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Vol No CX No: 30 Goa, Saturday 30 January, 2010
Pg8 Our Inspirers: Maria Couto & Fr Romuald
y long-term and close personal acquaint ance with these two recent Padma Shri awardees does not permit me to let pass this occasion without sharing my deep feelings with the public. It is an expression of my appreciation of their virtue of persistent and talented dedication to Goa. They may not be fully aware of how much they have inspired me, and I am inclined to believe that I have not been a rare beneficiary. My first contact with Maria Aurora Couto dates back to the early 1980s, when she was still engaged in her doctoral research on Graham Greene and came to visit me at the Xavier Centre of Historical Research, which had then opened its new premises at Alto Porvorim. But I also recall a much earlier date, namely in 1967, when my brother needed assistance to get his papers ready to take up a job in Kuwait. It was the late Alban Couto who facilitated the process that usually dogs the lives of the rural folks with bureaucratic hurdles. Following the return of Alban and Maria Aurora Couto to their Aldona home, and their continued presence and helpful interventions in the process of the development of Goa, it became much easier to sustain regular contact, particularly through personal e-mails and through the Goa Research Net. I also met Dr Maria Aurora Couto in Portugal, when she was preparing her A Daughters Story, which I have no hesitation in continuing to describe [as done earlier in my review in the Economic and Political Weekly (Goa: An Aurorised Story, Economic and Political Weekly 40, 40: 4325-4327) and in one of my past columns here in Herald, reviewing her first English edition of the Ethnography of Goa, Daman and Diu by A B de Bragança Pereira, Viking / Penguin Books, 2008] as a masterly contribution to Goas cultural history. For me Dr Maria Aurora Coutos contribution lies in her turning her expertise in the field of literature to good account as a unique source of historical evidence. It is a source that does not just enrich history as a science, but also enhances it as an art. Dr Couto is rightly convinced of this, as one can read in her essay titled Literature and History, which she so generously contributed to Metahistory, a festschrift dedicated to me by forty-odd personal and professional colleagues and friends (Lisboa: Nova Vega, 2007, pp. 175-183). The essay contains a useful survey of several outstanding literary contributions of Goans to the history of Goa. It is a path that she leaves open to future researchers.
Hitting them where it hurts
TEOTONIO R DE SOUZA recounts his personal encounters with Goa’s recent Padma Shri awardees
ver since politics became big business, the best place to hit a politician where it hurts the most is his or her pocket. That is exactly what the High Court of Bombay at Goa did on Thursday. Irked by the continued inaction on the part of coastal panchayats to tackle the garbage menace in their villages, the High Court directed them not to issue any fresh Occupancy Certificates (OC) for new construction projects having more than five family units till the village sets up proper garbage disposal facilities. However, a caveat that the panchayats can issue OCs if the developer constructs sufficient garbage disposal and composting facilities to take care of the garbage generated by the project, may provide a muchneeded loophole for the panchayats to carry on much the same way as they were doing earlier. The High Court rightly observed that waste disposal sites have not been put in place for the last seven years. It noted that panchayats were very quick to sanction large construction projects, but very slow to put up garbage disposal facilities, when it was these very megaprojects that generated the most waste. One must now hope that the very panchayats that have been flouting the orders of the Court for the past many years will now have a change of heart. Otherwise, they are certain to pass the buck to the builders, who in turn will build structures that resemble garbage disposal facilities, but do little or nothing to keep them operational. As soon as the dumps are overflowing, all will be back to square one. Still, the court has adopted a novel and realistic approach to getting the job done. We may be accused of sounding cynical in the matter, but it is our firm belief that unless strong deterrents are put into place like stiff fines or jail terms it is close to impossible to get compliance in this matter. Getting people to segregate garbage is not easy. It requires a prolonged education campaign to begin with, followed by tough enforcement. That campaign was conducted by Sanjit Rodrigues when he was chief officer of the Corporation of the City of Panjim. That is why the project to achieve garbage segregation in Panjim succeeded in substantial measure. For this to be replicated in the villages, an intelligent and efficient officer will need to be placed in charge of the operation. Otherwise, it is unlikely to succeed. Money may not grow on trees, but it certainly grows on megaprojects in coastal villages. And the only way to bring their leaders in line is to abruptly cut off its flow into their pockets. This novel approach promises good results.
