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Goa Inquisition – Resistance by Hindus Part-III

Posted by Sandeep Shelke on 14th August 2011

Continuing from Goa Inquisition – Onset of Bloodiest Conversions by Christians Part I and Bloodiest Conversions by Christians Part II

Portuguese Catholic Christians in Goa were blinded by their love for Christianity and were committing heinous crimes one after another soon after conquering Goa in 1510. As mentioned in first 2 parts of this series Christians tortured Hindus, burnt their houses, killed near ones, raped women, destroyed temples, broke idols.

Upon installing the Inquisition in Goa in 1560 the Jesuits under Viceroy Dom Constantino started their conversion work bravely in Sashti(Salcete) in order to create small Christendom. But villagers of Sasthi region did not pay heed and attacked the Jesuits and their assistants throughout the region.[Ref] They attacked their horses too. Christians called this as indecent reception of fathers and decided to avenge. So under the encouragement of Viceroy Don Antano De Noronha, in 1567, they started destroying temples in Sashti and elesewhere too. This led to destruction of 300 temples. Which included the most socia-economic-spiritual place of Cancolim too. But devout Hindus rebuilt the burnt temple(the temple was burnt in the fire dedicate in the ‘name of Jesus’ – as per Gomes Vaz) upon returning back.

In this period Sultan of Bijapur upon invitation from the local populace led siege on Goa for 10 months in 1570. But he could not succeed in capturing Goa since the supplies couldn’t be stopped. Finally Sultan gave up the battle since could not hold on to the siege for any longer.

There was first violent revolt against atrocities of Christians in Goa. In 1583, in the Cuncolim village 20 Christian priests got the dues:[Ref]

In 1583 five priests got orders to intensify conversions in Sasthi (Salcete) region. So these priests decided to start with Cuncolim. Since Cuncolim had been resisting all possible attempts of conversion for long time. Natives were so deep-rooted that they constructed the destroyed temple even after orders not to do so from Portuguese authority. This was good enough reason for these Catholic minds to start their work in Cuncolim.

On 15 July 1983 these 5 Jesuits (members of Society of Jesus) gathered and progressed towards Concolim. They had decided to erect a cross and select a ground for building Church. Villagers upon getting this information reached the spot where the 5 Jesuits and 15 other converts were. Here the villagers, must have, warned Jesuit about consequences, but one of priests attempted to confront crowd with Gun and that led to killing all the Jesuits and converts there. 20 of them were killed there.

This incident did not go well, as expected, with Captain-major of Portuguese Army stationed at Assolna fort. He decided to avenge the death of all Jesuits. He ordered army to raid and destroy orchards of village. He unleashed series of atrocities on the Hindu villagers by torturing them in all means possible.

The Captain invited the 16 Goankar (owners, caretakers of the village) leaders for the discussion at he Assolna fort on the river Sal. Here the Portuguese killed the leaders treacherously even after promising safe measures before invitation. One of the leaders escaped through toilet into Karwar of Karnataka.

Upon receiving the news of treacherous killing of leaders by Catholics the villagers of Cuncolim, Velim, Assolna, Ambelim and Veroda refused to pay taxes. As a result their lands were confiscated and entrusted to Condado. Conversions started in full swing with more brutal force now. Some villagers shifted to other parts along with their places of worship too.

Memorial in the name of the leaders of Cuncolim.

In 1603 and 1640  Dutch had given tough naval fights which cost Portuguese the spice trade route. Dutch took over the spice trade and as an alternative Portuguese found Brazil as new spice trade base. Which eased the influx of Jesuits in Goa substantially reducing their religious fanaticism in Goa since they got one more place to proselytize.

King Shivaji: In 1660-61 he attacked Portuguese for primary reasons of

  • There was need to have control over coastal area for defending the attacks from sea and controlling the trade.
  • To relieve the oppressed Hindus under Portuguese territory.

It was known to King Shivaji that under Goa Inquisition Christians are torturing Hindus brutally to accept Christianity. And King Shivaji could not stand by the brutality against his own people in their own land. So he decided to retaliate.

Catholic christians were against any sort of agreement with Hindu King since it was considered apostasy in Inquisition. So failed to reach agreement Chatrapati Shivaji launched attack on Dicholi(Bicholin). Where in Vathadeo they had possession for some time which led to agreement between Marathas and Portuguese. And here Portuguese agreed to treat Hindus at par with Christians without any bias. Portuguese or Marathas never declared it as state of war. Some Goans were unhappy that they couldn’t be part of Maratha empire whereas some were satisfied that at least they wouldn’t be treated unfairly after peace. But Portuguese kept on facing uprising every now and then against inquisitors.

In 1684 Ch Sambhaji won Chapora Fort from Portuguese

Chatrapati Sambhaji:

After Chatrapati Shivaji his son Chatrapti Sambhaji too attacked Portuguese at various times from 1681 to 1683 in order to keep them under control. Mughals supported Portuguese when Chatrapati Sambhaji had almost claimed all Goan territory in 1683. In December 1683 Ch Sambhaji conquered the Chapora Fort by defeating the Portuguese without firing a single bullet and made this place base camp for Maratha forces and it became the northern outpost of the Old conquests. The win was so close that the ruler Count De Alwor and his ministers were praying for their safety to St. Xavier by taking out his body from church. And then surprisingly Aurangzeb sent 100000 troops to attack on Maratha Kingdom which made Marathas leave Goa by signing treaty with Portuguese. Which Portuguese never maintained. Thereafter too Chatrapati Sambhaji kept on attacking Portuguese with Goan’s support. In 1717 won back the Chapora Fort from Maratha forces and renovated it. Portuguese lost the fort again to Marathas in 1739 after 2 years bitter fight by Portuguese.

In 1741 Marathas almost took over the Goa city but an unexpected re-enforcement from Viceroy Marquis of Lourical and defeated Marathas in this battle. But it made them lose some territory. But by this time Portuguese were facing constant attacks and that left them with the choice of reducing the conversion efforts in order maintain civil unrest. Because all these attacks were possible because locals never supported these barbaric Inquisitors.

After Losing the war of Panipat Maratha Peshwas lost control over Goa. Later Portuguese added many more cities to its ambit but by that time Portuguese had expunged Jesuits in 1749 since they felt Jesuits are puppets of Pope of Rome. This eased the religious tension in Goa since Jesuits were the Inquisitors in Goa; Jesuits (Catholic Christians) were behind all brutalities.

In 1797 British army occupied Goa and started acting against Inquisitors sternly. Finally in 1812 inquisition was abolished in Goa and soon after that in 1813 British withdrew their army from Goa.

Jai Bharat!

Related Articles: Goa Inquisition – Onset of Bloodiest Conversions by Christians Part I and Bloodiest Conversions by Christians Part II and Christian Seculars and Fact about name “India”

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