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Vol No CX No: 329 The Saraswats who Invented Goa
Goa, Saturday, 1 January, 2011
learning lessons from the past will only help save our identities, says tEotÓnio r. DE soUZA
A brand new year
with compassion I put it on record in my autobiographical intro-
duction to Goa to Me (1994) that as a child,
till five or six years of age, I would only sleep
adopted lingo.
Thanks to Valmiki Faleiro, a brilliant investiga-
tive journalist, we can now identify each of those

A rchbishop Patriarch of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri in my grandma’s lap, listening to her tales that Goan officers, Catholics and Hindus, who served
Ferrão has done well to point at the growing trend of had a fascination for me. Among them were the the nation. Three of them had their names as-
supposedly democratic and representative institutions stories of Addtulem and Biddtulem, two Saraswat signed to Goan roads: Air V/Mshl Erlic W Pinto in
being used to foment religious and communal tensions, mavxeo (aunties). The former built a house of Dabolim, Lt Col Sylvester M D’Souza in Sangolda,
wax and the latter a house of cow dung. These and Wg Cdr Clarence J D’Lima in Socorro. We get
fuel communal divides and abet communal violence. His building materials rhymed well as mennachem to know that nearly 70 per cent of these military
address, at the annual civic reception on the occasion of and xennachem, but I do not remember having officers were from the Saraswat Brahmin caste,
Christmas held at the Archbishop’s House on Wednesday, heard a complete story ever, and hence, how mostly from Bardez, and with lesser number from
offered the hand of the Church in Goa to collaborate “in the those structures fared when monsoon rains struck Salcete.
building of a society that sincerely and genuinely promotes them! After the exhaustion of a day’s pranks it I am itching to lay my hands on Valmiki Faleiro’s
the dignity of the human being, religious freedom and was too difficult to keep awake to listen to the just released Patriotism in Action. I was lucky in
cultural harmony, as well as peace and justice for everyone”. tales till their very end. Besides, I knew there the meantime to interview the author by internet
These words are doubly significant in the context of events was nothing to lose because my grandma would and to get answers to my many queries.
in neighbouring Karnataka, which is ruled by a Bharatiya start telling the story all over again the following He tells in the Prologue that he was provoked
Janata Party (BJP) government. Some years ago, it saw horrific night. to write the book, partly to respond to taunts
communal violence against the peaceful Catholic community My grandpa Lam Jaku introduced me to real- that described Goan Catholics as “unpatriotic
in the state by the stormtroopers of the Sri Ram Sene, the life stories and would tell me how he often left and anti-national,” and as such deserved to be
Bajrang Dal and other fascist outfits on the pretext of a the Portuguese revenue officers baffled during deported to Portugal.
the triennial rice-field auctionings in the village. This book responds not just to taunts of the
leaflet released by a minuscule Protestant evangelist group.
His presence with his expertise in field measuring fundamentalist Hindu politicians, but also to the
Significantly, the government of the state did little or nothing techniques was a must for his village co-ganvkars, politically naïve neo-orientalist rhetoric, disguised
to prevent the violence. Instead, police beat and arrested who never trusted the government-backed in- as brilliant piece of research.
Catholic youth who resisted the violence. truders, who were prone to dupe them on such As we close the year 2010 and enter 2011, we
Even more recently, the state has passed a draconian law occasions. can cherish what Goa has gained from 450 years
banning slaughter of not just cows and calves, but of bulls Mind you, the intruders were not unknown of Portuguese colonial legacy and its positive im-
and buffaloes as well. This has nothing to do with religion. outsiders, but village elites that held government print upon Goa’s identity.
