Members of the ABVP which are closely linked to the RSS vandalized St Xavier’s college and had to shut down till normalcy returns.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) which is part of the RSS vandalized Goa’s most prestigious St Xavier’s College in Mapusa. For a Saturday following the week when the Modi government is sinking as rapidly as Joshimath town in Uttarakhand, the entry point to the pilgrimage temple of Badrinath and Kedarnath. For a Saturday following the week when an irresponsible Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was asking students to treat exams like a festival and go laughing to answer their exams. For a Saturday following the week when media reports emerge of large-scale fixing of football matches in Goa. For a Saturday following the week when the rich grow richer and the poor continue to sink to the bottom.
AND a few stray thoughts on the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) which is the part of the RSS which vandalized Goa’s most prestigious St Xavier’s College in Mapusa. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) which has virtually destroyed the Jawaharlal Nehru University has now started spreading its poison in Goa with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s support. There is no doubt that St Xavier’s College in Mapusa is amongst the oldest and best arts and science colleges in the country.
Instead of supporting the management of the college Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has insisted that the enquiry will be held by the Department of Higher Education. Out of fear of antagonizing the RSS big bosses at Nagpur, Pramod Sawant has not uttered a word of condemnation of the goondagiri of the Vidhyarthi Hindu Parishad members. This is the second time the ABVP has disrupted the functioning of colleges in Goa. It may be recalled that it unleashed violence during the elections to the University Students’ Council. The ABVP plan is to saffronize the students community in Goa since it now has the support of the government.
The Jesuits must be congratulated for taking a tough stand and shutting down the colleges temporarily rather than succumb to the blackmail of the ABVP. The irony is that despite the issues being raised by the ABVPthey were not large issues affecting the college. The ABVP thugs were protesting the delay in the official appointment of the Students Council of the college amongst which some are ABVP members.
What is even more shocking is that the local Mapusa MLA Joshua D’souza refused to come to the help of the management of St Xavier’s College. Finally, it was the Aldona MLA Carlos Alvares who intervened with the BJP to force police protection against the ABVP goons. This incident shows that the ABVP has become so arrogant that its members have the courage to attack even the most prestigious college in the state. This must be stopped now and the students community at large must protest against ABVP goondagiri.

AND a few stray thoughts on when an irresponsible Pramod Sawant has been asking students to do and that is to treat exams like a festival and go laughing to answer their question papers. Now we know why the standards of education in Goa are so poor. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant himself has admitted that he considers exams as festivals and that students should go to exams laughing.
We do not know how many marks Dr Pramod Sawant got in HSC and his claim that he has got a degree in Homeopathy. If you treat exams as a festival than when the results come you will discover that you will be treated as joker and not a serious student. If you go laughing for the exams you will go home crying when the results come. It is extremely irresponsible of the chief minister to ask students to treat exams like a festival and go to exams laughing. Surely we cannot hope to improve the standards of education with such an attitude. We hope the teachers and students will protest against the frivolous remarks of Dr Pramod Sawant.

AND a few stray thoughts on when the Modi government is sinking as rapidly as Joshimath town in Uttrakhand, which is the entry point for the Char Dham pilgrimage temple places of Badrinath and Kedarnath, and also Valley of Flowers and Sikh gurudwara Hemkund. The sinking of Joshimath is due to the double-engine development being promoted by the Modi government.
The late Sushma Swaraj while she was the external affairs minister had pointed out 20 years ago that mindless development in the mountains of the Himalaya should be stopped. Sushma from Dehradun was representing the Uttarkhand constituency. As Sushma Swaraj remarked “nature will get angry and then you have to bear the consequences.” Clearly she has seen damage already inflicted on fragile mountain eco-systems.
The BJP’s Modi government has been boasting about double-engine development undertaken by it. Every day the PM announces new projects worth thousands of crores. The new style is to fly around inaugurating a dozen projects in various parts of the country. As Modi did when he inaugurated Mopa or Manohar International Airport, while synonymously launching an Ayurveda college in Delhi and elsewhere. Modi and his Minister for Urban Transport Nitin Gadkari take pride in their ability to initiate and execute mega projects.
Nobody is talking about the quality of the spate of mega projects and what their condition will be when they are completed. As we have seen for ourselves in the case of the notorious Atal Sethu bridge. Surely there is no need to build 100-feet tall towers overlooking the Zuari river and rotating restaurants on national highways on bridges? How does it serve the common man? What purpose does it serve to build a highway on which heavy aircraft can land? The double-engine model of development which is sinking the Joshimath will sink the rest of India too. It is not speed and grandeur that are important but the usefulness of every project to India’s citizens.

FOR a Saturday following the week when reports emerged of large-scale fixing of football matches in Goa. These reports have emerged anew. Apparently the casino bosses who have become Goa’s biggest landlords have affected the football industry. Betting on games in principle is not illegal and the practice is widespread in the UK. But the betting is done under strict conditions and does not approve of any match fixing. To explain match fixing, it involves an arrangement between the player of one side whether it is football or cricket, and the player of the rival team either not play his usual game or if the player is the goalkeeper permits penalty shootouts. The biggest expose of match-fixing was done by “Tehelka,” the publication started by Tarun Tejpal, and against whom charges of molestation in the Children’s Court are still not resolved and he has still to be acquitted.
More than 20 years ago “Tehelka” exposed a match fixing deal between Mohammad Azharuddin and Shane Warne, the most famous fast bowler from Australia. Both Shane and Azharuddin were suspended. To give an example, match fixing would involve Virat Kohli striking a deal with the captain of the English Cricket team not to score more than ten runs. In the case of football, it is the question of paying the best players to under-perform so that the rival team can win. Match fixing at State level is a serious business. Immediate action should be taken by the police with the co-operation of the new Goa Football Association chairperson Caitano Jose Fernandes who defeated Churchill Alemao’s son Savio Valen Alemao in the GFA election.

AND a last stray thought on how the rich grow richer and the poor continue to sink to the bottom. While the number of millionaires has increased from around 40 to over 200 since 2014, the number of the poor and unemployed has increased by 60%. A rough indication is the turnover of the auto industry. There is a huge demand for SUVs and Mercedes cars. But correspondingly the demand for Activa bikes has fallen from around 20 lakh to 12 lakh. The low percentage of scooters and two-wheelers being bought is due to loss of jobs and unavailability of those who acquired vehicles to pay their instalments.
Most of the boost in the sale of luxury cars in Goa is due to non-resident Goans who have settled in Goa. Indeed, each of them have two or three cars. In contrast, small working-class families with more than two bikes, have cut down on the number of two-wheelers.

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