This piece of article has been compiled from the various sources of information which show the beginning of Goan migration and trading trend abroad. Goans have been always migrating due to lack of an employment option in the state regardless of whether it was Portuguese regime then or an Indian rule now.
Goa, a small territory with very limited population has a vast international Diaspora and it is a matter of record that Goans were never used as bonded labour, unlike other Indians in British India. According to the available information, Goans traded in East Africa in the 10th century which shows that they were truly seafarers and intercontinental movers. Later on, during Portuguese colonial rule, Christian Goans became a part of the Portuguese seafaring tradition. The majority of Goan immigrants have been originated from the Old Conquests mainly Bardez, Tiswadi, Salcete, and Mormugao.
From Stone Age to Modern Age, from colonized to a globalised world, migration has been a phenomenon by itself. Goans have been migrating before, during and after colonial times. The reason behind migration was unemployment, as Portuguese did not do anything to generate the employment in Goa for the common man and as a result, a large section of the population was forced to migrate. According to sources in the year 1930’s seventy thousand Goans had migrated from Goa out of which 2/3rd settled in British India and in 1960, 1/6th of the total population of 6 lakhs were immigrant.
The Goan Migration Trend
# Most of the Goans emigrated to the neighbouring Indian states, as Goa being a Portuguese colony, any migration to India was considered international then. The places like Pune, Dharwad, Calcutta, Karachi and Mumbai, where Goans began working in the British Naval fleet between 1797 and 1813.
# From the last decades of the 19th century to the early decades of the 20th century, Goans began migrating to Portuguese and British Colonies in East Africa. They were seeking their livelihood in distant lands as workers in search of opportunities in various fields. The rich cultural syncretism gave Goans a more inclusive identity which facilitated their adaptation and integration into new and different cultures of the host countries.
According to the statistics, Christian Goans had a higher geographical and occupational mobility because of their cultural openness and liberal attitude, which helped easy adaptability to any environment.
# In the mid-’60s in the wake of an oil boom in West Asia & Gulf began a steady outflow of the semi-skilled and skilled labour force from Goa. Hundreds of thousands of Goans had settled in the Middle East & Gulf Countries.
# This was followed by an outflow of entrepreneurs, store owners professionally employed businessmen to European countries primarily to U.K. A little later, professionals and educated elite began seeking economic betterment in more advanced countries in the world.
# According to the migration survey the Goan Diaspora is spread over 50 countries of the world with 56% of Goan migrants live in the Gulf region, 13% of Goan migrants live in Europe, 11% of Goan migrants live in South & South East Asia, 10% of Goan migrants live in North America & 7% of Goan migrants are working aboard ships.
The investments made in industry, as well as all other services by the Goan Diaspora abroad, are not very significant compared to the investments that come from the rest of the country. It is estimated that nearly 50-60 % of the investment in real estate comes from the rest of the country, almost all non-Goans. Looking at the current economic growth rate is 9 – 10% only about 1.5% contribution comes from abroad. However, remittances by the Goan Diaspora has a significant effect on the Goa’s economy.
But with the opening of economical avenues in India in the last two decades and boom of the property market in Goa made many Goans to return to their land. Goans cannot be immune to this national trend and therefore there is a need for greater interaction and collaboration between the Goan Diaspora and the Government of Goa, more so because the connection of Goans to the motherland is their nostalgia for Goa and their longing for Goa. It can be said that it is easy to remove a Goan from Goa, but not Goa from a Goan.
The migration which is currently taking place at an alarming rate together with the emigration of Goans is causing great damage to Goa’s identity and culture. What Goa urgently needs is a mechanism to hold back Goans in Goa and incentivise those who have left to come back home. It is easier said than done, but earnest attempts have to be made in this direction by all concerned authorities including the Government of Goa but the returning rate is very low. It is the high time that Goans should come back to Goa. Goa is calling come back to your motherland.
Note: The above information is compiled by the Author from various sources.