The Hindu religion may consider the cow to be holy, but jobs in the district municipality or as henchmen We cannot forget that all life implies a constant
certainly not the bull – which is used for ploughing fields – of the village regedor. A controversial book enti- resistance to forces of death. There is no healthy
or the buffalo. The whole purpose of the law is purely to tled The Invention of Goa (A Invenção de Goa in growth in democratic politics without an effective
harass minorities which eat beef, like the Muslims, Christians its original Portuguese version) seeks to explain opposition. Fifty years of liberation have woken
and Dalits. Thankfully, the Karnataka Governor in a political the pragmatism of such elites that helped the the Goans sufficiently to the risks and challenges
masterstroke has referred the bill to the President of India consolidation of the Portuguese colonial rule. It of democracy.
for an opinion, and it is now stuck in limbo. is not an earth-shaking revelation because no Nothing comes free, and costliest of it all is
foreign ruler has ever ruled long without the help Freedom. If 450 years of colonial rule have not
As the Archbishop said, the country and this state presently of the insiders. The beauty of the new-found taught that to us, may God save us from worse
face a threat to their minority communities, even though
the minorities do not represent any threat to the majority.
democracy is that we rule ourselves and often
exploit our people with the help of the outsiders!
HistoricAl ExplorAtions kind of Inventions!
Knowing how inquisitive aunties can be, the
He has called not for any resistance or protest in this matter, It is an Invention dedicated to aunties Carmita know of a niecey (sic) leak circulating: It advised non-elites that protested with their feet into lusophone tias in particular, they are likely to fol-
but rather for an opportunity to conduct a genuine dialogue and Manuela, resident of Salcete, prominent as the aunties in Goa to avoid reading my Herald waves of emigrants into the neighbouring Indian low Oscar Wilde, who admittedly did not resist
and promote mutual cultural enrichment. He pointed out cradle of the native elites in colonial service, column. It would save them from headaches regions, building up pressure that would ulti- only to temptations, and continue looking out
that right from the United Nations to parliaments, legislative thanks to the spiritual assistance of the Jesuits and depressions. A sound piece of advice that mately lead to satyagraha movement and to the for my ‘Historical Explorations’ into the pre and
assemblies, municipal corporations and village councils like and bamboozling by Inquisitors. We were told made the Portuguese Invention of Goa possible Operation Vijay. post-Portuguese Inventions of Goa.
our panchayats, there are vast opportunities for people to in a debate on Goa Research Net cyberforum that some 500 years ago and during centuries that Contrary to what some pro-colonialists con- Otherwise, they could be sorry to miss knowing
sit at a common table and discuss matters of common interest, the study was inspired by Aristotelian rhetoric, followed. tinue to glibly represent as invasion, the conquest that their ancestor Saraswats first invented Goa
which contribute to the common welfare of humankind. even if the term Invention may be derived from The brilliant Invention of Goa in question, of Goa and its integration into India was deftly with the assistance of Parashurama, and in 1961
the Latin invenire, meaning to find. Things that points out precisely to the Goan native elites conducted with the help of about half a dozen re-invented Goa as Catholic Saraswats in Indian
It is only when these very structures of participation be- were found since ages by the natives get discov- that were pampered by the Portuguese colonial high-ranking Goan commissioned officers from military garb, short-circuiting a chimeric Por-
come tools in the hands of a few to wield power over ered and invented by the clever Europeans, and regime after they had been battered into sub- the three branches of the Indian armed forces, tuguese Plano Sentinela at Vasco da Gama, with
national and state communities, instead of being genuine their orientalist and neo-orientalist disciples. mission as ‘willing’ collaborators. With their col- chosen for their strategic experience and ability Afonso de Albuquerque in attendance: A dim
community empowering instruments, that they cease to be Even though Lusoleaks are not yet a new off- laboration Goa could continue to be re-invented to relate to the Portuguese colonial administration finale for a grand overture by those pioneers of
the democratic institutions that they purport they are. shoot of the beleaguered Wikileaks, I came to till Thy Kingdom come, had it not been for the and its native collaborators in their native or Portuguese Discoveries / Inventions.
