People Places and Things
Diverse Roots, Varied Challenges: The Goan Diaspora In The U.K.
By Eddie D'Sa
Posted on - August 25, 2008
This essay is from the book 'Goa: Aparanta -- Land Beyond the End', edited by Victor Rangel Ribeiro , and reflects Dr Eddie D'Sa's analysis of Goans in Britain, and how their attitudes towards Goa have changed generation by generation. "In Britain, Feeling a Weaker Pull" (pages 210-12) is a very wise bit of writing, commented the editor of this book. Goans who have settled in the UK are not a homogeneous group, but the product of three different migration streams -- from India, Pakistan, and East Africa. Small batches of Goans came from India in the 1950s and early 1960s -- some were students who stayed on, others just sought a new life in Britain after India's independence in 1947.
More might have come, but the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 passed during Tory rule took away the right of Commonwealth immigrants to enter Britain freely. William Deedes, Minister without Portfolio at the time, admitted: "The Bill's real purpose was to restrict the influx of coloured immigrants from the Caribbean and Indian subcontinent. We were reluctant to say as much openly." It was the first overt act of state racism. The major wave of arrivals from East Africa came in the 1960s and 1970s. When Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania became independent, many middle-tier jobs filled by Asians were 'Africanised', and Asians found themselves unemployed. Rather than take local citizenship, most British passport holders opted to settle in Britain.
The influx began in earnest in the mid-1960s. Alarmed, the Labour government in just three days rushed through the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1968, denying automatic right of entry to British Asian passport holders -- a second unashamedly racist piece of legislation. A strict quota or queue system was imposed; only those born in Britain or having a British parent or grandparent had the right to enter freely. When, in 1972, Uganda's President Amin expelled British Asians, Britain was forced to accept several thousands of them, but entry into Britain was largely confined to the spouses and other dependents of settlers.
Between 15,000 and 20,000 Goans are concentrated in the greater London area, with a few thousand more in Leicester, and pockets in various other towns. Several have attained prominence in public service, among them Keith Vaz, Labour member of parliament for Leicester East, a constituency with more Gujeratis than Goans. He was more in the public eye as Minister for Europe until he resigned in 2001. Susan Rodrigues, formerly of Uganda, is probably the first Goan Director of Education in Scotland. In 1996, Joe D'Cruz, formerly a train driver in Kenya, became the first Goan mayor of Fishguard and Goodwick, a district in Wales.
Other success stories: Patricia Rozario has won international fame as a soprano and the foremost interpreter of music by the widely respected English composer, John Tavener. Warren Noronha, aged 27, is an acclaimed London fashion designer. Stephen Dias, born in Karachi, is managing director at the top international investment bank, Goldman & Sachs. Lyndon Da Cruz, formerly of Kenya, is consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, world renowned for its treatment of eye disorders.
Millionaires Tom and Melba Correia, formerly of Kenya and Uganda, who ran the tour operator firm, Hayes & Jarvis (now sold), still own a chain of hotels in Kenya and the Caribbean. Less well-known millionaire Denzyl Sequeira, formerly of Mombasa, has excelled in business computer sales and consultancy. A few such personalities aside, the community is not much in the public eye. However, lack of public exposure should not blind us to the anonymous thousands of Goans who make a living in the humbler trades and occupations -- and in the process contribute to keeping Britain going.
LEADERSHIP LACK EMERGED IN 1990S
Before we come to what attitudes prevail and how others change, let's look at a simplified model of the Goan community as it developed over three decades -- the 1970s, 80s, and 90s.
Decade 1: The 1970s were a period of cautious adjustment to the British scene. Migration had reached its peak. Youngsters, getting their taste of British education, were exposed to peer pressures and the rampant indiscipline in state schools, including bullying and intimidation. Young adults were keen to acquire more qualifications and skills for the job market.
Families were moving and adjusting to their new homes, new neighbours, and consumerist mores. This was the decade when Goans soon discovered the pervasive environment of discrimination and racism -- at school, in the workplace, and in public places.
Decade 2: The 1980s were a period of consolidation. A high proportion of Goans now owned their own home; older adults felt more settled; young adults had acquired new skills or training in their chosen line of work; and a new breed of Goan youth emerged, mostly born in the UK.
They were informed, aware, articulate, not afraid to question parents---and culturally ambivalent. Cracks began appearing within the traditional family structure -- from non-conforming youth, unorthodox live-in arrangements, and working wives savouring their financial independence.
Decade 3: The 1990s became a period for sober reflection and critical assessment of our culture and place in British society. The original immigrants of the 1960s and early 70s had aged considerably and had either retired or were approaching retirement.
Marriage breakups were on the rise and accepted; the elderly were experiencing a measure of loneliness and rejection; many remained nostalgic, yearning for 'the good old days.' At the same time, a general lack of community leadership was evident. The older Goan associations organised endless dances, and little more. Religious observance declined. Those born in the UK soon fell captive to local influences; while there was more mixing with other communities (mostly Asian and black), ties with Goa were loosening.
Stella Mascarenhas-Keyes surveyed Catholic Goans as part of her thesis for her doctorate at the University of London. A broader but still limited survey that I conducted in 1996 sought to learn about the opinions, attitudes, beliefs, and values held by UK Goans on major issues. The questionnaire was distributed to subscribers of the Goan Digest, to Goans at village and other socials, and to members of the GoaNet mailing list. This meant that many others not covered by
these outlets were unaware of the survey.
Some 78 percent of the respondents said they "feel a sense of belonging and loyalty to Goa." Of those who said they did not, eight percent were non-Goan spouses or half-Goan children over 16; the remaining 14 percent were Goans, mostly in the 20-49 age range. The reasons: either they had little direct contact with Goa, or Goa was irrelevant to their lives in the West. They had either not been to Goa at all or had visited the place more than two years earlier.
TRADITIONAL VALUES BREAKING DOWN
The majority agreed that our traditional values (of mutual support through the extended family, respect for elders, etc.) are breaking down overseas due to a decline in religious and parental authority and the dominating influence of consumerism and the media. Most respondents claimed to be Roman Catholic but a small number (eight) also had Buddhist leanings. Nearly half of respondents above 50 said they had joined a Goan association.
Others, especially the younger people, didn't feel the need for an association, or were dissatisfied with existing ones, or could not find one in their vicinity. Most felt that associations need to move beyond get-togethers and link up with non-Goan organisations. Most felt closer to the village association than to a general community association.
Many claimed to enjoy social interaction with other Indians, Pakistanis, or Sri Lankans. A few claimed they knew Irish or non-Anglo whites, Caribbeans, or Chinese. Surprisingly, most also had no objection to Goans marrying whites or any other group -- suggesting a shift to more tolerant attitudes in recent years.
A surprising number (about half) in all age groups candidly admitted to having experienced racism, usually in the form of a jibe or verbal abuse in a public place. At work, one could be marginalised or promotion denied or delayed. A smaller number (all males) claimed to have been physically attacked, resulting in some injury. Most of those who had suffered racism knew where to complain.
VILLAGE FEASTS FOLLOW COMMON PATTERN
Although we live in an urban, ultra-modern society and are here to stay, our get-togethers still echo the traditional practices of a rural or village community.
Goans in London take village feasts seriously -- the season kicks off with the Saligao feast held on the first Sunday of May. The format never changes: Mass at noon followed immediately by a 6-8 hour period of dances, relieved only by an intermission when the chairperson makes a speech, food is served and enjoyed, and next year's committee is elected at an ad hoc meeting. Drinks help fuel the festive spirit. The aim may be to meet and greet, but the din from the band makes it hard to converse. Curiously, any developments in that village in Goa over the last 12 months are not reported, so there is little to distinguish one village function from another.
The Goan (Overseas) Association was founded in the early 1970s and has organised an unvarying programme of dances over the decades. Its clubhouse in Kent was burnt down a few years ago (some blamed the local racists) and the grounds were sold off.
