Saturday, 19 January 2008


Dr Oscar Rebello nominated as Indian of the Year in the public service category awards of CNN-IBN?. Bah! Gimme a break guys CNN, Penpricks et al. I didn't vote for Oscar as Indian of the year. If I did vote my choice would be E. Sreedharan.
Don't get me wrong guys. I've no axe to grind against Oscar. I wouldn't vote for Oscar as Indian of the year. Ill justify my stance with a few reasons.
What Oscar did ,in preventing landsharks from usurping Goan soil by galvanising public opinion, is nothing pioneering or new. Oscar has certainly contributed to a cause, but it definitely wasn't a singular achievement.Oscar didn't discover the DNA code or calculate how to make the atom bomb lighter.
There was Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan before Oscar.It was Patkar who On March 28,2006 started a hunger-strike to protest against the decision of the authorities to raise the height of the Narmada Dam. Oscar is a brilliant physician. Medha too is an intellectual being a former member of the Indian Institute of Social Sciences. What Medha did had worldwide implications. That too much before the ruckus caused by the Regional Plan in Goa. Medha has won a couple of awards but nobody ,not even CNN-IBN, has ever dreamt of bestowing on her an Indian of the Year award.
oscar and Medha are social activists. But there is nevertheless a difference, albeit a subtle one. Unlike Medha who on her own initiated peasant movements in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, Oscar did not initiate the anti-regional plan campaign on his own. It wasn't he who sought the Goa Bachao Andolan, but the GBA who sought him. The GBA-Oscar relationship was a mutual one. Neither could do with the other. Each minus the other would total a cipher.The GBA needed Oscar as its mascot because he was a prominent social figure being a highly respected city doctor. Surely the well-heeled would have taken notice. Like him or not Oscar is certainly more civil and more persuasive than the warmonger social activist Aires Rodrigues. Oscar's is a soft, gentle approach.But much as I admire Oscar for his suave mannerisms,I do not think that Oscar alone could have stopped the Regional Plan in its tracks. Even if he wanted to do a solo performance, he wouldn't be able. He needed the GBA to reach the grassroots, to goad the underdogs.
Oscar is not too comfortable in speaking the language of the downtrodden.He definitely understands Konkani but he is more at ease resorting to making a speech in English to make a point. With a communication malfunction like this, it would be difficult for Oscar alone to garner mass support without the GBA. Unlike Mathany Saldanha, Oscar neither has the skills to communicate with the lower rungs of society, nor does he hobnob with them to elicite their views. Oscar is a social activist but not such an engaged one as to be able to rouse mass opinion on his own like Mathany.
So if Oscar's isn't a singular achievement why bestow him with a singular award. The award says Indian of the year. It doesn't say Indians of the year. Oscar has only been the mascot of the GBA, he's not the GBA's substance, if you get my drift.
The award should have been aptly titled 'Indian body of the year' and given to all GBA activists and their associates who tirelessly worked against the Regional Plan. Not just Oscar alone.
Aswhin Tombat has argued that an award for Oscar would mean an award for every Goan who stood against the RP. But that's a quaint argument for its tantamount to saying that an award for Bill Gates for writing the first Windows programming language is equivalent to honouring the achievements of all Microsoft employees. Bill Gates spent sleepless nights to write the Windows programme alone. No one else could or would. He built the wagon and rode it himself.Dr Oscar Rebello did not start the public campaign of the RP. He did not build the wagon, he just rode it. But so could anyone else if he was prominent and politically unattached. Charles Correia would probably.
Mr Tombat if and when Oscar recieves the award, millions of viewers within and without the country are going to see only Oscar receiving the award.At that precise moment everybody is going to think that it is Oscar's solo achievement cause it proclaims boldly 'Indian of the Year', not 'Indians of the year.'They are going to say "Hey hats off to Oscar for what he's done." An award for Oscar translating as an award for other diehard is symbolic rant I don't subscribe to. The limelight is and will certainly be on Oscar the day is award is presented to him. But what about the activists and others for their ceaseless endeavours on whom not even the shadows will fall? Will Oscar receiving the award bring them into focus Mr Tombat? People, universally see what is infront of them, not what's beneath or behind anything. No one notices the unsung heroes. It is to these anonymous persons that my deepest respects and salutations go to. Oscar led the GBA movement as its convenor, but he isn't its founder or its soul. An organism with only a head, but no body is no organism at all.
If you know of anyone who has contributed to the cause as much as Oscar, vote for him or her with your conscience and congratulate that person. Even if you cannot send an SMS. I know of one person who deserves equal mention as Oscar. Patricia Pinto is her name. There could be many more to whom we Goans should owe our gratitude, They need not be outstanding physicians or IITians.Most Goans seem to have this misconception that only doctors and engineers are intelligent or brilliant people. Gary Kasparov, a chessplayer for instance, has an IQ higher than most average doctors or engineers.
An Indian of the Year award shouldn't be given to someone only because he is the first Goan or the first Keralite to get it but it should rest solely on merit and on singular achievements from which the entire nation benefits. I am thoroughly appreciative for Oscar lending a hand to ease the common man's plight but he shouldn't accept the award, simply because it would mean that he is taking credit for the battle won.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well written, Oscar doesn't deserve the nomination. He simply led a conglomerate of politicians, social activist, etc from an arm chair...

