Friday, 18 June 2010

18 June 1946

Reading Kamat's pot-pourri, my mind went back to the Goan dulpods [folksongs] I often sing on my guitar.

I usually translate the words of the delightfully impish Undra mhojea mama [Uncle rat] to my listeners, with the rear being brought up by the sonorous and serious:

Zatain Rane tu (2)

[Far ra far
You go into the forest]

Ranyar matyar Paklo cho
Paklo matyar Rane cho.

[The Ranes kill the Portuguese
The Portugues kill the Ranes]

The b/w pictures in Kamat's archive I browsed today, brought those moments of resistance alive. Extensively covered in Goan literature in folk tales of the resistance by Mario Cabral e Sa Legends of Goa and others for today's Goans time has changed a lot of things.

The Portuguese from the old days live with a nostalgia of the past. Dalrymple's description of Goa and Faith -  a collection of b/w photos seem to be a case in point.

Goa today seems to be getting an Indian flavour with the Indian Railways having trains connecting Goa to all parts of India - even so far as Patna, Kolkata, Bikaner and Gandhidham.

Goans themselves have settled outside Goa and are doing well for themselves. The global village has caught up with them.

Recently a chain mail was doing the rounds about 'bleddy Goans'. While the points of loss of identity may be worth considering the (all-too-familiar) self-deprecating nature of the mail is nauseating.

Goa can learn to live with different voices, which are apparent in literary forays like Dust and Other Stories by Heta Pandit.

I debuted as a Goan poet with my collection of poems Last Bus to Vasco: Poems from Goa (self-published: New Delhi, 2006, reprinted 2007). Soon I will be self-publishing A Peace of India: Poems in Transit (New Delhi, 2010).

The shift from Goa to India is not as emphatic as it seems as I was writing poems for both the volumes simultaneously. But it is a pointer to a widening of experience and a deepening richness of life.

from the ARCHIVE

'After Portugal came under the dictatorship of Antonio Salazar in 1932, the repression extended to Goa with press censorship, suspension of laws and autocratic rule of the Governor of Goa. The rest of India at this time was caught in the electrifying mood for freedom from the British, and the great socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia thought that Goa should also be part of the struggle and be free from Portuguese rule. On 18th of June in 1946, he called for a gathering of Goans in Madgao (Margoa) to agitate against the suspension of civil liberties. This idea appealed to the people of Goa who, inspired by the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, were dreaming about becoming a part of free India. Thousands of people showed up in downtown Margoa, causing logistical and law and order problems for the administration.

The Portuguese tried to disperse the crowds, and prevent Lohia from addressing. But Lohia preferred to defy the Portuguese and courted arrest, a peaceful protest strategy that had become popular in India.

Dr. Lohia truly kindled the flame of freedom in the hearts of the Goan people, as a result of which all shops and business establishments put down their shutters and expressed their solidarity with the cause. Eighteen June 1946 thus remains a memorable and sacred day in the history of Goa [1]. An important road in Goa today (year 2006) is named "18th June" road.'
Pix caption, 'Dada Rane in 1895 organized an armed rebellion against the Portuguese . . .' Caption and archive text from Kamat's Potpourri http://www.kamat(dot)com/

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