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REGINA CÉLIA DE CARVALHO PEREIRA DA SILVA

1. Artigo: “Relatione raccolta da discorsi con Monsignor Matteo di Castro


Primo, informação ou reclamação de identidade?”, Atas do III Congresso
Internacional sobre Culturas – Interfaces da Lusofonia, Braga, Universidade do
Minho, 23-25 de novembro de 2017 (no prelo)

Relatione raccolta da discorsi con Monsignor Matteo di Castro Primo, informaç ão ou reclamaç ão
de identidade?1

Regina Cé lia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva

rpereiradasilva@hotmail.it

Universidade de Sã o Paulo

Resumo: Apesar dos vá rios cená rios adversos, numerosas sã o as figuras histó ricas envolvidas no processo identitá rio
goê s. Se a identidade de uma determinada comunidade se forma durante o pró prio percurso histó rico, Goa
representa um caso extraordiná rio e simbó lico. As ideias e decisõ es de Mateus de Castro, sacerdote brâ mane,
geraram grande alvoroço nos ambientes religiosos e políticos imperiais visto que, apesar do movimento das
conversõ es ter entrado nas castas mais elevadas da sociedade indiana a possibilidade de uma real progressã o
eclesiá stica era uma miragem. Mateus de Castro opõ e-se de modo personalizado tentando abrir uma nova via. Surge
um grande dilema e forte discussã o entre o poder político portuguê s e a Cú ria Romana que provoca uma intensa
troca de correspondê ncia entre as duas instituiç ões. Diversas cartas e relató rios sã o enviados para Roma com o
objetivo de informar o Papa sobre a veracidade dos factos. Este estudo focaliza-se na aná lise de um manuscrito,
conservado na colecç ão Rerum Lusitanicarum Volume XXXI, Symmitica Lusitanica da Biblioteca da Ajuda de Lisboa,
inerente a tal contrové rsia.

Palavras-chave: Mateus de Castro; Relatione; identidade; manifesto.

Se a identidade de uma determinada comunidade se forma durante o pró prio percurso histó rico atravé s da atuaç ão
das instituiç ões pú blicas e privadas e dos traç os visíveis deixados no pró prio territó rio gerando um verdadeiro modo
de ser que vive numa unidade cultural ú nica e original entã o Goa representa um caso extraordiná rio e simbó lico.
Durante os 450 anos de domínio colonial e, apesar dos vá rios cená rios político- sociais adversos numerosas sã o as
figuras histó ricas envolvidas no processo identitá rio goê s. A releitura dos primeiros textos escritos por goeses2 em
língua portuguesa (sé culos XVII-XVIII) realizada à luz dos novos estudos pó s-coloniais e focalizada na cultura local
tem permitido identificar diversos fenó menos de resgate das pró prias origens e memó rias tendo como pano de fundo
quer a resistê ncia ao poder imperial quer a reclamaç ão duma identidade individual e coletiva formada entre-culturas:
portuguesa e indiana.

Um dos primeiros goeses que se manifestou contra o poder vigente foi Mateus de Castro (1594-1677) cujas ideias e
decisõ es geram grande alvoroço nos ambientes religiosos e políticos locais. Se já durante a segunda metade do sé culo
XVII o grande movimento das conversõ es ao Cristianismo tinha penetrado nas castas mais elevadas da sociedade
indiana, a possibilidade de entrar e progredir na carreira eclesiá stica, à semelhanç a do que acontecia com os
europeus, nã o era uma consequê ncia natural. Ser indiano era pois uma condição que precludia a progressã o na
carreira eclesiá stica. A questã o fundamental era: um nativo ao ser ordenado ‘clé rigo de missa’ podia ser nomeado
bispo e quais os seus direitos? Uma questã o de igualdade que abre um leque de conflitos identitá rios. Muitos dos
naturais que se tornaram sacerdotes desiludiram-se imediatamente. As suas esperanç as de serem tratados como
iguais era um sonho pois o clero religioso branco conservava para si pró prio os cargos mais elevados e o poder3. De
facto, o binó mio conceitual ‘dominador_subjugado’ pressupõ e uma forte interdependê ncia inerente à pró pria
existê ncia do impé rio e tal interligaç ão vivida nos vá rios â mbitos da vida quotidiana origina frequentemente reaç ões
de descontentamento por parte da populaç ão. Neste sentido, o setor social goê s que possuía meios e instrumentos
para se exprimir de modo incisivo era, sem dú vida, aquela faixa do clero constituída por sacerdotes nativos. Viviam
tal discriminaç ão pessoalmente em favor do clero europeu que dominava a situaç ão só cio-religiosa local e mantinha
boas relaç ões com os colonizadores.

1
Trabalho realizado no â mbito do Projeto Pó s-Doc financiado pela FAPESP (Proc. 2016/19746-0) e do Projeto Temá tico Pensando
Goa (Proc. 2014/15657-8).
2 Antó nio Joã o de Frias, Aureó la dos índios e nobiliarquia bracmana, Bombaim, Livraria P. A. Fialho, 1702; Joã o da Cunha Jaques,

Espada de David contra Golias do bramanismo pé ssimo inimigo de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo verdadeiro Deos e verdadeiro Homem,
existente no acervo da Biblioteca da Ajuda de Lisboa e Leonardo de Pais, Prontuá rio das Definições Índicas, Deduzido de Vá rios
Cronistas da Índia, Graves Autores e das Histó rias Gentílicas, Lisboa,1713, entre outras.

3
Tal situação tende a modificar-se durante a 2a metade do sé culo XVII mediante as nomeaç ões dos bispos Mateus de Castro,
Custó dio de Pinho e Tomá s de Castro (Pereira, 1952, p. 12).

Devido à sua oposiç ão ao sistema, Mateus de Castro torna-se progressivamente numa figura pú blica. Até que
permaneceu na Índia a sua ordenaç ão sacerdotal foi impossível. Na primeira metade do sé culo XVII, com a mudanç a
das atitudes e relaç ões político-religoso entre o Padroado Portuguê s e o Vaticano, a naturalidade de Mateus de Castro
torna-se de facto num forte impedimento.

A fundaç ão, em 1622, da Sagrada Congregaç ão da Propaganda Fide tinha aberto uma nova era na histó ria das missõ es
religiosas. O seu fundador, Papa Gregó rio XV tinha-lhe atribuído como objetivo principal ‘conhecer, tratar e decidir
todas as problemá ticas relativas à difusã o da fé ’4 no mundo, missã o que a Congregaç ão tomou a peito. O apostolado
missioná rio passa a estar centralizado no Vaticano e todos os mandatos, diretivas, organizaç ões e nomeç ões partiam
entã o de Roma. De acordo com o decreto de 24 de junho de 1623 5 todos os Superiores Gerais das famílias religiosas
estavam obrigados a pedir autorizaç ão à Congregaç ão para enviar os pró prios missioná rios para as missõ es e tinham
que escrever, todos anos, um relató rio completo sobre as condiç ões e o desenvolvimento das mesmas. As cortes
ibé ricas sã o informadas de que o envio de missioná rios para as missõ es já nã o depende dos monarcas mas do Papa.
Termina assim, uma era na qual o Padroado Portuguê s6 detinha grande poder sobre os territó rios colonizados
nomedamente em relaç ão à nomeaç ão de eclesiá sticos para os cargos religiosos espalhados pelo impé rio. Trata-se de
um evento novo para o mundo de seiscentos. A interveção da Propaganda Fide provocou sé rios atritos conflituais
entre o Vaticano e a Coroa Portuguesa num contexto marcado pelo nã o reconhecimento da independê ncia
portuguesa por parte do Papado, o que viria a acontecer apenas em 1669 (Tavares, 2002, p. 228).

O primeiro secretá rio da Congregaç ão, arcebispo Francesco Ingoli7, tinha como objetivo principal definir os mé todos
utilizados no apostolado nas missõ es e impô r o novo espírito. Tais diretivas declaravam que os missioná rios cató licos
estavam

• investidos de uma missã o religiosa e nã o de uma missã o nacional;


• nã o deviam impô r a civilizaç ão europeia mas antes pelo contrá rio deviam adaptar-se aos costumes

dos povos a converter;

• deviam abster-se de se imiscuir nas questõ es políticas e nã o deviam recorrer à força para difundir a

fé ;

• o objetivo deles devia ser a edificação da Igreja e por consequê ncia a formação de um possível

clero índigena. (Ghesquiè re, 1937, p. II)


Mateus de Castro, primeiro vigá rio apostó lico nativo a ser instituído nos países das missõ es (Nazareth,
1927, p. X) nasce provavelmente em 15948, em Navelim, Divar9, de Pedro de Castro e de Maria Guedes de
Castro). Missioná rio entre 1631 e 1658, mais tarde é nomeado vigá rio apostó lico da Propaganda nas Índias.
É pois o símbolo duma das primeiras intervenç ões da Propaganda e de uma nova etapa da vida do Padroado
Portuguê s, no Oriente. (Souza, 2008, p. 420). Torna-se numa figura problemá tica sendo causa de conflitos e
discussõ es entre o poder político portuguê s e a Cú ria Romana o que provoca uma intensa troca de
correspondê ncia entre as duas instituiç ões. Muitas sã o as cartas, descriç ões e relató rios que tinham como
objetivo informar o Papa sobre os acontecimentos. Este estudo focaliza-se num destes relató rios. Originá rio
da ilha de Divar onde predominava a casta dos brâ manes, Mateus de Castro apó s a morte prematura dos
seus pais e para fugir à vida dura do campo, refugia-se no Colé gio dos Reis Magos pertencente aos
franciscanos de Bardê s (Gomes, 1957). É durante este período que sente a vocaç ão ao

4
Constituiç ão Inscrustabili divinas do dia 22 de junho de 1622, in Collectanea Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide,
Tomo I, Roma, 1907, p. 2-4 n. 3.
5
Collectanea Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide, Tomo I, Roma, 1907, p. 5 n. 6.
6
Em 1521, D. Joã o III tinha recebido do Vaticano o direito de nomear bispos e outros eclesiá sticos e tinha o dever de
propagar a fé cristã . Cf. Almeida, Fortunato de, Histó ria da Igreja em Portugal, vol. II, Porto-Lisboa, 1970.

7
Governa a Congregação da Propaganda durante 26 anos. Morre em Roma em agosto de 1649.
8
Visto que em 1666 tinha 72 anos, em 1670 tinha 76 e 80 anos em 1674. Cfr. S. Congregazione ‘De Propaganda Fide’
Arquivo Histó rico, Scritture riferite nei Congressi, Indie orientali-Cina 1623-1674, vol. 1, fl. 241v; 136v; Archivio del
Vaticano de Roma, Stato delle anime della chiesa parrocchiale di S. Andrea delle Fratte, 1673-74, vol. 63, fl. 96v e 185r.
Nã o obstante a Acta Congregationis de 15 de dezembro de 1676 (S. Congregatione Prpaganda Fide) vol. 46, fl. 177r, 3o,
referir uma memó ria do bispo de oitenta e trê s anos de Crisopoli, em vez de oitenta e dois anos.

9
Relatione del viaggio di d. Matheo di Castro Bracmano all’Indie orientali, del suo ritorno a Roma, e delle persecutioni
fattili dal Vescovo di Gierapoli Giesuita Governatore della chiesa di Goa sede vacante, e dal Vicario dell’Indie, de 1638
(SOCG, 194, fl. 352Rr-

353v); e de Matteo de Castro Mahalo Vescovo di Chrisopoli e Vicario Apostolico nel Regno d’Idalcan. Relatione degli suoi
viaggi dall’Indie à Roma, del ritorno da Roma all’Indie, e delle contrarietà occorseli nell’essecutione della sua missione per
parte di Monsignore Arcivescovo di Goa ed’altri etiam dio nell’ammetterlo agli ordini sacri per essere lui naturale
dell’Indie e come egli hà fondato una Congregazione di sacerdoti secolari sotto le regole di S. Filippo Neri in Idalcan. Fa
finalmente acciò che non si pratichi colà di battezzare li Gentili per forza, de 1644 (SOCG, 192, fl. 221r-228v).

sacerdó cio10 (SCdPF, 194, fl. 353v). Escreve uma carta endereçada ao Arcebispo de Goa, D. Cristovã o de Sá e Lisboa,
que se recusava a ordenar sacerdotes de origem brâ mane (Xavier e Ž upanov, 2015, p. 21), pedindo para ser
ordenado. A resposta é negativa. Nã o desiste e decide procurar um bispo cató lico que estivesse disposto a consagrá -
lo.

Afonso Mendes (1579-1635), Patriarca da Etió pia e refugiado em Goa com os seus companheiros devido à
perseguiç ão aos cristã os de 1633, escreve uma carta ao Cardeal da Propaganda na qual incluí uma Apologia pro
veritate adversus epistola D. Matthaei a Castro episcopi Chrysopoleos ad S. C. de Pro. Fide Catholica, ex Chorã o, 1 de
dezembro de 1643, que consiste numa longa acusaç ão contra Mateus de Castro pondo todos de sobreaviso
relativamente à s suas pretensõ es de seguir a carreira eclesiá stica (Beccari, 1913, p. 218-242) enfatizando a sua
origem:

... in insula Divar, in cuius oppido, cui nomen a Pietate, natus est dominus Matthaeus, parentibus in infantis, avis
ethnicis, a Societatis Iesu patris, cum iam adulti essent, baptizatis, ex genere Brachmanum et sui pagi decurionum...
(Beccari, 1913, p. 219)

Se Afonso Mendes se opõ e a Mateus de Castro pelo contrá rio, Padre Leandro da Anunciação, Provincial dos
Carmelitanos de Goa, deseja ajudá -lo (Ghesquiè re, 1937, p. 26) por isso, escreve uma carta de apresentaç ão dirigida
ao prior do Convento Jesus e Maria dos Carmelitanos de Isphan, Pé rsia (Tavernier, 1981, p. 116-156). De facto, nestas
terras, ainda nã o existia um bispo que o pudesse ordenar mas o objetivo de Mateus de Castro era aquele de ser
apresentado ao Arcebispo da Armé nia Maior, Mateus II de Erasmo, um dominicano armenio de Nachsivan, se bem
que os carmelitanos o tivessem aconselhado a dirigir-se para Jerusalé m e nã o para a Armé nia. Devido à guerra entre
turcos e persianos decide permanecer por um ano na Armé nia. Em 1625, celebrava-se o Ano Santo em Roma
aproveitando a ocasiã o, P. Ambró sio Pola convida-o a ir até à quela cidade onde seria mais fá cil realizar o seu sonho
pois a cú ria romana concedia indulgê ncias como sinal de comemoraç ão. É acolhido pelo Cardeal Antó nio Barberini
Junió r (1607-1671), denominado també m como Cardeal de S. Onó frio que em 1632 é nomeado Perfeito da Sagrada
Congregaç ão. Alé m disso, o encontro de P. Orsini proveniente de Roma e sob a jurisdiç ão da Sagrada Congregaç ão da
Propaganda Fides na Armé nia favorecia a conjuntura. Durante a viagem para Jerusalé m tinha sido saqueado por
malfeitores por isso, a Sagrada Congregaç ão encarega Monsenhor Ingoli de pedir novas cartas de apresentaç ão ao
Arcebispo de Goa. (Cf. Sorge, 1986, p. 6-11). Padre Pró spero do Espírito Santo, Carmelitano, reformador da vida
religiosa no Monte Carmelo (Jesus, 1924, p. 284-374) depois de ter estado dois anos na missã o da Pé rsia como Prior
do Convento de Ispahan onde acolhe Mateus de Castro, reencontrando-o em Roma, escreve uma carta datada de 20
de fevereiro de 1627 testemunhando em favor dele.

[...] venne a trovarmi il signor Matteo de Castro, Indiano, di nazione Bracmana, nativo di Divar, con le lettere del
nostro Padre Provinciale scritte di Goa 1621, con le quali me lo raccomandava che lo aiutasse ad ordinarsi da
sacerdote [...] per essere stato sempre fra di noi [...] Mostrandomi per ciò le testimoniali del Vicario Archiepiscopale
che affermavano quello esser nato in legittimo matrimonio di Padre e Madre Cristiani e ch’haveva sufficiente
patrimonio per sostentarsi.11 (Ghesquiè re, 1937, p. 123)

Pede entã o ao Papa Urbano VIII que lhe conceda as ordens sacerdotais ad titulum missionis.
Contudo, també m dentro da Congregaç ão da Propagande Fide existiam divisõ es. Padre S. Felice pronunciou-se contra
enquanto o carmelitano Giuseppe Sebastiani, enviado ao Malabar como Visitador Apostó lico e encarregado de fazer
um inqué rito ao Hidalcã o, estava da parte do goê s declarando que

10
Era o segundo jovem brâ mane a querer receber o Sacramento da Ordem. Antes dele, o brâ mane Pedro Luís (c. 1532–1596)
nascido em Quilon e convertido ao cristianismo com a idade de quinze anos, já tinha manifestado tal desejo. De facto, serviu os
jesuítas como inté rprete e como tal acompanhou, durante 5 anos, Nicolau Lancilloto. Recebe a autorização para fazer o noviciado no
Colé gio de S. Paulo, concedida por P. Diego Laínez em 156, é o primeiro indiano a entrar na Companhia de Jesus. Foi ordenado
sacerdote por Alessando Valignano, em 1575, tendo exercitado a sua missã o principalmente na Costa de Travancor e da Pescaria.
(O’Neill e Domínguez, 2001: 2440 e Wicki e Gomes, 1984: 979 e 1988: 680). Temos ainda notícia de outro brâ mane que, em 1598,
foi mandado como sacerdote pelo Arcebispo Aleixo de Menezes para a missã o etíope. Trata-se de P. Belchior da Silva, vigá rio da
Igreja de S. Ana que precisamente porque pertencia à casta dos brâ manes foi bem aceite como missioná rio pelos abexins. (Frias,
1702: 152).

11
Italiano modernizado para facilitar a compreensã o do texto.

Mateus de Castro era perseguido pelos portugueses e pelos jesuítas devido à sua imprudê ncia, zelo e porque admitia
ao sacerdó cio indivíduos ignorantes (Ghesquiè re, 1937, p.111). A carta do teatino P. Antonio Ardizonne parece
recusar todas as acusaç ões atribuindo apenas a Mateus de Castro a responsabilidade dos acontecimentos e da
imagem que dava da Santa Sede.

O manuscrito Relazione raccolta da discorsi con Monsignor Matteo di Castro Primo, et unico frà naturali dell’India
Orientali, Missionario della S[ant]a Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e Vescovo titolare, cioè di Chrisopoli12
conservado na colecç ão Rerum Lusitanicarum Volume XXXI, Symmitica Lusitanica Tomo 24° da Biblioteca da Ajuda
de Lisboa faz parte deste corpus de textos enviados para Roma tendo como objetivo informar o Vaticano sobre a
veracidade dos factos relativos à figura de Mateus de Castro e sobre a situaç ão político-religiosa do Oriente. O Codice
46-X-7 escrito em língua italiana, é formado por catorze folhas e divide-se em trê s partes principais. Escrito em
165813, narra a histó ria de Mateus de Castro procurando informar a Congregação da Propaganda Fide sobre os
eventos ocorridos em Goa. Nos treze pará grafos que compõ em a primeira parte do relató rio descreve-se, em breve, a
biografia de Mateus de Castro e todas as vicissitudes sucedidas apó s a manifestaç ão do seu desejo de receber o
sacramento da ordem.

[...] nato di parenti cristiani in età di 25 anni si portò in Armenia, tratto dal desiderio di essere ordinato [...]14 (Cod. 46-
X-7 fl.103r)

Numa tentativa de informar corretamente a Santa Congregação a Relatione apresenta datas bem determinadas e
relevantes para a questã o relativa à ordenação de sacerdotes nativos.

[...] negatogli ciò dall’Arcivescovo di Goa, come che difficilmente s’inducano colà ad ordinare naturali, a segno che
d’un milione d’Anime, né saranno cento sacerdoti appena [...] (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.104v)

Afirma que se estava no ano Santo de 1625, ano do Papado de Urbano VIII e que o goê s foi acolhido por diversos
Padres, atravé s da intervenç ão do Cardeal Sant’Onofrio consegue estudar Matemá tica, Filosofia e Teologia no Colé gio
Romano sendo ordenado sacerdote e, em 1631, é consagrado missioná rio pela Congregaç ão de Propaganda Fide, dois
anos mais tarde, nomeado protonotá rio apostó lico (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.104r-105v) parte de Lisboa para Goa15, onde para
exercer tem que recorrer aos documentos oficiais.
[...] le sue patenti di Missionario, recarono tanta ammirazione a quei Ministri Regi, il vedere un naturale autorizzato
non solo dalla nascita, ma da tal alto grado, che piuttosto credettero o volsero credere falsità nelle Patenti, che
ammetterlo, con che gli impedirono l’esecuzione della carica [...] (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.105r)

E facto, apesar da nomeação romana, nã o consegue exercer as suas funç ões, regressa a Roma para tentar mudar a
situaç ão com ajuda da Sagrada Congregaç ão. Na realidade, a sua presenç a no Vaticano, contribui principalmente para
divulgar as condiç ões nas quais era difundido o cristianismo no Oriente, aspecto que interessava especialmente a
Congregaç ão visto que:

“Un sacerdote straniero può portare sì la Buona Novella ad un popolo, ma giammai potrà impiantarla e renderla natia
e patria, solo il sacerdote natio conosce profondamente la mentalità e la lingua del suo popolo ...” (SCdPF, 1974: 42)

Assim, Mateus de Castro torna-se num expoente do programa renovador da Propagande Fide e em 1637 é nomeado
bispo da igreja de Crispó lis, na Celesíria (ASV, 854: 17, 17v e 20v). Recebe a missã o de desenvolver a sua actividade
no reino do Hidalcã o. Chega á Índia em 1639 na companhia de trê s mssioná rios capuchinhos franceses (Sorge, 1986,
p. 45). Perante a oposiç ão à sua missã o feita por parte do poder político-religioso local transfere-se para Bijapur onde
consegue estabelecer uma forte relaç ão com

12
Codice 46-X-7 Biblioteca da Ajuda (Lisboa), fl. 103v.
13
[...] giunto qua nel passato mese di maggio del corrente anno 1658 [...] (cod. 46-X-7 fl. 110r)
14
Modernizaç ão do italiano do manuscrito feita por mim para facilitar a compreensã o do texto.
15
Governava o vice-rei D. Miguel de Noronha, Conde de Linhares e o Arcebispado era governado pelo vigá rio capitular jesuíta Joã o
da Rocha, bispo de Hieró pó lis (1632-1633).

o sultã o Muhammad Adil que queria, com a ajuda dos holandeses, entrar de novo em possesso das ilhas de Bardê s e
de Salsete, terras concedidas pelo seu pai aos portugueses. Mateus de Castro torna-se seu conselheiro e estabelece a
sede do seu vicariado em Bicholim. Tal interferê ncia política nã o agrada aos portugueses que imediatamente
informam a Cú ria Romana sobre as aç ões do novo bispo. Mateus de Castro nã o podia permitir que o denegrissem em
Roma. Apesar de tudo, em 21 de fevereiro de 1643, recebe uma carta que comunicava que em Roma tinham
conhecimento dos seus conflitos com o Arcebispo de Goa, por isso, aconselhavam-no a permanecer unido ao
Monsenhor Arcebispo de Mira e aos missioná rios enviados pela Congregação, principalmente ao P. Pedro Avitabile
[...] che l’ama e stima [...] (APF, 1643, fl.152r). Mateus de Castro decide agir pessoalmente, em 1643, regressa a Roma
pela terceira vez (Sorge, 1986, p. 45 e 50).

O relató rio refere a sua nomeação a bispo de Crisó polis e Vigá rio Apostó lico dos Reinos de Hidalcã o e do Japã o (Cod.
46-X-7 fl.105r) sublinhando a impossibilidade de exercer localmente

[...] non potendo i Ministri Ecclesiastici contendergli la dignità ricevuta, procurarono di snervarla con le carezze, et
aiuti temporali offertili [...] (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.106r)

Interessante é a descrição da fundaç ão da Congregaç ão dos Oratorianos de Mateus de Castro feita no pará grafo sete.

[...] fondò una Congregazione sotto la protezione di San Filippo Nery con 22 soggetti, quali ordinò sacerdoti a fine di
cavare da tale Congregazione missionari per tutti i regni dell’India, senza dipendenza alcuna dal Re del Portogallo, e
senza avere a passar e per le di lui conquiste, di modo che totalmente dipendessero dalla Santa Sede Apostolica. [...]
procurarono per tutte le vie di torneargliene i progressi, anzi la vita medesima principiando dai Parenti dei
Congregati dai medesimi sacerdoti sotto pretesto che fossero invalidamente ordinati senza dimissorie
dell’Arcivescovo di Goa [...] (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 108r).

