One of the most fascinating and controversial aspects of modern immigration is the concept of birthright citizenhsip, also known as Jus Soli. Curiously, only 20 % of the world nations adopted this method, Pakistan included, but not India, despite Tilak’s famous claim during the struggle for independence against the British regime that Independence of India was his birth right.
The alternate criterion followed by most countries is the Jus Sanguinis. A child acquires the citizenship of parents irrespective of the place of birth, e.g., child born of Indian parents is an Indian citizen whether it is born on Indian soil or abroad. A few countries , such as Argentine and Indonesia, follow both principles for granting nationality.
There is yet a third way of acquiring citizenship, namely by Naturalization. This is done in different countries by fulfilling different conditions as specified by their legislation: 1. Continued residence during a certain period of time; 2. Oath of Allegiance; 3. Purchase of real estate or sizable capital investment, as was done by Canada for migrating Hong Kong citizens recently; 4. Meritorious service (Civil or Military); 5. By marriage, one partner can acquire the citizenship of the alien partner, at time s after completing the required number of years since marriage, such as three years for Portuguese nationality law.
Check a special clause 4. e) in the following link to the Portuguese nationality law. The Goans born in Portuguese India before 1961 and their immediate descendants can recover the Portuguese nationality. It is common knowledge that many Goans benefit from this Portuguese favour to their former colonial subjects in India to gain access to other Western countries, and particularly to European Union. [https://sites.google.com/site/portuguesecitizenship/Home/who-is-entitled-to-the-portuguese-citizenship]
Citizenship and nationality can be interchangeable concepts, but not vice-versa. There is also a third related concept of ethnicity which can be interchangeable with nationality , but not necessarily. Someone can renounce one’s nationality of birth to opt for another, although some countries permit to retain dual citizenship / nationality. India has very recently created a special category of citizenship for non-resident Indians., designated as OIC. India may further refine this status so as to attract capital investment into India or strengthen dedicated lobbies abroad.
None of the above considerations of citizenship or nationality are to be confused with the so-called identity that binds the Goans wherever the «Goabilization» (Goan version of Globalization) may have taken them, as I had the opportunity to write in a Foreword to Alfredo F. de Mello’s From Goa to Patagonia (2006). If Goans clash in their views and interests, contrary perhaps to what we may believe, it happens less with the expatriate Goans than with the Goa-based Goans. Naturally, the expatriate Goans tend to feel more homesick about Goa than those always in Goa.
No one leaves one’s home or land for the hack of it. Tourism is not emigration. Every Goan individual or family that leaves home for good or indefinitely does it under circumstances best known to himself or itself, but almost always a painful choice, contrary to what many back at home believe or are prone to read intentions and see such choices as easy options for a better life.
Starting life afresh in a foreign country, without family backing or known surroundings, is never an easy option, especially if it has to be done at an age that is an additional obstacle. Pundalik Naik’s novel Acchev [New Delhi: Oxford, 2002] translated into English as Upheaval, recounts the sufferings of his co-villagers in Savoi-Verem as a result of the mining industry. But upheavals have never been a novelty in the long history of Goa, neither do they affect only the poor masses of the Goan population.
To conclude, Goan identity is different from the nationality or citizenship that Goans may have adopted for economic survival or motives best known to themselves. The identity is never a problem in normal times, and is best defined in terms of feelings of loss that Goan expatriates experience with varying intensity and different moments of their lives away from home. I have no answer for those who only miss Goa for holidays, or for some colonial-historical reasons, but are least worried about the plight of Goans and Goa today . They could find better destinations with some effort.