HARMONY BETWEEN PEOPLE IS THE GEM OF GOA AND CAN NEVER BE STOLEN

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April 21, 2022 | 07:15 IST

HARMONY BETWEEN PEOPLE IS THE GEM OF GOA AND CAN NEVER BE STOLEN

Goans from across the length and breadth of the state have reached out to us with stories, anecdotes and sentiments of the deep warmth, kindness and respect that people of all faiths and all sections of society have for each other. This has been and always will be our strength

I am proud to say that I belong to a state where we live as Goans and not as Hindus, Muslims or Catholics. My daughter-in-law is from a Catholic family, she has blended in well with our religion, and our son also participates in their festivities.

—Mohandas Prabhudesai, Margao

I live in a village, surrounded by Catholic families. Mine is the only Hindu house. My children went to convent schools and all had Catholic friends. My daughter had a Muslim friend during her college years, whose mother taught her how to make biryani and pure kurma

—Beena Warik,

Retired civil servant, Canacona

When my family migrated to Goa from Bombay in the early 1960s, we first lived in my maternal grandfather’s house in Bicholim, which is predominantly non-Christian. My close neighbors were invariably non-Christian families. I remember that life, with my neighbors, was free, mutual, without any reserve. The Zantye family, owner of the famous cashew factory, was our neighbor. Their local festival, Ghoddemini, was a great opportunity for us to join them as they danced through the streets. At Christmas and at our parish festivals and other occasions, they participated in our festivities and came to visit our house. We also had several Muslim friends in my school and in the neighborhood, especially those who used to slaughter cows and sell beef behind the church.

In fact, we had been grounded in a quiet sense of community harmony and mutual respect, and helped build bridges of love and brotherhood.

—Father Frank Mendes SFX, Sanguem

I remember my childhood days in the village of Socorro where the litany of the cross was followed not only by Catholics but also by Hindus and Muslims and all gathered in reverence. At all village weddings, invitations were sent to all Hindu, Catholic and Muslim communities without any reservations.

—Juindo De Souza, Socorro-Porvorim

I am surrounded by Hindus and Catholics. My parents spent their whole lives here and the next generation of my family lives here. It is the environment that has contributed to our peaceful life even though I have no neighbors of my religion. The communities around us have made us aware that we are part of them

— Mohammad Sheikh, Pernem

For several generations, we have celebrated Christmas with the Hindu community around us. At Christmas we go door to door to sing carols and during this time we also visit Hindu houses where they contribute to the celebration. Also during Ganesh Chaturthi festival we visit them

—Angle Fernandes, Pernem

In my childhood, many Catholics used to visit my house during Ganesh Chaturthi. Even the priest of the Church visited my house. I, too, visited Catholic homes at Christmas. During the Church Festival in Britona, ‘sannas’ were cooked in most Hindu homes

—Vishwanath Halarnkar

Former Deputy Sarpanch, Penha de Franca

Since my childhood until today, I consider my friends from different religions as a family. We’re just friends because of our shared experiences growing up together and the bond we’ve maintained since then. Our children are also friends and for ‘rishtha’ to continue

— Abhijit Nadkarni, IT Professional, Aquem

We have a tradition of visiting each other’s homes for these celebrations and welcoming them into our homes for our celebrations. No major personal celebration or even any reunion is complete if these friends are not with us. It’s like that also in the future

— Sameer Naik, Trader, Fatorda

When it comes to celebration and unity, we Calangutkars are always united for each other. Not only do we celebrate Christmas, but also help my friends celebrate Ganesh and other festivals

—Valerio Rodrigues, Calangute

Nowadays, it is common to take photos whenever friends meet. Back then, in our time when we met, we were having such a good time that we didn’t need pictures to remember what happened. We can start laughing just talking about those memories. I share these memories with my fellow Goans. Our friendship is not determined by our religion and it has never been a factor.

— Ryan Pacheco, Businessman, Benaulim

Our Catholic brothers and sisters participate in Hindu festivals while our Hindu brothers visit our homes during Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali. We receive flowers for Lord Ganesh from Catholic and Muslim neighbors. Even in Portuguese times, there was a strong communal harmony between Hindus, Catholics and Muslims. Christians and Hindus always treat each other as brothers and sisters. I remember when we were young the name Cunkolkar was enough to unite us

— Kamlaksh Prabhugaonkar,

retired teacher, Cuncolim

If one is to see the perfect example of communal harmony, one must visit Shree Shantadurga Kuncolikarin Sotrio and celebrate Our Lady of Health at Cuncolim. Since time immemorial, the Cuncolkars have always maintained communal harmony whether you are Hindu, Catholic or Muslim. We both Hindus and Catholics treat each other as brothers, even people believe that Our Lady of Health and Shantadurga Kuncolikarin are sisters. I can proudly say that our past generation, the current generation and even the future generation will always maintain community harmony. We do not identify as Hindus, Muslims or Catholics, we identify as Kuncolkars

— Tony Fernandes, Retired Superintendent of Police

During Shigmo, Hindus offer coconuts near symbols of Muslim religions in Cotwada-Curti while Muslims visit Hindu temples Curti during Gudi Padwa festival

— Mulla Gaus, Elderly, Curti-Ponda

During my childhood, I had many Hindu and Muslim friends and we studied together and played football together at the Monte de Guirim pitch. We were still like a Goan family. I remember in the past I had a lot of Muslim friends and we never considered them as such and they were always brothers in arms

— Roque Dias, retired government employee, Porvorim

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