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Goa In December 1961 Indian troops marched into Goa putting an end to over 450 years of Portuguese rule the longest spell of colonialism on the subcontinent and Goa became part of the Indian union In popular imagination however Goa has remained a place not uite India and stereotypes about Goa and Goans abound Maria Aurora Couto's uniue blend of biography memoir and social history brings us the Goa behind the beaches and booze culture that is projected for the tourist and which has unfortunately come to define Goa for the vast majority outside the state Starting with an account of the immediate aftermath of Liberation Couto goes back and forth in time to examine the fundamental transformations in Goan society from 1510 when Afonso de Albuuerue conuered Goa up to the present Drawing upon the experiences of her own family and those of others both Hindu and Catholic she writes of the influences that have touched all Goansthe Luso Indian culture; conversion and the Inuisition; political and cultural changes in Europe such as the French Revolution and the ideals of republicanism; folk traditions music and the Konkani language; and ultimately freedom and integration with India In the process she reveals how Goa which combines the best of traditional and cosmopolitan lifestyles has evolved into India's twenty first century model of economic development and communal harmony Written with sensitivity insight and scholarship Goa A Daughter's Story is at once expansive and intimate a moving narrative about home the village and the world in which the author crosses the boundaries between history and memory truth and imagination to evoke personal and community experience It is as much an appraisal of Goa's past as it is an examination of its present and a vision for its future

4 thoughts on “Goa

  1. says:

    Good Will vs Good HistoryMaria Aurora Couto lives with her husband in a beautiful old mansion in a most beautiful secluded spot in the Indian state of Goa formerly the major portion of Portuguese India Some time ago I was privileged to visit them Couto grew up in both India proper and Goa during Portuguese times her family played its role in the political and cultural events of their times As an anthropologist with both long interest and fondness for Goa I looked forward to reading her book as soon as I heard about its publication though it was not available in the USA I am aware that many people in India have criticized GOA A DAUGHTER'S STORY as reflecting the view of a certain class a certain caste and a certain maybe `outdated' culture I think these criticisms are basically cheap shots Everybody's work including mine reflects their personal background Why should hers be any different ? I liked Couto's book because it emphasized the synthesis of Hindu and Catholic tradition within Goa's culture a synthesis that is under strong attack by rightwing communalist forces today Whether or not that tradition will survive remains to be seen She also worries rightly about the effects of mass tourism on the culture and ecology of her beloved Goa To meet Maria Aurora Couto and to read her book is to be convinced of her passionate love of her tiny corner of the world tucked away on India's west coast a couple hundred miles south of Bombay Her good will is unchallengedHowever I must say that as I read through the 400 page book I felt many times that it should have had an unbending editor The author tends to wander down many interesting byways lose the thread pick it up and lose it again In short it seems to me the book could have been cut somewhat but tightened up a lot Does good will make a good history ? That depends Though I looked forward to inside details of Goan family life of personal details of life at the top in politics or culture over the previous 40 years I did not receive much satisfaction The author sticks largely to the old script the history of Goa that has been told by many people before people who documented their statements and checked them carefully There are a number of mistakes that even I not at all a Goa historian was startled to meet For example on page 197 the explanation of how Daman a former Portuguese enclave north of Bombay got its name She says from a figure at the Peshwa's court but the Portuguese had conuered it under that very name in the previous century Again on page 197 sipais is said to mean spies but it means soldiers Page 201 Sattari is said to mean 70 villages which is correct but it's noted as `sath vad' or 60 villages On page 315 the Portuguese crown is said to pass to Spain in 1602 It was in 1580 Certain information appears several times as if it had not been mentioned before Very interesting chapters on Goan musical traditions in which the author's father features and on little known political events in the 19th century are plagued by meanders into other topics when they could have been brilliant with tighter organization OK I only bring these things up to make my point that editing was needed GOA A DAUGHTER'S STORY is not meant to be an academic work but by not including biographical detail the author has fallen between two ships The book is a heartfelt paean of love for Goa perhaps idealistic somewhat idealized For people not familiar with Goa it may prove confusing and too full of unknown names It might not provide them with the politically correct views of our times either For those who know Goa it could be a welcome addition to their library a walk down memory lane that itself will be remembered

  2. says:

    I was both elated and exasperated by this book Goa a daughter's story is a much researched book into the history religion culture and politics of Goa documenting it from its mythological creation until the present day dilemma faced by the diaspora and the local I was very impressed by the depth of detail which went into putting the book together which involved countless conversations and no doubt weeks if not months spent in archives in Goa and Portugal However I was led into reading the book by the way it began as a personal story through which we see the Authors take on Goa the start of the book was pleasant enough to read but I was soon bogged down The story uickly developed into a historical tome and I was soon lost in the maze of too many parallel trains of thought facts and figures and discontinuities in the narrative I had wanted to read a synopsis of my own history and culture told through a structure story where the train of thought led from one narrative to the other Instead I ended up scanning through and skipping entire pages as I found them filled with too much detail sometimes of history sometimes of the authors own personal stories which I could not connect to There was also too much speculation to my liking when the author had no documented explanation for some observation I think the author should have produced two books a concise history book for students of Goa and a narrative of Goan history for 'everyman'In all a thorough reading on Goa but I would recommend it for history buffs or for the family of Mrs Couto there is a lot of interesting personal history here and not for an everyday read Sadly I came away remembering less than I had hoped as I was thoroughly lost in the mass of data

  3. says:

    I loved this book I wanted to find out about Goa because my great great grandmother was a Goan This was exactly what I was looking for I love the authors writing she is so elouent She writes better in English than everyone I know who is English I feel like now I understand my ancestress so thank you

  4. says:

    The full title is Goa A Daughter's StoryWell researched and beautifully written I liked the personal tone of the book and the anecdotes It's a history and impressions of Goa seen through the eyes of the author This makes it unlike a boring history book and makes it much interesting to read

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