Wake Up !! East Indians : Its Now Or Never ##

Silent Voice

 
        A/7  Rodrigues Compound, Malwani Village, Malad (W), Mumbai, 400095.   Contact No. 98707 19628
 
E mail:    silentvoice58@gmail.com
 
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To,                                                                                                                                           18th, April, 2012
 
All EAST INDIANS,
Hello Friends,
We do not know, how you would all react, if someone tells you that EAST INDIANS ARE NOT RECOGNISED ORIGINAL COMMUNITY OF BOMBAY. At least, you would painfully or forcefully, try to explain our history, geography and culture etc. to convince him about our origin. Once he is convinced, the matter would end for us.
However, if the Constitutional authority of the state makes this statement, how would you react? We do not know. But we felt hurt, when we read about the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Honourable Shree Prithviraj Chavan, making this statement. We have sent a protest letter to Chief Minister, which has been attached for your knowledge, and is self explanatory.
Friends, the question remains, as to on what basis the Honourable Chief Minister makes that statement. We do not believe it as an off the cuff remark. We need to go to the root of it. All along, us EAST INDIANS have believed that we too, are the ORIGINAL NATIVES OF BOMBAY.
We EAST INDIANS are known to be happy go lucky community. We are all busy promoting our social life and culture. But have ignored our existence.
We have so many EI associations at local levels. We have a couple of them involving East Indians from all over. The copy of the letter to chief Minister has been marked to the heads of these associations. That does not mean the others are ignored. We will be mailing copy of this letter to other prominent Individual East Indians, who are on our mailing list, with a request to spread the message to galvanise all the community members to act. We need to come on one platform to tackle this issue. We therefore, call upon all the heads of associations to discuss this matter, if you all think that it is a serious one, with their members, and revert back, in order to enable us to call for a combine meeting of Association heads and prominent East Indians, to decide on the action.
Remember, UNITED WE STAND.
 
Regards,
 
 
 
GREG
Blog :  silentmaj.wordpress.com

LETTER ADDRESSED TO HONOURABLE CHIEF MINISTER, SHREE PRITHVIRAJ CHAVAN

To,                                                                                                                                           14th, April, 2012

Honourable Shree Prithviraj Chavan,

Chief Minister of Maharashtra,

Respected Sir,

Sub:    EAST INDIANS, the Recognised Original Community

We thank you on behalf of EAST INDIAN COMMUNITY, the original inhabitants of Mumbai and surrounding area viz. Salsette islands and Thane District; for giving audience to delegation of MOBAI GAOTHAN PANCHAYAT (MGP). MGP is one of the organizations, trying to take care and promote our culture.

Honourable Chief Minister, The Press Release issued by MGP suggests that you assured them of looking into the issues related to our community, raised by them. We have no doubt in our minds that you will.

However, one statement of yours, as mentioned in their Press release, “As per the CM the Kolis are the only recognised original community of Bombay,” has ruffled many feathers. It must have disturbed the whole community. We think, your statement is not based on the facts, or you are ill-informed about it. You are right; the KOLIS are original inhabitants of Mumbai; but also the EAST INDIANS. Your statement mentions the words, “recognised original community of Bombay”, in the context of Reservation in MHADA housing. So reads the press release. Here, we must state emphatically, in spite of being original inhabitants of Mumbai; we have never longed or demanded any favours or largesse, from Government. However, the situation now has changed. Therefore, we have begun to knock on Government’s door for our constitutional rights.

The EAST INDIANS are natives of this city, since the middle of Sixteenth Century. No, they did not migrate from outside the City. They were part of it, like Kolis who were in fishing activity. So were the present EAST INDIANS, in the form of Kunbis as farmers, Agaris as salt producers, Bhandaris as Toddy tappers, Kumbhars as pot makers, among others.  All were part of the same barter system along with Kolis. Even after their conversion to Christianity, during Portuguese rule, they continued to be part of that system, and co-existed, with Kolis. Thereafter, during the period of British era, when migrants, the converted ones from Goa and Mangalore came to Mumbai, in search of employments, the converted locals acquired EAST INDIANS, as their identity to differentiate from them, as original inhabitants of Mumbai, (MOBAI). Knowledgeable, among the community could bail us out, in case of inaccuracies.

