Keeping the justice message for Fr Bismarque Dias alive through a carnival float – and how we did it
March 17, 2017
SUDEEP DALVI | The very idea of floating a float in this year’s carnaval came from the fact that the issue of justice for Father Bismarque needed to be embedded into the psyche of Goan masses. The message that Father Bismarque had met a gruesome, tragic and violent death at the hands of his assassins and justice needs to be delivered to his departed soul made me and my friends prepare this float.
Since the float would have faced certain outright rejection had it been registered under the banner of Justice for Father Bismarque, it was decided to prepare it under the banner of Musical Warriors, since Father Bismarque was also the senior most musical warrior and a fatherly figure for the entire group.
Once registered, the challenge in front of us was to prepare the float. A float themed upon demand for justice for Father Bismarque could not be prepared using donations coming from the dirty hands of the politicians, builders, industrialists and other businessmen. It was decide that the money will be fully shelled out by the participants and a few friends upon personal recommendation.
An open truck was hired for four days and a metal framework was welded upon it on all sides. Printed flex artwork was pasted from all the side to it. Themes for the artwork were selected from the video recordings of Musical Warriors contributed by bab William O. Rodrigues, one of the closest friends of Father Bismarque. All this work was done in a record time of two days, by just three people. Kennedy Afonso, myself and a friend who loves to remain anonymous.
Kennedy arranged for a group of Kunbi folk singers from Nuvem, who memorized Arre baala by heart. Their presence added an additional attraction to the float. Jacinta and Jackeline, two of strongest followers of Father Bismarque came forward to take lead in singing his songs over the float in Panjim and Margao.
With all this preparation, we set forth for our most difficult task. Getting our float successfully screened with a huge banner carrying the message of “Justice for Father Bismarque”. The task was next to impossible, but Kennedy’s idea worked. The original banner was covered on both the sides by two separate banners carrying environment related messages, which were torn off to expose the real message once the float crossed the screening point.
With full enthusiasm and valour, we sang Arre baala over the beats of ghumots and shouted our throats to seek justice for our beloved mentor.
The effect which it had on the onlookers was tremendous. All over the way in Panjim and Margao, we were greeted with hundreds of hands showing us clenched fists, victory signs, and thumbs ups along with ovations and salutes.
In the aftermath of Father’s murder, we, his supporters were meted with brutality by the police at Mandovi Ferry, just because we raised slogans and banners of justice for Father Bismarque. Now this time, we not only shouted slogans and raised the banner of justice in an official and in a more vocal and visible way in the state’s biggest celebration, but also made way for our message to reach all parts of the world. The message that whatever the government machinary did to martyr Father Bismarque was a fraud, and only judiciary is in a position to provide us hope for justice.
Since money was in wanting, the float could travel only in Panjim and Margao. We received consolation prized at both the cities. But more than the prize or prize money, it was the love of masses that made us feel won, feel successful.