Friday 14 December 2018

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Society | Heritage

Demand to change name of Vasco da Gama city

 

The year 1997 was the year to stall celebrations of Vasco da Gama's "discovery" of India 500 years ago. The year 1998 may now attempt to wipe out his identify from the country.

As a beginning, the Goan freedom fighters and others, including the Sangh Parivar, is bent upon changing the name of Goa's port town, named after Vasco da Gama.

The new name suggested is Sambhaji Nagar, as Shivaji's son had fearlessly fought the Portuguese to liberate Goa.

They had served a deadline of 19 December, the Goa Liberation Day, which is now postponed to 26 January. Meanwhile, their attempt to get a resolution passed in the Assembly failed since the ruling Congress party vehemently opposed it.

"How can we change the name simply because handful of freedom fighters demand", asks Dr Wilfred Mesquita, the revenue minister, belonging to the Congress and the Vasco MLA. "Not only Goan freedom fighters, but even our national convention held in Simla in September had passed a resolution demanding change of the name", clarifies Vishwanath Lawande, a veteran freedom fighter and working president of the national body.

The Goa government's one such attempt, made when Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party was ruling during the union territory days, had failed since the central government rejected the proposal.

"But the state has now all the powers to change the names", asserts Shashikala Kakodkar, the former chief minister of the union territory. Meanwhile, the freedom fighters have also requested President of India K R Narayanan, during his Goa visit last week, to intervene.

Subhash Velingkar, the RSS leader heading the Samiti, says the actions would begin from 27 January. Meanwhile, he is planning to pressurise the municipal council of Vasco to pass a resolution to change the name, while also planning dharnas and demonstrations in Panaji.

"The actions would begin with defacing all the boards in the port town, having Vasco da Gama's name", discloses Lawande. They are furious because of the approach of the Congress government.

"Changing the name would be a Goan tribute to the country in the golden jubilee year of its independence. We won't keep quite till we succeed. But it is irony that we have to fight for nationalist values even after 50 years", states Chandrakant Kenkre, president of freedom fighters' association.






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