DR OSCAR REBELLO 20th Aug 2023
Well, Well, Well !!
Madness has descended completely onto Goa and has us in its grip and thrall.
Bolmax set the ball rolling as it were, with his tempestuous and ill-advised remarks on Shivaji Maharaj.
Quick on cue, the Shiv Premis snapped on their battle gear and stormed the police station—to demand his arrest.
The air was rent with a sense of foreboding and doom, until better sense prevailed for a while.
Then, Boom! A bunch of Christao goons, perhaps drunk and drugged, the staple diet in North Goa, desecrated a Shivaji statue and things threatened to come to a boil again.
Admittedly, much as this Government may be reviled for its acts of commission and omission (more commissions than omissions of course), the rapid-fire response of the CM , the police force, as well as Carlos, Subash and Joshua, who reinstalled the statue, tempers were calmed once again. All credit to them on this count—and this count alone!
But the pot had to be kept sizzling and what's an election season if it's not hot, sexy, and on the boil.
So just as the orchestra was winding down—Bang, Bang, the Clash of Cymbals reverberated again.
Some pitiful, spiteful Hindutva hotheads installed a Vijaya Durga statue on church property in Sancoale.
That the police acted with a nimbleness and alacrity, otherwise unknown to them, was noteworthy—even praiseworthy.
But the odyssey shall continue, my friends.
There will be new inflammatory speeches by the rabble-rousers.
There will be swift counter-reactions from the community targeted, and the risk of utter mayhem and lunacy on our streets will be within striking (a peculiar word) distance.
Padres will be vilified, the Portuguese era will be rekindled, Shivaji will be abused, Trishuls will be displayed, social media will be alight with the foulest, most offensive language possible.
And when social harmony is emphatically disrupted, fear will be the natural emotion that will elevate itself into primal position.
So the subliminal text that will be conveyed by the "liberals" and the "seculars" is
CHRISTAOS KHATRE MEIN HAIN
And the text to be disseminated by the "conservatives” or the “communals" will be
HINDUS KHATRE MEIN HAIN
And what all of us will conveniently forget and ignore is that the unmistakable reality will always and forever be
KI GOA KHATRE MEIN HAIN
So, even as we debate and abuse, stone and break our bones, doubt and encourage lumpen louts:
Our forests will continue to be ravaged,
Our rivers will continue to dry out and become even more polluted,
Our system will continue to be venal and corrupt,
Our lands will be converted into concrete—which has become the reliable currency of the day.
We will live in KHATRE of one another when a much bigger monster, a far bigger KHATRA is already devouring us.
I strongly believe that 95% of the noiseless, voiceless majority of Goa, are fed up and don’t give a shit about this Call to Arms by these self-styled religious and cultural commandos.
So this is what we must do as a sensible community, which depends almost exclusively on tourism as our sustenance industry.
1. Ignore anyone who makes any kind of provocative speech or airs social media posts.
Simply refuse to attend any "KHATRE MEIN HAIN" meetings.
Urge the press to bury these reports within the inside pages or, better yet, blank them out completely.
2. Do not pass any Smart Alec comments on any revered figure that the vast majority venerate.
Be it Shivaji
Be it Jesus Christ
Be it the Prophet Mohammed.
Those are no-go, off-limit areas for anyone.
(And please do not feed me the freedom of speech BS ..That simply does not work on the ground).
3. Encourage the police force to nip these insignificant little cacti, hell-bent on fomenting trouble, apprehend them, and clang the bars behind them.
Nidhin Valsan and your Force,
Salim Shaikh and your Force,
Take a bow.
Beat these low-lives into submission if they disturb the peace.
The people of Goa will stand by you.
My guess is even the politicians will: not because they do not love a riot, but here in Goa, their substantial personal investments in real estate and the hospitality sector—not to mention the drug and flesh trade— could go for a toss if Goa descends into a Manipur or West Bengal like killing field.
4. And finally an appeal to the youth of Goa.
I know your favorite sites of protest are Instagram and Twitter (Azad Maidan, where’s that??).
So make your positions loud and clear on those platforms that you ain't buying any more of this kind of crap from these bullies.
Simply ostracise them.
And as a last thought:
It is true that Goan Hindus and Christians have always lived amicably and have, over the centuries, developed a syncretic, unique, and largely peaceful culture.
But there are flash points.
There are areas of serious discord and suspicion.
There is doubt of the Other and a great deal of Self-doubt.
We always prefer to sweep those issues under the carpet and never address them adequately.
But this may not be the time to scratch those wounds.
For now, we need to stand shoulder to shoulder, and very determinedly show the middle finger to all the fringe elements, the rabble-rousers and random mercenary bandicoots who clamber on board for the ride.
In one voice our message should be Loud and Clear
GET OFF OUR GRASS
DR OSCAR REBELLO GOA