The year 2008 is about to come to a close. With 2009 beckoning us, it is important to note what Goa and Goans achieved in this year.
Surely this year has to go down as the year of countless mini-uprisings. From acrimonious gram sabhas to taking to the streets of Goa, Goans have finally found their respective forums for protesting rampant unplanned development without restraint.
In the name of development and progress, Goans were being lured into accepting gigantic building plans and other similar huge projects without any back-up of infrastructure or with complete disregard to the depletion of natural resources which could easily erode our land and more importantly our identity. With large development, an obvious massive influx of migrants and therefore the question of their settlement, seems to be the least concern of our grandiose and greedy Goan planners. Corruption and lack of morality had already reached its ebb in Goa long ago but now it seems to be going down towards an unending pit .
We were continuously blackmailed in the name of the “anti-development lobby” . However this time there was an allround display of solidarity from almost every nook and corner of Goa. Goans had suddenly pulled out their microscopes from their dusty attics and were willing to spare time to check what their region was mischievously planned for, by greedy fellow Goans willing to sell our land to the highest bidder who does not have any love for our land and is ever willing to dump his economic sense to convert our beautiful landscapes into ugly concrete jungles .
Pot bellied bureaucrats and greedy politicians are currently in mourning for the losses they have incurred for the current year. This year must be their worst. And they will be ruing the fact that it has nothing to do with the economic meltdown affecting the world. It is a befitting punishment inflicted on them by Goans. Goan politicians have no love for Goa, All that they love is their belly and for that they are willing to sell their soul.
Their rewards for the year 2008 are the curses which Goans have heaped on them which surely will send them to their doom if they continue to ignore the realities facing Goa.
Having said that we do have plenty of rotten apples among the Goan activists who are all fighting to save Goa from different groups of leeches. Some of these rotten apples have already been exposed and are unsuccessfully trying to cover their face with their dirty hands. May their fate be worse than the politicians whom they are trying to nail and serve their own interests. It is because of this rogue gallery of rotten apples that the whole movement of Saving Goa is getting a bad name.
However there are plenty of distinguished individuals who have spent their precious time and effort to tirelessly work to drill down into Goan heads, the wisdom of saving Goa and are continuously working towards that unending goal till today. They deserve a many-gun salute on every Goa liberation day before any parade and any useless politically motivated felicitations.
The year 2008 will go down as the year of the battles to save Goa.
The NOC issued to the organizers by the state authorities in Candolim Goa, was cancelled on Sunday by an order of the Mapusa sub-divisional magistrate which cancelled the conditional NOC .
The state authorities had issued the licence to the organizers for the three day festival known as Sunburn 2008 beach festival at Candolim beach, specifying strict conditions including the regulations to monitor sound. The event was closely monitored by state officials.
It seems that the sound of music played by the performers at the festival was beyond the prescribed limits and accordingly the state pollution control board verified the same and confirmed the contraventions.
The authorities therefore visited the venue on Sunday at around 8 pm and issued the cancellation orders to the organizers thereby putting a stop to the three day extravaganza.
If the proposal of the Union tourism ministry goes through as per plan, Goa could indeed be the first state in the country to set up a tourist security force which should give a lot of cheer to the tourism industry.
The Tourism security force(TSF) is constituted to provide safety and security to tourists visiting Goa. Such a force attains importance in view of the various incidents in Goa which have given the state a bad name. Also the terrorist threat perception in coastal areas is now a prime reason for such a force to take shape in Goa.
Security personnel along the coast line especially in vulnerable areas of the coast is one of the suggestions towards the security force’s operations.The tourism department has concluded that such a force should be made up of ex-servicemen but is however not sure how many such ex-servicemen are available to take up the job in Goa.
Such a force is expected to ward off any untoward incidents in Goa and ensure the safety and security of tourists visiting the state from all over the world.
The party revellers were all there without a bow. Terror threats were brutally stamped by party revellers in Goa putting on their dancing shoes and danced Christmas nights to their most logical Goan conclusions. After all “ the party had to go on”.
With Christmas having raked in the moolah for the organizers of the dances, fingers are not kept so anxiously crossed for the bigger brother, the “New Year dance party”in Goa. From Emerald lawns in parra to Kesarval motels in Verna to Woodbourne Country club in Nuvem or Blasco executive Centre in Navelim, dances were packed with Christmas party people to the brim with some places having to send some people back due to the house-fulness of the place.
Party organizers in Goa are therefore in great spirits to draw even better crowds for the upcoming New year dances. Traditional dances are expected to hold their strong sway over party revellers who sometimes have a strong bond with a place and are willing to party irrespective of security concerns as per many organizers.
It seems that the government relaxed its tightrope and allowed parties to continue throughout the night although the cutoff timing on Christmas night is expected to be by 12 pm after obtaining necessary permission from the Collector’s office. The Beach parties are however in ban mode and no beach parties are currently alloed in Goa til January 5 ,2009.
New year 2009 is therefore expected to be one helluva party for many Goans and Indian or foreign tourists visiting goa for the greatest moment of the New year.
Its the 25th of December 2008. And hey its Christmas!!
Christmas was ushered in Goa with traditional pomp and gaiety with midnight masses as per schedule. The entire state of goa was a picture of bright light and colour with stars ,cribs and lights dotting homes and Christmas carols renting the air in Goan homes.
Midnight masses in Goa saw huge crowds all over Goa despite the heavy security arrangements in place which failed to deter traditional Goans from attending midnight mass and thereafter the revelries in form of dance and parties both indoors and outdoors in various locales in Goa.
Christmas day , the 25th of December starts with a complete bang in most Goan homes as families and friends come together in unison either personally or by calling each other over the phone with greetings of “ Merry christmas”.
This is followed by the exchange of sweets in the neighbourhood and among friends. Normally families in mourning do not prepare any sweets at Christmas time and are therefore offered more than the others. There is lovely social mingling among people in Goan neighbourhoods and people are seen exchanging warm pleasantries with each other.
A walk around the local villages and cities in Goa on the Christmas afternoon gives you the unmistakable fragrance of good food being served with its aroma spreading in the Christmas cheer. It is a fabulous feast that families and friends treat themselves to, however modest their lifestyles may be. So, in most Goan homes, Christmas is an elaborate lunch comprising of a stunning main entrée with atleast two to three equally accompanying dishes, one of which is either the pork vindalho or the roast pigling. You could also see stuffed roast or chicken or perhaps a turkey marinated in green masala and filled with raisins, liver, mashed potatoes and fruits. Basted with olive oil, it is baked slowly in the kitchen. A stuffed piglet could also find its way on the menu. Sorpotel, Cafreal and the famous Goan pulao are delicacies which are seldom avoided. A large salad spread at the edge is next to pudding or dodol in the wings of the table.
