Freedom In The Goan Context

It was on 19 December, 1961, 59 years ago our state Goa, was free from the oppressive Portuguese rule of 450 years. Our freedom fighters were successful in their fight for freedom and Goa was finally liberated. Our patriots fought long and hard to achieve this freedom But what is this freedom that we have earned? Is freedom having a free will? Is it the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action? Or is it the ability to act or change without curtailment?

But the more important question is, are we free? Are we Goans really free?

As far as colonization goes, we are free. The shackles of Portuguese colonialism stand shattered. But we aren’t completely free either. Suppression of our own identity has led to a colonist mindset and the development of an inferiority complex. The rampant aping of the west by us, is responsible for eroding our culture and values. Our inferiority complex makes us ditch our own traditions and culture in favor of theirs. Goans are increasingly becoming untethered to their roots and flocking to a western lifestyle. We are suppressing our own identity to appear edgy and cool. If this goes on at this rate, we will slowly lose our identity.

Goa is a small state with a small population therefore, any influx of migrant population can change the demographics of the state which can lead to the erosion of the identity of us goans. The values our people have had for centuries gets diminished everyday slowly. Goa is beginning to look like Las Vegas. Events like sunburn have become more famous than our feasts and festivals. Deleting our own culture as we begin to assimilate that of others’. It’s not wrong to get new ideas and explore other cultures. But our basic identity and the pride that we should have as goans shouldn’t get lost in the process.

We must also realize, our Konkani language, that our patriots have fought for, is losing popularity. Our forefathers had given their all to keep the language relevant. We mustn’t let their efforts go in vain. A lot of Goans are becoming increasingly ashamed of Konkani. We just are not that proud of our own language unlike the citizens of other states. If we only had as much pride as our patriots, we would have more love and respect for our state, our language, our culture and our people.

We aren’t free from needless regulations either. Politicians and lawmakers, completely ignore environmental activists and pass bogus laws to destroy Goa in the name of development. Our pristine beauty is getting destroyed. Unnecessary development projects are killing our ecosystem and our precious mangroves. Destroying what little we have, especially when the earth is reeling under climate change is just going to harm us in the long run.

So, if we introspect and look at what our state has really become, since we were granted this freedom from the Portuguese, the questions that glaringly comes into one’s consciousness are, today 59 years later, do we still possess this Goan identity that our forefathers fought to give us? Have we really moved away from that colonial mindset?