Age of Frenzy draws on the narrative of a coercive Portuguese invasion of Goa leading to the destruction of indigenous culture, religious practices and traditions. This tome, plied with historical facts unfolds the story of how, on the pretext of religious piousness, the colonisers ensnare the indigenous populations and schismatically divide them to strengthen their own position on this foreign land.
In an era where definitions of nationalism are used to constantly create unrest, it begs the question whose ‘nationalist aspirations’ is he referring to? Did the nationalist aspirations of local Goans have any agency in what happened to Goa? Or were Goans expected to cohere with the larger narrative which India had framed by then?
The writer Jayanti Naik grew up in what she calls ‘the economically backward village named Amona in Quepem’. This geographical specificity informs and frames much of her narrative, the complexity of which is almost impossible to adequately examine in a review.
With the short story as their weapon, Goan writers delighted in exposing the affectations, privilege and biases of the society they lived in. Frequently using satire, they took aim at personalities and peccadillos with brutal honesty, which made for soiled reputations and public fracases, but also exquisite literature.
It is precisely because Rosalyn is so fragile, so thwarted and so conflicted, that we can identify with her as a woman, and an honest one at that. The feminist ideal of the strong, self-sustaining woman is about as emotionally and intellectually captivating as a caged canary.