28 Aug 2016 06:03am IST
BY PRAJAL SAKHARDANDE
Special Status for Goa is the need of the hour.
Goa’s distinct identity shaped by her history and heritage and Konkani language is on the verge of extinction and is being diluted due to the huge massive influx of migrants unchecked, uncontrolled and unabated since Goa’s liberation. Very soon the Goan as a species will be found extinct as it has happened with so many Communities in World history. The UN has a cut view on this and respects the rights of small communities such as Goans. We need to have an U.N. intervention on this grave situation.
Undoubtedly Goa is part of India and a small one at that with 3702 sq. kmthat renders her as the smallest state of our country. While the rest of the country was under the British rule till 1947, Goa was under the Portuguese rule. Here the Uniform Civil Code was made applicable since 1867. We also have a Communidade Code in operation which is being violated on a day to day basis. It is 14 years after India’s independence that Goa was liberated from foreign yoke in December, 1961. Our views, aspirations were never respected in the Constitution.On 23rd May, 1963, the late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru acknowledged the unique special identity of Goa and Goans as mirrored through her history and heritage in his speech in his speech on the Campal grounds in Panaji.
On 19th February, 1968, the tribal Communities of Goa- the Gawdas, Kunbis and the Velips were accorded the SC/ST status by the centre. Goa does have a sizable number of tribal population which is in sync with the argument that the North eastern states such as Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram have been accorded Special category status due to their hilly terrain and tribal composition.
Goa is emerging as the Second home destination for the rich and the elite of Delhi, Bombay, foreigners included. The Goan Youth is feeling helpless and depressed as the job market is heavily tilted towards the youth from outside Goa. Most Goan have chosen to take the path of migration to London, Sweden, Canada, US, Dubai as he finds himself or herself in a hopeless situation.
The bosses from Delhi, Bombay chose not to employ the Goan Youth while dubbing them as ‘susegado’ a word much abused to describe a Goan. Susegado is a Portuguese word to mean relaxed and not lay as it is misconstrued. This is a convenient poly for the non Goan boss not to employ Goan Youth.
Land in Goa is being traded in a big way in Dubai, London, Delhi expos. This blatant land trade has a spiralling impact on Goa’s natural heritage, culture & environment. The Goan cannot afford to buy these plus flats in mega housing complexes but yes they are for the consumption of the rich and the elite from all over India and abroad. Resulting in hill cutting, conversion of agricultural land, ETC. The RP 2021 is a shocker which finds Goa in the hands of land sharks who trade our mother Goa and will leave Goa bereft of her natural green cover, lakes, ponds, hills and spells doom for Goa’s natural heritage. Goa is being finished and sold systematically and will be a concrete jungle. We are back to square one and infact worst still.
Goa’s Movement for Special Status (GMFSS) founded by Late Matanhy Saldanha on 21st November, 2008 to seek Special Status for Goa under Article 371 alphabet ‘I’ of the Indian Constitution. We are not seeking a separate status like Khalistanis did in the early type of states of 370. We are not seeking an ILP (Inner Line Permit) as in the case of Arunachal Pradesh. We are seeking a Constitutional guarantee for Goa vis-à-vis Article 19 of the Indian Constitution which permits any Indian to buy land in any part of India except Himachal Pradesh. Making state laws prohibiting blatant land sale has been suggested as an alternative but here in the Article 19 will override the state laws and all authorities including the Supreme Court will uphold the Indian Constitution and not the state laws. Hence unless and until Goa gets a Constitutional amendment Article 371 (i) to include the word Special Status which will give some guarantee to the people in Goa vis-à-vis sale of land, employment and distinction of Goan identity & heritage.