= = o HERALD o
Vol No CIX No: 171 Goa, Saturday 20 June, 2009
oas odd-sized 40-member legislative assembly and peculiar demographics have led to the state having unstable coalition governments ever since the first election after Goa became a state. It was held in 1989, and threw up a slender majority for the Congress after delayed elections in two Salcete constituencies that were countermanded, thanks to a diabolical plot to put up a candidate on his death bed who actually died. So far so good. Unfortunately, the majority came to grief when seven Congress MLAs bucked the provisions of the anti-defection laws for the very first time in the country, to legally split the Congress and set up a short-lived coalition government with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP). The coalition of defectors lasted just a few months, but it set in motion a roller coaster of instability. Since then, Goa has seen 14 governments in less than 20 years. Instability obviously has its own problems but, thanks to Goas peculiarities, there is such a thing as too much stability. Experience shows us that a government whether single party or coalition that gains an excessively stable majority of more than 25 to 27 MLAs in the house of 40, actually becomes more prone to be toppled. How, you may ask? Thats because the number of those qualified to lay claim to the fishes and loaves of office becomes too many. Many more of them get deeply discontented. This leads, inevitably, to rebellion and changes in government. It happened with the Congress government of Luizinho Faleiro, elected in 1998 with a fairly stable coalition, only to be toppled just a few months later after he managed to persuade a large number of those from smaller coalition partners and opposition parties to join the Congress. That was when Francisco Sardinha led a group of MLAs out of the Congress to form a coalition government with the BJP. In due course, as Sardinha ought to have expected, the BJP pulled the rug out from under his feet to take the reins of administration itself. The Manohar Parrikar government, too, came to grief when it started getting members of opposition parties to join the BJP after he had, in a political masterstroke, dissolved the assembly and held a mid-term election to storm back to power. Too much of anything, our ancient scriptures have told us, is not a good thing. In Goa, that mantra of moderation seems to extend to the stability of governments as well! That is why the Digambar Kamat government would be well advised to consider very carefully its apparent move to induce certain BJP MLAs to resign, join the Congress and seek re-election. Though the first of such BJP legislators has categorically denied that he has any intention of joining the ruling party and reaffirmed his loyalty to his present party, we all know that something of that nature is definitely afoot. Mr Kamat should understand that his government is presently poised very nicely in terms of numbers; it has survived for two years despite major hiccups. If he does plan to add MLAs to the ranks, he should at the same time work out an exit strategy to dump unwanted MLAs / ministers and enable them to leave the party, so that the overall numerical balance is maintained at or around its present shape.
Too much stability?
TEOTONIO R DE SOUZA maintains that Goebellian manipulations of St Augustine in defence of the Church are not required
Pg8 Nothing Need Worry the Church of Goa
to distinguish between respect and veneration. I have the greatest respect for many persons, including several who are handling Church affairs in Goa today. That does not require that I should venerate them, and much less the institutions they administer. The institutions are tools of service, not objects for veneration. When the push becomes a shove, I wonder if the message of Jesus is still understood: The Sabath was made for man was a clear relativisation of a sacred institution. And when Jesus spoke: Destroy this Temple and in three days I will again raise it up, he seemed to be uttering another blasphemy! The Church apologists are still reacting as the Pharisees of olden times, zealous defenders of institutions. It is no surprise then to read a reaction like the one of the sociologist Jason Fernandes who wrote in Gomantak Times (9 Jun) and also on his blog: The monthly magazine Renovação is largely perceived to be closed to matters that the hierarchy of the Church would not like to debate. Personal experience has also indicated that social groups largely Catholic that wished to debate this issue with the Archbishop received no response. It is sad to observe the defensive postures when they are hardly required. We could listen profitably to the former Chief Justice K T Thomas who touched on this problem: I never felt that I was discriminated nor felt insecure in this country because of being a Christian. Those who air such insecurity feelings are those who consider their religious identity as supreme over the national identity. Religious feelings are quite personal and it should never come in the way of our obligations towards our Nation (http://bit.ly/Jp01K). Delivering the Samartha Memorial Lecture 2007, Justice Thomas clarified that the right to religious freedom has been conferred in Article 25 of the Constitution by giving greater importance to public order, morality and health and also to the other provisions of the Constitution. If religious freedom is exercised in such manner as to endanger public order then it is the duty of the State to stop it (http://bit.ly/ 6Lrrr). What we need in Goa at this moment is a frank debate with wide participation, churchmen included, about how an inadequate administration of the Church wealth can fail to fulfil the promises of the Indian Constitution. It is not a question of endangering public order, calling for the intervention of the State. It is rather an issue that the Indian Nobel Prize-winner for Economics, Amartya Sen, could help to understand and implement. It is about the ideal of humanising the economy by sustaining and promoting freedom and democracy.
