Saturday, May 18, 2013
PORTUGAL'S PROVINCE TO INDIA'S COLONY
Friday, Feb. 01, 1963 Time Magazine
Under the Portuguese, Goa’s virtually duty-free status had ensured it a higher standard of living than neighboring India. Teachers and minor government officials, paid nearly three times as much as their counterparts across the border, could easily afford such imported luxuries as Belgian sausage and $2-a-bottle Scotch whisky. Field laborers carried transistor radios, and peasant women dabbed their ears with Chanel No. 5. A steady stream of ships carried high-grade Goan ore to Europe as well as Japan. “All you had to do to make money,” said one Goan trader, “was to type a few letters.”
But independence from Portugal brought Goa under the control of India’s austerity economy and stifling bureaucracy. About the same time, foreign demand for its iron ore slumped; production dropped from 1,000,000 tons in 1961 to 650,000 tons last year. Wage scales were adjusted downward to an Indian scale, but the cost of living climbed by 3%. Indian import restrictions abruptly cut off the flow of foreign goods, bankrupting many small merchants, and forcing Goans to pay more for Indian merchandise of a lesser quality.
Hesitant Indian officials referred even minor bureaucratic decisions to New Delhi, where they became lost in a labyrinth of red tape. It was over a year before local merchants were allowed to pick up goods imported and paid for before liberation, by which time much of the stuff had rotted away on the docks of Mormugão harbor. Though Portugal oppressively banned all political opposition, it did give Goa a considerable amount of local autonomy. Under New Delhi’s rule, Goa hoped at least to become a separate state. But the neighboring Indian states of Mysore and Maharashtra, covetous of Goa’s economic potential and of Mormugão harbor, which is one of the finest harbors on the subcontinent, have each begun a campaign to annex it.
All in all, morale is low. Grumbled one Goan bitterly: “Under the Portuguese we were considered a province. Under India, to our surprise, we find we are treated like a colony.”