Esta congregaç ão foi perseguida pelo poder colonial até ser quase destruída (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 108r). Em 1698, com a
reforma de algumas clá usulas do seu estatuto e submissã o à jurisdiç ão do Arcebispado, a Congregaç ão Oratoriana de
Goa, obté m a autorizaç ão de existir16.
Apresentando as razõ es e ideias de Mateus de Castro, de modo claro e atravé s do uso do discurso direto, na segunda
parte do manuscristo, o autor pretende justificá -lo e convencer os membros da Sagrada Congregaç ão. Resumem-se a
dois aspetos fundamentais: a difusã o e a manutenç ão da fé cristã . Pede-se ao Papado que envie para o Oriente
missioná rios que sejam capazes de ter uma vida coerente com a escolha fizeram pois muitos
[...] si lasciano trasportare in competenze con altri di diversi istituti, il che ben spesso piuttosto apporta scandalo [...]
(Cod. 46-X-7 fl.111v)

O melhor seria que tais missioná rios seguissem a rota do Mediterrâ neo, Golfo Pé rsico e Surate (Cod. 46-X- 7 fl.111r)
para evitar submissõ es ou dependê ncias de Reinos ou Coroas. Dada a grande necessidade de sacerdotes no Oriente,
certamente que os naturais daquelas terras se ordenados sacerdotes eram os missioná rios mais indicados para as
missõ es orientais porque

o envio de missioná rios europeus para o Oriente era muito mais cara do que o envio de missioná rios nativos;

muitos morriam durante a viagem quer fosse por motivos de adaptaç ão ao novo país quer devido à alimentação, o
que nã o sucedia com os nativos;

os monarcas europeus nã o se importavam com o que acontecia aos naturais pois todos os europeus sã o á vidos de
ouro e riquezas;
muitos nativos tinham sido convencidos a batizarem-se mediante a promessa de privilé gios de que nunca gozaram,
antes pelo contrá rio eram tratados como se fossem pessoas má s;

16
Em 1703, o Rei portuguê s envia uma licença que autoriza a existê ncia da Congregação e em 1707 Papa Clemente XI aprova-a.

em caso de perseguiç ão aos cristã os os europeus sã o imediatamente reconhecíveis e mortos ou expulsos enquanto
que os nativos se confundem com as pessoas locais. (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.111r-112r)

Relativamente à manutenç ão da cristandande no Oriente a tarefa era á rdua pois a vida que os cristã os tinham no
Oriente nã o era credível (Cod. 46-X-7 fl.113v) Apresenta-se entã o os motivos pelos quais os cristã os nã o sã o um
exemplo de vida:

os pá rocos , á exceç ão dos jesuítas, procuram convencer os naturais a baptizar-se com todos os meios à disposiç ão,
sem catequese e preparaç ão, só por questõ es de riqueza pois o Rei de Portugal dá um contributo por cada batizado;

nã o falam a língua local e por isso, os nativos nã o abandonam completamente os ritos hindus (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 113r)
consequentemente muitos sã o perseguidos pela Inquisiç ão de Goa despojados de todos os bens e reduzidos à misé ria
perdendo direitos e família, por isso, nã o se aproximam nem querem ser cristã os (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 114v).

Tais eram, em síntese, as razõ es porque se insidiava o bispo de Crisó polis, a denuncia da ambição dos europeus,
eclesiá sticos ou nã o, e o desacato dos decretos emandos pela Santa Sé .

Che tutte le cariche Ecclesiastiche e Secolari, come che sono appresso i soli Portoghesi, hanno quei popoli formato
così gran’ concetto dell’autorità dei Re di Portogallo, e così leggiero della fede Apostolica, che stimano più il Re, che l
Papa, anzi lo stimano soggetto al loro Re. (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 115r)

Mateus de Castro torna-se num inimigo da Coroa portuguesa, é considerado um rebelde.

[...] egli non ha mai avuto fine di pregiudicare punto al suo Re, ma di indurre i Ministri a non tiranneggiare i naturali,
et a non trattarli non inferiormente degli altri vassalli [...] (Cod. 46-X-7 fl. 117r)

Este relató rio denú ncia uma situaç ão que o mesmo Mateus de Castro já tinha feito na sua Carta Espelhos dos
Brâ manes (Silva, 2017, p. 852-855), na qual o autor apresenta a razã o que o levou a escrever e, ao mesmo tempo,
procura estimular os seus compatriotas à resistê ncia, convidando-os a reagir à situaç ão de sú bditos e prisioneiros na
qual viviam. Uma chamada de atenç ão para a condição só cio-religiosa duma comunidade que se vê catapultar uma
nova cultura, religiã o e forma de viver.

No caso de Mateus de Castro a luta pelo reconhecimento da sua condição de sacerdote estava intimamente ligada à
sua naturalidade. Nã o se trata portanto unicamente duma questã o religiosa mas duma reclamaç ão de identidade que,
nova, surgia num contexto colonial fruto de uma educaç ão ocidental e vivê ncia indiana. Um indivíduo que, formado
entre-culturas, com grande fadiga consegue ser reconhecido na sua carreira eclesiá stica principalmente pelo poder
temporal colonial. Apesar de tudo, o projeto de Mateus de Castro apresentava uma nova prospetiva da autoridade
eclesiá stica que devia ajudar e garantir o desenvolvimento espiritual e civil dos cristã os nativos.

Durante a segunda metade do sé culo XVIII o panorama das Ordens religiosas presentes no Oriente muda. A rigidez
até aí praticada começ a a desaparecer e os indianos sã o admitidos nos conventos sendo formados como religiosos ou
sacerdotes. O aspeto moral da vida dos eclesiá sticos é prevista pelas Constituiç ões do Arcebispado de Goa do sé culo
XVIII nas quais é sublinhado de modo rigoroso a importâ ncia da moral na vida cristã 17, assim como a relaç ão entre
cristianismo e gentilismo. Progressivamente o clero nativo ganha influê ncia no Oriente em detrimento das Ordens
Religiosas europeias, ocupando diversos cargos eclesiá sticos e de assistê ncia social. Extremamente significativo e de
capital importâ ncia para o futuro deste clero foi a fundaç ão da Congregaç ão do Orató rio de Santa Cruz dos Milagres
em 168218.

A Relatione portanto, contribui para abrir um novo horizonte religioso-cultural no seio da Igreja Cató lica, penetrando
naquele campo desconhecido, isto é , numa cultura nova que nasce e se desenvolve atravé s da convivê ncia entre-
culturas. A este propó sito afirma o autor indiano Prabhakar Padhye:

Goa, with its peculiar culture and linguistic background can conduct itself in a manner that would bring this reality
into the focus of all thoughtful people bad

17
Constituiç ões do sé culo XVIII, lib. I, tit. VIII, Const. II, p. 87.
18
Ver: Falcon, Francisco José Calazans, A é poca pombalina: política econó mica e monarquia ilustrada, Ed. Á tica, S. Paulo, 1982, p.
208 e Dias, José Sebastiã o da Silva, Portugal e a cultura europeia, sé culos XVI-XVIII, Biblos, n. 28 Lisboa, 1952, p. 339.

especially of our policy-makers. (...) But can do only by emphasizing the different levels of belongings.19

A originalidade da identidade goesa nã o se pode caracterizar simplesmente com elementos gerais visto que conté m
simultaneamente aspetos indianos e portugueses que se fundiram num movimento de simbiose ú nica20 que por sua
vez produziu uma especificidade polié drica, dinâ mica e fluída.

Manuscritos

Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI), Goa 34’’, 489r - 502v.

Archivio Segreto del Vaticano (ASV) – Sec. Brev. 854, ff. 17-17v e 20v.

Archivio Propaganda Fide (APF), “Cartas do Cardeal Perfeito da Propaganda a Mateus de Castro”, 21 de fevereiro de
1643, Lettere volgari, vol.21, 1642-1643, fl. 1521-1553r.

Arquivo da Torre do Tombo de Lisboa (ATTL), Documentos remetidos da Índia, vol. 55, “Carta do rei de Portugal ao
Vice-Rei das Índias á cerca de Mateus de Castro”, 28 de fevereiro de 1646, fl. 262.

Compendio di storia della Sacra Congregazione per l’evangelizzazione dei popoli o ‘de Propaganda Fide’

(CSCdPF)1622-1972, Roma, 1974.

Relazione raccolta da discorsi con Monsignor Matteo di Castro Primo, et unico frà naturali dell’India Orientali,
Missionario della S[ant]a Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e Vescovo titolare, cioè di Chrisopoli, Rerum
Lusitanicarum Volume XXXI, Symmitica Lusitanica Tomo 24°, Biblioteca da Ajuda de Lisboa, Codice 46-X-7, s/d.

Sagrada Congregação de Propaganda Fide (SCdPF), Arquivo Histó rico, Scritture originali riferite nelle Congregazioni
Generali (SOCG), Roma, vols. 194, fl. 352r-361v e 192, fl. 221r-228v.

Referê ncias bibliográ fica

Almeida, F. (1970). Histó ria da Igreja em Portugal. vol. II. Porto-Lisboa: Livraria Civilizaç ão Editora.

Aranha, P. (2006). Il Cristianismo latino in India nel XVI Secolo. Milano: Università di Roma “La Sa-
pienza”.

Beccari, C. S.J. (1913). Rerum Aethiopicarum scriptores occidentale inediti a saeculo XVI ad XIX. Roma: Excudebat C.
de Luigi.

Boxer, C. R.(1990). As relaç ões raciais no Impé rio colonial portuguê s, 1415-1825. Porto: Ediç ões Aforamento.

(1990). A Igreja e a Expansã o Ibé rica, 1440-1770. Lisboa: Ediç ões 70.
Charles, P. S.J. (1928). Dossiers de l’action missionnaires, partie pratique. N.97. Louvain: Edition Jeunesse

Catholique.

D’Sá , M. (1924). History of the Catholic Church in India. 2 vols. Bombay: B.X.Furtado & Sons, 1919.

Faria, P. (2007). S. Mateus de Castro: um bispo “Brâ mane” em busca da promoç ão social no Impé rio asiá tico
portuguê s (sé culo XVII). In Revista eletrô nica de Histó ria do Brasil, Vol. 09, N. 2, jul-dez, (pp. 30- 43). Juiz de Fora,
UFJF.

Farinha, A. L. (1943). A expansã o da fé no Oriente: subsídios para a Histó ria Colonial. Lisboa: Agê ncia Geral das
Coló nias.

19
Padhye, Prabhakar, To whom does Goa belong?, “Goa: the problems of transition”, Margã o, Bombay, 1965, pp. 92-93. 20 Viegas,
Valentino, As origens remotas de Goa, in: “Magazine”, n. 2, Lisboa, Janeiro, 2006, p. 81.

Frias, A. J. (1702). Aureó la dos indios e nobiliarquia bracmana, tratado histó rico, genealó gico, panegírico, político e
moral. Bombaim: Livraria P. A. Fialho.

Gomes, C. C. (1957). A cristianizaç ão de Bardê s. Boletim do Instituto Vasco da Gama. Bastorá , Goa: Tipografia Rangel.

Ghesquiè re, T. (1937). Mathieu de Castro, premier vicaire apostolique aux Indes – Une cré ation de la Propagande a
ses dé buts. In Bibliothè que de la Revue d’Histoire Ecclé siastique, Fasc. 20, Louvain : Bureaux de la Revue.

Jesus, Florencio del N. (1924). El Monte Carmelo: tradiciones e historia de la Santa Montana, de la Virgen del Carmen
y de la Orden Carmelitana a la luz de los monumentos y documentos: estudio historico-critico, Madrid: Mensajero de
Santa Teresa.

Nazareth, C. C. (1927). Clero de Goa: seus serviç os à Religiã o e à Naç ão. Nova Goa: Casa Luso-Francesa. O’Neill e
Domínguez J. M. S.J. (2001). Diccionario Histó rico de la Compañ ia de Jesú s. Vol. III.

Roma/Madrid: Universidad Pontificia.

Pereira, A.B. B. (1952). Goa Portuguesa. Goa: Imprensa Nacional.

Sá , F. X. V. (2004), O Padroado Portuguê s do Oriente e os mitrados da Sé de Goa. Lisboa: Plá tano Editora.

Silva, R. C. P. (2017). Uma (re)leitura do Espelho dos Brâ manes de Mateus de Castro: primó rdios literá rios goeses?:
Pelos mares da língua portuguesa 3, (pp. 849-861) Aveiro: UA Editora.

Sorge, G. (1986). Matteo de Castro (1594-1677). Bologna: Editrice Clueb.

Tavares, C. C. S. (2002). A cristandade insular: Jesuítas e inquisidores em Goa (1540-1682). Niteró i: UFF. Xavier, A. B.
e Ž upanov, I. G. (2015). Ser Brâ mane na Goa da é poca moderna. In Revista de histó ria, n.
172, (pp. 15-41) Sã o Paulo: Universidade de Sã o Paulo.
Wicki, , J., S.J. e Gomes, J., S. J. (1984). Documenta Indica (1592-1594). Vol. XVI. Roma: IHSI.

Souza, T. R. (2008). O Padroado portuguê s do Oriente visto da Índia. In Revista Lusó fona de Ciê ncia

das Religiõ es, Ano VII, n. 13/14, (pp. 413-430), Lisboa: Universidade Lusó fona.

2. Artigo: “Entre-culturas e cores: Ângelo da Fonseca (1902-1967) de S.


Estevão (Goa)”, in Patrimonializar a memória diaspórica, Terceiro Simpósio
Internacional do Projecto Pensando Goa, Inauguração da Cátedra Eduardo Lourenço,
Université di Aix-en-Provence e Marseille, França, 12-13 de Maio de 2018. (no prelo)

Entre-culturas e cores: Â ngelo da Fonseca (1902-1967) de S. Estevã o (Goa)

Regina Cé lia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva1

José Nicolau  ngelo Antó nio da Fonseca, nasceu no dia 6 de dezembro de 19022, na Ilha de Juã 3,
territó rio que, juntamente com Divar e Chorã o, fazia parte da Província de Tiswadi (Velhas
Conquistas), nú cleo central da administraç ão portuguesa em Goa ao longo de todo o período
colonial. Situada perto da cidade de Pondá , desta é separada apenas pelas á guas do rio Mandovi.

Desde a antiguidade, Juá era denominada como ilha dos vegetais ou Ilha Verde5, com a chegada
dos portugueses e apó s a conversã o dos seus habitantes ao cristianismo feita pelos jesuítas em
15506, passou a ser designada pelo nome do seu padroeiro, ou seja, S. Estevã o7 (em inglê s, ainda
hoje, se conserva a antiga ortografia portuguesa St. Estevam como se pode ver nas indicaç ões
estradais). A maioria da populaç ão da ilha é cató lica, pertencente à casta chardó e
econó micamente considerada muito pró spera. Até há bem pouco tempo e de acordo com uma
tradiç ão secular, os laç os matrimoniais eram contraídos quase exclusivamente no interior da
Ilha. Embora com a chegada da modernidade, essa tradiç ão tenha a tendê ncia a ser esquecida,
os seus habitantes, apesar de tudo, preferem casar as pró prias filhas com homens da pró pria
terra8.

É neste hú mus social e no seio de uma das famílias mais importantes de S. Estevã o que, nos
primeiros anos do sé culo XX, cresce  ngelo da Fonseca, uma figura que, apesar das vá rias
oposiç ões e contestaç ões pessoais que sofreu, se revelará progressivamente como um
verdadeiro artista de vanguarda. Luís Bonaparte Albin da Fonseca, seu pai casado com Maria
Delfina Isabel Fernandes, era uma pessoa importante, pois para alé m de ser um dos maiores
proprietá rios rurais da ilha, desempenhava també m cargos políticos na administraç ão colonial9
e mantinha contactos quer com

1 Estudo realizado no â mbito do Projeto Entre-Culturas: escritas e conjunturas seiscentistas goesas, Proc.
2016/19746-0 e do Projeto Temá tico Pensando Goa, Proc. 2014/15657-8, financiados pela FAPESP. Universidade de
Sã o Paulo. pereiradasilvaregina24@gmail.com
2 Costa, Cosme José , «Angelo da Fonseca-A profile», in Euntes Docete, The sacred in Art – Angelo Fonseca, 1902-2002,

Pilar-Goa: Pilar Theological College, Vol. 7, 2002-2009, p. 21.

3 Actualmente faz parte da taluka de Tiswadi.


4 Resende, Pedro B., «Livro do estado da Índia Oriental», 1646, Sloane Manuscript, 197, folio 253, The commentaries
of the great Afonso de Albuquerque, second Viceroy of India, translated from the Portuguese edition of 1774,
Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2010, Vol. 3, p. 284. Modernizaç ão da ortografia, por nó s, para facilitar a
compreensã o do texto.
5 Em concanim Shakecho Juvo e os seus habitantes como bhenddekars, isto é , aqueles que cultivam o delta do lago,

Bhendde.
6 A primeira Igreja da ilha foi construída pelos jesuítas em 1575, mas a 25 de novembro de 1683, Sambhaji Raja

Bhonsle, durante a campanha marata contra Goa, destró i-a com o fogo. Mais tarde, reconstruída sofre novamente
uma destruiç ão sendo reconstruída definitivamente pela comunidade da ilha, em 1759.
7 Era constituída por trê s ilhé us pequenos unidos por um canal de á gua: Juá , Tolto e Vantso. Tolto, entre o sé c. XVI e

sé culo XVIII possuía nove casas que pertenciam a fidalgos portugueses e quase 80 % da população era cató lica.
8 Sebastian Rangel, ex-funcioná rio da Mumbai Port Trust afirma que essa tradiç ão se deve ao facto de se viver numa

ilha e se ter sido excluído do mundo externo. De facto, antes da construç ão da ponte sobre o rio Mandovi nos anos 80,
as pessoas costumavam viajar com canoas e ferry-boats.
Dísponível em URL: http://www.daijiworld.com/news/newsDisplay.aspx?newsID=137811
9 AA. VV., Indica, The Indian Historical Research Institute, Silver Jubilee Commemoration Volume, edited by B. G.

Gokhale, Bombaim, Saint Xavier’s College, 1953, Viegas, Savia, “Painting the Madonna brown”, in Himā l Southansian,
Agosto de 2010 e Costa, Cosme José , «Angelo da Fonseca-A profile», in Euntes Docete, The sacred in Art – Angelo
Fonseca, 1902-2002, Pilar-Goa: Pilar Theological College, Vol. 7, 2002-2009, p. 9.

A Ilha de Juã está entre a Ilha de Goa e a terra firme para a banda Nordeste, é de pouco menos de uma lé gua de

comprimento; e um tiro de falcã de largura aonde mais, tem na cabeç a que começ a da banda de Goa nove moradas de

casas de Portugueses de pedra e cal, muy boas e fermosas que sã o de moradores de Goa.4

os líderes coloniais portugueses quer com os membros do Estado Portuguê s da Índia10. «His
father, a respected agriculturist, was one of the twelve main tax-payers of Goa.11» Segundo Ivy
Muriel da Fonseca12 os pais do artista perdiam continuamente os filhos gerados durante o
momento do parto, até que um dia, um dos seus rendeiros hindus, um mundkar13, lhes
aconselhou a prestarem homenagem a Shantadurga14, a ú nica deusa de Goa adorada por
pessoas pertencentes a vá rias religiõ es. Foram, entã o, abenç oados com dezassete filhos, dos
quais  ngelo é o mais novo15.

Era uma é poca na qual, quem tinha possibilidades econó micas mandava os filhos estudar para
fora de Goa. Â ngelo da Fonseca nã o é exceç ão, depois de ter frequentado a St. Paul’s High School
de Belgaum, a St. Vincent’s Himogh School de Pune e o St. Xavier’s College de Bombaim,
instituiç ões da Companhia de Jesus, vai estudar sempre em Bombaim no Grant Medical College
onde se distingue na disciplina de desenho anatô mico16. Na realidade, já se revelava a sua
paixã o visto que nã o desejava seguir medicina mas sim pintura. Decide entã o frequentar uma
escola de arte que nã o fosse ocidental, mas que fosse reconhecidamente indiana. Esta é a razã o
pela qual  ngelo da Fonseca nã o acompanha o seu irmã o que se encontrava a estudar na Sir
Jamsedji Jeejeebhoy School of Art, escola fundada no mê s de març o de 1857, em Bombaim, com
a generosa doaç ão deste Barã o Jamsedji Jeejeebhoy (1783- 1859)17 indiano parsi e sob a
administraç ão britâ nica visto que era considerada um principado europeu. Prefere pois a outra
escola de arte existente na Índia, a de Calcutá , fundada por Abanindranath Tagore (primo do
poeta Rabindranath Tagore). A de Bombaim seguia a corrente realista enquanto esta seguia
uma corrente mais idealista procurando recuperar a antiga tradiç ão artística indiana. Desejava
ser um siṣ ya, isto é , um discípulo de um dos melhores artistas indianos da é poca. Durante a
Exposiç ão da Soceity of Oriental Art realizada em Calcutá , Â ngelo da Fonseca conhece pela
primeira vez Tagore a quem se apresenta mostrando o seu bloco de desenhos. Abanindranath
Tagore estimula-o a continuar a pintar e durante seis meses, Â ngelo da Fonseca estuda pintura
sob a sua orientaç ão. Durante um coló quio, o mestre convence o seu discípulo a continuar pela
sua estrada sem medo18. Para seguir o seu conselho, vai entã o para Ś antiniketan, em Calcutá ,
onde se encontra com o mestre Shri A. N. Tagore19 e o seu discípulo Nandalal Bose (aliá s seu
primo), que tinha fundado o Rebel Centre que tinha como ideal:
10 Menezes, Vivek, «Finding Fonseca: un Unknown Genius Emerges», Take sacred, Issue 13, Vol.4, 2014, p. 30.
11
Lederle, Matthew S.J., «Angelo da Fonseca – his life and work», The Art of Angelo da Fonseca, an exhibition of

paintings, Presented by The Heras Institute, Bombay: St. Xavier College, 1980, p. 12.
12 Menezes, op. cit., p. 30.
13 Indivíduo que em Goa reside gratuitamente, mas sob determinadas condiç ões acordadas, numa casa pertencente a

outré m. É termo usado na Índia Portuguesa. Chamavam-lhe també m rendeiro. Prové m do concanim mundkā r. Cf.
Dalgado, Sebastiã o Rodolfo, Glossá rio Luso-Asiá tico, Vol. II, Coimbra, Imprensa Nacional, Academia das Ciê ncias de
Lisboa, 1919, p. 25-26.
14 Uma versã o da deusa Duga, que para a Índia é uma deusa guerreira, enquanto que em Goa se transformou numa

deusa que oferece serenidade e misericó rdia. Cf. Sardo, Susana, Guerras de Jasmim e Mogarim, Lisboa, Texto Editores,
2010, p. 111, nota 47.
15 Lederle, op. cit., p. 12.
16 Costa, op. cit., p. 9.
17 Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, era um indiano Parsi, mercador e filantropo. Fez grande fortuna com o comé rcio do ó pio e

do algodã o. Cf. Karanjia, B. K., give me a Bombay merchant anytime!: the life of Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, Mumbai,
University of Mumbai, 1998.
18 Costa, op. cit., p. 10.
19 AA. VV., Indica, The Indian Historical Research Institute, Silver Jubilee Commemoration Volume, edited by B. G.

Gokhale, Bombaim, Saint Xavier’s College, 1953, p. 140.

Ver a arte indiana na verdadeira perspectiva, compreender devidamente os princípios fundamentais dos novos
movimentos da Europa [...] e assimilar onde for possível o verdadeiro espírito da arte indiana [...]20
Entra em contacto com artistas provenientes de toda a Índia e da Hungria, China e Japã o. A
escola de Bengala tinha experiê ncia no uso da té cnica Mughal e no estilo Rajput, unindo-os ao
estilo Ajanta numa versã o moderna.21

A decisã o do artista goê s, feita de modo consciente, já deixa entrever o delinear-se de um
percurso individual calcorreado com coragem e audá cia, se bem que de modo solitá rio, pois as
consequê ncias só cio-culturais provocadas por tal decisã o nã o tardam a manifestar-se.
«Fronteiras a dentro ele sente dificuldades para desenvolver as suas aptidõ es invulgares por
falta de ambiente propício.»22

A arte de  ngelo da Fonseca tem raízes profundamente cató licas tanto que Santana Pinto e a
historiadora de arte indiana Savia Viegas nã o hesitam em defini-la arte indiana cristã . «Embora
o simbolismo fosse o característico da pintura, Fonseca foi o primeiro a transportá -lo para a tela
da arte cató lica indiana, aliado ao idealismo e imaginaç ão.»23 Na sua típica simplicidade, o
artista, afirmava que a sua arte era apenas expressã o de um artista cató lico indiano e que a arte
religiosa cristã tem em si pró pria um respiro mais amplo, aquele universal.24
Em 1929, é publicado em Itá lia, na revista eclesiá stica Il pensiero missionario, uma imagem de
Cristo sentado em posiç ão de Yoga com a seguinte legenda: «Jesus Cristo na sua posiç ão de
Yoga. Ele estava lá no deserto ... acompanhado pelas feras selvagens.»25
Figura 1

A obra é atribuída a um artista indiano mas nã o é dada a conhecer a sua identidade. Representa
Jesus Cristo em meditaç ão Yoga, sentado à sombra de uma palmeira. Concentrado na sua
meditaç ão de 40 dias passados no deserto, nã o dá conta dos animais que se mexem à sua volta:
a lebre, o coelho, a serpente, a lagartixa, os passarinhos e o tigre que dorme aos seus pé s. Como
se pode observar, se dividirmos a metade a imagem, vemos que a parte superior recorda as
pinturas de Cristo europeias enquanto a parte inferior nos remete para a posiç ão meditativa de
Yoga tipicamente oriental. Algum tempo mais tarde, o jesuíta Vlasveld (1932) recorda essa
publicaç ão e declara que: L’originale è stato

dipinto da un artista indiano, un aderente della religione Hinduista [...] Per meglio apprezzare quella fotografia sono
necessarie alcune parole di spiegazione circa il Yoga e i Yogi.26
Afirma entã o que a felicidade eterna consiste na uniã o perfeita com a divindade e que a prá tica
de meditaç ão e os seus efeitos de purificaç ão e espiritualidade na alma se chamam-se Yogam
enquanto que quem se consagra a ele é denominado Yogam, Sannyasi ou Sadhu27. Na realidade,
o objetivo do jesuíta nã o era analisar o quadro como objeto de arte mas reforç ar a ideia de como
o catolicismo tinha penetrado na civilizaç ão indiana.

