History Hour 15 – “Disintegration of Gaunkarys (Age Old Village Communities)” by Adv. Andre A. Pereira. – 11th May 2005.

Gaunkary or Comunidade system – the over-2000 year old indigenous institution so unique to Goa – Generated sentiments among people and revenue for community development. Today this institution is on the brink of disintegration mainly due to its own gaunkars (original villagers and guardians of land) politicians and others with vested interests. Comunidade lands have been destroyed and are being turned into grounds for dumping garbage, mining rubbish, for building housing colonies, industrial units, etc. The government also acquired some Comunidade land without considering the interests of the gaunkars. At present the Office of the Administrators is handled by most imcompetent persons who have no knowledge of Comunidade laws.

In a bid to protect the interests of the gaunkars and harness the potential of Gaunkarys, the people from different comunidades in the State decided to fight back against corruption in the Administration of Comunidades and against the plunder of  land resources and economy of Comunidades. The talk will focus, among other things, on whether it is possible to prevent disintegration of Gaunkarys and on the relevance of reviving this unique institution. The topic with deal with issues of relevance: antecedents, Code of Comunidades and legal implications, unjust laws, stand of political parties, plundering of land, disinterest in Gaunkary  system, etc.

The Comunidade system is now a gender and caste and class dominated seems to provide only zonn  today. Not so. Comunidades have the potential to become a liberating force, protect environment and transform villages into commonwealth organizations.

Andre A. Pereira worked as accountant at Carmel College, Nuvem, from  1977 to 1992.  He did his LLM at Pune University. HE was Attorney of Mormugao cumunidades.  He is the author of a booklet “Gaunkary : Gaunkars and Comunidades” (Goa, 2000), He has contributed many articles to the local newspapers voicing concerns of Gaunkary.  Currently he is directly involved in issues pertaining to village communities.

Adv. Andre Pereira
P.C.: Prime Media, Goa

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