MISCONDUCT: Vasco BJP MLA Carlos Almeida has confirmed the charges of sexual misconduct against the Urban Development Minister and Mormugao BJP MLA Milind Naik, who is the main transport agent of the Adani coal berths at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT).
And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week when the Goa Pradesh Congress Committee President Girish Chodankar charged the Mormugao MLA and Urban Development Minister Milind Naik with sexual misconduct. And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week on Rahul Gandhi still commanding the allegiance of Congress leaders at least in Goa. And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week when Vijai Sardesai’s Goa Forward Party struck an alliance with the Congress.
And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week when the Parliamentary Committee on Education demanded the elimination of distortion of national heroes in the National Council for Education Research & Training (NCERT) books. And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations following the week for a Saturday when not only highly qualified technologists but cricketers seemed to touch towering heights in the country they have migrated to.
And a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week on the GPCC chief Girish Chodankar accusing a minister (not been named) Mormugao BJP MLA Milind Naik of sexual misconduct. The GPCC president Girish claimed in a press conference that he had seen a video of the Mormugao BJP MLA Milind Naik (also Minister of Urban Development) pressurising his lady love to abort her pregnancy. Girish insisted that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant is aware of the sexual misconduct of the Mormugao BJP MLA.
Girish Chodankar has demanded the immediate sacking of Milind Naik from the Cabinet and given 15 days notice to the CM. Interestingly, the BJP Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida has also confirmed the charges of sexual misconduct by Milind Naik. In a statement he pointed out that if the video leaks further it will have far reaching impact on how the BJP will perform in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Carlos even claims to have informed Devendra Fadnavis, the Goa in-charge of the BJP, to take quick action before the allegations go viral.
The BJP core panel has called for action against Mormugao MLA Milind Naik in the sex scam. The MLA is alleged to have a huge stake in the coal mining business of industrialist Gautam Adani. It is reported that he owns a large number of trucks which transport the imported coal from the MPT to Hospet in Karnataka. Milind Naik not surprisingly has been an active supporter of the double-tracking of the South Western Railway (SWR) and the widening of national highways.
Considering that the Vasco BJP MLA Carlos Almeida has confirmed the sexual misconduct of his colleague, we fail to understand why Girish Chodankar has given an ultimatum of 15 days for the BJP to take action. With the BJP in power in the State and Centre any evidence can be made to vanish even in 24 hours, forget 15 days. Not surprisingly, the BJP party president Sadanand Shet Tanavade has dared GPCC president Girish Chodankar to name the minister!
ALLEGIANCE TO RAHUL GANDHI
AND a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week on Rahul Gandhi apparently still commanding the allegiance of at least the politicians in Goa. It may be recalled that Vijai Sardessai was on the verge of joining the Trinamool Congress (TMC). For almost a week Vijai Sardesai was chanting hymns to the “Durga of Kolkatta.” In fact the story goes that Vijai Sardessai was all set to formally join the Trinamool Congress during the visit of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banarjee and be declared as the party’s face for chief minister in the forthcoming elections. Some very rapid fire-fighting by the GPCC president Girish Chodankar, who is very close to Rahul Gandhi, averted the calamity. Girish Chodankar along with P C Chidambaram, Congress in-charge in Goa for the election, got Vijai Sardessai to speak with Rahul Gandhi. Vijai was apparently assured that unlike in 2017, there would be no delay in deciding the chief minister’s post this time if the Congress wins.
On November 30 the pact between Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Congress party was formally sealed in the presence of Rahul Gandhi and Digambar Kamat in New Delhi. Siolim GFP MLA Vinod Palienkar was along with Vijai and also Sanguem Independent MLA Prasad Gaunkar. However, the Saligao GFP MLA Jayesh Salgaonkar was not present. The defection of Prasad Gaonkar, who had informally offered support to the Trinamool Congress initially, is a major setback for the IPAC.
Or maybe Prasad Gaonkar like many other MLAs has decided that the only way of getting multiple tickets for the entire family is to distribute their allegiance amongst various parties. Prasad Gaonkar’s brother has joined the TMC. It would appear that Congress MLAs who claim to be disillusioned with GPCC president Girish Chodankar are willing to change their minds if there is direct intervention by Rahul Gandhi. The Congress MLAs are aware that ultimately it is Rahul Gandhi who is still the Big Boss and calls ALL the shots in the party.
Though the Congress is formally headless since Rahul has not yet accepted the president’s post, Congress workers in Goa still have total confidence in him. The Congress which seemed to be on the back foot when the TMC and AAP invaded Goa seems to be growing stronger by the day now.
AND a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week when the Parliamentary Committee on Education called for major reforms in the content and design of school textbooks. This implies the saffronisation of books brought out by the National Council for Education Research & Training (NCERT). The real intention of the committee headed by a hard core RSS MP Vinay P Sahasrabuddhe is the need to incorporate ancient wisdom, knowledge and teachings about life and society from the Vedas and other great Indian texts. Never mind that many of the ancient Indian texts like the Ramayana and Mahabharata cannot be anything more than a mythological mixture of fact and fiction. They fall in the category of mythology rather than authenticated researched history textbooks. Several senior Sangh Parivar academics like former chairperson of the NCERT, Dr J S Rajput, has been claiming that ancient India knew how to make aircraft based on the fact that the villain in the Ramayana had a “pushpak vimana.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has claims that Hindutva civilisation had knowledge of neurosurgery and it enabled Lord Shiva to transplant the head of an elephant onto Hinduism’s most popular deity, Lord Ganesh.
