Monday, May 9, 2011

Nadia and Hollowing Goan Culture

Nadia and Hollowing Goan Culture


NADIA Torrado, who belongs to Goa’s post liberation, post liberalisation generation has been converted into a media commodity after her unnatural death under suspicious circumstances. Events leading to her death read like chapters from medical thriller specialist Robin Cook’s novels.
It has all the spicy ingredients which make readable news. The novella which came to my mind after reading about Nadia was Leo Tolstoy’s, ‘The Kreutzer Sonata’. Every married or unmarried young woman should read it thoughtfully. Leo Tolstoy would have glorified Nadia Torrado. He would have understood her completely as a young married woman. We would understand Nadia better if we begin to think of her as another human being, someone from our own family to get a correct balanced perspective. Goa needs to know the real Nadia Torrado and not the one converted into dehumanised forensic material.
Everyone who knows her from childhood must come forward and tell the truth. We don’t know anything about her real personality and her inner life, her likes and dislikes, fears and anxieties. Was she religious, spiritual or just another hedonistic person? We are in dark about her friends and foes and her entire upbringing. We need to know the real Nadia because we don’t wish to see more such tragedies–more young women devoured by powerful minotaurs in Goas intricate political labyrinth.
We need to know the real Nadia because voters of Goa would need a definite moral agenda before the next assembly elections. If the real personality of Nadia Torrado were to be known, then the reporting could have proceeded from the angle of giving full justice to her–because she is the victim in a society which has been silently sanctifying deviant behaviour of responsible persons.
Political Compromise
The families of Goa’s politicians and their bizarre and intricate dealings and affairs are coming under the limelight for the past two decades. Before one episode or scandal ends another begins. Moral agendas do not constitute the backbone of the winning strategy of any political parties. Besides with open promotion of drinking and gambling how would it be possible for any politician to take a moral stand on any issue?
Voters compromise their moral principles in electing immoral politicians. Immoral politicians compromise the constitution when they strike big deals or indulge into corrupt and morally questionable practices. There is a cause and effect relationship, a chain reaction which finally results into tragedies. What did we know about Torrado family a month ago? Nothing. It was like any other family in Goa. A family has lost a daughter. Brothers have lost their sister. A legally married husband has lost his wife. But there is less mourning than the glare of publicity because the family has been denied the minimum privacy and the space which they need to mourn.
Nadia Torrado has been commodified. She has been made a forensic artefact, a cultural, pathological curiosity. We really haven’t learnt any lessons after Scarlet Keeling’s episode. Irrespective of the wild allegations made, it would be too cruel not to admit that the whole Torrado family is traumatised. They have the right to live with full honour and dignity as the investigations proceed.
Moral Entropy
Sociologically and psychologically there is a lot which can be read in Nadia’s death at the tender age of 29 years. I have been lamenting for past ten years that moral entropy is rising in Goa as we see the waning of spontaneous compassionate spirit. The reporting of Nadia’s misfortune began anonymously last month. The identity of her politician friend was kept under wraps and an environment of calculated suspense was created. Even today neither the police nor the media has been able to clearly explain the exact relationship of Nadia with her putative employer politician. There are many theories and speculations, but Nadia Torrado is not in a position to answer or clarify.
Could such a thing have happened in Goa 20-25 years ago? Then what has changed over the past 25 years? There was a show of strength in support of Nadia’s politician employer. That was expected in a male dominated society. But we did not see any mass movement in support of Nadia Torrado. She was not Princess Diana to have candles lit and flowers placed in front of her door. She could have been innocent, not sure of the steps which she was taking in her life. There are thousands of young Goan women like her not sure of the direction in which they are heading or getting misguided on the way in search of some comfort and happiness. With the breakdown of joint families and erosion of informal counselling systems, the avenues for young women to seek some emotional support have become less.
The political labyrinth of Goa has been glamourised during the past two decades. No questions are asked when lavish and expensive parties are thrown or money is distributed. Dissent if any is quickly silenced. Somehow the Goan society has also forgotten the art of asking the right, incisive questions, attacking the core fundamentals.
What makes the politicians bold, shameless and unaccountable? It would be incorrect to believe that Nadia was not aware of the trajectory which she was following. But there are instances when the sense of right and wrong, the alert from the inner voice is silenced. We don’t know the immediate sequence of events before her death–how the things were unfolding. But it was definitely the most traumatic period of Nadia’s life. As a young, well educated Goan she was expected to lead a life of dignity and respect. But perhaps she did not know that she was entering a complex political labyrinth where only engineered charisma, designer popularity, cheap glamour and power matters. A new kind of immoral, unethical political culture has arrived in Goa. A majority of people adore it, love it, worship it. Look at the entry of new politicians on the horizon of power politics. Lavish parties are thrown, generous contributions, donations are made to the religious and secular, the vulnerable section is won over to declare the entry of a new saviour, a new political messiah of the dazzled masses.
The hollowness of this culture is exposed when tragedies like Nadia happen. Who would control the rot in the system? The government has sanctified and glorified gambling dens. Availability of alcohol outstrips the availability of milk. The society is not serious in any long drawn meaningful debate because there are other routes of catharsis available. Nadia Torrado’s story would be forgotten in a few months as people would enjoy new moves on Goa’s political chessboard. But the real question is would there be more Nadia’s?

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