Christmas lunch is an important part of the festival celebrations as the families in Goa believe that it is the most befitting occasion for members of the family to come together and for all the family members ot eat under one roof and from the same table. It is almost an unfailing get-together for most Goan families in Goa. In fact relatives and family people working outside Goa ensure that they secure leave in advance to be at home in Goa for Christmas.
Happy Christmas To Goans and to Christians all over the world.
He is absolutely dressed for the occasion. In red fur from head to foot. Comes with a jingle on an eight reindeer borne sleigh with a big bag of goodies, toys and sweets on his busy back, a fatherly figure rummaging in his sack, groping for gifts to give children they have been longing for and joy for us to bear round the year.
For Goa and Goans he is the lovable Father Christmas or the Christmas Father. Like in the rest of the world, we see that children in Goa believe that Santa Claus visits their town, city and village during Christmas night and fulfills their wishes, with the items that they desire and have waited for.
Throughout the year kids in Goa, pen letters to” Dear Santa claus” revealing to him the choice of gifts they would prefer at Christmas time. They also write last minute letters and drop them into stockings and hang them in prominent places inside the house where they hope it will certainly catch Santa’s eye. This is a tradition that was most often instilled in the hearts of Goan kids by their parents or grandparents to surprise kids with the gift of their choice on Christmas morning. Sometimes grandparents had the extra knack of dressing up like Santa Claus and giving that extra feeling of Christmas.
Goan kids like their brethren all over the world believe that on Christmas eve the Christmas Father piles up all the toys onto his sleigh with his fleet of reindeers and rides across the sky with them. The most loved reindeer though is Rudolph at the front who leads the way with his shiny red nose. Santa enters our houses through the chimney or through the door at midnight and places presents for the children in large red stockings or bags by their beds or at the foot of the Christmas tree.
Santa Claus is a craze among kids and nowadays parties during or around Christmas time usually has a Santa claus to add that extra gusto to a party and the kids simply love his presence always hovering around him and shrieking with joy and merriment.
Santa is historically based on a real person called St. Nicholas or Sinter Klaas in Dutch who was a very shy man and wanted to give money to poor people silently without them knowing about it. Legend says that one day he climbed up on the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in a stocking which a girl had put to dry by the fire. This may explain the belief that Father Christmas comes down the chimney and places gifts in children’s stockings. When the dutch introduced Sinter Klaas to the Americans they called him Santa Claus.
Santa Claus may be a belief. However allowing kids to fantasize about him gives you their good little baby years in good measure. All the excitement at the mention of Santa and the merriment accompanied with it gives parents a moment to chuckle at their children’s joy, gives children a reason to smile and be happy. After all a happy childhood can take children a long way. When they grow up and realize the fantasy of Santa while growing up in the big bad world out there, they will always fall back on those young days of theirs for good memory to help them reflect on the earlier fun times of their kiddie days.
However the prime reason for Christmas and indeed its joy and peace being through the savior Jesus Christ should always be paramount and taught to kids all throughout the year.
Come Christmas and Goan catholic homes have lot of work at hand. For years, Goans have been preparing lip smacking delicious sweets this time of the year which are eagerly looked forward to by one and all.
Normally Goan neighbourhoods used to take turns in preparing sweets each day and it was a traditional custom for Goan womenfolk especially, to help each other in making sweets thus ensuring a perfect harmony between households. While this tradition is slowly dying, the love for preparing the Christmas sweets also known in Goa as the “consuada” has not reduced one bit. However some of the delicacies have been lost over a period of time.
Although readymade sweets are now available in Goa due to the commercialization of the tradition, the love for making one’s own sweets is still a strong custom followed till this day. However while the neurios, kulkuls, dodols, bebincas, bolinha, pinagre , gons and many other popular items are still prepared in Goa some other sweets of yesteryears such as bolo bebedo and pasties de natas are somehow not heard of being made in the modern age of Goa.
The bolo bebedo was made out of biscuits, dried fruit, brandy and custard and used to be a much sought after delicacy in Goa. However Goans have either forgotten the bolo bebedo or have taken convenient refuge in more popular delicacies like the bebinca.
It is no denying that most of these Christmas sweets made in Goa are a direct influence of the Portuguese. It has also been documented that it was the nuns at the Convento da Santa Monica who were responsible for introducing Portuguese recipes and for creating a blend of Indo-portuguese recipes, especially sweets such as the dedos da dama, petas de freiras, pasties de natas and pasties de Santa Clara.
Some of these delicacies hold an emotional bond for many of the elders in Goa and they normally hunt for the same at traditional Goan bakeries but have to return disappointed as the same have either been discontinued or not made due to its unpopularity among the new generations of Goans.
The marzipan sweets made out of Goan cashew are a hot favourite among all kinds of Goans and are normally sold like hot cakes in various bakeries. Many homes also prepare marzipan sweets in the shapes of various fruits and caricatures. Bakeries in Goa also offer traditional Christmas sweets such as bolo de nozes ( made of coffee, nuts, brandy and bread crumbs), bolo de rei ( made out of semolina, almonds and butter), pasties da Santa clara ( cashew nuts and almonds) Suspiros( lemon rind and almonds) teias de aranhas( made of tender coconut)
The common sweets like mandares, pinagre, cocada, bolinhos, batica, bolo san rival and dodol are still made and remain the most popular. However others like bolo russo, alva, pasties de banana, girgilada( made os sesame seeds) and coscoaroes ( made of flour) have not been seen for a long time.
It surely is that Christmassy feeling again in Goa. It’s the 24th of December 2008 and the markets are absolutely abuzz. Homes are full of Christmas décor, carols are renting the air, the kitchen is trying to find new space to accomodate neurios, dodols , kulkuls, bebincas, cakes, etc etc.
Cribs are being given the finishing touches after over weeks of hard work flowing into most them which have been planned more than a month ago and which could probably be visited by thousands in the days to come. Parish youth are busy chalking out programmes for the kids and the elders to make the Christmas day and the season full of excitement and fun. The traditional stars are still being constructed out of bamboo and very articulately at that. Some huge stars are welcome signs in most villages of Goa, with huge messages of Christmas and the upcoming New year.
