Saturday, January 23, 2010

Goa Sudharop Awards 2009 - Year of Youth

The Annual Awards presentation ceremony by Goa Sudharop Community Development Inc., a USA-based non-profit, volunteer NGO working for the betterment of Goa and Goans worldwide, was held at Hotel Mandovi, Panjim, on 14 January, 2010. Ms. Shilla Almeida, Youth Ambassador from the USA was also present for the function which was ably compered by GS volunteer, Mrs. Carmen Martins. The program also featured excellent cultural performances by the students of Fr. Agnel College, Pilar.

In accordance with the Goa Sudharop theme for the year 2009 ("Year of Youth"), and as a mark of support and encouragement of their efforts and achievements, Goa Sudharop chose to give cash and other awards to youth and those working with youth, including students, institutions, social activists and others.

The Chief Guest for the function was Mr. Rajendra Kerkar, a well-known activist committed to preserving the rich bio-diversity of Goa’s environment. In his address, Mr. Kerkar spoke on the scenario in the Goa of today, about the work being done by committed activists and of the dire need to preserve our natural resources and environment.

Goan Youth Achiever Awards were presented to Mr. Swapnil Asnodkar for his outstanding performance in cricket, to Mr. Motes Antao for his sustained struggle and proactive role in the solidarity movement against destructive mining in Goa, to Adv. Jessica Fernandes for organizing the Goan farmers and spearheading the movement for protecting agricultural land in Goa, and to Ms. Sonia Sirsat for her exceptional efforts in furthering an interest in Goan music both in the country and abroad, through her soulful renditions.

Special Recognition Awards of cash and a citation each were presented to Mr. Frankie Monteiro for unearthing the SEZ problem in Goa through effective use of the RTI Act and for his proactive role in the people’s movement against SEZ, and to Mr. Sebastian Rodrigues for his diligent, painstaking and untiring efforts in organizing solidarity amongst the mining affected villages in Goa and in creating through blogging and other means, an awareness of Goa’s environmental concerns.

Financial assistance was also provided to two battered women with growing children, through a donation by Raissa de May.

Goa Sudharop Scholarship Awards were presented to 14 talented, meritorious and deserving students of Class X and XII. Donations towards helping deserving and needy students were presented by GS Youth Ambassador Shilla Almeida to 4 colleges around Goa through a donation by Goa Sudharop’s Joe and Acaria Almeida. A donation in public interest was earlier made to the SEZ Virodhi Manch towards administrative expenses of the campaign against SEZ’s in Goa.

Mr. Pravin Sabnis who was the main facilitator and resource person for several Youth Leadership Workshops conducted by Goa Sudharop throughout the year at various institutions in Goa, spoke briefly on the need for such workshops which not only help the youth develop leadership qualities but also make them aware of current important issues in Goa. Fr. Frederick Rodrigues, Principal, Fr. Agnel College, Pilar also shared a few of his observations and experiences with respect to the youth programs that had been conducted during the year by Goa Sudharop in association with Fr. Agnel College, Pilar. Adv. Jessica Fernandes spoke about how, coming from an agricultural background, she was not only honoured to have been selected for the GS award for her role in the movement to protect agricultural land in Goa, but that the award was also an encouragement to her and to others to continue their efforts in this regard. Mr. Motes Antao also elucidated on his
experiences whilst working alongside other committed activists, against illegal and destructive mining in Goa. Youth Ambassador Ms. Shilla Almeida who has spent a major part of her recent visit to Goa in various GS related activities also briefly addressed the gathering.

A report of the many activities conducted through the year 2009 was then presented by Mr. Ibonio D’Souza, the local representative of Goa Sudharop. Amongst other activities, Goa Sudharop also organized in association with the Centre for Panchayati Raj a workshop for women to enlighten them on the working of the Panchayati Raj system. Six Youth Leadership workshops were held at various colleges in the state, where the topics covered included proactive citizenship, environmental concerns, drug addiction, stress management, leadership and other subjects relevant to youth empowerment.

Mr. D’Souza also informed the gathering that Goa Sudharop will shortly be holding an All Goa Youth meet on 23 Jan 2010 in association with the Chinmaya Yuva Kendra, Margao. The highlight of this meet will be a discourse on the topic “Discover the Jewel in You” by world renowned scholar and exponent H.H. Swami Tejomayanandaji, Head of the Chinmaya Mission, Worldwide.

Mr. D’Souza concluded the report of activities with the remarks, “Some people despair, saying that Goa is gone or going or already orphaned. Goa Sudharop believes that if each of us lights his or her little lamp instead of cursing the darkness, we can flood the world with light and banish darkness forever. All of us present here today are lovers of Goa and many are valiant fighters for Goa’s honour at this juncture. Let’s swell these numbers, by ourselves being first the change that we wish to see around!”