y recent columns in Herald (23 May & 6 Jun) have evoked thoughtful responses from Augusto Pinto, Jason Fernandes and some others, but there has also been one self-classified critical mind (read theatrical) that has uncritically ignored all inconvenient issues and has cynically invented some bogeys with a quaint talent of reading hidden intentions and questioning even unconscious motives. It was nowhere written by me that the government should take over the management of the temporal affairs of churches, temples and mosques or that I am keen to offer to the government all the finances and properties of the Church in Goa! This can only be classified as the Goebellian propaganda style of exaggerating to denigrate and instigate opposition. The bogey charges have been repeated, also in Goebellian fashion, hoping perhaps that repetition adds to veracity. St Augustine has been dragged in for selective misuse. Despite his good principle Ama et fac quod vis (Love and do as you wish), the Doctor of Grace may shudder at such blatant manipulation of his doctrine for resisting demands for transparency and greater democratic participation in the administration of the Church finances and properties in Goa. The Church wealth needs to be invested for betterment of the community and particularly of those in more need of it. Has it been? Anyone who appears worried about the Commissioner for NRI Affairs being conveniently dragged into this debate has only to pick up the phone and call the Commissioners office to sort out his doubts and worries. The Commissioner ought to be delighted to discover that at least some concerned nonNRI wishes to ensure the good functioning of his office. Unfortunately, we cannot phone St Augustine in his City of God and do the same. The overzealous defendant of Church interests should have read in the Herald (28 May) a report about the Commissioner of NRI Affairs Eduardo Faleiro, who, while laying the foundation stone for a spectators stand-cum-clubhouse in Raia stated that Church property belongs to the community of the faithful, and called for transparency and accountability in the management of Church properties, just as in the case of other organisations that serve public interest. The Commissioner was certainly not dragged by me into saying that, and he certainly knew if his terms of reference as the Commissioner of NRI needed expansion to cover his concern for the transparency and accountability of the management of Church properties. If that concern was referred to in an article entitled Political Economy of the Church (or A
Canon Soutomaior house at Caranzalem
journalists Incomprehension of Political Economy) it hardly matters. Apparently, the journalist who rushed to write about my theatrics two days later in Herald (29 May), sought to score another point or tried to claim competence in yet another field. Perhaps only journalists can claim competence in every field they report on. That is why we have so very few of them who are truly competent and worth their salt. The journalist who pretends to know all about political economy ventured also into giving a lesson on historiography. He cites E H Carr quoting a journalist! I wish the much debated and controversial issue of subjectivityobjectivity in historiography was handled more cautiously with more updated readings on the matter, instead of reducing the issue to a mistaken date and designation. To seek to correct me for referring to the All-India Church Seminar of 1969 as Synod of 1970 is tantamount to a pyrrhic victory! I can imagine a contestant rubbing his hands with glee over scoring a point. If he felt so competent to recognise my familiarity with Roman classics, I could remind him now to check about Aliquando bonus dormitat Homerus (Even good Homer nods sometimes)! Or maybe the preferred style for this occasion is the good old preVatican II Anathema sit (Let him be anathema). Without deflecting from the main issue namely, the need to have greater share and more responsible democratic participation in the administration of the Church properties we need to discuss what could be the factors that inhibit that process. Certainly the Church pedagogy based on Revelation, or unquestionable teaching is one traditional and major hurdle to any useful dialogue with citizens who do not fancy listening to pastoral advice. Just as I had expected, some pious Church apologists fell for a bait namely, my statement that I do not venerate human institutions, including those that claim divine origin. One internet debater and lover of plants promptly circulated my Herald column among some central Archdiocesan institutions and the Jesuit House. Incidentally, he was kind enough to post it also to me! He had marked in bold the passages he thought the distracted readers might overlook, but failed to mention that the bold initiative was his, adding thereby some masala, obviously to make the text more provocative than it was intended to be. My contestant picked up the bait and added emphatically to my sentence! I presume none of such reporters-in-haste have the time, or rather the interest,
Tongue in Cheek
es, Goa has casinos, and gambling in the state is perfectly legal. However, let us take a moment to look back and see why the Goa Legislative Assembly, in its infinite wisdom, amended a law that bans gambling to allow casinos. It was, if we recall, so that tourists who travelled to distant Kathmandu to gamble could find casinos located conveniently nearer home. It certainly wasnt for our own MLAs and ministers to make an ostentatious display of their wealth. Our legislators are the peoples representatives and leaders. They have to set an example for the public to follow; that doesnt include spending large amounts of time and money in these places. Public figures are expected to be role models, and our leaders are no exception. Splashing cash and gratuitous displays of aggression in casinos are certainly not the best example.
