19 Feb 2023  |   06:22am IST

Congratulations, the sabotage gang. For making a day of joy, a day of pain for those who wanted a People’s Carnival

Congratulations, the sabotage gang. For making a day of joy, a day of pain for those who wanted a People’s Carnival

As the Carnival festivities began with music and mirth on the streets of Panjim, there is a numb pain among many who were waiting for this to be quite a different day. 

A day for Deja Vu of the return of the old times. Of a day beginning with alvorado,  walking up to the music of the brass bands, giving finishing touches to the prepared feasts and confectionaries, tuning the musical instruments and preparing the small carts, which would resemble mini floats, and, above all, having a community get-together.

Those who believe that the Carnival should be about the old times do something about it, those who don’t, sabotage it

It was a simple desire of most in Sao Tome and Fontainhas that for a few hours on the evening of Carnival day, they would live life in flashback. Of small brass bands and children walking the beautiful lanes, the stalls laden with food straight out of the kitchens of the locality, the young and old dressed up and the suspension of sorrow and sadness, if any, to embrace this beautiful emotion of the carnival.

Who can have a problem with joy? Not those with hearts

Those who believed this was possible and desirable  over just one evening in Sao Tome and another small get-together on another street in Fontainhas, saw hope when so many residents got together and decided to make it happen. This was a little over a week ago. Everyone got to work. The youth started working on the decorations and a small cart in remembrance of the simple bullock cart on which the first King Momo Timoteo Fernandes, traversed from the same Fontainhas to the Panjim garden, some bands were booked and local restaurants had decided to curate special menus and set up stalls on the street in a spirit of bonding.

Today this Carnival did not happen. The story of betrayal and sabotage is too hurtful to elaborate

Who benefited from inflicting pain on innocents who have never harmed anyone, and denied them a People’s Carnival? Can the CCP, which claims it gave the green light to the carnival, also claim it doesn’t know why the police and the other authorities held back the permissions? Are people so naïve to believe that there is no connection?

But then would the top people ruling CCP and Panjim do something as petty? Unless there were forces among the very people who wanted their bread to be buttered in both sides i.e., make the fans of the people’s carnival believe they were with them, but worked behind the scenes to sabotage the very carnival and align themselves to the commercial one devoid of the Goan spirit and the Goan people, purely for cheap greed, feigning innocence about the sabotaging.

Seeing is believing. The sabotage was seen. The effort to fight for the people’s carnival was not seen

To them the common Goans only ask, if you were with the people where was your voice heard for the People’s Carnival? If you are an elected civic representative, did you go to the powers that control the city, knock on their doors or even barge in to say that the people’s carnival permissions should be given at any cost?

Seeing is believing. The sabotage, by certain smooth talking charmers, was seen. The effort to get the people’s carnival going was not seen.

There is so much Goa is losing. If people-led communities can’t hold themselves together, then the forces of destruction will take over

Can’t we come together, enjoy holding hands and be in the same spirit for even a few hours?

What is it that prevents us from doing this?  We are doing this for our past and also our future. The carnival is a mood and a spirit. But above all, it is the flag of a shared, loved, and unique tradition of community bonding together. This is our strength. By dividing this between a square and a street and saying, “You cannot have carnival everywhere”, the essence of this spirit is insulted.

And this is the opening that the forces of destruction look for. This divide is a massive weakness.

Having a “Carnaval” (that’s what it was rightly called) on every street is a part of our ethos, culture and tradition. Do not put this into a government box and tie it with official red tape. It won’t work.

On a day of such happiness, there was sorrow.

These lines from Mathew Arnold’s Dover Beach will resonate among many in Panjim who yearned for the simple old times to return:

“The sea is calm tonight listening to the grating roar of pebbles at the shore, the eternal note of sadness over the waters.”

Beneath the music emanating from the “official floats” and expensive shows, those in the lanes of Fontainhas and Sao Tome feel that eternal note of sadness at the loss of simple times, stolen by betrayers from among their very own.

Viva Carnaval


Idhar Udhar