RAJAN PARRIKAR |
Walking Around Panjim
If you walk around Panjim, like I do, it is a revelation. Early morning and late night walks bring home just how much Panjim has descended into the Indian gutter. A true estimation of this decline cannot be had from behind the car window.
Large areas in the city are now de facto spittoons, with sidewalks and roads converted into galleries of paan-spit art courtesy our permanent guests, the ghatis. It is impossible to walk a furlong without being visually assaulted by the amount of refuse and olfactorily overwhelmed by the stink.
Is the Panjim MLA Sidharth Kuncalienkar going to pin this sordid state on the “activists”? If he truly cared about the city, Shri Kuncalienkar would have sought my input when we met the other day. After all, he knows that I am very familiar with the issues of Panjim, having brought a PIL to a successful conclusion in 2008.
He also knows of my numerous pleas to his master Manohar-ji Parrikar-ji, first when he was in the Opposition and then when he became CM, regarding Panjim’s woes. These fellows cannot take care of a small space, yet they have the nerve to cook up scams worth hundreds of crores and call it ‘development.’
The Living Narkasurs
Tonight Goa will witness the spectacle of Narkasur effigies installed in every neighbourhood corner. They will be consigned to flames in the wee hours of the morning, a ritual symbolizing victory over the forces of evil. The flesh-and-blood Narkasurs of Goa, however, will live on, inviolate and indestructible.
Their permanent legacy is the narak – a state of filth, squalor, sleaze, corruption – they have deposited Goa into. What the Portuguese couldn’t do in 450 years they achieved in a mere 50. Thank you, India, for nothing.
The primus inter pares of this tribe is Shri Manohar-ji Parrikar-ji. In a videotaped conversation with me in March 2008 – archived on YouTube – he solemnly declared that the conditions in Goa caused “shivers to pass down my spine.” At the time he was the Leader of the Opposition. He warned that there was a narrow window left to salvage Goa.
Fast forward to March 2012. Manohar Parrikar is returned to power with a thumping majority. In the run-up to the election, he pledges “zero tolerance to corruption,” action against casinos, curbs on rampant construction and land conversion, and redress of several critical issues facing Goa. It turned out to be one big fat lie.
Manohar-ji’s first order of business was to sell Goans down the drain to the casino baron (a guest at his swearing-in ceremony) and the builder’s mafia.
When I called on Manohar-ji to halt the megaprojects sprouting around Panjim and look into their violations, his response was that the go-ahead had been given by the earlier government.
He is now the Defense Minister of India.
There has never been a deficit of eminent Goan Narkasurs: Rane, Churchill, Ravi Naik, Wilfred D’Souza, Luizinho Faleiro, Digambar Kamat are but few of the names that come to mind. None, however, has scaled the heights of deception more than Manohar-ji. He is by far the one with the most burnished brain.
When I hear people chant “Save Goa,” I wonder. What does it even mean anymore? And “Save Goa” for whom? For the teeming ghatis in the ever expanding slums? For the Sharma-Varmas from Delhi and Mumbai perched in their megaproject villas?
Manohar-ji got one thing right: the window for Goa has closed (he helped in no small measure to nail it shut). Accept it, Goans. GOA IS DEAD. But our Narkasurs are forever.