The function ended with a Vote of Thanks by Mr. Ibonio D’Souza to the Chief Guest, the recipients of the awards for their good work, the volunteers, and in particular to all the supporters and well wishers of Goa Sudharop.

Mapusa cries for development - by Erwin Fonseca (The Navhind Times)

Mapusa cries for development


Friday, 22 January 2010


Mapusa, whose municipal market completed 50 years of its existence, has slipped into a chaotic city. The ills of civic life have taken a toll on the once well-planned city. And in the rough and tumble of politics and administration, the city fathers have forgotten to celebrate the golden jubilee of the municipal market.

The golden jubilee of one of the oldest markets of Goa has gone practically unsung. Neither the Mapusa municipal council chairperson, the councilors nor the Mapusa MLA realised that the Mapusa market completed 50th years and it was a time to organise some events to mark the occasion.

It was in January, 1960 that the last Governor of Portuguese-ruled Goa, General Manuel Antonio Vassalo E Silva had inaugurated the municipal market. It was a well-planned market with ample place in-between and shops constructed were in an orderly manner.

Old-timers recalled that the Portuguese officials would regularly monitor the market and see that hygiene, discipline and order were maintained in the market. It was due to these efforts that Mapusa soon became popular worldwide for its Friday market as a lot of local produce would find its place in Mapusa.

The once famous Mapusa market today is besotted by disorder in the city. The ills of civic life have raised their ugly head in the city. Parking woes, bad roads, garbage, choked drains, stinking nullah have created chaos in Mapusa. The infrastructure of the market has completely deteriorated and no concerted efforts seem to be made for improving the city.

The work for the vegetable market has been incomplete for the last four years. There do not seem to be any signs that the fish market, which had been demolished for being in a bad state, will turn around soon. There is no decent hall which could help encourage the young artistes of Mapusa, though efforts are now on to construct a Ravindra Bhawan.

Even the parks and gardens are badly maintained as is evident from the fact that most parks and gardens in Mapusa wear a near isolated look. Indiscipline among vendors and lack of market management is further putting Mapusa in bad light not only among the locals but even among the tourists. Except for the early councillors who were determined to keep an order in the city, the subsequent elected representatives, chief officers and bureaucrats failed miserably in making Mapusa a good city.

The Mapusa MLA, Mr Francis D?Souza admitted that as an MLA he was also to be blamed for the mess of Mapusa as he is still struggling to give good roads and water to his people, but also blamed his councillors. Councillors from time to time ignore Mapusa and get involved in petty politics for personal gains. What is required is proper management of Mapusa market resources and decongestion of the market,? he said. Mr D'Souza claimed that when he was MMC chairperson he had made a lot of efforts, including construction of 400 shops in the city, that could decongest the market.

On the other hand, the MMC chairperson, Ms Rupa Bhakta said, Ever since I took over a year back I have tried to do whatever I could. However, it will require some time for Mapusa to regain its lost glory. I am definitely working for the improvement of Mapusa. She said the possibility of celebrating 50 years of the city market in the immediate future could not be ruled out as that would be a very good occasion for seeking more government help. Mr Vengurlekar, a prominent businessman of Mapusa who has been in the business in Mapusa since Portuguese regime reminisced, There was hygiene, cleanliness and order in Mapusa then. The Portuguese rulers were quite concerned about the maintenance of the market.

The residents of Mapusa are complaining about the rampant constructions coming up and choking the city in the midst of the sewage problem and water scarcity. Without mincing his words, Mr Ratnapal Salkar of the Mapusa Citizens Forum said, Some villages around Mapusa are much better than Mapusa, a major commercial city of North Goa. If Mapusa, which was once a very good city, is a very bad city today then it is our misfortune. He said that Mapusa is decaying and the stinking nullah in front of the fish market is proof of this. Our elected representatives from Mapusa have only one-point agenda: converting Mapusa into a concrete jungle.


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rahul exhorts students to join politics in Goa

Rahul exhorts students to join politics in Goa

Posted: 19 Jan 2010

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Tuesday said that he could not do much to change the politics of Goa, but exhorted students to enter the field and improve it. Gandhi was responding to a question on the plummeting standards of politics and governance in Goa, during an hour-long interactive session with students at the Goa University (GU) campus Tuesday.

“I cannot change the politics in Goa. If you people can join politics here, then definitely you can. We want to involve youngsters into the organisation. That’s how we can come up,” the 39-year-old son of Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, adding that if youngsters did not want to join politics to change it, they should not complain about the state it is in.

The session was attended by nearly 1,500 students, most of whom were associated with the National Students Union of India (NSUI). Speaking on criminalization of politics, Gandhi said that while he was against parties allowing criminals in their ranks, the unit in the Congress which he looked after had no criminals in them. “I look after the Youth Congress and the NSUI.

