2005-09-02 20:30:37 UTC
heraldo -Pnajinm GOA.
THE MYTH OF SUSSEGAD GOENKAR
Yesterday, the world celebrated Goa Day with all pomp
and splendour. This week, COSME I. DIAS reflects on
what it means to be Goan and dispels the
misconceptions linked to the sobriquet given to Goans!
Simmering sunshine, soaking sea, sensuous sands,
silvery surf - so soothing. Stilling stressed-up
souls, lulling them to sleep. That is what homely Goa
does to any weary visitor in search of some peace and
quiet. But what does it do to a son or daughter of the
Sossegado or sussegad ! That is the sobriquet given
to a Goan. It makes one imagine, someone sleeping
under a coconut tree, fanned with fronds, by Maiden
Breeze. Or someone just lazing in his voltare (easy
chair) in his cool balcao?
But hold on a minute! That is not what a Goan really
is. So don't take this image as a licence to slouch
into a slumber or 'laze' your intellect in front of a
TV set, with a packet of chips. For that is not what
Goa does to her sons and daughters?
So before you grow up, it is good to get one thing
straight. Goans are not sussegad as to imply lazy!
The meaning of sussegad connotes a 'bouquet' of
virtues for the person writing this.
JUST COOL NOT LAZY
Goans are cool! That is what sussegad should mean to
us. In fact, it pays to live up to this image, rather
than the one spread by some people around the world.
They use it to label Goans as lazy. But the hands of
aging Goan natives who are still working in fields,
selling fish and carrying heavy loads; and the long
list of the world famous geniuses Goa has produced,
will prove otherwise. Goa boasts of generals, singers,
actors, playwrights, fashion designers, writers,
cardinals, saints, scientists, computer wizards
the list is too long to even mention names. So work
hard in your studies, be a person of substance and
keep the sussegad' spirit of Goa bubbling.
'Easygoing' that's what sussegad implies too. Yes, we
are meant to be easygoing people in the positive sense
of it. Mellowed down by the warmth of the sun, the
coolness of the rains and the wisdom of the green
hills, Goans are known for their hospitality.
So if we are to fit into this image, we have to be
more accommodating people. Accept your friends and
classmates for what they are, and not for who their
parents are. Their fathers may be toddy-tappers,
farmers or fishermen. Some of them may be rearing pigs
and selling sausages in the market. But don't forget
they all contribute towards making Goan life unique;
they all add to the xit-koddi-nustem staple of this
The word sussegad in itself has a soothing feel to it.
It has the sound of calmness. Yes, calm and harmonious
that is what Goan culture calls us to be. If you ask
your parents and elders they will proudly tell you
about the communal harmony which prevailed during
their time. Even till date, we feel the fraternity and
love between the different religious communities of
this tiny state. It is with pride, that our elders
will quote the exemplary calmness that Goa exhibited,
while the rest of India was burning in the fire of
communal harmony some years back.
It is very important that we continue being sussegad -
that is maintaining our calm, when selfish politicians
and their parties try to divide Goan community on
religious lines. Right from childhood, we have to
learn to see through their selfish motives and not
fall prey to the cups of communal poison offered by
some people who have lost their Goan essence. Would
anyone who believes in people's power divide the
community to attain power? After all we know that
power lies in unity. What is easier to break, a single
stick of wood or a bundle of such sticks?
We have been known not to fall prey to divisive
forces, but we need to maintain this virtue. For that,
we should remind ourselves that we are 'sussegad'
(calm) people .Don't ever let your friends' circle be
formed on the basis of caste or creed! Remember you
are Goan! And you are calm!
BUT DON'T BE SUSSEGAD ABOUT
It is nice to be sussegad for the good of society. But
is it right to hide under this title and do nothing
about the bad things happening around us?
Being Goan doesn't mean being like the Roman Emperor
Nero who played on his fiddle while Rome burned. No
doubt, Goans are full of harmony in the musical sense
of it. However, it amounts to being cruel and selfish,
if you keep quiet while your neighbours suffer.
Unfortunately, in the fast developing urban areas of
Goa, the warmth of neighbourliness is lacking. People
live close to each other but one doesn't know the
other. Of course, we do have people who care about
each other. But there are also those who don't know to
accept help with grace. That is either because they
have a big ego or they don't want to return that
So learn to stand up for your principles and don't
compromise with evil. For instance, if you see your
friend being cheated by someone, don't just stand and
laugh. Help him, for you never know when you may be in
the same situation.
DON'T LOOK DOWN
When you look down, while you may not stumble there
are chances that you will bump into something and hurt
yourself badly. That is a physical danger of looking
down. But what we mean here is not looking down on
people. While maintaining our Goan identity, we have
to realise that we are no longer a Portuguese colony.
We are very much a part of India.
It is sad to see Goans regarding people from other
parts of India as ghanttis and looking down on them.
Well, we do need to see that Goans are given a
preference to jobs and government positions, but that
doesn't mean that we should despise our fellow
Indians. Would our toilets and markets be clean or
our buildings completed in time, without 'migrant
As Goa's future, there is a lot that children can do.
For instance, stop believing that you are superior to
other Indians, because your parents are bhatkars or
you speak Portuguese or live in an ancient mansion.
BE A TRUE GOAN!
You may be an original native of Goa or not, what
really makes you a true Goan is not a 'ration card' or
a 'domicile' certificate, but your attitude. Are you
sussegad in the positive sense of the word?
While the soothing ambience of Goa calms a visitor's
mind, it mellows down the heart of a true Goan. So
when the next time someone calls you sussegad don't go
to sleep, but be relaxed, calm easy-going, hospitable,
harmonious but yet ready to stand up for the truth!
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