May her inspiration produce the desired fruits. Fr Romuald de Souza has been for me a personal guru of management, independently of what he has done over the past several decades in Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar and Goa. My acknowledgement of his influence in my personal life while I was in the Society of Jesus and ever since, has been recorded in my Goa to Me (Delhi: Concept, 1994, p. 28), my farewell book and a partial autobiography. I saw him very briefly last August, during a meeting convened by Eduardo Faleiro at the Goa International Centre. I remember Fr Romualds intervention: The Church of Goa has many guidelines, but few or no rules that call for accountability and punishment. Intelligentibus pauca says a Latin dictum (intelligent people understand with few words). The Fr Romuald that I know shares with the traditional Indian gurus the gift of teaching with aphorisms, or what the Indian tradition calls sutras. In the Western tradition, I know of Nietzsche and very few others doing the same. Aphorisms can be disconcerting, but they usually make the point, and poignantly! My acquaintance with Fr Romuald goes back to 1972, when I had just begun working on my PhD research and was residing at St Brittos in Mapusa, while frequenting the historical archives in Panjim. The new Jesuit House was under construction then, to replace the old Fatima residence. My first meeting with Fr Romuald was when he came to visit the St Britto community of Jesuits as a new Provincial. Before the other management institutes that he helped to set up, he egged me to think of setting up the Xavier Centre of Historical Research in Goa! He assured me that I could count on his full collaboration while he retained charge as Provincial. That was exactly what resulted before he ended his term. In 1977, I had finished my doctoral research and the Goa-Pune Province of the Jesuits approved a petition to be sent to the Jesuit General in Rome to allow the setting up of the XCHR. The rest is history. The XCHR was inaugurated at its provisional premises at the Loyola Hall, in Miramar, on 4 November 1979. It continues its mission since the past three decades. Fr Romuald de Souza is a believer in the power
of institutions, but also in the talent of individuals. From his own rich life-experience, he may have witnessed the dialectic and tension that relates and unrelates individuals and institutions, including their founders! But I have also witnessed Fr Romualds great capacity to relativise. That is a great lesson that all historians learn. But I learned it also from Fr Romuald during my several years of working together, hearing his aphorisms and observing his style of functioning, that at times some Jesuit colleagues would not hesitate to qualify as Machiavellian. I related it more benevolently to my knowledge of a distant Jesuit historical figure, Fr Alessandro Valignano, who can be regarded as the great organiser of the Jesuit province of Goa, which in his days extended almost to the whole of Asia. His actions, too, were vehemently opposed, even by his Jesuit provincial counselors, but whose written denunciations to authorities in Rome failed to check the visionary Valignano! Fr Romuald, too, seemed to understand how to handle Rome. One of his aphorisms translated a Latin title into Konkani. It may sound vulgar, but conveyed the truth. He read with great interest all the documentation that came from Rome and I saw him once reading a brochure of Acta Romana... He told me: Look at this Romak agtat ani amkam daddtat! [They sh** in Rome and send it to us]. More importantly, I learned two other principles of management from Fr Romuald. Commenting once about frequent lady visitors to the Jesuit House seeking spiritual advice, he said: We need to learn about money therapy! What he meant to say is that many would benefit more and spend less of our precious time if they had to pay for it. The founder of the Society of Jesus may not have spoken in terms of money therapy, but also left a similar advice on the basis of his own experiences. The other principle of management that I picked up from Fr Romuald is about the need to reconsider all plans and projects. There is never the best project, because there is always a place for a better project. I had many occasions to witness, to the irritation of the executors of some projects, including myself. The executor needs a finalised plan to work on, but Fr Romuald would appear the next day with suggestions for change! I shall leave for another occasion to narrate what else I learned from the two personalities that have inspired me. For now, I wish them many more years of inspiring presence amongst us.
