Last week a local news daily carried an item about Goans acquiring Portuguese citizenship and migrating to European countries for better quality of life there. It is said that the pasture is greener on the other side of fence and some of our Goan brethren have bitten the bait and have experienced a better quality of life in the faraway land by way of better education for their children, better health facilities so on and so forth. But the question staring in our faces today, is this a healthy trend for Goa and Goans, who boast about their unique identity and culture.
Undoubtedly it is an individual decision and nobody has the right to impose one’s ideas or perception on the others. Migration has its advantages and disadvantages, but in Goa our authorities are yet to analyze and study the impact of permanent migrations of Goans to other parts of the world.
So far and some decades back, migration of Goans to Gulf or America or elsewhere in the world were purely for employment reasons and one could be sure that Goans would ultimately return to his roots. But this trend has paved the way for permanent settlement especially among the younger generations who were brought up outside the country or rather the state. This is because this particular generation have not experienced our traditions, cultures, our way of living as they were brought up in foreign land, educated and mingled with children of lot other nationalities with a few Goan families for comfort at the place of residence. Thus the love for Goa to them is alien.
Having said so, I do not wish to cast aspersions on those permanently migrating to other countries. Infact many Goans who have opted or rather forced to work abroad due to lack of opportunities here. They have surely given a boost to our economy. The demand for unskilled labour in other countries has been huge and Goans have cashed in on it and made living for their families in Goa comfortable.
But the current trend or acquiring Portuguese citizenship to settle in Europe is disturbing especially to the Catholic community. According to information provided in the House that 1200 Goans have acquired Portuguese citizenship since 2008 is frightful because a time will come in the near future when we will be struggling to maintain our identity. Firstly because of Goans migrating to some other countries and this vacuum is being filled by migrants from other parts of the country.
The scenario looks even bleak for the Christian community first because for decades now Christian families had adopted two children per family system and the trend is further changing to one child per family. This coupled with the fact that a large section of Christian community seeking employment oversees. If one assess the percentage of Christians in government departments including police department one will realize that barely 5 to 10 percent of the employees are from the Christian community.
To further add to this dwindling numbers a large section of Christian community prefer to stay single because of host of reasons like unemployment and also employment abroad which keeps them away from their families, long working hours with hardly any time for families and some simply do not want the shoulder the burden of marriage and family. To add to this number is the high rate of divorce cases which scuttle family ties.
In contrast to this Hindu communities are more conservative in nature even today, they marry among their own communities, still seek employment closer to home and family, though the trend in Hindu families is also changing to two children system the Hindu community is on a stronger wicket.
Then there is another angle to this Portuguese citizenship. Even after Goans acquire foreign citizenship, it is not mandatory for them to give up their rights in Goa. Infact the government protects their property rights here causing a lot of heartburn to relatives living here. For example one Goan family had migrated to Portugal almost five decades back. Their children were also born and brought there and they have not once bothered to visit Goa. But as of today this same family is demanding share of ancestral property here.
The government has the details of migration with it, it should study the intricacies, complexities and legality of the matter and come out with legislation that allows Goans to acquire Portugal citizenship but at the same time, government should also safeguard the interests of Goans staying behind. If at all Goans have not acquired Gulf citizenship, it is because Gulf countries do not have the policy of granting citizenship to any foreigner. This have proved to be a boon to the state otherwise thousands of Goans would have preferred to acquire citizenship there. Of course in some case some Goan families after working for some years in Gulf have migrated to Canada, Australia, America and even New Zealand.
However whatever said and done migration of Goans in huge numbers is not very healthy for our state and the government should evolve ways and means to discourage the trend. The government should seriously think of creating opportunities for the younger generations to stay back, it should revamp its policies regarding education and health. This would also infuse fresh blood in the functioning and administration of the state and also help in building our economy.


RDM said...