20 Pinto, Santana, “Â ngelo da Fonseca e Arte Cató lica Indiana”, Boletim Ecleasiá stico da Arquidiocese de Goa, Sé rie II,
Ano X, Maio, n. 11, Arquidiocese de Goa, Bastorá , Tipografia Rangel, 1952, p. 387.
21 Costa, op. cit., p. 15.
22 Pinto, op. cit., p. 385.

23 Pinto, op. cit., p. 388.

25 Nossa traduç ão. Garneri, Domenico, “Le Missioni Salesiane del Beato Giovanni Bosco”,

24
Fonseca, Â ngelo da, “Indo-Christian art in Painting and statuary, a historical retrospect”, in Indica, The Indian
Historical Research Institute, Silver Jubilee Commemoration Volume, edited by B. G. Gokhale, Bombaim, Saint Xavier’s
College, 1953, p. 141.

Roma : Unione missionaria del clero in Italia, 1929, p. 31.

27 Vlasveld, op. cit., p. 59.

Il pensiero missionario, V.1,

26 Vlasveld,B., “Una immagine Indiana di Cristo”, Il pensiero missionario, Roma: Unione missionaria del clero in Italia,
1932, p. 58.

Em 1931, Â ngelo da Fonseca decide regressar à sua terra natal obtendo a benç ão do seu mestre
que o convida a pintar igrejas28, onde pinta um quadro da Virgem Maria vestida com um sari
tradicional goê s, o kunbi. Mais uma vez, é o primeiro a fazê -lo. As críticas da sociedade cató lica
goesa conservadora nã o se fizeram esperar, nomeadamente as do pá roco de S. Estevã o que o
condenava por ter pintado um tema cristã o com configuraç ões indianas. Num contexto colonial
e salazarista, no qual despontava o espírito nacionalista goê s29, o cosmopolitismo de  ngelo da
Fonseca era considerado politicamente perigoso. A sua arte radicada no princípio do
universalismo cristã o vai abalar as certezas religiosas seculares que caracterizavam a sociedade
colonial e segundo as quais, por exemplo, a representaç ão clá ssica da Virgem, com feiç ões e
indumentá ria europeia era fundamento da pró pria construç ão identitá ria.

Apesar da imprensa goesa, por exemplo, jornais como o Diá rio de Noite, Pracasha e O Bharat,
terem dado notícia dos seus trabalhos, nã o conseguiram estimular o interesse da sociedade
goesa neste artista local.
Menosprezado e perseguido pelos pró prios familiares e pela sociedade goesa, abandona Goa30
transferindo-se para Pune onde começ a a trabalhar livremente31, sem restriç ões e em sintonia
com quanto observava. Refletia e destilava cada visã o ou objeto atravé s da sua pró pria essê ncia
formada entre-culturas e entre-religiõ es ao longo do tempo. Apesar da distâ ncia real que o
afastava de S. Estevã o, o artista conservou sempre um contacto espiritual com a topografia
ribeirinha de Goa continuando a utilizar a té cnica de misturar a lama do rio Mandovi com as
suas tintas e cores, o objetivo era aquele de deixar nas suas obras um elemento orgâ nico da sua
terra-mã e. Nã o surpreende, portanto, que mais de vinte quadros sejam paisagens, alguns com a
presenç a de templos hindus outros misturando o estilo das miniaturas de Mughal.32

«He loved his land so much, especially Maharashtra and Goa. For him Christ could have walked
through these lands and in his paintings he really does it.»33
Refugia-se, entã o, num austero ashram anglicano (e nã o hindu), no Christa Prema Seva Sanga,
de Shivajinagar, fundado pelo Padre J. C. Winslow34, com a finalidade de promover o diá logo
entre culturas, um espaç o onde o cristianismo e o hinduísmo se ‘entrecruzavam’.

Though the set up was sufficiently indigenous to make it a truly Indian ashram, it was really in discipline a strict
Benedictine order. (...) The order was contrary to the ideal of an Indian ashram and so it could never take root in the
Indian soil and atmosphere.35
Em 1927, a Revista Catholic Action de Bombaim, encomenda ao artista goê s um quadro de
cará cter

religioso. Acordado que podia ser executado em estilo indiano, o pintor realiza a tela
Anunciaç ão, mais tarde, publicada a cores naquela revista e que suscitou comentá rios e críticas
inevitá veis, visto que era uma das primeiras tentativas artísticas de representar uma temá tica
cristã em estilo indiano. Figura 2

28 Lobo, A. D., «Christian Art in Indian – its pioneer Angelo da Fonseca», The Examiner, Bombay, 23th July 1957, p. 3. 29
Com o final da II Guerra Mundial houve um aumento e uma maior aceitaç ão dos movimentos nacionalistas nas
coló nias asiá ticas e africanas.
30 Fonseca, op. cit., p. 140.

31 Goa Plus Team, Times of India (Supplement), Bombay, 15 November 2002, p. 2.


32 Arrowsmith, R., A meeting with Angelo da Fonseca, Mundo Goa, Semana da Cultura Indo-Portuguesa, 2012, p. 37. 33
Lederle M. R., Interpreting Christ through Indian art, Editor Mathew P. John, P. M. K., Wesley Press, s/d, p. 239. 34
Fonseca, op. cit., p. 139-153.
35 Das, R.C., Evangelical prophet for Contextual Christianity, Herbert L. Richard, Delhi, 1999, p. 263-264.

A publicaç ão do quadro atraiu també m a atenç ão do P. Henry Heras (1888-1955)36, considerado
o pai da arte cristã indiana, que imediantamente procurou encontrar o seu autor. Este jesuíta
era o fundador do The Indian Historical Research Institute, 1926, incialmente considerado
apenas como uma pó s-graduaç ão do Departamento de St. Xavier’s College de Bombaim. Este
instituto, geralmente, é designado como um ā śrama moderno que fez renascer aquela antiga
relaç ão típica indiana existente entre guru e ś iṣ ya que estimulava a contínua investigaç ão37
científica. P. Heras apoiava e ajudava pessoalmente os estudantes e artistas que chegavam ao
Instituto provenientes de vá rias partes da Índia38. Em 1927, publica vá rios artigos na revista
semanal da Igreja Cató lica de Bombaim, The Examiner39, com o título Indian Art in Catholic
Churches. A leitura destes artigos transmite grande serenidade a  ngelo da Fonseca pois sentia-
se em sintonia com quanto escrevia o jesuíta. De facto, a arte de  ngelo da Fonseca refletia a sua
interioridade e a sua visã o da doutrina de Cristo, sem dú vida, vanguardista para é poca tendo em
conta o contexto no qual se estava a desenvolver. Para o pintor goê s, os ensinamentos de Jesus
nã o eram só para os judeus mas para todos os homens sem distinç ão de raç a ou nacionalidade, e
se a Igreja é dogmá ticamente cató lica e universal, tais características podem ser representadas
em mú ltiplas formas e cores quando incarnadas, sem reservas, nas culturas locais, nas tradiç ões
das aldeias e cidades nas quais se difunde40. «East is East and West is West, but Christian faith
belongs neither to the East nor to the West. It is of the whole world.»41 Ideias que se encontram
desenvolvidas nos artigos de P. Heras constituindo assim uma real teorizaç ão teoló gica. A
universalidade e a igualdade anunciada pelo cristianismo tinham impressionado
profundamente o pintor, a tal ponto que anticipa nas suas criaç ões artísticas, de modo incrível
mas visivelmente, a metodologia da inculturaç ão e o princípio da fraternidade universal mais
tarde declarado pelo Concílio Vaticano II42 no n. 5 da Declaraç ão Nostra Aetate e, segundo a
qual, a Igreja reprova toda e qualquer discriminaç ão ou violê ncia praticada por motivos de raç a
ou cor, condiç ão ou religiã o43, aspeto reconhecido pelos artigos n. 7 e 8 sobre a diversidade
cultural e a criatividade44 da Declaraç ão Universal da Unesco adoptada em Paris durante a 31a
sessã o da Conferê ncia Geral de 2 de novembro de 2001.

Em dezembro de 1934, realiza-se a Exhibition of Oriental Art, em Calcutá , inaugurada pela Lady
Jackson, na qual os primeiros quadros de Fonseca encontram grande aceitaç ão por parte de
algumas

36 Nasceuem Barcelona, Espanha e apó s os estudos liceais entrou na Companhia de Jesus em 1904. Foi ordenado
sacerdote em 1920 e embarcou para a Índia em 1922. Escreveu vá rios livros e mais de 200 artigos. Cf. Moraes, George
Mark, Hasmukhlal Dhirajlal Sankalia, Delhi, Heras Institute of Indian History and culture, 1976, p. 4; Sankalia,
Hasmukh D., “Introduction”, AA.VV., Indica, op. cit., pp. V-VIII.

37 Hasmukh D. Sankalia, Indica, op. cit., “Introduction”, p. V.


38 Nomeadamente  ngelo da Fonseca, Olímpio Rodrigues,  ngela Trindade e Chandrakant Mhatre.
39 Heras, Henry, The examiner, 8 de Outubro de 1927, pp. 474-475; 15 de Outubro de 1927, p. 488 e 22 de outubro de

1927, p. 501.
40 Fonseca, op. cit., p. 140.
41 Fonseca, op. cit., p. 139.
42 A Igreja Cató lica realizou em 1962 o Concílio Vaticano II, um evento que abriu as portas ao diá logo com outras

religiõ es e com a cultura em geral. Papa Joã o XXIII abriu o Concílio no dia 11 de outubro de 1962, os trabalhos
duraram mais de trê s anos e ficaram concluídos já sob o pontificado de Papa Paulo VI, em dezembro de 1965.
43 Papa Paulo VI, Nostra Aetate, n. 5, Roma, 28 de Outubro de 1965.
44 Artigo 7 – Toda a criaç ão tem as suas origens nas tradiç ões culturais, poré m desenvolve-se plenamente em contato

com outras. Essa é a razã o pela qual o patrimó nio, em todas suas formas, deve ser preservado, valorizado e
transmitido à s geraç ões futuras como testemunho da experiê ncia e das aspiraç ões humanas, a fim de nutrir a
criatividade em toda sua diversidade e estabelecer um verdadeiro diá logo entre as culturas.
Artigo 8 –[...] deve-se prestar uma particular atenção à diversidade da oferta criativa, ao justo reconhecimento dos
direitos dos autores e artistas, assim como ao cará ter específico dos bens e serviços culturais que, na medida em que
sã o portadores de identidade, de valores e sentido, nã o devem ser considerados como mercadorias ou bens de
consumo como os demais.

personalidades como o Cô nsul Geral de Franç a e aquele do Japã o, Abanindranath Tagore,
Maharaj Kumar of Burdwa, Maharaja of Cossimbazar, Rajá of Ajimganj entre outros.45
Part of the difficulty in Angelo’s paintings is the difficulty of the spirituality which it represents – a rather ascetical,
autere spirituality, in which only devotion humanizes suffering. [...] Repeatedly, it was this call to interiority which Fr.
Lederle cherished in Indian culture. He wants to relate this inner vision with the visions of Ignatius of Loyola. [...]
Angelo da Fonseca was able to capture in his pictures something of the spirituality of the Jesuit order, perhaps
through his long association with very spiritual Jesuits [...]46.

Encorajado pelos membros do ashram e pelo P. Heras, em 1948, Â ngelo da Fonseca viaja para a
Europa onde permanece até 1950.
He held exhibitions in London, on the occasion of the Lambeth Conference, at Glasgow, Dublin, Madrid and Rome. In
Rome, Msgr. C. Constantini, later Cardinal, gave him a good number of commissions. In India too, da Fonseca held
exhibitions at Delhi, Ajmer, Ahmedabad and Kodaikanal.47

No dia 26 de Març o de 1951, casa com Ivy Muriel Philomena Menezes com quem partilha ideias
e visõ es. O casal vivia no Arcene Lodge Cottage48. Seis anos mais tarde, nasce Yessonda, que
atualmente vive em Pune com os seus dois filhos e o marido, Capitã o Dalton49. Uma forte
meningite vai atingir o artista provocando a sua morte prematura em 28 de dezembro de 1967.

Apesar de tudo, a sua arte teve alguns reconhecimentos a nível internacional:


The Bombay Arts Society at their Pune Exhibition awarded him their gold medal in 1942 for a painting in oils entitled
Christ Blessing the Loaves and fishes”. In 1951 he was again given the silver medal of the Bombay Arts society and
the Governor’s Prize for a portrait in oils. In 1954 he received the Papal decoration Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and [in
1955] Pope Pius XII conferred on him a gold medal for pioneering Christian art in India. 50
Todas as obras ficaram em possesso da viú va que alguns anos mais tarde faz uma doaç ão tendo
como

objetivo facilitar a realizaç ão da Exposiç ão de Pilar Fathers, em 2002. O Xavier Center of
Historical Research adquiriu també m mais de oitenta quadros51, local onde, actualmente, se
encontra o arquivo do artista52.
P. Heras vai encontrá -lo em Pune. Começ a assim um forte relacionamento entre os dois. O
jesuíta encomenda-lhe uma sé rie de quadros sobre a histó ria da Missã o da Companhia de Jesus
na Índia, que hoje, constituem uma das colecç ões mais apreciadas do museu do Instituto
Heras.53

Figura 3

Um destes é o quadro do Imperador Akbar na Missã o dos Jesuítas em Fathpur e a cena


representada é histó rica: o Imperador Akbar acompanhado pelo seu filho Salim e futuro
Jahangir visita os jesuítas de Fathpur primeira residê ncia da Companhia de Jesus no Norte da
Índia, onde moravam trê s religiosos: P. Rodolfo Acquaviva, P. Antó nio Monserrat, P. Henriquez e
um persiano convertido. O quadro foi realizado com base numa fotografia de um quadro Mughal
que o P. Heras tinha encontrado no Bharat Itihas Sanshodak Mandal de Pune, na qual P.
Acquaviva tinha sido identificado. É esse o

45 Costa, op. cit., p. 11.


46 Sahi,Jyoti, “Foreword”, Christian painting in India Through the centuries, Bombay, Heras Institute of Indian History
and Culture St. Xavier College, s/d, p. 21.
47 Lederle, op. cit., p. 14.
48 http://www.britishempire.co.uk/article/bwanakarani.htm
49 Costa, op. cit., p. 15.
50 Lederle, op. cit., p. 15.
51 DSouza, Taddeus, «Angelo da Fonseca – Unique Goan Catholic Artistic 1902-1967», Its Goa, 24/09/2017.
52 Menezes, Vivek, Finding Fonseca: na unknown genius emerges, URL: http://www.takeonartmagazine.com/article-

details/255
53 Correia-Afonso, John, «Arte cristã na Índia», W. A. Dyrness, Christian Art in India, Amesterdã o, Ediç ões Rodopi N. V.,
1979, p. 169.

rosto de Acquaviva na tela do pintor enquanto Monserrat sendo catalã o como P. Heras tem o
rosto deste.54
É també m P. Heras que proporciona aos artistas indianos a possibilidade de divulgarem as
pró prias obras a nível mundial no â mbito da Exposiç ão de Arte Sacra Missioná ria realizada no
Vaticano durante as comemoraç ões do Ano Santo de 1950 instituídas pelo Papa Pio XII. P. Heras
era um dos responsá veis da organizaç ão da secç ão oriental e na sequê ncia desta realiza em
Bombaim a Exposiç ão Mariana em 195455. A Exposiç ão de Arte Sacra Missioná ria esteve
patente no Vaticano durante todo o Ano Santo, depois foi transferida para Madrid e, em outubro
de 1951, realizou-se no Mosteiro dos Jeró nimos, em Lisboa no â mbito das comemoraç ões do
encerramento para o estrangeiro do Ano Santo de acordo com a vontade do Papa Pio XII. O
evento era da responsabilidade da Propaganda Fide sendo em Portugal organizado pela Agê ncia
Geral do Ultramar que tinha como finalidade divulgar o patrimó nio do alé m-mar.56 Colmava-se
assim a ausê ncia no certame de Roma pois nem Portugal nem Espanha tinham participado à
exposiç ão italiana e ao patrimó nio artístico exposto no Vaticano acrescentam-se outras obras
ligadas à primeira evangelizaç ão da Igreja e à aç ão missioná ria feita alé m-mar. Era uma ocasiã o
ú nica para apresentar uma nova linguagem artística proveniente do encontro entre as outras
culturas e a religiã o cristã . Esta exposiç ão continuava a política de propaganda do Estado Novo
confiada por Salazar a Antó nio Joaquim Tavares Ferro (1895-1956) director do Secretariado da
Propaganda Nacional (SPN)57 que pretendia divulgar uma imagem bem determinada da Naç ão
valorizando e expondo os elementos que melhor a representavam a sua essê ncia: cultura
popular e evocaç ões de uma histó ria nacional heró ica e imaculada.

P. Heras expõ es as obras indianas e declara que a arte cristã proveniente da Índia era vista,
pelos europeus, como verdadeiramente complexa porque apresentava [...] reunidos elementos
muito diversos [...]58
O artista indiano representa Deus criador em posiç ão de repouso absoluto, apoiado na
eternidade (ananta, que é també m o nome de uma serpente), com os olhos fechados, como se
estivesse adormecido, para demonstrar que até a sua extraordiná ria atividade é toda obra da
sua mente.59

Na exposiç ão de Lisboa ficaram patentes ao pú blico trinta trê s obras60 da autoria de  ngelo da
Fonseca. Em 1953, o governo portuguê s encomenda-lhe uma pintura sobre a morte de D. Joã o
de Castro61. Alé m disso, o artista goê s esteve també m patente ao pú blico, com obras à venda, do
dia 1

54 Fonseca,
op. cit., p. 141.
55 Visto
que o ano de 1954, na Igreja cató lica, era um ano mariano, as encomendas feitas ao artista goê s eram
principalmente de cará cter mariano com ou sem Menino. Cf. Nazareth, Marianne de, Swadeshi twist, Julho de 2011,
URL: www.thehindu.com.

57 Em 1944 remodelado em Secretariado Nacional de Informação, Cultural Popular e Turismo (SNI).


58 A Índia, para alé m de ser um berç o onde se cruzaram e encontraram vá rias civilizações e povos, recolhe no seu
patrimó nio ú nico, numerosos elementos, motivos e linguagens artísticas que constituem a sua bagagem e herança
artística nacional. Certamente que a cultura indiana e consequentemente a sua arte é caracterizada por uma forte
valê ncia espiritual, na qual a vida interior e a meditaç ão sã o elementos fundamentais. P. Heras, na sua introduç ão á
arte indiana priveligia o seu aspeto metafísico que nã o apresenta figuras realísticas mas representa a força do
pensamento de modo plá stico. Cf. Heras, Henry, Exposiç ão de arte sacra missioná ria, Catá logo, Lisboa, Agê ncia Geral
do Ultramar, Imprensa Nacional, 1951, p. 19-20.
59 Heras, op. cit., p. 20.
60 AA. VV., Exposiç ão de arte sacra missioná ria, Catá logo, Lisboa, Agê ncia Geral do Ultramar, Imprensa Nacional, 1951,
p. 78-79.
61 Lederle, op. cit., p. 15.

56 Pimenta,
Fernando Tavares, «Nacionalismo, oposiç ão e propaganda política». A cultura do poder, A propaganda dos
Estados Autoritá rios. Pena-Rodríguez, Alberto e Paulo, Heloísa (coord.), Coimbra: Imprensa da Universidade de
Coimbra, 2016, p. 361.

de outubro ao dia 10 de novembro de em 1981, no Centro da Fundaç ão Calouste Gulbenkian de


Lisboa, exposiç ão da resonsabilidade da doutora Kalpana Desai, e já tinha participado com
algumas telas à Exposiç ão Mundial de Paris realizada em 1937.62 Apesar de tudo, como afirma
Teotó nio de Souza (2010), é ignorado pelos historiadores de arte portugueses, nomeadamente
José -Augusto Franç a e Pedro Dias. Este refere-se a algumas pinturas do acervo do Xavier Centre
of Historical Reasearch mas nã o cita o pintor goê s.

Pedro Dias did not forget the Moghul miniatures and the Jesuit connection, but failed to discover the parallel in
 ngelo Fonseca’s paintings and his Jesuit connection as depicted in his inclusion of Fr. Heras in the Moghul court.63
Nem Má rio Tavares Chicó (1905-1966) que em 1951 realizou o seu projeto64 de
reconhecimento da arte cristã na Índia, projeto que tinha como finalidade o estudo
pormenorizado da arquitectura cristã e das suas relaç ões com a arte local concluindo-se com a
Reuniã o Extraordiná ria da Bombay Historical Society, em 28 de Maio de 1951, refere  ngelo da
Fonseca em qualquer uma das suas publicaç ões. Eram anos nos quais havia um movimento, que
envolvia artistas de todo o mundo, que procuravam a nova arte cristã 65, mas do qual nã o existe
memó ria nos vá rios volumes das histó rias da arte nem o conceito de modernismo da arte cristã
historicizado. Só muito recentemente e, apó s o pedido insistente de Ivy da Fonseca, se começ ou
a analisar a obra de  ngelo da Fonseca numa prespetiva artística, nomeadamente com Savia
Viegas responsá vel da exposiç ão realizada na Índia, em 2014.

O artista nã o se limita a uma recriaç ão dos temas típicos cristã os, o artista é audaz e inclui nas
suas obras muitos elementos e símbolos característicos da cultura indiana, procurava un novo
lé xico visual e artístico para narrar episó dios cristã os vistos com olhos nativos por isso,
absorvia incondicionadamente as linguagens culturais de todo subcontinente indiano. Se bem
que a arte do goê s era, como afirma Vivek Menezes66 paradoxalmente, muito hindu para os
cató licos e muito cató lica para os hindus, assim como era considerada indiana para o Ocidente e
muito ocidental para os indianos.

A arte de Fonseca revela por um lado, uma experiê ncia íntima muito profunda por outro, a
concretizaç ão da ideia de inculturaç ão da doutrina cristã , na adaptaç ão e apropriaç ão de
elementos indígenas. Se inculturaç ão significa incarnaç ão da vida e da mensagem cristã numa
determinada á rea cultural a tal ponto que essa mesma experiê ncia consiga nã o só exprimir-se
com as características típicas da pró pria cultura, mas seja o seu príncipio inspirador, normativo
e unificante que a tansforma e a recria originando uma ‘nova creazione’67, entã o  ngelo da
Fonseca é um pioneiro. Os seus

62 Pinto, Santana, «Â ngelo da Fonseca e Arte Cató lica Indiana», Boletim Ecleasiá stico da Arquidiocese de Goa, Sé rie II,
Ano X, Maio, n. 11, Arquidiocese de Goa, Bastorá , Tipografia Rangel, 1952, (31-39) (384-389), p. 389.
63 Souza, Teotó nio R., «A forgotten Goan Christian painter», Herald, Vol. CX, n. 107, Panaji, 24/04/2010, p. 8.
64 Má rio Chicó , em 1951 chefiou uma missã o de reconhecimento e estudo a Goa, Damã o e Diu aprovada pelos

Ministé rios da Educaç ão Nacional, Ultramar e Obras Pú blicas sendo acompanhado por Carlos de Azevedo. Dessa
viagem resultaram vá rios trabalhos, entre os quais: “Aspectts of Religious Art of Portuguese India”, Marg, Bombaim,
1954; «A Igreja do Priorado do Rosá rio da Velha Goa, a arte manuelina e a arte de Guzarate», Boletim desta Academia,
n.o» 7, 1954; «A escultura decorativa e a talha dourada nas Igrejas da Índia Portuguesa», Belas Artes, n. VII, 1954; «A
Igreja dos Agostinhos de Goa e a Arquitectura da Índia Portuguesa» (Garcia de Orta, II, fasc. 2, Lisboa, 1954); «Igreja
de Goa» (Garcia de Orta, nú mero especial, 1956); «A cidade ideal do Renascimento e as cidades portuguesas da Índia»
(Garcia de Orta, nú mero especial, 1956); «Algumas observaç ões acerca da arquitectura da Companhia de Jesus no
distrito de Goa» (Garcia de Orta, nú mero especial, Lisboa, 1956); «Gilt carved-work retables of the churches of
Portuguese India» (Connoisseur, nú mero especial, Londres, 1956); «A Arquitectura Indo-Portuguesa» (Coló quio n.°
17, Fevereiro, 1962).

66 Menezes, op. cit., p. 30.


67 Cf. Padre Arrupe, Lettera del Generale a tutta la Compagnia, XXXII Congregazione Generale della Compagnia di
Gesù , p.
30

65 Gomes,
Paulo Varela. «Tagore’s Advice: The Critical Fortune and Misfortune of the Goan Painter Angelo da Fonseca
(1902-1967)», South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 35, Issue 3, 2012, (671-707), p. 671.

quadros, apresentam cenas cristã s inculturadas na cultura indiana e, contemporaneamente,


criam uma iconografia local específica ignorada durante o período colonial e nã o reconhecida
pela descolonizaç ão.
Ora, se o fundamento da inculturaç ão consiste na verdadeira compreensã o do outro, essa exige
um verdadeiro diá logo entre culturas e agentes culturais, exige uma interculturalidade68
entendida como reciprocidade, dom, podendo envolver uma pluralidade de culturas num
processo de “incomensurá vel [de] interpenetraç ão de culturas”69.

