SUSPENSE: Since curfew has been extended till August 16, it is not clear if the flag hoisting will take place on August 15 to mark the platinum jubilee of Independence, at the flag post opposite the Adil Shah Palace.

By Rajan Narayan

The State of Goa is not being able to celebrate its 75th anniversary of Indian Independence and 60 years of Liberation from Portugal as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has extended the covid-19 curfew to August 16. So on Independence Day not more the four people may gather at any place to celebrate the day with masks in place and maintaining proper physical distance. Interestingly, the national flag continues to be hoisted on the flag mast opposite the Adil Shah palace….

IN all the 74 years I have celebrated Independence Day in various parts of the country, this is the first time that I will be observing the beginning of the Diamond Jubilee of India’s Independence under curfew. This is because Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has yet again extended the covid-19 curfew to August 16, 2021 which includes Independence Day.
This is even more ironical because Independence Day this year also marks the 60th anniversary of Goa’s Liberation from Portuguese colonial rule. It was only in 1961 that Goa joined the rest of India as an integral part after the Indian nation as its India’s defense forces had liberated Goa. Even now Goa’s Independence Day is celebrated not at the Campal parade grounds or the new secretariat in Porvorim but in front of the Adilshah Palace in Panaji. Many of you of the younger generation may wonder why there is such a tall flag post outside the Adilshah Palace. This is because it was at this spot that the Portuguese flag was lowered and the Indian flag hoisted on December 19, 1961, Liberation Day. The tradition continuous with Independence Day being celebrated in Goa on a pandal built outside the Adilshah Palace where the Indian flag is hoisted on the very flag post which used to wave the Portuguese flag.
How little importance is given to the Independence Day celebration in Goa is dramatized by the fact that though the Adilshah Palace has been renovated, the flag post is in a shabby state. With curfew being extended till August 16, I do not know whether the flag hoisting ceremony and the tea party at the Raj Bhavan will also be cancelled this year.


I AM a midnight’s child. The expression used by noted Indian author, Salman Rushdie, to describe the generation of Indians who were born in 1947 when the British left India. I had the honor of watching the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru hoisting the Indian tricolor at the stroke of midnight of August 14 going onto 15 at the Red Fort in Delhi.
It was the historic occasion when Jawaharlal Nehru declared that “India had a tryst with destiny.” It was the day on which India “Nightingale of Bollywood” Lata Mangeshkar sang the immortal song, “Aye Mere watan ke logon,” which still resounds in the ears of every patriotic Indian. I was told that every school and every education institution in the country celebrated Independence Day on August 15, 1947. And the convention continues even now even in Goa, which achieved its own independence 14 years after the rest of the country.
But never before has the independence of the country and the Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression been under greater threat then on the eve of this forthcoming Independence Day on August 15, 2021. The Independence Day under the shadow of spyware Pegasus. In Goa it would appear that the dictator, Antonio Salazar, who choked all freedom in Goa, continues to be empowered in the avatar of Pramod Sawant.


ADMITTEDLY, Independence Day this year is being celebrated under the black shadow of covid-19. And the deadly variant Delta plus which has paralyzed many parts of the country. Including neighboring Karnataka, where a complete lockdown has been imposed in Bengaluru and Goa’s links with its main source of vegetables and meat have been closed again.
Admittedly, we are celebrating Independence Day at a time when Kerala, which had shown great courage and skill in overcoming the first phase of covid-19, is once again reeling under the second phase. Ironically, in Kerala, teacher KK Shailaja, who was congratulated globally for bringing covid-19 under control, was dropped from the Ministry before the second phase started.
The only really bright golden aspect of Independence Day this year is that for the first time in a 100 years the Indian athletes contingent won a gold medal for India. But even in the case of javilion champion Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal there are questions on whether he would have won gold if he had trained in India? Many attribute India’s first gold medal of the century to the six years of training that Neeraj Chopra underwent in Germany prior to the Olympics.


IN THE first flush of Independence, the then Prime Minister Nehru was totally committed to building a new infrastructure for India. Nehru called the dams and steel and heavy factories the “Temples of Modern India.” As in the case of Goa with the Portuguese, the British too who ruled India for over 400 years, did not create any major industry in India. They only build huge palaces now called Raj Bhavans for their governors. They also admittedly built a lot of educational institutions particularly, the universities in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and New Delhi.
This was done to supply them with an army of clerks and a few ICS officers that they needed to administer the country. Far from developing India, the British destroyed the textile mills so that they would not pose any competition to the British textile industry in Lancashire. There are even rumors that the British cut off the thumbs of skilled Indian weavers in Murshidabad, who made the Benarasi and other handloom woven sarees.
It is to Nehru that the credit should go for building the foundation of the new India. It was Nehru who built several steel plants in the public sector though the credit of the first steel plant should go to JRD Tata who started Tata Steel in 1907. It is Nehru who built India’s only aircraft manufacturing facility when he set up the Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd, in Bengaluru, which now manufactures indigenous fighter planes. It was Nehru who started the telecom revolution with the setting up of the Indian telecoms industry again in Bengaluru. It was Nehru who started Bharat Heavy Electricals in Bhopal.