Nisser , Nice Article! You have hit the hammer on the nail head by pointing to us Christians of Goa. Do agree with much of what you've written and is food for thought for every goan christian. With kind permission from all Niz Goenkars would like to share my views on the matter. Do feel that a radical change in mindset is called for by the Goan Christian population today to deal with the times. To cite a few typical traits.
1. We Goan Christians have a strange desire to feel one up than our brother. One can see this mentality in our families too. A relative trying to be one up by driving the better car, building a better and even more palatial house ( which sometimes remains unoccupied till he dies) or even dressing better. At the Don Bosco Church in Panjim at Sunday Mass, one can see sneer, pomp and pride on display by many. Far from a feeling of amity and brotherhood.
2. We feel elated at being associated with anything foreign or portuguese and it gives us a sense of false pride. Sad that a particular segment of the people who speak portuguese consider themselves foreign and even superior. Even more pathetic is the existence of caste differences amongst us in today's world which ironically is despised by the western world. As part of my work, I have had an opportunity to talk to many westerners and they really scoff at our casteism. Sadly, It is even the educated in our society who indulge in this age old practice.
2.As Goan Christians, we do very little in general to help our own goan brethren. There is much to learn from the Keralites. They are also Christians like us. In the Gulf states, one can see for themselves how the keralites ( aka Malbaris) help each other irrespective of religion. The first criteria is to be a Malyalee and you will get all the help you need from the rest of the gang. Of course we all know the very popular crab story. I happened to read in a reputed magazine an article on Goa and its people. Here it was mentioned that the Goan people are famous for their crab mentality and for sweet talking followed by back stabbing. True ! Once upon a time, the gulf states had plenty of Goans. Today our numbers have dwindled there and we often curse the malbaris for this. The reason is the malbaris had an attitude we lacked altogether ie; of brotherhood and unity. Survival of the fittest !!!
4. We Goan Christians are know to be amongst the best in the hospitality business. At the major 5 star hotels in Goa ( and there are so many of them today ), one can see the management of these hotels bringing their own kith and kin from their states some of which are rather impoverished states. We Goan Christians despite being talented and educated prefer running away from the situation and emigrating rather than fighting for our rights in our land.
5. We also need to ask ourselves as to why the worst of the political establishment in Goa comprising of criminals, rapists, money extraction agents, pimps, real estate mafia, drug dealers ( sorry have lost adjectives ), etc are goan christians. Why is it that every time the government falls it is because of a christian minister? I am ashamed to call myself a goan christian amongst our goan hindu brethren.

The American and Western economies are on the brink of economic collapse. Civil unrest has almost begun. I believe that all our people who have emigrated with portuguese passports and by other means to the West will come back calling Goa their home once again! Just a matter of time!
All of the above point to a need for us goan Christians to rethink our ways to ensure our survival and progress as a people. Forget about the Government! We all know that they cannot and will do NOTHING for Goa or it's identity.

Satu said...

Good article Nisser, we know how strong is your pen and this will surely make a big difference on the minds of Goans. Even a better assessment by RDM, kudos to you guys.

Anonymous said...

Nissar, Nice article well written for those eyes that see beyond the wall.

Mike Carvalho said...

Nissar I have no words to commend how heart warming your article is. You have nailed the point using intelligent tact and high level of reasonableness. You are an asset to " Niz Goenkar" . You have considered all points with regards to migration which as an overseas goan for the last two decades do strongly agree. Keep sharing your vast wealth of knowledge.
@RDM excellent points from your side too. Pure facts! However if I may suggest , your comments would have resounded more if you had advised the editor to publish your comments as an article instead of comments. Regardless excellent stuff. You guys can sure write!

Trevor said...

Excellent commentary and comments....we need to have this important discussion within our communities. Everything that has been said is truthful. We need to start making changes within ourselves if we are to save our motherland. It is important that this dialog begin in all Goan communities all over the world. We have faults that our hold our people in a vice. Our homeland is being stolen from beneath us. We need to make the changes to make us a united people with a common goal, to SAVE our homeland. Currently we are loosing, as we are not united and Non-Goans are using this to their advantage to steal our paradise. Far too many Goan organizations around the world operate with the mentality above. Far too many of our people suffer from an inferiority complex and feel they need to put others down to make them feel good. Yes, our Goan Christians are very good at this. Maybe it was because of the white man? Right now we are loosing a battle, the battle to save our homeland because of this mentality and indifference to our motherland. Lets come together as ONE for the betterment of our one and only homeland and the paradise we so blessed with - OUR Goa. Everyone wants our Goa, and they are stealing her as we are distracted....Time to unite!. I am reminded of the nizgoenkar founders who showed us by example what it means to be Goan, by working so hard for the Jackson family. Lets come together as ONE, so much is at stake....do it for the future of our heritage and the future of Goan youth. Make our ancestors proud again.Viva Goa!

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