Herald: Goa’s silent genocide

Goa’s silent genocide

28 May 2015 01:35am IST
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28 May 2015 01:35am IST

Okay, Okay genocide might be a harsh word, but the meaning of genocide still remains the same, systematic destruction to get rid of all, or part of a group. For ages, Goa has been witnessing genocide of a lower variety, and the group affected happens to be the Goan Generation Next, irrespective of their religious affiliations. If they happen to be talented and intelligent with a desire to succeed, the harder it gets to reside in Goa. 

There will always be exceptions that will defy every hurdle the system will throw at them, but by and large Goa has managed to consistently stay behind the curve, keep the system in substantial disarray, so that the genocide that prevailed in the past, continues till date, and since there are no game changing actions planned on the horizon, will continue for generations in the future. The only difference in this type of genocide is that there is no absolute elimination of the group, because most are allowed and even welcomed with open arms to visit Goa, strictly on holiday, festivals or family occasions. 

While there is no rule book that explicitly mentions that all talented Goans with integrity, in their youth, should migrate for their own good, the circumstances are intentionally kept in a state of despair, and that arrangement has worked well for politicians in maneuvering Goans to leave the place. No rocket science here, but the reasons for leaving are quite straight forward, lack of world class higher education, quality employment and in the name of regulation government interference into every aspect of business. So long as these factors are kept the way they are, sans radical reforms, migration is guaranteed. If at all Goans make an attempt to overcome the bad circumstances and stay, politicians will find ways to up the ante, convert their silent genocide into high decibel ‘shut your mouth’ type of words even if they are meant to their own colleagues, or make statement questioning the way of life of its citizens in a bid to create uncertainty for the future. The motive is to make people uncomfortable so that they take the easy route of leaving.

Sometime politicians under pressure pretend they are addressing these migration issues but resort only to cosmetic changes. Therefore these half hearted steps turn out to be insufficient to arrest or reverse migration. In fact successive governments have given up trying this reverse migration policy, instead have gone ahead and set up some NRI Commissioner office, to make sure those that leave Goa don’t face any problems in their country of residence, stay comfortably there and make sure not to entertain the thought of coming back ever. Of course they are free to send their unlimited amounts of foreign exchange, and that part is well incentivized by keeping the Indian rupee perpetually weak. Actually a sincere NRI Commissioner office should not only be felicitating NRI’s tasks, but also carry out leg work by going around collecting data that will pinpoint the reasons of this genocide. Their offices should be situated near ground zero closer to the real action, which is mostly at the Departure lounge of the Goa airport, railway and bus stations. Their staff could then go around taking polite, informal and optional exit interviews of Goans that are leaving for good. This data could then be used to find out the reasons why Goans decide to leave and hopefully address them. 

But why will politicians really think of getting this migration reversed. At the moment this arrangement works best for them because exporting Generation Next in their prime protects them from possible pressure the Generation Next could exert on them with their genuine demands. To show their concern, they will try and pay lip service to the problem, by sitting in plush offices, invite the media and conduct seminars on the history of migration, with no solutions to prevent future migration and then hope the media covers their event. 

Politicians must be wondering why they should take the flak for their citizen’s personal decision of leaving Goa on their own free will. True, but then don’t project Goa as a growing world class destination with huge potential, if the locals are unable to tap it and worse when these  circumstances force the smart Goans to stay elsewhere. For example on 9 May 2015, Goa woke up to front page advertisements of launch of some Hot Air Balloon especially marked ‘for tourists’. The same day most of South Goa was without power, a planned third shutdown for the entire day this season in some places. While the advertisement contained a not so coded message that these hot air balloons are only meant for the tourist, the subtle message from the government to Goans, was that they we will move ahead with balloons or amphibious vehicles, but will deprive you of basic power and make life miserable as much as possible. If you are not strong enough, you may start thinking of taking that voluntary genocide. Meantime, tourists get to watch the plight of Goans, from a vantage point of their hot air balloons. 

Actually no politician will say this openly, but many consider Goans as a burden on Goa’s limited financial resources, since they avail all the possible schemes, which now they lost the plot as regards to financing them. Since tourist brings in the money, they are now obsessed in pleasing them at the cost of the local population and relegating them to second class citizens. Also, during elections a politician’s ego is tested to the limit since they have to visit each voter’s house and beg for votes. So politicians would always want this type of genocide to continue because it becomes easy to manage, manipulate and entice voters when smart Goans are not around. 

During this season of academic results of our Generation Next, many parents will be making that trip to seek admissions out of the state or to drop their children that visited Goa for a family reunion during their break. Now is the most opportune time to contemplate if politicians have done a high-quality job by correctly prioritizing their goals for Goa. If so then that trip out of the state for further studies would not be necessary. Unfortunately despite all the mess up, we choose to keep politicians on a high pedestal. Let’s not accept our fate to be some fault in our stars; it merely needs a change in our thinking and the ability to demand the best.   

(Plastino D’Costa is a business consultant)
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