19 January 2008 at 23:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for carrying 'the other view' about Oscar. It shows even Goans have spine (though there may be very few)Congrats to the writer. It showed he /she had the spunk to call a spade a spade. Oscar is a creation of the mindless media and people like Tombat who have no values.
We are waiting to see what magic Tombat creates in Herald. It may just be his waterloo

20 January 2008 at 00:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Oscar Rebello

Medicine is better than social causes. Put your training as a doctor to help humanity. You flamed the fire with the RP. Why are you silent about the IT Habitat? What did you get by protesting the RP? Even Mathany got the SEZs scrapped.
Please do not become like another Dr. Willy D'Souza who was the best surgeon in Goa but wasted himself in politics and is today a laughing stock as he cannot keep his NCP flock together. The doctor who was once highly respected went against his political guru - Rajiv Gandhi.
Dr. Oscar learn the language of the masses. A little time in this sphere will help for a future protest rally
Dr. Oscar medicine is more paying. Please do not waste your time on thankless Goans who have the crab mentality.
Accept it, your contribution to the RP was only that of a moscot like Appu of the Asian Games held in Delhi many monns earlier.
Do you really think you are worthy of the "Indian of The Year Award". If you win this one (with the help of the Press and Tombat), we Goans shall nominate you for a Nobel?
Get real Dr. Oscar!!!!

20 January 2008 at 01:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Oscar you still have a long way to go, and come clean on your political affiliation. You need to make several self-less sacrifices before being considered for awards like 'man of the year'?? OK, I suggest you free medical service to poor people who cannot afford it. Also convince your some folks to do the same, that will be some service to Goa. Matahny, Sripat Naek, et al also did lot to save goa on the front that you also fought.

20 January 2008 at 10:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing that you say that Dr. Oscar would not have managed to do anything without the Goa Bachao Andolan. Do you think that Medha Patkar would have achieved what she has without the Narmada Bachao Andolan?

Come on guys, search yourself and then come up with posts like this. Dr. Oscar has done yeoman service to Goa, and without his leadership, Goa would have been eaten up by the real estate sharks, who are still waiting in the wings to grab whatever they can.

What Doc Oscar has done is that he has raised the visibility of this issue across the world, and Goans worldwide, as well as scores of people who love Goa but are not Goans, have been energized into saving this beautiful paradise called Goa.

And, i have no doubt that if Doc wins, he will dedicate the award to every Goan who deserves it. He has already said this, and i don't seen any reason for someone to downgrade the work done by a True Goan.

And, who says that Patricia Pinto does not deserve accolades? Do you think she is jealous of Doc being nominated? Patricia is no cheap politician, she is a woman of character, and i have no doubt that she is delighted at Doc being conferred the nomination.

And talking of unsung heroes, is that not the rule of life? The tombs of the "Unknown Soldier" are always there to pay tribute to the people who laid down their lives and were unsung. There is nothing new in all this. This is the rule of life my friend.

The people of Goa are united in all this, and you will also be surprised to know that Doc has got support across the country.

God save us all.

20 January 2008 at 12:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many comments on this post are not carried in totality.
Comments which discover the rotund flanks and the shaggy underbelly of the Penpricks. whateer the case let a Goan get an award. This is typical crab mentality.
Why was this piece on Dr Oscar carried in totality.
When i brought to notice a mistake by the Penpricks which sought to malign the Navhind Times, it was not highlighted and further no apology was forthcoming from Penpricks.
The mistake refers to a caption on the Navhind Times, which Penpricks said had many grammatical errors but the caption actually did not.

20 January 2008 at 18:26  
Blogger Newshound said...

You seem to be taking the Indian of the Year awards too seriously. It's nothing but a farce that's meant to satisfy the bloated egos of media bosses.