Lead by example
Cover Your Legs, Baby!
The other day I saw a cartoon in a newspaper which touched my heart. In the cartoon a couple was enjoying a dish made of frog meat in some fancy restaurant, when suddenly they saw some frogs marching towards the table, minus their legs. The frogs were on crutches and on wheelchairs. The cartoon obviously has no intentions of making one laugh but it does bring out the pain and the deprivation these docile creations of God have to undergo. It is understood that of the almost 6,500 species of amphibians available in the world, a third of them are facing extinction. Thats really something for us frog-meat-eaters to ponder over. Incidentally frog meat is also known as Jumping Chicken. I sometimes wonder how the appellation came into existence. Is it because, minus the legs, frogs can no longer leap? As a matter of fact frogs do not only no longer leap but also no longer live after being caught by the heartless frogcatchers. I recall during my college days many years ago we were required to dissect earthworms and frogs. While the college used to provide students with frogs in the laboratory, the students were taught how to kill them. This was by driving a pointed instrument through the backs of their heads into the vertebral column in order to destroy the spinal cord and thereby kill the helpless animals. How cruel can man get to be? I never had the
By Adelmo Fernandes
he mother was quite worried about the way her little ones dressed when they stepped out of their homes. She used to always warn them: You should cover your legs. She would tell them, You never know what danger is lurking out there. Do not stay out till late night. Be home before dusk. There are rogues out there ready to pounce on you. They get attracted to the legs especially long, fleshy legs. But the little ones would turn a deaf ear to her words, and not pay any heed to mamas warnings. One day one of the little ones came home with tears flowing from her eyes. Mama, they have got hold of my sister, she said, while still sobbing. I heard they are going to cut off her legs, she added. The mother could not believe her ears. Did I not warn you about those rascals? They are heartless and have no respect for other animals. Now my poor little childs legs will find their way onto a plate in some fancy restaurant, Mama Frog croaked, as she cried inconsolably. This is not a figment of my imagination but could be the actual scene in some frogs home under the soil. We humans seem to have lost the art of being humane. Our first priority seems to satisfy our palates. For this we will go to any extent, even to the extent of cutting off the legs of poor defenceless frogs.
Goa’s political gamblers
Sayed Iftiyaz, Margao
This is with reference to the front-page report Mickky in fresh trouble (Herald, 19 June) about the ministers dispute with a casino. I would like to bring to the notice of all Goans that many ministers in the Digamber Kamat government are alleged to be involved in gambling activities. All the money used for this is probably public money, obtained through commissions on tenders, showing exorbitant expenses, etc. Mickky Pachecos decision to sue the Majorda casino is a big joke on democracy. The minister should be asked to account for the sources of his expenditures on casinos, foreign trips, etc. This should be applicable to all the elected representatives.
John Eric Gomes, Porvorim
With reference to the letter Prince and Princess (Herald, 18 Jun), I am at a loss to understand how with so many authorities, laws and rules, we believe that the Princess fell out of the sky upon us. After the ship ran aground, PILs were filed and the matter went before the courts. The Candolim beach has been devastated. So much time, energy, effort and money has been wasted for nine years and yet nobody has been indicted or held responsible. If this can happen, can democracy, justice, law and order be said to be prevailing in Goa?
