Monday, January 19, 2009

Goa opinion poll hero, still unsung.

The 42nd anniversary of Goa's opinion poll was silently observed on Friday,Jack de Sequeira, the great Goan the 16th January 2009. Barring the fervent desire of a few Goans from Calangute to observe it more gracefully by organising a function, the rest of Goa continues to lap up all the goodness that is available for Goans today by simply ignoring the day and more impo rtantly failing to give due respect and credibility to the die hard resolve of one man who had given Goa its second freedom. The charismatic Jack de Sequeira.

While freedom fighters in Goa are well aroused from their slumber at the very mention of Portugal and come out with their knives to search for probable singers of that song, they have joined mainstream Goa to conveniently forget Goa's greatest hero ever. Jack de Sequeira. But for him, Goa would have been lost in the din and clatter of a gigantic state like Maharashtra and be emptied of its identity and colour by the self styled pride of the Marathi Manoos.

It took ordinary citizens from the state of Goa, to pool their own resources to build a statue of the "Father of the opinion poll" in the village of Calangute where he belonged, simply because his fellow villagers couldn't bear to see the sense of disregard that the Goa government was heaping on their repeated requests to honour the late leader.

The Goa opinion poll was the only such poll from the public held in India due to the initiative taken by Sequeira though many other Goans also worked towards achieving the objective. The present government of Goa exists only because we had an opinion poll anjacksequeira2d kept us united as Goans. All our 40 MLA's who love their political chaos and who are able to mint their self glory can do so only because of that historic opinion poll. If not there might have been one or two MLAs from Goa representing two districts of north and south Goa in the Maharashtra assembly and their voices would have been stifled with the might of  a huge legislative assembly. None would ever see the Minister's chair either and Goa and its beauty would have been lost in the myriad ambitions of a greater Maharashtra.

The callousness of the Goa government over according due respect to Jack de Sequeira is therefore shameful and condemnable. Despite plenty of demands from various people in Goa to erect statues of the great leader in places such as Panjim and Cortalim, the government turned a blind eye to all such requests. There is no official function to honour the great leader and his great deeds either.

Instead we have statues of all and sundry in Goa, some of whom have never visited Goa. Pleasing various lobbies and appeasing strangers seems to be the political wisdom of our current lot of politicians in Goa. Festivals such as IFFI seem to be the gleeful attraction of the Goa government but honouring its own citizens for their immortal actions seems to the last thing on their mind.

Will Goa ever see the due honour and respect befitting a leader of the stature of the great Goan, Jack de Sequeira? Will January 16th ever be the most cherished day for Goa? Will the curtain of blindness drawn on the eyes of the Goa government for 42 years, ever be swept aside? Will Goans stand up and claim their lost pride?


Xittuk Goencar

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