January 28, 2013

Import likely to be stopped too
VASCO/PANJIM/MARGAO: Goa could face a fish crisis with the All Goa Fishermen’s Federation, already three days into its strike, now calling for fish markets to be shut down indefinitely from Tuesday.
Even though Maharashtra and Karnataka have expressed support to the strike, President of Cutbona Boat Owners’ Union, Patrick D’Silva said they would write letters to the fish wholesalers not to import fish from across the border on Tuesday.
Speaking to Herald, John Mendes, President of the All Goa Fishermen’s Federation, said that the decision was taken in a meeting of the federation held at Cortalim on Sunday.
“We have decided that all the fish markets too will have to be shut down from Tuesday. We have verbally intimated all the markets, but we will also be writing to them to remain shut from Tuesday onwards,” Mendes told Herald.
Mendes said that they now also have the mechanized fibre dinghy owners on board who have joined their cause and that from Tuesday the strike will be in total.
“The reasons are clear. Earlier, we used to operate on very thin margins and just about break even. With the Rs 11 increase in diesel that the Central government has decided to put in place, it will be expensive to carry on with our business,” Mendes told Herald.
Mendes claimed that the closure of the fish markets would have a major impact in the State. “Almost 95% of the catch comes from trawlers and since trawler owners across the State have already stopped venturing into the sea, there will be no fish in the market,” he said.
The fishermen especially trawler owners had been on strike since January 23, in protest against the Central government’s decision to transfer mechanized fishing from the agriculture sector to the industrial sector.
The change of sectors translates into a hike of Rs 11 per litre that makes it Rs 61.35 a litre.
Mendes said that they would be travelling to Delhi on Monday and would meet Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar besides also hoping to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Advisory Council chairperson and President of the Congress Sonia Gandhi.
“Fishermen from Karnataka and Maharashtra are also supporting us and we will meet Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar to highlight the problems faced by our fishermen,” Mendes said.
“We will urge Pawar to take up the matter with the Union government and resolve our problems. The Federation will also meet the MPs of North and South Goa in this connection,” Mendes added.
Even though the fishermen were on strike for the second half of last week, fish continued to be available in markets in the State either procured through traditional fishermen or from neighbouring States. While there was rise in prices, markets continued to be open selling fish.
However, with the fishermen moving to ensure that the markets too are shut down, fish prices have soared into four digit figures towards Sunday evening. The prices are expected to go up further on Monday, the last day they will be open before the shutdown.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of the boat owners on Sunday, it was resolved to request the fish wholesalers and fish vendors of the Margao wholesale fish market, SGPDA retail fish markets, besides the fish markets at Panjim, Vasco and Mapusa not to open the markets on Tuesday.
President of Cutbona Boat Owners’ Union, Patrick D’Silva said that mechanized vessels from Goa have not ventured out in the sea in the last two days in support of the agitation called by the mechanized boat owners from the west coast of India. “Those vessels which had gone out have all returned back to the jetties. We have decided not to venture out in the sea till our demand for a roll back in the diesel prices is met”, he asserted.

Tivim Social 2012.
Tivim Social 2012 was truly a night of fun and entertainment with lots of dancing, prizes and delicious buffet dinner. Interesting to note how much people cherish their own and ancestral connection with Tivim. Each one relates their own reason for being part of this Social gathering. It was to a great opportunity for people to meet their old and new friends and revive their friendships. There were others who turned up simply to have fun and support a great cause. Patriotic Tivimkars and generous members of the community donated many prizes which added some extra excitement on the day.
This year’s beneficiary was St Vincent de Paul Society of Tivim who provide refuge to homeless women, medical assistance to the sick and help the needy in Tivim. The total amount donated was Rs142, 545/- which was greatly appreciated and acknowledged by St Vincent De Paul Society in Goa.
Fr Clifford D’souza graced the occasion with his presence, blessing of the food and all present on the day. The crowd danced to thenonstop music by CraigDickinson and our upcoming Goan musician Malcolm Britto. As always compere Noel Carvalho was at his best and set the mood right for the evening with games, prizes & surprises. This was followed by our traditional Goan march, masala, line dancing and the latest craze Gangnam Style. It was all in good fun as it was meant to be.
Our sincere thanks to all those who attended, helped us on the day and donated prizes. Wish you all Happy festive season and safe holidays.
With thanks and best wishes
Joe Dsouza

1kg/2lb Sunflower 4oz oil, fresh for mussels frying 1 onion, chopped Thumb-sized ginger, grated piece of 4 garlic cloves, crushed 2 green chillies, chopped 1 tsp black mustard seeds ½ tsp ground turmeric 2 tsp ground cumin 2 tsp ground coriander 400ml can coconut milk Coriander sprigs and lime wedges, to serve
1 Remove the beards, then wash the mussels well in cold water. Refresh the water and repeat until it is clear. Discard any mussels that are broken or stay open when tapped.
2 Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole dish. Fry the onion until very lightly brown, then add the ginger, garlic, chillies, spices, a good pinch of salt and a grinding of pepper. Cook for two to three minutes until fragrant and toasted. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes to get everything mixed together.
3 Tip the mussels into the dish, cover, turn up the heat to maximum and boil for three to four minutes until the mussels have just opened. Scatter over the coriander sprigs and serve with lime wedges for squeezing over the mussels.

Mussels Goan Style

Roland Francis: The Loneliness of Aging: Stray Thoughts of a Toronto Goan
In times past, it was easy being old. In fact ‘old’ in those days meant anyone merely above 50. So a man retired at 55 lived for a year or two and then died while still in his own home. There was no problem for his family or even his wife who usually lived much longer. But now, with advances in medicine, thanks to technology causing nature to be held at bay, being old usually refers to the mid 70’s and beyond. In some cases with many in relatively good health the bar is stretched further. That presents a few problems.
To those who have immigrated temporarily as in the Arabian Gulf or for jobs in Hong Kong and Singapore, there is the constant worry of the old man back home. Distance has been made irrelevant by cheap air travel, but it is not always possible to drop everything even for a short while and fly back to help out during a parental sickness. So you make a few calls and try to get to the heart of the matter. Is it serious? Is the cancer slow spreading rather than aggressively metastasizing? Will the Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s give time and what can I do from here? Do I need to be there if for nothing else than to make him more comfortable than what the folks around him think is sufficient? With sons and daughters in the western hemisphere, those problems are compounded further. There is too much efficiency and too little heart in this part of the world with one’s employment. So you pretend that the problem is not so critical and you delay it until bad luck strikes with a vengeance and senility, non-recognition and even taking of the final breath occurs. And therein lies the Diaspora tragedy of the closest form of human relationships – the Family.

There is an even worse situation that prevails. Mum or Dad have been persuaded that they are better off in England, Canada or Australia in climes different from what they knew, snatched from familiar surroundings, with people who grew to be their friends over a lifetime. They come because the children are all here and they are persuaded that health care is light years ahead of what they would get back there. Then they wilt. They have to be beholden to whomever they live with, meekly saying yes to the son and terrified of the daughter-in-law who didn’t much like them in the first place doing silent battle with the husband about why her parents have not been similarly treated. So this once fiercely independent father and mother who rocked their infants in the soft arms of love and affection, giving them all their time and money which they didn’t always have, through demanding childhood, problem teen times and even the rough paths of young adulthood, find themselves like vulnerable and wounded birds waiting for that predator death to snatch them from misery.

Of course not all experiences are like this. Many children take joy in their parents, treating them like they ought to and not like an inconvenience. Many parents are happy, taking part fully in the lives of the children they live with, learning that their own wise and selfless counsel must be kept to themselves and given only when asked, even if that is rarely. I have seen loving children find scarce money to place their parents in care facilities where comfort and even luxury is compensation for the necessary parting from the family home, finding time almost every day after work to visit, sit and engage in conversation not in condescending manner but with the full dynamism of grateful children.

It is the nature of the Diaspora beast. Children cannot be blamed for not doing enough, only praised when they do. Forget the children, when you have the occasion to meet an older person, drive him or her to a coffee or better still for a nice restaurant meal. Chat. There is always much in life to be proud of that each one brings to old age which could be teased to the fore with little prodding. Watch that sparkle and catch that gleam. Whether doing this or visiting someone known who is in an old age home, you are merely paying it forward. If you reach old age whether you want to or not and you are lucky, someone will gently revive old and pleasant memories for you too.

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Goan migration to a forgotten region
Published on: January 19, 2013 – 23:54
More in: Panorama
This is a story of de Souzas, Lopeses, D’Souzas, Menezeses, Farias and Reises, among others. In a word, it’s a Goan story set in a distant land, once a part of India and Bombay Presidency, but today a foreign country.

