An Adventure in Goa, India

BY BEN HABIB.

In 2007 my wife and I travelled to the former Portuguese colony of Goa, on the Arabian Sea coast of India.  Goa was established as a trading port settlement by the Portuguese in the 16th century and remained a Portuguese possession until its annexation by India in 1961.  This Portuguese influence remains today, both visually, culturally and gastronomically, making Goa a unique part of the rich tapestry that is India today.

Goa is both India’s smallest state and richest state, an accolade that arises from its popularity as an international holiday destination.  Its popularity with western visitors began during the 1960s, when the Goan town of Anjuna became a not-to-miss port of call on the hippy trail.  More recently it has become the global mecca for devotees of psy-trance dance music.

During the peak holiday season it also becomes a melting pot for Indians from other parts of the country, who descend on Goa looking to earn some money from the tourist trade.  Indeed, “melting pot” is a good description for Goa.  It is not uncommon to see sun-worshipping Brits lying on the beach all day soaking in the rays, young Israelis blowing off steam after completing their two years of compulsory military service, Indian saddhu’s (holy men) in their bright orange vestments, dozens of dogs frollicking on the beach, cows roaming the roadways and poking their noses into roadside eateries, the sad sight of beggars, many of whom will have migrated to Goa for the tourist season, caucasion baby-boomers who dropped out of western society during the hippy era, Kashmiri merchants selling jewellry and gems, Christian pilgrims on their way to visiting the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier, local fisherman carrying freshly-caught kingfish back from the beach, and beautiful Indian women dressed in colourful saris.

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Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben’s research project projects include North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and methodologies for undergraduate teaching. He also teaches Australian politics.  Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.

Ben welcomes constructive feedback.  Please comment below, or contact Ben at b.habib@latrobe.edu.au.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.

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