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The changing face of Goa !!!!!!!

Sobit Amchem Goem is a song sung by Bhupinder Singh, the lyrics for which were provided by the great Goan poet Manoharrai Sardessai.

It goes like this: “Sobit amchem Goem, Sundor amchem Goem, Madd-maddianchem, Nohiam-dorianchem, Duda zhorianchem,Torne xoktichem, Meklleponnachem, Munisponnachem, Soponn bhangrachem, Soponn bhangrachem Goem.”

Goa is changing and the changes are taking place at a fast rate.

A number of factors are responsible for the changes.

A lot of Goan youth, fed up with the lack of job opportunities which match their educational qualifications are migrating. We call them skilled workers.

Where are they moving in search of employment? They are moving outside the state in search of employment, in bigger cities like Bangalore and Mumbai, to name a few which have jobs matching their educational qualifications.

A few lucky ones move outside the country.

Then there are the semi-skilled, who have been training in institutes or studied in educational institutions, yet, they are not able to win the confidence of the big factories or industrial houses in goa to give them jobs.

So what is the option left for them, make a passport, maybe a Portuguese passport and migrate to Europe. The other option is to search for jobs in the Gulf countries, but that window opening for jobs is slowly on the decline and not a preferred one for the Goans nowadays.

If we look back at the history of migration, Goans earlier used to work in the Gulf in large numbers. Goans working the Gulf used to have their families based in Goa while only a small minority would take their family along with them to the Gulf.

These meant, the children were born and brought up in Goa and the Goan way of life, tied as they were to the land, language and culture.

In recent years Goa is facing migration of the entire family, leaving the aged parents behind to fend for themselves. Children are taken out of school, so there is a fall in the number of students in local schools.

Church attendance in some of the villages in Goa is falling while some villages in Goa are failing to field a football team for the popular inter-village football tournament.

The migration has seen a number of local artisans not available locally, like electricians, plumbers and several other skilled workers are in short supply. The empty space left by the Goans is filled up by the non-Goans who are moving into Goa in search of employment.

Some of them have honest intentions but most of the people are looked up with suspicion and with several senior citizens living alone, they pose a threat if serious effort is not made to check their background.

Just like the non-goans who come to Goa to work and provide for their families, the Goans working in foreign lands for time immemorial have been working as SeaFarers, and several other countries as far as Africa and South America (Brazil) and helping their families to live comfortably.

The cash inflow (salaries) from foreign land made it possible to build them good houses, and help them provide good education for their children and thus there was an upward mobility.

So we do not find many of the Goan artisans children taking up the profession of their forefathers and that is the reason there is a vacant place in many professions.

So migration has been good for Goa in the past as it supported the local economy (markets), but the migration of entire families is leaving a big hole in society. A hole which is difficult for the Goans based in Goa to fill up. And the migration is affecting more of the Christian community.

A day is not far when Goans will be a minority in their own land and the day is not far, if we do not take steps to support our artisans, our artists, our young people who are in search of employment.

We need to form support groups at all levels for youths, for senior citizens. We need to operate as an entire close knit unit and reach out with a helping hand.

We need to go to the drawing board and identify what needs to be done and we have to do it quickly lest we lose our “Sobit amchem Goem, Sundor amchem Goem, bhangrachem Goem.

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