Newsbytheway's Blog

January 30, 2010

Talibanisation of Goa

Filed under: Musings — Rabea Khan @ 3:59 pm
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Goa is marred by yet another rape. After Scarlett Keeling, it is a 9-year-old Russian girl.  But this rape has instigated a different  debate altogether. Are women to be blamed for being the victim?

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

“You can’t blame the locals; they have never seen such women. Foreign tourists must maintain a certain degree of modesty in their clothing. Walking on the beaches half-naked is bound to titillate the senses.”

This statement is not by a Taliban but the Goa’s deputy director of tourism, Pamela Mascarhenas, (Mail Today newspaper, New Delhi).

Appalling, more so, since it comes from a woman. How can I woman think the way one dresses leads to rape? Should women be asked to wear burqas?

It is a classic case of passing the buck. And what she probably forgot to consider that the girl was merely nine years old. It is insane even to think that she could have ‘titillated’ the wrong doer in any way.

And saying that ‘locals have not seen such women’ is implausible.  Goa is the ultimate beach destination not just for Indians but the foreigners; more so for the latter. Goans are used to foreign women roaming on the beach and on the streets in bikini. It has become part of Goa’s backdrop now.

Ban on govt ads with bikini

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

The goa government was quick to spring in action and announced scrapping of all ads displaying bikini babes. Times of India quoted the state tourism minister saying ‘Goa is a family holiday destination and not a sex tourism destination. We will make sure that bikini babes do not symbolize Goa tourism”.

Accepted, but how on earth will this superficial move do to dissuade rapists? Shouldn’t security the top agenda. Whether goa government accept it or not, Goa is a beach destination not a family holiday spot. There are families who go for holidays in Goa, but the numbers of youngsters, college, 20s and early 30s crowd outnumbers them.

Goa government should look to make the beaches safer without letting it lose its identity. And something should be done without more ado lest the paradise is lost.

December 22, 2009

Goa: Whose paradise is it anyway?

Filed under: Travelogue — Rabea Khan @ 6:52 pm
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Goa, the Miami of India, defines cosmopolitan in its true sense. It’s so cosmopolitan that an Indian can end up feeling like a tourist in his/her own country.

Copyright Rabea Khan 2009

It was my second trip to Goa. Nothing has changed. It still welcomes you with a breezy embrace on its sunny beaches.  The smallest state of India, Goa, has the biggest heart. Just a stroll on its beaches and lanes will make you realize why.

Here you’ll find more foreigners than Indians. And more importantly more foreigners who have made this beautiful place their home. Most of them living here are on long vacations with their families. They live in nice little cottages on the beach living their dream. Goa is the Bahamas of the not so affluent. It’s cheap, beautiful and feels like home.

Paradise for newlyweds

The other category of people who one will come across in Goa are the Indian honeymoon couples.  They stand out on the beaches walking hand in hand coyly unlike the foreigners who just blend in. Infact non-Indians are an indispensable part of the backdrop of Goa, swimming and sun bathing on its beaches.

You may find few odd Indian honeymooners venturing into the waters. But they are an exception rather than the rule. And sighting an Indian couple in swimsuits is like spotting a rare species while bird watching.  Usually you will find the husband in his shorts enjoying a quick dip while the wife gives him the company from the shore, jeans rolled up till knees.

It’s true that though Goa has opened its heart, Indians are still too conservative to embrace it. While the foreigners have not only accepted the city, they have made it into their home.

No wonder then that for most Indians going to Goa feels like going out of the country.While for those who come from abroad, it feels like coming home.

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