Discussion:
[Goanet]Caste Structure in Goa
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
cornel
2004-10-22 20:08:08 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands, for
reasons of brevity:

The South African Government opposed resistance to apartheid on the grounds
that individuals like Nelson Mandela, and Walter Sisulu were misguided
terrorists and communists. Indeed, they locked them up for decades and they
were lucky to avoid the death penalty. Yet today, Mandela is virtually a
living saint in the eyes of the world and the evil of apartheid has been
consigned to the dustbin of history.

Mahatma Gandhi was derided by Winston Churchill and his ilk, as "that naked
fakir" challenging the might of the British Empire. Gandhi, is today
applauded, albeit not by all, as a great moralist and crusader for freedom
and liberty.

Martin Luther King in the USA was deemed to be a great danger to the whites
in seeking freedom for the blacks and thus all Americans. Indeed, he was
shot dead not too long after making one of the greatest speeches of all time
..'I have a dream...' Thanks to brave souls like him, the USA, now the
homeland of so many newcomers since the 1960s, allows them a democratic and
political voice which had been denied to visible minorities for many
decades.

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is as
simple as that.
Warm regards,
Cornel
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
cornel
2004-10-28 13:17:40 UTC
Permalink
Dear Gilbert,
It is becoming hard to keep up with the current rush of posts on caste which
I initiated, but I do hope that too much time has not elapsed since your
post on Caste in Goa.

What is becoming quite interesting to note (as per Fred), is that our
experiences of being Goan are quite different in different parts of the
world. Your posts particularly suggest to me, that you for one, have had a
distinctly 'sheltered' Goan experience (until more recently perhaps)
compared to many other Goans. I can tell you however, that caste practice
among the Goans in East Africa, was horrendously bad for those at the
receiving end of derision even though I did not personally experience it
myself. Specific groups like the Tailors (among others) were treated like
outcasts and excluded from membership of clubs called Goan Institutes and
Gymkhanas. Thus, although such clubs called themselves 'Goan', they were
really only for some Goans through firm exclusionary practices. This forced
the tailors, in particular, to form their own social associations which
were, enlightendly, open to all Goans. They also provided valuable
accommodation for short periods. Above all, they maintained a sound link
with the Konkani language in contrast to the Institutes which totally
distanced themselves from our mother-tongue. In Nairobi, even the schools
catered largely by caste, albeit with occupational linkages.

Now, I'd like you to envisage yourself as the son of one of these identified
as inferior groups i.e. not worthy of membership of the mainstream Goan
clubs/institutions. How do you think your parents explained or rationalised
such exclusionary practice? How do you think the son or daughter ( however
bright academically) felt about being inferiorised in the circumstances.
Well, I have explored this issue in considerable depth and I can assure you
that there are a lot of very sore Goans, (including superb sportsmen and
women) and their children, who are utterly dismissive about being Goan and
would never step into profoundly casteist Goa because caste made them so
second class once and they would not want it done to them again. And as we
well know, Goa excels at casteising all Goans!

The irony was that there were cases, where by way of example, one Goan would
have internalised the absolute humbug of caste, was just about literate
and engaged in minimalist clerical work, and at best, could just afford a
bicycle for transport, but would be in a position to bar, from Goan
Institute membership, a highly literate and successful businessman running
a flourishing tailoring establisment, and driving a classy Mercedes! The
impediment to this scenario was clearly generated by caste thinking and
practice which has been ever so loathsome to many a Goan. It is this factor
of casteist social differentiation among Goans which has made Goans so
dysfunctionally antagonistic towards each other. I am therefore puzzled
that you think this is not so and that there is something else inherent in
the Goan psyche which makes us, often, somehow intolerant of other Goans.
Please try and believe me dear Gilbert, that caste in theory and practice
is the father and mother of all our woes as Catholic Goans. The sooner this
can be acknowledged/recognised, the sooner it can be eradicated for the
better of all Goans.

