Saturday, April 11, 2009

Is Goa losing its culture?

A few thousands of years ago the earth was populated by nothing other than dinosaurs and foliage,but today the very existence of the dinosaurs seems surreal. The dinosaurs just vanished into thin air, wiped out.

Some opine that Goa and Goans in the same way are being wiped out , or rather is losing its culture, some even go to the extent of saying that we have long forgotten our culture and have no true identity but to ape the rulers that held us captive for so many years.An example shows itself clearly in the attendance of the ‘Semana da Cultural Portuguesa’as opposed to the attendance and enthusiasm seen toward the same program been held to celebrate the regions culture , the difference between both is far from marginal.

A question that is raised often is what really is Goan culture?Fados and spanish guitars or a tiatr? It is well and good that Goa encompasses many different cultures but what we are in fact forgetting is that we existed before the Portuguese , and before they came here we did have a very distinct culture as you can read of in books like “The Saraswats”or look up the Kadamba’s the rulers of goa before the Portuguese. Why don’t most educated goan youth speak konkani fluently ,why would we rather patronise a foreign film as opposed to a regional film, why do we look outward to define ourselves? Culture is something that is innate ,not something you eminate.If something does not come from you , you can never contain hence it has the potential to be lost. The rise of the goan economy has brought many ‘outsiders ’into the state and has slowly led to the intergration of Goa with the rest of India , some consider this as losing of culture ,that is far from true though.Intergration with the rest of India will serve to widen our horizons, this may have its downsides but losing a culture is not one of them.

Rather than losing our culture its is being diluted by the presence of other cultures , but that does not mean it has been wiped out , that merely means that those who deem they possess this culture need to hold true to it. Just because the things around are changing that does not mean that we have lost the goan identity thats just means we need to reaffirm it. Time changes many things as holds good with culture as well, we can not say that we are losing our culture , its merely being redefined.

[This is an essay that had been submitted for some competition a while ago]