Coming back to part of your statement, ‘Recognized Original Community’; Honourable Chief Minister, what kind of recognition are you talking about? And how can our community acquire it, if it is required to do so? Can you please guide us? Will our Community then, be eligible to avail all the benefits available to other communities?

While on the subject of EAST INDIANS, we would like to draw your attention to the harassment of community members who are trying to obtain OBC cast certificates. After a prolonged battle by one of the community organization, MOOL EAST INDIAN SANGHATANA TRUST, managed to get the community included for OBC status, so that the downtrodden amongst us, can benefit. Unfortunately, hurdles are being created in the path, by bureaucracy.  We would expect you to intervene in the matter, so that the community can reap the benefit, provided by the constitution.

Honourable Chief Minister, if the above details are not enough to prove the origin of EAST INDIAN COMMUNITY, then look at the following:

Ø  Mr. Joseph (KAKA) Baptista, the first mayor of Bombay, (1925-26), was an EAST INDIAN. He was a close associate of Lokmanya Tilak, and in fact, was the one who coined the statement “Swaraj is my Birthright”, which was made famous by Shree Lokmanya Tilak. He was also instrumental in Lokmanya Tilak starting Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Movement. As an Advocate, in the High Court, he defended Veer Sarvarkar and demanded an open trial on the basis of fundamental rights. Besides, He was one of the founders of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in 1920, a labour leader, as well as the one who started the Home Rule League in Belgaum in 1916. There can be lot more to be written about this icon. Does he need recognition, Honourable Chief Minister?

 

Ø  Two hundred odd NEGLECTED GAOTHANS existing for over HUNDRED YEARS are still standing as testimony to existence of EAST INDIANS. Do EAST INDIANS STILL NEED RECOGNITION?

Ø  The HOLY CROSSES, which have been dotting the roads of Mumbai, are also the testimony to existence of EAST INDIANS. They have been standing there, even before the roads they are standing on, came up. They were put up by EAST INDIAN travelers to seek Devine safety from evil and epidemic of Plague. Unfortunately, they were neglected over the time and gave opportunity to vested interests, to make an attempt to remove them. Many of these Crosses were within the compound walls of the residential Bungalows of EAST INDIANS. They came on roads at the time when the compounds were moved back to allow development. Even today, the houses of EAST INDIANS are being demolished to make way for elite class to move their classy cars from place to place, with no benefit to GAOTHANS, through which these roads pass.

Ø  EAST INDIANS have given their fertile and cultivable lands, for development of this city. The most of the land where CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI ANTER RASHTRIYA VIMANTAL, is standing today, once belonged to EAST INDIANS, residing in GAOTHANS on the periphery of the airport. Apart from this, there are other landmarks in the city also could be standing on the land, once belonging to EAST INDIANS.

Ø  The BOMBAY EAST INDIAN ASSOCIATION (BEIA), is the oldest of the community organization, which will be completing 125 years, shortly.

Ø  Number of schools, attached to Catholic Churches in the city, where population of students from other communities is more than the Catholics, and the politicians from all the Political Parties, make a beeline to recommend students of their choice, for admission, are also situated on the land that has been donated by EAST INDIANS.

Honourable Chief Minister, do EAST INDIANS still need to prove that they too are the original inhabitants of MOBAI, then BOMBAY, and now, MUMBAI?

Moreover, EAST INDIANS traditionally have been voting for INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS since its inception, until recently, when they realized that they have been used, abused and ignored, by your party.

The bottom line, Honourable Chief Minister is, not only the ones, who are claiming, on their MONEY, MUSCLE and MAJORITY POWER; but also the EAST INDIANS, along with KOLIS, are the SONS OF THE SOIL. They are the true SONS OF THE SOIL.

 

Therefore, as the KOLIS are the Original recognized community, the EAST INDIANS also should be recognized as Original Community, in the Government record. Since you have brought out the issue of recognition, we call upon you to set things right, for one of the peace loving, law abiding and God fearing Original community of this city. We need not produce any documentary proof for our existence. However, since There is an involvement of Church, vis a vis Conversions; through the copy of this letter, we are requesting Archbishop Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the head of the Catholics in this city at present, to affirm these facts, and inter act with the authorities. We are sure, he will oblige.

