His But To Reason Why

by Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas

Many years ago, a young man named Felix D’Souza, from Mudd’davaddi in the village of Saligao, was prone to question just about everything he encountered, using a single  Portuguese word — porquê (why). After a while, his entire family was nicknamed Porque – pronounced ‘poorkhe’, although Saligao folk prefer to say ‘porkey’.

The Porque house is very easy to find, for it is today the residence of the former Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Wilfred D’Souza. His Aunt Estefânia from Anjuna married a D’Souza from Saligao – the Porque of this story. Eventually Estefânia gifted their house to her nephew Dr Willy. Of course there was no question of porque in this matter.

The late Armando D’Souza of Cotula told the story of Porque quite graphically: “My neighbour Felix D’Souza, known as Porke, was a hulk of a youth in his late twenties, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing almost 300 lb, cut out to be more of a heavyweight wrestler than a football player. Nevertheless, Felix’s physical attributes strengthened the Saligao football team. In the 1930s, the Portuguese rulers sponsored a team of Portuguese military personnel and mesticos. Clubo Desportivo, as it was named, carried the day in every tournament held in Goa by sheer brute force and bravado, backed by the military, who mustered strong at every game. What it lacked in ability was made up for by intimidation. But the mere presence of Felix in the goal ensured that things would be different when the bully boys of Clubo Desportivo of Panjim played against the Saligao team. Felix’s services were specifically tailored to “crush” the opponents. He dealt adequately with the onrushing forward line, leaving aside the ball. His tactics brought rich dividends to the Saligao team and the trophies began finding their way to Saligao instead of Panjim.”

Of course, these days, if any goalkeeper runs after the players instead of protecting the goal, the coach would surely shout, “Porque, why are you leaving the goal open?!!”

One of the residents of the Porque house was Fr. Faustino de Sousa (uncle of Dr Willy). Fr Faustino founded an order of nuns, the Congregation of the Sacred Family of Nazareth, Sancoale. Some may have had questioned, “Porque? – why did he found a nun’s order?”  Now, Dr Willy is residing in the same house. And in politics everybody questions him – porque?

Thus the Porque tradition that began in the D’Souza mansion in the late 18th century continues till today. Indeed, it’s unthinkable that anyone today would even remotely adhere to the credo “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die”, to paraphrase Lord Tennyson’s description of the British cavalry in The Charge of the Light Brigade way back in 1854!

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