In my organisations there is no one with a criminal background… Those who were, we have shown them the door,” Gandhi said.

Gandhi, who was in Goa on a half-day visit later met Youth Congress officials and the pradesh congress committee members.


Monday, January 11, 2010



It is an open fact that most of us were converted to the Christianity by the Portuguese, soon after it set foot in Goa in 1510.

The early converts liked to proudly show off their newly acquired emblem - the cross. So, wayside crosses began to appear all over Goa. The converts usually took on the name of the priest or the College who or where they were baptized.

After conversion, they were expected to make a clean break from their Hindu past. Not only were their names changed but also their food habits, social customs and even dress had to conform to the way of living of the European Christians.

Several old Hindu practices were enhanced in their Christianized versions. The place of honor given to the family deity was now given to the Oratorio.

The flame burned before a crucifix and various Christian saints. The Tulsi plant in front of the house gave way to the Cross in front of Christian homes, and Christian prayers accompanied pre-marriage ceremonies.

In villages, the Novem (harvest procession) was headed by a Christian priest instead of a Hindu one and he also performed the traditional blessing of the first sheaves of paddy.

When a house foundation was laid, they carved out a cross on a stone and it was kept in front of the house until the construction was over.

As soon as a house was complete, they raised a stone pedestal inside the compound, opposite the balcony/verandah, and placed the cross-carved stone on it; this tradition is now slowly dying out. They celebrated a litany to the cross and inaugurated the house. They then placed flowers and adored the cross every day.

If you look around, you come across several crosses in Anjuna. Individually owned crosses are located inside their compounds and others are located by the road. Similarly, whenever a person met with an accident and died on the road, they erected and still erect a cross on the spot so passers by remember him/her and pray for his/her soul.

Most 'capelinas' (little chapels) which don't celebrate mass on Sundays are dedicated to Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) and their feast is celebrated all over Goa on May 3. In Portuguese they say: 'Tres de Maio, Santa Cruz'! (The third of May, Holy Cross!)

Thus, some crosses became the venue of individual and community prayer, which later on turned into chapels.

In the past, we celebrated only one feast in Anjuna in the month of January - the feast of Our Lady the Advocate of sinners, which was also known and is still known as "Boramchem fest" - (Feast of wild berries) because Anjuna is full of wild berry trees and they bear the fruit during this month. The feast was celebrated yesterday.

From 1999, we began to celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross on the hill, which is known as "Milagrincho Khuris" (The Miraculous Cross). The feast is always celebrated on the 2nd Monday of January at 4:30 p.m.

During our childhood the cross was known as "Dongravoilo Khuris" (Cross from the hill). It was also known as "Gorvam Raknneancho Khuris" (Cowherd's Cross) because during the monsoon season when cowherds grazed their cattle on the hill, whenever it rained, they took shelter in it.

If you stand in front of the cross, you can see the lush green valley below and also have a clear aerial view of most of Anjuna. From the left you can see Danddo/Sam Miguel Vaddo, Praias, Anjuna beach, D'Mello vaddo, Vagator, Xapora, the ancient Xapora Fort and the Arabian Sea beyond. On its right, you can see Badem, Siolim hill, Assagao and its church and part of North Mapusa. In the past, one could also see Marmagoa Harbour in the distance and the ships in the wait in the Arabian Sea, but now that view is blocked by growing trees.

Half a century ago, very few people venerated the cross. In our childhood, we visited the cross during our trips to the hill to collect "churnam and kannttam".

The only other time we visited the cross was when there was delay in rainfall. In the past, it almost always rained by mid-May. Due to this fact, most paddy fields were prepared for cultivation by mid-May. However, sometimes there would be delay in the rainfall, or if it rained it would suddenly stop raining and render the fields dry.

Whenever such a situation arose, people from Gaumvaddy, Igrez Vaddo, St. Sebastian Vaddo, and other vaddos, went on a foot pilgrimage to the cross. Elderly as well as children, gathered in the compound of St. John's chapel and then marched to "Dongravoilo Khuris". Each person carried a sizeable stone on his/her head, as a penance. We said rosaries, sang religious hymns and prayed throughout our journey.
Special hymns were sung during our trip to the cross. The following lines come to my mind:

Voile, voile vainginnim
Pavs ghal ghe Saibinnim.

Sant Anton manchea bettan
Pavs ghal Saiba amchea xetan

San Anton boddvo
Pavs ghal Saiba toddvo.

We would thus pray, sing hymns and proceed to the cross. Once at the foot of the cross, everyone knelt on the hard ground/rock and prayed whole-heartedly for the rainfall. Believe me, by the time we climbed down the hill, we would experience light showers; sometimes it rained quite heavily. Yes, it was a miracle!