Without taking any names, the Archbishop slammed
“large conventions” that take place, sometimes with the
sole aim of disturbing inter-religious peace and harmony
existing amidst citizens. He was probably referring to the
Tongue in Cheek
2010 – A year of scams By Adelmo Fernandes

alleged ‘Hindu Dharma Jagruti Sabhas’ that are organised
by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti in Goa. In these meetings, e are into the first day of a fresh new year 2011. The year been several of them in the year 2010. India is not a poor country. This scam is making history in more ways than one. Thanks to
strident rabble rousing is the order of the day. Hinduism is also marks the beginning of a new decade. The year 2010 It is a rich country but the wealth is concentrated in the hands of the opposition party, it has paralysed the entire Parliament session.
falsely proclaimed to be ‘in danger’, and vitriol is poured on is now history. But for our country it has been a history a handful of rich people. The Opposition party is trying to implicate the Prime Minister of
the minority communities, on the Congress government in of scams and scandals. There indeed were scams galore varying in Ours is a country where the divide between the rich and the the country. There is a toss-up between an investigation by a
Goa, and in particular on the Chief Minister of the state. Many size depending on the amount swindled from the public exchequer. poor is growing wider with each passing year. These scams have Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and a Joint Parliamentary Com-
In a way it seemed that there was a race for the biggest scam of been responsible for the public money finding their way to the mittee (JPC). One thing on the mind of every Indian is whether at
of the speeches made at these meetings could easily attract the year award which could ultimately be the biggest scam of the Swiss banks and other foreign banks. The year 2010 saw three the end of it all the truth will come out. Where does this leave the
criminal charges of causing disaffection among communities. decade, of the century and of course of all time. major scams. There was the IPL scam involving 1,200 to 1500 common man? Well one thing is for sure. It has left everyone
Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was present at the recep- Till last year the big league of scams in India included the Bofors crores. This just isn’t cricket and has Lalit Modi on the run. gasping in belief.
tion, along with a host of other dignitaries. He could not guns scam, Satyam scam, scams involving big bull Harshad Mehta, The CWG involved irregularities to the tune of Rs8000 crore The amount involved in the scam is probably more than the
have failed to have heard the Archbishop Patriarch. There Ketan Parekh, Abdul Telgi of the fake stamp fame, and the UTI and all guns are pointing towards Suresh Kalmadi who in all prob- budget of the biggest state of the country. Why do people get in-
was no hatred or anger in his words; just a longing for com- scam. Of these the biggest for several years was probably the ability has to spend sleepless nights. Then there was the Adarsh volved in scams? How much money do some want to stack? Are
munal harmony and a rebuke for those who sought to Satyam scam involving Raju which was pegged at a whooping building scam which brought down a state Chief Minister. But by these persons trying to save for another four generations down
disturb it without any real cause. The next time there is a Rs14,000 crore. Internationally there were scams galore too. There far the mother of all scams has been the 2G Spectrum scam which the line? We have probably not seen the last of the scams unfolding.
Hindu Dharma Jagruti Sabha, maybe the CM should ask for was the Ponzi scam, The Maddoff scam and the Enron scam to deprived the government coffers of a mind boggling 1.96 lakh Who knows the 2011 could see bigger scams coming to light. We
a report, and then take what action he feels is appropriate. name a few. Of course scams involve scamsters. And there have crores in potential revenue. can only hope that we have seen the last of the scams.

Letters to the Editor

New Year resolutions follow instructions of the ministers. The individuals unconnected with the exami-
Paths of Wisdom
Allwyn George, Carmona
government contractors have to improve
the quality of their work. The teachers
Letter of the Day nations used to enter the examination halls.
I had sent detailed reports to the concerned
Samartha Ramdas
It is time to ring in the New Year and a have to make a resolution to improve the authorities. I do not know what happened
time to make more resolutions. The com-
mon man will be forced to make a resolu-
tion to cut spending to keep up with
quality of education they impart to our
children to make them competitive enough.
Lastly, all of us have to make a resolution
Journalism or to the reports, but I was discontinued as
the observer.