Young children have already taken to the streets in the evenings around 10 days ago with one of them masquerading as Santa Claus , belting out melodious Christmas Carols for a contribution which should help them to organize their own kiddy party for all the hard work they put in for all these evenings.
Outdoors are bound to look lighted up for the season with fine lights running a long length to give that festive look to almost every alternate house in Goa. The Christmas tree finds itself in every home ,street, corner and and The star at the entrance or in the gallery gives that complete and endearing belonging to the Christmas fever that has gripped Goa like always and Christmas greetings all over the city and the state make Goa look like Christmas’ own country.
The shops and business establishments have also caught up quickly with the Christmas fever in Goa and one sees all glass doors and frontages painted with Santa musings, buntings, hollies and reindeers. Christmas merchandise, schemes and gift vouchers for Christmas does make brisk business for many businessmen in Goa who have been looking forward to this day for the whole year.
The newspapers like every year are traditionally splashed with dance party adverts coaxing Goans with choicest bands, comperes, prizes, gifts and novelties as their USP to sell their dance party over the others. Shopping discounts are also splashed with various incentives for the avid Christmas shopper.
Christmas festival is indeed a joy of sharing and giving as much as it is of receiving and is an occasion to thank God for all his blessings on Goa and Goans.
While ruling out any intelligence information of a specific fidayeen attack on Goa, the Goa police admitted that the possibility of a terror attack in the state of Goa cannot be ruled out.
The security has therefore been strengthened and will remain so till the 5th of jan 2009, and based on further intelligence, precautions are going to be taken thereafter as well.
Top officials of the government on Tuesday reviewed the security situation in the state at a meeting of top officials of the state administration and central government agencies in the state.
The meeting was held to ensure that all security aspects were taken care of and such meetings are expected to be held every alternate day for reviewing the situation to ensure that the security arrangements are up to date.
There couldn't be better news than this. For years I have been stupefied at the dumbness of authorities and proxy dog lovers at the brutality meted out to human beings by stray dogs and their protectors who whiz around in posh cars, dine in fine restaurants and sleep in extra cushioned beds only to emerge as dog-rights activists for media gatherings and dogged forums on the rabid subject.
So the Bombay high court's order which says that the authorities in civic bodies can eliminate dogs that are diseased, dangerous and causing a nuisance, including dogs who could well be considered to be a nuisance by barking or chasing pedestrians, scooters, motorists at night, was a welcome relief to the common man who has been hounded by stray dogs in the streets for no fault of his, much to the pleasure of dog lovers.
The courts were responding to a PIL filed in the matter seeking the Courts intervention to direct the governement to protect its citizens from the terrible hazards caused by stray dogs resulting in terible injuries, death due to rabies, fear phobias and huge expenditure to the common man to relieve himself of dog bites.
The PIL filed by a Vasco based doctor, Dr. Rozario Menezes , in 2001 , sought the removal of stray dogs from public places, pleading for the life and health and safety of citizens as guaranteeed under article 21 of the indian cosntitution by the removal of all stray dogs from public places to ensure safety of the citizens.
The Bombay high court has passed favourable orders with some riders and the citizens can now demand from the municipality for removal of strays from their neighbourhood
There seems to be ample confusion on the party scene in times of the festive season in Goa. Every day seems to throw up conflicting news about the parties in Goa and all of it is not music to Goan ears.
Without a bullet being fired, it seems that the terrorists have won their battle in Goa. They managed to instill enough of fear in the Goan establishment that our government has decided that prevention is better than cure. I say sure it is. However prevention is better. Not a ban. Prevent them by using the entire machinery available at your disposal.
Instead the government has resorted to buckle down and be cowed by the threats of the terrorists. While Indian intelligence has reportedly pinpointed Goa to be a possible target, the response to this threat is indeed very strange. With so much time on hand enough to plan countless defence strategies, our effort should have been to prove to the terrorists and indeed to the world that “the party must go on”. What kind of preparedness are such negative actions showing?
With barely a day to go for Christmas, the government has dropped a new bombshell. The law for a ban on loud music post midnight seems to have come to their rescue and they have been loud to let everyone know that they are going to enforce it strictly this time around. Why? Why was it not enforced strictly every year since its inception? Was this the best time to bail our security apparatus?
But what timing to strictly enforce an anti-tourism law. By the time they decided on this, there will be hundreds of party organizers who must have already spent lakhs of rupees in planning their events for Christmas and New year. Most of these events especially the ones planned at Christmas time, commence only after midnight mass. So what are these organizers expected to do? Who is going to compensate them for their losses? Why was the strict enforcement decision so woefully delayed to pinch Goans so hard?
Hope better sense prevails, better security prevails and the festivities prevail too. After all we cannot be cowed down by a handful of terrorists to curtail our freedom. The state has a responsibility towards its citizens to protect them at all costs. Keeping us indoors is not the solution.
After all, ships anchored on the harbour are safe. But that’s not what ships are meant for. The party must go on. And the government must show its strength of character.
Uday Bhembre the well known Konkani writer and protagonist came in for severe criticism from the PWD minister Mr Churchill Alemao who squarely blamed him for dividing the state on the language issue by inserting the clause of “ Devnagari script “ of Konkani during the framing of the Official language act of Goa
Mr Churchill lamented the insertion of the clause and said that had the clause not been put, the language in both the scripts would have been prospering in Goa alongside each other. He further added that the faster the roman script is accorded official status, the faster the growth of the language would be.
He said that Roman Konkani could be instrumental in safeguarding Goa’s identity and called upon tiatrists from Goa to remain united to fight the cause of Roman Konkani
The sub-committee on the Mhadei dispute has sought a more vociferous approach from the Union government to present its case to the centre regarding the adjudication of the Mhadei dispute.
The committee also urged the cabinet ministers, MLA’s and the MP’s to observe a one day token strike before parlaimnent to draw the attention fo the centre to the burning issue that was likely to adversely affect the state if the government of Karnataka goes ahead with its plan of diverting the water from the Mhadei basin.
Goa has been alarmed over news that Karnataka has been speeding up its work on the project. The sub-committee has therefore recommended that the delegation of Goan legislators should demand the immediate appointment of a judicial tribunal in the light of the affidavit filed before the Supreme Court by the Union Ministry for water resources.