I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

On another point, while you probably would reject racism in the USA because
its practice would immediately impinge on your own situation, I am puzzled
that you can you be soft on an even more insidious form of racism which is
caste. Let me add that, in most countries in the West, following the
intensive study of race after the advent of Hitler's racist policy and
agenda, the UN declared, unambiguously, that races of man do not exist and
that we are all part of one human race. This has been followed up by
thousands of race awareness programmes and of anti-racist teaching
worldwide. In exactly the same way, good progress is being made about
anti-casteism because caste is racism per se, originating in mainly one
corner of the world. From memory, I can recall the major UN conference in
Durban, around 2001 on progress against racism, but where unfortunately, the
Indian delegation managed to take the racist issue of caste off the agenda.
This was utterly tragic for someone like me and to many many others who keep
an eye on caste practice. However, caste will definitely be on the agenda at
the next UN Conference examining the progress on matters of racism
worldwide.

Finally, let me close by drawing your attention to India's contribution to
major social evils in the world, but which are being eliminated in a more
enlightened world, albeit slowly. Sati or widow burning has virtually been
eliminated. Dowry deaths of young women and child marriage are sadly
persistent, but watched by several concerned groups. Infanticide is rampant
to the point, as in China, of creating a significant gender imbalance and
women's marked inequality in conditions of patriarchy are being very slowly,
but certainly, addressed. There are major problems like child labour and
bonded labour. In short, India, to my limited knowledge, managed to 'invent'
some of the greatest social evils known to mankind, and of these, probably
caste belief and practice underpins all of the above. Surely, it is time
among some of us fortunate to have a good education, to give the lead in
working towards eliminating such evils, because otherwise, our education
will have been utterly for private use and not for public betterment. We
really do owe it to the less fortunate among us, to help them through
upliftment of body, mind and spirit rather than argue, vacuously, for the
effective retention of the linked evils associated with caste. And this kind
of responsibility is ours surely. We can no longer say that such social
issues as are matters for others.

Let me finish by referring to the vile practice of female circumcision. I
shall ignore the technical term for this practice for the present and I
also expect that professionally, you know all about this. In the UK and
indeed in many parts of the West, this practice has been 'imported' from
several parts of Africa. Despite its illegality, it is discretely performed,
mainly by women, in unsanitaryconditions, on young women with the resultant
intense physical suffering, permanent physical and other damage and and
even death. Now, can this be, as educated people, yours (in the USA) and
my (in the UK) concern? Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and
also, whether you can see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression
in Goa or anywhere else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both
have long histories/justifications, but is there room for either in the
modern world?
With warm regards,
Cornel
PS Done at speed so please skip the typos. Thanks.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter since 1994 is moderated by G at ***@R ALMEID@, Associate goa-world.com & presented by Ulysses Menezes, Owner goa-world.com website. All postings with photos, graphics, cartoons archived at www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/






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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter since 1994 is moderated by G at ***@R ALMEID@, Associate goa-world.com & presented by Ulysses Menezes, Owner goa-world.com website. All postings with photos, graphics, cartoons archived at www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/






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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
_______________________________
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter since 1994 is moderated by G at ***@R ALMEID@, Associate goa-world.com & presented by Ulysses Menezes, Owner goa-world.com website. All postings with photos, graphics, cartoons archived at www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/






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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
_______________________________
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter since 1994 is moderated by G at ***@R ALMEID@, Associate goa-world.com & presented by Ulysses Menezes, Owner goa-world.com website. All postings with photos, graphics, cartoons archived at www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/






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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
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Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?
Goan Voices
2004-10-19 21:45:09 UTC
Permalink
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/

In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.

The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.

The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.

The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.

The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.

All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class. Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.

Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .

Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc. Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the three
high castes.

It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.

The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.

The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the 'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.

At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and surnames
even after conversion.

The first mass baptisms or conversions to Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn and
Chaddho.

At some places the Christian name, is mentioned along
with the old Hindu name while at others the Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.

The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.

- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com

=====
Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter since 1994 is moderated by G at ***@R ALMEID@, Associate goa-world.com & presented by Ulysses Menezes, Owner goa-world.com website. All postings with photos, graphics, cartoons archived at www.yahoogroups.com/group/gulf-goans/






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godfrey gonsalves
2004-10-20 17:12:08 UTC
Permalink
Well if one believes in the fact that native Catholics
in Goa are converts of Hinduism, it is obvious that
they have carried alongwith them the indelible social
caste structure postulated by MANU and codified in the
Manu Smriti as practiced by Hindus .

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church in India
preaches a casteless society --- well it may be their
ultimate objective to achieve such a casteless society
--- but the duality in what is preached and professed
is where lies the hypocritical attitude of the
Catholic Church in India.

To elucidate take the case of the Confrarias the
colour of the vests viz; red, white or purple worn OR
feasts celebrated viz; Our Lady of Immaculate
Conception or Feast of the Holy Spirit by the upper
castes and then you have the St Michaels Feast of the
lower castes or the Feast of St Francis Xavier
celebrated by the traditional tailors. Is this not
according to ones caste?

There are other instances as well. There was a
rebellion in the early sixties to change all this.
Today the Salves and vespers of the Feast of Infant
Jesus in Colva is celebrated by a confraria having
persons of different castes unlike the past.

Earlier the Priests were appointed only from the
Brahmin class then just pre-Liheration the Chardos
found an opportunity and post Liberation the Sudirs.

Ofcourse in matters of transfers from one parish to
another or in matters of appointing the Parish priest
or assistant Parish priest there is still a caste
based discrimination prevalent.

Then take the place of burial and the places reserved
for storing the remains of the deceased . Of course
today the paucity of place restricts such
pre-determined places but nevertheless the distinction
continues.

One could go on an on and readers could contribute to
this article to speak out their views.

Take the various lay groups in the Churches we have
the St Vincent de Paul, Couples of Christ, etc etc
there is a well defined vertical heirarchial structure
in these organisations which clearly show the caste
distinctions. Yet the Catholics will pretend to ignore
the ground realities. If asked why does one not join a
particular Group they will give ever so many reasons
but never admit that they find themselves
uncomfortable in the midst of caste members different
from them selves.

Take the various clubs of yester years in Mumbai are
they not caste dominated as far as membership and
organisation structure is concerned.

Even with the social clubs abroad and in India while
one socialises and indulges in merriment superficially
-- caste composition is discussed discreetly . Infact
a statement like "" Oh we do not believe in caste or I
just dont know what all this caste thing is all about
is too hypocritical a comment to be taken for granted.

Even in marriages there is definitely the caste factor
-- have we forgotten the codes banana chickoo and
salt fish or Britisher to denote brahmin chardo and
sudir or Gawda?

This writer has often been advocating to the Catholics
that they need to accept ones caste origins --- there
is nothing to be afraid of --- its origins and social
engineering that is witnessed today in India is
accepted openly by the Hindu community -- there are
associations viz; Saraswat Brahmin Samaj , Kshatriya
Maratha Samaj, Van Vasi (Sceduled tribes) Samaj and so
on and on --- they even ensure that they look after
the interests of their own community After all what is
POLITICS all about in India is it not a permutation
and combination of certain castes depending upon their
percentages that finally craves to grab the treasury
benches. Then why do the Catholics in India pretend
that they are a casteless Society. Even the
appointment of late Valerian Gracias a son of a
traditonal salt pan worker from Telaulim in Navelim
Salcete as Cardinal created a storm in the uppercaste
ridden bastion of the Catholic Church in Goa.

Infact while the Catholic community and the non
Brahmin Hindus ridicule the SC STs for grabbing out of
turn promotions etc --- they fail to seek answers how
the Brahmins which account for a meagre 3% of the
total population in India --hold all the top posts in
the Government? Is this not social engineering?
Take the case of Goa visit the government departments
and see how the caste engineering is put into place
while all other denominations are given placement or
hold "positions of power --- designated or unwritten"
according to their percentages of the overall
population the Brahmins grab the lions share being a
miniscule few.

