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Tears of Salt

Saltpan workers of Calangute

From gourmet meals in the plush five-star hotels to the humble fish curry and rice in every home in Goa, no dish would be worth its salt without – salt! The great Mahatma organized the famous Dandi March to safeguard the interest of salt pan workers. “You are the salt of the earth” says the Bible elevating this simple chemical compound Sodium Chloride into a virtue of self giving. “Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea.” said Greek philosopher Pythagoras. But for the ordinary men and women who toil in the salt pans in Goa no one will give a salty grain of thought.

Today saltpan workers have been reduced to practical oblivion – an oddity for tourists at best. So dismal is their condition, so uncertain their future that many who have known no other occupation for decades are today considering giving up their ancestral occupation.

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