Letter of the Day
Orlando S A Da Silva, Carmona
Denying justice to workers
Cedric Da Costa, Margao
While addressing Goans on Revolution Day, Goas CM engaged in doublespeak when he called upon Goans to preserve the Goan identity. While saying this, Digambar Kamat failed to acknowledge that he patronises outsiders in his very own Margao constituency in places like Moti Dongor, where the slums have thrived under his rule. Further the CM also spoke of how his government is tackling the garbage issue, even while Margao has turned into a stinking town with garbage pits overflowing. Who is he trying to fool through media propaganda when the reality in his very own town is quite contrary to his statements? Digambar Kamat, on assuming office, had visited the Sonsoddo garbage site in the very first week of his reign as compromise CM. Till date, after two years of his rule, Sonsoddo is still a mess. Margao is a pathetic city with garbage flowing all over, bad roads, electricity failing almost every hour and water problems. If the CM cannot put his own house in order, what will he do for the benefit of the state?
100 Years Ago
PRIMEIRO DIARIO NAS COLONIAS PORTUGEZAS
20 June 1909
Epidemic at Santa Cruz
The Official Gazette lays emphasis on suspected epidemic cases which have been occurring at certain places in Santa Cruz in recent days.
The Labour Welfare Board under the chairmanship of Labour Minister Joaquim Alemao is reported to have approved a budget of Rs 10.10 crore for the year 2009-10 for various welfare programmes. This announcement deserves critical appraisal and debate. Being a industrial worker in the state and having contributed to the corpus of the Labour Welfare Board since its introduction decades ago, I would like to know whether the various programmes and schemes undertaken have really brought any drastic developments and gains to the working class in Goa to ease their sufferings at the hands of corrupt and powerful managements. In every such scheme and programme there is an eligibility criterion of income earned to limit the availability of the benefits of these schemes. Hence only the low-paid workers (mostly migrants) fall under the purview of these schemes. But even though the corpus is contributed by every industrial worker from Goa, whether high-paid or low-paid, the higher-income workers do not get any benefits out of these schemes and programmes. The higher-income industrial workers may be not in need of any such benefits when in regular service, but when facing adversity such as arbitrary dismissals, these schemes should also benefit them. Has any of the schemes so far initiated by the Labour Board helped in mitigating the sufferings of the workers in reducing the justice-delivery period? Some labour disputes are pending for more than 10 to 15 years. Being involved in trade union activities I have noticed inordinate delays in the justice delivery system at the Labour Tribunal at Goa and at the office of the Labour Commissioner. Justice delayed is justice denied. The Labour welfare fund should also be also used to bring in material improvements in the prevailing justice-delivery systems. Will the concerned committee members and the Labour Minister look into these grey areas before initiating any hike in the contributions from our hardearned incomes. Just giving financial assistance for retrenched workers is not an end to a solution of a problem. The worker should be also reinstated immediately after hearing his case on merits in a time-bound manner. so also are the MLAs from the Bainguinim area to answerable to their voters. What makes the proposal even more undemocratic is the fact that the jurisdiction on the site is proposed to be taken away from the village panchayat. This was also the basic problem with the SEZs. This country within a country syndrome is completely unfair. The CCP has allowed this problem to simmer and drag. It is time they caught the bull by the horns and addressed the problem properly, respecting the peoples sentiments. tion Department conducts an enquiry against the management of the said school and takes necessary action. There is no need for a KG school there, as there is such a school nearby and another one is not required. The school can take a loan from the bank instead of taxing the parents, and the loan can be repaid from the maintenance grant paid by the Government of Goa.
the T20 World Cup. The selection of Ravindra Jadeja really baffled me. To add to it, his inclusion in the playing eleven in a crucial match, promote him to bat ahead of Yuvraj Singh was inexplicable. Dhoni s own performance with the bat and gloves was disastrous. The Sehwag injury fiasco made matters worse for Dhoni and his spat with the media was uncalled for. All this clearly reflected on attitude and the performance of the team. The captain, players and the coach should be made accountable. However, we should not forget Dhonis contribution to Indian cricket. Since he took over the mantle of captainship, India has won almost all series and the Indian team is rated amongst the best in the world. Sports is all about winning and losing and one cannot win all the time.