The non Brahmin Hindus and the Catholics (who believe
& preach a casteless society ) should realise that
they have been BRAIN WASHED by the Brahmins to believe


a) that they (Brahmins) are AN INCARNATION of GOD on
EARTH
b) that they (Brahmins) are indeed superior to non
Brahmins and
c) that all ills plaguing the earth are owing to sins
of the non Brahmins ------

It is with this MINDSET that the non Brahmin Hindus
and so called casteless Christians are fed with
beliefs of carrying out rituals ---- like not looking
at an eclipse or pregnant women hurdling in bed on
giran ocassions. That an "anzod" childless woman is a
curse or the propiating before idols deities offerings
of fowl, goat etc; is necessary to satiate gods.

Some years ago "Lord Ganesh drinking milk" was a
electronic media farce that captured the imagination
of Indians world wide and made us a subject of
ridicule in the eyes of others.

In conclusion let us all carry our castes on our
sleeves with pride and rise up to show the world that
MERIT DOES NOT DEPEND ON ONE's BIRTH but on ONES
WORTH.

This writer has been looking forward to the day when
the lay groups in the Catholic Church in India will be
able to encourage Catholics to form a
GOAN CATHOLIC BRAHMIN SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC CHARDO (Kshatriya) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC SUDIR (Shudra) SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC KULMI SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC GAWDA SOCIETY
GOAN CATHOLIC DALIT SOCIETY

The day this is done the Catholic community will NO
LONGER REMAIN a " prisoner of ones conscience " which
unfortunately is the result of Catholic Church
preachings and practices in India totally devoid of
understanding the ground reality that Catholics indeed
do carry the social vertical caste structure inherited
not through any fault of ours but owing to historical
realities of being a Hindu convert.

In fact it is this pessimism that is ruining the
Catholic community and the stress of survival is
witnessed by the fact that fundamental forces within
the Church are screaming out loud and clear that JESUS
IS THE ONLY SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD---- when the true
Catholic teaching should have been RESPECT ALL
RELIGIONS -- FOR ALL RELIGIONS LEAD US TO ONLYT ONE
GOD