A lighthouse
The birth name of Samartha Ramdas
Swami was Narayan Suryaji Thosar. He
inflation. The Government and its fat min-
isters have to make a resolution to serve
the interests of the people rather than their
that we are going to serve our country
better in the best way we can. sensationalism? Thanks to ‘Godfather’
Agnelo AF Dias, Panaji
was born on ‘Ramnavami’ in the year
1530 (Marathi), (1608 AD) in Jamb village
on the banks of Godavari river. He was a
Jehangir Gai, Consumer Activist, Mumbai On the beginning of the New Year, this is
own. The Sarpanchas have to listen to the Business dictates media! firm believer in God and stood by his
views of the Gram Sabhas and not their This refers to the article by Bharati Pawaskar, “Is media losing credibility?” (Herald, to appreciate the glorious Tiatr ‘Godfather’ principles. He felt sad because people
Samir Kelekar, Bangalore 31 Dec). It’s really sad that the journalism is no longer what it used to be. It’s now which has crossed the 50th show mark.
bosses in power. The Goa Police have to got stuck in the unending cycle of life
oblige to the people’s complaints and not This refers to the article “Is media losing sensationalism and nothing more. This is because many of the important newspapers Being a very simple and heart rendering and death. At the age of 11, he attained
credibility (Herald, 31 Dec) by Bharati are directly or indirectly controlled by politicians owning or managing such media. story shown through the humble prospec- enlightenment. He started his spiritual
Pawaskar. I think the problem with the Certain senior journalists also want to curry favours from bureaucrats and politicians, tive of a Municipal sweeper aptly portrayed
100 Years Ago media is the business model. Since media and this result in conflict of interest, where vested interest prevails over journalistic by Salu de Loutolim, the play has high-
journey soon after.
For next 12 years, he crisscrossed India
has to depend on advertisements for sur- values and ethics. The quality of journalists which are being churned out by colleges lighted the moral responsibility of the so- and minutely observed condition of peo-
vival, they dictate what is to be written of journalism is not good. Many journalists can be bought over. If that fails, the next ciety towards the garbage issues and also ple. He realised that frequent floods,
PRIMEIRO DIARIO NAS COLONIAS PORTUGEZAS and what is not. step is the PR agencies that contact the newspaper’s Advertising Department to get enlightens us on the total lapse of the con- famines and attacks by fanatics had de-
One way out could be that people need stories killed – here, advertising revenue weighs over journalistic values. cerned authorities in creating social aware-
1 January 1911 to be charged more for an independent So, sadly, the Fourth Estate no longer helps in mobilising public opinion. It is only ness towards the same. There is a play
stroyed social life of people. Everyone
was scared and depressed. Based on his
Agriculture prevails in Goa media outlet. People have to be told that interested in reporting ‘masala stuff ’. which has been used as a very entertaining experiences he wrote two books named
Is agreed by one and all that Goa is es- it will cost to be independent. It doesn’t medium to educate the general public on ‘Asmani Sultani’ and ‘Parachakraniroopan’.
sentially an agricultural land where come free. To start with, the committee/s should From elections to corruption, injustice social issues and awareness. Ramdas Swami felt bad when he saw the
therein sustains its social and economic prepare a list of promises made by politi- and the power and tyranny of wealth and Thanks to Comedian Agostinho for ed- society depending so much on fate and
fabric. What’s your price? cians, parties and the government. The inefficiency of administration make life hell ucating the general public on major social providence. He highlighted warrior’s role
M Fernandes, Benaulim committee/s should then organise, regular for a common citizen in the name of free- issues. in society. Samartha Ramdas Swami es-
‘Akbary’ regimen I refer to PS Reddy’s letter ‘Ensure fact find-
and time-bound meetings with the Minis- dom is given to us. tablished many study centres across the
The Governor of the State has appointed ing’ (Herald, 31 Jan) in reply to a news report
ters, MLAs and the Government depart- In India’s present day socio-economic Virgin-birth country. His teaching of patience and
a Committee to formulate the renovation ments attached to the ministries. The and political environment, the daily news Paul Rodricks, Caranzalem faith in the face of adversities helped
‘Wake up Goa police and smell the Coffee’
of ‘Akbary’ regimen which concerns the reports of these meetings should be pub- media presents the height of corrupt prac- people to deal with difficult conditions.
