Wednesday, October 1, 2014

DO JUSTICE TO OVERSEAS GOANS By Jose Maria Miranda, Margão

I read with great dismay that people of Goan origin, born in Pakistan and now holding Canadian nationality, are being denied visas by the Indian High Commission to visit their homeland for the Exposition of the Relics of St Francis Xavier.This is not only unfair but an insult to Goans. Many Goans and their families migrated to various countries during the Portuguese regime in search of jobs. Some of them members may have been born in Pakistan even a few during the British rule. Their origin does not change and surely they are proud of being Goans and hence are keen in visiting their native place. The NRI Commission in Goa did well in intervening and writing to the Indian High Commission that the Goans’ request be granted. However, what is required from both the NRI Commission as well as the Goa government is that the central government be taught and told about the history of Goa, which they surely know but choose to ignore. Goans are not beggars seeking favours or mercy from the central government or their embassies and high commissions, whether it is for special status or visas. Goa was taken over by military force and despite promises by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Goans were never given the right to choose their status or privileges. Both the Portuguese and the Indian governments connived to deprive the Goans even of their legitimate rights that needed to be safeguarded to avoid the situation we are in today. It is time the local government impresses upon the central government the need to look at Goa differently from what they presently perceive, since Goa’s history is totally different from other states of India. Let us not create situations that are best avoided.

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