As a result, the Association possesses substantial funds but no new physical premises -- nor a new vision. A slimmed down version of the old social programme continues -- the main event being the annual day-long get-together ('festival') on hired school grounds in the last Sunday of July. It draws a thousand or more Goans from far and wide but with no thought provoking agenda, the crowds simply meander about the grounds -- pausing at food or lucky-dip stalls, imbibing at the bar, standing to listen to some impromptu songs and skits. It is a pity that the occasion is not also used to monitor the community's shifting views and concerns. This, in my view, is a lost opportunity.
Ugandan Goans have formed two bodies: the Uganda Reunion and Bakuli Reunion (a bakuli is a cooking vessel in Swahili). They share a common memory of the old days as well as the trauma of expulsion by Amin. Commemoration is in the form of an annual dance (preceded by Mass). Ugandan motifs decorate the hall and Ugandan produce (alcoholic beverage and bananas) is on sale.
Two London-based groups promote Goan music, dance, and drama.
The Goan Musical Society holds an annual concert with singing, dancing, and instrumentals, as well as short comedy skits. Performances are in English, Konkani, and Portuguese. The Goan Cultural Society organises Konkani tiatr performances once or twice a year in London and in one or two other cities. Children are encouraged to sing in Konkani. Smaller groups include the Goan Community Centre in North London and the Young London Goan Society.
"Goa: Aparanta – Land beyond the end”
Churches In Goa Rate As Treasures
Goa - a former colony of Portugal - rates as the locale of World Heritage Sites, designated by the UN.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
By Desmond de Sousa
‘Bom Pastor’ (The Good Sheppard), Ivory, Goa –, 17th Century
"How to become and remain a World Heritage Site" and "How to manage World Heritage Sites" are the topics for two back-to-back workshops organised by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), the Karnataka Government and the UNESCO, Delhi Office.
Goa's Cultural Heritage
India and Goa in particular, has many heritage sites worthy of being classified as world heritage sites. There is a concerted effort of Goa's tourism policy to focus on cultural tourism as a specific dimension of tourism. Parts of Goa remain like untouched pages out of the history book. Grand old houses, intricately carved temples, grandiose churches and historical monuments are like a treasure trove of historical nuggets. Besides the churches and convents, there is the Museum of Christian Art in Old Goa, where unique pieces of history lie. Christian artefacts are a confluence of Eastern and Western art forms dating back to the 17th century.
"Indian and Portuguese art mingled together to form a varied hue," explains Natasha Fernandes, curator of the Museum. "If you look at the statues on display, they have a distinct Indian touch in them. For instance, the two angels on the wall have curly black hair and a darker complexion. It was Goan artisans who sculptured the statues and fine furnishings that adorn the churches. They have used local materials for their work."
The museum also houses a rich collection of statues and paintings of saints. One of the earliest pieces is a 17th century painting of St. Ursula. Also on display are shiny glass cases showcasing pieces of ancient religious texts, beautifully embroidered priestly vestments and religious vessels. At the centre of the museum is a huge, beautifully crafted, silver Pelican sitting atop a globe. It heart holds the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. "These antiques have not come easily," explains Natasha, "and a lot of money was involved in the restoration and preservation of these antique pieces."
Overlooking the Church square of the historic village of Chandor, lies the palatial Menezes-Branganza house, probably the biggest residence in Goa. "The house was built in the 16th century by two sons belonging to the illustrious Braganza family," declares nonagenarian Ida Menezes Braganza very proudly. She is not only preserving the palatial Braganza house at Chandor single-handedly, but also the rich heritage of an era gone by. A large portrait of Francis Xavier Braganza adorns the walls. "He converted large fallow lands into fertile fields and pampered the house with the wealth generated through the agriculture", explains Ida. "Unfortunately in 1962 we lost all these large lands through the Land Reforms Act, which gave the land to the tiller. I was left with no means to maintain our priceless heritage," she moans. Of particular interest are two porcelain vases belonging to St. Francis Xavier and which bear the court of arms of his royal family.
The old Goa Medical College (GMC) buildings lend heritage character to Goa's capital Panjim. One building faces the Mandovi River and houses the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) office. Built in 1927, today it is one of the most attractive buildings in Panjim. Filmmakers make a beeline to shoot its neo-classical architecture. The green tile work is amazing. But that is the magic and beauty of all our heritage structures. Another ochre building faces the market side by side with an ancient chapel. The complex was originally the Palace of Maquineses built in the year 1702. This palace belonged to the brothers, Diogo da Costa Ataide e Teive and Cristovam da Costa Ataide e Teive, of the local Portuguese nobility, the Condes dos Maquineses.
On November 5, 1842, the first medical school in the whole of Asia was inaugurated in the buildings of this palace. The Escola Medico Cirurgica de Nova Goa, is the umbilical cord of so many Goans. They have been born there. The treasure trove of Goa's Christian cultural heritage stretches beyond its ancient Churches and convents. It extends to religious artifacts and paintings, buildings and historic sites.
Rev. Desmond de Sousa writes for the CBCI news site.
Clara D’Souza Celebrates Centenary
The Brampton Guardian
Wednesday August 27 2008
Photo by Bryon Johnson
BRAMPTON - Clara D'Souza, 100 years young (centre) surrounded by her children, from left: Joan Menezes, Elfredia D'Souza, Elaine Fernandes, and Ignatius D'Souza. She was born in Karachi, Pakistan, on Aug. 25, 1908. Her daughter Elfredia, a nun at the Christ the King convent in Karachi, came in from Pakistan for the occasion. Clara is the first resident at Tall Pines Long Term Care Centre in Brampton to have reached this milestone.
Book Review - Ethnography of Goa, Daman, and Diu
For English-speaking Indians unfamiliar with Goa, this little colonial anachronism seems as quaint as we ourselves must appear to historically ignorant Englishmen. Such is the condemned fate of all descendents of colonialism who have to repeatedly explain themselves to a world that keeps forgetting, inventing, or mythifying history every minute.
The fact that all histories are complex is a truism. However, what is undeniable is that Goa needs a special lens to understand its complexity. Compared to modern categories of the sub-continent’s history, over here you get touched more easily by momentous European events like the inquisition, the enlightenment, or the French revolution. The proximity of these critical events is unsettling and underlies everything in this work, making for pure education.
In a completely unself-conscious tone, Pereira, a celebrated 20th century Goan scholar, details the social, spiritual and material history of Goa. He does this in the mode of the ethnographers of his day — by paying great attention to every possible minutiae from food to clothing to flora and fauna. Unlike British ethnographers studying quaint Indian customs though, he does his job with greater and obvious identification with the subject. He is conscious of the intensely political nature of his simple observations — an awareness that is never openly expressed but easily evident in the arrangement of facts and the choice of extracts and quotations that punctuate the text. The slippery location of Goan identity that continues to concern its citizenry even today is evident in these subtle gestures. What the ethnography seems to suggest is that the very desire to understand Goa’s specific history produces its uniqueness. Everything becomes vivid here — its dominant Catholic and Hindu dimensions and the sub-textual Islamic, Brahmanical and tribal ones. Everything is special here not only because it has been touched by the great critical events of Europe but also because there is a fierce desire to understand its significance.
It is refreshing to come across such a skilful translation that introduces this slice of the sub-continent’s history to English speakers who otherwise remain mostly intrigued, ignorant or puzzled by Goa. It takes a particular translator’s skill to carve out a frame for this historical lens to make it unobtrusive, yet appealing to a contemporary gaze. The translation takes into account today’s context and re-produces it in ways that resonate within. That much liberty translators have and Aurora Couto does a splendid job.
Her introduction is clear, precise and as exhaustive as the length permits. She quotes contemporary as well as older scholars to substantiate her summarising of the author’s life and its location within Goa’s social and intellectual history.
