Thursday, April 11, 2013
WHY IS EAST TIMOR AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY AND GOA IS STILL A COLONY OF INDIA? by Bebdo
Many of our readers may question me on the title of the article that I have chosen. They would say that it is fait accompli that Goa is now a part of India as it is a state of India. To them, I would say that East Timor too was a province of Indonesia till 2002!
Let us draw a parallel in the case of East Timor and Goa.
1. The Portuguese established the Estado do India which is Goa in 1510, whereas East Timor till the late 16th century was just a trading post.
2. Goa was used as the eastern capital of the Portuguese empire. All Portuguese colonies in the East and Africa were governed from Goa. The Catholic Church of Goa too had control over all these colonies. Per se, Goa had a prominent place among all the other colonies of the Portuguese as Goa was considered as an overseas territory of Portugal and not a colony. All the Portuguese colonies are independent countries today. Even Macau has a special autonomy under Chinese rule. Whereas Goa has become a colony of the rich Indians and the ghanttis who are slowly changing the demography and the culture of the state.
3. Goa was invaded by India in 1961 and till 1975 Portugal did not sign the treaty of surrender. East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and used force to repress the resistance of the East Timorese to the Indonesian rule.
4. The church in Goa in 1961 gave in to the Indians and did not even raise its voice at the atrocities that were committed against Goans by the military rule of General Candeth soon after the invasion of Goa.
The church in East Timor was in the forefront of the resistance and Bishop Belo was forced into exile. From exile Bishop Belo created awareness among the Western countries about the plight of the East Timorese under the Indonesian rule.
5.India propped up the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party to merge Goa with Maharashtra and thereby destroy the identity of the Goans and Goa itself. The MGP did exactly that for 17 years of its rule during which time, most of the educated and elite Goans left Goa and settled in foreign lands.
Indonesia too did the same thing with East Timor. Nehru’s friend Suharto who was the president of Indonesia suppressed the East Timorese, who were hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned.
6. By 1979 Indonesian forces had killed most of the East Timorese resistance leaders and spread a reign of terror in East Timor. Outside of East Timor hard-line attempts by Indonesian generals to eliminate the population went all but unnoticed.
A similar thing happened in Goa too. The ‘Babus’ who were sent from Delhi to Goa started harassing the educated Goans and with the help of the MGP used draconian laws such as the Mundkar and Tenants laws to silence the educated Goans who were resisting the Indian invasion. Most of the resistance leaders were small time landowners, but overnight they lost their land to the mundkars and tenants. This is how they were forced into submission to the Indian rule.
7. Both Goa and East Timor had referendums. But the difference was the referendum in East Timor was supervised by the UN and had the option of either union with Indonesia or independence. In Goa, the referendum was termed as ‘opinion poll’ and the option that was given was either merger with Maharashtra or union territory.
East Timor voted for independence and Goa voted for union territory. Actually if Goans were given the same option as the East Timorese, then Goans too would have voted for independence. The Indonesian army used all sorts of force in East Timor which is as small as Goa, but the East Timorese despite being outnumbered fought for their rights.
In 1989 young East Timorese students from the Clandestine Front used the Pope John Paul’s visit to launch a new phase of resistance. Young people knew that the Pope’s visit would bring many journalists, reporters, and TV crews to East Timor. Here was a unique opportunity to communicate to the outside world.
After Pope John Paul II gave his final blessing at a large open air public mass, a young East Timorese ran up to the front of the altar, unfurled a banner in English that read “Free East Timor and Indonesia Get Out!” and began shouting “long live the Pope!”, “long live East Timor!”. Before the Indonesian military could react most of the demonstrators melted into the crowd. A small number, however, were captured, tortured and killed.
The audaciousness of the student protest electrified the population. Despite the repression the Clandestine Front’s numbers swelled and new underground cells were formed. Finally, in 2002 East Timor got its independence.
What about Goa? Today, we the Goans have become the servants, pimps and prostitutes for the rich Indians who have bought all the prime properties in Goa, own all the prime hotels and business in Goa and indirectly control the entire economy of Goa. They look down on Goans with disdain and are treating Goans as colonial subjects. When will Goans rise and demand a special status or autonomy for our land?
Wake up my dear Goans, wake up. Stop smelling the feni, and wake up to the reality. The Indians have invaded your homes. If the trend continues, then there will be no Goan left and the one who is left will have to sleep on the roads.
Viva Goa, Goa for Goans, long live Goan unity!