The work of diversion of the Mhadei river water is presently underway at Kankumbi northeast of Goa. Diversion of the Mhadei river water could render the Mandovi river in Goa dry and could therefore adversely affect the state.
Hope our elected leaders take up the issue very strongly at the centre keeping political differences aside in the interest of Goa and Goans.
Massive cribs, life size images, Christmas carols renting the air, busiest of streets and jam packed markets with people lined to buy everything from Santa’s buntings to new suitings , homes filled with stunning décor, Christmas trees brightly lit with goodies getting coked in the kitchen, newspapers filled with ads for dances and Christmas gifts. Well you don’t have to strain too much to understand that its Christmas in Goa.
Christmas is indeed a time for peace , joy and goodwill. For Goans it means spending a lot of time with friends and family. Its about a sense of belonging that only Goa feels so vigorously during Christmas time.
With 3 days to go, the breath of revelry in Goa has started emanating loudly. The terror plots apparently hatched for Goa seem to be the last thing on everybody’s mind and Goa is abuzz with the fever of Christmas and New year that it is so well known for all over the world. The tourist has always found Goa to be the best destination to celebrate Christmas and N ew year and the hotels in Goa are already upto 80% of their capacity despite all the odds.
Several party organizers in goa were absolutely upbeat about the upcoming dance parties and are hoping for a large turnout of both Goans as well as tourists for the fun in Goa. Goa as usual will be lit most brightly all over and the feeling of Christmas is sure to sink in brilliantly on the 24th eve culminating into great celebrations on the 25th of December, the birthday of Jesus Christ , who came to save our souls.
May the joy of Jesus Christ and the peace of the Lord be with Goa always.
The popular Konkani weekly Vavreaddeancho ixtt which is the only Konkani weekly publication being published continuously since 1933, in Goa , is expected to conclude its platinum jubilee celebrations with a special closing ceremony function on Monday December 22.
The Konkani weekly which is still run by the Pilar society was first started in 1933 by Fr Arsencio fernandes and Fr Graciano Moraes.
On the 22nd of December , the Vavreadancho Ixtt awards will be conferred on several Konkani writers and on those who contributed largely to the Konkani language and to goan culture. Also social activists and young Konkani writers who have been associated with the weekly are expected to be felicitated on that day.
A special issue of the publication is also slated to be released and the launch of the Vavreadancho Ixtt supplement will also see light. A platinum jubilee song, a violin instrumental with the piano, a raag, comedy skits , dances and mandos are all expected to be part of the programme highlighting 75 years of the publication’s existence in Goa
On 27th April 1892, a 27 year old lad from Assagao in Bardez, Mr Lucasinho Ribeiro from Bardez staged the first known Konkani play , a translation of a popular Italian soap opera of that time and was titled “ Italian bhurgo” .
Though it was a mere translation of an Italian opera, staged at the new Alfred Theatre in Bombay, it is regarded as the first Tiatr from Goa. However it was Mr. Joao Agostinho Fernandes from Margao, also known as Pai Tiatrist, who scripted his own original play “sundori Cabelchi” which catapulted the Goan Konkani Tiatr in its unique art form on a great journey.
116 years of Goan Tiatr history,is a great achievement . Before the advent of the Tiatr, the Zagor and khell were the art forms of theatrical expression in Goa and were mostly prevailing in North and South Goa respectively.
Today Tiatr has been taken to each and every corner of the world by various stage artists from Goa who surfaced on the Konkani stage regularly and shone at state as well as the international levels.
In 1956 the khell tiatr or non-stop tiatr came into existence. Unlike films there being no chance of retakes, the stage actors have to be thorough with their dialogues as the same has to be delivered live on stage.
Recently the tiatr as an art form was plagued with various problems and there was a fervent plea from the tiatrists to the government to declare them as a small scale industry. Some tiatrists have expressed happiness at the response given by the Chief Minister Mr Digambar Kamat but are however doubtful about the final outcome and are however optimistic about the governments decision.
Athough it is a tough task, tiatr’s have survived in Goa. Staging the tiatr for three hours in Goan auditoriums which normally are ill-equipped with the infrastructure and also taking the dramas to the villages has been quite challenging given the cost factors . However despite all odds the tiatr has triumphed and some of the tiatr shows have crossed the century mark.
It was therefore with open arms that the government decision to recognize goan tiatr by setting up a tiatr academy was welcomed. The government of Goa has decided to set up this academy with an initial grant of Rs 15 lakh and the tiatrists of Goa hope that the Academy would actually fructify into a reality and would also speak of the governments commitment to the Konkani language
Will Goa actually see the beach party revelry this year? Yes and No seems to be the answer of the Goa government The clear verdict is not out as yet. What is clear is that there is plenty of confusion on the subject. All government machinery and security apparatus is so full of headaches that the decision is still under fantasy’s hope.
However it seems more likely that the ban may actually be enforced in view of the security thereat that the state and the country is facing. In a bid to avoid a terror strike and thereby prevent long term implications on tourism, the Goa government is willing to forsake the short term tourism hit due to the ban.
If the state government does go ahead and ban the beach party revelry for New year, it would mean denying lakhs of party revelers their regular ambience of the beach party in Goa forcing them to look for an alternative.
The only positive fallout of such a decision from the government could be the crackdown on rampant rave parties in Goa and thereby a curb on the use opf drugs with the police being forced to book offenders on the sidelines.
The roads leading to the beaches are therefore not going to be easily accessible as the ban is likely to begin on Dec 23 and stay uptill Jan 5. However traditional midnight masses, indoor parties in hotels and clubs, open air dances at various venues are likely to continue unhindered provided private organizers of such festivities are able to properly man their activites by security personnel.
However the shack owners on the Goa coastline are already crying foul in anticipation of suffering undue losses due to the ban and are already seeking compensation from the government in lieu of this.
One hopes and prays that terror never hits our beautiful land of Goa.
If you were bored with your Doordarshan programmes this far, it may be time to cheer up. The Doordarshan Kendra in Goa, will be ready with an upgraded hi-tech studio for recording quality programmes from December 19, the Liberation day anniversary of Goa.
The Kendra which was established in 1982 has now been upgraded to a modern high power transmitter and programme generating facility on an area of around 50 sq metres.
