Tag Archives: Goa

Indians of Another Colour, Or why Goans are More than Just Portuguese: Hartman de Souza

This guest post by HARTMAN DE SOUZA is in response to Europeans of An Other Colour – Why the Goans are Portuguese

The news that Goa’s Catholics obtain Portuguese citizenship and flee wherever they can with their families, availing in fact of whatever loopholes are available, is not that new a phenomenon to Goans following matters on the ground – even though it may now serve to open out a new thread in the discussion of postcolonial societies, and in particular, the travails of immigrant communities in what is supposedly a ‘globalized’ world.

It helps to keep in mind that it is Goa that is the classic case of a ‘failed state’, and not Pakistan, as Indians like to believe. Goa was once a beautiful territory protected by Ghats on three sides, rich with an abundance of water, blessed with fertile land, and made up of villages each of which had control of their commons through a sophisticated system of village governance that far predated the Portuguese Colonialists. Today however it is a state governed by politicians who work hand-in-glove with their crony partners whether in mining, real estate or industry,  a state in a freefall towards entropy. Continue reading Indians of Another Colour, Or why Goans are More than Just Portuguese: Hartman de Souza

Europeans of An Other Colour – Why the Goans are Portuguese: R. Benedito Ferrão & Jason Keith Fernandes


This article serves as a response to Sir Andrew Green’s comment on the alleged misuse of Portuguese citizenship by Indian nationals of Goan origin whom the Daily Star and the Daily Mail have characterized as immigrants who travel to Great Britain to take advantage of it. Green’s perspective from a few months ago mirrors prevalent xenophobic views on the rights of immigrants to Europe; hence, the counterpoint offered here hopes to challenge such bias as it will surely continue to be expressed.

On 13 May, 2013, the Goan Ethernet was aflame with outrage at statements made by Sir Andrew Green, chairperson of Migration Watch, carried in the Daily Star and the Daily Mail. The Daily Star reported, “An Indian national from Goa can obtain Portuguese citizenship if their parents were Portuguese citizens prior to 1961,” and quoted Green as saying, “They can then move straight to the UK with their family. On arrival they can avail themselves, immediately, of all the benefits available to UK citizens.” The Daily Mail seems to have been spurred on by Green’s statement, going on to claim that “[a] number of Indian nationals from the former Portuguese territory of Goa are thought to have taken advantage of the loophole. Indians living in Goa can claim they have Portuguese heritage and so claim Portuguese citizenship. They can then move directly to Britain – without ever having to visit Portugal – and bring a family without meeting any qualification test.”

Given the manner in which the matter regarding Goan access to Portuguese citizenship has been reported in the British press, as academics studying Goa and the Goan community, we believe that there is a need to redress such misrepresentations and firmly call out, not only the wilful amnesia about Britain’s imperial past, but also the Anglo-centric interpretation of colonialism, the post-colonial, and de-colonised world order that motivates such representations. In so doing, our aim is to address not merely a need for Goans and others of former Portuguese India to assert the legitimacy of their actions, but to also enable a view of the global order from a position that is more respectful of the formerly colonised. Continue reading Europeans of An Other Colour – Why the Goans are Portuguese: R. Benedito Ferrão & Jason Keith Fernandes

Mining in Goa and Odisha and the CPI, Then and Now: Hartman de Souza

Guest post by HARTMAN DE SOUZA. The article was written a few days before April 12, the CPI’s day of solidarity with Odisha mine workers.

When the Goa State Committee of the erstwhile Communist Party of India (CPI) and its national secretary, our very own Comrade Christopher Fonseca, tells you that April 12th will be observed all over India as a day of solidarity with the Adivasi people of Odisha struggling for seven years to save more than 4000 acres of their ancestral lands from falling to mining conglomerates as rapacious as their Goan counterparts, ageing leftists in the village bar are not too sure whether they should laugh or just weep.

Perhaps one needs to paint the larger picture to highlight the irony that lurks in the shadows.

