The Al-Zulaij Collective brings together diverse voices on Goa, to articulate issues about and to look at the world from the perspective of Goa. This Collective believes that Goa’s complex history and cultural encounters, such as those with the Portuguese, Catholicism, and the Islamicate, to name just a few, do not easily fit into the mainstream imagination of Indian nationalism. Goa has been a part of many ‘worlds’, but many of those culturally enriching encounters that made this region what it is are being deliberately forgotten now.
Our name illustrates this complex history. Drawing from Moorish and Persian influences, the Iberian art form of azulejos (or painted tiles), the name Al-Zulaij intends to draw attention to the Islamicate and other pasts of this location in the Indian Ocean world. The azulejo, or the painted tile, itself ideally represents our imagination of the Goan polity, which is not a monolith, but composed of polished and painted pieces that come together to produce an articulate whole.