Panaji, June 27 (IANS) Goa may be one of the smallest states in the Indian Union, but its unique identity is higher in many ways than India’s national identity, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Saturday.
Prabhu was in Goa to launch a series of projects undertaken by the railway ministry.
“Goa is the smallest state in our Union of India, but (is also) one of the most important states which has a unique identity,” Prabhu said, adding that when he went to Portugal with Goa’s Deputy Chief Minister Francis D’Souza, he was identified as a Goan rather than an Indian.
“So Goa has a unique identity even higher in many ways than the national identity,” said Prabhu, whose wife Uma hails from Ribandar village located near the state capital.
Goa was under Portuguese colonial rule for 451 years, two centuries more than the period that the British ruled India.
The prolonged Luso influence has left an indelible mark on Goa’s culture, tradition, demography and landscape; one of the reasons why the intelligentsia of the state is demanding a special status under article 371 of the Indian Constitution to protect its socio-cultural identity.