As culturas em viagem e interpenetradas nã o sã o unidireccionais mas multidireccionais; nã o


sã o influê ncias lineares, mas recíprocas; sã o assimilaç ões nã o passivas, mas sim activamente
transformativas, baseadas numa fusã o entre adopç ão e resistê ncia.70
Tendo presente que, no sentido utilizado por Susan Friedman, interculturalidade é sinó nimo de
‘nativizaç ão’ e ‘indigenizaç ão’ assim como de ‘contaminaç ão’, ‘tomada em empré stimo’ e
‘transformaç ão’:

A indigenizaç ão pressupõ e uma afinidade de algum tipo entre as prá ticas culturais de outro lugar e as do espaç o
indigenizador. [...] A indigenização lembra-nos que a modernidade implica um esquecimento das origens, um
reivindicar de prá ticas culturais de outras paragens como se fossem as nossas pró prias, a tal ponto que a histó ria do
seu viajar, muitas vezes, se perde.71

Aceitar e divulgar a arte de  ngelo da Fonseca significa, em termos esté ticos, acolher o Outro
nã o- europeu, nã o-ocidental. De facto, a dimensã o cultural é , de certa forma, parte do
patrimó nio do cristianismo, da vocaç ão universal.
A criaç ão de uma linguagem pictó rica nativa, local, que narra os episó dios da vida de Cristo
provoca a marginalizaç ão social cató lica do artista que com o tempo se transforma-se numa
posiç ão político- religiosa de resistê ncia aos ‘poderes’ vigentes que sufocavam a livre expressã o.
É neste sentido, que  ngelo da Fonseca é um resistente político e religioso. É necessá ria pois
uma reinterpretaç ão mediante uma visã o intercultural que promove uma arte cristã nativizada
na qual os valores evangé licos sã o experimentados e integrados nas culturas locais dando
origem a uma expressã o artística local, nova.

 ngelo da Fonseca indigenizou as imagens cristã s nã o se deixando subjugar pelo eurocê ntrismo
nem se limitando ao simples dualismo tradicional do modelo ocidental contraposto ao
tradicionalismo indiano mas procurou uma nova forma esté tica baseada num dinamismo
dialó gico que se encontra bem representado nos seus quadros: a imagem cristã rodeada por
elementos típicos das religiõ es presentes na Índia, hinduísmo, budismo e islamismo. Utiliza, por
exemplo, os charpoys (lanternas), os tapetes de khaddar, os pastores representados vestem os
dhotis (peç a de roupa usada pelos homens hindus), indigeniza de tal forma alguns anjos que
parecem dvarapalas (guardiõ es do templo) diante da Virgem colocada num nicho decorado com
conchas e flores, substitui a pose da escultura da Virgem com a lilting tribanga, postura clá ssica
de danç a típica da arte e escultura indianas em que o

68 Ainterculturalidade baseia-se na convinç ão de que as diferenç as culturais podem ser fonte de enriquecimento e
que, um confronto entre duas culturas, nã o termina necessariamente com o domínio de uma sobre a outra ou com a
aniquilamento de uma delas de modo a dar origem a uma nova cultura.

69 Glissant,
Eduard, Poetics of Relation. Trad. Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997, p. 138.
70 Friedman,Susan Stanford, “Batendo palmas a uma só mã o: Colonialismo, pó scolonialismo e as fronteiras espá cio-
temporais do modernismo”, Revista Crítica de Ciê ncias Sociais, 74, Coimbra, Centro de Estudos Sociais da
Universidade de Coimbra, junho de 2006, pp. 85-113. URL: http://rccs.revues.org/934 , p. 97.

71
Friedman, op. cit., p. 98-100.

corpo quebra no ombro, na cintura e no joelho, chegando a representar o Menino Jesus com as
feiç ões de Khrisna menino.72 É o caso do quadro Nossa Senhora de Ló tus,
Figura 4
Nossa Senhora vestida com um sari, sentada com as pernas cruzadas num padmasana numa
postura de meditaç ão, vestida com cores vivas, cabelo desprendido, livre (que nas imagens da
religiã o hindu é um sinal de postura de renú ncia) tem na mã o esquerda nã o um lírio mas uma
flor de ló tus branca (símbolo da deusa hindu Lakshmi e da divindidade budista
Avalokitesvara73. No entanto, no ocidente, os cabelos de Nossa Senhora quase nã o se veem. De
facto, em Goa os cabelos soltos eram usados sobretudo pelas danç arinas e animadores. O
Menino Jesus aparece deitado no seio materno ou num berç o charpoy, nu como Khrisna e
ornamentos à volta sã o caracteristicamente indianos.

Seguindo os conselhos de P. Heras, que lhe explica a riqueza e a beleza da filosofia indiana, pinta
trê s quadros que designa Á rvore da vida ū rdhva mū laḥ partindo das raízes apresentadas como
no Bhahgavad Gītā ; Dois pá ssaros do Paraíso, símbolo da felicidade eterna, um preto e outro
luminoso; e o terceiro é Deus como o descreve a literatura vé dica, em posiç ão de sua meditaç ão
eterna (tapas), encontra-se na posiç ão indiana de meditaç ão clá ssica (dhyā na mudrā ), é anciã o
com uma longa barba branca, de acordo com quanto afirma o profeta Daniel e na literatura
vé dica, ele é antigo dos dias’, mas ao mesmo tempo, ele é vigoroso e forte, o tempo nã o passa
por ele e como afirma frequentemente Buda é a ‘juventude eterna’. Tudo isto é causado pelo
facto de que ele respira pela sua pró pria natureza, ā nīt swadhayā . No quadro ele é transparente,
porque ele é aliṅ ga, ‘sem corpo’ como se lê nos Upaniṣ ads; e usa joalharia indiana mukuṭa. O seu
pensamento eterno (tapasaḥ mahinā ) gera a chamada Vā k, a Palavra interna, que é o seu
Conhecimento, a sua pró pria reflexã o (rū pam). A presenç a do brilho dourado que vem da
cabeç a de Isvara. Deus e a sua Palavra pessoal, conhecendo- se mutuamente, sem dú vida amam-
se reciprocamente. O amor existe entre os dois (sam avartatā ) e é representado no quadro
atravé s da chamas que queimam o baú de deus. Esta tríade que existe em Deus (trayam) está
simbolizada na roda que se vê atrá s da sua imagem.74

Uma representaç ão síntese de vá rios elementos tradicionais das vá rias religiõ es encontra-se no
quadro Apocalipse que apresenta uma potente mitologia pessoal e caracterizada por uma clara
diferenciaç ão relativamente a qualquer tipo de crenç a.75 A figura central que luta contra as
cabeç as dos dragõ es e as chamas parece retirada de uma passagem da Bíblia, mas essa mesma
figura pode ser també m Sita do Ramayana ou Avalokitesvara, o deus budista da compaixã o.

Um dos valores de  ngelo da Fonseca era precisamente a igualdade social76. Veja-se, por
exemplo, um dos murais laterais da Catedral de S. Francisco Xavier (St. Xavier’s Church) de
Pune. O da esquerda retrata a chegada de Sã o Francisco Xavier acompanhado por outros
jesuítas, de forma muito pró pria. Geralmente, o Apó stolo do Oriente é representado com um
crucifixo levantado levemente para o alto com um nativo sem rosto e de pele escura encolhido
aos seus pé s. O mural de Fonseca
73 Arrowsmith, op. cit., p. 38.
74 Fonseca, op. cit., p. 143-145.
75
Arrowsmith, op. cit., p. 39.
76 Jason Keith Fernandes (2014) afirma que o pintor goê s elaborou uma bramanizaç ão de Cristo, portanto as formas

sã o aquelas que se referem a um hinduísmo brâ manico como se Cristo vivesse dentro de um ambiente formado
somente pelas castas superiores hindus, desvalorizando a cultural cristã goesa e perpetuando a ideia de casteísmo
que, sem dú vida, nã o faz parte da mensagem cristã . Na realidade, põ e em discussã o o valor do projeto de inculturaç ão
do artista, mas reconhece o valor das suas obras.

72 Viegas,
“Painting the Madonna Brown”, in Himā l Southansian, Agosto de 2010 e Datta, Sravasti, “Fusing cultures”,
The hindu, 5/08/2011.

10

apresenta Francisco Xavier diante de uma grande multidã o de indianos desde crianç as,
mulheres e homens.
Figura 5
Alguns observam-no com interesse, outros tê m um rosto de interrogaç ão. Nã o há evidê ncia de
triunfalismo. Esta foi sempre a essê ncia da mensagem da Fonseca, Oriente e Ocidente podem
encontrar-se sem que haja vencedores e derrotados ou dominadores e subjugados.77.

Como afirma Fá tima Gracias78, Â ngelo da Fonseca influenciou a arte cristã indiana de Angela
Trindade. «Madonnas in Indian style became Angela Trindade’s favourite subject [...]»79.
Em diversas ocasiõ es, os portugueses presentes em Goa tiveram uma relaç ão difícil com a
personalidade do Outro80. Nos primeiros tempos do domínio portuguê s a repressã o foi maior se
bem que tenha havido algumas exceç ões que conduziram a compromissos entre naturais e
portugueses. A intolerâ ncia religiosa contra o hinduísmo provocou um desiquilíbirio no seio da
sociedade goesa: os hindus viram-se despojados de todos os tributos pú blicos de que gozavam,
nã o podiam prestar serviç os pú blicos e dificilmente mantinham relaç ões sociais com os
cató licos goeses e com aqueles hindus que estavam do lado do colonizador pois nem todos os
hindus se opuseram à evangelizaç ão cristã ou à edificaç ão de igrejas81. Com as medidas políticas
de Pombal (1773-74) começ a um período novo de diá logo entre portugueses e nativos
diminuindo o sentimento de intolerâ ncia.

Certamente que a era nacionalista e a é poca de pré -libertaç ão em Goa criou um ambiente cheio
de transformaç ões que vã o influenciar o novo ethos só cio-político e religioso-cultural local. Tais
mudanç as eram já patentes na arte do artista goê s. Certamente, també m, que a era nacionalista
e a é poca de pré -libertaç ão em Goa criou um ambiente cheio de transformaç ões que vã o
influenciar o novo ethos só cio-político e religioso-cultural local. Tais mudanç as eram já patentes
na arte do artista goê s.
Actualmente e de acordo com o antropó logo Newman82, no templo de Shanta Durga de Fatorpa,
perto de Cunculim, festeja-se a festa hindu zatra à qual participam hindus e cató licos, todos
grandes devotos da deusa celebrada. O mesmo acontece com a festa de Nossa Senhora dos
Milagres, realizada na Igreja de S. Jeró nimo de Mapusa celebrada quer por hindus quer por
cató licos de Goa83. Sem dú vida, uma interpenetraç ão religioso-cultural inevitá vel para quem
vive entre-culturas.

Na vida da sociedade goesa é pois presente um diá logo intercultural constante que ultrapassa
tabus e regras quotidianas de sobrevivê ncia. A arte de  ngelo da Fonseca penetra esse diá logo.
É hora, pois, que a histó ria o acolha nos ambientes artísticos e culturais reconhecendo-lhe o
valor intercultural da sua atividade artística, nã o só como percursor da arte cristã indiana mas
como pintor intercultural e simbió tico prescindindo de qualquer tipo de preconceito.

Necessitamos de uma abordagem integrada e interdisciplinar que reconheç a o modo como o social e o cultural se
entrelaç am em diferentes modernidades, modernizaç ões e modernismos de diferentes é pocas e lugares.84

77 Menezes, op. cit., p. 30-31.


78 Gracias, Fá tima da Silva, Angela Trindade, Goa, Fundaç ão Oriente, 2016, p. 117. 79 Gracias, op. cit., p. 118.

83 Perez, op. cit., p. 159.


84 Friedman, op. cit., p. 89.

Necessitamos de uma gramá tica espacial interdisciplinar que dê particular importâ ncia aos conceitos de zona de
contacto,

encontro intercultural, hibridaç ão, transculturaç ão, indigenização, bem como ao trá fego global de bens, ideias, povos
e

prá ticas culturais. [...]

80 Perez,Rosa Maria, O Tulsi e a Cruz, Antropologia e colonialismo em Goa, Maia, Círculo de Leitores, 2012, p. 135.
81 Pereira,
Rui Gomes, Hindu temples and deities, Panaji, Printwell Press, 1978, p. 16.
82 Newman, Robert S., Of Umbrellas, Goddeness and dreams. Essays on Goan Culture and Society, Goa, Other India

Press, 2001, p. 118-119.

11

O reconhecimento da arte de um artista como  ngelo da Fonseca tinha que esperar, sem dú vida,
pelo conceito de arte moderna pó s-colonial. Parafraseando Rosa Maria Perez na ocasiã o da
abertura da Conferê ncia de abertura do Coló quio Internacional “Patrimonializar a memó ria
diaspó rica”, na Universitè Aix-en-Provence e Marselha, 2018, é necessá rio levá -lo para casa, se a
casa, for o mundo.

12

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16

Mogarém, migração literária de uma lenda goesa1

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva

Universidade de São Paulo

Resumo. A identidade histórico-cultural de um povo é constituída por um conjunto complexo de elementos provenientes de
vários âmbitos que retratam, memorizam e edificam uma determinada forma coletiva de viver. Nesse processo de formação da
identidade coletiva interferem, sem dúvida, os contos e as lendas, quer como uma simples tentativa de explicação da realidade,
quer como resposta ou vontade de transformação do real. Tais contos são tratados como instrumento útil, mesmo se ficcional e
imaginário, para criar contextos sócio-culturais nos quais seja possível não só, a abolição de normas e leis consideradas injustas,
mas também a formalização de ideais heróicos de vida impossíveis e/ou inconvenientes num determinado momento histórico.
No caso goês, muitas das lendas típicas da memória histórica são pouco conhecidas e encontram-se bem guardadas, não
incomodam ninguém, nem além, nem aquém mar. A lenda, aqui apresentada, faz parte de um corpus de contos que requer uma
releitura e reinterpretação à luz dos estudos pós- coloniais. O estudo da sua migração, territorial e literária, demonstra como,
desde bem cedo, a população goesa vivia entre culturas e entre religiões. A peculiaridade identitária inerente a Goa proporcionou
a viagem literária da lenda Mogarém que, exatamente porque lenda, não é fruto da criatividade de um único autor, mas de uma
coletividade e parte de uma literatura popular. Quer- se, aqui, dar uma leitura temporal evolutiva linear e antropológico-
motivacional para a divulgação desta lenda em determinados espaços goeses e europeus.

Palavras-chave: lenda, memória, conto, Tomás Ribeiro, Soares Rebelo

Abstract. The historical and cultural identity of a people consists of a complex set of elements, drawn from various spheres, that
portray, memorize and construct a certain collective way of living. Tales and legends doubtlessly impinge upon this collective
process of identity formation, either as simple attempts to explain reality or as willful responses intending to transform reality.
Such folk stories, though fictional and thus imaginary, are a useful tool to evoke counterfactual socio-cultural contexts in which it
is possible not only to abolish unfair norms and laws but also to reinforce impossible and/or inconvenient heroic ideals of life in
a particular historical moment. In the Goan case, many legends drawing on historical memory are little known and are well
hidden, and so do not trouble anyone either at home or abroad. The legend I present here is part of a corpus of tales that
requires re-reading and reinterpretation in the light of postcolonial studies. The study of its territorial and literary migration
reveals how, right from the beginning, Goa’s people lived between cultures and religions. The territory’s peculiar, deep-rooted
identity helped shape the literary journey of the Mogarém legend which, precisely because it is a legend, and so part of the folk
tradition, is not the fruit of a single author’s creativity, but rather that of a collectivity. Here I give a linear chronological and
anthropological-motivational reading for the diffusion of this legend through certain Goan and European spaces.

Keywords: legend, memory, tale, Tomás Ribeiro, Soares Rebelo

241

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Nas últimas décadas, a consciência da compreensão do papel da lenda no sistema de desenvolvimento e


de formação das mentalidades dos povos tem sido uma constante, o que tem motivado uma maior
pesquisa2 e consequente registo e arquivação de contos e histórias de tradição oral, criando um conjunto
de iniciativas que sistematiza e estuda essa literatura, ausente dos cânones literários clássicos. Se a
literatura erudita se caracteriza por ser escrita, dando a possibilidade ao leitor de reler um determinado
texto, o mesmo não acontece com a palavra oral que, por natureza, é momentânea e está intimamente
ligada à noção de variação no tempo, pois a transmissão oral é subjetiva, irregular e permite a livre
inovação. Ora, o conceito de literatura tradicional, em âmbito literário, encontra-se frequentemente ligado
aos de literatura popular e literatura oral. O termo tradicional quer designar aqueles textos que, resultado de
uma criação coletiva cujo autor é desconhecido, são transmitidos oralmente de geração em geração, tendo
uma certa duração no tempo e ainda hoje são contados. Obviamente que, as versões de um mesmo
conto, incluindo as suas variantes, não são só diacrónicas mas também sincrónicas, conservando, em
geral, sua finalidade de ter um fim lúdico ou moralizante. Se a palavra escrita conserva o património
cultural dos homens, a transmissão oral das palavras pode igualmente preservar tal capital cultural
(Guerreiro e Mesquita 156– 157). Assim, pode-se afirmar que os enredos dos contos tradicionais refletem
a construção e a permanência de processos de interpretação do mundo que, diacronicamente, se foram
cruzando ao longo do tempo (Guerreiro, 7–10; Guerreiro e Mesquita 153–164; Parafita, A Comunicação)3.

Na Índia, o costume de contar histórias é muito comum, como descreve Antoine du Lys:

[. . .] deparavam-se-me por vezes, debaixo dos terraços baixos, quase ao nível das estradas, belos grupos de pernas cruzadas, em
todas as posições imagináveis [. . .]. A cena era alumiada por candeias cheias de fumo ou por archotes de resina. Dos homens, uns
tinham na mão esses longos livros chamados d’ollet, folhas de palmeira onde se escreve com um ponteiro; [. . .] Alguns fumavam
discretamente. [. . .] outros, indolente e descuidadosamente estendidos, com a mão apoiada nas colunas que sustentavam o
telhado, contavam ou ouviam contar uma das seguintes histórias [. . .]. (VI–VII)

Certamente que também no seio das famílias e das aldeias de Goa, ex-colônia portuguesa – de 1510 a
1961 – e hoje um dos estados da Índia, se ouviam contar muitas histórias, contos e lendas, que passaram
de geração em geração, algumas mais intrigantes e outras menos. Alguns destes contos chegaram a ser
publicados (Sá, 1998), mas outros encontram-se ainda “tutelados” pelo ambiente e relato familiares. Os
contos e as lendas, nomeadamente aquelas goesas, reflectem o passado, a memória de uma comunidade
que contou com as mais diversas contribuições culturais: “Perhaps nowhere as much as in tiny Goa have
so many diverse civilizations met and prospered. Perhaps, too, nowhere are myth and reality so
inextricably enmeshed” (Sá vii).

Para Parafita (A Comunicação 30) “[. . .] o conto tradicional é um texto narrativo, geralmente curto, criado e
enriquecido pela imaginação popular e que procura deleitar, entreter, educar ou [. . .]” informar o público.
De facto, ninguém

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 243

sabe ao certo a sua origem, visto que os contos pertencem a uma coletividade e a sua origem perde-se no
tempo. “Os contos passam de intérprete para intérprete e sofrem, no ato do relato, concretizações
particulares, que são condicionadas ao mesmo tempo pelo contexto sócio-situacional e pela imaginação
do sujeito que narra. Cada narrador dispõe de uma margem relativa de liberdade na actualização da
tradição. Pode introduzir inovações pontuais que enriquecem a tradição sem a alterar substancialmente [. .
.]” (Lopes 18). Cada comunidade ou geração conta um conto à sua maneira e quem conta acrescenta um
ponto, corrigindo ou acrescentando outro pormenor de forma a melhorar a compreensão do seu enredo.
João David Pinto Correia identifica a literatura popular como um conjunto de práticas significantes de
natureza linguístico-discursivas, orais ou escritas, transmitidas pelo povo, individualmente ou em grupo e
atribui-lhe o carácter de um corpus identitário próprio, passível de análise específica (18–19). É neste
sentido que as narrativas contadas em casa, em momentos de descontração e intimidade, passaram a ser
vistas como meios extremamente eficazes de divulgação ideológica e de transmissão de conhecimentos e
valores que são parte constituinte do húmus cultural e patrimonial literário de grupos, comunidades ou
povos. As práticas musicais, artísticas e culturais populares, assim como as metalinguísticas, formam um
único corpo de obras constituídas por um elemento discursivo-linguístico de transmissão oral, mutável e
variável4.

Uma lenda, contada oralmente, não é sedentária, antes pelo contrário, precisamente porque, caracterizada
pela expressão oral, é do domínio público, deslocando-se. Se primitivamente a palavra lenda5 se referia às
histórias de santos que eram lidas nos refeitórios conventuais, progressivamente, o seu significado amplia-
se para significar história ou tradição proveniente do passado, designação socialmente aceite e
compartilhada. Recorde-se que, por natureza, a lenda é constituída por personagens famosas, populares,
revolucionárias, santas, que vivem na imaginação de uma comunidade, tendo muito pouco a ver com o
sobrenatural, aspecto característico do mito. Bayard afirma que a lenda transformada pela tradição é o
produto inconsciente da imaginação popular (9). Desta forma, o herói inserido num determinado
contexto histórico reflete as preocupações de um grupo social ou de um povo e, consequentemente, a sua
conduta depõe a favor de uma ação ou de uma ideia cujo objetivo é convencer outros indivíduos a seguir
pela mesma estrada. Para Parafita:

[. . .] as lendas são transmitidas por tradições orais, a que o povo normalmente atribui fundo de verdade e que, geralmente,
possuem sempre um fundo real ou algo que foi fruto da imaginação popular ao longo da sua transmissão [. . .] e [. . .] através
delas cada povo marca a sua diferença e encontra-se com as suas raízes, isto é, revela e assume a sua identidade cultural. (A
Comunicação 30–31)

A lenda é então um conto no qual as personagens são bem determinadas e definidas e a ação
extraordinária localiza-se num tempo e espaço bem determinados, uma narrativa (ou tradição oral) de
coisas ou factos fantásticos, por vezes inverosímeis, podendo ser posteriormente registada de modo
escrito.

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De acordo com a classificação da literatura popular tradicional, feita por Pinto-Correia, a lenda Mogarém6
analisada neste trabalho pertence ao corpus das composições narrativo-dramáticas. De facto, nasce como
uma lenda histórica cujas personagens principais o sublinham: é o caso de D. João de Castro7, nomeado
13o Governador do Estado da Índia por provisão de 28 de fevereiro de 1545 e 4o Vice- Rei de Goa
(Martins 140); dos seus dois filhos Álvaro e Fernando, que, na viagem de 28 de março de 1545, João de
Castro levou para o Oriente; do padre Francisco Xavier, denominado como o Apóstolo das Índias; do
capitão D. Manuel de Lima, que acompanhou o capitão-mor Lourenço Pires da Távora na segunda
expedição a Diu (Maldonado 58), embarcando na nau Flor de la Mar a 8 de abril de 1546; de D. João de
Albuquerque, bispo de Goa, e do frade António do Casal, custódio dos franciscanos. Ainda que o enredo
se desenrole, por um lado, em pleno contexto quinhentista, mais precisamente no ano de 1548 (Sá 3) e,
por outro, num âmbito espacial preciso e localizado, tem por cenário o Palácio dos Vice-reis, a Igreja de
S. Caetano, o Largo do Bom Jesus, às margens do rio Mandovy, em Cambarjua, e a aldeia de Marcela. É
no decorrer do tempo que se forma a memória e como afirma Castells (460). “We are embodied time, and
so are our societies, made out of history. [. . .] this statement hides the complexity of the concept of time
[. . .]”.

As jovens irmãs Mogarém e Rani, o pai delas e o noivo de Mogarém são as principais personagens
indianas, pertencentes à casta brâmane, e refletem os sentimentos, emoções e iniciativas de uma parte da
elite goesa. A elas se junta o amado de Rani, pertencente a uma casta mais baixa. Formam assim um
quadro da vida quotidiana daquele período histórico e que ganhará corpo ao longo do tempo. As
personagens secundárias, como os soldados e criados do palácio ou as servas de Mogarém, se por um
lado fazem andar o enredo, por outro preenchem as lacunas da organização social local.

O conto que constitui esta lenda foi publicado por Mário Cabral e Sá, em 1998, com o título The Mystique
of Mogarem e narra a história do nascimento de um amor impossível entre dois jovens, ele, português
católico, e ela, goesa brâmane, trama protótipo duma literatura peculiar nascente que, ao longo dos
séculos, verá surgir outros romances e novelas8.

O enredo deste conto focaliza-se na relação amorosa entre Mogarém, indiana e hindu, e D. Fernando de
Castro, cristão e português, filho do Vice-Rei D. João de Castro. Durante um dos seus passeios pelas
margens do rio da Cidade de Goa, fortuitamente, D. Fernando entrevê Mogarém, uma menina de quinze
anos de idade e de beleza perfeita, por quem se apaixona. Por seu lado, ela tinha ouvido falar daquele
jovem chegado da metrópole e ao conhecer D. Fernando apaixona- se perdidamente, apesar de já estar
prometida desde os cinco anos de idade a um jovem indiano que durante a sua infância tinha emigrado
com a família para o Madrasta (hoje Chennai) e dali, anunciava, ano após ano, que estava a planear fazer
uma visita a Goa, sempre a adiar o dia do casamento. Todavia, o amor que tinha desabrochado entre
Mogarém e D. Fernando, e que ao longo do tempo amadurecia cada vez mais, estava destinado a ser
perturbado pela instabilidade política e militar que se vivia na região. Em 1546, D. João de Castro envia
os seus dois filhos, Álvaro

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 245

e Fernando, para a expedição militar que promoveu o segundo cerco de Diu. Apesar de nessa batalha os
portugueses terem conseguido repelir os invasores, D. Fernando perde a vida. No entanto, antes da sua
partida para a batalha, ele tinha confessado o seu amor “proibido” e confiado a sua amada ao padre
amigo de família, Francisco Xavier. Este, diante de tal desgraça, revela esse envolvimento amoroso ao
Vice-Rei. Ao ter conhecimento do destino do seu amado, Mogarém sofre terrivelmente e, ao mesmo
tempo, rejeita a promessa do seu noivado com o jovem indiano. Repudiada por todos, é expulsa de casa
pela família e abandonada a si mesma. Para fugir do ambiente social local que a condenava, vagueia sem
rumo por aquelas terras, penetrando cada vez mais na floresta, onde sofre privações de todos os tipos.
Por fim, já doente e febril, entra casualmente na capela de Nanús, onde encontra o padre Francisco
Xavier, que a acolhe e a salva daquela situação, não só de abandono mas também de sofrimento físico. O
conto termina com o seu batismo, sendo D. João de Castro o seu padrinho. Após a sua conversão,
Mogarém morre.
Nesta lenda, encontra-se ainda inserida, de forma transversal e à semelhança do que acontece nos livros
épicos hindus Ramayana e Maharabata, um outro episódio amoroso, em tudo semelhante ao episódio
central, diferenciando- se apenas no que diz respeito à condição social do jovem amante, fator
fundamental para a construção do clímax e do final da história. Trata-se do amor, também este
socialmente impossível, existente entre Rani (irmã de Mogarém) e um jovem indiano. Amor que termina
de forma trágica, com a morte violenta de ambos os amantes. Castigo desejado não só pela comunidade,
mas também pelas respectivas famílias.

Quer a morte de Mogarém, quer aquela de Rani, ambas têm um significado profundo, pois são
personagens que buscam a liberdade mediante atos quotidianos concretos de oposição às normas e regras
civis e religiosas norteadoras da sociedade na qual viviam. A morte é, pois, o símbolo máximo dessa
libertação. Na trama de Mogarém, foco deste artigo, o amor entre uma brâmane indiana e um cristão
europeu cria grande conflito entre o desejo humano e os desígnios do destino, entre a vontade dos
indivíduos e aquela da coletividade, entre os mundos pragmático e o transcendente.

Um dos episódios mais marcantes de toda a governação indiana de D. João de Castro foi o segundo cerco
de Diu, em 10 de agosto de 1546, no qual perdeu o seu segundo filho9. A influência decisiva da vitória
militar portuguesa desse cerco, na Europa quinhentista, transformou-o numa “[. . .] simbólica dupla
vitória da Europa cristã. Primeiro, sobre o poder muçulmano otomano – na mesma época ativamente
envolvido na conquista do reino da Hungria –, que disputava com os portugueses a supremacia nas rotas
comerciais marítimas do Índico. E depois, sobre o potentado muçulmano da fabulosa Índia, do qual as
informações disponíveis eram poucas, imprecisas, e polvilhadas de efabulações” (Martins 202). Na
realidade, essa vitória refletiu-se a nível europeu, suscitando a edição de várias publicações. É o caso do
texto de Diogo de Teive, Commentarius de Rebus a Lusitanis in India apud Dium Gestis (Coimbra, 1548) e do
de Damião de

246 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

Góis, De Bello Cambaico Ultimo Commentarii tres (Lovaina, 1549), ambos em latim; do de António Baldo,
Sommario delle cose successe a Don Giovanni di Castro (Roma, 1549)10, em italiano; das duas cartas anónimas
traduzidas para o francês a partir da edição crítica de Cortesão e Albuquerque, (147–167) e intituladas
Nouvelles des Indes (Paris, 1549); do Sumário do segundo cerco de Diu, de Leonardo Nunes (Goa, 1545?) em
português, publicado em Portugal por António Baião (33), e da multiplicação de relatos e escritos
anónimos ou não, como é o caso da lenda Mogarém. Textos que fizeram perdurar na memória local, mas
também no reino, a figura do Governador de Goa. Depois dos eventos de 1546–1547, D. João de Castro
torna-se numa figura simbólica do império11. Surgia um novo herói quinhentista da Europa do
Renascimento. Depois da morte deste governador, os ecos de seus feitos entre 1546 e 1548 perduraram
no tempo.

Mogarém, criação do imaginário goês e elemento constitutivo da tradição popular oral da Índia Portuguesa,
é divulgada no ocidente, especialmente no ambiente cultural de expressão portuguesa, na segunda metade
do século XIX, pelo político e literato português Tomás António Ribeiro Ferreira (1831–1901), mais
conhecido como Tomás Ribeiro, que durante dois anos (1870–1872) exerceu o cargo de secretário-geral
do governo da Índia Portuguesa, período no qual funda o Instituto Vasco da Gama e promove a criação
literária local. Um ano após o seu regresso do Oriente, escreve uma carta da cidade de Bragança, onde
exercia o cargo de Governador Civil, a Rangel de Lima, director da revista literária e científica Artes e
Letras publicada em Lisboa pelos editores Rolland e Semiond, na qual declara que “[. . .] acedendo ao
convite V. Ex.a achei entre os manusISCTEtos que trouxe da Índia, esse esboço de romance que
tencionava recompor e completar nas minhas horas vagas. Como não as tenho e querendo condescender
com o seu desejo aí vai tal como veio [. . .]” (Ribeiro, Carta 70). O “episódio oriental” Mogarem é então
publicado, pela primeira vez, sob a forma de um folhetim, na revista Artes e Letras (1873–1874) e a sua
autoria é atribuída a Tomás Ribeiro que, deste modo, antecipava a publicação deste conto no segundo
volume da sua obra de crónicas e viagens Jornadas, publicado em Portugal pela Livraria Central de José
Diogo Pires de Coimbra, em dois volumes: Do Tejo ao Mandovy (1873) e Entre Palmeiras (De Pangim a Salcete
e Pondá) (1874).

Tomás Ribeiro, que viveu durante a segunda metade do século XIX, insere- se no âmbito daquele
orientalismo português típico do período finissecular e primo-novecentista, que dá continuidade, nas suas
manifestações literárias, através das suas personagens, ao imaginário oitocentista e às figuras históricas
quinhentistas. Era um período histórico no qual a escrita perpetuava, ideologicamente falando, uma série
de símbolos e de imagética que aludem ou até se identificam com a conceção de nacionalidade e império.
Segundo Hespanha e Rodrigues, o orientalismo português do final do século XIX vê o Oriente de modo
peculiar: não como um espaço de acção colonial directa, mas como uma possibilidade de incutir uma
regeneração mítica e simbólica ao império. Além disso, muitas vezes, é o próprio autor que deseja
identificar-se com as figuras históricas do século XVI. Tomás Ribeiro não foge à regra.

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 247

As raízes do conto Mogarém encontram-se no património cultural peculiarmente goês e, como lenda,
pertence àquele género literário que, fruto da criação coletiva, é anónimo. A sua transmissão oral,
andando de boca em boca, adquire e perde elementos caracterizantes, adaptando-se aos sentimentos do
narrador, tornando-se, de cada vez que é contada, uma obra literária pessoal, mantendo o tema principal,
mas mudando as peripécias contextuais quase num percurso de recriação. Por exemplo, o autor de The
Mystique of Mogarem (Sá, 1998) numa nota de rodapé, afirma: “There are quite a few versions of Mogarem.
The one best known was authored by Thomaz Ribeiro (. . .) Ribeiro’s version of Mogarem is very florid,
full of romantic interludes, and generally keeping to the political and religious ideals of his time and the
literary style then in vogue” (9). As duas versões publicadas por Tomás Ribeiro apresentam uma série de
elementos novos que não estão presentes no conto de Sá. O autor português tende a enriquecer a história
com elementos reais que ele próprio viveu, visitou ou conheceu durante a sua estadia na Índia. Manifesta,
realmente, a preocupação em introduzir determinados factos reais pertencentes e caracterizantes da
cultura portuguesa ou daquela indiana que se encastram e se envolvem com a trama da lenda, tornando-se
até trechos indispensáveis para a compreensão global da história.

Se uma lenda existe para ser recontada e, naturalmente recriada, pois almeja um mundo diferente pondo
em causa o mundo real e, mediante a interferência do elemento fantástico, mágico ou transcendente,
realiza a abolição das leis detestadas ou consideradas injustas pela coletividade, devolvendo o papel
principal ao valor moral e real do homem que por fim impera, a história de Mogarém contada por Tomás
Ribeiro é a mais complexa. Existe, de facto, uma transformação profunda do conto e,
contemporaneamente, uma clara transposição dos sentimentos e desejos oitocentistas nela expressos.
Inicialmente, Mogarém é publicada por Tomás Ribeiro, entre maio de 1873 e abril de 1874, em forma de
folhetim, composta por quinze capítulos. Todavia, esta primeira versão preparava a inserção dessa
narrativa literária no segundo volume das Jornadas: entre palmeiras (de Pangim a Salsete e Pondá), obra escrita
sob a ideia base geral de “[. . .] curto passeio pela Índia portuguesa” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 23), que conta
com dezanove capítulos (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 251–323). Durante a sua permanência de dois anos no
Oriente, Tomás Ribeiro juntamente com um grupo de amigos fizeram uma viagem pela Índia Portuguesa
para conhecer melhor aqueles lugares. Numa dessas noites, pernoitaram no antigo Convento de S.
Caetano12 de Goa-Velha, onde foram acolhidos por Frei Cosme, que ali desempenhava várias funções,
desde capelão a administrador e almoxarife (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 223–224). É precisamente D. Cosme que,
após um dia inteiro de visitas turísticas, chama Tomás Ribeiro para lhe falar em privado. Uma vez no seu
quarto, confessa-lhe que tem conhecimento da sua “veia poética” e por isso deseja dar-lhe um presente:

Tenho aqui uma história, escrita por um rapaz europeu, que entrou cá na Ordem por causa de uns desgostos do coração, que o
tiveram às portas da morte. Passou o tempo a rezar, a ler e a escrever. Quando as ordens religiosas acabaram ainda ele era um

248 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)


noviço. Era muito triste, e tinha quase sempre febre. Quando nos mandaram sair do convento, descemos todos e saímos pela
porta, só ele começou a subir pela espiral da torre, a julgar que ia para o céu, e saiu por uma das ventanas! Caiu já morto no adro.
Foi coisa que lhe subiu à cabeça. (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 239–240)

Acrescenta ainda que encontrara o conto entre os papéis do tal noviço e que todos afirmavam que se
tratava de uma história verdadeira visto que “[. . .] aquele convento das freiras, além, fora edificado com o
dinheiro d’esta família da Mogarém, de quem reza a história [. . .]” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 240). Tomás
Ribeiro tenta indagar sobre a identidade do noviço, mas D. Cosme responde simplesmente:

Há-de perdoar, mas lá isso lhe não sei eu dizer. Viveu aqui só dez meses; chamavam- lhe Pedrú (Pedro); tinha vindo de Portugal
não sei com quem, que morreu, e nunca vieram procurá-lo ao convento. Comigo também ninguém tinha grandes conversas, nem
eu andava lá a escogitar vidas alheias. (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 240)

Em posse de tal documento, Tomás Ribeiro transporta-o até à Europa, não sem ter indagado primeiro,
através do barão de Cumbarjua, se era conhecida tal narrativa, o qual lhe referiu que aquela narrativa
andava ainda nas tradições de Goa, mas sem conseguir saber se a família de Mogarém existia ou não
devido à morte prematura do barão e ao seu embarque para Portugal (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 239–241).

Na carta que escreve a Rangel de Lima, diretor da revista Artes e Letras, referia-se a Mogarém como a um
romance que se encontrava entre os manuscritos que tinha trazido da Índia e que tencionava recompor e
completar (Ribeiro, Carta 70), sem qualquer referência a outro autor. Na edição de 1874, a narrativa é
precedida por uma Introdução do editor acompanhada por uma nota. Nela confessa que se trata de um
presente de Frei Cosme e que recompôs o manuscrito em pontos não essenciais: “Aceitem-me a
confissão e perdoem-me o atentado” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 253). Após a leitura desse manuscrito em
Pangim, Tomás Ribeiro tinha ficado convencido de “[. . .] que valia a pena fazer conhecida a obra do
infeliz Pedrú, escrito evidentemente moderno e com acrescentamentos moderníssimos, mas em que há
cenas e costumes do Oriente” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 240). Na realidade, o autor português teria mantido o
esqueleto do conto que encontrou descrito no manuscrito que lhe deu D. Cosme, mas teria enfeitado-o,
exageradamente, com descrições, heróis e eventos que exaltam aquela ideia de império e nacionalidade
que caracterizava o orientalismo português de fins do século XIX. Era a perspectiva de um português
que, incansavelmente, tentava revitalizar a ideia de império. Os elementos característicos da nacionalidade
portuguesa e do sistema imperial permeiam o romance13. Veja-se alguns exemplos: a descrição feita no 2o
capítulo “[. . .] costumava o esbelto português sair, só, do palácio dos vice-reis por uma porta pequena e
de cunhais bordados que dava para o adro de S. Caetano, porta que ainda hoje achareis formosos
vestígios, passava ao pé da ampla fábrica da Misericórdia [. . .]” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 70) e continua com a
descrição do itinerário que ele próprio fez durante a estadia

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 249

naquela terra; confirma-o o episódio, por ele descrito, da noite passada em S. Caetano e em que não
conseguia dormir por causa dos mosquitos e por isso, “Ergui-me e entreabri a janela, que dava sobre os
restos amassados do antigo palácio dos vice-reis” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 227); ou quando se refere aos
vagalumes (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 260), experiência que tinha vivido pessoalmente, “No ar e no arvoredo e
iluminação vaga, fátua e intermitente de milhões de vagalumes.” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 228); ou ainda no 8o
capítulo:

No mar iam e vinham, do cais do arsenal aos navios, e dos navios ao cais, escaleres e

fragatas, que transportavam munições, armamentos e soldados. Num dos navios

estava D. Fernando; no arsenal D. João de Castro, este enviando, aquele recebendo os

provimentos [. . .] Entre os soldados que andavam arrumando as munições travam-se


diálogos característicos, de que só algumas palavras soltas se podem colher. (Ribeiro,

Mogarem 14)

O diálogo entre os soldados era feito de modo limitado e compreensível só aqueles que se encontravam
envolvidos na preparação das embarcações.

Ao compararmos as duas versões do conto, de Ribeiro e de Sá, podemos identificar algumas divergências
ou até contradições, sobretudo em relação à descrição das cenas tipicamente indianas. Aqui, limitamo-nos
apenas a dar alguns exemplos mais representativos. Durante um dos seus passeios pelas ruas, segundo Sá,
D. Fernando de Castro ouve “[. . .] mothers putting their babies to sleep with lullabies inspired by the
rising moon, the aroma of fresh blooms, the fireflies” (Sá 5) enquanto Ribeiro afirma que “[. . .] som
suavíssimo de cantares surgiram das alamedas ou das salas, que não deixava a distância e o vago das vozes
mórbidas perceber a D. Fernando de onde partissem” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 82). A narração da história da
aldeia de Marcela transmitida por Sá diz que:

In the fields of Marcela, the hunt was on. That lovely village had been founded by

Madhav Mantri, the general of the King of Vijayanagar who had retaken Goa for him

from the Bahmani usurpers. He was a Goan and was for a while the governor of his

land. He had named the village Machalapura, after his mother Machambika. And now

the Portuguese had changed the name to Marcela. He had also rebuilt the temple to

Saptakoteshwara on Divar island. The temple had been raised and its round walls no

longer sheltered the linga of Shiva. Instead, they housed icons celebrating the virginity

of Mary. Through the roads of Marcela, Christian sleuths in those days pursued the

fugitive infidels and plotters and thieves. (Sá 6)

Inexistente no conto do autor português, este assim se refere àquela localidade: “[. . .] quando nos campos
de Marcela, hoje varzeas e palmares, então incultos, hoje pertenças da coroa portuguesa, então, ora do
Reino de Sunda, ora dos Maratas, andava acesa a montaria” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 275). Ao que tudo indica,
cada autor ajusta sua narrativa à sua perspectiva ideológica: Ribeiro apaga a história de Machalapura e só
menciona Marcela, enquanto Sá valoriza o passado hindu daquela localidade. A morte trágica de Rani,
irmã de Mogarém, e do seu amado pertencente a uma casta mais baixa, era vista como uma bênção, quer
pela

250 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

família, quer pela própria comunidade (Sá 6), no entanto, Ribeiro insere no enredo uma série de outros
elementos:

Uma indiana acabava de banhar-se [. . .] Uma volta do seu panno azul pendia-lhe a tiracolo [. . .] Devia ter dezoito anos, e era
bella como Nióbe ou como Resfa [. . .] Dois passos atrás dela e não querendo ser visto nem sentido, estava, enfeitiçado, um
formoso gentio [. . .] Quase a expirar a gentia olhou-o . . . disse-lhe: Bem hajas! (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 280–282)

Refere que durante um passeio D. Fernando chega a uma aldeia onde encontra uma moça a tirar água do
poço com um tambió14, pede-lhe água e indaga sobre a identidade daqueles amantes ao que responde a
moça ser sua irmã. Acrescenta ainda que um velho que ali se encontrava, sentado a fumar, diz: “Não te
espantes bom rapaz; ele era sudra e ela brahmine” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 284). No momento de desesperação
de Mogarém, o autor aproveita o contexto dramático para inserir a descrição de uma cerimónia sati feita
através da própria Mogarém. Ocupa inteiramente o 16o capítulo enquanto que a versão de Sá refere
simplesmente que ela foi até ao local onde Rani e o seu amado tinham sidos sepultados e declarou: “My
sister, I have come to tell you of my own sorrows. Of all women of our family, we two tried to free
ourselves” (Sá 9). Ribeiro acrescenta ainda um outro episódio, no qual, “seis jogues quase de todo nus, com
os corpos pintados de caprichosos arabescos, mesmo de noite distinguíveis, com os braços aleijados, uns
levando-os verticalmente erguidos, outros horizontais [. . .] monstruoso e repugnante grupo de fanáticos,
se encaminhavam para a orla do lago” (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 309). O episódio termina com a morte de um
dos jogues que é atacado por um crocodilo e com ele desaparece no lago. Ouvindo o grito de Mogarém,
reconhecem-na, mas evitam-na, escondendo-se em grutas e em cavernas escuras, preferindo-as à maldição
do mal que ela representava. Um elemento fortemente simbólico do orientalismo português de finais do
século XIX é o final do romance, realizado através do diálogo entre D. João de Castro, Francisco Xavier e
Mogarém, no qual ela, após o batismo, chama pai a D. João (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 322).

Assim, é possível concluir que uma lenda de carácter profundamente histórico é reestruturada por Tomás
Ribeiro com a finalidade de fomentar e restaurar aquele conceito de império e da memória dos heróis
quinhentistas portugueses mediante uma projeção identitária.

Em 1912, Joaquim Filipe Néri Soares Rebelo (1873–1922) publica em Coimbra uma nova versão, desta
vez, adaptada ao teatro. Nascido em Margão e bem cedo órfão15, publica o seu primeiro volume com a
idade de quinze anos, Leitura de anedotas, contos e fábulas morais e engraçadas, em Margão, na tipografia de O
Ultramar, em 1888, em cuja introdução declara que se trata de trechos extraídos e traduzidos de diversos
livros e endereçados à mocidade goana. Em 1895 publica, em Margão, Folhas agrestes, um volume que
reunia as suas primeiras poesias e ao qual se seguiram muitas outras obras. Relativamente ao teatro,
Soares Rebelo estreou-se, em 1895, com um monólogo cómico O pexote que abre um longo percurso
terminado com a eleição, feita pela juventude de Carmonã

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 251

(Salsete) em 1909, do seu grémio teatral como Companhia Dramática (Soares Rebelo I: V–XIII)16. É nesse
âmbito que, Soares Rebelo, publica o drama histórico Mogarém em quatro atos, inicialmente em Margão
(1910) e dois anos mais tarde, por ocasião da comemoração do 4o Centenário de Goa (1510–1910), no O
Instituto de Coimbra, revista académica de carácter científico-literário e artístico fundada em 1852 no
contexto da Regeneração e do Fontismo. A versão teatral escrita em Margão tinha como objetivo ser
representada no âmbito das comemorações do 4o Centenário de Goa, mas assim não foi pois, segundo
Devociano Viegas, amigo do dramaturgo, parece ter sido censurada por um dos membros da comissão da
comemoração (Soares Rebelo 1: 580). Acrescente-se ainda que a sua publicação em Coimbra ficou também
pendente, pois o último ato nunca foi publicado.

Soares Rebelo refere imediatamente na sua Informação prévia (Mogarêm 323), redigida em 25 de novembro
de 1910, qual era a proveniência de tal drama, atribuindo-o a Tomás Ribeiro e citando a sua obra.
Reescreve-o em verso, com rima interpolada e cruzada, “[. . .] com a possível fidelidade ao original, mas
dispensando-se os lances, aliás secundários, que não estavam em condições de representação [. . .]”
(Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 323). Segue a linha do episódio oriental publicada por Tomás Ribeiro, as mesmas
personagens, inserindo apenas Rocuminim e observando que os jogues seriam “selvagens” (Soares
Rebelo, Mogarêm 324). Desenvolve o enredo da história, tratando a mesma realidade sócio-política goesa.
É curioso, no entanto, que o dramaturgo aproveite para especificar as várias circunstâncias que
determinam o percurso que culmina no clímax da ação teatral. Confirma que “São cenas da antiguidade,
passadas em vários pontos de Goa (Índia Portuguesa) [. . .]” (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 324) e justifica a
promessa em casamento de Mogarém feita em tenra idade:

por seus pais arranjado segundo os ritos da casta, [. . .]


Crescera, em tal conjuntura Mogarêm, em formosura. [. . .]
‘stou prometida a um rapaz,
brâmane opulento . . . (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 325, 327).

Enriquece as suas descrições e diálogos introduzindo expressões, objectos e cenas típicas indianas, entre
outras: o verso 15 do primeiro ato “[. . .] cortando sem chuz nem buz [. . .]”, (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 324),
isto é, sem ruído; ou do verso 25 “[. . .] ôdos17 e tamarindeiros [. . .]” (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 325); na
terceira cena do primeiro ato, usa o termo pacló18 para se referir a D. Fernando, aparece Rocuminim que é
a confidente de Mogarém e a defende, tentando protegê-la e ajudá-la, por isso, pergunta-lhe se não sabe
quanto fosse impura a boca de um cristão (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm 330); baí19 (Soares Rebelo I: 553).

A introdução da pergunta de Mogarém no verso “Tens-me, ó Cristão amizade?” (Soares Rebelo, Mogarêm
327), assim como a reação do seu pai quando

252 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

toma conhecimento da paixão de sua filha pelo português e se lhe dirige denominando-a como
‘desgraçada, pobre’, pedindo-lhe que tivesse decoro e querendo saber porque o magoava daquele modo
(Soares Rebelo I: 559), recordam aquele tipo de relação-confronto que se começava a instaurar entre as duas
culturas e religiões presentes naquele espaço territorial oriental.

Relativamente à descrição da Trimurti hinduísta20 implorada por Mogarém para que, vista a sua condição
de impura, a destruíssem e esmagassem, realizada por Tomás Ribeiro no capítulo 13o e inexistente na
versão de 1873, Soares Rebelo, utilizando os mesmos conceitos, contrapõe uma nova descrição, na qual a
escolha da invocação de Kali, deusa da morte e da maldição, se integra perfeitamente no enredo da
tragédia e da situação pessoal de Mogarém, que procurava não vingança mas compaixão, não perdição
mas afeto, tentando entrever uma possibilidade de libertação das tradições sociais e religiosas locais.
Segundo o autor goês, Mogarém ousou e cometeu um escândalo, apaixonando- se por D. Fernando,
reduzindo a sua própria vida a um carme21, a uma composição poética, a um poema.

