The Goan Forum's PERSONA(E) of the Year 2004


The New Year is already upon us, and we at The Goan Forum take this opportunity to look back at identifying an individual or a set of individuals who have made the most distinctive contribution to Goa in the year 2004.

This contribution does not necessarily have to be beneficial to
Goa or Goans, only that it has been the most distinctive.

We at The Goan Forum chose January 30th to name this persona(e) as it is on this day in 1948 that the greatest Indian Apostle of Peace Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by a right wing Hindu nationalist.  Mahatma Gandhi had given up a life of every possible luxury in order to fight for equality, justice, freedom, peace and what is right. And he was gunned down for that.  So much for the rightwing Hindus, or for that matter, rightwing Christians and Muslims.

We believe that many men and women in Goa yearn for equality, justice, freedom, peace and what is right, but are too afraid to articulate those thoughts in public.  They are unfortunately left helpless as they watch impotently the charade played by powerful interest groups and the sycophants who parrot the talking points handed to them.

Mercifully, not every single Goan is a sossegado fence sitter.  There are indeed a few exceptions.

Among the individuals we looked at:  Goa's present Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar, well-known Goa journalist Fred Noronha, brilliant writer from the heart Ethel da Costa, principled activists of conscience, Godfrey Gonsalves & Miguel Braganza, conscientious objector Dr. Francisco Colaço, noted Goan  Arvind Bhaticar,  Goa University botanist Dr. Nandkumar Kamat, Goa Union of Journalists president Ashley do Rosario, The Heraldo newspaper, the pit bull watchdog Floriano Lobo, journalists of the future like Melvyn Misquita  and the gadfly publication, the Independent Goan Observer and its principals. 

Fred Noronha normally invites high expectations of him, only to fail to cut any mustard in the end. This year was no different.  The year 2004 was another year that the highly talented, hard working and extremely capable Fred Noronha "stowed away" his God-given gifts of the written word.  Perhaps 2005 will be different.

Ethel da Costa has impressed us with her straight and in-your-face writings.  She has not hesitated to call a spade a spade. She has tackled many an issue affecting Goa with customary panache.  She has been positively brilliant.

Godfrey Gonsalves, Miguel Braganza and Floriano Lobo are dogged individuals who are consistent in their opposition to what they see as inappropriate.  Goa needs more individuals like them to straighten out the modus operandi of the crooks who continue to rip off the system and rip off Goa.

Dr. Francisco Colaco and Arvind Bhaticar represent the classy Goans who are honest, sensible and direct in their dealings. They are indeed role models for the younger generation.  Arvind Bhaticar is blossoming into an amazing satirist. It is possible that he always was a brilliant satirist, but has until recently kept his talents hidden.

Melvyn Misquita is a journalist to watch in the years to come.  He has excellent writing skills. Provided he is given the right 'space' to work in, he is the most likely among the Goa journalists to use his talents well.

It was disappointing to see Ashley do Rosario and Dr. Nandkumar Kamat waylaid in 2004.  Much was expected of them and so little were they able to deliver.

The Heraldo newspaper was always known as one which stood its ground in the face of adversity.  The year 2004 saw the Heraldo somehow misplace its soul. It is possible that this is only a temporary misplacement.  It will be an absolute shame if it isn't - for there are many young and hardworking Goan journalists who struggle at the Heraldo in a surprisingly primitive work environment.  It will be a shame to see that struggle wasted.

 Most impressive was Mr. Manohar Parrikar's sense of purpose and his discipline. It is this discipline which has brought significant stability to Goa after the chaotic years under the corrupt and decadent Maharashtrawadi Gomantak and Congress governments.

The stability and organisation brought to the Goan political scene by Mr. Parrikar easily overcame the primary difficulty that automatically tags on to Mr. Parrikar - the devious political machinations followed by the coup which brought him to the chair of the Chief Minister.

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