Many Liberations

By Radharao Gracias
18 December 2011 12:28 IST

Goa has suffered many liberations down the ages, some mythical, some historical. The earliest recorded goes back into pre history. The Kshatriyas stole Kamdhenu, the wish fulfilling cow, belonging to the father of Parashuram, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, so goes the tale. Aggrieved, Parashuram vowed vengeance and wielding his axe, fought twenty one battles and annihilated the kshatriyas.  Parashuram was then faced with a problem. How could he settle Brahmins on land polluted by blood of the slain Kshatriyas? He had to find pristine land for them. So he laid down his axe, took up the bow and shot an arrow from atop the Sahyadaris. The sea parted where the arrow fell, and land emerged. Thus was Goa first liberated; from the sea, where Parashuram, then settled the Brahmins.  Their descendants are now mining and ruining Goa.

A month before Christmas, five centuries and a year ago, came the second liberation. Goa had been conquered by Yusuf Adil Shah, a son of Amurad II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Turks. The Portuguese were not, as is wrongly believed, the first Europeans to conquer and occupy Goa. H. Morse Stephens writing in 1894 records about Adil Shah, “But his government was oppressive to the Hindu population; he doubled the taxes and by favouring his own creed made himself hated by all his Hindu subjects. When Timoja pressed Albuquerque to attack Goa the Mohammedan Governor whose name Malik Yusuf Gurgi is rendered by the Portuguese Malique Sufe Gurgij had made himself especially obnoxious from the cruelties wreaked by his Turkish garrison on the citizen……..”

“Timoja pressed the Portuguese Governor to attack Goa as soon as possible. He informed him that Yusaf Adil Shah had now gone so far into the interior that he would be unable to relieve the city, and also that the garrison of Goa consisted not of more than 4000 Turks and Persians under the command of a general named Rasul Khan, whom the Portuguese called Rocalcao. Under these circumstances the Portuguese Governor resolved to attack, and in the beginning of November he sailed once more into the harbour of Goa with twenty-eight ships carrying 1700 soldiers, accompanied by a large number of native troops belonging to Timoja and the Raja of Gersoppa.”

On Santa Catarina’s Day, the Christian Portuguese overthrew the Muslim Turks upon invitation of the defenceless Hindu Goans. And that singular event changed the history of Goa, the Konkan and India. The Sind had been Islamised by the Arabs, Gujarat and the Deccans were under a Sultanate. The whole of the west coast threatened to change colour; from saffron to green. Vaastu and Panchgaviya proved ineffective against the marauding Musalmans who rebuked Panchgaviya and instead ate the gavi. How could such a sacrilege be committed in Gomantak, the land named after the cow? Something had to be done. And so, an invitation was extended to the Portuguese, the latest entrants into the waters of the Arabian Sea and sworn enemies of the Musalman.

That invitation proved historic and laid the foundation for Goa as it exists now. The Muslim armies were just a step away from subjugating the entire Konkan, which the Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque averted.

But for the Portuguese, there would be no Goa. Only a Gomantistan. There would be no Konkan. Only Pakistan. There would be no uniform Civil Code. Only the Sharia. There would be no BJP. Only the Taliban. There would be no INC. Only the PPP. And there would be no celebration of fifty years of liberation !

The Portuguese like everyone else overstayed their invitation and almost qualified to be permanent invitees to the CWC ! And the Portuguese proved to be no better than the Turks. They ate the gavi. And they ate the piggy too!

And so, the people of Goa invited the Indian Army to do unto the Portuguese what the Portuguese had done unto the Turks. And the Indian Army did so, with great success. And have followed the example, set by the Portuguese. And stayed put.

Ever since, seeing the Simon Bolivar like performance the Indian army, has been receiving invitations to liberate other territories. The Indian army marched into and promptly liberated Bangladesh in December, 1971, upon the invitation of the suffering local people. Few years later, the people of Sikkim extended an invitation to the Indian army as they were oppressed by the Chogyal. And Sikkim was liberated in double quick time. Earlier, in 1948 the Indian army was invited by Maharaja Hari Singh to liberate Jammu and Kashmir. That liberation is still an ongoing process.