Mogarém é também um símbolo da política de casamentos fomentada no século XVI por Afonso de
Albuquerque. O enredo desse drama trágico, os dilemas e conflitos que se viviam no íntimo das famílias
goesas e que, não raramente, terminavam em desgraça, demonstram claramente que, já em pleno século
XVI a convivência entre duas culturas, europeia e indiana, e duas religiões, católica e hinduísta, procurava
um rumo, um lugar na sociedade. Na opinião de Arpita Das (131), Mogarém é talvez a primeira
representação de uma história bibi em toda a Índia. Histórias essas que se multiplicaram ao longo do
tempo. A palavra bibi aparece sobretudo nos textos ingleses do período inicial do colonialismo britânico
para indicar quer as esposas memsahib22 dos oficiais britânicos que visitavam a Índia (referindo-se às
mulheres europeias casadas), quer a companheira nativa do soldado, do oficial militar, do aventureiro ou
do funcionário administrativo europeu. Se bem que nalguns glossários de obras contemporâneas
encontremos ainda outra especificação, isto é, o uso da palavra bubu para indicar a mulher nativa (Das
130). Na realidade, o significado profundo da palavra bibi encontra-se precisamente nesta denominação
entrecruzada impregnada de paixão e tragédia. A política de Afonso de Albuquerque que encorajava os
casamentos mistos feitos entre soldados portugueses e mulheres nativas, especialmente viúvas
muçulmanas, apesar da resistência feita pela Igreja Católica, tinha como objetivo a fixação local dos
homens naquelas terras, constituindo desse modo uma população que fosse originária da Índia e ao
mesmo tempo fiel à Coroa Portuguesa. Essa política foi seguida pelos holandeses e, mais tarde, também
pelos ingleses (Das 132). A esse propósito afirma Christopher Hawes (3) que o encorajamento feito pelos
ingleses aos casamentos mistos, isto é, com pessoas nativas eram reforçados até com um pagamento ao
pai de cada criança que se batizasse na Igreja Protestante, prática que se prolongou até 1741. Política e
militarmente era aconselhável que os soldados ingleses tivessem uma esposa, mas trazê-las da Inglaterra
conservando o mesmo estilo de vida no Oriente tornava-se muito dispendioso, por outro lado, nem todas
Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 253

as senhoras inglesas estavam dispostas a embarcar e a suportar todas as dificuldades que se apresentavam
durante a viagem marítima para o Oriente. Por isso, a tendência era realizar casamentos com mulheres
locais (Sen 43). Com o passar do tempo, estes casamentos começaram a ser aprovados socialmente,
apesar de muitas esposas nativas não se converterem ao cristianismo. Ao contrário do que se possa
pensar, tais casamentos mistos aconteciam mesmo entre elementos pertencentes à elite britânica, como é
o caso do casamento de Job Charnock23 (1630–1692) com uma viúva hindu de Patna. Em 1678, enquanto
passeava nas margens do rio, Charnock viu uma graciosa jovem brâmane viúva que estava a ser
conduzida de modo relutante para a pira funerária do seu idoso marido. Talvez tivesse uns quinze anos.
Acompanhado pelos seus soldados resgatou-a de tal destino e levou-a para a sua residência, fazendo dela
sua esposa. Tiveram vários filhos, dos quais três se casaram com homens ingleses (Biwas 132–133). O
casamento de Charnock foi muito criticado pelos seus contemporâneos. Após a primeira metade do
século XVIII, bibi tornou-se numa figura social familiar sendo até representada em retratos por vários
pintores24 da Company Tilly Kettle. Podemos ter uma ideia do estilo de vida das bibi através do trabalho
realizado por Fanny Parkes (1794–1875)25 a qual escreve:

[. . .] Mulka Begum entered the room looking like a dazzling apparition [. . .] her movements were graceful and the magnificence
and elegance of her drapery were surprising to the eye of a European [. . .] I have heard of Mulka’s beauty long ere I beheld her,
and she was described to me as the loveliest creature in existence. [. . .] on the cloth before Mulka were many glass dishes filled
with sweetmeats, which were offered to the company, with tea and coffee, by her attendants. Mulka partook of the coffee; her
huqqa was at her side, which she smoked now and then [. . .]. (Parkes, 1850 383–384)

Parece pois que as relações de amizade entre as mulheres indianas e aquelas europeias (nabobs) foram à
primeira vista amigáveis e leais (Das 136–137). No entanto, seria presuntuoso pensar que as bibi
desfrutassem da mesma segurança que tinham as mulheres europeias nos zenanas dos cortesãos e
funcionários indianos. Geralmente, as bibi eram compradas pelos oficiais europeus e frequentemente
passadas entre eles e os soldados. Obviamente que a bibi dependia economicamente do seu marido. A este
propósito afirma Indrani Chatterjee que a bibi podia ocupar várias posições sociais em casa, podia ser, ao
mesmo tempo, concubina, esposa, comerciante, mãe e escrava (60). Podia ser transferida para outra casa,
pacífica ou violentamente. A existência das esposas bibi torna-se mais dramática no momento em que o
europeu decidia regressar à Europa com os seus filhos, deixando a esposa na Índia. Apesar de, muitas
vezes, receberem uma grande quantia em dinheiro, ficavam sem os filhos, sem casa e sem segurança
social, acabando frequentemente na penúria. Algumas tiveram a sorte de seguir para a Europa, onde, no
entanto, eram vistas como “as outras”, sensuais, bonitas e supostamente de fácil acesso a nível sexual
(Sen, Journal 3, 4).

Durante o século XIX, o costume de ter uma mulher nativa começou a decair e a ser causa de vergonha.
Se por um lado, a classe média típica da era

254 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

victoriana inglesa enfatizou a importância da distância a ter relativamente à comunidade colonizada,


pondo em evidência os valores da retidão e da família monogâmica como valores cristãos; por outro, a
chegada das primeiras memsahib na Índia ameaçou fortemente o mundo das bibi: “[...] the newly-arrived
generation of white women were effectively positioned as sexual rivals to the Indian bibi [. . .]” (Sen 44).
Após 1858, quando a Coroa toma conta do poder, as mulheres inglesas viajam mais para a Índia. Essa
nova geração, convencida de ser um agente ativo e construtor do Império Britânico, tinha sonhos e
aspirações culturais muito diferentes da geração anterior de mulheres brancas e já tinha no próprio
horizonte a vivência de misturas interculturais anterior. Se na primeira metade do século XIX, na Índia
Britânica, havia espaço para uma vivência intercultural como aquela vivida por Fanny Parkes durante as
décadas de 1830– 40 (Sen 10), a segunda metade do século ficou marcada pela cultura imperial que
defendia uma “identidade colonial inglesa” (Sen 10–11; Cohn 167) política fomentada pela presença
numerosa de mulheres inglesas na Índia, que consolidavam um estilo de vida inglês.
Devido ao seu trágico destino Mogarém não chegou a concretizar o seu casamento com um cristão
europeu mas existia a intenção. Mogarém constitui, pois, uma história bibi! Formada num contexto
tradicional popular goês foi apropriada por Tomás Ribeiro, que a reelaborou de acordo com os seus
valores, intenções e parâmetros europeus, sendo-lhe atribuída a autoria. Trinta e seis anos mais tarde, a
lenda volta a ser publicada, desta vez por um autor formado entre culturas e entre religiões, mas filho
nativo de um único espaço geográfico – a Índia –, do qual nunca saiu26.

Como lembra Bayard (8): “A lenda, é mais verdadeira do que a história, é um precioso documento: ela
grava a vida do povo, comunica-lhe um ardor de sentimentos que nos comove mais do que a rigidez
cronológica de factos consignados [. . .]”. A migração literária de Mogarém é, de facto, emblemática e
extremamente significativa para a construção do património e da memória da cultura goesa, tecida ao
longo dos séculos num tear de carácter multicultural, tendo ganhado versões em língua portuguesa que
passaram a constituir parte de sua história.

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 255 Anexo A

Tomás Ribeiro Joaquim F. Néri Soares


Rebelo (ênfase
adicionada)
(Jornadas II 305) (Soares Rebelo I: 566–568)

Brahma, tu – minha mãe


disse – criaste a minha casta
do hálito santo
da tua boca. Espanto!
Fizeste-me rainha,

como éter tão pura, cheirosa


Brahma, tu criaste a minha casta dum hálito da tua boca sacrosaneta; fizeste-me pura para o éter, e
como sândalo;
como o sândalo aromática; e eu fiz-me terrena e impura! Nem posso pronunciar o teu nome.
e eu fiz-me vil, impura,
arrojei-me ao escândalo! . . .
Nem posso proferir
o teu sagrado nome:
vou morrendo, a curtir
uma canina fome!

Vishnu, o deus do amor e da


conservação!
No teu seio co’ardor
a mulher de afeição repousa.
Vishnu, tu és o deus da conservação e do amor; sobre o teu seio repousa sempre uma mulher Eu me perdi por amor; e de
amante, e eu por amor me perdi; talvez te apiedasses de mim, se pudesses olhar-me, que não mi
pôdes, se eu tivesse que pedir-te, mas não tenho! . . .
te apiedasses, talvez,
se pudesses olhar-me. Não
podes: nem teus pés posso
beijar. Um carme minha vida
é! –E tu,

Olha-me tu, Shiva, que feres como o raio e destróis como tufão que revolve os mares e arranca as
florestas e os rochedos!
Shiva, que como um raio
feres em pleno maio, varres
como o tufão, deixando tudo
a nu;

que revolves os mares


e destróis de raspão, rochas,
bosques, palmares!
Ou tu Kali divina,
elegante menina,
do grande deus consorte!
Tu, cuja língua pende
Ou tu, Kali divina, esposa do grande deus! Tu cuja língua pende afogueada e sedenta, que brandes afogueada e sedenta;
numa das mãos a espada coriscante e levantas na outra uma cabeça ensanguentada, que espumas que brandes uma forte
sangue dos teus lábios trémulos, e tens cadáveres em vez de bugdiós, pendentes das tuas orelhas, espada coriscante,
um cinto em que pendem, lívidas, as mãos dos teus inimigos e um colar de crânios gigantes, olha numa mão, que se estende,
para mim, Kali! Toma-me e esmaga-me entre os teus braços vingadores, e esconde-me na nuvem e noutra, uma possante
dos teus cabelos revoltos, que te cobrem os pés! cabeça alevantas,
toda sanguinolenta;
que espumas sangue e
espantas, e cadáveres tens
em vez de bugdiós
das orelhas pendentes
- essas jóias e bens,
enfeitados com nós

256 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

atraentes;
e um cinto em que há mãos pálidas de imigos, e um colar
enfiado de caveiras
de gigantes, esquálidas;
- tem compaixão de mi,
ó Kali!
Toma e vai-me esmagar
entre as quatro barreiras
dos teus braços valentes,

e me esconde
sim? Aonde?
Nos cabelos reluzentes teus, revoltos, que cobrem os teus pés!

Notas

1 Estudo realizado no âmbito do Projeto Temático Pensando Goa (Proc. 2014/15657–8) e do Projeto Entre-culturas: escritas e
conjunturas seiscentistas goesas (Proc. 2016/19746-0), ambos financiados pela FAPESP. A ortografia de todas as citações deste
trabalho foi atualizada para facilitar a leitura e compreensão.

2 Autores como: Armindo Reis e Beatriz Weigert, Contos e lendas da língua portuguesa. Odivelas: Europress, 1994; Avani Sousa Silva,
“A literatura infantil e juvenil Cabo-Verdiana e a lei”. Revista Abralic, Belém-Pará, Universidade Federal d o Pará, 2015; Rita
Chaves, Contos africanos dos países de língua portuguesa. São Paulo: Ática, 2009.

3 Para saber mais, consultar: Enterría; Cascudo; Parafita, A Comunicação e Parafita, Antologia.
4 “Nesta tentativa de conceptualização e de sistematização, e à medida que se iam lendo e descodificando os registos da ‘memória
ancestral’, chegou-se à conclusão que, apesar da diversidade das regiões de origem e dos padrões culturais dos diferentes povos,
as diferentes narrativas apresentavam semelhanças de motivos, de argumentos, de enredos, de personagens, de tipos de
metamorfoses, etc. Nesse contexto, conduziram-nos à conclusão de que a literatura oral é universal, podendo até ter tido uma
origem comum e cuja localização alguns colocam nas narrativas indianas em sânscrito” (Guerreiro e Mesquita 154).
5 Lenda, do latim legenda, “coisas que devem ser lidas”; aparece pela primeira vez na obra do bispo italiano Jacopo da Varazze,

Legenda aurea, Stampate in Venetia, per Bartholomeo di Zani da Portese,

7 D.João de Castro nasceu em Lisboa no dia 27 de fevereiro de 1500, casou com a sua segunda prima D. Leonor Coutinho, de
quem teve dois filhos: Álvaro, que tinha sido armado cavaleiro apenas com treze anos, e Fernando, que virá a falecer em batalha
durante o segundo cerco de Diu. Em 1538, partiu na nau Grifo, para a Índia, integrando a armada do seu cunhado, o vice-rei D.
Garcia de Noronha. Em 1547 recebeu o título de vice-rei da Índia Portuguesa após o segundo cerco de Diu e sua consequente
conquista. Faleceu um ano depois. Expirou nos braços de S. Francisco Xavier, apóstolo do Oriente. Foi sepultado na capela-mor
do convento de S. Francisco, com o hábito e insígnias de cavaleiro da ordem de Cristo (Martins, 2013).

8 Referem-se apenas os romances mais simbólicos: Os brahamanes de Francisco João da Costa, 1866 e A grande amorosa de José F.
Ferreira Martins, 1938.
9 Após a vitória mandou-se construir uma robusta e moderna fortaleza (Moreira 55). Para isso, D. João escreveu aos vereadores da

câmara de Goa com objetivo de obter um empréstimo para as obras. Trata-se da famosa carta de 23 de novembro de 1546, na
qual declarava ter desenterrado o seu filho

nel 1499 adi V di decembre.

6 Existe em Goa uma aldeia homónima, Mogarém, da ilha de Salsete, terras de Baçaim, concedida por D. Pedro II, Rei de
Portugal, a Cosmo Dinis Freire, como herdeiro de sua mulher, D. Antónia Coutinho, mas parece que nada tem a ver com a
lenda. Cf. Documento n. 43, 1692, Maio 17, Goa (fl. 24-24r), Carta de aforamento em fatiota (enfiteuse) e de confirmação de
sucessão, Livro 7 da Junta da Real Fazenda do Estado da Índia, registada por Henrique de Sousa.

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva / Mogarém │ 257

D. Fernando, que os mouros tinham matado naquela fortaleza, para empenhar os seus ossos, mas que o cadáver tinha sido
encontrado em tais condições que tinha sido impossível levá-lo da terra, pelo que o único penhor que lhe restava eram as
próprias barbas (Martins, 2013).
10 Publicado também em Portugal por Garcia (1995).

11 “O longo cortejo triunfal de 1547 moveu-se pelas ruas de Goa, desde o ponto de partida no Cais do Terreiro até a Sé, onde o
bispo com todas as honras, em pontifical e procissão, recebeu o Governador. [. . .] Em 1547, o cortejo, teatro móvel de exibição
do triunfo, foi encerrado com um momento festivo . . .” (Martins 261).

12 Uma pequena S. Pedro de Roma construída sobre as ruínas de uma mesquita moura que se tornou palácio de governo com o
Conde de Torres Novas (Ribeiro, Jornadas II 224).
13 “[. . .] época em que D. João de Castro, depois das brilhantes fadigas de Diu e das vitórias assinaladas de Salsete [. . .] Uma

bandeira portuguesa pregada no mais alto da muralha e os hinos de uma grande vitória acompanhados pelas vagas do mar e pelos
ventos do deserto” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 70); “E ele olhava e via pairar no espaço a imagem querida de Mogarém, num fundo de
oiro, transparente, desfraldando o pendão das quinas” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 83); “ [. . .] hoje pertenças da coroa portuguesa, então,
ora do reino de Sunda, ora dos maratas [. . .]” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 103); “Na barra surgira uma nau do reino comandada por D.
Manuel de Lima, e após ela mais cinco” (Ribeiro, Mogarem 26).

14 Tambió, pequeno vaso de água, geralmente, metálico: de cobre, latão ou cobre. É usado em certas abluções rituais hindús.
(Soares Rebelo I: 575); [. . .] cântara de cobre ou prata para conter água na Índia (do concanim tambyó) (Dalgado 347).
15 Em 1879 morre seu pai, Caetano do Rosário Soares e três anos mais tarde sua mãe, Ana Joaquina M. E. Rebelo. Foi educado

pelo seu tio materno, Nicolau da Conceição Rebelo, sargento da Guarda Fiscal da Índia. Em 1892, termina o curso de Direito e
um ano mais tarde obtém a provisão de advogado na Comarca de Quepém. Casa-se com Adília Gomes Cotêto, em 1912, de
quem tem sete filhos. Morre aos quarenta e nove anos devido a um grave problema de gangrena. Sócio honorário do Ateneu
Literário de Nova Goa e sócio correspondente da Sociedade de Geografia de Lisboa. Fundador do jornal quinzenal O Investigador (1894–
95) e redator do diário Echo da Índia até 5 de agosto de 1906 (Soares Rebelo I: V–XL).

16 Domingos José Soares Rebelo, filho do escritor Joaquim Filipe Néri Soares Rebelo, coligiu as obras de seu pai em três volumes
que publicou em Lourenço Marques em 1973 (Soares Rebelo Obras Completas).
17 Figueira da Índia (ficus indica) também conhecida como árvore da gralha, descrita por Tomás Ribeiro (1974, 271) e aqui citada

com o seu nome local.

18 Termo em concanim para indicar o homem branco ou europeu, os termos paclés e paclinas significam europeus e europeias
(Soares Rebelo I: 575).
19 Baí ou bhái, forma afetuosa de se referir às meninas casadoiras; saudação feita às senhoras pelas classes servis (Soares Rebelo I:
576).

20 Veja-se o Anexo A.
21 Carme, do latim carmen, de canĕre «cantare». Poesia, poema, canto. Dizionario Treccani online; e Dicionário Priberam da Língua
Portuguesa, 2008–2013.
22 Madam sahib.
23 Em 1664, era chefe da fábrica de Patna e foi o fundador da cidade de Calcutá, hoje Kolkata.
24 Ozias Humphry, Fancesco Renaldi e Charles Smith.
25 Fanny Parkes esteve na Índia entre 1822 e 1846. Publicou um diário das suas viagens no qual revela a sua paixão pela cultura

indiana e crítica o domínio colonial britânico. De toda a sua geração, foi uma das últimas a expressar uma admiração pela Índia.
26 Soares Rebelo nunca viajou para fora da Índia; “[. . .] urgia levar ao mundo [. . .] as lucubrações do património espiritual e

literário dum homem que, sem nunca sair de Goa, chamara sobre si as atenções [. . .]” (Soares Rebelo I: XXIV). O mesmo não
acontece com o seu filho, Domingos José Soares Rebelo, que deixou bem cedo a terra natal porque “Quis [. . .] o destino que
perdesse o contacto com o meio cultural de Goa, desde que, em 1936, pretendera formar-se pela Universidade de Bombaim,
donde regressara, para meses depois, em dezembro de 1941, abandonar a terra do berço e fixar-me temporariamente, em
Mombaça, Quénia (1941-45). [. . .]. Em outubro de 1946 fixava meu domicílio em Lourenço Marques [. . .]” (Soares Rebelo I: XXI–
XXII).

258 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 3.2 (2014)

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em português por Eleonor Meier, 2011. Traduções do sânscrito para o inglês por Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883–1896) e Pratap
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Setembro de 1972.

Regina Célia de Carvalho Pereira da Silva is Professor of Portuguese Language and Culture at the Università degli Studi di
Napoli l’Orientale, Italy. Currently she is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of São Paulo, Brazil with the project
‘Between Cultures: Sixteenth-Century Goan Writings and Conjectures’ and an associate researcher of the International Project
Thinking Goa (University of São Paulo). She also coordinates the Lusophile Reading Club of the National Library of Naples, Italy.

ROCHELLE PINTO
‘Portuguese colonialism in Goa - nineteenth-century perspectives’, an issue of the Revista
Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 115, 2018, a dossier of the journal of the Centre for Social
Studies of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, edited in collaboration with Walter Rossa and
Sidh Losa Mendiratta. https://journals.openedition.org/rccs/6864

Revista Crit́ ica de Ciências Sociais 115 | 2018

Número semitemático

Reframing the Nineteenth Century


Reenquadrar o sé culo XIX Recadrer le XIXe siè cle

Rochelle Pinto, Sidh Losa Mendiratta and Walter Rossa

Electronic version

URL: http://journals.openedition.org/rccs/7006 DOI: 10.4000/rccs.7006


ISSN: 2182-7435

Publisher

Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra

Printed version

Date of publication: 1 May 2018 Number of pages: 93-112


ISSN: 0254-1106

Electronic reference

Rochelle Pinto, Sidh Losa Mendiratta and Walter Rossa, « Reframing the Nineteenth Century », Revista Crítica de Ciências
Sociais [Online], 115 | 2018, Online since 15 May 2018, connection on 17 May 2018. URL :
http://journals.openedition.org/rccs/7006 ; DOI : 10.4000/rccs.7006

ROCHELLE PINTO, SIDH LOSA MENDIRATTA, WALTER ROSSA Reframing the


Nineteenth Century
No longer determined exclusively by the economic fortunes of the empire, the history of the nineteenth-century
Portuguese colonies in India and the Indian Ocean region has been sufficiently elaborated for some heuristic
frameworks to emerge. Histories of medi- cine, anthropology, politics, print, migration and slavery underscore the
importance of non-statist narratives as they trace the movement of people, goods and ideas along for- mal and
informal networks, often under the ascendant British colonial power. Along with studies on visual and spatial culture
and agrarian policy, these narratives have helped delineate distinctive and contesting attributes that characterise the
nineteenth century. The century continues to pose a historiographic challenge as it both draws from and contests the
dominant theoretical accounts of colonialism.
Keywords: castes; colonialism; Goa; Portuguese empire; science.

This dossier of the Revista Crítica de Ciê ncias Sociais (RCCS) was conceived both to draw
attention to the directions taken in recent work on the history and historiography of Portuguese
colonialism in nineteenth-century India and to reflect upon the scope and contours of past
publications.1 The theme emerged as a response to the perceived tendency to associate the
nineteenth century with the empire’s focus on Africa in the 1800s. This characterises the field as
a whole (both within the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra and the RCCS
and beyond it), as it follows the direction of the colonial state’s financial and political interests
in different territories. However, a number of publications focusing on East Africa and
Portuguese territories in India offer compelling theories for the historical understand- ing of
areas that fall outside the immediate economic interest of the state.

The initial call for papers therefore proposed a wider horizon for the dossier and hoped to
include dimensions of the Portuguese colonial presence in the
1
This was undertaken as a part of the postdoctoral project “Framing Identity: Cityscapes and Architecture of Mumbai’s Catholic
Communities (16th-20th centuries)”, by Sidh Losa Mendiratta, supervised by Walter Rossa and Rochelle Pinto, and funded by
Fundação para a Ciê ncia e a Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/89298/2012).

Revista Crítica de Ciê ncias Sociais, 115, maio 2018: 93-112

94 | Rochelle Pinto, Sidh Losa Mendiratta, Walter Rossa

Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, it was not possible to include representations of the nineteenth-
century interactions between East Africa and the Indian subcontinent and with various other
territories of the British and Portuguese empires. In light of this circumstance, the editorial
team changed the scope of the dossier to its current form, with a focus on Goa.

Within Portuguese nationalist accounts of empire, focused on the sixteenth to eighteenth


centuries, the Indian subcontinent and the western Indian Ocean were formerly unattended
spaces, seen as inconsequential to its shift- ing fortunes. However, the epithets of stasis
emanating from economistic and essentialist perspectives have since been dislodged. In
contrast to the preceding lack of attention to such possibilities, research that has appeared over
the last two or three decades, however nascent its formulations, has lent some historical and
theoretical definition to this area. Histories of indi- viduals and of processes, whose significance
was not primarily determined by their contribution to the imperial economy, peopled emergent
accounts. Distinctive and contesting attributes of the century have emerged in the areas of
landscape and visual culture, law, print and literary production, the history of medicine,
anthropology, agricultural policy, and political history.

The following account points to some of the defining features of the cen- tury: events that
shaped state politics as well as some of the central contra- dictions and conflicts whose
manifestations stretched across the century and monopolised representations of it. It includes
processes such as migration that resulted from the nature of economic and political
transformations within the century but remain underrepresented in dominant histories despite
the economic significance of these changes and the numbers of people affected by them.

The historiography of the century was framed overwhelmingly by both British and Portuguese
imperial narratives, which narrativised each other’s impact on India and on world history to
favour the ascendancy of the British. Indian nationalist accounts and postcolonial studies that
have focused on the British presence on the Indian mainland were later influential frameworks.
These enabled and also occluded the recognition of constitutive aspects of the history of
Portuguese territories in India (Ferrã o, 2014a). The contributions to this dossier indicate how
recent work has found alternate approaches to nineteenth-century history.

Markers of Nineteenth-Century History

Goa had ceased to be the administrative centre for Mozambique in 1752, a condition that
facilitated the absorption of the East African territory into trade with Brazil. This decision was
taken as part of the vast programme of

structural reforms devised for the metropolis and the empire by the Marquis de Pombal, the
influential Prime Minister to José I appointed in 1750, whose prominence continued after the
monarch’s death in 1777 and into the reign of Maria I. The interruption imposed by the transfer
of the court to Brazil in 1808, and the subsequent revolutions, leaves uncertain the question of
the actual scale and success of Pombaline reforms. Although much of what is distinctive about
the nature of institutions and power in the nineteenth century flows from the constitutional
struggles in its opening decades, the gap between the historiography of earlier centuries and the
nineteenth century has left the question of residual intellectual influences from prior periods
relatively unexplored.

In studies that consider the nature of the state and its intervention as an agent of change, two
conventional brackets usually define the political his- tory of the nineteenth century: the Liberal
Revolution of the 1820s, extend- ing for two decades, and the establishment of the Portuguese
Republic in 1910. These two events tend to provide a rationale and an interpretive framework
within which the varied dimensions of actions, associations, and ideological influences have
been understood. Political histories indicate that however powerful the initial impetus for
intellectual change may have been, such concepts and ideas rarely traveled without being
transformed by the prevailing power structures where they took root. Thus, while the ideas of
constitutionalism, liberalism, the freedom of the press, and representative electorates took hold
and circulated simultaneously in Brazil, Portugal and India, these terms were also placeholders
for other processes to unfold (Lobo, 2017; Lustosa, 2000; Sodré , 1999). The contradictions and
tensions between being descendentes (Portuguese born in the colonies) or reinó is (metropolitan
Portuguese differentiated politically and racially from the descendentes) were different in each
territory, just as the divisions produced by race, mestizage, caste, and language were varied in
each context. Further, liberalism had different consequences for those registered as slaves in
different colonies, as the work of Miguel Bandeira Jeró nimo or Cristina Nogueira da Silva has
indicated (Jeró nimo, 2000; Silva, 2004; Silva and Grinberg, 2011). The fact that
constitutionalism and absolutism formed a framework for political action but were also a formal
code through which other political divisions were routed as sub-texts is manifest in the volatile
print production of the first half of the nineteenth century. The emergence of different political
strands and tensions between groups in Goa and their changing configurations and alli- ances
with groups in Portugal through the century and into the early decades of the twentieth have
been elaborated by Sandra Ataíde Lobo (Lobo, 2013, 2016). Luís Cabral de Oliveira’s account of
the role of Goan Catholic elites

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within the judicial system during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries points to the
process of empowerment of this strata during the liberal period, and their decisive influence in
the codification of laws specific to the New Conquests (Oliveira, 2015).
The nomination of Bernardo Peres da Silva as Prefeito (within the new liberal taxonomy, this
was equivalent to the head of state), the first indigenous head of state in 1835, reveals the
impact of the struggle over liberalism in the metropole and the realignments of power it
spurred in colonial or imminently autonomous states such as Brazil. The reforms Peres da Silva
pushed through during his seventeen-day reign, his defeat by local interests opposed to his
nomination, his flight to Bombay, and doomed attempt to summon support from Bombay,
Daman and Brazil for a ship that would sail to Goa to effect a coup, are instances of the nature of
state politics at the time (Lobo, 2016). Such volatility characterised both the composition of the
state and the norms by which contestation was conducted. Print publications convey an image
of a vociferously contested realm limited to political elites, which gradually admitted and
represented a wider circle of contributors, including women. This continued until the print
market of Bombay at the end of the century crafted a distinctly oppositional identity in bilingual
publications in Konkani, English and Portuguese. These presses and publications voiced
dimensions of class and caste experience almost invisible in dominant representations.

Concepts introduced through constitutional and electoral struggles came to be owned by


colonial elites as they generated complex ideological frame- works through which questions of
citizenship, representation, and rights were routed. The refraction of these concepts and terms
are visible in the political parties, societies, and associations contesting each other’s vision of
public life, the political past, and the economic future (Furtado and Cruz, 2011).

The sphere of influence of the predominantly Catholic indigenous Goan elite was carved out in
opposition to the descendentes and the mestiç o and was simultaneously the ground for intra-
caste rivalries. These were scarcely the only lines of difference although the exclusive access to
print of these groups makes these contradictions the most visible. Outside of the two dominant
castes, other groups have a fragmentary presence in Portuguese or in Marathi print of the
period, though, since the late eighteenth century, the New Conquest territories were
numerically larger than the Old. Their inclusion is more visible in official records, where
questions of sovereignty, law, land rights, religion and worship, agronomy, and troubled border
rela- tions were continuously discussed. Dominant castes among these, however, also formed
associations and routed questions of Hindu identity, women’s rights, education and pedagogy,
linguistic politics, land rights and political

alliances of the future through newspapers and through public associa- tions. Outside of their
occasional presence in the land disputes of the New Conquests, and in the newsprint and books
emerging from Bombay, lower caste lives and histories of this period until the mid-twentieth
century would have to be elicited through oral sources.

A parallel challenge to the legitimacy of the state ran through the length of the century and took
the form of armed rebellion by different groups in the recently acquired New Conquest
territories. In 1845, a chieftain, in rebellion against the British and the Portuguese states,
collected revenue payments from New Conquest villages on the border between Goa and British
India on the authority of chits issued in the name of the government of the prince of
Sawantwadi (NAI, 1845). Since many territories had been acquired only in the late eighteenth
century, the authority of former land administrators and sovereigns, and their links with
neighbouring princely states had a lasting impact. These attempts to restore the authority of
former powers, though they were both violent and frequent, tend to be discursively
subordinated in histories of the period to the concerns of the Old Conquests. The impact of these
rebellions on neighbouring villages was often extractive and violent and the Old Conquest elite
represented their perpetrators as marauders or rebels. When many members of this elite
turned against the state in the late nineteenth century, however, they appear to have extended
support to such a rebellion in 1895 (Pratima Kamat, 1999, 2013).
Despite some interventions, there is still no adequate account of this near continuous state of
rebellion in the districts of Pernem, Sattari, Bicholim and Sanquelim involving the Desais, Ranes,
and the Sawants of Wadi (Pratima Kamat, 1999; Mendes, 1886).2 As they militated for the
restoration of their sovereignty in the face of revenue interventions by the state in Goa, they
also ensured that the border between Portuguese and British India was never quiet. The
interaction between the two governments over the management of rebellion is a colourful
illustration of the different approaches to colonial justice systems and the understanding of
racial and political distance from indigenous populations.

In contrast to the revenue chieftains such as the Ranes or the Desais who led such rebellions,
the upper caste Hindu elite were linked to the state as scribes, translators, intelligence agents
and through mercantile trade and finance. The latter group consolidated their alliances with
caste counterparts in the
2
Writing in 1864, Antó nio Lopes Mendes lists revolts in 1755, 1797, 1806, 1807, 1809, January 1813, May 1813, January 1814,
October 1814, 1816, 1822, 1823, 1824, 1845 and 1852-1855 (Mendes, 1864: 111-112).

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New Conquests and forged a distinct political identity through Marathi print financed initially
by the Bombay print market. Later bilingual Portuguese and Marathi newsprint hosted a set of
interests and agenda distinct from the Catholic elite who until the early twentieth century, had
near exclusive representation in the electoral and higher education realm.

The century can be characterised as one preoccupied with questions of land. Aside from the
rebellions of the New Conquests, conflicts over the fate of the hereditarily administered village
level gaunkaris, or comunidades, per- sisted throughout the century (Dias, 2004; Varsha
Vijayendra Kamat, 2009; Pereira, 1981). In the New Conquests, caste hierarchies were enforced
and challenged through conflicts over the claims to managing temple properties made by
different caste groups, as well as over membership in the gaunkari (Magalhã es, 2012).
Questions of ritual hierarchy and spatial displacement tended to be invisible in representations
in Portuguese print, not for linguis- tic reasons as much as the alienation of state and elite
discourse from these domains of power until they acquired the form of legal disputes or revolts
(Xavier, 1852). The New Conquests became the object of policies and stud- ies seeking to
demonstrate the effectiveness of new scientific and economic practices applied to agriculture
and forestry. Similarly, the state’s attempt to codify ‘uses and customs’ of the Hindu population,
which opened up a channel for petitioning to the state, constitutes the official representation of
processes that appear differently in perspectives emerging from other sources.

A challenge for nineteenth-century history has been to capture the nature of power structures
that were new, along with those that had long preceded the nineteenth century but had
assumed new dimensions. An instance of this is the fate of the Real Padroado Portuguê s, a
structure that secured the preroga- tive of the Portuguese monarchs over the administration of
the dioceses and archdioceses established by the Catholic Church in its conquests (Archdiocese
of Goa and Daman, 1925). The challenge to the Padroado, presented in the form of the Vatican
initiative, the Propaganda Fide (officially instituted in 1622), empowered secular orders of
clergy (not affiliated to ‘national’ religious orders) to administer parishes within Portuguese
colonies. The effect of the Propaganda Fide was to regulate and contain the power of the
Padroado, and though the struggle between the two had begun centuries before, it was the
nineteenth century which witnessed bitter public battles over jurisdiction across various
churches and populations in the south of India and its west- ern coast. The thrust towards
diluting the national definition of the Roman Catholic ecumene was located in efforts to alter the
jurisdictional powers of the earlier orders. This reorientation created the conditions for
indigenous clerical dissent in opposition to hierarchies of race, language, economic access

and caste within the church. The formal categories through which these conflicts were voiced
remained those of the Padroado and the Propaganda, but they also found alternate expression
in architectural symbolism, linguistic disputes, and political identities such as that of the East
Indians in Bombay (Aapan Kon? (Who are We?), 1891; Mello, 1938; Gomes, 2010, 2011).

In several of the disputes outlined above, whether representations of land or the disputes over
the Padroado, the interests and representations of indigenous and colonial actors were framed
by the discourses of the ascen- dant British colonial power, interlaced with the changed nature
of Portuguese colonial rule. This power relationship inflected pre-existing contact across the
western coast of India, port cities of the Arabian Sea and east African territories both British-
and Portuguese-held. Colonial elites and migrants who travelled as administrators, priests,
traders, professionals, labourers and politicians mediated and were shaped by the nature of
colonial interaction in the nineteenth-century history of contact between these territories. In
her latest book and in her current research on an earlier period of the nineteenth century,
Margret Frenz combines archival sources with oral testimonies to explore migrations from Goa
to East Africa, and subsequently to Europe and America. In Community, Memory, and Migration
in a Globalizing World. The Goan Experience, c. 1890-1980, she traces the manner in which
people recall their lives at different moments in the history of colonialism, how they
experienced their social positions in a different context, and discusses how these are related
structurally to the history of empires (Frenz, 2014). Selma Carvalho’s work on the Goan
diaspora in East Africa was published as part of the Oral Histories of British Goans project
between 2011 and 2014 (Carvalho, 2010, 2014). Aside from recordings of the oral testimonies
of those who migrated to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before their relo- cation to the United
Kingdom archived at the British Library, self-published individual memoirs increasingly provide
a rich source of personal accounts recounting the experience.

In the context of the Indian Ocean, the examination of the routes along which people, religious
practices and commodities circulated, through both informal and formal networks, has
underscored the significance of non-statist histories (Farooqui, 2016; Machado, 2003). As a case
in point, the elabo- ration of the nature and extent of power enjoyed by free Africans in India, as
opposed to the enslaved, for example, implies a rethinking of the term diaspora as well as the
racial composition of the Indian subcontinent. The existence of different systems of slavery
and/or forced work in colonies and kingdoms of the Indian Ocean region demand an accounting
of the simultaneity and complexity of political and legal categories for slavery often believed to
have

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succeeded each other (Allen, 2017; Campbell, 2003; Suzuki, 2017). The field also disturbs
dominant spatial chronologies in areas such as the history of Islam, which remained focused on
the region of West Asia despite the numeri- cal and cultural significance of Islamic practice in
other regions, including East Africa (Kooriadathodi, 2016). Temporal intervals such as the
duration of slave voyages, which changed the lives of those on ships carrying slaves as cargo as
well as those of itinerant traders and pirates, have been foregrounded to emphasise their elision
in nation- and land-centric accounts. To this we can add the identities of those whose
nationalities and political affiliations straddled East Africa and India, none of which as yet
interrupt supremacist narratives of nation formation on the Indian subcontinent (Allen, 2003).
The field represents conceptual interventions that are too varied and numerous to be
consolidated as an alternate centre or to be positioned as a uniformly predictable conceptual
margin. In the field of print studies, Isabel Hofmeyr’s work, which observed that literary theory
tended to use a “non- -materialist theory of texts” instead followed connotations to texts that
may have had an Anglo-European origin across their unexpected trajectories in political
communities of the Indian Ocean (Ferrã o, 2005, 2014b; Hofmeyr, 2001). The numerous
dimensions of texts, whether oral or written, the cir- cumstances of production, and the
contexts of their reception challenged the divisions between centres and peripheries of
intellectual influence.

Knowledge Production and Representation

A characteristic feature of the nineteenth century was the articulated desire to see an organic
link emerge between knowledge production and governance. This was elaborated in
representations that hoped to see institutions linked to the state reorganised according to
principles of political economy, ratio- nalisation and productivity. Residual intellectual
traditions and institutional formations particular to Portugal continued to be influential,
however, even if their legitimacy was being challenged by intellectual currents associated with
Britain and northern Europe.

Histories of architectural history, urbanism and landscape indicate how the desire for new
knowledge practices was linked to the representation of the Portuguese empire in India
(Mattoso and Rossa, 2010). The epithets of stasis and inertia mentioned earlier were often
substantiated in public discourse (and often in English) by gesturing to the physical decadence
of Old Goa and the conflicted mid-century move of the capital to Panjim. The abandonment of
Old Goa by everyone but the regular clergy and those connected to the Arsenal da Marinha
occurred between the end of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth
century.

In 1843 (after the expulsion of the religious orders in 1834), the Metropolitan Government
decided not only to recognise the relocation of the capital to Panjim but also to prepare a plan
whose execution would shape its develop- ment (Faria, 2007). The dismantling and the reuse of
building materials and architectural elements and ornaments in the buildings of Panjim was
regulated and, in some cases, manufactured anew, and accounts for the virtual disap- pearance
of the urban fabric of Old Goa, including its huge perimeter wall.

This account of planned urban renewal is a far cry from the abundant descriptions of Goa’s
physical decrepitude and decadence that were used as ekphrastic contrasts to the urbanisation
of other South Asian capitals in British colonies. The emergence of Panjim reveals the rhetorical
function of images of decadence across a century in which a capital was in fact reborn. This
rebirth is also significant because the new urban landscape signified a transformed political
order within Goa. It was no longer a landscape that by default denoted an absolutist Catholic
monarchy committed to evangelising proselytism. Instead, the symbolic connotations to its
architecture were the focus of attention for a patrician government trying to expand the
participa- tion of civil society within the restricted liberal regime that it represented.

Paulo Varela Gomes points to the influence of British India on nineteenth- -century architecture
but argues that church architecture was more resistant to this influence than other kinds of
visual practices (with the neo-gothic church of Saligã o as an exception to this pattern) (Gomes,
2011). Comparatively, domestic architecture, in particular the multilayered nature of domestic
spaces, has received more attention from authors. The nineteenth century saw the construction
of numerous Goan Catholic aristocratic houses that changed the rural landscape (Carita, 1995;
Sampaio, 2011; Silveira, 2007).
The rural landscape was refigured through two impetuses, one of which was to treat natural
elements as visual objects, provoking a change in the perception of landscape, while the other
was to enhance productivity and to introduce contemporary international innovations in
agricultural science to the colonies. The natural vegetation framing Panjim’s Altinho and the
areas of Aguada and Reis Magos were introduced or modified to perform the role of visual
elements that would create perspectives for these sites. This was accompanied by increased
significance accorded to surveys, publications and projects by agronomists trained in Lisbon
and in British institutions.

The history of this period saw the creation of many institutions associated with modern
governance: the creation of the military academy in 1817, which included engineering courses,
the reintroduction of the printing press, and the appearance of the first of many journals, the
Gazeta de Goa in 1821; the creation of a public library in 1832, and a medical school in 1842
gave Panjim’s

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urban landscape its character and design, and nurtured a local urban elite that had participated
in its vision and inhabited these new institutions. A number of engineers, physicians, lawyers
and judges were trained in Goa and occupied significant posts in other Portuguese colonies
(Bastos, 2008; Faria, 2007, 2012, 2014).3 Cristiana Bastos’ work on the medical school of Goa
and the position of Goan medical doctors in Portugal and colonies such as Mozambique and
their links with Brazil reveals the hierarchisation of colonial spaces in relation to each other,
with Portugal occupying the space of an exclusive validating authority, designed to distribute
greater or reduced authority to subordinate doctors and medical institutions in Goa (Bastos,
2005, 2008). The creation of the department of public works in 1869 reinforced this role,
enabling the construction of public facilities and infrastructure in the Indian Ocean ter- ritories,
from Mozambique to Timor.4 Descendentes and indigenous Goans occupied positions of
authority and initiated public administrative projects.

This elite could be deployed as a sub-colonising phalanx in East Africa while they were
systemically subordinated to corresponding educational institutions in Portugal, which in the
case of most disciplines such as law and medicine retained the prerogative to confer higher
degrees. A similar relationship developed in relation to British territories in the region where
educated Goans found institutes of higher education and avenues of employ- ment, while the
British colonial state mined the abilities of educated migrants whose training had been financed
by a diminished political power.

Military reforms, the railway in 1882, policies regarding schools, and the Anglo-Portuguese
treaty were some of the state mechanisms to turn Goa and Indian Ocean territories into an
economically profitable enclave for the British. The manner in which Mozambique acquired
territorial definition was a drastic shift from the prior existence of a few trading posts along the
coast (the islands in the North, the bay of Lourenç o Marques in the South, which provided a
natural gateway to the hinterlands, initially encompassed the Portuguese presence in the area).
In the 1890s a railroad and a harbour were part of the ambitious urban plan that structured the
colonial and modernist core of the city of Lourenç o Marques/Maputo, and in 1898 the capital
moved from the island of Mozambique. The capital city became the harbour to which raw
resources were transported, just as in Beira and Nacala in Mozambique and in Lobito (Angola)
and Goa. Like Vasco and Lourenç o Marques/Maputo, other port cities were founded from
3
Faria traces this statistically within an ongoing project entitled “Building the Portuguese Empire in the 19th century. Public Works
across the Indian Ocean and China Sea (1869-1926)”.
4
Much of this was undertaken during the governorship of José Ferreira Pestana (1848-1851 and 1864-1870).

Cape Verde (Mindelo) to Dili (Timor) to mark a new stage in colonial rule, in which the
construction of the port of Macau infrastructure is included. The mediation of colonialism
through the production of trained elites was a process which spanned nearly a century, from the
administrative indepen- dence of Mozambique in 1752 to that of Macau (including Timor) in
1844 from Goa. These events present us with a chronological period that prompts questions
about the impetus for change in concepts of governance as well as the need to understand the
overarching conception of race and the distribu- tion of social and cultural capital that framed
this inter-colonial relationship.

Print and Circulation

Modern institutions also transformed caste practices, endowing them with new dimensions. An
unusual instance of this encounter is elaborated in Filipa Lowndes Vicente’s Outros
orientalismos (Vicente, 2012). Vicente details the context of a photograph taken in Bombay of
the Italian linguist and Indologist, Angelo de Gubernatis, who had just been made a ‘brah- man’
through a ceremony performed by one of the three other figures in the photograph. Among
those photographed was the well-known Goan doctor and Indologist, Gerson da Cunha.
Vicente’s account of the conflict over the photograph and the history of its production and
circulation reveals how bodies carried perceptible marks of caste, and how the photograph, as
another form of representation, inflected the reading of caste marks. It describes the ritual that
preceded the taking of the photograph and the manner in which the circulation of the image
legitimised the European ‘brahman’ and some of the indigenous figures in the picture, while it
simultaneously threatened the status of other participants. Not only does this account include
preexisting cultures of perception and representation in the analysis of the image, but it also
indicates how visual culture as a lived practice was transformed when caste rituals were
introduced to new forms such as commercial photography.

Orientalist and reformist frameworks that informed intellectual produc- tion of the period had
an unquestionable prominence. Studies such as Vicente’s indicate, however, that the newness of
the nineteenth century also lay in its incorporation of and continuity with prior and
contemporary practices. The intelligentsia’s focus on expanding the scope of classification and
study is characterised by the voluminous mid-century production of the secretary to the
Governor General, J. H. da Cunha Rivara, and the Goan government official, Felipe Nery Xavier.
Their publications demonstrate how the history of custom, language, land reform and rebellion
could be the subject of knowledge accumulation that was directed to the state but did not
always shape state policy (Cunha, 1881; Rivara, 1875; Souza, 1879;

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Xavier, 1852). Counter histories appeared as private publications to challenge the intentions of
the state or the rival representations of indigenous writers (Gonç alo de Magalhã es Teixeira
Pinto, 1859). A memorable and extreme version of these was the vituperative writing of Pe.
Antó nio Francisco Xavier Á lvares, the dissenting nationalist priest associated with various
publica- tions, among them the periodical O Brado Indiano (Rochelle Pinto, 2007).
The nineteenth century was characterised by public and vocal disregard of dominant
perspectives on language, politics and economy, even while the latter were being consolidated
in institutions and in legislation across the empire. The discourses of those in authority had
been challenged before, but the contestations of official representations and their circulation in
print constituted new public arenas. New participants in this arena challenged the linked
terrain of knowledge and governance that defined the century. Thus, the English, Hindustani,
Konkani, Swahili Vocabulary, which appeared in 1902 in Nairobi to assist Kenyans and Indian
migrants settled in British East Africa in the previous century, was indifferent as to whether its
orthography had met the test of etymological purity with which linguists and educationists
were increasingly concerned (Bir, 1902). Letters to a Bombay newspaper in 1894 declared that
the Portuguese-Konkani dictionary published by a reputed Goan linguist, Sebastiã o Rodolfo
Dalgado, was of no use to readers because it was filled with difficult words from other languages
and was too expensive (Lorç u, 1894).

An attention to print as a methodological perspective no longer takes for granted traditional


distinctions between literature and other forms of representation, as these divisions assume
that practices and genres were reproduced identically across all cultural contexts. Nineteenth-
century journals and critical articles did prescribe a conventional domain of letters and of the
literary, and literary production itself consisted of adaptations of European literary patterns
(Garmes, 2004 , 2011). However, it simul- taneously borrowed representational forms from
across genres such as ethnography, orientalist verse, satire, and prose and gave them aesthetic
coherence through the novel (Rochelle Pinto, 2018). In contrast to histories that tended to
represent literature as though it was produced exclusively in one language, recent work
accounts for a multilingual literary sphere, diglossia and parallel and oppositional literary
realms. Thus, even where the object of study may be the world of Portuguese or Konkani or
Marathi writing, such accounts acknowledge the existence of literary work in other languages in
use, such as English or French (Fernandes, 2010; Passos, 2010; Sardesai, 2006).

Emerging Histories and Perspectives

The preeminence of caste discourse in the writings of the elite across the cen- tury is just one
facet of the modern dimension caste relations had acquired. Recent work on the political
visibility and success of non-brahmin castes in the first election in independent Goa raises a
pressing question for nineteenth- -century history (Parobo, 2015). It demands an account of
spheres of influence and the circulation of capital that would allow for this mid-twentieth-
century emergence and points to the exclusivity of source material that has generated accounts
of the nineteenth century. Likewise, the attention to the Gomantak Maratha Samaj in Anjali
Arondekar’s recent work, for instance, inverts the image of the bailadeira or devadasi as the
subject of reform. Instead, it demands an accounting of kinship structures through which
devadasis could claim the name of their patron, of the routes of their capital, and of conceptions
of servitude, be it slavery or labour. This would provide a more dynamic account of how caste
and sexual hierarchies and state discourses could be negotiated (Arondekar, 2012).

The transition from seeing these groups as bailadeiras to seeing them as members of the Samaj
is a shift in perspective enabled by sources in languages such as Marathi. The Samaj’s proximity
to social capital and their ability to use capital to represent themselves in print or through
identity-based organisations indicates that some alternate perspectives were available within
restricted spheres of circulation. While legal relations to the temple economy and space and to
village land are visible in the realm of Portuguese print, questions of sexuality and slavery
remain part of the social legacy that can be known only through interactions, and through oral
cultural practices, ritual and festivals (Jason Keith Fernandes, 2015). Electoral victories and
formal associations fit modern categories of politi- cal action more comfortably than those
lower caste groups who could not represent themselves in these forms.
Another kind of methodological challenge is posed by the absence of an adequate account of
racial difference and its absorption within indigenous society or of the silence surrounding its
presence. Official records register the presence of different racial groups in nineteenth-century
censuses and police records, and Cristina Nogueira da Silva traces the ambiguities in concepts of
law and citizenship over the question of slavery. However, the disappear- ance of race as a
category of difference within indigenous society by the early twentieth century is yet to be
explored (Chatterjee, 1999; Guha, 2013).

The fragmentary appearance of non-dominant perspectives in nineteenth- and early twentieth-


century print has, by its scarcity and difference, reposi- tioned the authority we accord
conventional accounts and drawn attention to the limits of official representation itself. As with
British colonialism in India,

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106 | Rochelle Pinto, Sidh Losa Mendiratta, Walter Rossa

anthropological studies with a focus on the contemporary have revealed how state accounts
created dominant categories that limit our understanding of colonial society (Siqueira, 2006).

The four articles and the book review of this dossier reveal how theoreti- cal advances in
different periods of Portuguese imperial history continuously inform each other. Ricardo
Roque’s account of the recirculation of Garcia da Orta’s canonical botanical text, Coló quios dos
simples e drogas da Índia of 1563 for instance, provides a retrospective overview of the field of
botani- cal medicine. His comparison between sixteenth-century mechanisms to validate
unfamiliar knowledge systems and nineteenth-century ones delineates how through a process
of ‘translation’, medical knowledge was appropriated by western knowledge structures and
indigenous practition- ers excluded and erased from the history of its production. In doing so,
Roque’s essay references the expanding field of sixteenth-century studies that elaborates the
manner in which the encounter with colonial differ- ence was managed. It also demonstrates
how nineteenth-century science separated knowledge from its context of production to sustain
a concep- tion of universality.

José Miguel Moura Ferreira’s study of afforestation policies in the New Conquests further
elaborates the conjunction between governance and sci- entific perspectives on forestry and
agriculture, thus contributing a valuable comparative account of the scale and effect of similar
initiatives in British India. Ferreira notes that a similar approach to bringing such land under
the purview of state policy was attempted in the eighteenth century but may have been
disrupted by the political events of the early nineteenth. By the mid-nineteenth century,
however, he notes how this perspective was adopted by the Goan elite, leading to an increase in
the number of formal associations and publications devoted to this area.

Filipa Lowndes Vicente’s essay on the catalogue of the industrial exhi- bition of 1860 in this
volume extends some of the methodologies used in her prior work on visual culture. It details
the history of objects and categories mentioned and gauges the significance of the exhibition in
the light of the international trend in showcasing colonial beings and objects for metropolitan
audiences. Her tracing of the context of production of these objects helps illuminate the early
interpellation of Goa into global discourses linking public exhibitions and industrialisation.
Hé lder Garmes’ review of Filipa Vicente’s Entre dois impé rios. Viajantes britâ nicos em Goa (1800-
1940), which emerged at the end of 2015 (Lisboa: Tinta-da-China) highlights the book’s
overview of travel narratives of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Goa, in particular British
accounts from this period.
He discusses the attempt to trace the locus of difference in writing by men and women while
deconstructing the prejudices through which nineteenth- -century British travellers saw and
wrote about Goa.

