Though the world has moved on to the twenty first century and countries are progressing, in various fields, our country is still living in the bygone century and we are way behind others. Even little third world countries which have a united population are doing better in various fields, whether it is economics, diplomacy, standards of living, political maturity or even sports. The London Olympics is the latest pointer- where a poor and small country like Kazakhstan has won six gold medals and we are yet to win one.
Governance in our country has been poor in the last two to three decades. But what have we done about it as a people, except sit back and blame the Government? It is high time that all citizens of our country tighten their belts, roll up their sleeves and enter the field to do their democratic duty towards the nation.
Many citizens are concerned only with their rights but are zero when it comes to doing their duties. It has been proved that bad Governments exist, because hordes of good people did not go to vote. In the last Assembly elections this aspect was much better. But did we elect all the right people? We are supposed to be the watch dogs of democracy. But, do we unite and clamour and raise a din when the Government or its Departments fail to do their duties? Do we make the time and have the courage to report negligent and corrupt Government servants to the police or the vigilance department so that they can be set right? The answer is an emphatic no. Why may I ask? The reason is that we are waiting for someone else to do this dirty job!
We need to do some serious introspection and get out of this slumber and stir ourselves by making our presence felt. The communities in Goa have lived in peace and harmony for centuries. We share in each other’s griefs and joys. When shared, happiness is doubled and grief is halved. Some years ago the picture Da Vinci Code came to Goa. The Catholic community demanded that it should be banned as it grievously hurt the religious sentiments of the minority community. I still remember the anger of the people at a special meeting in the hall of the Panjim church. They screamed for justice. The Government acted speedily and banned the film after two days.
Now the Hindi film, ‘Kya Super Kool Hain Hum,’ has similarly hurt the sentiments of the Catholic community, as it has shown an actor dressed as a catholic priest solemnizing a wedding of a bitch and a dog, by blessing the union in a ceremony with holy water. Calangute beach was the venue of the scene, which of course is beautiful. What was the Censor Board doing? How did they pass this scene and give this movie a certificate for screening? Are they not supposed to prevent such misrepresentation of a highly religious and spiritual affair? By their neglect they have encouraged a confrontation and possible physical clashes between groups of different religious communities? The members of the Censor Board should be warned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting who appointed them, to be more careful in future and to do their duties seriously and diligently or resign.
Toleration has been one of our fortes in the past. But we will all agree that everything has a limit. Democracy gives us a lot of space and freedom to act and speak. But the line must not be crossed, so that what we do or say anything that starts hurting the others. Fun in good faith is acceptable by all. But we must not make fun of the religious sentiments of others as these are serious matters, which should not be trivialized. India has always encouraged respect and reverence for all religions and as a matter of fact our sages and gurus never meddled with the religious sentiments of others. From where has this tendency crept in? In some Hindi movies drunkards and criminals are depicted as Christians- shown with a cross prominently slung on a chain around the neck. Can we forget the song, ‘Michael daru pyee kar danga karta hain?’ Unless we curb this sad tendency to make fun of other communities or their religious sentiments, we will be creating problems which can be easily avoided with a little bit of care and thoughtfulness. These tendencies have been implanted in Goa by certain narrow minded people who have vested interests. Let not outsiders be allowed to come here and try to teach us our customs and traditions which we have been successfully following for umpteen years. We must expose them and our law enforcement agencies should show no mercy in doling out exemplary punishments to the violators of the law.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar will do well to immediately ban the said film from being screened in Goa and also take up the matter with the Government of India to avoid discontent among the citizens and a possible disruption of life for the common man in places where the screening is allowed. Let Goa be a shining example for the rest of the country to follow.