Pseudo scholars too claim that missiles were used in the Mahabharat war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The main focus of the saffron controlled Parliamentary Committee is to include petty Hindu kings and queens of religious mythology into history books. This is sought to be done under the pretext of women’s empowerment. The problem with teaching history in a country of India’s size is that every state has its own heroes and heroines. For instance, Karnataka has its own Rani-ki- Jhansi who is referred to in local textbooks as Rani Chennema.
The panel also wants Indian empires like that of Vikramaditya, Chalukya, Vijaynagar and Travancore included. It must be considered that most books on Indian history in the pre-independence period were written by British authors with a colonial mind-set. Growing up in British India I learned more of Robert Clive and Thomas Babington Macaulay who introduced the Queen’s English to India, than the heroes of the first revolt against the British which brought together several Indian princes. The British historians of course called it the Great Sepoy Mutiny. The first Indian historian to present history from an Indian point of view is Romilla Thapar.
For those who have lived and studied in Goa, history has been presented from a fascist point of view. The Portuguese understandably glorified Mussolini and Hitler and completely ignored Indian history. There is little or no awareness in Goa about the Indian freedom struggle and even leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, let alone Lokmanya Tilak and Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru is only referred to in the context of his prolonged delay in liberating Goa from Portuguese colonialism.
Tragically even the history of indigenous dynasties which ruled Goa before the Portuguese is not widely known. Heroes and villains in the history of various countries and even Indian states depend on who wrote the “history.” For instance, the Moghul kings are considered great heroes in Afghanistan, while they are considered as bandits in India. The most objective way of writing history is the dialectic materialistic form of histography popularised by Maxiam Rodimson. In this framework, history is recorded in terms of economic events which changed the nature of the lifestyles of the citizens of the country.
To cite an example, the industrial revolution in the UK converted not only UK but the world into one big factory. Similarly, the digital revolution eliminated assembly lines and the blue collared worker are now being replaced by robots. Even the concept of a fixed office has dramatically changed after the Covid-19 lockdowns where employees work from their own homes, including in the self-professed largest circulated newspaper Times of India in Goa.
AND a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week on not just highly qualified Indian technocrats being chosen to head the largest companies in the world but even taking over the national cricket teams of the countries they migrate to. The latest techno giant which has got Indianised is Twitter which has appointed Parag Aggarwal as its chief executive now, Aggarwal is an alumni of the IIT Mumbai. He joins the band of Indians like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and the Alphabet (Goggle) CEO Sundar Pichai. Indian migrants have even broken the glass ceiling with Indra Nooyi being appointed as the CEO of Pepsi, the largest soft drink and snack manufacturing firm in the world.
The assistant secretary-general and head of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Programme in-charge of climate change is Ligia Noronha, former head of Tata & Energy Research Institute (TERI), who is married to Peter Ronald D’Souza (former head of the department of Political Science of Goa University). We used to gloat over several Goans becoming members of the British Parliament including Keith Vaz. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer, equivalent to the post of Finance Minister of India, is Rishi Sunak, who is the son-in-law of Sudha and Narayan Moorthy of Infosys.
There are several Sikh ministers in the government of Canada. Several citizens of Indian origin occupy key posts in the US Biden administration. But it is not only the corporate sector and politics that have been stormed by people of Indian origin. It would please Manoj Parab to know that there are many POGOs (People of Goan Origin) on the list. The latest trend is people of Indian origin being chosen to represent their countries at the highest level in sports. Among the best players of the New Zealand team which is touring India are Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel.
IFFI IN COVID TIMES
AND a few stray thoughts and a few stray observations for a Saturday following the week on the just concluded International Film Festival of India (IFFI) held in Goa. The Department of Information & Publicity and the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) have been boasting that this is one of the few international events being held though the coronavirus pandemic still casts a deep shadow. Indeed, coinciding with IFFI 2021 was the news that the new South African variant of the Coronavirus, Omicron, has been discovered and it is reportedly extremely contagious.
The IFFI organisers did not seem to be particularly concerned about the pandemic. There was no strict enforcement of COVID protocol. Everyone in Goa and film enthusiasts from the rest of India and world were expecting that the new IFFI convention centre would be completed in time for IFFI. It was also anticipated that the renovation to the Kala Academy would be completed. This did not happen and the 52nd IFFI saw a sharp fall in the number of seats available for film enthusiasts and fanatics.
The situation was compounded by the fact that initially only half the capacity of the only major venue the INOX complex could be used to maintain physical distance. But half-way through the festival, the authorities in their wisdom decided that all the seats in the auditoriums could be occupied by viewers. The number of delegates was estimated to be one-third of the IFFIs held in non-COVID times, with the count barely touching 3,000.
As with everything else IFFI also went digital this year as it was conducted in a hybrid format, where you could choose to either see the films physically or watch them online on mobile phones or computer screens courtesy the OTT (Over The Top) platforms. There are digital platforms like Netflix where you can watch movies sitting in your bedroom or living room. The festival for the media began with a shock with electronic and still photographers not being able to cover the opening ceremony, rights had been sold to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi crony capitalist Subhash Chandra of Zee TV. The visual media in Goa boycotted the entire film festival.