The Untouchable Citizen

Exploring the emotional terrain of the citizenship experiences of groups in Goa this paper will argue that through the linguistic choices made by the government of Goa it is not merely caste that is at the centre of citizenship experiences but in fact untouchability itself. Given that languages are not abstract forms but actively embodied practices, and that their linguistic forms and cultural productions are marked as impure and hence untouchable in the caste-Hindu centric Goan polity it is the lower-caste Catholic that is at the bottom of the pile. What obtains in Goa is not different from many other parts in India, allowing the suggestion that India is marked not an egalitarian, but a casteist polity.