Many miracles took place and still take place. Hence, the cross was named
"Milagrincho Khuris - Vatt" (Miraculous Cross - the Way) and the same is now written on 'Lobo's Memorial Arch', which is placed at the beginning of steps leading to the cross on 22/2/1992.

The arch was donated by Maria Magdalena M. Lobo, Felix Agnelo R. Lobo, Maria S. Lobo (Diana), Felen S. D. Lobo, Steffi M.F. Lobo, Dalenie Lobo and Aloisus Lobo in ever-loving memory of Francisco Gregorio Domingo Lobo (Tiplin), Dr. Blaze Michael Joaquim Lobo & Albert Tiburcio Lobo:

In the past, if one looked at the cross from the land/road during months of March, April and May, one would see a person seated on its top. He was none other than "Kazkar Laddko" - Laddko from Chinvar who hired the Anjuna hill for cashew crop.

The top of the cross served him as a watch tower from where he used his binoculars (eyes) to find out if local boys climbed the hill to steal his cashews/cashew seeds. If he noticed anyone climbing the hill, he would alight from the cross, run towards that direction and drive the boys away. If anyone was caught stealing "fokam" (raw cashew seeds) or cashew seeds, he was slapped and warned that next time he would be
punished with application of "bibeacho dik" (raw cashew seed sap).

In the past, there was no way to go to the cross; people followed several foot paths created by "kazkars" to walk to the cross. Now there is a flight of stairs - 309 steps in all (could have been many more steps but for spread-out platforms in between steps) so people in good health can easily climb the stairs (thinking that they are climbing Mount Calvary) and pay a visit to the Miraculous Cross.

Fourteen Stations of the Cross have been arranged on either side of flight of stairs leading to the cross. Station No.1-5 and No.10 are located on the right side and Station Nos.6-9 and 11-14 are located on the left side. Every year, Way of the Cross is held on the 5th Friday of Lent at 4:00 p.m. followed by the Mass.

The little 'capelina' (chapel) was built in 1929. It was always painted and is still painted with 'dovem koyar' (whitewash). No changes have been made to the 'capelina'. A new altar has been built in front of the chapel. On 16/1/1999, stadium-type round seats of stones were built on its right side, and on the left side on 1/1/2000.

On the exterior, in front of the 'capelina', just below the cross, the year (1929) is written, and below that a white dove, symbolizing Holy Spirit, is carved out. Inside the 'capelina', just below the cross, the following writing appears:


The following writing appears on the pedestal of the indoor altar:


Oh adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you've suffered death on the cross for our sins. Oh Holy Cross of Jesus, be my true light! Oh Holy Cross, fill my soul with good thoughts. Oh Holy Cross, ward off from me all things that are evil. Oh Holy Cross, ward off from me all dangers and deaths and give me life everlasting. Oh crucified Jesus of Nazareth, have mercy on me now and forever. In honour of the precious blood of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and ascension which lead to everlasting life; true as Jesus was born on Christmas day; true as Jesus was
crucified on Good Friday; true as Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus down from the Cross and buried Him; true as Jesus ascended into heaven. May He preserve me from my enemies visible and invisible forever. Oh Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Mary and Joseph pray for me. Lord Jesus Christ, through your suffering on the cross, grant me strength to bear the cross without fear or dread and give me the grace that I may follow you. Amen.'

So, dear readers, a lot used to happen and many miracles took place in the past because people's faith was very strong which is why God immediately heard their prayers and granted their requests. Nowadays, people's faith in God has diminished, and instead of praying to God, they question over His existence and create confusion in Christian society. This is why these days instead of raining in the month of May
it rains in July, and, when it rains, it pours and creates floods and submerges most everything.

Whenever you are in Anjuna, please don't forget to pay a visit to the Miraculous Cross. If you pray sincerely, your request will surely be granted!


If you walk about a kilometer on the south of the Miraculous Cross, you come across yet another chapel. Actually, there was no chapel in the past. The "Saibachem Panvoll" (the Lord's Foot) was on a rock. If you look around, you will come across stone quarries. Perhaps, people who extracted stones from the quarries decided to carve out a foot as a remembrance and named it as the 'Lord's Foot'. As children, we visited the place along with the elderly from our ward and other wards to pray for rain.

The following is written at the top of the chapel:

AD 1905
Construido Por
Manuel Francisco Dos Remedios

Last year, a foreigner built a chapel on the spot. It was nice of him to erect a chapel but I think it was wrong on his part to cover the whole rock on which the foot was carved out. Now, only the foot is left in an enclosure; the whole rock is covered with ceramic tiles.


Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: +91 9420979201
Email: domvalden @ hotmail dot com

[As forwarded to on 11-01-2010]



"FEAST AT ANJUNA HILLTOP: The annual feast of the Miraculous Cross at the Anjuna Hill will be celebrated on January 12 at 4:30 p.m.(NT)"

Adim Anjuna ganvan, Janerachea muinean, fokot ek fest astalem, Advogad Saibinimchem fest zaka lok “Boramchem fest” mhunnon pachartalet, karann hea muinean sogleam Anjunchea borink boram zatat.

Maka ekdom khoxi bhogli vachun Janerache 12 tarkechea dispottea “Goacom Daily News Clippings”-acher ki porchea dissa, Anjunchea dongrar, Milagrinchea Khursachi porob somorpili mhunnon. Adim hea khursak “Dongrailo Khuris” mhunntalet.

Ordo xekddo adim, hea khursak zobor konn man dinaslet. Mojea burgeaponnar ami hea khursak kaim pautt bhett kortaleaum jednam ami dongrar voitaleaum churnam ani kannttam toddunk ani khaunk. Abril-Maiachea muinean, ganvan than barik nodor marlear kednaim hea khursa voir ek munis boslolo distalo ani to anik konn nhoi aslo bogor Bhattintlo kazkar, LADDKO, zo tacher boson, apleam dolleamchea durbin-acho upeog korun, polletalo zorui konn burgue dongrar choddon etat zalear apnnem rendak keleleam kazinche kazu chorunk. Khorench tea khursachea zagear ubo raulear akkea Anjuna-chi varea voili dixtt (aerial view) mellta ani tossoch lambdig Arabian somdir-ui disti poddta asson tachea pottar patmari ani botti.

Dusrem, lok hea khursak bhett kortalo, jednam paus poddonk vell lagtalo. Zoxem amchea vachpeank ugddas astolo, adim choddxim xetam dumpek vomptalet ani oxem korunk Maiache 15 tarker passun paus poddonkuch zai aslo. Paus poddonk vell laglear, soglo Gaumvaddintlo lok ekttaim zatalo asson tantun Igroz vaddeantlo tossoch Sam Sebastiao vaddeantlo lok, ani zonn eklo aplea mathear ek voznadik fator dovrun, baguivont gaiannam gavit ani ters rezar korit Anjuncho dongor choddtalint. Hem pursaum Sam Joaochea kopelachea angnneant than suru zatalem ani tantun zonn ekleachim burguiim bi bhag guetalint. Lok Sant Antonik-ui ulo martalint oxem gaiann gavun: Sant Anton manchea bettan, paus ghal saiba amchea xetan; Sant Anton boddvo, paus ghal ga toddvo, adi. Oxem rezar korit ani gaiannam gavit lok dongrailea khursaxim zomo zatalint ani nettan paus eupak prarthnam kortalint, ani khorench dongor denvon lok sokol pauchea adinch paus zoddonk suru zatalo. Oi, hi ek milagr asli. He porim uprant zaiteoch milagri zaunk lagleot ani xekim hea dongrailea khursak “MILAGRINCHO KHURIS” (MIRACULOUS CROSS) naum dilem ani oxem boroun dongrachea mullant eok toktto ubo kelolo assa. Adim hea khursaxim vochonk paim vatt passun sarki nasli punn atam dongrachea mullant than panvdde bandleat jeant bolaiqen aslelean sompeponnim te panvdde choddon, Kalvar Porvot choddta oxem niallun, Milagrinchea Khursak bhett korunk zata.

Tumi Anjuna ganvank bhett kortat tednam hea Milagrinchea Khursak bhett korunk visronakat. Thir bhavartan magnnem kelear, milagr ghoddon tuvem maglelem mellonk xekta!

Tor vachpeanim, adim amchea Goeant zaitench zatalem ani milagrii bi ghoddtaleot, karann lokacho bhavart ekdom ghott aslo ani teach passot Deu tanchim prathnam rokddinch aikotalo ani maglelem ditalo. Atam bhavart unno zait guela ani lok Deva laguim magche boldek Taka proxnn ghaltat ani To assa vo nam gai mhunnon duspott ubi kortat. Hakach lagon atamchea kallar Maiachea muinean paus poddpacho to Julhai-an poddta ani tovui bi itlo gosgoxeanim ki buddti eun soglem buddoun uddoita.

Adim Devache sumurti pormonnem choltalet ani athmo assa mhunnon soth mandtalet. Atam “scientific methods” sodunk boumtat athmo assa mhunnon dakoll korunk. Tor tumkam dista munxeakullan oxem dakoll korunk zatelem oxem?

Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna/Dhahran, KSA
14 January 2004

[As archived by gaspar almeida,]

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 to 1960: Back to the Past

2010 to 1960: Back to the Past

Saturday, 09 January 2010 00:04
The Navhind Times,Goa.

