Abstract

This thesis argues that the nature of the citizenship experience of the Catholics in the Indian state of Goa is the experience of those located between civil society and political society. This argument commences from the postulate that the recognition of Konkani in the Devanagari script as the official language of Goa, determined the boundaries of the state’s civil society.Through an ethnographic study of the contestations around the demand that the Roman script also be officially recognised, the thesis demonstrates how by deliberately excluding the Roman script for the language, the largely lower-caste and lower-class Catholic users of the script were denoted as less than authentic members of the legitimate civil society of the state. As a result, rather than enjoy the experience of permanent rights, the hall mark of civil society, their experience of citizenship is in the nature of a location in political society, where those who use the Roman script have to often justify their location in the cultural community of the State, and are awarded temporary concessions the continued existence of which depend on whether the status quo established by the dominant groups within the Goan polity is threatened or not. The argument I forward adds nuance to the larger discussion on the nature of secularism in Indian republic by introducing a focus on a region outside of British-India, as well as invoking caste, and religion; and looking outside of the binaries that often determine the study of citizenship experiences of minority groups.