While an additional high power transmitter for news services has been installed, an addtional studio facility is also expected to be added to the set-up shortly.The studio is now equipped to record large panel discussions unlike before and can house an audience of over 100 persons thereby enhancing the quality of their programmes. Recording tiatrs and nataks is now expected to be done at the new studio.
A seamless cyclorama to provide even backgrounds, lights having dimming facility to provide special effects, three state-of-the art cameras, a channel studio mixer with talkback and foldback facilities, 16 channel vision mixers and a programme server for tapeless production are all part of this new hi-tech studio.
The studio is also integrated with both transmitter and earth stations thus making it capable of transmitting live performances via terrestrial mode as well as satellite mode at any given time.
Five airconditioners each of 10 tonne capacity, an UPS and a 63 KVA diesel generator has also been provided to ensure a smooth conduct of activities at the studio.
The standing committee of the ministry of human resource development submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday 17th December 2008 recommending the deletion of Goa University from the list of universities to be centralized under the central universities bill 2008.
The committee took cognizance of the views and representations received from various sections of the society and reached the decision. However the committee also sought efforts to be made to ensure that Goa does not remain the only state in India without a central university.
One of the prime concerns pointed out to the committee against centralization of the goa university was that local students from Goa who fail to obtain seats in the stream of their choice would be left with no other university in Goa to apply to and therefore would be forced to go to neighbouring states for their higher studies . This would invariably nullify the objectives of providing additional access and competitive ambience through a central university. The members of the committee therefore agreed to respect the views of the people of Goa and recommended the deletion.
For years, they bore the brunt of an old dilapidated ship staring at them from the sea, destroying their ecology, their view and depriving them of their bite into the revenue of tourism . The River Princess has done enough damage to Candolim and its inhabitants for long, but the government of Goa seems to be least concerned. Tenders have floated and bureaucrats have been jostled and hustled. But the river princess is still stubbornly rooted off the Candolim-Sinquerim beach for the last eight years as if it was an environmental necessity.
A miserable eyesore, the River princess has ensured that tourism and business suffers in and around the area. Also the sea water is in constant danger of regular contamination and people have avoided frequenting the place unlike before.
An agitation to take the parasite out of the sea was therefore overdue. With people in Goa already in arms over draconian regional plans, mindless SEZ’s, degrading construction activites, mining erosions, megaprojects etc. the agitation over the removal of the river princess had strangely taken a long time.
It was therefore that Candolim came to a standstill on Wednesday morning, 17th December 2008, when around 6000 villagers of Candolim took to the streets in a peaceful demonstration, demanding immediate removal of the River Princess from the Dando beach. Under the banner of River Princess Hatao Manch(RPHM), they blocked all the vital points of the village paralyzing normal life and sending a warning to the government to act fast.
Urging the government to treat the issue as a state disaster, the convenor of the RPHM lamented that the assurances of the government officials to tow away the ship for the past eight years had proved futile. He also demanded transparency in the whole matter and sought a specific time frame from the government officials for the removal of the vessel.
Goans have now begun to correctly believe that without pushing the Goa government, nothing can be achieved in our land. The mere voting of our legislators to power, is sadly no guarantee that he/she will take up the case of our constituency. Our legislators spend a lot of money to get elected and they seem to need the entire duration of their elected tenure to suck whatever they can out of the Goa exchequer. The election and subsequent suction seems to be their vicious circle of movement and they do not step outside that circle. The concerns of our constituency are their least concerns. Ordinarily they should resign on learning of the planned degradation of their constituency. Instead we find that they are the prime culprits of the degradation in quest of making a fast buck.
Going back to the River princess, the government of Goa has simply shown a lack of interest in the whole exercise as it seems it does not yield anybody any monetary benefits to remove the monster. Cosmetic and half-hearted efforts have ensured that the River princess remains there like a monument of shame. If the same had to be a multi crore project, the river princess would have surely seen itself out long ago.
The citizens should therefore agitate and push the government to brainstorm and devise ways of removing the vessel. It is the job of the government of Goa to come up with solutions. Eight years’ delay is already a massive crime committed by them. The government of Goa has lots of funds to spend on meaningless film festivals but seems to have no money to address serious genuine issues.
Hope the River Princess Hatao Manch takes its agitation to its justified conclusion.
It isn’t just sad. It is shameful. With cartloads of money spent on festivals like IFFI which are ‘inconsequential to Goans”, the Goa government seems to be in complete bankruptcy to procure mere dental material for the survival of the Goa Dental College.
Students at the dental college express helplessness at such a pathetic and careless response from the government . For the last 3 months, the premier dental college of the state does not have permanent tooth filling material and the doctors have to work on the patients over and over again for the same tooth problem because the Goa Government does not find it an urgent issue affecting the common man.
The result is that the common man who had to visit the dental college once, has to do so several times and every time on appointment, the dental college does not have any permanent dental material to fill up cavities of patients resulting in repeated dental decay and repeated trauma for patients.
This is a glaring shame for the Government of Goa which spends crores of rupees on useless festivals like IFFI but cannot look after its citizens for basic medical facilities.
It shows the lawlessness of our politicians and our governemnt in Goa that they do not value the time and patience of Goans and instead are busy with their own scheme of things.
The minister of Health should take himself to task and resign from his position owing responsibiltuy for the abject and disgusting failure to do his job.
Such carelessness by the political class in our country results in serious problems in our society resulting in terror attacks and other dangerous outcomes.
It was the annual visit to Goa for Pakistanis of Goan roots and origin, most of them Roman Catholics who visit Goa normally for the feast of St. Francis Xavier and for the New Year Celebrations.
Every year around 250 Pakistani Goans visit Goa to be in touch with their friends, relatives, business partners etc. However this year the turnout seems to be lower. While September saw around 8 visitors,October had 21. In November around 18 visitors arrived in Goa while till date in December only around 11 visitors have visited Goa on a visit visa.
These visitors also have restrictions on their areas of visit and the same is mentioned on their passports besides their entry and exit points are noted. While they have to report to the police stations within 24 hours of their arrival in Goa, their visits are normally for around 30 days to 45 days.
There are presently many Goans still residing in Pakistan and most of them are concentrated in the city of Karachi.
When you say Roadside Romeo, the recent Saif Ali Khan starrer easily comes to mind. However in Goa, we have a different breed of Roadside Romeos and they have been here for centuries and are still a strong force till date, even in this modern era.
By Roadside Romeos, I do not mean men who try to win love of a woman on the street with various wooing techniques. Rather men and women, who try to win the love of almighty God by putting up a religious statue, symbol or deity on the street side in Goa and adore it so unabashedly, that it eats into the width of the roads, thrusting the general public into acute inconvenience and holds up traffic in serpentine queues. However this does not affect the worshippers one bit. Their allegiance with the place of the structure of worship is so adamant that they find that its shifting to another nearby area is sacrilege and would mean a loss of sanctity of their God, in a way suggesting that their God was born right there.
Religion was meant to be a bonding factor between various communities. It was meant to live a disciplined life in this world. However if one notices the inconvenience that such roadside structures cause to pedestrians and vehicular traffic in Goa, one wonders where such moral ethics have nosedived to. One also wonders whether we are in a lawless land of conveniences of a select few. God was to be worshipped at home or at a defined religious place like churches, temples, mosques and gurudwaras. Certainly not along pavements, roads and waysides.
People in Goa seem to have got so overwhelmed in their zeal for propagating their freedom of religion that you find Godly structures on pavements, roads, bridges, on top of nullahs, near traffic islands etc. Most of these structures are a big deterrent to the smooth flow of traffic but are nevertheless untouched by the government. It seems that it is a willful desire of politicians to support the cause of these roadside structures to enable them to conveniently mix a nice proven cocktail of religion with vote bank politics.
Politicians who are full of vested interests, seem to be using this pavement faith for their own benefit. Instead of educating the misled people who believe in the structure beside the road, they would rather visit the structure, garland it and urge its continuation much to their own delight of securing their vote bank.
God was and is always a spirit to be felt with personal prayer and worship from the heart. He has no form and cannot be seen. However people find solace in making symbols and forms of him and finally fall in love with those symbols more than the God whom they think their symbols represent. Worse, they fall in love with the place where these symbols are located and vehemently oppose their re-location.
This problem in Goa extends to all communities and particularly the Catholic and Hindu community who put up structures anywhere on the streets, pavements, roadsides etc at will. Later these structures cause severe problems for the general public and the propagators of these structures are blind to the woes of the public. However their very structure is illegal and no one dares to question its illegal existence.
The government of the day has to therefore show a sense of purpose and character and apply the law with due diligence without any discrimination and get rid of all roadside structures which come in the way of road development and which hamper smooth flow of traffic or which impair the full use of a government related public facility. Further such structures should not be allowed to sprout without due diligence of procedure laid down by the planning authorities.
Else this is a complete sense of lawlessness endorsed by a state, which is deplorable.
Of late the Goan pao has caught my attention and this is probably the fourth article of the series. The Goan has been eating the pao for centuries and it would be worth noting the different varieties of bread made in Goan bakeries for a long time.
In Portuguese times we had the suriche pao which were prepared with toddy as one of the main ingredients. This delicacy is no longer made in Goa but many Goans, especially the senior citizens will nevertheless have nostalgic feelings for the suriche pao. The various types of goan bread are the Pao, the poee, pocso or pocshee (also known as undo) katryancho pao, revdo kancon and godd poee.
Making bread is an art which is perfected by experience and skill. It is therefore important to follow proper measurements of ingredients and maintenance of the right temperatures while baking the pao. The preparation of various types of Goan bread is broadly described below.
Pocso To make the pocso, a ball of dough is taken and a cut is made across the centre so that the baking is proper. It requires a temperature of 250 degrees and above for baking. It should form a crispy upper crust on the bread.
Poee For poee, whole wheat flour without adding sugar is used. The other ingredients for the poee is the same as the pao. However the poee is rolled like a puri and often dusted in kundo ( wheat husk).
Revdo and Katryan pao For revdo, flour is kneaded into flour balls and are then given a shape by cutting with a knife and then with the palm and the little finger it is pulled without applying pressure.
Kancon The kancon is in the shape of a bangle. The dough kneaded for kancon has very little water content and is also baked above 250 degrees.Some people in Goa still like the hard kancon which is almost like a bangle shaped toast.
The ingredients used for pao, pocso, katryan pao, revdo and kancon are the same.
Suriche pao Suriche pao are made with fresh toddy from the Goan palm tree and sugar with whole wheat flour.
Goan pao To make the Goan pao super fine superior quality maida with more than 10% gluten is chosen ( if whole wheat flour is used then the product is called brown bread). This is because gluten less than 10% will make the bread hard on the inside which is undesirable. For ½ kg of maida 1 measure of lukewarm milk is used. After thoroughly mixing till dissolving, 1 heaped teaspoon of fresh yeast and 4 teaspoons of sugar in lukewarm milk with a sprinkle of maida is added.
Sugar provides the reddish colour to the pao during the process of baking. This is kept for around 10 minutes to ferment and froth.
Fresh or wet yeast is a must for the pao as it contains active yeast cells and therefore yeast kept un-refrigerated loses its power to ferment and cannot be used, Adding this ferment to ½ kg of maida and a little salt for flavor will also help the dough to puff up during baking.
After this gently knead the flour with only the fingertips, add clean water and 1 tbsp of oil. The dough should not be pressed now as it will not ferment. The dough should be kept loose, firm and left closed to ferment for around an hour or two.
After 1-2 hours the risen dough has porosity. Now it needs to be kneaded well with 1 tbsp of oil till it acquires an elastic texture.
Dough balls are then placed on a well greased baking tray leaving gaps between each other and left for around 20 minutes.
After the time is over preheat the oven at 225 degrees and place the tray with dough balls inside without shaking it. In Goa, bakers bake bread in traditional ovens called as” fhorn” which are made of stone.
When the colour of bread becomes golden brown it is removed from the oven and brushed on top with a mixture of ghee and oil. A well made pao will have thin cell walls on the inside just like a honeycomb and a golden brown crust on the outside. The Goan pao will always remain as the favourite for the Goan breakfast, luncheon and dining tables.
The malaria disease seems to be following Goa like a dirty smell. The major cause of the spread of the disease as is well known, is attributed to the construction industry and their lackadaisical attitude in enforcing proper healthy working conditions to prevent the spread of the disease.
The state government , through the public health act, has fined various construction firms for flouting health norms at construction sites and the fine collected this year alone, has been to the tune of 7.06 lakh which is a bit more than last year. This amply proves that the construction industry and its promoters in Goa have scant respect for health as prescribed by the provisions of the Goa Public Health Act.