(Herald, 28 Dec) and quote his words “I am Bernard Simoes in his letter ‘Words of Wis-
agricultural development. lished in your paper and a copy sent to all tices of our politicians and bureaucrats He understood the importance of the
not agreeing specially with the report ‘Rs10 dom!’ (Herald, 30 Dec) writing about Mary’s
the Chairmen of these committees for fol- currently rocking the Indian and Goa. role of women in a harmonious society.
Government and change is all that you pay to evade border post
low-up and raising questions in the Assem-
Annunciation and Immaculate Conception,
It is admirable that while the Govern- checking!’ by Vibha Verma mentioning my invites attention to common parallel motifs He encouraged women to participate in
ment is propounding changes, it still name, who never contacted me or any of-
bly. Opening Open Schools? of virgin-birth and mother- of-god, religious work and gave them positions
ficial from the Head office.” SND Poojary, Miramar ‘Theotokos’, found in ancient pagan god- of authority. He had 18 staunch women
follows the regimen of yore.
So, Mr Reddy, what is your price?
Tree of corruption desses like Astarte, Hathor, Ishtar, Isis. disciples. He strongly reprimanded an
It has been reported in the press that the
General Assembly Elections Socorro D’Souza, Fatorda Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Sec- Mythological characters of Zoroaster, old man who was against women partic-
Took place in the City the elections for Let us unite! Corruption is a tree whose branches are ondary Education wants to start open Mithra, Osiris, and Dionysus were believed ipation by saying that everyone came
the Managing Committee of Commercial immeasurable length. They spread every- schools in Goa. I was once an observer ap- to have been born to divinely impregnated from a woman’s womb and those who
Cdr Akeel Shaikh (Rtd), Dabolim did not understand their importance
Association for the year 1911 being where and the dew that drops from thence pointed by the Open School Authorities at virgins.
elected Dr Antonio Maria da Cunha and I read the article by Raul Fernandes ‘If we hath infected some chairs and stools of Like Mary, the Egyptian Isis, Madonna, were not worthy of being called a man.
the X and XII examinations held at certain
Luis Guilherme Dias to be the Presidents do not stop the rot now, we are damned’ our authorities in Goa. (child Horus on her knee), was worshipped He abhorred distinction based on caste
centres of open schools. The examinations
of the General Assembly and of the Gen- (Herald, 28 Dec) and am in complete agree- In any part of India or Goa, one can get as ‘Our Lady,’ ‘Queen of Heaven,’ ‘Mother and creed. According to him, all human
were literally ‘open’; candidates openly in-
eral Assembly respectively. ment with you. anything done through political circle, cash of God’ and so forth. beings are equal. He was a true supporter
dulged in malpractices, either with the
We the residents of Goa, must do some- and muscle power the police. The truth is She likewise declared: “My name, my of socialism and secular society.
Military and strikes connivance of the officials of the centres
thing to ensure that our elected represen- hard to take; there is a lack of transparency divinity, is adored throughout the world, His contribution to the field of literature
or, the authorities at the centres were un-
Although the Press Body from Bombay tatives do not forget the welfare of the in India. The politicians, bureaucrats and in diverse manners, in variable customs is unparalleled. Dasbodh’, ‘Manache
able to act against the candidates indulging
is mentioning insubordination amongst State and its residents, once elected. I sug- the government employees at all level mis- and in many names...” Hieroglyphic im- Shlok’, ‘Atmaram’, ‘Manapanchak’, ‘Anan-
in malpractices under their very nose. In
the Military and the strikes taking place gest that either your newspaper or an NGO use their power. There is no respect for ages of Annunciation, Immaculate Con- davanbhuvan’, ‘Shivakalyanaraja’ and
one case, many unauthorised individuals
in this territory, the Government issued organises committees, dedicated to mon- the law and the fear factor, because all in ception, Birth and Adoration of Horus are many more are relevant even today. Like
assembled near the centre; the authorities
a circular stating that it is absolutely er- itoring the activities and achievements of power are above the law or carry law in depicted on the walls of Luxor Temple in a light house his teachings are guiding
entrusted with the conduct of the exami-
roneous in context. politicians, and also key bureaucrats. their pockets because it is lacking. Egypt. force in today’s troubled times.
nations could not do anything. Sometimes,

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