hou shalt not be corrupt. That is the underlying theme of the new code of conduct for ministers, applicable to both central and state ministers, including chief ministers. It has been drafted at the instance of the Prime Minister, and promulgated by the Home Ministry. The code bars ministers personally, or through family members, from accepting contributions or costly gifts for any purpose political, charitable or otherwise or to participate in businesses that supply goods and/or services to the government, or are dependent primarily on licences, permits, quotas or leases from the government. The code is fairly comprehensive, and covers a lot of area that till now was unclear. But, noble as its intentions might be, what about its enforcement? Making rules is all very well. But we see people spitting on the street or throwing plastic bags on the road in full contravention of the law, without any fear of penalty. Unless rules are strictly enforced, they are not respected. Hopefully, the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) and the Home Ministry have a plan to implement the code of conduct. Otherwise, it will be a fine theoretical exercise, with no practical application.
The Million Dollar Smile….
cal research, there is a deep underlying physiological basis for it. Ever wondered when you are posing for photographs, why do you smile at the camera? Why does the cameraman utter loudly: Say cheese ? Ever thought of the simple rationale behind this? Well, to enlighten the not-so-enlightened, by saying the words Cheese, the corners of the mouth turn upwards, breaking into a broad smile. Simple, isnt it? No one makes inverted U-faces. Later, you would want to see your beaming smiles as you flip through the album, not dark shadows creeping over your face. It doesnt cost a person to smile. Smiles are tax-free Rather, you may get a perk / bonus when you smile. That is, your work might get done more easily. You may not be the recipient of someones temper. You may cheer up some sad souls you meet. You may make someones day. Yet we see so many people caught up in the web of their own lives, their faces contorted, thinking about how to buy bungalows, purchase cars and show off their latest toys (cell phones, laptops, etc). Their faces are covered with worldly greed for materialistic possessions, smirks, groans, moans and a never-ending list of complaints. Smiling is positive. However, if you smile at inappropriate times, you
By Charlane Pereira
ver wondered why people like smiling faces rather than grumpy glances? A person who hellos everyone is a well-liked and popular person. A smile travels a long way, and works its charms on its recipients. There are very few people on this Earth who do not respond to cheery greetings from fellow humans. Of course, some smiles are cute and others are toothy, revealing a bad set of teeth. Other smiles could be mischievous, with a sparkle in the eyes. Smiles can indicate confidence, pride, contentment, satisfaction, amusement, etc. I remember when I was a kid My smile was clamped, for fear that people would comment on my overlapping teeth; till people started complimenting me on my cute smile. However, here I am not talking about which smiles are infectious and which are not. So what is so magical about smiles? It is often said, Smile and the world smiles with you... Cry and you cry alone. This worldly saying is indeed true. Even in your most difficult times and troubled moments, always wear a smile on your face. You will be surprised to experience the effect that such a simple motion of smiling has on you and all those around. You are likely to feel better, and experience the blues being chased away, with just a smile. Besides being backed by psychologi-
will be labelled an imbecile. Take for instance, a guy who catches the eye of a young dame and smiles at her, conveying to her his interest and willingness to strike a conversation. The young lady may or may not respond, which is a different issue. A child who is being scolded by her parents for misbehaviour may get be reprimanded once more for not taking matters seriously. A student who laughs after being given a warning of suspension from high school has even greater chances of being expelled from the institution for defying authority. If you want to smile and laugh heartily, attend some funny shows or watch comedy movies at your neighbourhood theatre. You could do any activity that you enjoy, which will definitely bring a smile to you. Listen to your favourite musician. Take a walk. Unwind Doctors themselves quip that laughter is the best medicine for all problems. Join a laughter club. Laugh your guts out. Live life to the fullest. Dont let all your worldly problems overwhelm you. Life is like the tides of the sea. Let your smile drive away all your worries. I once came across a beautiful quote: You havent lost your smile at all; its right under your nose. You just forgot it was there. Let me add this quote: Once you realise that, take some time to smile at the world. The world has a lot to offer you too.
