INDEPENDENCE: The army and its families have always enjoyed Independence Day in the country. They stay in cantonments which are free of the control of the state and centre and even the local municipalities.

By Rajan Narayan

AND a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when even Aamir Khan, the actor,l complemented Narendra Modi in his “Maan Ki Baat.” It must be accepted that “Maan Ki Baat” has been a great communication exercise. For a Saturday following the week when as part of its saffronisation drive the BJP decided to abolish all cantonments and convert these into special military stations. For a Saturday following the week when Goa Home Minister Pramod Sawant was very unfair in claiming that all crimes were committed by migrants. For a Saturday following the week when it would appear that trade unions seem to have completely disappeared from Goa. For a Saturday following the week when I discovered that the pressure on a newspaper owner by politicians is far more intense than on the editor.
AND A few stray thoughts on when even actor Aamir Khan complimented Narendra Modi on his “Maan Ki Baat” talks. It has to be accepted that it has been a great communication exercise. Narendra Modi celebrated his 100th episode of “Maan Ki Baat” on April 30, 2023. The “Maan Ki Baat” which literally means “thoughts from my mind” was modeled on the fireside chats of American President Franklin D Roosevelt, who led the United States into the Second World War.
In fact, the PM Modi’s radio talks are a little like Aamir Khan’s own series of “Satyamev Jayate” where he took up several public issues for in depth investigation. Most felt that Modi’s felt that “Maan Ki Baat” was targeted at labor and poorer classes rather than countries as a whole. The impression is that it is all part of an attempt to saffronise the country.
I understand that the attendance at the 100th episode was very poor though everyone from ministers to government servants were present to watch it. We do not know whether questions from “Maan Ki Baat” will now appear in exam papers of students.

AND a few stray thoughts on when as part of its saffronisation drive the BJP decided to abolish all cantonments and convert them into special military stations. Historically, the British called the areas where they kept their soldiers and made provision for the stay of their families as cantonment areas. The cantonment areas were independent of the municipalities and even state governments. Every cantonment has its own infrastructure including supermarkets.
Aam aadmi civilians was not permitted to stroll through a military cantonment without permission. The concept behind the cantonment was to build a strong spirit of friendship between the defense soldiers living in these cantonments. Normally the cantonment is equivalent to the regiment. For instance the Belgavi cantonment is linked to military engineering services, whereas the Goan cantonment is linked to Signals Regiment of the army.
When it came to cantonments even the government could not interfere their running, there was a senior most military officer in charge of running it. Now of course with the new special military stations the government will lay down the rules.
Incidentally, the British government had divided the army into community and caste-based regiments. There was for instance the Maratha regiments and Mahar regiments. The Mahar regiments were formed because nobody from other communities liked to work with backward class Mahars.
Ironically, it was the British Mahar regiment which inflicted a crushing defeat on the British Maratha regiment in a war fought at Bhima Koregaon. This place continues to remain a source of clashes between the Mahar and the Maratha. The powerful Maratha lobby has got several leading intellectuals supporting the Mahar arrested.

AND a few stray thought when Home Minister Pramod Sawant was very unfair in claiming that all crimes are committed by migrants in Goa. The records show that Goans are as involved in crimes as migrants. Migrants may commit crimes of passion. Which means they may pick up fights with each other or with their wives. They don’t fight with the bar manager or the shack waiters as the so called heavyweight Goans do.
The attitude of upper class Goans is that they can do whatever they want with migrant labor as they do not have any backing or support. Goans are also interested in manufacture and sale of drugs like LSD and ganja. But the largest number of crimes attributed to Goans are cyber crimes when they set up call centers. They target the pension plans of senior citizens in USA. They manage to get their codes including the OTP and clear out their accounts. There have been half-a-dozen cases of nakli call centers in Goa in the last three months alone
AND a last stray thought on when we think it is best in Goa’s interest for the Congress to come back to power in Karnataka. The Congress had introduced a reservation of 4% for below poverty line Muslims. This was scrapped by the BJP government recently as they are consolidating on the anti-Muslim vote. Instead, the Congress has proposed a ban on the Bajrang Dal which is the most violent member of the BJP family.

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