Early on in the book itself, author Mascarenhas gives us a hint that Goan migration to Karachi (“Kurrachee” then) did not happen in a vacuum.
General Sir Charles James Napier, Knight Grand Cross (1782-1853), known for having conquered Sindh (“Scinde”) for the British, had a battalion of Royal Irish Fusiliers, who were mainly Catholic, says Mascarenhas. The port of Karachi grew manifold and Karachi became an all-weather port with the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, and harbour improvements in 1873. In 1878, the North Western Railway line linked Karachi with Punjab and Delhi and “the city grew dramatically” (p. 2).
This is the story of migration into Karachi. The other side of migration out of Goa — would need to be looked at and completed from this end, obviously. It is still not understood.
Even if today largely overlooked and forgotten, we get a hint of the wider canvas of Goan migration into Karachi. St Patrick’s Church was built in 1878 “as more and more Catholics began to come to Karachi”. It was “no small church, for it could accommodate more than 700 worshippers” then too. It was, in turn, connected with the Discalced Carmelites, the Capuchin Fathers, the German Jesuits, and then the Italian, American and Spanish Jesuits.
If Goan Catholics are seen as largely lacking entrepreneurial talent back home, this was not the story there. Gaining good education from institutions like St Patrick’s High School and St Joseph’s Convent, they started small businesses like bakeries, furniture shops, and the leasing of horse-drawn carriages (gharries). Some even were behind prominent firms like Haydn Company, the Union Press and the often-mentioned The Indian Life Assurance Company (ILACO), that was later nationalised.
From a wider point of view, one very interesting story comes out in Appendix I (p. 157) which gives a copy of a document penned by A N Menezes, describing the “origin and history of the Cincinnatus Town” and dates back to 1914! It begins with the narration: “In February 1906, I along with D F Faria and Caciano Villa Reis, had gone to pay a visit to P J D’Mello, at his piggery in Garden Quarter….”
While some of this might appear as trivia at first glance, it is obviously playing the useful role of joining the dots and building a wider picture of Goan migration to a region now largely cut off due to the vagaries of history.
In its 15 brief chapters, the author looks at the start of St Lawrence’s Chaplaincy, its parish, and it’s sometimes troubled times. The founders of Cincinnatus Town “gave priority to the building of a church which they dedicated to St Lawrence”. They built this with their personal resources, and even the Catholic Mission got involved only at a latter stage. The church’s design is a “unique blend of Christian and Muslim architecture”. Other details might interest those who have a closer knowledge of Karachi.
But some chapters of this book focus on wider issues of relevance to anyone interested in the under-researched reality of Goan diaspora history, which clearly shaped the Goa of today. This comes incidentally at a time when the setting up of the Chair in Diaspora Studies at the Goa University has just been announced and is moving ahead.
There are chapters on Catholic Life in Pakistan (p. 75), and also the “Creation of Pakistan itself and its aftermath” (p. 69). Initially, Pakistan’s founder Jinnah told the Constituent Assembly in August 1947 that the “religion or caste or creed” people belonged to would have “nothing to do with the business of the State”.
But the tide turned. Services in the “Government of Pakistan, the Sindh Government, the defence forces and the police no longer attracted Catholics. They began to feel the effects of discrimination almost immediately after Partition.” (p. 81) In a way, they were the community that got caught in the crossfire. The collateral damage of religious intolerance on the subcontinent.
Yet, looking back, the history of Karachi, Sindh and what today is Pakistan, continues to have a long line of Goan names, even if the “migration syndrome” set in among the Catholic Goan community there too.
This book fills a useful gap in understanding various aspects of Goan life in Karachi. It is a simple but neatly-crafted title, and its subtitle makes its wider focus clear (“The Garden Area with the Settlement of the Christian Community”). One minor complaint is that its table of contents lacks page numbers, making navigation across the book a bit tough. It is also bereft of photographs, which could have really added value to this volume.
Priced at Rs 350 (Pakistani rupees, at that) it is nonetheless a worthy buy, but getting copies here, what with the international boundary that we have lived with over the last two generations, is not going to be easy. One anticipates that “Pakistani Goans” who are now back in Goa could, at best, ask relations or friends there to get back a copy during their annual pilgrimage home.
It is perhaps time for a more detailed book that tells the story of this distinct strand of Goan outmigration. And there are the skills that could easily do it — ranging from the Colva-linked Menin Fernandes (who runs the insightful website), to others like engineer and civic and environmental campaigner Roland de Souza, or Deborah Santamaria (active as a community networker, and whom one met at Calangute) or our own Karachi-born recently-retired director of education and historian in Goa Dr Celsa Pinto.