Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thoughts seeming from hearing about Leo Laurenco’s travails

From what was shared with me, it appears that Leo Laurenco was of an elegant disposition, contained the shastras, possibly an understanding of Arthshastra, and an ability to engage at a highly astute diplomatic level, although representing Portugal, the falling/fallen side—regarded as a foe. To begin with this must not have gone down well with our Indians (I am an Indian citizen and travel on an Indian passport). I believe that Nehru wanted to show the world the diplomatic stuff he was made of, and set out burnish his credentials with the African nations. The French did not play, had packed up and left. The Portuguese were around and there was calls from within to be set free so in that spirit, in such a setting, along with the accompanying incongruities of the oddity that Goa was, Goanity was / is—it was manna for Jawaharlal Nehru to showcase his statecraft. In the treatment meted out to the Goans as a whole, including those who saw and see themselves as its Freedom bearers JN basically fleshed out his thoughts, through his voracious votaries in governance. We later heard of Goans being “ajeeb”, to mean marvellous, fascinating, wonderful, strange, weird, queer and odd. That to me was indeed a compliment but the kind that one gives to a foe (later with bemusement at Goa and Goans—no less Indians on the scale of Indianess) who one does not understand. But we are not talking about the Romans in any form here. At India's hour of independence, we saw ourselves as defining our unique modernity—a deliverance; and everything that followed and continues to is part of that lineage—Indian modernity.

So the more I think, the more I realize that an indelible Indian modernity if we Indian's do care to know comes from Goa in a myriad of ways, by way of the artists AX Trinidade, Agnelo Fonseca, FN Souza, Bakibab Borkar, the poet Joseph Furtado, Brahmanand Sankhwalkar (a Brahma in the goalpost), Anthony de Mello (Brabourne Stadium, and CCI), Swapnil Asnodkar and Dilip Sardessai, Antao D’Souza (Pakistani cricketer), Uday Zambaulikar, our Goan scientists, our Mumbai tiatrists who may never seen respect from almost any government in Goa, our Goans tailors, our Goan teachers, our prostitutes (and dammit praise them too), Olympians who played for India and 
of course for Kenya, our Goan old men and women, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians—whether an empregad, the escrivão (my Grandpa at Pilar), the carteiro, or Ganga who boiled the rice; and whether one likes it or not Camoes too who incidentally was buried in the pobre pit. India lost a chance as in both the ability of the State to seek a model from within, instead of looking at befuddlement at an expressive people, as well as Indians who should have known better with all their analysis—Marxian included. There is an acknowledgement now, by way of a visible appetite to buy property and houses in Goa, and a little bit of time. For now.

There is something that we practice and that is called
taddhi par, to be exiled. The Konknni words for yonder/ boundary would be "todi/xim/mer" poltodi vashimar?! To be sent/banished into exile on the other bank (and no boatman may bring him back). It is a fascinans perhaps / truly a belief—considering that we as a people had regard for kala pani and underwent purification rituals upon returning to India. These are deep concepts although not much thought is given to them. In this vein what must it have been for Leo Laurenco to be born and raised in Goa, yet denied entry to Goa. Perhaps there was a legal instrument attached. I often wonder about such things although we are small fry. But when one looks within the minds eye, one sees a dark roiling of kala pani, an animosity that one does not know from where it comes, and whether we are in its path.

I also believe that the censoring of his book not been taken advantage of by the opposition political parties can possibly mean that the entanglements run deep.

This may be something that someone like Pavan K. Varma, would do a good job at uncovering. I am sure there are many others who have the resources to write even a superb fictional account, if not an analysis with all caveats of course; particularly when we are prone to soreness. The rewards could be stupendous.

I will keep an eye on this subject, as time goes. Publishing such memories is certainly worth it. They should be done if at all in the interests of us as a people with an autonomous mind, giving praise and cognition to other strands that course through our beings, ALTHOUGH MANY OF US ARE INDIAN CITIZENS PROPER; in the same way in which the children of freedom fighters are Portuguese citizens, others are citizens or Green card holders (I am) of the U.S.A., and other counties. The book, or memoires should never be republished to stick it to India. Forget engaging with that uber mindset of India, one must not do battle with it and it is not worth it. It is a dark mind that now has some of the best minds on board. This will change but we are not at that stage yet, nor will we be even five generations hence.

Take heart, Dhir gheyat. Write, even if be in a diary. Write it for your grandchildren. Even if you are hurt, try writing without attacking anyone. We have to becalm our minds. Attempt equanimity. That is something one can learn in Indian thought. Something that very few practice. Please try to do so—not necessarily bleed all over, but stay calm.

I also wish to say to the Leo Laurenco family that I hope you managed to sustain your spirits in Portugal and remained tall. In Christian spirit and our countervailing Dharma, I hope that you did not think too ill of Goans, the Goa of your mind, and the India of you banishment.


Venantius said...

Goans on the International sporting Stage. In hockey alone Goans and those of Goan origin have represented Pakistan, Kenya, Mexico, England, Uganda, Tanzania, USA, Malawi, Canada and Seychelles.

Nadisha said...

That paragraph on writing (2nd last) really spoke straight to my heart. Particularly the bit on writing without attacking anyone... :)

Venantius said...

Nadisha, thank you for saying that. The journey so to speak has brought me to where I am today. I hear people throw words such hackneyed, pedantic, to express a righteous contempt but cloaked sufficiently to show their highly developed critical sensibility. I would rather they reveal themselves, since it would make their worlds more concrete.

There comes a time, when one sees oneself as having become strong, at which point the idea of inflicting hurt is abhorrent to ones being, and to ones lived aesthetic. One is then in a different state, and may certainly continue to encounter individuals who see others as prey, but the individual lives in equanimity, so to speak. Fighting others at their game as well as labeling them will always bring us down. It takes long and often the ones who may be hurt most are those who are closest to ones being.

I have always believed that you Nadisha, of all people should write; you must—on topics that you are drawn to, which are many. In doing so you open your world to others, who need that vision as do you to know who you are. This is a much deeper realization and I think you understand what is meant.