Hubert Saldanha, Dona Paula
The rape of the minor Russian girl is yet another manifestation of the sorry state of affairs in Goa. We need to look no farther than the total moral bankruptcy of the political, administrative and business leaders in our state to realise why these regrettable incidents take place. The rot at the top has permeated the social fabric and it has been left threadbare for the rest of the world to see that all is far from well in paradise.
Dogs strike again
Dr Philippe Chanel aka Srihari, Switzerland
Jose Marie Mirandas excellent article (Dogs before Humans?, Herald, 29 January) was timely. Last week, as I was walking peaceful-
ly in Anjuna around 7am, I was brutally attacked from behind, without warning, by a black dog. It inflicted severe wounds on my left forearm. I got prompt assistance from the owner of Joe Bananas restaurant. He called a taxi and I received excellent care at Vrundavan Hospital in Mapusa. Fortunately, there is no permanent damage, but it required antibiotics, a tetanus shot and a course of five anti-Rabies vaccines. I want to thank Joe Banana for his assistance and the medical staff at Vrundavan Hospital. But I would also like to suggest to the owner of the black dog (if it has one), which is known to have bitten other people in recent times, to have his dog examined for possible Rabies. This incident in no way changes my love for India. It was a useful reminder of the impermanence of life.
Letter of the Day
Rajesh Naik, Mumbai
Accounts Department about what amount is credited in the account.
Letters to the Editor
Paths of Wisdom
To Him belongs the sovereignty
By Samir Khan He to Whom belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth: Who has begotten no son: Who has no partner in His Sovereignty: Who created each and every thing and then ordained its destiny. (AlQuran, chapter 25: verse 2) The expression He to Whom belongs the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth means He alone has an exclusive right to it, and no one else has any right nor any share in it. Who has begotten no son means that God has neither any relation of direct parenthood to anyone, nor has He taken anyone as a son. Therefore, none else in the universe is entitled to worship. He is Unique and there can be no partner in His Godhead. All those who associate with Him angels or djinns or saints as His offspring are ignorant. They have no true conception of the Greatness of Allah and consider Him to be weak and needy like human beings, who require someone to become their inheritor. The Arabic word mulk means sovereignty, supreme authority, and kingship. Thus the sentence will mean: Allah is the Absolute Ruler of the whole universe and there is none other who may have any right to authority; therefore He alone is God. For whenever a man takes anything else as his lord, it is under the presumption that his deity has the power to do good or bring harm and make or mar his fortune; nobody likes to worship a powerless deity. When it is recognised that none but Allah has real power and authority, he will not commit the folly of bowing in worship before anything else except his real God, because To Allah belongs the heavens and the earth and to him alone.
Indians not allowed?
Handle with care
Errol DSouza, Porvorim
It is shocking news that at least 13 young students committed suicide recently in Mumbai. Nowadays, children are pressured not only at school but also at home by their parents, who expect sky high results. Too much competition has made children nervous. In the end, we must all remember that on one can be perfect. Those who assume they are perfect are living in a fantasy world, and should get off their high horse. Todays children should be handled gently, like tender flowers, and not subjected to harsh treatment at home or at school.
100 Years Ago
Bismarck Martins, Velim
It is sad to note the degeneration among the medical fraternity. The Hippocratic Oath has today turned into a Hypocrites Oath. Doctors are selling their souls. Medicine is no longer a noble profession. Its degeneration started with pharma companies giving gifts for prescribing their products, and also with the setting up of four large hospitals in Vasco, Dona Paula, Cuncolim and Margao. To counter these large hospitals, which provide all services, local nursing homes, laboratories and diagnostic centres started doling out referral fees (cuts or commissions) to medical practitioners who sent them patients. Patients today are forced by these practitioners to go to nursing homes and avail mediocre treatment, just so that referring doctors earn money. I think its time to wake up and realise the antics of these doctors.