21 January 2008 at 00:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the posts on this comment are made by readers who have eiher failed to grasp its gist or who have a very distorted interpretations based on piecemeal perspectives. The post is not a personal jibe against Oscar or for that matter anyone
Goan. Many allegations against Dr Oscar and the author of the post are unsubstantiated, some of which have no relevance to the context of the post at all. As the latter, let me clarify I have never mentioned nor implied that Oscar has any political affiliations. A great advantage that Oscar has is that he is completely apolitical and I hope it is a trait that stays with him.
There is another twit of a reader suggesting that Patricia Pinto is jealous that her GBA colleague was nominated for the award. Even in the faintest vein I would not suggest this to anybody. Saying that someone should deserve equal credit for a job well done is a far cry from saying that one is burning with envy. Im not eulogising Patricia or baiting Oscar.

To the question on whether Medha Patkar could have achieved anything without the NBA, let me retort by saying no she couldn't. Nor could Oscar without the GBA. Individual voices without the support of a critical mass in the form of protest at the grassroot level have little impact in changing the tide of events. At best they remain mere rhetoric. Penpricks exemplifies this in their post saying "When Goa's elected political bandits were about to literally pull the ground from under your feet, Oscar's voice (later amplified by the ever swelling mass of protesters) managed to scare them off, at least for a while." Reread the words within parenthesis on which I would like to lay emphasis. It says "later amplified by the swelling mass of protesters." Oscar's voice needed amplification to trigger an anti- Regional Plan earthquake. Neither Oscar nor Medha would be able to do much without their respective Andolans. In that respect neither Oscar nor Medha's activities could be singled out as solo contributions.
But my dear chum there still lies a substantial contrast between Medha and Oscar because while Medha had the resources to organise an Andolan on her own by galvanising distressed people from the grassroots level onwards, Oscar's appeal is limited and audible only to the upper strata of society and not across its whole spectrum. The anti-regional plan worked because it carried dissenting voices from the lowest to the highest end of the spectrum. If the RP has been scrapped it is not the result of individual effort but of collective Goan effort.The CNN IBN award honours individual achievement not team work.

I don't understand where the question of crab mentality comes into the picture. If a person doesn't merit an award he or she simply doesn't merit it. It doesn't matter whether you are a GOan, Rajasthani or a Tamilian. The CNN IBN award is not a rolling trophy to be given just because he or she is the first person to be nominated from a particular state. Oh yes it makes us Goans proud. But let's face harsh facts. No one is going to pay obeisance to you anywhere in the world on the basis of you being Goan or Keralite. The thumb rule of today's world is "You show us results, we hire and keep you." Anyone who thinks it adds to his credentials by saying someone should be allowed to get an award only because he is a Goan is a fool with a prejudiced opinion. Let an issue be debated on merits and reason alone. This is precisely the reason why PP carried the post in its totality. It wouldn't make much sense if it was truncated. And readers would jump to all sorts of ridiculous conclusions. Get real folks, the truth is always bitter but never biased.

21 January 2008 at 03:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you read between the penpricks lines, he truth is never bitter always biased. READ BETWEEN THE LINES BUDDY, BEFORE SURMONISING...IF YOU KNOW THE LINES THAT IS.

21 January 2008 at 03:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the author of comment No 2 and do not agree with comment No 7. I think we are not biased against Dr. Oscar. We are just speaking the truth. I think the author of comment No 7 should aplogise to all of us, who does not agree that Dr. Oscar deserves the award. I think we are being very narrow in thinking that Dr Oscar deserves the award just becuase he is goan. there is no comparision between Medha and Dr4. Oscar. In fact there is a heven and earth difference. Dr. Oscar is a kid in the sphere of social issues. He got to go a long way with many more issues. Where was Dr. Oscar - the saviour of Goa today - when the issue of langauge was raised, when Goa was taken over by the Indians, when the Church objected to Konkan Railway. Please do not misunderstand us, we are just looking for a more mature advocate. Dr Oscar has just cut his teeth. I know Dr. Oscar has his supporters - who see him as a front for their own agenda - but look deep within and you will see how hallow Dr. Oscar is / was/ and will be.
Best of luck Dr. Oscar and your supporters.
About the crab menatality. Please be careful about these supporters Dr. Oscar. There is very possibility that they will pull you down once they have achieved their personal goal. Including the author of comment 7. Please do not say you were not warned.
I still agree with the views put out by the author.

21 January 2008 at 05:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think somewehere we are missing the point with this type of a debate CNN IBN is getting free publicity and making a fool of all of us.

I feel CNN IBN should not have done this cheap publicity stunt. They should have done an expose on the whole racket of land grabbing and made this issue national of how a small state like Goa is tackling with the issue of land grabbing and how a cross section of the society is oposing it.