If the lengthy separation of forty individuals who had spent seven eventful years of their life in each others company can be termed as destiny, then their reunion after half-a-century should certainly be described as a miracle. And such miracle did take place in the city on January 6, when forty out of the 90-odd students belonging to the 1960 batch of the Liceu Nacional Afonso de Albuquerque, the premier educational institution for higher studies during the Portuguese era, gathered to celebrate the golden jubilee of their school memories.

The nostalgic congregation had former ‘Lyciumites’ arriving from as far as America and Europe, and proving that though they lived in 2010, their hearts still resided in 1960, when they bid adieu to each other and went in search of better future in the then not-so-bad world.

Mr Antonio Soares, one such student, now in his late sixties and settled in London for the past 40 years said that he is attending the gathering because he loves Goa. “After completing my education at Lycium, I went to Lisbon for further study; however, Goa was soon liberated and I had to move from Portugal to Germany,” Mr Soares stated, informing that he eventually decided to settle in England. “But after visiting various places all over the world, being in Goa is absolutely wonderful,” he said.

Mr Frederico Brito, another student of the batch however, not only stayed in Goa but also remained stuck to his residence at Altinho, interestingly, in the vicinity of the Lycium, which has now been converted into the High Court complex. “After passing out of Lycium, I was directly admitted to BA and subsequently completed my MA at the post graduation centre, in early 1970s,” Mr Brito said, mentioning that he recently retired as chief trunk supervisor, after 40 years of service in BSNL.
Mr Brito further informed that the former rector of Lycium, Mr Cardozo Margarido, who went back to Portugal after Goa’s Liberation, used to come to Goa every year. “He would put up a chair and sit near the Lycium building, and get lost in the memories of the bygone days,” Mr Brito revealed, pointing out that Mr Nuno Vassallo e Silva, the grandson of the last Governor General of Portuguese India, General Manuel António Vassalo e Silva, who is presently in charge of the antique section of the Portugal-based Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, is his good friend and occasionally visits Goa.

The grand gathering of the ‘Class of 1960’ was however made possible by the three students of the batch - Mr Homem Cristo P da Costa, Mr Alberto Rebeiro Silveira and Mr Vasco de Souza - all presently settled in Germany.
Mr Silveira told this daily that he established contact with most of his classmates through e-mails. “However, getting their e-mail addresses was a Herculean task,” he remarked, further informing that one of the students of the particular batch, residing in Vasco, was keen to attend the get-together, but died few days ago. Mr Silveira also mentioned that a mini get-together of the students of the particular batch, now staying in Portugal, was held at Casa de Goa, in Lisbon on September 26, 2009.

Dr Maria Jose Piedade Rego, a Portuguese language teacher and Father Arnolfo Mazarello, who taught religion to the ‘Class of 1960’ also attended the January 6 meet.

Dr Sydney Pinto Rosario, yet another student of the batch said that he had to stay back in Goa and study medicine, as his father ran a hospital. “In fact, the medical course had me studying pathology from Portuguese books, physiology from Spanish books, anatomy from French books and surgery from English books,” he recalled.

Another Margao-based doctor, Dr Kisan Sanzgiri informed that he was compelled to stay in Goa as he had a family as well as property here. “Since I completed my medical course in Portuguese, I had to face really tough UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) interview at Delhi, before being inducted as a health officer in the department of health,” the now retired medical superintendent noted.

Ms Emma Proença, wife of noted Goan paediatrician, Dr Aleixo Proença recollected that a substantial number of girls studied at the Lycium during 1950s. “However, very few of them went for the medical course at the Escola Medico Cirurgica da Goa,” she added.

The emotion-filled evening witnessed various activities ranging from photographic presentations of the Lycium days to sharing of jokes and sentimental speeches to entertainment programme, which included Portuguese songs by Dr Francisco Colaço, a ‘mando’ by Ms Ananta Hedo and dance by Dr Eduardo and Ms Sushila Fonseca.

It was quite interesting to observe the ‘Old Lycium students’ conquer time and defy age as the collage of black and white memories turned multi-coloured, providing them a rare opportunity to get a whiff of their precious, formative years. It appeared as if time had almost been frozen, with the ‘Class of 1960’ moving back to the past; a dream the batch wanted to achieve for the last 50 years.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

What Goans Have for Breakfast

This essay was first published way back in 1996, and the
author underlines that his favourite book is Wayne Booth's A
Rhetoric of Irony []

* * *

What Goans Have for Breakfast

By Augusto Pinto
pintogoa at

"History is the most dangerous
of all the products of the
chemical laboratory of our
mind. It stimulates dreaming,
it intoxicates nations, it
generates in them false
memories, exaggerates their
reflexes, irritates their old
wounds, deprives them of peace
and infects them with
megalomania or mania of
persecution." Paul Valery

The Goan has a strong stomach. He must have, given the spicy
stuff he consumes. This applies to his intellectual diet as
well. The Guide to Goan Food For Thought is of course the
"Letters to the Editor" columns of any of the local dailies.

