It should have been a sad day for me and fellow Damanenses. The fort of Big Daman, one of the 27 nominations for the 7 Wonders of the Portuguese World, did not make it, while Goa and Diu did.
* Basilica de Bom Jesus (Goa/India/Asia)
*Fortaleza de Diu (Diu/India/Asia)
* Igreja de Sao Paulo (Macau/China/Asia)
* Fortaleza de Mazagao (El Jadida/Marrocos/Africa)
* Cidade Velha de Santiago (Ilha de Santiago/Cabo Verde/Africa)
* Convento de Sao Francisco de Assis da Penitencia (Curo Preto/Brazil/South America)
* Convento de Sao Francisco e Ordem Terceira (Sao Salvador da Baia/Brazil/South America)
A team of journalists of RTP – Portugal, visited Daman and the fort in particular, over a month ago but apparently, weren’t impressed. Who would? The clutter of ugly government quarters, rusting government vehicles along the roads, a proliferation of garages for government vehicles, the trash in the moat, the PWD tar dump near the convent, labourers staying in Bocage’s house, etc., in the fort drown the efforts of the Archeological department to maintain structures of historical value. It was also reported that the RTP team were not granted permission to photograph the Se Cathedral in the fort.
Of all the ex-Portuguese colonies, Daman perhaps has the least to show today, almost 50 years after Liberation. Goa has its natural beauty and is a great tourist destination, is ‘big,’ is a state, has thousands of Goans not only in Goa, but all over India and in most countries of the world; Macau is beautiful, has the world’s biggest casino, glittering hotels, an international airport, one of the biggest race courses in Asia… the list goes on. Diu is on the tourist map and has clean beaches with white sand.
But of the little rule-flouting Daman has, all it can flaunt is its Portuguese heritage – culture, monuments and language, even 50 years after Liberation. The only things to show visiting ministers and dignitaries are the Portuguese forts, the Portuguese churches and the Portuguese folk dances!
Our fort may not have made it into the elite seven but what’s a monument without culture? It’s culture that breathes life into monuments. And the Indo Portuguese culture of Daman is not endangered, far from it… it thrives without sponsored efforts of any institution. Not only that, the culture has spilled over to foreign shores and thrives there too. The resounding success of World Daman Day 2008 bears testimony to that.
No ‘Wonder award’ for us and no wonder Fundacao Oriente in Goa does nothing for Daman – there IS nothing to do!