There was a time it needs to be said, when the CPI ran a long, hard and lonely battle in Goa, led by Comrade George Vaz who it is hard to believe was once Comrade Fonseca’s mentor. He was a short, somewhat portly, soft-spoken, widely-travelled man fluent in at least four languages. Not many Goans would know that Comrade Vaz ran a free kitchen in his home at Assenora open to anyone in need of a simple, nourishing meal, or that some of us who now want to weep in our glasses have eaten there several times…

Continue reading Mining in Goa and Odisha and the CPI, Then and Now: Hartman de Souza

Amitav Ghosh on Goa

Some musings here about the liberation of Goa from Portugese rule by India:

But the interaction between Portugal and India also produced vibrant cultural hybrids in architecture, music and food. Among the state’s most famous dishes is the spicy vindaloo, a curry whose name is thought to be a contraction of the Portuguese phrase “vinho de alho,” or garlic wine. Besides, as Mr. deSouza pointed out, Goa was where the influence of the Enlightenment and the Renaissance in Europe was felt much before it reached other parts of India. As a result, the practice of sati – or widows immolating themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres – was abolished in Goa 200 years before the British banned it in the rest of India. [Naresh Fernandes]

And on Portugese language, 50 years after the Portugese were sent back to Portugal:

The popular history of the Portuguese period in Goa has largely been restricted to the gory tales of the initial conquest of the island of Goa, of the Inquisition, and the dramatization of the anti-colonial episodes in the territory’s history. To a large extent, this nationalist history dissuades Hindus from subaltern castes from studying the language. This has ensured that it is solely dominant-caste narratives that are incorporated into the histories of the territory, preventing alternative and liberatory narratives to emerge from a re-reading of the texts and narratives of the period of Portuguese sovereignty over the territory.  It is little known for example, that the knowledge of Portuguese is critical to the bahujan challenge to Hindu upper-caste groups’ monopolistic control of the Goan temples. This monopolistic control of the temples was forged in particular through these latter groups’ knowledge of Portuguese. [Jason Keith Fernandes]

An open letter to Tarun Tejpal: Hartman de Souza

On 27 October the Hindustan Times published an article by Hartman de Souza and on 30 October a response to it by Tarun Tejpal, editor of Tehelka newsmagazine. This guest post by HARTMAN DE SOUZA is his rejoinder

There are some of us in Goa who will know in about 20 days or so, thanks to two RTIs filed, whether Tarun Tejpal did in fact get all the necessary permissions and clearances needed to add to the lovely property he now owns in the village of Moira… or, as he more pointedly said of the village when he called me up in the Pune, “I mean, look at Moira man, it’s a dying Goan village” …emphasis on ‘dying’, and the implication being one suspects, that the Tejpals of the world can and will breathe life into it. I wonder if he remembers and can parse what I said to him in reply. Continue reading An open letter to Tarun Tejpal: Hartman de Souza

‘This is like a editorial kind of things no, I can’t mention on the paper you know’

Goa-based journalist MAYABHUSHAN NAGVENKAR posed as a politician planning to contest the Goa assembly elections 2012, and called up a marketing executive of the Goa newspaper, Herald, asking for an interview to be published in the newspaper, for a price, as editorial content rather than advertisement. He has posted online four conversations he had with the executive, one of which you can hear below.

See the full story: Goa’s Paid Piper – Paid political interview in Goa’s Herald newspaper for Rs 86,400

And the newspaper’s response.

Quepem by the kilo: Hartman de Souza on Mining in Goa

I am posting below a requiem to Quepem by my old friend Hartman. It reads eerily like a companion piece to the curatorial essay to Manifesta 7 by Raqs, posted earlier on Kafila. Raqs wrote:

Mountains are flattened to mine bauxite, the main aluminium ore. Mountains of aluminium waste may eventually take their place…The “rest of now” is the residue that lies at the heart of contemporaneity. It is what persists from moments of transformation, and what falls through the cracks of time. It is history’s obstinate remainder, haunting each addition and subtraction with arithmetic persistence, endlessly carrying over what cannot be accounted for. The rest of now is the excess, which pushes us towards respite, memory and slowing things down.

And here’s Hartman:

As you read this, mourn the brutal rape and murder of half a dozen steep, thickly forested hills barely 12 kilometres from Quepem town in south Goa. These form an integral link of the magnificent Western Ghats that surround Goa, and as any schoolchild studying the environment will tell you, they play a crucial role in providing Goa its ecological wellbeing.

And yet, in blatant contravention of wisdom we purport to impart to children, hundreds of forests are being cut down around Quepem even as I write this. The denuded land turned inside out so fast, a hill can disappear in three months, leaving behind suppurating wounds that go down so deep the giant tipper trucks at the bottom look like the harmless toys little boys plays with.

Continue reading Quepem by the kilo: Hartman de Souza on Mining in Goa