Not many would realise that Goa gives India the intangible value of individual and social freedom which keeps the societies and communities bonded despite their own peculiarities. I would not exaggerate if I say that Goa has given India the internationalism which makes our country the melting pot of moods, colours and entities. Not that other states don’t but Goa is that beautiful spot in the map which converses with the outside world as the ‘emissary child’ of India. Goa has one of the highest per capita income, highest literacy rate, highest quality of life which other states possess in varying degrees. But it is not about GDP or socio-economic growth. It is about a scarce life quotient called susegad.
It is the most coveted possession of life, which Goa shares with the rest of India and the globe. It is derived from the Portuguese word sossegado which means “quiet”. We find ultimate meditativeness in susegad, the divinity of submission to nature. Nearly 9 in 10 Indians suffer from stress. Research shows that chronic stress can become a national epidemic for all genders and ages, particularly those who are 25 to 35 years old. In India today, non-communicable diseases, mostly lifestyle induced, pose a grave danger to the future health of the country. It almost afflicts more than half of the country, the youth and endangers the demographic dividend which we all assume to be available to us. But where is the quality of life which we guarantee them? What is the emotional quotient we help them build?
I am talking about the calmness with a life lived in gratitude, quiet joy and without that everything looks hollow, a mad rush. This lunacy and insecurity resulting in debilitating stress are destroying our society. It is ultra-toxic which poisons our families, relationships, work-life, productivity, our mental health and our nation. The causes and solutions to chronic stress are a complex mixture of socioeconomic, environmental, genetic, physical, and spiritual factors.
Chronic stress depresses the immune system, alters our moods, and damages our professional and personal relationships. Just as, on the positive side, yoga has been shown to lengthen the protective caps at the ends of our DNA strands called telomeres and keep us more youthful, ongoing stress can actually change our DNA for the worse. It doesn’t keep us, “ourselves”. We change as persons. Stress levels seem to be high in India compared to other countries, both developed and emerging including the United States, the UK, Germany, France, China, Brazil and Indonesia.
Goa is the truly liberated bright spot in India. It has gifted the susegad way of life which can be the answer to the huge loss to the national economy and productivity (both in quantity and quality) because of stress, burnout and discontentment. Susegad can help save high impact on healthcare costs, on productivity, performance, and of course, attrition in the workplace.
It is the fertile land for all creative minds to huddle and work uninterrupted, undisturbed and without any social interference. Freedom is in the air. From Serendipity to film festivals, to music festivals to tiatr to the studios of renowned and budding artists, Goa is that place in India which breathes unbridled life energy. It is all about the liberated minds of Goans. People make a place, not only infrastructure or connectivity of global exchanges. World view of Goans lends India the valuable seamless cosmopolitanism. This adds unfathomable depth to India’s socio-economic growth. Susegad is the elixir of life and the nation. With stress almost epidemic, it is a paradox that we have this treasure of susegad and yet are constantly looking out for ‘inorganic’ solutions and quick fixes. Modern mindfulness or contemplative centering is this rare quality of life that can be sustained through susegad and someday Gross Happiness Index of the country (a la Bhutan), born out of a widespread susegad influence, would resolutely supplement the Gross Domestic Product.
For the time being, let’s not overlook susegad and on the contrary, value it as an indispensable transformational way of life. Susegad is essentially the fountainhead of life. Let’s take the panacea called susegad to the world.
(The writer is an author and a futurist. He may be contacted at email@example.com)