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Daman Day 2013 – Press Release


DAMAN, January 30th 2013: 2nd of February, the historical date (02.02.1559) when Damão first came to be, has been celebrated worldwide by Damanenses as ‘Dia de Damão’ (Daman Day) for centuries.

The festival is a celebration of the unique culture of the people of Daman and includes musical festivals, food festivals, traditional/folk dance performances, art & craft displays and various competitions that encourage artistic expressions of their culture.

The essence is celebration of all that is inherently old-world, ‘Damão’ – the sights, the sounds, the senses and the ‘saudades.’ The mandate – “Feel, think, breathe, live, eat and drink, to Damão!”

The celebrations begin in August, along with World Goa Day celebrations, in countries like the UK, US, UAE, Canada, and Holland among others, and culminate on Daman Day on the 2nd of February which is celebrated in Daman, Macau and Portugal.

The theme for Daman Day 2013 is “Viva Damao! Raise a toast to traditional Damanense cuisine!” The theme comprises a title and a subtitle. While the title, “Viva Damão” is permanent, the subtitle changes every year. The themes in the last few years have been:

2012: “Viva Damão! 100% Música Portuguesa!”

2011: “Viva Damão! Proud to be Damanense!”

2010: “Viva Damão! Eu falo Português!”

2009: “Viva Damão! Come, Discover Daman!”

2008: “Viva Damão! Keep the culture alive!”

Daman Day is a self-financed initiative of the Damanenses under the aegis of World Goa Day and its founder, UK-based Rene Barreto. Each participating country has a ‘Country Coordinator’ who is in constant touch with the Daman-based ‘Overall Coordinator’ and founder, Noel Gama.

Beginning last year, the organisers in Daman, teamed up with the Daman Municipal Council (DMC) to celebrate the event jointly as the council has already been sponsoring the traditional annual mass commemorating the feast of Our Lady of Purification and N S das Candeias every February 2nd at the DMC Square.

The event launches with high mass in honour of the patroness of the city, Our Lady of Purification at 6pm, followed by a cultural program showcasing Damanense folklore which will include a play in Portuguese, Damanense folklore and traditional Portuguese and Damanense dance performances by local artists and musicians.

More information can be found at www.Discover-Daman.com

Noel Gama
Overall Coordinator – Daman Day (Dia de Damao)

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Between the Sword and the Pen, lies the Guitar (Part-2)


Looking back down the road I’ve traveled, with a guitar case instead of a suitcase in my hand, I earnestly wish I could say, “So far, so good!” But in all honesty, it hasn’t been so. As throngs of my fellow Damaneses opt for Portuguese citizenship and leave Daman to settle down in Europe, more and more I feel like a stranger in my own hometown. The ever-expanding ‘Bribe Tribe’ is still foreign to me despite it being well over two decades since we got delinked from Goa. Come to think of it, I did not experience as big a culture shock in 1961 as I did when we were severed from Goa.

With only a month to completing 50 years of its liberation,  Daman had its biggest-ever protest march this November 24th. A young man spoke with such conviction on topics and problems that have been making a buzz on social media sites, perhaps fueled by similar protests elsewhere in the country. I could easily use this as grist for my songwriting mill and churn out a protest folksong – no music sounds as authentic as when the oppressed sing songs of protest but wouldn’t it be a crying shame? Our traditional folk songs were about poverty and its alleviation; never about oppression and alienation. And we had riches – we were multicultural, multilingual, multiracial and lived in sweet harmony.

I still need my guitar and the power of folksongs to help me along the way. Folksongs may age but they never get old like the one-week hit songs of today. That’s because they document our history, culture and values more authentically, enticingly and entertainingly than any history book ever could. My music teacher may have found solace in a bottle of wine but he left me the most enduring legacy. I believe that music is a means of experiencing as well as expressing freedom. And most of all, I believe that the guitar is a celebration of this freedom because you are free to ‘do-your-own-thing, any-which-way’!


Mario Miranda gets Spain’s highest civilian honour!

Daman-born, Mario Miranda became the first Indian to receive Spain’s highest civilian honor – the “la Orden de Isabel la Catolica” at a function held in his 300-year-old Casa de Miranda in Loutolim, Goa.  The honour comprises the cross of the official of the Order of Isabel and a citation from Miguel Neito Sandoval, tourism counsellor, director of the tourism department and the embassy of Spain in India.

My friend and mentor, Dr. Adelino Rodrigues da Costa, delgate – Fundacao Oriente, was one of the prominent guests at the function.

Mario, a close friend of my parents, considers himself a Damanense though he is of Goan descent. To read more about Mario, check him out on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Miranda#Biography

Viva Goa! Viva Damao!



