What is the difference between Saint Anne and Satan? Nothing, seems to be the answer for the National Highways authority of India which has conveniently corrupted the name of Saint Anne with that of Satan on its signboards along the NH 17, which is condemnable to say the least. While one would think that mere sensibilities had to prevail before committing the name SATAN to a peaceful and beautiful village of Goa, it is a mystery whether NHAI decides on the various names of places along the highway on mere hearsay or relies on the advice and diction of its migrant labourers who are engaged in the laying of the roads for its highway.
The village of "Saint Anne" or "SantAnne" in Konkani, is located off the national Highway 17 just before the Pilar junction on the eastern side as one proceeds from Panjim to Margao. A quaint village with peaceful surroundings and an abode of lush greenery, SantAnne is named after "Saint Anne" and has been in the news recently due to the ambitious renovation plans that have been undertaken of the Sant Anne Church. It is the first village encountered by those who choose to skip the highway enroute to Panjim in quest of a traffic free road which runs through the village and after negotiating some quick twists, turns and hills, takes you through the village of Merces at the other end to reach the city of Panjim. The distance to Panjim through this route is cut down by a good two kilometres.
However it seems that the National Highway authority of India or its people engaged in the listing of names along the highway have allowed their common sense or common knowledge to lie rotten amidst their 9 to 5 duty of completing their assigned tasks of putting up name plates along the highways. Any person worth his school under- matriculation would have the presence of mind to understand that "Satan" is indeed the devil. Common sense would demand of anyone to think twice before listing such an evil name along the highway in place of the actual name and would naturally seek more information through enquiries and be satisfied with a thorough confirmation of such a devilish name if it ever existed for any place. But not the NHAI. It seems they can do what they wish. Bend turn, melt or mould Goan names of places according to their whims and pleasure.
What's more is that the name of Satan has been replaced for the name of Saint Anne, who in her lifetime was known to have worked for the kingdom of God. The disgust stems from the fact that two extremities, one a Saint and another the devil, having opposite teachings have been carelessly swapped to misguide people and wound the feelings of Goans and christians in particular.
Another neighbouring village of Batim which has been in the news for apparitions of Our lady, has also been listed as Batti on the same signboard. How does NHAI manage to concoct simple names of Goan villages into disgraceful unrecognisable places is a question the authority needs to answer.
While people in Goa would be willing to forgive NHAI for the umpteen errors in the pollution of Goa's village and city names on Goa's part of NH17, the error of SantAnne to Satan is completely unpardonable and appears to be carried out in complete disregard to the sensibilities of Goans or is the work undertaken by an irresponsible agency either deliberately or by the "chalta hai" wisdom of its ability to be immune to accountability.