My wife and I had gone to Calangute for a night out. We walked into a restaurant and were told that we could not get in, as it was reserved only for English people. I was shocked. Later, I enquired and found that it was being run by an English couple. How can Indians be barred from an establishment in India; has the Raj returned? I understand that there are many places run by foreigners in Goa, including restaurants, bars, shacks, watersports, etc. One also sees them working as entertainers such as DJs, karaoke DJs, musicians, comedians, etc, most on a tourist visa. I am surprised that the government and concerned departments are sleeping or turning a blind eye. Do they get a special envelope every month? If as an Indian I did the same in a foreign country, I would be jailed and deported, and never get entry into the country again. By letting foreigners run illegal businesses in India, we are just bowing down to the same people who once ruled us, even after we fought to get them out of here. It is insulting to see foreign flags hoisted on beach shacks in Goa. Foreigners may say that there are Indians working in their countries, but they should remember that they have the necessary documents to do so. To help the concerned departments, I list a few names: Val, Christopher & Helen, Brian (all entertainers). Over the Flames, Ruffles, Viva Pub, Why Not, Rustlers, Moonshine, East meets West, are some of the places run by foreigners. Do they have the necessary clearances? It is the governments business to find out and take necessary action. Jai Hind. damage the tourist industry and take away the aam admis daily bread. From my experience of working with foreigners, I have found that the British are mostly generous, polite and fair. What does Delhi or Mickky Pacheco know of the lives of poor Indians and their subsistence? Dont we want tourists to hire taxis, eat in restaurants, shop at local stores and supermarkets and help the economy? Who suffers when stupid rules are made? It is time the aam admi wakes up before it is too late. Playing with words like personhood does not affect what is a biologically real human being. It is ironical we want to protect frogs and their larvae, but not the human foetus and embryo. Its time to bring in common sense.
Epidemic of suicides
Irineu Gonsalves, Verna
I fully endorse the editorial An epidemic of suicides? (Herald, 25 January). These suicides should make all of us take notice. Dejected students take this extreme step; in most cases the parents are responsible. How many parents realise the true potential of their children? They feel the honour of the family lays in the institutions their wards study in and the courses they pursue. They fail to understand that performance is relative to the childs innate abilities. Such parents push their wards over the edge. Steps must be taken to reduce academic pressure on students. The editorial rightly points out that if schools appoint professional counsellors even on a part time basis, it could yield good results. Are we waiting for more suicides? We must ensure that children are not denied the simple pleasures of childhood? 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.
PRIMEIRO DIARIO NAS COLONIAS PORTUGEZAS
30 January 1910
Voskressensky, the assassin of Head of Secret Police Col Karpoff, was hanged in St Petersburg.
Arrears and tax
Elvis Colaso, Vasco
The Director of Accounts and the Education Department have not yet credited 40 per cent and 60 per cent of Sixth Pay Commission arrears in the GPF account of many schools. Many schools have deducted Income Tax from all the staff for the financial year 2008-09. Moreover, when the 40 per cent arrears are credited, schools are forcing teachers to pay Income Tax this year also. The Director of Accounts does not send the amount credited to each staff in their GPF account. This causes hardship to the teachers, as Income Tax is deducted without receiving a letter from the
Two million people have united to promote the boycott of meat imports into America.
An extraordinary meeting of the Agricultural Community of Serula is designated for today, to deliberate over the construction of a quay at Britona.
Milagres Pereira, Majorda
It is a pity that women themselves uphold their own destruction, in the name of reproductive rights, which are the bane of the unborn child; with millions of merciless abortions! What has sexual freedom without limitations done to women? It has messed their lives physically, emotionally and spiritually. The dignity of marriage has eroded.
Shridhar Sutar, Verem
The letters Goans lose by Michelle Bradbury and Stupid rule by EuGene Adams (Herald, 27 January) were alarming. One can only agree that the new restrictions concerning the twomonth delay for tourists to re-enter Goa will
In England, new experiments are underway on a new airplane to be pedalled like a cycle.
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