Sunday, August 7, 2016

Viva Goa e Viva Portugal

One of the significant occurrence in line with 50th Golden Jubilee Celebration of G.O.A. was the appearance of Portugal with its flag flying for the first time and making its debut on the London Goan Festival scene. Portugal has been a father figure bonded to Goa in kinship for over four and half centuries that weaned Goa to be raised to its highest glory as the greatest city in the East in the 16th century. 

The importance and significance attached to Goa was reflected with Goa being elevated to the status of a province to Metropolitan European Nation of Portugal and thus to European Union. It is this legacy that has privileged in thousands of indigenous Goans migrants to freely move into European Union and therefore into Britain, to seek their livelihood denied to them in Goa through harsh illegal Indian occupation and the ensuing systematic marginalization of Goans. 

Goa has been synonymous all along with Portugal in every aspect of culture and religion to mould a Goan as we know him today. It is this culturally bonded legacy and Portugal’s obligation to its Nationals that has prompted Portugal to make its presence felt at the cultural Goan Festival. Portugal has been distanced from Goa through Indian Occupation until now but feels it necessary and appropriate to make inroad into its domain of her Portuguese Nationals, who make the bulk of participants at the Festival, to raise their confidence and assurance by providing them necessary guidance to national services. 

A colourful Portuguese stand, operated under the banner of LisGoa, an initiative by Andy Dias, decked with Portuguese National flag along flag of European Union and festooned with colourful Portuguese buntings welcomed the visitors. The pavilion comprised various sections. One dealing with, natural health products and related gadgets from Portugal, along with other beauty and youth products, including Jeunesse etc. The others featured Portuguese artefacts and sports memorabilia of the winning Euro16 tournament. There were Ronaldo T-shirts, caps, posters along with posters of the winning Portuguese team in the European Football Tournament. Yet most importantly there was a Portuguese Government related section meant for Portuguese Nationals irrespective, which offered membership registration services to the Partido Socialista Portugal whose chairman is our own Goan, Antonio Costa, The Hon. Prime Minister of Portugal. Additionally the Festival has also featured in some Portuguese newspapers.

Indeed, there were more elaborate plans for Portuguese presentation but could not materialize due to short period of decision. One such was the Portuguese National TV coverage of Goan Festival to be aired around the world to all Portuguese speaking countries which was not feasible because of their Rio Olympics commitments. Further, the area representative (MP) to the Portuguese Parliament had to be present in Lisboa for a book-release on the very day. However, it is envisaged to have various Portuguese VIPs to visit their Nationals in future, like the Ambassador of Portugal to Britain and even to have Portuguese Prime Minister’s visit to Britain to coincide with the Festival making it possible to address the Nationals of Portugal. According to the Portuguese organizers the response from the public show-participants was most enthusiastic and overwhelming, and are on the increasing upbeat to serve their Portuguese Community. In fact, there was so much unexpected enthusiastic response that Partido Socialista accounted for nearly 300 new members as a result! 

In view that Portugal has shown its presence at the London Goan Festival for the first time, the organizer has decided to float a competition whereby the best photograph taken by anyone, of the LisGoa Portuguese Pavilion, can be submitted or posted to the emails below. The selected photograph will duly receive a prize!

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