Prajal Sakhardande’s book chronicles the socio-cultural, political and historical timeline of Goa through the centuries. He documents in detail every aspect in a first of it’s kind publication.
By Nicole Suares
Anyone looking for the history of Goa will find it in bits and pieces across several volumes. Historians have documented various aspects at different intervals from varied perspectives. Award winning, activist, Associate Professor, Head of Department of History, author Prajal Sakhardande now pieces the entire jigsaw puzzle in one comprehensive volume titled, Goa Gold Gold Silver Her History Her Heritage From Earliest Times to 2019.
What began in 2003 has now seen fruition as he launches his labour of love this May. Clad in his typical kurta pyjama, he heaves a sigh of relief now that this mammoth task is over, “I’m very happy with the outcome,” visibly relieved that it’s all over, “I need a break now that it’s all over,” he adds.
His book is a celebration of many momentous occasions in Goa’s history. “The title is unique because it commemorates Goa’s golden jubilee of liberation and the Opinion poll. Goa silver denotes the completion of silver jubilee of Statehood, Konkani’s inclusion in the 8th Schedule in the Constitution in 1992 and Konkani’s Official Language Status of 1987.”
More than a decade since he first began Prajal says that his aim was to arrive at a book that would cover all aspects of Goa’s historical, heritage, socio-political-cultural aspects in detail. “There is no single book that gives you all the information in one place. It’s the first book that covers the entire history from ancient times to 2019.”
The comprehensive work for instance documents Goans in Bollywood, the environment and heritage movements and political leaders many of whom, he adds, we aren’t aware of.
The professor who’s shared his passion for history with countless students, history buffs says that the 300-page-volume serves as a guide to the present generation who are unaware of post liberation Goa. “When it comes to the opinion poll, an important chapter in history of Goa the present generation wouldn’t know much. Those of us born after it hardly knew that it saved Goa, who were the people involved and how many. I’ve given an exhaustive list of the various people involved in the Opinion Poll.”
With such a wide time frame, his research went along with him wherever he travelled. “I carried it with me every time. I used to take down notes, take pictures and keep collecting the matter,” he recalls.
The learning experience led him to unearth interesting bits of information. But it wasn’t always easy. “It’s been a long journey of exhaustive research, consulting primary, secondary sources. I consulted archaeological books, inscriptions, secondary notes, archival material, oral interviews, field work and more. Sometimes even media sources had to be cross verified.”
Field work took him all over India. “I visited so many museums. For example the idol of Ganesha at the Pilar Seminary Museum, bears the date 7th AD. I couldn’t take it for face value. I went to the Badami museum and there I found a replica of the same with the exact date.”Another fact finding mission took him to the original inscription of the Kadambas in Talgunda village.
Finding sources was another task. “About pre-Portuguese history we hardly have anything. The Portuguese were good at documents. We Indians lack a sense of history so people don’t keep records.” This he says, made it more difficult.
Prajal’s passion for Goa has seen him spearheading many important issues. His friendly demeanour, yet fiery spirit has been founder member of the Goa Heritage Action Group, Convener of Save Coconut Chipko Andolan, Member of Goa Bachao Abhiyan. Being involved with these and writing about from a historical aspect was a challenge, he confesses. “It’s difficult to write a history book as you have to be careful as to not appear biased. You have to corroborate every word.”
All of Goa’s history can now find it’s home in the pages of this book. Thanks Professor.
Published in Weekender 12-05-2019