When MGP leader Sudin Dhavalikar said Portuguese
consulate must be shifted out of Goa because
it was encouraging Goans to leave, what
was he thinking? He said that if the consulate
was moved to New Delhi it would make it more
difficult for Goans to acquire Portuguese passport and become
citizens of the European Union. He indirectly accused the consulate
of depriving 1.2 lakh Goans of their voting rights by luring
them to take up Portuguese citizenship, which till date, is a
ticket to residency in the UK. And then, he demanded an apology
from the visiting Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa
for the destruction exacted on Goa in the past.
Thirty-six years ago in June, 1980 General Manuel Antonio
Vassalo e Silva, who had served as the last Portuguese Governor
General of Goa, arrived on a visit to commemorate the
quadricentennial death anniversary of Luis de Camoes. Then,
the central govt telegraphically advised the State to accord a
warm reception to the visiting general.
On June 9 when the general
went to lay a wreath at the Martyr’s
Memorial at Azad Maidan he was
stopped by black-flag carrying volunteers
led by Ferdino Rebello. It
was only after he had tendered an
apology that the general was allowed
to lay a bouquet of flowers.
Is another apology necessary? If so,
how many more apologies will be necessary to assuage the political
pride of leaders who refuse to move on?
Goa has come a long way since Liberation. The 450-year Portuguese
rule has left scars and good impressions. The State has
benefitted from Portuguese architecture, cuisine, language
and culture all of which is now embedded in local history.
The splendid buildings constructed during the Portuguese
era have been classified as heritage sites. Some years back it
was Fundacao de Orient which kick-started refurbishing of
these buildings. In the last four decades or so a partnership of
sorts has developed between host nations and their erstwhile
colonial rulers. Despite the fact that colonialism sucked the
economic strength of its victims, India is part of the commonwealth
of nations and Goa played host to the CHOGM retreat
in 1983. Goa is also part of the Lusofonia movement and hosted
the games in 2014 when Dhavalikar was part of the govt. It
would seem that Goa, baring Dhavalikar, has moved on.
With respect to Goans acquiring Portuguese passports, the
MGP leader must understand that making it more difficult for
those seeking greener pastures in the European Union is not
the answer. The answer lies is creating greener pastures in
Goa. If people want to leave it is because of the State is poorly
governed and Dhavalikar must shoulder a part of the blame
because he has been part of governments which ruled from
2000 till date. Moving the consulate to New Delhi will not cover
up this failure on the part of successive governments. Neither
will an apology.