GODFREY J I GONSALVES
Borda Margao Goa
gonsalvesgodfreyji at yahoo.co.in
MAY BE WIDELY CIRCULATED TO GENERATE A DEBATE
Post by Goan Voices
CASTE STRUCTURE IN GOA
http://www.webindia123.com/
In Goa, the Bamonn or the Brahmins belonged to the
originally priestly class taking upon other
occupations like agriculture, trade and commerce
(merchants), gold smithy etc.
The Chaddho or the Kshatriyas were the noblemen,
warriors and related soldiery taking up commercial
avocations also. The Vaishya-Vanis were engaged in
trade and among them were the 'shetts' or goldsmiths
pursuing the craft of gold and gold ornaments.
The Sudir or the Sudras were the workers and
agricultural labourers engaged in the servicing
professions.
The Gavddi or Kunnbi were the landless labourers,
earlier dislodged by the above high castes and
living
in their own wards in the village. There were the
Gauddo or Gaudde, probably the Vaishya counterparts
in
Goa of the neighbouring Karnataka's Gowda, as there
is
'Gaud' found in the Canacona taluka of Goa on
Karnataka's border.
The caste structure in Goa was somewhat like
pre-eminence in the social hierarchy based on the
nobility of blood, very much resembling the idea of
family nobility in the rest of India.
All the castes or rather sub-castes or jatis like
Saraswats, Karades, Chitpavans, Padhyes etc. among
the
various segments of the population of Goa,
particularly the goldsmiths and some merchants
probably, as seen from the surnames of members of
communes purportedly all- Brahmin, were lumped into
the Christian caste of Bamonn or Brahmin. The
various
groups among the Kshatriyas or locally known as
Chaddho were mainly the noble and warrior class.
Some
of them engaged in the trading profession, known as
Chatim, which was an occupational appellation common
to Brahmins also. The caste appellation of Chaddho
gradually fell into disuse.
Later among the Hindus of this caste in Goa who did
not embrace Christianity began preferring the
appellation of Maratha. The Marathas and Vanis were
incorporated into the Christian caste of Chaddho .
Those of the Vaishya-Vani caste men who could not
get
themselves merged as Christian Bamonn or Chaddho,
appear as Gauddo in place in Bardez Taluka of Goa,
among Christians and those among the Hindu remnants
of
this caste in the present Canacona taluka etc.
Gauddo
caste among Christians is treated as one of the
three
high castes.
It is believed that large number of Vaishya-Vanis
emigrated to the adjoining district of Sindhudurg in
Maharashtra. Their descendants trace their origin to
Goa and the flight of their ancestors at the time of
the conversion fever. The Christian counterpart of
the
Hindu Vani is the Gauddo Christian caste.
The goldsmiths call themselves 'Daivednya Brahmins'
and are known in Goa as 'Shetti'. they were put into
the Christian caste of Sudir or Sudras, which is a
lower caste. They did not get into the caste deemed
superior because they were known as 'Panchal' or the
artisan group of castes.
The aboriginal stock in Goa is known as the
'Gavddi',
is a higher caste. The Christian convert of the
Gavdi
aboriginal was termed as Kunbi. The Kunbis are found
in large number in the Salcete taluka than in any
other taluka of Goa.
At the time of the conversions carried out by the
Portuguese missionaries, there were untouchables
like
the 'Mahara' and Chambars, who were converted to
Christianity. They are found in Chandor village.
Chambars have later merged with the Sudras among
Christians. Bamonn and Chaddho are the two advanced
castes among the Hindus in Goa. They continued to
attach their caste to the Christian names and
surnames
even after conversion.
The first mass baptisms or conversions to
Christianity
were effected in the two prominent villages in the
vicinity of the then city of Goa, Divar Island and
Carambolim villages, the first of the Bamonn and the
second of the Chaddho. The majority of the total
number of village communes converted to Christianity
belonged to the two high castes. The priests in the
Goan community should be recruited from the Bamonn
and
Chaddho.
At some places the Christian name, is mentioned
along
with the old Hindu name while at others the
Christian
name is mentioned with the person's father name in
the
Hindu original or in case of the father being a
Hindu.
The surnames of Poi, Kamat or Vamotim, Desai Kudav,
Naik, Prabhu or Porbu etc. are common to both the
high
castes of Bamonn and Chaddho. Christian Bahmonns and
Chaddhos are the two leading rival classes among the
Goan's.
The continued maintenance of the caste system among
the Christians in Goa is attributed to the mass
conversions of entire villages, as a result of which
the religious complexion of the whole village was
given a new coat of Christianity without affecting
its
age-old social structure which was rooted in caste
foundations. The old usages and customs and age-old
traditions, including superstitions of a varied
order,
especially the caste-system were transferred. The
Portuguese, fearing the relapses of their coverts to
Hinduism, destroyed all available material
reminiscent
of the old religion including literary works which
are
stated by historians to have been in Konkani, mainly
religious or socio-religious in nature.
- Forwarded by www.goa-world.com
_______________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! India Matrimony: Find your life partner online
Go to: http://yahoo.shaadi.com/india-matrimony
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-21 07:28:30 UTC
Permalink
Gilbert Lawrence responds:
Fred and a few others may be causing 'borem confusaum' on this topic.
When we talk about caste, there are some well defined terminologies and
groups.

First Fred negates that it is, "Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in Goa".
But then he goes on to add, "in reality, a jostling for posting among
the two dominant groups". Of course he does not mention the groups.

I think Fred and others are referring to a dynamic society where
individuals and social groups are being competitive and even aggressive.
And that may be good for them as well as good for Goa. If unethical,
that may be bad. This 'group vitality' is a universal phenomenon. This
is not a 'caste issue'; which has it own historical and cultural
baggage- as Cornell and Gonsalves point out.

So those participating in this discussion need to define their
semantics. Or else we may be going round in circles. Ami Goenkars
murree!!! This is best exemplified in a few posts including the article
describing 'ground reality'. Anecdotal examples, urban legends and
Goencho kaneos are a poor substitute for science / surveys that depicts
CURRENT cultural /social practice. If we are going to make strong
statements convicting individuals, institutions or sections of a
community, we have to present the demographic patterns and not "discount
the statistics to keep it simple". Every community has its bigots,
chauvinists and extremist elements. There are some Goans who may still
believe that the earth is flat. This does not make it a cultural trait.

