The Goan (TG): What has been your experience with the Goan community in Portugal?
Nandini Singla (NS): The Goan community in Portugal has been a big part of bilateral relations between India and Portugal, the anchor holding together one of the world’s oldest relationships between any two countries, going back over half a millennia. The fact that Casa de Goa is next door to the foreign ministry of Portugal shows its importance even in contemporary Portugal.
Casa de Goa also tries to contemporise this historical connection, making it relevant to this day and age. Hence, Casa de Goa’s recent conference focussed on Goa’s contribution to better India-Portugal ties, taking this 15th century relationship to the 21st century. Goa is important in terms of history and in forging a modern and forward relationship between both our great countries.
TG: How has the Indian Embassy collaborated with the Goan community in Portugal?
NS: The Indian Embassy has been supportive of the Goan association and other Indian associations in Portugal. We are proud to have first, second or third generation Indians integrating so well in Portuguese society, culture and economy, while retaining their Indian identity. They are respected and have contributed to their adopted country. Many judges in Portugal were from Goa and I am happy they are doing well and are well regarded.
The Indian embassy supports events of Casa de Goa and we have also worked with them to popularise Goa government’s ‘Know Goa’ programme for youth who have roots in Goa, but who have never visited Goa. The idea is to give them a snapshot of Goa and to re-ignite their links with Goa.
Casa de Goa has been doing excellent work and we work closely with them on various initiatives. We see them as an important bridge between India and Portugal.
TG: A growing number of Indians, including Goans,