Regionalism seems to be in air. I am living in a city where every third day either MNS or Shiv Sena is beating up someone because they are not Marathi or they have insulted Balasaheb Thakaray. This was inevitable. When one brother gets spoiled parents should keep him under check else other siblings follow his path. The way our government is refusing to abolish article 350, no wonder every other state is demanding a similar provision.
But then I look at my state. I miss Goa a lot. I am very proud of that part of geography called Goa. But then I feel it is the nationalistic spirit that is preemptive on all other feelings. I am a goan but that does not stop me from admiring Maharashtrian or Bengali culture. Two other states I really love. One of my room mates happens to be Bengali and other is Maharashtra. The third one however has stayed at almost all over India including the Andaman.
Goa has suffered serious identity crisis. It was ruled by Portuguese for around 500 years. Then it was a union territory then there were talks of joining goa to Maharashtra. Thankfully it did not happen. The reason local leaders opposites this dissolution was because they were aware that, they will lose their importance once that happens. But their personal greed somehow turned out to be good for the whole state as well.
Thanks to Bollywood rest of India has developed a weird image of Goa. I have to encounter it now and then. Rick-drivers here often ask me where I am from, because of my Konkani accent they think I am from Konkani. When I tell them I am from Goa, they invariably ask me “Are you Christian?” I don’t really see how that matters to him but then most of the people do think that Goa has only or largely christian population. In fact only 30% of Goa’s population is Christian.
But then their stereotypes about Goan Christians are even more interesting. I am sure the movies like “Albert Pinto ko Gussa kyon ata hai?” has a lot to do about this. Most of the people are unaware that the possible number of goan Christian sir-names are as diverse as the Hindu ones. They think there are only Pinto, Fernandese and DMello. One girl asked me if the people were names after Mangoes or vice versa. But the funniest question came from a south Indian who asked me “All all Goan females are fat and aunty types?” I told him not really as much as the south Indian actresses.
There is nothing wrong in forming a group and being proud of it. But as soon as we start blaming other group for our shortcomings we actually shun our own growth. No matter what group/institution/organization it is , it must constantly look within itself and improve instead of living in an illusionary world of “we are the best”.
The world is changing. It is changing with a pace faster than we can imagine. The change comes to pass by the time we really start understanding it. Few years back, you required only some formal education to get a job. Most of the jobs required “unskilled” or “semi-skilled” labor. It was possible to have strategies like reservation for son-of-soil etc. But today job market is competitive. Every job is a super specialty. A reservation strategy means you will have to hired second class people. Will that give us any edge in global market?
When we claim special treatment in the world because we are 1.2 billion people we need to make sure that we really have that synergy. If a Maharashtrian and Bihari cant see each other in eye, India will be just a lobby of few states who themselves have conflicting goals.
Goa is facing a serious influx of migrants from nearby poor states. We see most of the businesses are no dominated by non-Goans. Eg. Kannadigas in restaurant business, Rajasthanis in tiles and flooring, Gujarati in Sweets business and of course Bangladeshi & Russians in prostitution.These people are so good in their business that they feel the gaps leaving the Goan youth jobless.
The solution is not reservation. The real solution is in enabling our youth to do their job better than rest can. Aren’t Goan Schools of hotel management a preferred ones outside Goa? Isn’t our fluency with English giving us an edge over rest of India? We need to figure out more such skills and power ourself to increase our employability.
I think our identity as Goans if at all we want to maintain it, is likely to undergo change. Resisting that change i futile because we dont understand it fully. We can only make sure that in the process we dont become helpless and submit ourselve to greedy and stupid politicians like the Maharashtrians have done.