 

We, along with some members of the community, would like to meet you as early as possible. Please give us an appointment. We are sure, you will oblige.

Sincerely yours,

GREG R. PEREIRA,

Convener,

SILENT VOICE.

Copy to:           1          Shreemati Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, Indian National Congress:          For Information.

                        2          H. E. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai:                  Your Eminence, The letter is self explanatory. We expect you to set things right which were ignored over the years. Of course, Not intentionally, but possibly, none thought of this problem erupting at this hour. Enclosed is a copy of a document, stamped as, ‘DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIEVES, MAHARASHTRA STATE, MUMBAI’. It has a mention, “EAST INDIANS is a term which has been adopted by all classes in India”. “Many of those who claim a Portuguese origin – Xaviers, De Castellas, etc- are merely descendants of converts to Christianity”. It may help you to interact with Government authorities.

                        3          Prof. Lilla D’souza:    chairperson, Bombay East Indian Association:

                        4          Mr. Alphi D’souza:     CEO, Mobai Gaothan Panchayat.

5           Mr. Oneil Kinni:        Founder President, MOOL EAST INDIAN SANGHATANA TRUST.

Original copy of the above letter endorsed herein below.

Response to CM pg.1Response to CM pg.2Response to CM pg.3
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7 Comments

  1. Silent Voice said,

    April 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Dear All,

    The only reason for such a statement from Hon’ble Chief Minister is that he has been ill informed to say it politely misled. But you are right in saying ill informed because by being polite we have not achieved much.

    We need to come on one platform to tackle this issue, but before that we have to shed our crab mentality and our one-upmanship attitude. Sorry you may classify me blunt, but that is the fact.

    Regards

    Vianney

    Like

    • Silent Voice said,

      April 19, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanx Vianny for your response, blunt but laced with truth. We need to come on one platform. Let us say, the beginning has been done. Your response, we take it as a valuable Brick to lay a strong foundation for this platform.

      Thanx to Maharashtra EastIndian Christian Federation, for circulating this message and creating awareness.

      GREG

      Like

  2. Silent Voice said,

    April 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Dear Greg,

    Thanks for your initiative for writing to the CM about the East Indians. This topic has been trumpeted time and again from various quarters by various East Indians.

    You have given a good concise view about the community to Mr. Prithviraj Chavan. There will be many suggestions from many people and you need to collate the ones which will gravitate into action. Suggestions would emanate from people with various mindsets depending on how one would look at.
    They may be proactive, precedental, spirit of commitment, positive thinking, strategic planning, people oriented, attitude, knowledge and wisdom, maturity or just advisory.

    To take up issues of the community, we need to have strategy as that of a corporate setup. Ofcourse the BEIA could be a forum as it was formed with an intention of bringing the community together by the founding fathers who were far sighted and had a spirit of brotherhood and unity. However as the generations passed by the baton was not handed properly and therefore we see ourselves divided.

    Like the prodigal son, it is never too late, to wake up to the ground realities and hold hands and bind ourselves together. For this we need to have our minds and hearts to be alike and committed.

    I have observed in various occasions where our community is involved in taking up issues; there is a strong and energised take off, but soon it dies off because of lack of commitment, unity, negative thinking. More over our skills are optimum when it is short term or localised viz. the various singing competitions and the socials in various areas. Al this good but the main issues are long term and we need to set up targets, networking, strategies and prepare the next generation to continue.

    Mumbai has already burst at seams; and at this very moment, when we are discussing and pointing out to Prithviraj about his lack of historical knowledge of the very original inhabitants of this great MOBAI, there are hordes of people who have come and still coming to set up camp to make it big in this mega city.

    I could very well write a thesis, but we are already on a ‘time overrun’ and are walking on a tight rope. Just as we are good catholics let us hope in the LORD and intercede to our Blessed Mother to guide our way.

    Let us be doers and not sayers. Action with a sense of commitment to fulfill the desired plan.

    regards

    Brian

    Like

    • Silent Voice said,

      April 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Brian, for you response, and for sharing your past experience. Let us learn from that tiny creature called ANT. It fails on many occasions but continues with its task, and succeeds, finally. So shall we. I take your response as your pledge in support of this cause.

      GREG

      Like


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