Close this search box.

Unveiling Goa: Navigating Tradition and Modernity in Goan Identity

Delve into the intricacies of Goan identity through the lenses of tradition and modernity. Authors Michelle Mendonça Bambawale and Bina Nayak illuminate the multifaceted layers
Estimated Reading Time
exploring Goan Identity
Share Button

The reconciliation between traditional heritage and contemporary evolution is imperative for a comprehensive grasp of Goan identity, assert authors Michelle Mendonça Bambawale and Bina Nayak, both hailing from Goa.

In a recent dialogue hosted at the Museum of Goa under the banner of MOG Sundays, titled ‘Goan Identity Through Two Books,’ Bambawale and Nayak delved into their respective works, the fictional narrative ‘Starfish Pickle’ and the non-fictional discourse ‘Becoming Goan.’ These literary endeavors illuminate the intricacies of Goan identity, shedding light on the amalgamation of tradition and modernity.

Nayak, in discussing her book, ‘Starfish Pickle,’ underscores the often-overlooked facets of Goan life, juxtaposing the allure of its party culture with the somber realities, such as the retrieval of drowned tourists by Navy divers. Emphasizing a departure from the predominant narrative centered on Catholic traditions, Nayak explores the underrepresented ‘traditional Hindu Goa.’ She elucidates how her protagonist, Tara Salgaonkar, grapples with the dichotomy between Goa’s reputation as a party hub and its deep-rooted religious ethos. Notably, Nayak draws parallels between contemporary trance music culture and age-old religious festivities, highlighting their

shared fervor and communal spirit.

Moreover, Nayak elucidates that the genesis of Goa’s trance music scene stems from indigenous beliefs, rooted in animism and paganism, which find resonance in traditional religious gatherings like ‘zatra’ and ‘zagor.’ Despite the cultural significance of trance music, Nayak acknowledges the existence of a conservative faction within Goan society that disparages this expression, citing cultural elitism as a barrier to acceptance.

Bambawale offers a personal reflection on Goa’s evolution since the 1970s, reminiscing about a simpler time characterized by bus journeys from Bombay, reliance on well water, and sparse dining options. She observes the drastic transformation of Goa’s landscape, marked by rampant construction, inadequate infrastructure, and burgeoning commercialization. Through her narrative, Bambawale captures the essence of Goa’s identity, juxtaposing nostalgia with the harsh realities of modernization.

Both authors aim to present a nuanced portrayal of Goa, free from idealized perceptions, and instead, grounded in the complexities of its social fabric. Their literary endeavors serve as a bridge between the past and present, fostering a deeper understanding of Goan identity among readers.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments