A lot of newsprint has been dedicated to Goa in Delhi’s newspapers thanks to the elections. At least a lot more than nothing, which is usually the case! This morning, a heartfelt editorial by Sharon Fernandes in the Hindustan Times outlined the urgent need for a holistic vision for Goa’s development. Hurt by the stereotype of Goans as beer loving party animals, she argues rightly that Goa’s citizens have the same needs as others–jobs, better infrastructure especially in the face of growing real estate development and tourism, planned development, quality of life. I agree with her view; it is a pity that Goa is so totally focused on tourism. While tourism creates jobs, there is little to challenge the many intelligent and highly qualified citizens in the state. Many Goans leave the state with a heavy heart because they have no opportunities in Goa.
As if to confirm Sharon’s views, as BJP’s win in Goa hit news channels, a friend put up a status message on Facebook saying “Damn.. Its a Sad day for Goa..
If BJP wins Goa then its No Sex, No Drugs, No Alcohol please, We’re BJP.. :p
we shud rename Go-A as Go-away..”
As a proud Goan, I was loath to take that in good humor. A beautiful state that retains its simplicity and lure even in the face of blatant exploitation by its own politicians and irresponsible tourism deserves good governance. If the people (81% of Goans exercised their franchise this time) vote for BJP, it is because they believe the party will give them a better deal, a better life and not just milk the state without giving anything back to it’s people. Of course, what really happens remains to be seen.
Beyond good governance, Goa needs new ideas, a new vision and a passion to transform it into a sustainable paradise, not one with an expiry date! For instance, why can’t Goa become a hub for high-tech, R&D and other knowledge industries that utilizes (and attracts) highly qualified people, and causes relatively less pollution, and occupies relatively less space than conventional industry? Why can’t it be a hub for higher education, maybe even online education or remote medicine, or any other use that does not encourage in-migration in volume and increases the GDP of the state. In turn, sustainable tourism and eco-cities must be the norm in a state as small and manageable as Goa. It can set an example for the world. It is the one of the only places I know of that is so culturally diverse yet community-centric, close-knitted yet open-minded and welcoming, warm yet proud. Goa deserves better, Goans deserve better. And I sure do hope the new government can do justice to the aspirations of the Goan people!