JOAO BARROS PEREIRA | D, the letter, is the first letter of several of my favorite words in English: disgraceful, dumb, dangerous, divine, destruction, disastrous, among others. Readers can introspect and decide if they are good or bad or both and compare it to your own.
Disgraceful: The greatest Indian who ever lived once advised his students to follow the Middle Path, no extremism. Unfortunately, after his enlightenment he ceased to be an Indian, no longer had an Indian passport (nor Portuguese or any other) nor an Indian identity. He became known as the Enlightened One and was embraced by a large part of the world except India. The same happened to Jesus. It is said no prophet is recognized in his own country!
What do you think Buddha, the Awakened One who lived more than 2500
years ago would think of what is going on in India today?
Dumb and dangerous: With so-called debates raging like wild fires in India over cow slaughter, what does it mean to follow a Middle Path for us in India today? Do owners of TV channels pay people who appear on their shows to shout, and shout the loudest? Often the anchor man or woman is the Star Shouter! Some foreigners who live in Goa seriously doubt our claim to being a spiritual country anymore (we are nowhere in the race for the title of The Spiritual Country in the World). Bad news, indeed. And, as we know, democracy was not invented by the British or Greeks. Nehru observed rightly how democracy is a system of consensus. Yes, it has existed in India in one form or another. The West emphasized the political aspect, Indian sages the spiritual. Today, the sage is the one who can shout the loudest. And, he or she is always right!
Divine: God is One! That has been the philosophical perspective of the people of this country for millennia. Atheists or theists, people of various opinions or religions, makes no difference! God is beyond mind or (as Buddhists would say) no-mind – it is only a different way of stating ultimate reality. So, what’s all the fighting for?
Destruction: Our India, our Goa is undergoing unprecedented destruction with our rivers no longer safe for swimming. Experts tell us it is a danger to our health and we should not enter the water. If so, is it safe to eat the fish? Who has destroyed our rivers? The culprits are mostly 5-star hotels, casinos and governments which allow illegalities! The hotels and casinos have been depositing their 5-star feces into the banks and rivers. We can allow boats and barges to pollute the rivers further or start a cleaning up project to make the rivers safe within the normal health parameters once again. Is cleaning up the rivers against Goan identity and Goemkarponn?
The rivers are a greater threat, far greater health risk than plastic. Chief Minister Parrikar has made a good start but cleaning up the rivers is much more important than getting rid of plastic. Are the hotels and casinos going to get away with it? This project of cleaning up the rivers is no picnic; it is a hot political potato. If we can’t clean up the rivers we urgently need to bring back the pig if we want good health. Declare the pig as our state animal. After all, if we can liken the cow to our mother then why can’t we liken the pig to our father?
Disastrous: If our rivers are extremely polluted and a big danger to our health as scientists claim, then it is the duty of the Tourism Minister to ban swimming and other activities in the polluted rivers. He has to protect Goans, Indians and international tourists. We need effective disaster management immediately. He has to ban swimming and water sports. People’s health cannot be put in danger. But there is good news. With nationalization of rivers the Central government can begin to clean up the rivers, They will receive the support and gratitude of the people of Goa. If they add to the pollution they can expect the wrath of Goans. We have now to act now before it becomes big, global news after some disastrous episode. We cannot allow our polluted rivers to drown the goose who lays the golden eggs.