It might look strange that, in using the Niz Goenkar (NG) medium, I am commenting on my own statement made to, and kindly published by, the Navhind Times (NT) recently. Unfortunately, NT has a 500-word restriction and, consequently, the text of my letter underwent a truncation.
The NT-excised segments of the text of my statement are as follows and I thank NG to allow me to complete the "story".
... As Goa, at the time, had no import restrictions as did India, I was also dismayed to learn in the late 50s that some of these self-styled freedom fighters were known to engage in smuggling of “foreign” goods from Goa into India, thus participating in economic sabotage against India. So much for their nationalism! In the wake of this, I was soon to comprehend the real meaning of Samuel Johnson’s pronouncement of patriotism being the last refuge of the scoundrel!
I have noted Mr Sinari’s vague pronouncements in the past in regard to “Portugal’s attempts to prove” how “superior” Portugal is, and I cannot help but think he may be carrying a chip on his shoulder or an inferiority complex, for there has not been any such palpable official Portuguese attempt since 1974.
I don’t understand what Mr Sinari means by “Portuguese atmosphere” and, if indeed it is Portugal’s intention to preserve that atmosphere, why does he have to be paranoid and intolerant about it? Surely there are both good and unsavoury aspects in every culture, and if it provides Goans with the opportunity of benefiting of the good ones, I would have thought it is a part of cultural enrichment.
I am puzzled at Mr Sinari’s branding as “immature” Portuguese Ambassador’s comparison of Portugal’s record in India vis-à-vis other colonial powers – it appears to he a case of malapropism. What does appear immature, however, is his charge that Portugal “interferes in the internal matters of Goa” - a most ludicrous concept I can imagine in the face of bare reality.
... Why, it is understood that countless Goan “freedom fighters” or “political sufferers” have availed themselves of the entitlement not only for their own direct benefit but also for their descendants. Portugal itself has NO financial benefit in this, but it is a measure of that country’s commitment to the peoples whose lands they once ruled – in marked contrast with what, for example, Britain did, in many cases treating its Indian population in East Africa as second class citizens at the time of their exodus some decades ago.
Thousands of Indians with ancestry in Goa, Daman and Diu must be considering themselves lucky that the Portuguese registration of their birth opens windows of employment opportunity in Europe vis-à-vis poor prospects in this regard in overpopulated India. Mr Sinari’s energies might be better applied to fight graft in Goa so that our poor Goan youth do not have to bribe their way to ministerial levels just to secure even a peon’s job in a government department.
I fail to understand Mr Sinari’s paranoia about the potential for creation of a “breed of neo-pro-Portuguese Goans!” If that culture appeals to them, then it is their wish and democratic right to adopt it. Or does he fear a ridiculous possibility of Portugal returning to Goa as a ruler? As to his questioning Goans’ loyalty in a far-fetched scenario of a conflict between Europe and India, why would their rôle be any different from, say, that of people of Indian origin holding citizenship of other European nations like Britain, Belgium, France etc.?


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