A Mix of Cultures
Ramu Katakam
HIDDEN HANDS: MASTER BUILDERS OF GOA by Heta Pandit Heritage Network, Goa, 2004, 222 pp., 1400.00
April 2004, volume 28, No 4

Goa is a seductive place—it offers each what they are looking for. The young come for sun, fun and the sea while others enjoy the idle amongst the lush green and magnificent buildings. This little conclave was ruled by the Portuguese from the 16th century until it was occupied by Indian forces in 1961. The Goans adapted to the European way of life unlike in British India where the rulers kept their customs to themselves. So the amalgam of Goan and Portuguese lifestyle has blended to create a unique mix of culture. Heta Pandit in her book Hidden Hands: Master builders of Goa has traced the history of Goa and put forward what has created the state as we know it today. She comments that “very few who come here care to look beyond its beaches and its commercially contrived hospitality. And even if they choose to look, they do not see Goa for what it was, what it is and what it could be. Not many visitors (or Goans for that matter) care to learn that the Goa of pre-Portuguese times was a conglomeration of independent village republics that existed in an ordered hierarchical society and this basic structure still survives”.

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