Stop stirring up communal emotions, get back to work

THE GOAN NETWORK | MAY 18, 2022, 08:37 PM IST

The discovery of a Shivling inside the disputed structure of Gyanvapi Masjid in Varanasi has triggered a fresh discourse and strengthened the belief of the Hindus that a temple existed at the site, which was subsequently demolished by Islamic tyrant Aurangzeb to build the Gyanvapi Masjid on top of the revered Hindu temple. In far away and tiny Goa where communal harmony and peaceful co-existence formed the very identity of the State, the UP issue appears to have found an echo.

On Tuesday, Power Minister Sudin Dhavalikar stated that sites where temples were demolished in Goa during the Portuguese regime may also have Shivlings in the vicinity. He also said that the Archaeological Society of India should specifically explore Goa to locate these Shivlings in temples demolished after year 1510. The question is, where is Dhavalikar pointing? What is the meaning of such a random statement, and what does it hold for the State of Goa?

It appears that there is a conscious attempt being made to stoke communal discord by raking up issues that have no relevance in current times. Goa has moved on, and digging into history by targetting communities or trying to win over sections, is a pointless exercise. Given this background, it appears that ministers are vying for Central leadership’s attention and trying to prove to them that each one is a better Hindutva proponent than the other. Earlier on, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant launched an initiative to restore temples destroyed during the Portuguese regime, a move that was backed by Sudin and a few others in the BJP camp and Subhash Velingkar sparked an unnecessary debate over Goencho Saib.

The 2022 election is well past us, and such reflections into the past that have communal overtones are amusing, especially when ministers are expected to get back to serious business and get the State back on track from a crippling pandemic phase. Surprisingly, instead of talking about administration, ministers are seen preaching more about religion than trying to constantly draw a line between communities. Dhavalikar has a crucial portfolio of Power, and this is a time when he needs to reassure people about easing people’s agony by ensuring a consistent supply. He needs to talk about reforms in the Electricity Department so that down the years people remember him for the work he undertook. Citizens still remember Digambar Kamat, the power minister for being alive to the woes of the people and the template that he had set back then.

It’s time for the minister to stop this mataeology and get back to serious business. It is going to be monsoon time soon and the focus right now should be on disaster management and electricity supply. Dhavalikar has a monumental job at hand and hence must stay focused instead of trying to distract and divert attention by stirring up religious emotions. It must be borne in mind that nobody has emerged as a hero in Goa so far through a divisive agenda. Goans have stood the test of time and have solidly remained as one unified force all along.

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