You, Me, and U-Turns: Ways to View Them
Joao Barros Pereira
We Goans, I don't have to tell you, are easily excitable and any modification of the Chief Minister's opinion is seen as a U-turn. But, is it? For me, a U-turn is one which goes contrary to a person's principled position on a particular issue, a sign of decreasing intelligence. As new information arrives all the time, and, if there is a willingness to take all on board, if not all, the majority of people, then we should not be surprised to expect contradictions and compromises.
An intelligent man responds to life and is not afraid of making changes or seen to be contradictory if his statements on a superficial level appear to be the case. Superficial, you might say, is the key word. We need to look below the surface.
But if one is looking for a secret agenda or think any and all modifications are immoral simply because someone said such and such thing at a certain place and time, then you are barking up the wrong coconut tree and thinking like a lawyer who will probably rush to court! We need, prior to thinking with our knees or rushing to court, to ask ourselves if there has been a genuine U-turn in regard to the spirit of the person's view on a particular issue. Has there been a change in the person's principled stance on the issue? If so, has the change in outlook and attitude been an improvement or not? If it has broadened a man's outlook and widened his horizon, then we should welcome the so-called U-turn! Life is a continuous learning process and an intelligent person will stop learning only when s/he is dead!
With stakeholders representing a variety of opinions on a given issue in Goa there is probably not a single issue which is simple or which does not have the potential to escalate into a wild monsoon wind.
As I said, we Goans are easily excitable and while we might not be number one among the communities in India, we are not far from the top. We need to restrain ourselves, and forums as this one have an important social and intellectual role to play in creating a culture which asks us to take a second or third look at an issue before we fire off our latest salvo! For this to happen we need to build a consensus on a given issue. We need to look at every issue as an ongoing process, and this is what Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is attempting to do!
We need to look at the various contexts with an open and balanced mind and not the way a lawyer would do, which is one-sided, as always. Our intent should not be to selectively choose facts so as to win the case! That is easy to do, and so it is done much too often.
What is not so easy, is to look at the issue from various aspects and reflect on the issue prior to rushing to a conclusion which will soon become an accusation of someone or the other being guilty of having made a U-turn! But, then, we are Goans.