21 January 2008 at 09:12  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The prick who posted this essay is all screwed up...
In the same breath he says that Oscar cannot claim singular credit for the team work of the GBA
What a jaundiced prick who is just envious of Oscar and the fact that GBA is all very happy that Oscar is nominated.
I for one will not send any SMS to fill up CNN IBN coffers
BUT I do believe that Oscar and the GBA are doing a great job.
Sorry pricks, you are off the target, this time!
And what's happening? from scoops are you becoming a letter writer's paradise?

21 January 2008 at 11:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The irony of the whole situation about Dr Oscar receiving the award, which, I am afraid, very few seem to have grasped, and the post has rightly pointed out, is that the awardee is not in a position to converse in Konkani. By that yardstick, is it not shameful that the doc gets the award for mobilising GOANS(?) (without conversing in Konkani). No wonder, some people won't open their mouth, 'Konkani gayee bhad mein'. And, it is anybody's guess as to who filled Rajdip's ears with the Regional Plan and all that crap.
My vote will certainly go to Patricia Pinto (the Medha Patkar of Goa). She is the real saviour of Goa, the one who fought for saving Goan identity.

21 January 2008 at 13:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that people think that CNN IBN is making money on all this, is ridiculous. Weren;t there any other ways of voting free, such as on the website and in Reliance Webworld offices? Come on guys, dont try to get off the target.

The fact is that Dr. Oscar deserves the award and he is one of the only guys (at this point in time) who can take the might of the real estate sharks who are out to finish Goa.

In all probability, people who say that he does not deserve it are people put up by this vicious lobby, or else why should anyone say that Dr. Oscar is a kid?

Why don't you guys go to the streets and fight it out? Did you expect doc to handle the Konkani agitation when he was possibly under 20? And then, why should he fight all issues? You mean that there is only one guy amongst us all?

Personally, I am delighted that the real estate industry is under fire. We do not need money bags from Delhi and UP. I personally have many friends from the North who care a damn about what is happening in goa. For them, Goa is just a milking cow.

So, unless we put our agenda down and have Goa centric policies, most will be interested in just taking off the land rather than anything else.

So, Cheers to Doc Oscar.......he deserves accolades for what he has done. We need a thought revolution, and he can surely lead that.

21 January 2008 at 14:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the author of the post

To author of comment Number 2: Thanks man, I totally agree with your statement "I think we are being very narrow in thinking that Dr Oscar deserves the award just because he is Goan." In that sense you and I share the same logic. So where is the question of me apologising when both of us share the same viewpoint? I am not against the likes of you since we are on the same side of the fence. This cannot be construed as a bias for or against Oscar. We are just pointing faults in the selection system not on individuals. And by the way I have no interest in putting Oscar down nor in elevating him.I have no personal agenda in doing this. Either way I couldn't care a fig. Are you trying to sit on both sides of the fence by implying that I am against Oscar and still saying that you still agree with what Ive written?

To the reader who says the essay is all screwed up:

Is the essay screwed or are you thought processes skewed? Don't you understand what is meant by singular credit? And from where did you fathom that I insisted Mathany managed to scrap the SEZs on his own. There is no SEZ abbreviation on the post at all. Geez! guy please do not get out of context. Since your thought processes are so skewed its a wise idea you are are not filling the CNN-IBN's coffers. You could end up bankrupt. Heck you begin with disagreeing with the Oscar does not deserve singular credit line and follow up with Oscar and the GBA are doing a great job.Why use the word and. Why not just say Oscar is doing a great job.

To the vicious lobby observer
We are no vicious lobby, We just believe in calling a spade a spade. Whether its Oscar or the real estate sharks. Are you certain for a fact that Oscar deserves the award? Is it fact or just your opinion? Sure Oscar deserves praise for his efforts but it shouldn't culminate into an Indian of the Year Award. Just as you deserve praise for saying that you are delighted that the real estate industry is under fire. Besides, Oscar is not an indispensible philosopher to start or lead a thought revolution. More than a thought revolution we need to think how to revolt against corrupt governmental systems itself.

Thanks for the discussion folks. Its just a mere debate .Nothing personal directed against youll or Oscar.Neither is it in favour. Its always good to do some out of the box thinking and see an issue from various angles. If someone has a thought radically different from mine, it doesn't logically follow that he or she has a crab mentality. I am sorry if any of you think it does.

21 January 2008 at 15:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I suggest to the Anons... Anyone can claim he/she is the author of a comment. You can easily create an account. All you need to do is visit and create an unique id.

I'm concerned that there could be some impersonation, intentional or otherwise.

On the comment at 20 January 2008 18:26, Penpricks has goofed up real bad and is too proud to admit it's mistake.

21 January 2008 at 16:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not misunderstand me. I do not have anything against the author. In fact I think he is the only one with spine / guts/ spunk and forthright.

21 January 2008 at 22:25  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home