SHIFTED: The Shantadurga temple, which was originally located in Cuncolim, was shifted to Fatorpa, Quepem. Many of the Hindu deities which were in Salcete were shifted to Ponda taluka which was under the control of the Bhonsles of Sawantwadi.

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when Chief Minister Pramod Sawant expressed his determination to protect the gods of Hinduism. For a Saturday following the week when Leader of Opposition Michael Lobo denied that there were any religious conversions occurring in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho wanted to make Goa a logistic hub like Dubai and Singapore. For a Saturday following the week when Goa University was downgraded by the National Council for Accreditation of Universities. For a Saturday following the week when the prices of electricity were expected to go up on the recommendation of the Power Regulatory Committee.

protect hindu gods
AND a few stray thoughts on Chief minister Pramod Sawant expressing his determination to protect Hindu gods. He posted on social media that unless people protect their gods their religions will not be safe. Pramod Sawant was obviously referring to the Hindu religion. Pramod Sawant’s logic is that if Hindus protect their gods then they will strengthen Hinduism.
This appears to be part of the national campaign to make India a Hindutva country. We had always thought that it were the gods of every religion who protected their believers. It would make nonsense for aam aadmi whether Hindu, Catholic or Muslim to pray to the gods in a crisis — if he had no faith that his god would protect him.
But Pramod Sawant seems to have turned the logic upside down. If the Gods need protection from human beings who will protect human beings?

AND a few stray thoughts on the Leader of the Opposition Michael Lobo who denied that there were any conversions going in Goa. Michael Lobo was reacting to a Facebook post of Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. Michael Lobo added that there was no threat to the Hindu community. If there was any threat it was to the Muslims and Catholics.
Michael Lobo pointed out that the Bajrang Dal activists had deliberately tried to create trouble on Ram Navami day when the procession overlapped the Muslim Iftar. This trouble was clearly instigated by outside elements and not Goans. Goans have lived in peace and harmony for over 500 years. The only period when Hindu some temples may have been attacked is during the Inquisition.
For those who may not be aware, the Inquisition was a movement initiated by the Jesuits and a few other Christian groups who were against the converted Christians who did not follow the faith sincerely. In many places including Goa, though many Hindus converted for economic benefits they retained their Hindu traditions.
Interestingly, it is the bhatkar or the landlord families who were amongst the first converts and not the labor class. Presumably property and land owners had much more to lose and were anxious to protect their wealth. The Portuguese in turn gave the land as well high positions to the Saraswat Brahmin families in government for they were also literate and educated.
In contrast the lower classes were treated badly or indifferently by the Portuguese. Goa was one of the few places in the country where even after conversion to Christianity the lower class converts were treated as second class people. Even after Liberation the poorer, lower class converts like those from the Gaudi tribal community to stand outside the church for worship.
All the confrarias which are the managing committees of the churches were packed with upper class Brahmins. Even the priests were pre-dominantly from the Saraswat class. Amongst the first archbishops, Rev Raul Gonsalves, was not a Saraswat and he was treated very badly. Not just Archbishop Raul Gonsalves but even one of the first cardinals, Valerian Gracias, was treated rudely whenever he visited Goa, because he was the son of an ayah. Cardinal Oswald Gracias from Mumbai used to refer to him as a bevda. Without having any compassion for the fact the cardinal Valerian Gracias was suffering from cancer and was in acute pain.
Currently, most of the parish priests in Goa are from the Saraswat community. Pramod Sawant claims that he is aware that a number of people are still being ng converted in Goa. There are Facebook posts that contain the announcement that some Muslims have changed their surnames to Christian surnames. We suspect that this is not because they wanted to convert to Christianity, but because they wanted to take advantage of the fact that Goans whose parents or grandparents were born before Liberation are entitled to a Portuguese passport.
There is a huge racket in the manipulation of Portuguese records to show that the grandparents of Goans were born before Liberation in Goa. Those who have Portuguese passports are entitled to Portuguese citizenship. Portugal is part of the European Economic Community (EEC). By virtue of being in the EEC Goans who get a Portuguese passport and visa may travel to any country in Europe (which is a member of the EEC).
For instance, Portuguese passport holders with a Schengen visa can travel to Germany or France or any other European country (there are 26 Schengen countries, namely Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, etc, applicants get short-stay visas to allow them to travel to any of the Schengan countries for business or tourism reasons).
Most Goans preferred to go to the UK which until recently was still part of the EEC. Due to their familiarity with English they prefer to relocate to the UK, particularly in London. Now they have lost their right to work in the UK on the Portuguese visa as the United Kingdom has left the EEC. There are in fact more religious conversions among Hindus, particularly the migrant Hindus who are allegedly changing their names to Bhandari names — so that they can get the benefit of reservations for OBCs.
Pramod Sawant seems to be blindly following RSS instructions in trying to eventually saffronize the state of Goa. Catholic Goans should challenge the chief minister on his claim that is Catholic missionaries who are still converting Goans. Conversions have normally taken place in states where there has been and there is still acute poverty (something successive governments of Goa and India have failed to address and rectify). Goans in contrast have the highest per capita income in the country and don’t need to convert.

