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Goan identity erodes with onslaught of migrants
One day, Goans will be strangers in their own land. The Goan identity will fade away and they will be left repenting, for having flirted with danger and damaged their birthplace. It's time Goans wake up and initiate saving their identity.

GOA IS tiny, with a finite carrying capacity and is already saturated. The Goan population is extremely small compared to other communities in India. We (Goans) cannot withstand the current high-inflow of migrants. It will lead to severe civic, social and economic disturbance, will obliterate the Goan- identity, turn Goa into an unpleasant hovel like other urban Indian areas," writes Rajan Parrikar, an America returned Goan on Goanet, which is a Goan mailing group on why Goa does not need more migrants.

Yes, Goa and Goans are angry and are facing the ire of the agitating groups, trying to protect Goa from mega projects and Special economic zones (SEZ). What is at stake and why are Goans fighting to protect the land and Goan identity?

Goa has its charm, which has been attracting many to the land over the last several years. One gets enchanted with the picturesque landscape of Goa, which possesses rich and varied charms at different altitudes. But large concrete structures are threatening the beauty and ecology of the place.

Goa at present is getting a cosmopolitan look. Dangers are expressed that Goan identity will soon fade away.

"Utt Goenkara! Utt Goenkara! (Goans, awake from your slumber) It is for long that you have taken things in your stride. Time has come to rise from your slumber. Time has changed tracks on a fast lane for you for long. Long for you, to take things around you for granted. The sudden gush of winds of change will at least make your wiser in thought.

"The issues affecting Goa and Goans are a grim reminder to each one of us to rise above our narrow mentalities and unite, instead of pulling each of our fellow Goans down over trivial things. Trivial things, which can be sorted out and where fences can be mended," a speaker cautions and exhorts Goans at a mammoth meeting in south Goa called to oppose mega housing projects, to jell together.

The peace and tranquility of Goa has many a countrymen move to this land. For years we have played good hosts, had guests from all over the world. We do not know what our next door neighbour who has taken a house, flat or a small room for rent would turn out to be.

The next door neighbour may vary from being a pedophile, murderer, terrorist, rapist, swindler, property grabber, drug peddler, pimp, prostitute. We do not check the antecedents of the persons. We want to do business. Business of quick money in giving the premises on rent. Lest we may lose business to another competitor. The lust to grab a few crisp notes makes us ignore the face of threat we invite upon ourselves.

The police on their part are happy with their daily routine, collections of hafta from the various persons in business. The compilation of strangers’ data in every nook and corner of his beat has taken a back seat.

Utt Goenkara is an non-militant way. Violence does not serve our cause. So next time around when you sell the land, take a cautious route. Route of inquiring and prodding a few minutes or for hours to find the reality. Your conscious will be clear that you had made an effort and that you were unsuccessful is a different thing.

So do not sell your soul, your land, your pride, your ego and play with your life and the life of other fellow beings.

The migrants are blamed for the ills but take deep breathe. Where does the mason, the carpenter, the barber the tile fitter, the labourer in your market or the beach sports operator come from. The Biharis, the UPites, have made inroads into the trades.

Gone are mason from Pernem who built outhouses during our childhood days. Some of them are still living in our villages in Salcete far from their land in Pernem and greet us, but they had for long forsaken their professions. The barber who used to cut our hair till last five years back has changed his shop from a barber’s shop to another goods selling shop. His children like others low menial jobs have changes tracks to another profession or gone for white collar jobs and even migrated to America.

In my village Cuncolim, the best of the mechanics and the best carpenters from Demani Cuncolim are decreasing with every passing year.

So painting all migrants as bad will not serve our cause. The migrants come for their livelihood and they for one would not like their livelihood to be destroyed in one stroke.

The drug pushers and the drug lords of the coastal belt are the one who are more of a threat. A threat, in the long run when they will control all around and push things for them. Already there is buzz of the Kashimiris and the Russians combining to control the drug trade in north Goa beaches.

The buzz of the Russian mafia controlling and pushing drugs according too their own will and having bought a few houses in the north Goa, the Russians are looming power on the horizon for the state and the people of north coastal areas to have a effective check. Fears are expressed that three to five years from now, the Russian mafia would be a strong one in North Goan beach belt.

Russian mafia dons pushing files at the highest level of government through their belly of beauties and flesh trade is slowly creeping in.

Finally, it will be the insiders who sell the soul for Goa for a few extra pennies who are the greatest threat to Goa and Goans.

Politicians too will face the music on their own turf when they will be out staged with a Bihari and a UPite giving a dent to his hopes some years down the line.

Will Goa survive its identity in the face of the assault. Only time will tell whether the changes occurring all around us are for the good, bad or the worse.

One day, Goans will be strangers in their our own land. The Goan identity will soon fade away and they will be left repenting, for having flirted with danger and damaged their own land. Hopefully, this is only a passing thought and nothing of this sort will happen to our Goa. Till then Utt Goenkara, Utt Goenkara time can come to rise and march on till it’s too late to save Goa and Goan identity.

(The views expressed in this article are those of the author)

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