Thursday 17 June 2021

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed


Vitthaldas to Moscow


It’s high time Goans stand up and retain its original titles, sculptures, architecture…rather preserve its own identity.

The other day I was walking on the streets outside my house in Morji. A tourist taxi stopped at once and the driver asked me the way to Moscow beach. For a moment I was startled. I knew about Russian tourists in Morjim but never heard about a beach called Moscow beach.

The poor driver kept on inquiring at neighbourhood shops but in vain. I was so curious that on my way I too kept on asking my friends about this beach. Finally, one of the neighbors told me that just around the corner of the Morji beach one shackowner had placed a name plate MOSCOW BEACH.

The name of that particular area in Morjim is Vitthaldas. May be the shack owner found the name old fashioned or simply he decided to cash on the growing Russian clientele. So here was the mystery behind the journey of Vitthaldas to Moscow.

As far as changes in the names are concerned, INDIA will be on top on the world map. Bombay to Mumbai, Banglore to Bangalaru, Madras to Chennai and so on. But as far as Goa is concerned, we are content with the names Portuguese has given us. Goans are happy the way they are.  Harmal is more termed as Arambol, Hadfade as Arpora, Hanjuna as Anjuna, Madgao as Margao etc. Not to forget the golden word M, that is used in writing as well as pronouncing the names of the places. For e.g. Panaji is pronounced as Panjim, Kutthali as Cortalim,  Sange as Sanguem.

Unfortunately Goans will never get rid of this ‘M’ factor because a significant section of society considers it high profile style of public speaking. Thus you will keep hearing Molem, Chopdem, Bicholim...and so on.

One interesting aspect that has come across after rechristening the names is that people adapt very quickly to such changes. The new names have become household names locally as well as internationally. Within a short span of time, Bombay has disappeared and has become popular all over the world as Mumbai. Same thing happened with other major cities like Chennai and Bengalaru. If the Government takes the matter seriously and makes necessary administrative changes, people eventually follow.  Otherwise unscrupulous elements will keep on changing the original names of the places to their selfish motives.

The shackowners in Viththaldas had no clue to the long term damage they are doing to Morjim. First they ignore the history behind the name Vitthaldas and later mislead the entire generation. Presently, if 50 people have recognized the place as Moscow beach, I won’t be surprised if it soon appearing on Goa’s calendar. Rather than succumbing to the pressures of capitalists who encroach on the seashores and rename the beaches as if it’s their private property, we should be able to stop the culprits.

It’s high time Goans stand up and retain its original titles, sculptures, architecture…rather preserve its own identity.

Goa had a long history of invaders. Every other ruler destroyed its cultural heritage and imposed a new culture on this tiny island. 50 years after the liberation if someone demands back its heritage, we should be open to support it. Everything cannot be brought back, but some things can be re- claimed.  It is every Goan’s right to get back what he or she has lost. Even a small thing like giving back the original name to the village will do a great healing.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Laxmikant Shetgaonkar

Laxmikant Shetgaonkar is a Goan filmmaker of international repute, presently shuttles between Goa and Mumbai. He has created history with his first Konkani film “Paltadacho Munis” (A Man Beyond the Bridge) winning the most prestigious FIPRESCI award, also known as Discovery Award of the Critics, at Toronto International film festival in 2009. His first short film “Eka Sagar Kinari” had also bagged a National Award, the first one for Goa once again, in 2005. Laxmikant graduated in Theatre Arts from Kala Academy, Goa. He was an Actor-Teacher at India’s prestigious theater training school, National School of Drama, New Delhi. Overwhelmed with the quality of world cinema, he decided to take up the medium of cinema to express his concerns. He has also started a cinema movement in Goa, by forming Entertainment Network of Goa. He has also directed many more films. He has figured in the Top Ten youngest achievers of India in Sun magazine in 1995. His profile and activities are available on his website .


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