Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

Sartorial correctness in the Basilica

September 16-22, 2013

Team GS

More than two years after the 450-year-old Mahalasa Narayani temple at Mardol baldly wrote out a signboard –“Entry restricted to foreigners” and several months after other temples put up signages that they expected visitors to be dressed with decorum, the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa has followed suit recently.  More diplomatically, however, because the signboard uses symbols to describe “acceptable” and “unacceptable” attire.

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Is Parrikar better than Modi?

September 9-15, 2013

Team GS

Is Parrikar a Modi groupie or a Modi heckler? That’s the million dollar question after he implied that he was better than Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, who hopes to be PM. Sample: “I would have ensured (putting down the riots in 2002 in Gujarat after the Godhra violence) …. ...but Modi was new to the job as Chief Minister.

It’s not as if Parrikar did not anticipate the ripples that his comment would create because Modi, potential candidate of the BJP for Prime Minister in 2014, has come to be defined by circa 2002 in Gujarat where there was a genocide of Muslims. Anything he does or does not do will always be viewed from that prism. So if Parrikar was trying to be an apologist for Modi, the thing to do would have been to evade the 2002 question altogether, not wade in and shoot his mouth off.

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30 extra minutes does not make the cut

August 12-18, 2013

Pushpa Iyengar

“The extra five minutes in every period does not help at all.  On the contrary students get fidgety, are fighting, noisy, throw paper balls around …. In some primary schools, children keep asking ‘Miss, when will the bell ring?’”.  This is the heartfelt experience and the on the ground report of a government school teacher (as told to Goanspirit) about the Goa government’s August 6 circular extending school timings by 30 minutes every day constituting a five-and-half-hours day or full-day schooling of six hours for five days a week, to fulfill 1,100 instructional hours for the  academic year.  Earlier schools had a five-hour day.

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Art of the matter

August 19-25, 2013

Pushpa Iyengar

The arrest of tiatrist Francis de Tuem last week, allegedly because he attempted to extort Micky Pacheco, Nuvem Legislator, has brought up the symbiosis between politicians and the stage which works in a you-scratch-my-back- and-I’ll scratch-yours fashion when the going is good, but soon becomes toxic when tiatrists get carried away and turn on their benefactors.  The takeaway from the episode is that tiatrists should not think that all the claps and cheers that they get from most of the audience means they can misuse their artistic licence.  It also means that ultimately politicians have the power and tiatrists should be wary of crossing the lakshman rekha.

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Prabhudesai appointment raises a hornet’s nest

August 5-11, 2013

Team GS

Sandesh Prabhudesai should be brimming with information, but he has gone silent while the storm around him after he was appointed as Goa’s second State Information Commissioner (SIC) is raging.

At so many levels, his appointment has raised many eyebrows.  First, that he will be Goa’s first second SIC.  Although other states have more than one, Goa is too small a state to warrant two and that too considering there seemed to be no urgency in appointing someone although there was a vacancy for many months.  Interestingly, it is clear from a reading of the list of SICs, that it is a post used by politicians to dole out favours.  Big states like Bihar and Orissa have one each, Andhra Pradesh , Kerala and Karnataka have three each, a smaller state like Haryana has six, Jharkhand has six, Madhya Pradesh has six, Tamil Nadu has six, Arunachal Pradesh has four, Punjab has nine and UP, a big state, tops with 10.

Second, that Prabhudesai did not apply but instead he was recommended by activist-doctor Oscar Rebello.  Incidentally, Dr Rebello’s blogs are regularly carried on Sandesh Prabhudessai’s news website.  Normally, recommendations are sent for awards and references sent for applications.  Even Leena Mehendale, former Maharashtra additional secretary, who has been chosen as Goa’s CIC (Chief Information Commissioner) told Goanspirit recently, “True I have sent my application.”  Apart from that, Oscar Rebello has left the educational qualifications column in the application blank.  So questions are swirling about whether Goa’s second SIC is deficient education-wise.  And more to the point, why is the next information commissioner so frugal about information?

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