This year Candolim and Siolim have been the major areas of concern for such flouting of regulations. The reliance of the Goan construction industry , over migrant labour is considered to be the main reason of the high vector borne diseases affecting Goa, out of which Malaria tops the list. 85 % of the affected people have been found to be migrant labour as per latest estimates.
As per the Goa Public health Act, it is mandatory for the construction houses to undertake regular anti-larval measures as construction sites are highly capable of turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The health officer is also empowered under the act to levy a fine of Rs 1000/- per head in the event of a migrant labourer being caught without a health card. Also he has powers to impose a fine of Rs 500 per day if sanitation nuisance is found at the construction site.
The construction firms are required to provide complete santitation facilites at site to their labourers. However such a practice is not being adhered to and therefore the number of malaria cases are continuosly on the rise in Goa.
The government should therefore arrange to enforce stricter rules against the construction lobby for their failure to maintain sanitation and follow the regulations prescribed. It is imperative that the authorities are absolutely strict in enforcing the laws as malaria, besides being a killer disease is also a big worry for tourists visiting Goa and many a tourist decides against visiting Goa, due to the risk of contracting malaria. This is evident from the various online forums on Goa and the kind of apprehensions that tourists carry about visiting Goa with the risk of malaria haunting their decision.
The Government should therefore use all means at its disposal to eradicate this menace from Goa and explore cancellation of the construction plans of the builder to force them into complete compliance of the regulations. Else the common man in Goa shall be constantly under threat and worry besides the tourism industry being affected subtly but surely.
The Goa police is on the verge of releasing a handbook to be distributed in Goan households by respective beat constables to keep Goans in an awareness mode, using a direct educative means of combating terror.
While lakhs of such handbooks will be distributed freely in Goa, around 5000 posters are awaiting display at prominent locations across Goa.
Police believe that terrorists can also be identified by the clothes they wear as they wear clothes which are unsuited to the weather conditions arund them probably in a bid to conceal their identity or the ammunition that they carry with them.The terrorists try hard to blend with the rest of the public around them but can be spotted easily if the citizens remain vigilant.Some unnatural bulge may also be seen in the terrorists attire.
Suspicious vehicle identifying is another area mentioned in the handbook. Terrorist vehicles could be identified by a sagging rear side or an improved or mis-matching registration plate. Such vehicles may also be found parked in a central busy area for an unusually longer period of time or be parked in a no-parking zone.
Goans need to be observant to help deal with terror and the effort of the Goa police is to educate the public by keeping them informed and thereby enhancing alertness.
The Goa police are also urging Wi-Fi users to enable high security habits besides registering the MAC address of all users in the routers log and ensuring that there is a login ID and password.
The Handbook also provides tips on what should be done in the event of an attack, both during and after the attack.People , at the site of a terrorist attack are also advised to move to more open spaces avoiding tall buildings and vehicles.
Besides advising the general public, the handbook deals with the role to be played by hotels, guest houses, car and two wheeler segments, brokers, real estate agencies and also security agencies
25 year old Kunal Deshprabhu, son of the former MLA of Pernem Goa died in a freak road accident on early Sunday morning.
The accident occurred in Sangolda when Mr Kunal who was driving towards Calangute in a Maruti Swift vehicle, lost control of the steering wheel on the Sangolda slope and dashed into the compound wall of a house before crashing into a tree. The car was completely damaged with its bonnet opened and in a crumpled condition. The other occupant in the car, 36 year old Anish saniyal , a friend of Kunal suffered grievous injuries and was rushed to the Goa Medical College for treatment.
The Pernem market, wore a deserted look as establishments around Pernem closed their shutters to express their sympathy on the death of the son of Mr Jitendra Deshprabhu the former MLA of Pernem. Kunal was later cremated at Nanerwada crematorium by his father Jitendra Deshprabhu in the presence of a large number of relatives, wellwishers, political leaders and friends who tearfully bid him goodbye.
The Goan Mando has proven that it can not only withstand the modern age but can also invigorate modern youth to bring out new forms of the nostalgic Goan song which brings a certain sense of belonging to our beloved land that Goans love so much.
The Goan Mando is indeed an interpretation of the way of life that we led in Goa. Over the years the melodies have always kept my ears in full attention in my pursuit of capturing the poetic lyrics followed by amusement at the craftiness of the compositions. I must say I have been consistently refilled with the great sense of Goan poetry in Romi Konkani which fills the beauty of the Goan Mando.
The Goan Mando is a very articulately documented narration of our culture, our assimilations, our times with the portuguese , our pre-portuguese era, our various dance forms and to a large extent the camaraderie of the niz Goencar.It has our history rooted deeply into its woven melodies whether it is the advent of the European race in our country or the Conversions of convenience or the battlefronts of Goa. Whether it is a a problem getting married, or whether a spinster finds life easier, the caste and class conflicts, the arrogance of the Goan landlords, the power struggles between the Portuguese and the Rane’s, the inquisition of Goa, different wedding celebrations etc, they all find their rightful place in the Goan Mando.
The recently held mando festival was a clear testimony to this fact and it was absolutely delighting to note in this festival, that the documentation of history in the Goan mando is a continuous process and is being renewed with similar passion of yesteryears, till today.
The various groups came up with original compositions worth mentioning here as these compositions strike a chord in modern Goa. We had the Vellechim Sallkam rendering “
Which meant that people opposed the SEZ’s in Goa vehemently and the Goan Misnisters are currently tensed because of the opposition, as they have already taken kick-backs to approve the SEZ’s.
And you had their dulpod lamenting about the rape of a tourist , urging friendlier attitude towards tourists , which went like this:
Goyant zaite tourist yeyat Tumkam boro ievkar dinv-ia Bolotkar ani Khunn korun nhoi Pun resped, mannan vagunv-ia..
Then there was the Mando Ojapancho mog sung by Fatordechim fullam which heaped praises on the Ana fonte spring which is located in the heart of Margao.
The Harmonizers of Utorda gave an account of the average Goan who seems to be pinched by the recent increase in the cost of the Goan pao. Their song clearly expressing their dismay at the regular increase in the cost of the Goan pao and the willingness to forsake the pao for the home made chapatis.
Ponk ponk korun goencho poder ieta Don rupiancho pao ek gansak veta Tin rupian pao zanvcho asa mhunn Soggleak boball zata, Poder pao tuje naka Ami bhakri korun khatanv.