Tujem sangok sarkem assa ki amcho Goemkaramcho ekvott nam mhunn.
Regards. Gilbert Lawrence


Fred Noronha:
You're presuming (as did the dominant Catholic discourse for at least a
century prior to 1961) that caste is a Brahmin-versus-Chardo battle in
Goa. It's a lot more complex than that, and it's not just who battles
for the top spot in the hierarchy, but how the system affects a whole
lot of others who might belong to neither of these two castes.

One could also add that some of the "anti-caste" posturing is, in
reality, a jostling for posting among the two dominant groups at the
'top' end of the pile.

Gilbert Lawrence:
I would like to hear about a Chardo/non-Brahmin Harvard MBA being
turned down for marriage in exchange for a Brahmin school drop-out.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-23 13:23:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel and Fred,
I will place my views on Goan caste of yester-year as a separate post.
However, my honest question to both of you is: Are the attitudes in Goan
society (that we see TODAY) a function of caste OR is it a function of
every Goan saying and thinking he/she is smarter and superior to the
next Goan?

One of the posts outlined the conversation where-in between four or five
questions the respondent is 'placed by their strata' in society. Of
course that is the case in 40% of cases. But when that does not do the
trick, the questioning goes further. Remember all bamons are not created
equally.:=))

How far from the church is your house?
Which hospital were you born in?
Which school did you go to?
How big is your home? (in the west- Its how many bedrooms you have?)
What car do you drive?
Who are your relatives?
Were you in Africa and where? :=)). Etc.

Then they will show you their superiority by recounting their family
tree and they perhaps come from the Proffessoracehm ghor.:=)):=)).

If one is the sibling, the superiority is derived from being the oldest
boy or girl or just older sibling.
And then there will be the aunt who will hint she is superior to you
because she taught you all you know - in the V standard. (No ree baba?)

So what divides Goans today is not caste but often just the
dysfunctionality of (sadly many) individuals. Just my view. Regards.

Cornel:
Dear Gilbert,
With regard to the discussion on caste in Catholic Goa, re your post, I
see
no confusion being caused by Fred or by me. We are simply having an open
debate in a democratic forum. However, if I am right, I detect some
discomfiture in you over the debate and should like to ask you to note
that
whenever people try to make changes to the status quo, those who stand
to
gain from the status quo use all sorts of bogus justifications to resist
change and I draw your attention to just three examples, from thousands,
for
reasons of brevity:

Rather than be critical, I should like to welcome you warmly, to join us
please, in fighting and eradicating the evil of caste which has so
afflicted
and oppressed generations of Catholic Goans. The issue in question is
as
simple as that. Warm regards, Cornel.
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-24 16:47:04 UTC
Permalink
Hope those following this excellent thread and specifically those who
have responded to my posts will excuse my "catch all response" to all
including the specific post copied below: Pardon the length!

1. So far the posts on Caste in Goa is a going-over what we all know
from a read of Goan society. All the posts RECOUNT THE PAST. And while
the past had major deficiencies, as a student/proponent on Goan culture,
this system has assisted the Goan community through 3000 years of wars,
droughts, pestilence and other natural disasters, and foreign rule. I
would submit that Goan society as a cohesive unit is most at risk today
(in spite of / because of "progress") than it has been in the millennia
of its existence.

