It seems almost lost in the mists of time now. That time when the idea of Goa Dourada, a
Now this Indic connection for
One of the many problems with Goa Indica is that when it thought of the pre-Portuguese past, it thought of
Happily it appears that we may not have to go too far. Perhaps the answer was sitting before our very noses all the time and thanks to our elitist obsessions we just didn’t recognize it!
The eating of pork is essential to any Catholic feast or festive occasion, and many assume that the consumption of pork was something that was ‘imposed’ and introduced to the ancestors of today’s Catholics by the Portuguese and the accompanying missionaries. What if however, this was not quite the story? What if pork was already a part of the Goan diet before the Portuguese came in? Would that possibly change the way in which we look at the constituents of Goan Catholic culture?
It is possible, and no doubt documented, that the missionaries urged pork on to the populace that converted to Catholicism way back in the 1500’s. However, to assume that this was the first time the converts to Catholicism had ever consumed pork is to assume that the entire population that converted was possessed of brahmanical sensibilities. If one looks around, at social groups in the rest of Mother India, one realizes that there is a good portion of the non-brahmanical population of the sub-continent that quite enjoys eating pork. We can also safely assume that these groups were insulated from the rigors of that famed beast, the Holy Inquisition in
A significant social scientist in Goa, was recently contemplating the fact that the social groups, at least in Catholic Bardez, who were professional cooks were groups that in other parts of India were seen an untouchable. What caused then, this scholar wondered, for the missionary priests, to attach cooking as the traditional occupation of this group on their conversion to Christianity? If one realizes that these groups were in any case consuming Pork, and that the missionaries came from
Realizing that the consumption of pork was a part of the pre-Portuguese culture of
In sum then, while the idea of Goa Indica was relevant and helpful, it is time we started relooking the clichés we use to describe
(First published in the Gomantak Times 25 August 2010)