At this juncture, it is important to recollect that India is a union of states with varying legal histories. Article 370, which enshrines the specificities to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is a recognition of this political diversity. Goa, like Kashmir, has a unique legal history. Unlike Kashmir, however, Goan specificities did not merit any constitutional recognition. Subsequent to the annexation of the territory, Goans were not asked, via a plebiscite, what they wished their political status to be, nor was a Constituent Assembly set up, as was the case in Kashmir and some of the other princely states in the process of accession to India. India simply asserted its power and extended its Constitution to Goa, and erased pre-existing citizenship.
Having gone to the polls on 4 February, Goa is awaiting the results of the assembly elections with bated breath. Known to be pro-active in terms of exercising its democratic franchise, Goa’s 83 percent voter turnout was praised by all. The month-long wait for the results, however, is witnessing controversies around such issues as those of irregularities in the voting process through postal ballots, and the enrollment of around 600 army men as voters in the Navelim constituency. These controversies have cast doubts on whether elections in Goa were conducted in a free and fair manner.
Eat Dust is no work of fiction, although one is left wondering at the bizarreness of the truth behind the loot. It is a book however that passes on timeless lore, like the story of Paikdev’s spring. As Hartman takes us over hills that once stood in Goa, to the court room, and river side, and traces his own story from Kenya to Goa, one gets a rich context for what is actually, and incredibly, unraveling in Goa.
Northeastern women employed in Goa’s spas and salons have come out in protest against unfair labour practices and an unsafe work environment that puts them at risk of sexual assault and compromises their dignity.
The matter came to the fore when a dozen women therapists at a leading salon and spa in North Goa quit en masse on August 20 and, five days later, approached the North East Association of Goa – which represents the Northeastern community in the state and especially the 3,000-odd migrant workers from the region – for help.
The relationship of the Indian elites to Goa is by no means innocent. For that matter, neither is the relationship of India to Goa. Rather, these relationships are built on the willful ignoring of history, to enable Indians to create Goa and Goans not only as property of the Indian empire but as a pleasure park where they can imagine themselves to be in their own little part of Europe.
Goans, or at least those familiar with the Goan Catholic milieu, are in fact also European.
Raiot is excited at publishing first of the extracts from Eat Dust : Mining and Greed in Goa by Hartman de Souza. For a zine published from Meghalaya, the other frontier of Mining in India, it is fitting that we learn from Goa – that raving beach infested greed fest.