Thursday, December 31, 2009

Transformation of Goa and Options before Youth

At the onset let me underline that there is no homogeneous category of youth. The mere certain age group does not form a uniform group particularly when there exists sharp economic inequalities. There are well known categorizations based on ethnicity, caste, migration, occupation, education, economics etc. Very often these categories remains unfocused and it gets presumed that Youth as homogeneous category. This is no different in Goa. The most important category of difference is class and from this difference emerges the direction of activism.

Tourism and transformation of Goa

The kind of transformation Goa is witnessing is as leisure destination designed to for purchase by super rich of India and the World. The huge handing over of lands tilled by the local people for tourism purposes had provided unexpected knocks. Villages are forcefully evicted and parceled out for super rich pleasures. Segregated lifestyles are publicly displayed. Coercion is introduced to uproot people from their lands. Private goons are deployed to instill fear in the local people so that they do not protest the violent takeover of their lands. Ministers in the government of India, cricket Stars, Lawn tennis stars, black marketers all are in the bee line to get 93 square meters of piece of Goas’ land by the view of Arabian Sea. And they are willing to shed India shining bucks; Minimum investment is One and half crore and maximum sky above their head is the limit. The lands that are targeted are mostly of tribal People. Nauxi and Bambolim in Tiswadi taluka are the cases in focus. One such project is Aldeia de Goa. This is a conquest of 140 acres of Goa's coastal land now under the process of converting into residential cum super luxury starred holiday venue. The two villages are converted into ‘camps’. Local people are systematically forced to vacate their residences while large number of People from various parts of India is brought in to work as casual laborers and as members of the private securities.

Increasingly tense communities

This has created tense situation. Everyday there are fights and they are reaching to dangerous levels gradually. State government has sold itself and its people to super rich of the world. Judiciary, Bureaucracy, Police, Politicians have all been purchased and they speak and act according to their masters’ voice. Police intervene to defend the projects of the super rich; so when the local people go to Police station to complain about threats to their life and livelihood they are being arbitrarily arrested and put inside the lock up. Peoples’ dwelling houses are planned to be demolished, papers of their consent are manufactured by forcing people to sign documents in the night under force i.e. duress. Huge cash is used as enticements for those showing signs of resistance to the corporate interests. Bull dozers are moved in and so the excavators. Thousands of years of Heritage are finished off in an hour’s time by flattening the green hills to suit the ugly corporate tastes. Fresh water ponds are buried, wells are fenced off, new roads are built to create beach access and to circumvent Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) laws. Plans are faked, in the industry manufactured plans existing houses are erased from the maps and so the titles of the locals. Local people who are fishermen are supposed to get out from the locality as the super rich now desire to drive scooter in the Arabian Sea. Nets of the fishermen are hurdles that are to be done away with; sooner the better. The super rich has fancies that are strange; they want to own their private boats and get them inside the shore so plain lands are dug to create underground facilities. And Super rich has fancies for artificial greenery, so cut thousands of coconut trees, cashew trees and all other variety of trees and in their place plant exotic species of grass. And the super rich want the golf course and it needs huge amounts of lands. Indian State has preserved British gift of Land Acquisition Act 1894, land is acquired for public purpose never mind that constitution of India preaches equality yet super rich are privileged in getting land by uprooting Adivasis. Adivasis after all are perhaps illegitimate citizens of India, is it not? If not, then the treatment meted out to People in Bambolim, Nauxi, Cacra, Odxel, Aivao, Mariel etc. does not justify. Not to forget the second mischief committed by the landlords by handing over the land to builder mafia. Their first mischief was to get these tribal lands on their names from Portuguese Colonial times onwards.

Money bags have drugged the authorities in Goa and India into deep slumber. It does matter how much you scream, they have plugged in earphone with soothing tunes of Capital. You have to become homeless, you have to become landless, you have to become desperate, you have to follow Farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and commit suicide. They tell you all the time till your ears go deaf that you have to go to make way, you have to sacrifice to get development, and you have to die to give life to super rich. You have to.

Options before Youth

Now you are a youth and you have an option to think. You have an option to relate and know. You have an option to choose as where you are going to put your next step. You have an option either to put you step ahead or choose to be coward and offer your self as sacrificial goat at the development alter. You have an option to lead a life with courage and valor, or to succumb meekly before the World’s super rich. If you do succumb then the super rich will pay you rich tributes of contempt. They will write their history and record that this was a land inhabited by bunch of cowards. They will show your bones if they are around, to their grand children and point you must never become like them, or they may tell their great grand children that there was no one staying in this land and we – the super rich of the world are the first settlers here. They will erase your history just the way they are seeking to erase your present existence. Your Existence is threat to them. Your existence in dignity is threat to them, they may exercise yet another option – enslave you and declare themselves as masters and you’ll- the servants. If you make any fuss then you will be treated according.

What if you choose the option to resist your erasure as community? What about if you tell them that your land and sea is precious and the money bags hold no taste? What if you decide and tell the super rich of World that we are the super rich in our way of life and their invasion is most undesirable thing to happen in the history of their generations of living? What if you decide to take cue from Elephant and Ant story and bite hard the ears of the State? What if you feel it is worthless to get enslaved and it is better to live on our feet than crawl on our knees? What if all these questions become reality in 21st century Goa? What about if earthquake currents generate tsunami tides and wash away all the super rich from Goa’s surface and reclaim its mountains, land, rights over fishing in Arabian Sea never again to go in the hands of State and landlords not in the control of People? What preparations are you making in case that moment of reckoning visits us all?

You are young and you have a style. You are young and you have sizzling blood in your veins. You are young and you are full of courage and compassion. You are young and you have a job at hand. You are young and you are smart. You are young and you have an option. Option, either to follow your ancestors, or take up life’s challenge or Option to succumb to the fear of Super rich of the world and there by descent into life of humiliation and insults. I hope you are going to make the brave options. And you will make it soon before we are run over by forceful take over of our land and our livelihood.

Movements all over the world are confronting super rich take over of the planet earth. There are numerous ways in which communities are asserting themselves. Hundreds of youth have made option to dare, confront and plunge into great fight for survival. Depending upon the background from where youth comes, they have made options. Super rich youth are trained to control the planet earth and in the process exploit nature as well as People. Youth like me coming from receiving end of development process have made an option to challenge the notions and practices of development that hands over control of land to super rich of the world. Now it is your turn. Opt now!

Sebastian Rodrigues

No comments: