GOA..... as I knew it:

From Africa and Asia


FIRST OF, What is a GOAN?

A: I get the answer from observing and knowing my parents, and my grandparents on my mothers' side and I bet, it would have been ditto from the grandparents on my fathers' side, who ceased to exist by the time I arrived in Goa. You may hear and read other opinions and stories on being a Goan, but this is the way I see it:

Goa, that land of peace, quiet and susegad was invaded and conquered and taken away from the Portuguese some time in 1963. It goes without saying that the Portuguese were caught napping under the Goan sun. India did not liberate Goa, but invaded and conquered Goa. Prior to the arrival of its beloved St Francis of Xavier, some 200 years prior to the Portuguese exit, Goa was a territory in the sub-continent, ruled by so many different rulers, governments, and what-not. But, St Francis Xavier made the Goan what he became, and that is the Goan we refer to. Today, Goa has made and earned so much foreign money for India, from being its number one tourism destination to the raw materials and fruit of the earth products, no wonder India will never tolerate an independent Goa. Goans, the true people of Goa, of course, did not know any better, but to go along with whichever country ruled it.  Peaceful, quiet, and good-natured is what a real Goan is, remember. So, as they got dissatisfied with the culture,  the Goan began looking for opportunities outside Goa... and like the Portuguese, they travelled to other parts of the world; East Africa became the love of Goans in the early '50's. Here they thrived and toiled in His Majesty's Service. Soon however,  Kenya decided that people of Indian passports had to pack up and leave that country, and so again, the East African Goans were homeless and had to choose between India, the UK or Canada. In Kenya, as in the rest of East Africa, the Goan was looked on as that domicile, trustworthy, reliable, God-fearing and honest Indian, of Portuguese influence, who toiled at office work, second to none!. In other words, if you needed an honest bookkeeper, a pleasant English-speaking, law-abiding, His/Her majesty's servant, look no further. The British Lords thought highly of them, we know. Goans, separate and different from Indians, were acknowledged and appreciated. Many of the British employers  asked for Goan office staff and after Kenyan independence, welcomed many Goans to the UK. 

The Portuguese, although a foreign power, had such a strong influence in Goa, that Goans, many, many even to this day, would rather belong to Portugal, than to India. It has to be the Catholic religion! To me, that is what makes the Indian-looking Goan a different person. The love of God and the practice of His commands. Of course, we eat, dress, talk, differently..

BUT, when asked to choose between the two rulers as to who I would rather emulate, and in spite of personal relationship with Portuguese male and female individuals, I have to select the Indian: because he knows and practices the financial and business world like no Portuguese has done. But, he will walk away and disown you if you get in his way... and THAT is not the way my Goan Catholic practices.

So, it has happened that the likeable Goan has fused with other good-natured people to bring about new offspring. These offspring care not about the Indian Goa, but very much appreciate being the hyphenated Goan.

In a few human years, a Goan, as I know of him, will be no more. This is a .....

.. and I am open to serious, challenging, and learned discussions about this race that is evolving into extinction...

Konkanim and Goans in Toronto, namely tiatrist Richard Fernandes who lived a Goan life: