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Chandorkann secures Ph.D in Sociology

Biula Cruz Pereira, a daughter of the red soil of Chandor, which was once the capital of the Kadamba dynasty, has earned the distinction of being the first woman with roots in this village to have obtained a Doctorate in Philosophy or PhD as it is commonly known, thus earning the title of a Dr. in Sociology.

Daughter of Agostinho and Elsie da Cruz from Cotta who lived close to the St. Tiago chapel, Biula did her schooling at the village school, namely St. Joseph’s Educational Institute and then moved to Smt. Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts & Science where she graduated in Sociology.

After graduation, she first taught at the Parochial School at Carmona during which time she did her Masters. Armed with the Master’s degree she taught at the Cuncolim Higher Secondary School for one year and then lectured at her alma mater Chowgule College for two years and then moved to Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce at Pilar and is now heads the Sociology Department there.

bookBiula worked on her thesis titled “Socio Cultural aspects of Alcohol consumption in Goan Society” for five years. She got leave for two years from the University Grants Commission under the Faculty Improvement Programme which she used to meet villagers for nearly three hours every day. Her thesis has been published under the title “One for the Road”. She was awarded the Ph.D in 2007.

For her study she extensively visited four villages besides also visiting other places in the State where alcohol is used socially and culturally. The four villages where her study was focused were Balli in Quepem taluka, Shiroda in Ponda taluka and Benaulim and Verna in Salcete taluka.

Being a woman doing a study on alcohol usage had its own piquant situations like visiting bars to meet their owners and also visiting some places at odd hours. In fact she had to ask her husband to accompany her to the Ravalnath temple at Shiroda at midnight when the stone used for the ritual slaughtering of animals is washed and purified with alcohol. Another problem she faced was that many people considered the questions on alcohol consumption to be an invasion of their privacy.

Biula also had some interesting or rather unforgettable instances while collecting her material. One such was when a teacher shut the door at her face when she said she was doing a study on alcohol usage and questioned her whether she taught he was a “drunkard”. “I remember one very interesting incident when a Catholic woman interrupted me while I was talking to her husband saying that she should be asked the questions as she consumed more alcohol than her husband,” she disclosed.

LunchShe also shared two different reactions from women to her talking to their husbands. The wife of one bar owner kept banging the utensils in the kitchen so loudly that Biula had to stop her conversation with the bar owner husband and leave the place, while at another place the wife hitched her sari midway and began abusing Biula as she was talking to the alcoholic husband who was sacked from service due to his addiction.

From sociological point of view, the way people from a different religion are perceived and dealt with was also revealed during her visits to the villages where she was treated differently by the Hindus she was interacting with only because she was a Catholic. In one case while going to the temple, the Bhat’s mother borrowed Rs. 10 from her to purchase flowers to offer to the deity. On returning home, the lady did not hand over the borrowed money to Biula but placed it on a table and asked her to collect it.

The second experience was more startling. Biula was scheduled to meet members of a temple committee at the residence of the temple Bhat. All present were offered tea by the Bhat’s wife but what was obvious was that only she was offered tea in a plastic cup while other were served in ceramic cups. And when she asked the hosts whether the difference was because of the difference in their religion, the wife immediately admitted while the Bhat denied it.

Books 2Biula has written another book after researching on the subject for three years. She took 10 months Sabbatical Leave to complete her study and finally published the book titled “Food & Identity (A Journey of Goa’s Food Customs). The book was published last year in 2022 and researching for this book was another experience according to her.

She was blocked from entering and taking photographs in the kitchen when a meal was being prepared at a temple to be offered to the devotees after the pooja only because she could be “unclean” meaning having her menstrual cycle. Another discovery was that on religious occasions, the Hindus do not chop or cut the pumpkin but bang it on the ground to smash it into pieces, which are then cooked and served to the devotees.



FamilyBiula who hails from Cotta in Chandor, now lives with her husband Savio Pereira and her two daughters Sasha and Stesa at Nuvem.