Letters to the Editor
Paths of Wisdom
heart to kill a live frog, so another student had to do the job for me. Mercifully, they no longer dissect frogs in colleges for the science practicals in the name of knowledge. While frog hunting is banned by law under the Wildlife Act and the Forest Act, there seems to be no law against serving frog meat in restaurants. It is simple common sense that if frog meat is not served in restaurants, the demand for frog meat will vanish and hence frog hunting will come to an end. Hence, besides putting a ban on frog hunting, what is necessary are laws which ban the serving of frog meat in restaurants. If necessary, the license of the restaurant violating the law should be suspended. In the good old days one could hear frogs croaking in the fields, ponds and lakes at the onset of the monsoons when they came out to mate. But now one seldom hears the familiar sound of croaking, probably because most of the frogs have croaked at the hands of the humans. We needs these amphibians, or else we may have to be admitted in hospitals for malaria, chikungunya and other diseases spread by the deadly mosquitoes. If you are a frog-meat-lover, you are eating the same animal which can help you live. Live and let live would be a sensible advice.
IPL wrecks T20 World Cup
Michael Vaz, Merces
We were led to believe that IPL was a great boon to Indian cricket and that it would take our cricket to new heights. No efforts were spared to convince everyone that IPL was a precursor to the T20 World Cup. When Australia were trounced from in the first round of the World Cup itself, cricket columnists said that keeping away from IPL was responsible for their unceremonious exit. But Team India, with players fresh from their IPL stint, proved to be non-contenders. Our famed batting line-up folded against the speedsters of West Indies and England. The cash-rich IPL made the players complacent. The IPL has already assured them of a secure future, irrespective of the outcome of those matches. After all who was bothered whether Deccan Chargers would win the title or the Royal Challengers? But in an international event like the T20 World Cup, performance in every match does make a difference. Letters should be 150 words or less in length, and should have the writers 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.
By Helen Keller Although there are still great evils which have not been subdued, and the optimist is not blind to them, yet he is full of hope. Despondency has no place in his creed, for he believes in the imperishable righteousness of God and the dignity of man. History records mans triumphant ascent. Each halt in his progress has been but a pause before a mighty leap forward. The time is not out of joint. If indeed some if the temples we worship in have fallen, we have built new ones on the sacred sites loftier and holier than those which have crumbled. If we have lost some of the heroic physical qualities of our ancestors, we have replaced them with a spiritual nobleness that turns aside wrath and binds up the wounds of the vanquished. All the past attainments of man are ours; and more, his day-dreams have become our clear realities. Therein lies our hope and sure faith. As I stand in the sunshine of a sincere and earnest optimism, my imagination paints yet more glorious triumphs on the cloud-curtain of the future. Out of the fierce struggle and turmoil of contending systems and powers I see a brighter spiritual era slowly emerge an era in which there shall be no England, no France, no Germany, no America, no this people or that, but one family, the human race; one law, peace; one need, harmony; one means, labour; one taskmaster, God.
Flu spreads in Bardez
The sanitary situation in the District of Bardez is going from bad to worse, with increasing cases of people being afflicted with influenza and whooping-cough.
3 Indians convicted in S Africa
It is reported from Johannesburg that 3 members on deputation to India under the Imperial Government were convicted to 3 months of forced labour.
S Kamat, Alto Betim
The demand by the CCP to declare the proposed Bainguinim garbage processing site as an industrial zone is completely undemocratic. Irrespective of whatever problems that the CCP has, they should realise that they are an elected body. Just as they are responsible to the people of Panjim,
Felicitation for Shackleton
End of Dhoni’s honeymoon
Mauro Fernandes, Anjuna
The honeymoon is over for M S Dhoni. The Indian juggernaut has failed and national cricket team has crashed out of the T20 World cup. The man with the Midas touch committed tactical blunders which led to Indias debacle in
Thousands of people, including eminent geographers and explorers, effusively received Shackleton and his companions at Charing Cross after their failed expedition to the South Pole.
Ban school donations
Sandhya Bhave, Assonora
With reference to the letter Heartless schools (Herald, 19 June), it is high time that the Educa-
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