The use of armed forces to liberate Goa was contrary to the principles of Ahimsa that the country had been loudly preaching to the world. Operation Vijay resulted in the damning indictment by US President J. F. Kennedy who told the Indian Ambassador, “You spend the last fifteen years preaching morality to us, and then you go ahead and act the way any normal country would behave....  People are saying, the preacher has been caught coming out of the brothel.”

The liberation of Goa exposed Indian profession of non violence as hollow and gave the Chinese the opportunity they were waiting for. In less than a year of Goa’s liberation, a much stronger Chinese army crossed the Macmohan line, and the ill fed and ill clad Indian army was forced into retreat. That was the Himalayan Blunder (neither pun nor fun intended). The Chinese are now occupying large areas of Aksaichin and areas right up to Arunachal Pradesh. Those areas which the British had safeguarded and were part of India at the time of independence, have been tamely surrendered to the Chinese.

There are several discrepancies in the matter and manner of the various liberations undertaken by the Indian army. Why did the Indian army withdraw from Bangladesh? Why have we deprived the poor Bangladeshis of the benefits of Indian secularism and democracy? What have the Bangladeshis done to be excluded from Indian largesse that is so benevolently being provided to Goa, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir?

After all, the territory that comprises Bangladesh was the fount of the British Empire in India from the time of the battle of Plassey in 1757. The Bengalis had fought vehemently against the partition of Bengal in 1911 and succeeded. Was it not our duty to reunite East and West Bengal as parts of eternal India? Why have we forsaken Bangladesh? And why does the Indian army not liberate Aksaichin and other territories under Chinese occupation? Why this discrimination? We have a right to know.

Now as we complete fifty years of Goa’s liberation, I wonder when the next liberation will come. And who the liberators will be. And more importantly who the freedom fighters will be.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Radharao Gracias

Radharao F.Gracias is a senior Trial Court lawyer and ex President of the South Goa Advocates Association. He is also former independent MLA of Goa. He has been an activist on issues related to Goa for more than three decades.

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Previous Comments

These are definitely historical facts but I would like to differ on one count with Mr.Radharao Gracias. The people of Goa did not invite the Indian Army to march into Goa. They invaded Goa and annexed it

.Even after fifty years you see the percentage of Goa's land occupied by the Indian Armed forces. See in terms of land ratio. Do we require them. For the Armed Forces Goa has become a Holiday destination.

- A. Pinto, OLAULIM | 05 th May 2012 18:38


Fearless authors speaking their mind is what we need the most in today's goa.

This is a fine article by a man who rarely shies from expressing his thoughts.

- Vishant Shirodkar, Goa | 30 th January 2012 19:54


All of you love the Song "Imagine" from John Lennon, but when it comes to singing you are off the pitch. Dear "upperest" caste brahmins, Catholic religion does not incorporate castes, yet you think your'll are superior.

- Anacleto Gracias, Margao | 04 th January 2012 00:42


Freeddy do u chew paan spit in Cannada , Burp in Public Places , glorify sati while Portuguee were into inquition, killing young bride and grooms for inter caste marriage while the portuguese devolved iniform civil code. Its fine for anyone not from your race to subjugate but what abot Indians suppressing its own countrymen n the name of Hinduism which is founded on the basis of discrimination which say all men are born unequal. So you are proud of this age old irrational culture.

- Antonio Alvares, Sinquetim navelim | 04 th January 2012 00:35


i am deeply hurt by this write up.i am a goan/indian in canada-the rest of the canadians know me as an indian,and i am proud of it.i am proud of india`s rapid strides in almost everything.most fellow canadians admire india`s spectacular achievements-it makes me proud....and this writer is vomitting his poison .i,did not that you have india-baiters writing and hurting our canadian-native red indian,white canadian,asians,africans,-will ever insult or down grade,canada,no matter what-including,-yours truly.i showed this piece to my wife,bros.sis and my children-everybody was deeply i have to say ---m o r e ?