TEMPLES: Amongst the ‘temples’ of modern India that the Prime Minister Jawaharlala Nehru started was the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, which enabled India to join the Elite Nuclear Club.


IT was Nehru who set up the leading academic institution like the Institute of Science in Bengaluru which figures among the top research institutes in the world. It is Nehru who set up the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) which enabled India to join the special group of countries which have the nuclear bomb. It was Nehru who set up the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). It is ISRO which has led the world in launching communication satellites and is actively working towards India’s first unmanned trip to the planet Mars, a project called Mangalayam.
There is no doubt that successive prime ministers after Jawaharlal Nehru continued the process of development. Perhaps the most notable was PV Narasimha Rao, who started the process of liberalizing the economy. Who dismantled the permit license Raj and allowed and encouraged private industry to flourish under the leadership of his finance minister, Manmohan Singh, who later became the prime minister after Sonia Gandhi declined the honor — even though the Congress secured a majority.


PERHAPS the dark days for India and Goa was when the BJP came to power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. Goa and the late Manohar Parrikar have to be blamed as much because it was Parrikar who enabled Narendra Modi, to become the Prime Minister of India. It was way back in 2002 when Manohar Parrikar was the chief minister of Goa and the BJP committed its first mistake. When the then BJP prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee was overruled when he wanted to sack Narendra Modi as the chief minister during the Godhra riots in Gujarat. I still recall Vajpayee declaring at the Marriott ballroom room that Modi had to go because he had not upheld Raj Dharma.
Again it was in 2013 when Manohar Parrikar returned as a chief minister that the BJP held its executive meeting in Goa. The meeting at which a senior respected leader like LK Advani were pushed aside. When Parrikar promoted the candidature of Narendra Modi, the butcher of Gujarat, as prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 parliamentary elections. Nobody expected that a party which had less than ten seats before the Ram Janmabhoomi Yatra led by LK Advani in 1990, would get 282 seats, which gave it a 2/3rd majority in Parliament. That the BJP would repeat its performance in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.


WHAT is the legacy of the BJP government of Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in Goa. The legacy of Narendra Modi is demonetization which rendered millions of Indians bankrupt. The legacy is General Sales Tax (GST) which has destroyed the trading community. The legacy of Narendra Modi is a black Goa by promoting industrialists like Gautam Adani, by setting up a coal terminal at the MPT. The legacy of the BJP is crony capitalism where only a select group of industrialists loyal to Modi are encouraged and promoted. The legacy of Narendra Modi is the Vijay Malaya and the Nirav Modi scams. The legacy of Narendra Modi is the deadly second phase of Covid-19, 2019 which he neither anticipated nor took action to prevent. He was instead busy campaigning for state elections in West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


GOANS have decided that they will observe Independence Day this year as the Anti-Bhumiputra Day. As the day to start a massive movement against gifting away Goa’s lands to migrants who are the “bhumiputra” of the BJP and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
The legacy of Pramod Sawant and the BJP in Goa is the distruction of the hitherto green agricultural environment of the State. The Mopa Airport is being built for the benefit of Maharashtra, the double tracking of South Western railway and the widening of highways is for the benefit of the Jindals and the Adanis, as also the 400 kilo watt transmission station in the heart of the Mollem Wildlife Sanctuary.
So this Independence Day will mark the end of a green Goa and a black Goa will be flourish. When Goa will turn grey and black with coal pollution and other pollutants. When Goans will become second class citizens in their own State. Fortunately, perhaps we will not be forced to celebrate this Independence Day as “Salazar” Sawant has declared curfew till August 16, which will definitely not permit us to celebrate freedom from the British for India and freedom from the Portuguese for Goa.


  1. Corrupt Government Officials shout at the Common Man as if they are the Boss and Common Man are their Servants. Corrupt Government Officials must always remember that this Common Man pay their Salaries and not the Government. Common Man pays Taxes to the Government and return Government pays Salary to the Corrupt Government Officials. Common Man pays from their Hard Earn Money. TEARS which they give to the Common Man make these Corrupt Government Officials Life Full of Curses.

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