It is 5.00PM in Goa and I am sitting in the waiting lounge at Dabolim airport, as my flight spice jet 804 to Mumbai has been delayed by 60 minutes.  As I don’t have anything to do, and I had researched on the above topic to write at a later date. I took out my lap top and started to write on the topic which is hot for all the Goans in Goa and across.
The kunbis as they are popularly called by all others, are scattered all along the paddy planes mostly along the river banks, planes, and the mountains. Mostly they grow rice, red chilies, vegetables, seasonal fruits etc.  Before the arrival of Portuguese some 500 years back they were living on the planes and the mountains. And most of them write their names as Velips or Gaonkars and call themselves as the real Gaonkars of Goa.
During the old conquest the kunbis of the planes viz Salcete were forcibly converted to Christianity and a different race called gaudhis came into existance. They used to be a regular workforce of the landlords of Salcete and beyond.
The tribe which used to stay on high mountains and hinterland were untouched.  Till 1985 these tribal people were very conservative not willing to give up their tradition.  If any other community had to have a meal at their place it was served in a jackfruit leaves thatched plate or a banana leaf slightly warmed over wood fire.
After the meal the eater had to clean the place and apply a coat of cow dung paste. They used to bring their farm and forest produce to the market, as they were illiterate they were cheated not once but all the times by the businessmen/traders mostly Brahmins.  They used to have a vegetarian diet; sometime a wild animal was hunted and shared by the entire village.  This tribe used to come in herds to downstream to catch shell fish the shell of which was burnt in fire and lime paste was made to be used for making a delicious chewing Beatle nut pan.  There is no proper medical facility on this mountainous region, some time a pregnant lady has to be brought down on shoulders up to five kilometers to be able to be transported to hospital.
They drink less water so ailments are common with younger as well as older generation.  Most of the time this tribe used to be neighbors of the Desai community which had run away to avoid conversion by the Portuguese. There were constant fights and the kunbis were always at the receiving end beaten up sometime fatally. The fight was for better or total control of the resources of the area or for the control of the religious institution which had huge land holdings. Ultimately the kunbis were called and treated as second class citizens
Slowly after 1985 a wind of change started blowing over the mountains. The produce from the mountains started fetching good price; the kunbis started hiring motorcycle pilots to move to towns. They left the traditional dress and opted for western dresses, girls started wearing churidhar, children started going to schools and then to colleges.
Lipstick started to find its way to their dressing table. The Konkani newspaper started changing hands and their accent became to pure devnagri accent . It’s now near impossible to identify these tribals if you look or hear them.
Some leaders took advantage to become MLAs and things started looking brighter for all of them. Almost all of them started taking advantage of being the kunbis the scheduled cast and the tribes.Every month they started getting one Govt cheques on one pretext or the other in connivance with the Zonal Agricultural Officer. Every house hold has an agricultural pump fitted with irrigation facility financed by almost 100% subsidy
when the stomach is full one starts thinking beyond the stomach.  The scares of the generations came to the fore, they started feeling important.  The other side of the mirror was not so shiny. For generations these kunbis household had a gun single barrel some time double barrel, dangling on the wall of the hall. Some time without license this is used to kill wild animals regularly.
Chlorine from the water treatment plants and ammonia together with detonators from stone quarries started finding its way to the hands of village boys to kill fish and tortoises.
The fish cleaners from the Margao fish market are the regular suppliers for bombs which are widely used, the blasting sound is frequently heard echoing in the valleys when wild boars or some other animal chew the batatwada laced with this bomb kept at select places, the meat of which find its place on the dining tables of top politicians and select bars at Salcete.
With active support of the politicians (MLAs) and hand greasing of Govt officials lot of illegal distilleries mushroomed in the jungles to supply liquor to the bordering villages of Karnataka.  With development came the mobile menace the girls have stopped going in the fields and have opted for jobs in shops at the towns. Every girl and the boy of the community have a mobile.
The ear phones of the mobile never leaves the ears; mostly the caller on the other side is the opposite sex. As opposite poles attract each other, It ends up with uncovered sex in the jungle. The persons who are happy in this triangle are the boy, the girl and the doctor who does the abortion with some spoons.
Ultimately the parents head ache never ends with single spoon insertion. Follow the leader style of these kunbis have done a lot of good to this kunbis. The tribal leaders like Mr. Prakash and Ramesh has done quite some work to their community , in fact they defend them in most of the illegal activities including the felling and robbing the Govt forest trees like teak and seasam. The out look of these people has changed they have started making lots of money mostly with un fair means the bombs, ammonia powder ,detonators, guns etc are just like toys to them, arranging material and make a crude bomb is a Childs play for them and then finding its way under a bridge is as easy as water passing under the bridge.
Most of the tribals whom I interviewed say this is the beginning and what all saw at Balli was a trailer and full film will be released soon in which a few more bodies will get charred or gunned down and this time the mourners could be from the other community at Balli and the Goa police . the Goa police will have no time to protect the bridges, the ballikars and their own colleagues as they are full time in collecting the haftas from drug dealers, matkabookies, smugglers, looters, robbers, organised escort agencies who supply girls, the list is endless.
From the corner of my ear I can hear a voice calling me;”Mr. C. Dias we are waiting for you this is the final call for you kindly board the flight spice jet 804 to Mumbai”. As I make my way a joy of some sort has taken a grip over me. My body shivered for the first time when I was proofreading and it will not be for the last time.


Joaquim Correia Afonso said...

I do not know if the tribals of Goa can blow up bridges, but it appears to me that the bridges that should have been built between the tribals and others are being blown to pieces. The tribals should be allowed to come up in life without any hindrance.

David leitao said...

The Gaudhis and Kunbis ( tribals ) are God fearing people who respect Mother Nature and care for ecology and the enviroment !!!! The have been exploiated by the Congress politican too the hilt and have been at their receiving end crass injustices have been dished out to them!!! when the tribals revolt the BJP and other politicians take political mileage out of the situation !!! The Congress and BJP are fishing in troubledwaters and maing scapegoats of these innocent and guillble Gaudhis and Kunbis !!! Now watch their wrath you will see the radical change !!! Stop stoking the fires you 40 MLA chors !!!!

NIZ GOAN said...

Thanks Mr. C. Dias, for the detailled article,

Heartfelt sympathy to famillies of our 2 brothers dead in the agitation.

Appreciate the support of our BJP minister Par-kar, to our tribes community, but this support is  really for the tribes or it is for the coming election or some other benifit ?

Yes , only these tribes are used by the politician, during their elections and other agitations to create mess on the roads, for e.g they will be used on 6 th june. they are more to die, hope they die along with Par-kar, shasikala and all those against MOI

goalook said...

I still don't know why we belive in caste system till today.The only caste now we know is rich and poor.What about the people which does't belong to any of the backward caste ? How they get benefite and how they cope up in life?

Mario said...

The Kunbis are peaceloving,generous,hardworking,honest people whereas the Desai's are born criminals.Look at the history between these two communities and one would not able to count the numberous criminal activities indulged by members of Desai families.The kunbis planed to blowup bridges is Goa Police story to save them from the charges of murder of two tribal youths.As per reliable information there was not a single policemen on the highway manning to protect bridges.So the question is which bridges the Goa Police were protecting? and by how many personals.

Emediavoice said...

Goan bridges collapses by itself with the weight of its corrupt structure. Your PWD or highfi name sake engineers selected under the cloud of influence is unfit to even know the rudiments of civil engineering. Goans are not interested on this matter and the politicians takes the Goans for a ride. Yes the current fiasco by the tribal has shaken the pillars of politicians and enlightened the corrupt officials eroding the cultural values of Goa. Let the educated Goans learn the lesson from this illiterate tribal on conservation of nature. If not Goans will starve one day for the sins of development as it will be too late.

Post a Comment