Goa: a Daughter’s Story
Author: Maria Aurora Couto
9780143033431 | PB | pp. 456 | 2005 | Penguin India
Written with sensitivity, insight and scholarship, Goa: a Daughter’s Story is as much an appraisal of Goa’s past as it is an examination of its present, and a vision for its future.
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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 quite India, and stereotypes about Goa and Goans abound. Maria Aurora Couto’s unique 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 Albuquerque conquered 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 goans — the Luso-Indian culture; conversion and the Inquisition; 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.
Maria Aurora Couto
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