One is never sure whether it is her or the author’s skill that pulls the reader into the text. I found myself reading it from start to finish at one stretch, gulping in detail after detail, getting hypnotised even by the lengthy descriptions of local medical practices, musical instruments, the dossier of superstitions and religious beliefs. I have read a good number of ethnographic accounts, having been trained in anthropology, but this was one of the few that I actually enjoyed reading. I suspect the translator did a fair bit to showcase the brilliance of the anthropologist in elegant prose. Maybe all anthropologists should get their works translated by good writers — even if it happens to be from English to English!
Ethnography of Goa, Daman, and Diu, A.B. de Braganza Pereira, translated by Maria Aurora Couto, Penguin/Viking, 2008, p.367, Rs. 699.
'Humanae Vitae' gains traction
Encyclical's positive message strikes chord in sex-drenched culture
By DENNIS SADOWSKI
Catholic News Service
Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), Pope Paul VI's encyclical on artificial contraception and the role of procreation in marriage, turned 40 on July 25 and seems to be finding new life across the United States. From natural family planning initiatives to sexual abstinence programs for teenagers, parishes and dioceses are increasingly adopting Pope Paul's vision for a world built on fidelity in marriage.
While the 7,000-word encyclical - which upholds the Church's long-standing opposition to artificial contraception - is rarely addressed from the pulpit, ministries that seek to head off teen sex, cohabitation, high rates of divorce and single parenthood are sprouting in the hope of delivering a positive message on human sexuality.
"There is an army of people out there right now who are desirous of getting this message out," said Janet Smith, professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Detroit Archdiocese.
Make the connection
Smith, who has taken her Contraception Why Not presentation across the U.S. and Canada, said a growing number of people are beginning to understand the connection between the sexual freedom that emerged in the 1960s and today's violence, depiction of women as sex objects and high incidence of divorce. "It seems to me that 40 years ago people thought that contraception would be advantageous. Now 40 years later, we'd better rethink that," she said. Pope Paul issued Humanae Vitae as artificial contraception, in particular the birth control pill, began to become commonplace.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Enovid - the pill - in May 1960 after tests on nearly 900 women through more than 10,000 fertility cycles showed no significant side effects. Initially it was thought that Pope Paul might support the use of birth control, especially after nine of 16 episcopal members of a papal commission in 1968 had approved a draft document that endorsed the principle of freedom for parents to decide on the means of regulating births. Hopes were buoyed in some circles after documents reflecting the commission's deliberations were leaked to the Catholic press.
Once the encyclical appeared, opposition rose throughout the Church. Clergy in Europe and the U.S. openly voiced their disagreement and thousands of lifelong Catholics left the church. Most notably, 87 theologians from U.S. seminaries and Catholic universities responded with their own statement within days. They argued that because the encyclical was not an infallible teaching, married couples in good conscience could use artificial contraception and remain good Catholics.
Whether because of certitude or tradition, or both, the teaching in Humanae Vitae remains.
Pope Benedict XVI, addressing participants of a Church-sponsored conference marking the encyclical's anniversary in May at the Vatican, called the document a "gesture of courage." The pope acknowledged that its teachings have been controversial and difficult for Catholics but he said the text expressed the true design of human procreation.
"What was true yesterday remains true also today," he said. "The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; in fact, in light of new scientific discoveries, its teaching is becoming more current and is provoking reflection." Fuelling today's efforts to uphold the encyclical is an emerging philosophy known as the "theology of the body."
Based on a series of 129 talks Pope John Paul II gave at Wednesday audiences during the first five years of his pontificate, the teachings shed light on the human body and the sexual relationship. Supporters say the teachings open people to Christ's invitation to life-giving love.
Younger priests Theresa Notare, assistant director of the natural family planning program in the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. bishops' conference, said theology of the body particularly is being embraced by younger priests. "They see how empowering God's truth is and they want the best for their people," she said. "So on a one-on-one counselling basis, integrating sermons, doing education in their parishes, our younger priests are marvellous."
Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix knows that clergy have shied away from addressing the issues raised in Humane Vitae and has been encouraging priests in his diocese to overcome their long-standing silence. He has regularly addressed the encyclical in his column in The Catholic Sun, the Phoenix diocesan newspaper. "I think most priests didn't speak out and they fell silent," the bishop said. "They lost confidence that it was good news and they wanted to give their people good news."
Olmsted sees the encyclical as being relevant to Catholics today, especially because of its prophetic qualities. Pope Paul, he said, foresaw many of today's social ills if artificial contraception became widely used. "I think we're in a time in society where there's very little support for the truth about human life and about marriage," he said. "There's a lot of difficulties for people to hear these truths and to understand them."
God Is Love
He is hopeful, however, that Pope Benedict's 2006 encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God Is Love) will help laypeople reflect on what love means to them. "If Jesus says you should love the Lord your God with your whole soul, your whole mind, with all your might, that's what Humanae Vitae asks of a married couple," he said. Bill Boomer is head of a program run by the Cleveland Diocese that teaches couples about natural family planning methods.
Pope Paul's encyclical can help parents who are trying to provide their children with an alternative to the "hook-up" culture of recreational sex, he said. "Humanae Vitae gives a beautiful vision of what God's design for married love is. It's to be both life giving and love giving," said Boomer. "That has always been the constant teaching of the Church. It even needs to be heard more today."
Is Cleverness The Cause Of Spelling Errors?
PTI London, August 27, 2008
Can’t spell supersede correctly? If you think you’re stupid, you may be wrong. The consensus is that you are too clever, according to a new study. A team of researchers for the Collins dictionary in Britain has carried out the study and found that people often misspelt a number of ‘confusing’ words as they are actually too clever.
According to them, the most commonly misspelt English word is supersede — many come up with ‘supercede’ because of their knowledge of other words including intercede or precede, the Daily Mail reported. The same theory applies to other words like consensus, liquefy and sacrilegious, the study found. “The real spelling problems occur when people have learnt the rules or have a bit of knowledge, but make mistakes in how they apply this,” Ian Brookes, the Managing Editor of Dictionaries at Collins, was quoted as saying.
In fact, the researchers found the commonly misspelt words after running thousands of documents through a software programme designed to pick up spelling mistakes. Supersede was by far the most commonly misspelt word, although it was wrong only one time out of ten. Consensus is frequently spelt incorrectly as concensus because the writer wrongly believes that it relates to the word census which comes from the Latin censere, to assess.
When it comes to liquefy, many are tempted to spell it as liquify because they wrongly apply the spelling of liquid. And the same is true to sacrilegious which is often misspelt as sacreligious (as with religious) and inoculate because many know the word innocuous contains a double ‘n’.
The Song Sung By The Goan Duo Reminded Me Of An Old Goan Joke.
Stephen Pinto , UAE Aug 17, 2008
A boat docked in a tiny Goan village. A tourist from Mumbai complimented the Goan fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.
'Not very long,' answered the fisherman.
'But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?' asked the Mumbaite.
The Goan fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The Mumbaite asked, 'But what do you do with the rest of your time?'
'I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play guitar, sing a few songs... I have a full life.'
The Mumbaite interrupted, I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.'
'And after that?' asked the Goan.
'With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a bigger city or even Mumbai. From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.'
'How long would that take?' asked the Goan.
'Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,' replied the Mumbaite.
'And after that?'
'Afterwards? Well my Friend, That's when it gets really interesting,' chuckled the Mumbaite, 'When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!'
'Millions? Really? And after that?' asked the Goan.
'After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like with your buddies.'
'With all due respect sir, but that's exactly what I am doing now. So what's the point wasting 25 years?' asked the Goan.
And the moral of the story is Know where you're going in life. You may already be there.
Goan Voice designed and compiled by Demerg Systems India,
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