THE MOI SAGA CONTINUES by Freddy Agnelo Fernandes, Dubai

Politicians not only in Goa but all over India just love to turn and twist the simplest of issues into ugly communal and religious ones. They are known to do anything and everything possible to divide the people so that they can rule the roost.  Even then people willingly try to jump into this bottomless pit head on.
For a moment I would like every one to go back in history, to the time of the Opinion Poll. Goa is Goa today only because of the then Catholics of South Goa or else if the Marathi protagonist had, had their way we would have been an unknown part of Maharastra by now.
It is an undisputed fact that Catholics of South Goa saved Goa, that does not mean north Goans and secular and non-radical Hindus were not a part of the success, they were but the difference was made by the minority’s majority of South Goa.
Again during the Konkani agitation, it was the Catholics of South Goa that made the difference, no offence to the supporters from the North, there was enough support from up north and from the secular and non-radical Hindus again but again the defining difference was made buy the minority’s majority of South Goa, this too is an undisputed fact.
Again during the RP2011 and SEZ agitation, whole of Goa supported the GBA, but again it was the Catholics of South Goa that were the most vociferous and active who made the difference. The minority’s majority of South Goa, to the rescue again. That too is an undisputed fact.
Now getting back to the MOI, like it has been said, it is again the Catholics that are leading the fight, do the secular and the non-radical Hindus not support English as MOI ? Yes they do, like all the above three issues Hindus have been an integral part of the success, if a survey is done, I am sure the number of Hindu students in English medium schools would be up there with the Catholic students, there were a large number of Hindu parents amongst the more than 50 thousand gathered at the Azad Maidan in March-April but no one can deny the contributions of the South Goa Catholics to this cause too.
In all these issues, it is true that the Church in Goa was responsible to a great extent to mobilise Catholic support and it is also an undisputed fact that whenever the Church has intervened Catholics have overwhelmingly supported the Church’s stand, but like a lot of others it’s beyond my imagination as to why the Church in Goa is silent over corruption flourishing under the Congress, even though the worst offenders being our very own Catholic politicians of South and Central Goa?
Let me make myself clear, I hate communalism and I hate people who thrive on it for personal gains. The MOI, a simple issue is turned political as well as communal and now religious by all concerned politicians, not for the love of any MOI nor for the love of the people or the language but for their own political mileage, nothing more nothing less.
I am a product of Konkani medium in primary, but I have had no problems competing with English medium luminaries and I can prove anyone and everyone wrong, who say that Konkani medium students cannot compete at the top, because I know a lot of my fellow konkani medium students who are up at the top not just in Goa but around the world. I am sure even after all this, people will wonder why I am not against English as the MOI and that is because I also know a lot of people from English medium who haven’t missed a thing of Konkani and are up there professing Konkani.
Would I and my fellow Konkani medium students be better off if we had English as MOI in the primary? I don’t think any one of us would be able to answer that question in earnest. It’s both ways and no body can be sure, but what I am sure of is, if I was educated in English medium I would never be worse than what I am now, could be better but surely not worse, saying that I also know that if it wasn’t for the Konkani medium my Konkani would have not been what it is today.
During my college days too, my friends in Bombay were totally surprised at my Hindi and use to comment that for a Goan my Hindi was excellent, I have no doubt that it was only possible because of my Konkani influence in primary school. Today I am happy and proud, that I can read and write in English, Hindi as well as Konkani in both scripts without any hassle, but unfortunately the question still haunts me, would I have been better off intellectually ?
Would I have been better off in my approach socially ? Or Would I be better off professionally and hence economically, if I was educated in English medium in primary ? That is something I could never come to terms with nor could anyone else. So why leave it to chance? Let the Parents decide what is good for their children. I for one wouldn’t want my children to tell me twenty years down the line that they would have been better off if they were educated in English. Konkani can be protected and preserved without forcing it down the throats of our children.
Now if the Catholic politicians form South Goa supporting English MOI is a political master piece, I do not deny it, it is true, but all the same what can be said about RSS, Sena’s support for the Protagonists of Marathi, led by none other than the strong adherent “Marashtrawadi” Shashikala and the “Atti Hindutva” Parrikar ? Shouldn’t the minority feel insecure ? That is one reason that the Catholics prefer corruption to communalism and unless there comes a party or a group of people who can assure and prove to the Catholic minority Goans that they are a totally secular force, ready to work for the good of Goa and Goans, this grim, unpleasant and unfortunate situation in Goa will not change. The minority needs to feel secure and be secure, and none of what the “saffronites” in cohorts with the “Sang Parivar” are doing at the moment points in that direction. In Goa there is absolutely no difference between the corrupt Congress and the Communal BJP, one worse than the other on every front. It’s a pity, Goa so far does not have a strong and popular third front. It could have been our answer.
My other question is when the minority community Catholics were the main and the overwhelming force to protect Goa from the “Maharashtrawadis” and an even greater force in making Konkani as the official language of Goa, why is their right to equal status for Romi script being denied or rejected ? Isn’t that communally and politically motivated? Isn’t a sound minority deprived of their right? I am sure if Romi script was given equal status and a choice for MOI, the Catholic opposition would have been nullified. The Catholics phobia is not with the language but with the script which is truly alien to most of them. There should be respect and acceptance for the minority community and should not be taken for granted, as it not just a minuscule minority but a healthy much larger and contributing minority.
I pray to all, not to use one different yard-stick for the minority community as being communally and politically indifferent and a different yard-stick for the majority community for the same. Use the same yard-stick for both. There are ample flaws in attitudes of both, that need to be ironed out and mutual respect built. If the majority have contributed to the progress of Goa in a large way, the minority community too has had it’s fair share in it. So also if the minority community is responsible for electing pseudo secular and corrupt politicians, the majority community is not far behind in electing communal and tainted politicians too.
What we need to look at, as Goans, is where do we stand today in this once paradise called Goa and what is good for the future of our children and our land. Unity is the key and we should not fall prey to the communal, religious and personal agendas of our conniving corrupt politicians.


David Leitao said...

Freddy Agnelo how articulate you are and so  clear in your thoughts I really appreciate your courage to call a spade a spade. Once agin must say this a very well written article we like minded Goans need to Unite to stem the rot its now or never !!! Keep up the good work !!!

Usko Goenkar said...

Muito obrigado Bab Freddy, I was writing a similar article, but after reading this, well it’s expressed everything I wanted to write down, well said and well communicated!
People might deny it, but even the BBSM was afraid of Salcete, which is why I was kinda disturbed after reading this article,
I just hope a lot of people will be inspired by this article and give up debating among each other as only time is lost and the Politicians are making merry at our cost, cause at the rate it is going, it seems that this issue will never end, there will always be counter action from both sides, but the Goans have already proven their point and things were decided, its time to lock up this so called BBSM along with the BJP, MGP, RSS, Shiv Sena’s and not forgetting the Congress as well… we need a Third Front, that is the need of the hour! Viva Goa, Viva Goenkar!

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