I’m reproducing below Fr. Francis da Gama’s obituary written by his colleague, Fr. Fred Sopena, SJ


Francis was born in 1934 in Daman, and spent the first ten years of his life there, his initial schooling being in Portuguese. In 1945 he joined St. Stanislaus’ High School, Bandra as a boarder, and six years later was among the first batch that passed the new matriculation exam. Among his schoolmates who also joined the Society were Valentine Rodrigues, Alban D’Mello and Lawrence D’Souza; another more illustrious companion was Ivan Dias, later Archbishop of Bombay. Already at School Francis had distinguished himself by his love of writing (in the school magazine), and dramatics.

In June 1951, Francis joined the Jesuits at the Bombay novitiate, Vinayalaya. The next few years followed a predictable pattern of formation: philosophy and theology in De Nobili College, Pune, and regency in the Bombay diocesan seminary. In March 1964 he was ordained, and two years later, sent to the diocesan seminary once again as a teacher in their juniorate. The next ten years were active and productive for the young priest in charge of seminarians at their most impressionable stage. He taught them language, public speaking, dramatics, and even the rudiments of film appreciation, for which he started and registered a film society.

In 1974, Provincial Bertie Philipps requested him to take charge of the Province mission magazine, Our Vineyard, from St. Xavier’s High School. Francis edited, published, advertised and distributed the magazine to a large and loyal readership for almost ten long years. Side by side he wrote film reviews in the popular press, gave talks on radio (usually on cinema), encouraged young Jesuits to opt for the media studies (he was the first Province Coordinator of Communications), and was among the first Jesuits involved in teaching in the Xavier Institute of Communications. Together with this Francis showed a keen interest in the Sodality movement (now rechristened “Christian Life Communities” (CLC) and was the animator of a unit at Seva Niketan, and closely associated with Sidney D’Souza SJ in this work. He later went to Rome for a training Course. He edited the CLC magazine, Morning Star for five years.

What he appreciated most of all in the Society, Francis declared, is its tremendous diversity, which opens the mind and challenges the heart. Throughout his formation he rubbed shoulders with Jesuits from every land, and in his own group there were men of vastly diverse talents and temperaments. All this helped the formation of his character, and Francis was deeply grateful to God for all that the Society had done for him.

The last years of his life Francis spent at St. Xavier’s High School almost unnoticed, but not forgotten by his Jesuit brothers who took good care of him.

Francis was a man of peace. Peace seemed to be an essential part of his well-integrated nature. His spirit was in command for most of his life but gradually sickness took the upper hand. Perhaps due to the stress of work, the gentle unruffled presence of Francis broke down and gave way to bouts of depression and erratic behaviour. Francis died at 10:45 pm on April 2nd 2009 in the Jesuit Nursing Home, Vinayalaya. Almost two days later his Jesuit brothers, relatives and staff of St. Xavier’s High School accompanied him in the Eucharist and burial services at Holy Family Church, Andheri. May his soul rest in peace.

Fr. Fred Sopena, SJ



Goodbye Fr. Francis da Gama

Dear Damanenses,

Fr. Francis da Gama, sj (Hilario Gama’s son) died last night in Mumbai.
He was diagnosed with cancer of the liver last Wednesday – that’s two days ago.
The funeral is tomorrow, 4th April. The service is at 4pm IST at Holy Family Church in Andheri, Mumbai.

Fr. Francis da Gama lived in St. Xavier’s School, Dhobi Talao, Mumbai most of his life. His home in Big Daman now houses the CreditCitizen Bank.

Fr. da Gama was a film critic, a writer, and editor of the Vineyard but most of all, he was my writing mentor – he got my first article published in The Herald when I was only 14 and always believed that I could be a good journalist.

May his soul rest in peace.


The general public of Daman was caught unawares when the police descended on them on the night of 19th November (2008). Many were returning from work or from shopping, others were just relaxing on municipal benches and public places and the yet others were in bars when jeep-loads of police accosted and indiscriminately beat up people all over Daman (Nani/Moti) and then herded them to the police station.

Those on mobikes were stopped and thrashed. It is reported that even some people who were still shopping, were beaten and the tables of those sitting outside bars, smashed to pieces. Those locked up were released around 2pm the next day.

Neither the victims nor the general public seem to know what hit them! It is alleged that when the victims tried to contact the local politicians, they discovered that they’d switched off their mobiles.

It is rumoured that the policemen were from neighbouring Silvassa. It is also rumoured that the Gujarat police were conducting a search for terrorists in Daman at the same time!

Another curious thing – only men, mostly young, were beaten up.

Since the 19th, people don’t venture out after dark. Bars – the only nightlife you see in Daman – wear a deserted look. It is rumoured that no more than four can seat at each table though there’s been no official notification of any kind… only rumours and more rumours!