The mando mogi of Margao decided to focus on the communal tensions being created by political parties and their song spoke about the desecration of idols and churches in Goa and the tensions created between communites due to this
One hopes that the beautiful tradition to showcase history through the Goan Mando, goes on and our culture, history and civilization transcends through such wonderful renditions of authentic Goan songs.
The Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Digamber Kamat informed that the financial health of the state is fully under control and eventualities such as the global recession or the extra burden due to the VI pay commission would not affect the state adversely.
He expressed optimism that the burden of the sixth pay commission would not put pressure on the government exchequer although it was a little premature to assess the financial burden since the implementation had been made only a month ago. He also clarified that the government would not approach the centre for any financial assistance.
The financial implication of the VI pay commission including the arrears of two years are expected to be around Rs 700 crore which would cater to the new payment structure for around 50,000 to 55,000 in-service state government employees besides over 29,000 retired employees.
Goa and Goans were suddenly caught on the wrong foot on Friday evening when the Goa police suddenly started checking all vehicles entering and leaving Panjim city.
The action was triggerred after a fake wireless message was flashed across police stations that a terrorist had shot a person dead at patradevi border check post and fled the scene in a blue ford fusion car bearing a specified registration number.
Goa police went into action mode to trace and detain the vehicle and its occupants wherever they are spotted, alerting all PCR vans and emergency service vehicles were kept ready for emergencies.
Codenamed "operation Blue Rose" the anti-terror mock drill took place between 7 pm and 7.30 pm with security beefed up at every police station in areas under their jurisdiction.
In the meanwhile panic spread among people in the city and citizens started querying with various newspaper offices to get the exact details of the excercise and were relieved upon being informed about the mock drill operation.
The regional plan 2021 is again in the news, obviously for the wrong reasons. The Goa Bachao Abhiyan expressed its apprehensions on various issues relating to the Goa regional plan 2021 and demanded that the draft regional plan 2021 be kept open for study for a month (from the date of the notification) before it is notified to enable the citizens of Goa to see the final plan.
The convenor of the GBA, Ms Sabina Martins said that the time of 90 days for filing objections is faulty and should be counted from the date of the last briefing of the Taluka Level Technical Team (TLTT) which was held from 1st December to the 7th of December 2008. Currently the 90 day period has begun from the date of notification of the plan i.e October 8 2008 which would therefore expire in 90 days on January 7 2009, leaving hardly three weeks for the citizens to decide and react.
The GBA also complained about the non-availability of the explanations regarding the plan in the state’s official language Konkani, which was commonly understood by majority of the panch members and the citizens.
Questioning the wisdom of the regional plan processes overriding the gramsabha resolutions, Ms Martins demanded that the gram sabha decisions be honoured as per the law.
The GBA has also demanded that the regional plan 2021 be kept open with explanations of changes before notification for the public to get a clear picture of the final outcome. Citing the example of Pilerne where the taluka level maps and the village level maps fraud was detected, the GBA feared that such mischief could be played again this time.
The GBA also demanded transparency from the government and urged a freeze on all interim regulations and instead revert to the old Development and planning regulations before the regional plan comes into effect with its own set.
Urging the people of Goa to show more involvement the Goa Bachao Abhiyan, has asked citizens of Goa to use the draft regional plan 2021 village plans as the basis for developing village plans and to check for discrepancies where the village maps differ from the maps provided in the policy document.
The Mumbai terror does have a few positives in the horror’s aftermath. As a seemingly clear fallout of the weak terror response in Mumbai and in a bid to strengthen the security preparedness in Goa, the security cover here, is most likely to be boosted as was evident from the Goa home Minister Mr. Ravi naik’s promise made at a meeting with over 100 policemen .
The proposal of the Home Minister to purchase 300 modern weapons such as the AK 56 rifles or INSAS guns and bulletproof jackets to equip the Goa police with the latest armoury must have sent a lot of relief to the under-armed police force of Goa. The procurement is expected to cost around Rs 15 crore and the requirement is expected to be made as soon as the permission is obtained from the central government. Mr Ravi Naik also mentioned that in case the centre fails in providing the same then the state will raise the money from its own resources although he insisted that the centre was very promising in financially helping the state.
The Home Minister spoke about his concern at the security threats facing the country and the readiness of Goa to face any eventuality including the readiness of the coast guard, Goa police and the Navy. He also briefed about the directions given to beat groups to check the antecedents and the credentials of various households in goa, seeking a detailed report on crimes etc.
The home minister also expressed his approval for periodical check-ups for police personnel above 40 years to ensure their physical and mental capabilities to undertake the immense pressures of the police force efficiently.
Also known as the harmal beach, the arambol beach is located in the Pernem taluka in the Northern part of Goa around 17 km to the north of chapora and around 35 km north of Panjim.
Arambol abounds in natural beauty largely because the area is relatively quieter than other beach areas of Goa. The population of the area is a few thousands and is only increased by the flow of tourists every year. The beach at Arambol extends from the portion of the headland, just north of the village, to Mandrem, about 2km. to the south. Actually this beautiful and wide, palm dotted beach continues pleasantly until it reaches the Chapora river on the south of Morjim about 8kms.away. The main road that runs through the arambol village terminates on the northern end of Arambol beach thus atracting a majority of people and the major beach shacks and restaurants are therefore located here. Accomodation is absolutely cheap either in local houses run by families or in small huts scattered around the rocky headland and small bays on the northen side of the beach. Recently some modern hotels have also found themselves placed in this area although there is a resistance from the locals to refuse permission to hotels in order to maintain the serene beauty of the place. A taxi or a bus is the best way to reach Arambol and both these means of transport are available from mapusa and chopdem and various tourists from India and people or picnickers from goa especially enjoy the peace and tranquility of Arambol . The beach has one part which has a fresh water lake closer to the sea, and is beautifully enclosed between low hills that hide a spectacular Banyan tree. Owing to its tranquil and peaceful nature the beach naturally attracts many international tourists, particularly tourists from Israel especially in the winter season between December and February. Many hippie travellers are also attracted to Arambol as they feel at home here owing to the bohemian feeling which arambol gives them and which is no longer found in other areas.
In Arambol the two major communities are catholic and hindu. The Church of 'Our Lady of Mount Carmel' also serves the religious catholics of Arambol and this place abounds in religious harmony. A fantastic place for the world tourist to visit and get lost in tranquility.