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“Goa Is Only For Partying” And Other Strange Things We Hear As Goans

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After living in Delhi for the last 11 years, I shifted back to my hometown Goa to start a new chapter in my life. Sharing that I am from Goa is always an instant conversation starter. Responses range from rapt admiration and envy to post-retirement planning, and every now and then, downright condescension. But three responses really stood out to me:

“Goa has a university, seriously?”

Party In Goa
Goa is more than just parties. (Source: maxpixel)

I was chatting with an upwardly mobile professional who considered himself to be well-travelled, savvy, successful. He asked me where I studied. I shared that I had completed my graduation from St. Xavier’s, Mapusa in Goa. He said a bit too casually for me, “Really, Goa has a university?”

Yes, Goa has a university established in 1985, though some of the prominent colleges were established in the 1960s. Fun fact: Goa University building was designed by Satish Gujral.

“You live in Goa. Do you/Goan people really work, being there?”

The founder of a contemporary business who always knew me as a Delhi resident expressed bewilderment when I said I am now remotely working from my hometown. “Merril, I really want to understand something. How are you working there?” I have been asked, playfully and in zest, many times about how one can work here.

man at party
People in Goa are engineers, doctors, electricians, plumbers, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc. (Representational image)

I’m used to this reaction. But in this particular conversation — she was genuinely trying to wrap her head around it. There have been others like her, too.

Basic clarification: People in Goa are engineers, doctors, electricians, plumbers, teachers, entrepreneurs, fisherfolks, tourism service providers and so on and so forth. People work to earn their daily pao.

“Goa is only for partying, Pondicherry is for culture.”

A millennial guy from Delhi was talking about how he loves to travel. He finds partying in Goa “just wild”, but he will go for a cultural experience, to Pondicherry. I mentioned that Goa also has a cultural side that many don’t know about — we have a local theatre and film industry, a rich heritage of music, architecture, cuisine and stories.

“No, Goa is only for partying. Pondicherry is for culture.” He was keen to visit Auroville. “Do you know who inspired Auroville and what it stands for?” I asked. He hadn’t the faintest idea. His views were based on hype, ignorance, perhaps, a lack of self-awareness.

I don’t fully blame him; consecutive Goan governments have allowed our tourism industry to take on a skewed tourism identity, where human trafficking, environmental degradation and other evils are hidden in plain sight.

Goa is now at a critical stage in its evolution and is highly threatened by illegal construction activity, lack of access and opportunity and communal undertones. But Goans are speaking out for sustainable development, livelihoods, basic amenities like water, women’s safety, accessibility and peace and harmony as a core value.

I invite travellers to take an interest in this aspect of Goa. When you say you love Goa, mean it. Read up and amplify as grassroots movements in Goa gain momentum. Your favourite holiday destination needs your support.

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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        Read more about the campaign here.

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        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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