2. I get the impression that the current intellectuals/ ? Bamons want to
merge with the lower castes. But! Perhaps the sub-castes (Jatis) may be
very proud to be members of their traditional occupational Guilds
(similar to those in Europe). Within these 'guilds' the members are safe
as their micro-society protects their occupational and social interests.
As in Europe, the Guild / sub-caste members are linked by immediate or
distant family or marriage ties; and socially and economically support
each-other, like with the 'Kudd system'. (From Amchi Khobor -Our News-
Inside Goa). Those who do not practice this mutual support may not
appreciate this bond. Bringing up the 'lower caste' to the 'upper caste'
may perhaps be like in England, the 'White society' saying that we need
to "bring-up" the 'Indian society'.:=))

In the USA this sub-caste-networking is best seen among the Patels in
the Motel/ Hotel Business. They started as Idi Amin's refugees! They
multiplied by sponsoring their (non-English speaking) 'cousins' from
Gujerat. They went into the Motel business due to lack of language or
technical skills. With no bank loans or credit (25-yrs ago), but by
social and economic caste-association they are today an economic
power-house. A POOR Patel-Motel (owner) is likely worth a million
dollars in the USA.

3. Back to the present thread on Goa's caste, my confusion is WHAT IS
THE PRESENT caste role other than the caste-issue at the time of
marriage? The very posts that use strong language to describe and
condemn the caste (of the past), report how things are much improving
with education, population distribution and migration, spreading of
wealth etc. So where is the beef? :=))

4. There is NO ATTEMPT to use a scientific study of the past or present
to outline solutions for the future.

5. So my "discomfiture": Is this a discussion with 'all heat and no
light' and no recommendations? Are the participants interested in a
status quo with their scholar egos satisfied at having achieved token
progress for surfacing 'a problem'? My solution for the upper-class /
educated/ rich Goans volunteering to help poor/ lower caste Goans fell
on deaf (if not hostile) ears. Did anyone notice? :=)) This voluntary
Seva (service) would symbolically break the caste-barrier as well as the
educational-hurdle. It would also follow the example of Mahatma and
Mother Teresa. And any climb begins with the first step!

6. Mr. V. Gadgil has kindly responded to my questions and I thank him
for it. All his responses (posted below) are an explanation. I
appreciate his honest answers. India's caste problems may not be Goa's
social troubles; and Goa's solutions may not be applicable to India. In
Goa upper and lower Catholic castes worship at the same alter and stand
in the same church line.

7. I like Gadgil's suggestion of 'affirmative recruitment' for the
priests/ nuns. I had hoped the Professor-Sociologist-Padre (BM) would
have responded with statistical figures of the various castes among
Goa's priests. I thought his inability (absence of statistics) would
have been justified that such data are not kept because the Goa Church
does not believe in stratification.

8. I however cannot go along with to BM's explanation that the priests
are 'called to serve'. This is true! But does the church make special /
enough of an effort to recruit in the communities / castes that are
under-represented in this honored and venerated profession? The tragedy
of the issue of priest/ nun recruitment is the current marked decline in
vocations/calling of Goan men and women from all sections/ levels of
Goan society.

9. People downscale the role of the church in Goa. Then, they hold the
Church answerable for problems of Goan society. A good example is the
CONFERARIAS (much maligned in a post). These organizations are like
'Lodges', whose membership is a family / generational tradition and its
induction is similar to a 'right of passage'. The membership is honoring
the males of the vertical family of many generations past. (A Hindu
custom called 'Gotra'). I saw a near riot caused in a church in Margao
in the late 1950's, when the church wanted to merge a few of these
conferarias. Many segments of the community / lower-caste refused to go
to Sunday mass and receive communion; unless their own traditional
conferaria was restored; with all its rights and privileges and
functions in the church rituals and feasts through the year. The
greatest impasse arose when there was a funeral. The family/ community
refused burial unless it was undertaken by the old codes and rites. The
same applies to burial plots. So while religion should not encourage
divisions and castes, there are many situations where the Church may
HAVE TO SERVE the community's demands and respect the traditions whether
it is in Goa, India or Africa.

10. Finally, Let's get off the theory and GET INTO THE PRACTICE OF
EQUALITY OURSELVES be it in Goa or in the Diaspora. Let's not expect the
Government to solve the caste problem!!! As they say, "The problem and
solution (of helping other Goans) begins with ME!"
Regards.

Dialogue with V. Gadgil:
Lawrence (GL): Are we referring to Goa or are we talking about India?
Gadgil (VG): The argument is applicable to both. I am a relative
newcomer to Goa, but one thing is clear, there is a brahmin-chardo
dominated Catholic clergy in Goa. For this, A.C. Menezes' mail on this
forum is illuminating, I quote: "...from 16th century to the end of the
second world war, only boys coming from the bamon families were allowed
to become priests (the chhaddi boy most probably entered the portals of
the seminary sometime during the 19th century ). is this not religious
sanction of the caste system?"
Caste is a pan-Indian phenomenon, and most arguments on this subject are
as applicable to Goa as to India.

GL: Are we talking about the Catholic Church or the Christian church?
VG: Again, the problem of upper-caste dominated clergy referred to is
applicable to both Catholic and Christian church, as it is to most
institutions in India, irrespective of creed.

GL: Has anybody heard about Dalit agitations in Goa?
VG: No, I haven't, maybe somebody else has? But if the fact that the
clergy is upper-caste dominated is true, maybe we need an agitation
here, not specifically 'dalit', but by those 'lower' castes which have
traditionally been excluded. It will speed up reform.
Again, I repeat one possible solution: Maybe some reservation for dalit
clergy at all levels of the hierarchy would help? Or, rather than
reservation, affirmative action along the lines of the US?
Gilbert Lawrence
2004-10-29 05:27:24 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cornel,
Thanks for your thoughtful article. Because you specifically requested
my "view on this would be helpful and informative please", I am penning
this short response. I am getting ready to leave for Honk Kong for the
Pan-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference next week. I am only mentioning this,
because any further replies from me will be delayed for three weeks
(need time to get caught upon my return) and not from disrespect to you
and others participating in this thread.

I hope I HAVE NOT given the impression to "accommodate a Hindu belief
system with a Catholic belief system". However, I am affirming the
continued Goan-Hindu social-cultural practices with the Goan-Catholic
social-cultural practices. These practices even confused and frustrated
the European padres. (This was another reason for introducing the
Inquisition in Goa to keep the native-Catholics 'in line'.)

I may be opening a new can of worms!:=)) To my analysis, caste in the
Hindu society is a religious AS WELL AS a social problem. Caste among
Catholics in the main is a social predicament. This is not aimed to
defend caste among Catholics, even as a social hindrance.

We need to recognize the benefits of social and economic
inter-dependence of segments of society. And as we seek to breakdown
past barriers (which ironically helped dependence), we need to
substitute serious alternatives for 'association' - beyond music, song,
dance and scotch. These arrangements are aimed to include the
like-minded. The best example is the Rotarians which were formed for
business professionals to connect. While a Moose-Lodge meets the same
needs for other pursuit/ economic segment of society. Do you find
anything wrong with these groups? These organizations serve the same
function and reflect the same human need with evolving times compared to
different social groups of the yester-year.

There is no room /justification for (LEGAL, RELIGIOUS and SOCIAL
ENFORCED) segregation in the modern world!

But without associations and network, I am concerned whether people /
Goans will flourish as a society; and be successful for long, as
individuals. In fact the whole concept of cyber-Goa (and village e-mail
lists) is to connect within a limited (well-defined) identity. This by
definition excludes others. With a very competitive world (out there!)
there is little room for divisions and discord among us/ our community.

But this well-defined society (like in the past) needs to understand and
accept societal and individual responsibilities. The success of Goan and
Indian society of the past was based on these duties and
responsibilities which some of the reviewers /analysis (of this thread)
have overlooked.

Thanks for seeking my views on this topic. Regards, Gilbert

Cornel:
I am also puzzled that you seem to be prepared to accommodate a Hindu
belief system with a Catholic belief system. I know all about
syncreticism
etc but refuse to accept the wishy washy view that one can be a bit of
both.
As you will know, this point was emphasised in one or more of Goanet
posts
and your view on this would be helpful and informative please.

Do tell me what you feel about this concern, and also, whether you can
see any linkage, whatsoever, between caste oppression in Goa or anywhere
else, and oppression through female circumcision. Both have long
histories/ justifications, but is there room for either in the modern
world?

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