This article examines one of the most stunning courses cooked
up in 1995. A debate on Goan history, culture and identity
which saw letters on the subject appearing in the papers for
almost every other day of the year.

The focus will be on the letters of two Mr. P. P.
Shirodkars -- both great men. The elder one was an
illustrious freedom fighter, jailed by the
Portuguese for many years. He later became the
first Speaker of the Goa Assembly where he was
renowned for putting down at every opportunity
Konkani or "Concaannim", that corrupt dialect of
the Marathi language.

His son who is the Director of Archives is reputed to be a
great historian. It was difficult to distinguish between them
during the controversy but that matters not, as they
obviously shared not only the same name but the same views.

Before proceeding, sample some excerpts from letters that
appeared at the height of the row. First P.P. Shirodkar. "The
persons whose ancestors were converted , mostly to Roman
Catholicism by the barbarous Portuguese should rid themselves
of whatever non-Indian customs, habits and uses they imbibed
from them. This includes the Portuguese and Spanish surnames
like De Souza, De Miranda, De Lima, De Lisboa and De
Albuquerque, which suggests that their ancestors must have
come from Portugal putting their true local roots in doubt."

Mr. Shirodkar then expressed his distaste for names derived
from trees like "Pinheiro, Oliveira and Carvalho" (pine,
olive and oak) and from animals like "Lobo (landgo in
Marathi)" which he felt were not "of the torrid zone of Goa."
Likewise he said any Hindu or even Muslim family would have
been very insulted "if they were branded with the surname
related to the swine species" or "with the surname Komlo
which is the Konkani meaning of Pinto, and which also refers
to the sexual organs of a male child, when teasing him."

Within a week Jose Fernandes of Siolim shot
back,"What is wrong with Pinho, Carvalho (pine,
oak) etc. in a land that has Mensenkai, Iruli
(chilly, onion) Zirulli (cockroach) as surnames?

These plants and insects are not of Indian origin either. Is
a Bhandary without bhandar (wealth) or a Jagirdar (landlord)
without land any more relevant than a Pinto among the

The communalist, casteist and racist overtones which some
felt were apparent in the letter of Joseph Fernandes have
always lurked under the skins of the Christians of Goa. But
never was it aired so blatantly as during this controversy.
How did this happen?

Around the time of the Exposition of the relics of St.
Francis Xavier in 1994, the Xavier Centre for Historical
Research organised a Seminar on the life of the Saint. Dr.
P.P. Shirodkar here delivered a paper entitled, "St Francis
Xavier: An Anti-View" which reportedly created quite a stir.

This enraged one Placido Martins who challenged Shirodkar to
publish his paper in the press. Shirodkar replied on December
28, 1994 in The Navhind Times. Perhaps correctly referring to
the Saint as "Master" Francis Xavier, he blamed him for
being,"solely instrumental in inviting the ignominious
institution of Inquisition to India, which resulted in
unimagined frenzied brutalities on the victims in the name of
heresy and religion, besides committing atrocities to their
near and dear ones for no fault of theirs."

He stated that this,"left a serious impact on the
Goan psyche from which even present generations
have not fully recovered." In his long letter,
Shirodkar went on to suggest that the Vatican
should,"de-canonize unholy men to save future
generations from treading the path of religious
bigotry." With this all hell broke loose.

Several writers, almost all Christian, wrote hysterically to
the Press attacking Shirodkar's views. The father and son duo
defended their point of view very ably.

In late February a new twist was given to the brouhaha after
Shirodkar made an innocent remark about a book of Goan
cooking by Gilda Mendonca, which he felt should be correctly
called,"Roman Catholic Goan Cooking." He expressed his
distaste for the hideous practice of eating pork and drinking
alcohol in Christian homes and explained how Hindu cuisine
was so much more kosher.

Later he was to make illuminating comments on the corrupt
dialect of "Concaanim" used by Roman Catholics as their
mother-tongue and around June put forth his opinions
regarding names. More howls of protest followed.

In November came what was perhaps his piece de resistance. He
suggested that a Church in Old Goa built by Afonso de
Albuquerque to commemorate victory over Adilshah, be
turned,"a common Indian religious temple of Adi-Mayaa or
Eternal Mother, dispensing blessings to all. The Murti (icon)
being a lady of only two hands either erect or sitting on a
throne of Indian type, holding a globe in one hand and a
lotus in the other." Sadly, "this remarkable suggestion" for
improving communal harmony was greeted by stony silence from
the Church authorities.