- freddie costa., toranto/aldona. | 03 rd January 2012 17:31


this writer lives in goa ,but write against Goans[Indians].he must visit Portugal and see the things for himself.portugal is the poorest country in europe like albania.all the portuguese just sit in the bars/taverns and booze.but for their wives,they wd starve.the wives worl hard in the pensaos and entertain [?] yankee/british/german/rich tourists-and earn fat tips-and run families.only a few portuguese males work in rich europe as drivers/waiters/butlers/musicians/sailors and bring in dough.wives are alone with the lecherous tourists.all pst colony guys hate portugal-brazil/mozambic/angola/timur/macao etc. they treat us,goans like second class citizens.and yet our goans praise them and papers publish it.

- carvalho g.m., lisbon/goa, | 02 nd January 2012 16:50


We teach and learn History from school days but unfortunately get busy with dates and names of all those who ruled us, exploited us and took away our wealth. But sadly forget to analyze the reasons as to why we have been ruled by every Tom Dick and Harry---coming across rough seas and tough terrains, thousands of miles away in small groups and ruled us for centuries, What is the point in teaching this useless statistics without trying to do and introspection and understand our weaknesses which made us slaves for centuries...

The position now in Goa is no different...Thousands of crores of revenue is flowing from the State to the Centre every year----For every little thing we continue running to High Command in Delhi...Do we have any iota of self respect left in us?

- vishwas prabhudesai, loliem | 01 st January 2012 18:26


is this writer a hindu/brahmin/india hater ?does he really understand OUR history ?i think ,he has studied his history in a PAROCHIAL school.we have v few of this tribe left in Goa,thankfully ! he shd migrate to his FATHERLAND portugal and leave US in peace.... Is it not an INSULT to all the freedom fighters who laid their lives/spent many many years of their youth,in Angola,Portugal and Timur.?

- satish thali., mumbai | 31 st December 2011 12:53


Mr. Bevindo Lobo & Mr. Cruz Lobo,

Above thoughts have come from a rotten brain. So no much importance should be given. A mad person who doesn't know full story of PARASHURAM & full of anti bramhin state of mind cannot express himself better than this. We can only pray, DEVA BOXINU!

- Shekhar, Panaji | 29 th December 2011 11:32


How cd u publish such pro foreigners thoughts ?pl withdraw this piece of it is,site is visited by a few ;now that u ve published this outright secession ,i am sure,the no `ll shrink further .

- Bevinda lobo., London | 25 th December 2011 14:37


the writer fails to realize that Goa/Kashmir are part and parcel of India.the adilshahs/portuguese/english /europens/chinese are not Indians.they ARE foreigners .what about Kadambas/Shilahars/Rashtrakutas ?were they foreigners like Portuguese/Turks/Chinese ?If one Goes deep,the Gavdas/kunbis/velips are the original Goans.The bamons/charddes/ whether catholics or hindus are the invadors.The writer wishes for another `LIBERATION `!that is his wishful thinking.What liberation ?from Whom ?we are our own masters.We INDIANS.!so,if some other foreigner takes over Goa,tomorrow ,we will be in slavery again as during Port or Adilshahi.I sincerely feel this writer is a photo copy of the likes of Percival Noronha.

- cruz rego, brisbane/goa | 22 nd December 2011 14:16


Honestly, what is freedom, what is my country and what is mother land? It is difficult to define them so that everybody is happy. These are modern concepts valid for the real time, one that we live in. Kashmir was Muslim dominated kingdom ruled by Hari Singh a Hindu, whereas Hyderabad was a Hindu dominated kingdom ruled by a Muslim Nizam. The confusion starts right here. India swallowed both. Now, should King's wish be obeyed or bow down to people's verdict? And in Aksaichin 'not a blade of grass grows' as reportedly declared by Nehru, no people and no King

- Kalidas Sawkar, Panjim Goa | 19 th December 2011 18:51


One of the best articles I have read on these territories and their liberation.

- Kalidas Sawkar, Panjim Goa | 19 th December 2011 18:33


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