arjan’s
of half a million dollars towards the construc- ing filled and constructions carried out overnight good samaritan to Goans. But as Vice President right in what he said about the disobedience in bish on the beaches and in the sea. It is good to
tion of the ‘Panama Canal’, whose length is 40 without any care for the social, political, econom- our traffic rules. My own such complaints through see our Goan beaches regaining their lost beau- compilation) was Bhai Gurdas and of the sec-
of Communications for the Fomento Group, he ond version (Guru Gobind Singh’s compila-
miles. ic and environmental consequences. has filed a Rs500 crore defamation suit against the same Herald fell on deaf ears as well. If ty.
Why go far? See the fields at every roadside; anybody speaks the truth, our wonderful author- Well done Guys! tion) was Bhai Mani Singh.
anti-mining activist Seby.
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