Who is a Goan, is the question Oscar Rebello put out into the public domain. I am pleased to announce, I have the answer. It is unfortunate that his green eyes earned him some racist abuse, but it is a fact that just before and after Liberation anyone with excessively fair colouring, brown hair and light eyes was unflatteringly referred to as a mestiço. To your face if one was in a scrap, otherwise behind your back, no matter which class of society you were born into. Later with the advent of Fair & Lovely, light skin and green eyes became much envied and much sought after commodities. Now no one hears the word mestiço. But no one denied that the mestiço was Goan.
The toddy tapper and fisherman with their glossy ebony bodies were undeniably Goan even though they were denied entry into the capital city of
There were the goldsmiths, the businessmen, the batkars, the priests, the clerks whose Goan identity was never in any doubt. So why the chest thumping now? Because we get defensive and incoherent, under the inevitability of being swamped by the much abused Non-Goan. I remember getting into a public, published scrap with another columnist, a Non-Goan, in the same magazine I wrote for. He made some belittling comments about
But back to the question of who is a Goan. The answer is simple because there is a certain something that defines the genuine Goan. Something as simple as birth and genealogy. We are too close to the Goan scene with all our mental baggage, so let’s sit back and look further afield to
An Indian goes to
When that Indian goes anywhere else in the world, he will be always be known as an Asian. When the Englishman leaves
As does the quintessential Goan.
A Goan therefore would be someone whose ancestors go back hundreds of years to a village in