Goa- the land of ‘tolerance’

A sport that unites all the Goans

In today’s fast paced world, life still runs slow in Goa where people are friendly and kind. Innocence being one character straits with the Goans, life goes on here like the good old days. But as the debate rages in the country on intolerance, what is the ground reality in Goa? Is it still as ‘susegad’ as the say or are things turning for worst?

Religious dynamic

• Hinduism 66%
• Christianity 25%
• Islam 8%
• Others 1%

Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism can be called the ancient religions of Goa (there were other religions as well). Islam and Christianity were introduced much later. (Arab traders used the port in Goa for trade with the India, ‘Arab horses’ was a major commodity)

Generally the social atmosphere in Goa is peaceful. Fights do take place here but mostly has nothing to do with religion. Although Goans do criticize each others religion they never cross the line. Since the liberation from the Portuguese in 1961, there has not been a single major communal incident.
Peaceful co-existence is the mantra here.

Goans do fight with each other but many a times conflicts are on the some other issue. Hindus although a majority do not try to dominate other communities, as religious boundaries are respected. Communities may not agree with other community’s practices but will never interfere or try to stop.

It is very common in the state for Christians to have Hindu names. Political leaders very often donate for other community’s cause. Intermingling of different religious groups is an everyday sight here; best example would be markets in Goa. Marriage between two different religious groups is also common.

Right wing groups of different religions are present in Goa. But they haven’t caused any major disturbances (except a rally occasionally). Some politicians (secular as well) have tried to divide the society on communal lines which has been highly unsuccessful due to social inter-dependencies.

Goa does present itself as an exception in a country divided on many issues. Goans may fight amongst each other, but they will also unite in the time of need. Ban on Pramod Muthalik are excellent examples of unity.

Written by Shailesh Shriram Tanpure

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