AND a few stray thoughts on Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho who wants to make Goa a logistic hub like Dubai and Singapore. Godinho is just echoing the wishes of Union Minister for Transport & Ports Nitin Gadkari. Gadkari is very keen on obliging his friends like Gautam Adani. Which is why he is actively pursuing the double-tracking of the South-Western Railway. This is not because there is a huge increase in passengers travelling between Karnataka and Goa. The domestic tourists who come to Goa in very large numbers on long weekends come in their SUVs, and not by train or bus.
The double-tracking of the South-Western Railway is solely to enable Gautam Adani, who is importing coal from Australia, to transport it by sea to Goa and from here by railway to Hospet in Karnataka, for the benefit of Jindal Steel and aluminium plants, as also his own thermal power station. Nitin Gadkari is also in the process of widening national highways.
In fact, he proposed to convert the Goa-Mumbai road into an expressway as he did in the case of the Mumbai-Pune road. This would have meant that the existing road would be converted into an eight-lane super-fast highway with the travelling time to be cut to eight hours.
Nitin Gadkari also is strongly backing the setting up of the 420 megawatt transmission station in the heart of the Mollem Sanctuary. Unfortunately for Nitin Gadkari the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court rejected his proposal to construct an expressway between Goa and Mumbai. The court told Nitin Gadkari to take care of the potholes on existing roads.
In preparation for making Goa a logistic hub, the Mopa airport has been put on the fast-track. The Mopa airport will primarily be focusing on cargo rather than passengers. It is not widely known that Goa has the largest cluster of pharma companies exporting a major part of their pharmaceutical products to other parts of the country and world.
Mauvin Godinho’s logic for making Goa a logistic hub is that the state would serve as a base for the aggregation and transport of a wide range of goods. A logistic hub is primarily a city or an area that facilitates the rapid transport of finished goods and spare parts from one part of the country to another. Part of the plan to make Goa a logistic hub is the nationalization of rivers. The corollary is that even the scooters and cars made in Pune can be transferred by ship to destinations like Calcutta. It has been estimated that sea or river transport is much cheaper than air cargo. Mauvin is also promoting the marinas being proposed in Vanxim island near Divar and in the Zuari river which will have maintenance and birthing facilities for yachts. We have to ask ourselves if we want peaceful serene green Goa to become a monster city with container trucks hogging the narrow streets of Goa. The reason why Nitin Gadkari and Mauvin Godinho are so enthusiastic about converting Goa into a logistic hub is that the kickbacks are very attractive.

AND a few stray thoughts on how Goa University was downgraded by the National Council for Accreditation of University. Goa University which had achieved the A+ grade during the last assessment by the National Council for Accreditation has been downgraded to be “B class” this time. Though interestingly, several individual colleges like Parvatibai Chowgule College in Margao, Carmel college in Nuvem and St Xavier’s in Mapusa, not to mention Dhempe college in Panaji, have all got A+ status.
The problem with Goa University is the acute shortage of staff. Historically the colleges in Goa were affiliated with Bombay University. The Goa University was established on June 1 1985 by the then governor Dr Gopal Singh. A major problem with the Goa University was the acute shortage of staff.
Unlike the other states, there were no higher education centers prior to Goa’s Liberation. You could study only up to the 10th Std (Lyceum) and then go to Bombay or Dharwad for higher education. The University Grants Commission says that heads of departments of a university should have a doctorate.
There were no candidates available with a doctorate in most of the subjects in Goa. This included even the arts faculty with perhaps in the only exception is the political science department headed by Dr Peter Ronald DeSouza. But Dr Peter did not stay long and went on to become the director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies.
Most of the science faculty were inducted from the National Institute of Oceanography. Quite simply besides the shortage of faculty, not many students were enthusiastic about doing their post-graduation. This is because there are no job opportunities except as lecturers in the affiliated colleges. To attract teachers from other states, Goa University even went to the extent of providing them with furnished quarters with even television sets.
Even now most of the HODS are from outside the state. The only course which seems to attract a lot of students is the one to do with the Master of Computer Sciences. However, the standards are not comparable to similar institutes in other states. The major problem of course has been funds. The Goa government did not invest enough to create the best infrastructure for the university.
Even this time around, though there were many eminent Goans available, a reader in one of the departments is Harilal B Menon. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the Chancellor who is now the governor of Goa is also from Mallu land. Now for three years Goa University is stuck with a B class stigma.

AND a last stray thoughts on the price of power or electricity expected to shoot up on the recommendation of the Power Regulatory Committee. There is a severe power shortage in Goa which not only affects domestic consumers but industrial consumers as well. None of the industrial units in the industrial estates can function without backup generators. Continuously running power industries which cannot afford even seconds of power shut down are very reluctant to come to Goa.
The real problem is that Goa does not have its own source of power. It is virtually entirely dependent on the national grid for power. As of now, Goa gets power from the Northern grid and the Southern grid which is allotted by the center. Unfortunately, the center itself is facing a shortage in power as many thermal units are not functioning due to shortage of coal. The hydro units will get active only when the monsoons come.
Industries are demanding that Goa should buy power from the open market to meet the requirements of the industry. The National Electric Power Regulatory has already recommended a sizable increase in power supply. So much so in addition to the burden of paying for fuel like diesel and petrol, even those who desire to be more eco-friendly and opt for electric bikes will find it an uphill task to afford the services of power charging facilities set up. It may be a huge cost to run electric bikes which are being promoted in Goa now.

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