The Question of Independence
iS obvious that the Indian Catholics would like their numbers to be increased and their position strengthened by the incorporation of Goa into India. It is also understandable that they are anxious to prove to their nonChristian fellow-countrymen that they are good Indian patriots. The attitude of ex-Goans who settled in India is naturally similar to that of other ludian Catholics: they live in India and they are absorbed into the Catholic Indian community. In the Case of an Irish-English conflict it would be similarly very likely that the English Catholics of Irish origin would take side with the English, not with the Irish.
The real issue is not the attitude of the Indian Catholics, or of the Indian ex-Goans, but of the Goans in Goa. It is quite clear that the incorporation of Goa into India would mean a weakening of the position of Catholicism in Goa and probably the disappearance of Goa as a particularly strong and influential Catholic stronghold in Asia. The situation is slightly similar to that of the Papal States before 1870. We should pray for the preservation of Goa's autonomy, because Goa is a Catholic political unit threatened with absorption into a non-Christian one. But if Goa is destroyed, this will not mean that Goan Catholicism, and even its particular role, will disappear too.
Goa is not a part of India, but a separate nation, numerically four times as hie as Iceland, not smaller than Luxembourg, and only slightly smaller than Esthonia or Albania. It has the right to preserve its independence from India. The Indian civilisation is very old, but the Indian nation is very young; it is a product first of the Moghul, and then of the British rule. Goa has not participated in historical events which brought about the taking shape of the Indian nation. The incorporation of Goa into India would he no more justified than a similar incorporation of Pakistan or Ceylon.
If Goa were in Europe, or in South America, it would be independent. But can it be independent having such a neighbour as India? Can it part without even such a support as the Portuguese connection can give?
Jed rzej Glertych 16 Delmont Road, London, N.I5.