The reactions of the Christian letter writers were quite
pathetic. They behaved like Shylock in The Merchant of
Venice, "He hath laugh'd at my losses, mock'd at my gains,
scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends,
heated my enemies. And what's his reason? I am a Jew."

Shylock's lust for his pound of flesh did him no
good. Neither did the rantings of Goan Christians
against the Shirodkars.

The Christians used all kinds of tactics to confuse the
issue. They quoted long tracts from religious books. They
quoted Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, Swami
Vivekananda, Dr. Radhakrishna and other big names to cover
their sins. This failed.

They tried to shift the grounds of the argument to matters of
caste, dowry and sati. This was unconvincing. They tried to
counter-attack by questioning the basis of Hinduism and
bringing up irrelevant matters such as the alleged Aryan
aggression against the Dravidians. All this was refuted in
scholarly style by the Shirodkars.

Finally they hurled personal abuse upon the Shirodkars. They
passed snide comments on the elder's ancestry and questioned
how the younger one could accept the hospitality of the
Portuguese. The Shirodkars gave back as good as they got.

When even this failed the Christians began pleading with the
editors to stop the correspondence on the matter. Thankfully
in the interests of truth and freedom of speech this was not

One of the best thing about this debate was that history, a
subject that was once considered as dry as dates has now
become relevant even exciting. Books that once gathered dust
on the shelves are now pulled out and read like novels.

The works of the late Prof. Anant Kakba Priolkar
for instance, have again become popular. Priolkar's
work, published in the 1950s and 1960s set the
agenda for many of the raging debates of today.

The themes he has dwelt upon such as the Inquisition; Who is
a Goan?; the Konkani v/s Marathi issue; the Merger Question;
and the problem with Goan Christian names - are all relevant
even today.

The Shirodkars have developed many of the ideas first
formulated by this painstaking scholar. For example, Priolkar
in his magnum opus -- The Goa Inquisition (1961) --
documented with meticulous care what he felt was the harm
done to the Hindus by that terrifying tribunal.

The Shirodkars follow Priolkar on most points but introduce a
subtle improvement to his research with the aid of two
unstated assumptions.

1] Goan Christians: The oppressive collaborators of the

2] Goan Hindus: The oppressed freedom fighters.

Once this truth is established the only question remaining
is what reparations the Christians should make for the harm
done to their Hindu ancestors.

Before going to the next point it is worthwhile mentioning
that there may be nitpickers who will badger the Shirodkars
for evidence for their assumptions. This is not necessary as
surely the truth is self-evident.

But then irrelevant works will be quoted. For example Agentes
de Diplomacia Portuguesa na India (1952) by the late Dr.
Pandurang Pissurlekar a predecessor of Dr. Shirodkar in the
Goa Archives. This work suggests that there existed a
significant Hindu elite which always worked faithfully for
the political interests of the Portuguese.

The work of M. N. Pearson will be dug up. He is a
foreigner who suggests in Coastal Western India
(1981) that throughout the Portuguese era the
Saraswat Brahmins ruled the economic roost.
Pearson's mentality can be said to be to typically
illustrate the divide and rule policy of colonialists.

Medieval Goa (1979) by Teotonio De Souza, a work of Jesuit
sophistry will be cited. Without denying the existence of a
Christian elite, this book points out that the mass of the
Christian people were ruthlessly exploited and lived at
subsistence levels.

It further insinuates that without the all-out collaboration
of the Hindu business community in revenue administration and
trade, Portuguese colonial exploitation would have been
different if not altogether short circuited.

Such kinds of research based on foreign concepts like
Marxism, or other strange ideas like Feminism or
Post-Structuralism and so forth must be guarded against if
not completely suppressed. Such philosophies promote the
subversive idea that identity is the result of several
factors caste, language, region, class, education and sex and
not only of religion. Too many common people have begun
subscribing to such views and they should be stopped before
the situation deteriorates.

The star of Indian nationalism is on the ascendant following
the glorious destruction of the Babri Masjid and the
subsequent riots. But the good work must be continued and
reinforced at every level. In Goa, the two Shirodkars have
taken over the task of providing the wholesome healthy
nourishment the people require if they are to become true
blue-blooded Goenkars.

If in the foreseeable future the true Hindus completely
regain the power enjoyed by their ancestors, it is to be
hoped that they repay with interest the debt of gratitude
they owe to the firm of P.P. Shirodcar e Filho.

This article was first published in Herald - The Illustrated
Review January 27-February 15, 1996.

Contact the author: Augusto Pinto pintogoa at or
ypintogoa at P 0832-2470336 M 9881126350