Goans & the project of self production-V
Expanding our embrace fearlessly to the other may be a way ahead for us to produce ourselves and Goanise Goa and ourselves in emancipative ways
09th July 2019, 02:31 Hrs
Fr. Victor Ferrao
Psychoanalysis teaches that a society is produced by repression of desire. Sigmund Freud says that the unconscious repression is the primary condition of communal life. It indeed becomes apriori condition of inter-human exchange. Maybe we have to accept that it is the castration phobia that shapes society. This means that it is the fear of the prohibiting father which is individually internalised as super-ego that becomes the blood line of any social commune. It would be interesting to open our reflection to the repressions triggered by castration phobia that we Goans may have. This exercise is important because it can manifest how this mechanism of repression produces our society both collectively and individually.
We cannot know our own repressions. Therefore, it is difficult to unearth them. We may take the route opened by Julia Kristeva to reach the repressions embedded into our society. Kristeva can assist us to open the door on our repressions by letting us examine that which we abject, expel or wish to excrete or vomit out of our society. This drive to abject is triggered by the fear of otherness that becomes a blemish or a stain on what we imagine as pure Goa and Goan-ness. This means the drive of expulsion of otherness that alienates us shows that like most societies, Goan society is also controlled by narcissist concerns. Maybe we have to abject the condition that makes us abject otherness.
Colonization has instilled the fear of the other in our society. Maybe the colonizers only intensified the fear of the other that is already embedded in a caste ridden society. Otherness always haunts any society. It is what we do with the otherness that produces our society. A caste ridden society hierarchizes otherness and integrates it into it. Pre-colonial Goan society managed otherness by placing it on a caste ladder.
This is why there was no need of expulsion of otherness as it was ranked on the scale of purity and pollution and regulated by customs and Gavponn of our Ganvkarias. Those that were left on the lower rung of the ladder were thought to be polluted and polluting and were exiled within our society. Like caste colonization also complexly marked our society. It largely dissolved otherness into sameness. This is why conversion came along with lusitanization. Not just the convert even the non-convert could not fully resist lusitanisation. This complex lusitanization of Goa and Goans was later interpreted as de-nationalization by Dr. Tristao de Barganza Cunha (1891-1958).
Dr Tristao considered both Christians and the Hindus of Goa as denationalised but declared that denationalisation of the Christians was more pronounced. While keeping the other nuances of question of denationalisation for some other time, here let us try to understand how otherness was culturally assimilated in the colonial era in Goa so that we can view how in the post-colonial times, we can feel a demand to culturally excrete it (otherness).
Colonial assimilation of the otherness is replaced by cultural excretion of the other in the post-colonial era. This is the reason why insider/ outsider, Christian / Hindu /Muslim/ Londonkars and others have become acute preoccupations in our society. There is an anger against outsider who is unfortunately greeted by a pejorative label, ‘Ganti’.
Lusitansation did not kill the sting of caste in our society. We somehow hybridized and what the colonial other called caste survived even in our days. This means the tendency to rank otherness on ladder of a hierarchy did not die. It slipped into religion and survived with loyalties transcending religions. Besides, the coming of an independent nation steadily rang in our society a truncated nationalism that saw no Indian as a national enough. Hindus were to become sanskari Hindus and become national.
The Muslim and the Christians may have to be born again or have to stage a Ghar vapsi to prove them-selves to be national. Thus, the way we managed otherness in Goa we have produced our society down the ages.
Hence, it is important to embrace otherness in its manifolds to generate emancipative ways of being Goans. Otherness is always an excess. We cannot assemble it into a comprehensible content. There is always a surplus dimension that resists our attempts of reduction and totalisation . This awareness might open us to generate emancipative ways of encountering otherness. As all self production is essentially a relation of Self and its Other. A positive openness to the other becomes an authentic call for our Goan-ness to show up and blossom. It is the other that calls us into being, hence, the other of Goans is significant as h/she shaped us into what we have become and can become. Expanding our embrace fearlessly to the other may be a way ahead for us to produce ourselves and Goanise Goa and ourselves in emancipative ways.
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