In contrast to Ricardo Roque’s essay, which invokes sixteenth-century historiography, Jason


Keith Fernandes’ essay on Wamanrao Varde Valaulikar (1877-1946) indicates how the
pressures of nationalist discourses in the twen- tieth century generates an interest in its
precursors and determining influences in the nineteenth. The twentieth century was defined by
the increasing intensity of varying nationalist positions addressed both to the post-colonial
Indian state and to the colonial state in Goa. Language associations became vehicles of identity
formation providing upper caste intelligentsia with access to state institutions and policy
formation. The formation of linguistic states made language the bearer of symbolic value that
consolidated dominant identities. It is in this context that the essay revisits the hagiographic
representations of the late nineteenth-century personality, known familiarly as Shenoi
Goembab. By presenting Valaulikar’s investment in crafting a Gaud Saraswat Brahmin identity
through script and language, the essay explores a political formation whose discursive
antecedents can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century.

This selection of essays thus demonstrates how the historiography of the nineteenth century
has extricated itself from some of the representational structures that formerly shaped it. While
some aspects have been elaborated sufficiently to generate layered critiques and detailed
accounts of particular aspects, others still await further exploration that can generate
frameworks to enable future work. While this dossier is restricted to work on Goa, the essays
and review indicate how political events and representations in each territory reverberated
through Portuguese and British territories in East Africa and the Persian Gulf, and not the least
in Portugal itself.

Edited by Scott M. Culp

References

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Reframing the Nineteenth Century | 111

112 | Rochelle Pinto, Sidh Losa Mendiratta, Walter Rossa

Received on 05.02.2018
Accepted for publication on 26.03.2018

Rochelle Pinto

Independent Researcher
Contact: rochelle.pinto@gmail.com

Sidh Losa Mendiratta

Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra


Colé gio de S. Jeró nimo, Largo D. Dinis, Apartado 3087, 3000-995 Coimbra, Portugal Contact: sidhmendiratta@ces.uc.pt

Walter Rossa

Centro de Estudos Sociais / Departamento de Arquitetura da Faculdade de Ciê ncias e Tecnologia Universidade de Coimbra
Colé gio das Artes, Largo D. Dinis, 3000-143 Coimbra, Portugal
Contact: wrossa@uc.pt

Reenquadrar o sé culo XIX


Já nã o exclusivamente determinada pelas vicissitudes do impé rio, a histó ria das coló nias portuguesas da Índia e
regiã o do Oceano Índico do sé culo XIX foi suficientemente elaborada para que sur- gissem algumas estruturas
heurísticas. Histó rias da medicina, antropologia, política, imprensa, migraç ão e escravatura destacam a importâ ncia
das narrativas nã o-estatistas ao traç arem o movimento de pessoas, bens e ideias atravé s de redes formais e
informais, muitas vezes sob o poder colonial britâ nico em ascensã o. Em conjunto com estudos sobre cultura visual e
espacial e política agrá ria, elas tê m ajudado a delinear atributos distintivos e contraditó rios que caracterizam o
sé culo XIX. Este sé culo continua a representar um desafio historiográ fico, já que ele tanto infere como contraria os
relatos teó ricos dominantes do colonialismo. Palavras-chave: castas; ciê ncia; colonia- lismo; Goa; impé rio portuguê s.

Recadrer le XIXe siè cle


L’histoire des colonies portugaises de l’Inde et de la ré gion de l’Océ an Indien du XIXe siè cle n’é tant dé jà plus
exclusivement dé terminé e par les vicissitudes de l’empire fut suffisamment é laboré e pour que puissent apparaître
quelques structures heuristiques. Tout un ensemble d’histoires de la mé decine, de l’anthropologie, de la politique, de
la presse, de la migration et de l’esclavage soulignent l’importance des narratives non-é tatiques en retraç ant le
mouvement des personnes, des biens et des idé es à travers de ré seaux formels et infor- mels, maintes fois sous le
pouvoir britan- nique en ascension. Concomitamment à des é tudes sur la culture visuelle et spatiale et la politique
agraire, elles ont aidé à tracer des particularité s distinctives et contra- dictoires qui caracté risent le XIXe siè cle. Ce
siè cle reste un dé fi historiographique puisqu’il contrarie tout autant qu’il conforte les ré cits thé oriques du
colonialisme. Mots-clé s: castes; colonialisme; empire portugais; Goa; science.

‘The Foral in the history of the comunidades of Goa’, Journal of World History, University of
Hawai’i Press, 29(2):185-212 DOI: 10.1353/jwh.2018.0020, June 2018
The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa Rochelle Pinto
Journal of World History, Volume 29, Number 2, June 2018, pp. 185-212 (Article)
Published by University of Hawai'i Press

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/jwh.2018.0020

For additional information about this article

https://muse.jhu.edu/article/701893

Access provided by JHU Libraries (30 Aug 2018 11:01 GMT)

INTRODUCTION

The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa


ROCHELLE PINTO

Independent Scholar
The Foral of 1526 looms large in histories of the comunidade or gaunkaria, a system of land
governance that prevailed in the initial areas of conquest, or Ilhas, in Goa.1 It was one of the
initial documents issued by the Portuguese Crown to indigenous land administrators, sixteen
years after the conquest of Goa, on the western coast of India. An impetus for a rereading of the
Foral is the sense in which it was invoked in complaints about revenue arrangements in
subsequent centuries, as the foundation of a pact between the state and the influential
gaunkars.2 As an effect of these frequent invocations, the Foral retrospectively acquired the
appearance of an early and inaugural sign of the state.

Accounts of the early modern Portuguese state that dispel anachronistic assumptions about
how centralized or systematic its

1
These terms, the former deriving from Portuguese and the latter a Lusitanized version of the local term gaunkari, have not been
italicized throughout the essay. Except where later editions or reprints have been used, the orthography of original sources (often
non- standardized in the case of nineteenth-century texts) has been retained. Translations from Portuguese, unless otherwise
specified, are mine. I thank the CSDS, Delhi and NMML, Delhi for fellowships during which this was researched and written. I thank
Manuel Magalhã es for his assistance, discussions, and access to sources as well as Nuno Grancho and Sruti Chaganti. I also thank the
peer reviewers of this article for their comprehensive critique and suggestions.

2
“Composiç ão, systema e estatutos das communidades” Filippe Nery Xavier, Bosquejo Historico das Communidades das Aldeas dos
Concelhos das Ilhas, Salsete e Bardez, vol. I (Typographia Rangel, 1903), 94.

Journal of World History, Vol. 29, No. 2 © 2018 by University of Hawai‘i Press

185

186 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

control was over its conquests, appear to contradict this perception of the Foral as a definitive
document that had the status of law. Such accounts gesture to the multiple nodes of political and
jurisdictional power in existence in the early decades of conquest that had overlapping domains
of authority. These have been elaborated by historians to emphasize their improvised extension
in colonial contexts and their sometimes-contradictory relation with each other.3 These
converge with readings of the Foral that indicate that metropolitan economic categories such as
foro (tribute/tax payable to the landholder) were merely nominal placeholders for the
incorporation of existing structures of land governance under the authority of the Portuguese.4
Comprehensive surveys of land use and revenue arrangements detailed in the project, da Terra
e do Territó rio no Impé rio Portuguê s have helped generate an accurate assessment of the
nature of economic arrange- ments in each colonial territory. These may have shared some
economic terminology common to many territories of the empire but not necessarily the
financial relations and obligations that those terms denoted.5

While this is analytically significant for economic history, it does not account for the
jurisdictional and political aspects of the Foral, nor the manner in which these were adapted to
the claims of the gaunkars. The document carried the formal attributes of an order of the King,
communicated through an intermediary.6 In a discussion of the ambiguities in papal bulls that
sanctioned the right of possession and sovereignty of Spain and Portugal over their conquests,
Lauren Benton notes that “when indigenous polities ceded the right to construct trading posts
and accepted European jurisdiction over settlers, they did

3
 ngela Barreto Xavier, A Invenção de Goa: Poder Imperial e Conversõ es Culturais nos Sé culos XVI e XVII (European University
Institute, 2003).
4
Susana Mü nch Miranda, “Property Rights and Social Uses of Land in Portuguese India: The Province of the North (1534–1739),” in
Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, ed. José Vicente Serrã o et al. (CEHC-IUL, 2014), 169–180,
http://hdl.handle.net/10071/2718.

5
José Vicente Serrã o et al., eds., Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires (CEHC-IUL, 2014),
http://hdl.handle.net/10071/2718.

6
An analysis of documents issued by Mexia lists the prescribed components of such documents, such as the address or inscriptio, an
introductory narrative, the dispositivo, as well as the escatocolo at the end that indicated the intermediary of the King. Sara
Loureiro, “Reconstituição e aná lise da documentação produzida por Afonso Mexia, escrivã o da Câ mara e da Fazenda de D. Manuel I e
de D. Joã o III,” p. 32. Bibliographic entry: Loureiro, Sara, Reconstituiç ão e aná lise da documentação produzida por Afonso Mexia,
escrivã o da Câ mara e da Fazenda de D. Manuel I e de D. Joã o III,” 10–48. http://arquivomunicipal.cm-
lisboa.pt/fotos/editor2/91.pdf.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 187

not cede sovereignty—a fact that Europeans were aware of.”7 The question of the varying
dimensions and understanding of sovereignty and legal authority that were recognized in
colonial contexts draws attention to the fact that the Foral constitutively implied a relationship
between a sovereign and a territorially-defined community, even if that notion of sovereignty
was limited to acknowledging or bestowing a defined claim on land. Forais (the plural form of
Foral), however, were always modified to accommodate the needs of the sovereign and the
socio-ecological conditions in the region where they were distributed.

The Foral of 1526 may be seen as an instance of “the permeability between legal languages,” a
term used by Saliha Belmessous, who claims that “l(L)aw was a language that European and
native peoples could share more easily than scholars have previously understood.”8 This does
not diminish the coerciveness of the context in which the Foral was drafted and distributed but
explores the ways in which claims to sovereignty, possession, titles, interest, and rights within
indigenous societies may have found approximations in European traditions.

Lauren Benton designates such phenomena that characterize the early conquests of Spain and
Portugal as legal pluralism. Against the separation of metropolitan concepts or terms from
actual practice, she emphasizes that an effect of such arrangements was the transformation in
legal boundaries and definitions of difference. She cites for instance, the influence of Islamic law
on Iberian legal practices to nuance the radical differences assumed to be in existence between
metropolitan and colonial cultures, even when political differences between societies and states
may have been sharp.9 Such polyvalent encounters and convergences of administrative regimes
are seen as constitutive of “the nature and structure of political authority,” that, according to
her, retained “elements of existing institutions” so as to “limit legal change as a way of
sustaining social order.”10 This approach is not reliant on simple binaries of strong or weak
states and rejects the tendency to interpret legal pluralism as the absence of state power.
Instead, the focus on the emergence of contested juridical cultures where “colonizers and

7
“Introduction – The Problem of Indigenous Claim Making in Colonial History,” in Native Claims: Indigenous Law against Empire,
1500–1920, ed. Saliha Belmessous (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 12; Lauren Benton, “Possessing Empire: Iberian Claims
and Interpolity Law,” in Native Claims: Indigenous Law against Empire, 1500–1920 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 19–40.

8
“Introduction – The Problem of Indigenous Claim Making in Colonial History,” in Native Claims: Indigenous Law against Empire,
1500–1920, ed. Saliha Belmessous, 5.

9
Lauren Benton, Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400–1900 (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 51.

10
Benton, 2.
188 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

the colonized occupied the status of subjects before the law,” offers a framework within which
the “jurisdictional jockeying” of these years becomes legible.11

Benton’s formulations help illuminate dimensions of the Foral that tend to be noted solely for
their economic value. Situating the Foral within legal and political history involves recognizing
its status as a generic document that drew political connotations from forais that were issued
from the medieval period on, usually, but not always, by the king.12 These written documents,
which had replaced oral agreements, assured and regulated community rights over land in
Portugal and its acquisitions. Forais enunciated regimes of land use, specified revenue
obligations, and secured a relationship between the landholder (whether church, nobility, or
king), and the community to which it was issued.

In Goa, the Foral recognized the political significance of a local legend that legitimized the
primacy of the gaunkars over the land in Ilhas by incorporating it into the document. The
inclusion of the legend in a written document that would be generalized to the whole of Goa
conferred antiquity and timelessness on the system of the gaunkaria and bestowed on it the
temporal values of both historicity and legend. Thus the Foral was both generic and particular
to the region where it was distributed, reauthorizing prevailing institutions as Benton notes,
and simultaneously drawing them into a legal regime that extended across widely disparate
territories.13 By placing limits on the sale of land beyond village boundaries in some
circumstances, and by detailing a harvest ritual with the church at its center, it potentially
altered the conception of social terrain in the territory under its control. It also signaled the
formation of a localized Christian legal identity defined by a relationship to land and the
agrarian cycle, to the village, and to the church. Whether or not the intrusion of the Foral into
existing systems could be enforced by the Crown through coercive measures before the mid-
sixteenth century is uncertain. However, the fact that the powerful gaunkars represented
themselves within its terms indicates a felt compulsion to accede to the right of the conqueror
to revenue.

The version of the Foral consulted for the essay is one published in the nineteenth century by
the secretary to the Governor General, J. H. da Cunha Rivara. It was compiled by analyzing at
least three other

11
Benton, 3, 12.

12
Leonor Freire Costa, Pedro Lains, and Susana Mü nch Miranda, An Economic History of Portugal, 1143–2010 (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2016).

13
Benton, Law and Colonial Cultures, 32.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 189

versions, the oldest of which was written prior to 1712 but without a definite date.14 Since the
Foral was recopied from time to time and distributed to the various offices overseeing the
administration of the gaunkaria, the question of an “original” Foral is moot. The clauses of the
Foral that specify terms of inheritance and distribution of ritual honors were challenged from
the mid-sixteenth century on, but it is not known whether an original document had a sparer
generic structure, with its clauses added on as the state gathered more information and local
petitioners attempted to influence the management of land.

A comparative analysis with other contemporary documents issued by the state and linked to
the function of the treasury, such as the Tombo (a register or record) and the Regimento (rules
or regulations governing officials and transactions) suggests that the Foral had a declarative
force, a function of all forais. Even if its economic content was evidently a codification of
prevailing relations and forms of authority, its forty-nine clauses worked to suppress, recognize,
and control the authority of the gaunkars.

Issued by Afonso Mexia, the Vedor or Comptroller of the Exchequer, with the likely unwilling
participation of local elites, the Foral de Mexia in its self-description was a charter or “Registry
of the uses and customs of the Gaunkars and labourers of the island of Goa.”15 It claimed to have
been drawn up through consultations with the “lettered of the land” and was distributed to the
“gancares, labourers, tributaries, residents and dwellers of the villages and towns of our city of
Goa.”16 The most minimal description of the Foral would see it as a revenue- fixing document,
but in fact it addressed ritual practices, inheritance laws, and a range of other aspects through
its forty-nine clauses.17 As is

14
Joaquim Heliodoro da Cunha Rivara, ed., “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a
ella,” in Archivo Portuguez Oriental, vol. V, doc. 58 (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1857), 118.

15
Teotonio R. de Souza, Medieval Goa: A Socio-Economic History (New Delhi: Concept, 1979), 59. Santos’ Goa é a chave de toda a
Índia notes that at the beginning of the century, there was scarcely a separation between the powers of the Viceroy, the Governor,
and the Vedor de Fazenda. The Vedor, Afonso Mexia, virtually the head of state in 1526, was a primary protagonist in the installation
of a dual and competing governorship in India and Malacca. Catarina Madeira Santos, “Goa é a chave de toda a Índia”: Perfil político
da capital do Estado da Índia (1505–1570) (Lisboa: Comissã o Nacional para as Comemorações dos Descobrimentos Portugueses,
1999), 193. “Registry of the uses and customs of the Gancares, and working men, of this island of Goa, and her annexes,” as
described in the Corpo de Gavetas, Gaveta 20, Maço 10, 1524, 361, IOL.

16
“Registry of the uses and customs of the Gancares, and working men, of this island of Goa, and her annexes,” Corpo de Gavetas,
Gaveta 20, Maço 10, 1524, 361, IOL. This was a translation produced by the British colonial state.

17
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Brados a favor das communidades das aldeas do Estado da India (Imprensa Nacional, 1870), 13–14.

190 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

well known, it initially applied to Ilhas (now the district of Tiswadi and adjacent islands), the
first territory conquered by the Portuguese Crown, along with its surrounding villages and
islands but was then replicated across the territories of Bardez and Salcette, acquired in 1543.

THE FORAL AS IT APPEARS IN THE HISTORY OF GAUNKARIA

The gaunkaria or comunidade, as it came to be termed after the introduction of Portuguese rule
in 1510, administered sections of cultivable land in each village in Goa. Gaunkars paid a fixed
tribute or foro to the state, apportioned the proceeds to pay those who performed varying
duties for the village, auctioned the rights to cultivation and divided a percentage of the income
earned as payment to the members of the gaunkaria. In each village, these members belonged to
groups of hereditarily fixed patrilineages of families called vangods.18 Membership in the
gaunkaria, or the gaunkari as it is called in contemporary Konkani, aside from the economic
benefits, was a substantive sign of the prestige of the constituent families within the village.
From the late seventeenth century on, as the state altered its taxation demands, it was the Foral
that was often invoked as the primary agreement between state and gaunkars, and it is in the
light of these interpretations that its historiography is being revisited.19 The Foral was evoked
with even greater rhetoric in nineteenth century representations as a pact that had been
violated. This claim rested (in part) on the initial paragraph that states that the tribute claimed
from the gaunkars, the foro, was identical to what was paid to the preceding ruler, the Bijapur
Sultanate and was in keeping with the uses and customs of the land.20
18
Rosa Maria Perez, The Tulsi and the Cross: Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter in Goa (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2011),
88.

19
“Representaç ão da camara geral de Bardez contra os aforamentos das terras aldeanas, dados pelo governo, contribuições,
extorções e violencias,” No. 28, Xavier, Bosquejo Historico das Communidades das Aldeas dos Concelhos das Ilhas, Salsete e Bardez,
vol. I: 247. The representation from the Câ mara Geral de Bardez for a reduction in taxes, keeping in view the extortions borne
during the invasions of Sambhaji, lists the changes made since the Foral was first issued.

20
Remy Dias, The Socio Economic History of Goa with Special Reference to the Comunidade System: 1750–1910 (University of Goa,
2004), 77, 335, shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/ 10603/32428.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 191 ORIGIN STORY

According to the synoptic legend about the settling of the land of Goa reproduced in the Foral,
four men had initiated cultivation on two uninhabited islands in ancient times, and had made
the land so fertile, with such an increase in yield, that it was densely populated over time. In
recognition of their good governance, administration, and successful cultivation, these original
settlers had the title of gaunkar conferred on them. Only later, according to this account, did
rulers descend to demand rent and tax to assure them continuity of their patrimonial rights and
customs.21 In the few sentences describing the legend, the Foral fused it with the historical past
of the gaunkaria, with an interpretation of the term gaunkar as synonymous with governador,
ministrador, or bemfeitor, all denoting an unchanging relationship of administrative and
patrician authority over the land.22 The legend also became the source for the claim that the
gaunkaria was originally an autonomous community that only subsequently had its wealth
harnessed by representatives of various kings.23

NINETEENTH-CENTURY HISTORY

By the nineteenth century, the antiquity of the gaunkaria in itself acquired value as a cultural
attribute. Within orientalist historiography, antiquity and its traces were privileged as it
accorded territories such as India a place within universal history. The notion of an ancient
village community, a similar universalized concept, deriving from the Roman Empire and
generalized as a natural and original form of settled society, was seen to resonate with the
contemporary Indian village.

In this context, the sixteenth century Foral was read not only as a constitutive act of state, but
also as a historical description of

21
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 119 Fasc. 5.

22
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, 119. It is worth comparing this settler narrative with Jason W. Moore’s account of the “baptismal fire” in
Madeira, an origin tale about the accident forest- clearing fire started by the first settlers: “Like all baptisms, its symbolic power
rested in the cleansing of sin, washing away the human hand in the destruction of the island’s forests . . . It . . . located the causes of
environmental change in an accident of colonization rather than its systematic (and systemic?) consequence.” Jason W. Moore,
“Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century: Part I: From ‘Island of Timber’ to Sugar Revolution,
1420–1506,” Review (Fernand Braudel Center) 32, no. 4 (2009): 351.

23
Representaç ões das comunidades agrícolas do estado da Índia (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1861).

192 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

sixteenth-century realities, allowing for the gaunkaria in turn to be depicted as an ancient


tradition threatened by changing economic policies. This did not entirely misrepresent the
status of the document, as the Forais and Tombos were also registers of property and persons,
and their reproduction as evidence fulfilled judicial requirements for documentary continuity.
Political and legal claims to original membership of the gaunkaria drew on this evidentiary
attribute that sixteenth century records had acquired.

Ambiguity over the status of the Foral as historical representation arises in part, because there
was no separation between the intervals of time or temporality implied in the legend and in its
other components. The document became a sign that colonial powers had to acquiesce to the
timeless claim of gaunkars over their land, a relationship of belonging that is proffered in the
present against destructive change as land is commoditized in a state marketed primarily as a
tourist destination or for its natural resources.24

REVIEWING THE FORAL


As a reaction to this strand of history writing, an anthropological

critique of the gaunkaria and the Foral declares:

From a process of inquiry commanded by colonial authorities, a textual corpus resulted that eventually
acquired the status of a foundational letter: on the one hand it served as a principal reference for
relations between the colonial power and local populations, constituting the touchstone of subsequent
codification and legal innovations; on the other, it became the documentary basis to which local dominant
groups took recourse . . . as a vindication of their aspirations, being repeatedly evoked as a testimony of
the pre-colonial constitution of the gaunkari in a manner that conjured images of a lost power or to argue
for its retention.25

Magalhã es’ skepticism over the use of the Foral points to the abridged legend in the document,
whose resonance he limits and demystifies by recounting similar myths and rituals across Goa;
a

24
Jason Keith Fernandes, “Invoking the Ghost of Mexia: State and Community in Post- Colonial Goa,” Ler Histó ria 58 (May 1, 2010):
9–25, https://doi.org/10.4000/lerhis toria.1114.

25
Magalhã es, “Pequenos Reis e Grandes Honras Culto, Poder e Estatuto na Índia Ocidental,” 59–60.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 193

position from which he rereads the history of the gaunkaria along with a comparative
assessment of its historiography in the light of the theorization of land relations in contiguous
territories in British India. Anthropological perspectives on similar and alternative myths and
rituals tend to argue that tribal and other caste groups were displaced as the dominance of
gaunkars and upper castes increased with the coming of the Portuguese.26
In contrast, as mentioned earlier, political histories of the early modern empire foreground
contested traditions, contingencies of colonial fortunes, and individual predilections and
intent.27 In order to resist singular causal explanations or overstated binaries of absolutism and
modernity, Luís Filipe Thomaz discussed adaptations of Roman, natural, and civil law through
which the contingencies of each colonial context combined with the efforts of the Portuguese
state to achieve a coherent and stable form of functioning across the territories of conquest.28
With reference to the Foral for instance, he compared the mechanisms for its compilation and
that of the later records, the Tombos, to the inquiriç ões of the Middle Ages through which oral
testimonies were incorporated as law. He also emphasized however, that the implied pactum
subjectionis, through which submission to a sovereign was acknowledged, was no more than a
continuation of the relationship that prior rulers had also established in the subcontinent.29
Thomaz’ depiction of D. Manoel’s imperial vision of universal Christendom as more concerned
with suzerainty than sovereignty diminishes the intent we might imagine in the use of specific
juridico- political categories.30 When confronted with dense populations and extended
territories, he suggests, the tendency was to preserve prevailing customs under appointed
heads.

In a similar vein, Catarina Madeira Santos states that royal authority and administrative
structures were only gradually delegated

26
Jason Keith Fernandes, “Rethinking Origin Myths in Goa,” O Heraldo (https://www. heraldgoa.in/Edit/Opinions/Rethinking-
origin-myths-in-Goa/87380.html), accessed 22 June 2017; Perez, The Tulsi and the Cross: Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter
in Goa; Paul Axelrod and Michelle A. Fuerch, “Flight of the Deities: Hindu Resistance in Portuguese Goa,” Modern Asian Studies 30,
no. 2 (1996): 387–421.

27
Antó nio Manuel Hespanha, As vé speras do Leviathan. Instituiç ões e poder político. Portugal – sé c. XVII (Coimbra: Almedina,
1994).

28
Luís Filipe F. R. Thomaz, “A ‘Política Oriental’ de D. Manuel I e suas Contracorrentes,” in De Ceuta a Timor (Lisbon: Difel, 1994),
196.

29
Luís Filipe F. R. Thomaz, “Estrutura política e administrativa do Estado da Índia no sé culo XVI,” in De Ceuta a Timor (Carnaxide:
Difel, 1994), 228.

30
Luís Filipe F. R. Thomaz, “A ‘Política Oriental’ de D. Manuel I e suas Contracorrentes,” in De Ceuta a Timor (Lisbon: Difel, 1994),
196.

194 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

to colonial territories over a century. Their extension required the reinterpretation of the legal
and jurisdictional powers of the king, whether in terms of dominium granted by papal bulls, or
senhorio, denoting jurisdiction over people rather than territory, or eminent domain, denoting
the recognition of power through payment of tribute, but not necessarily political conquest. In
Goa, as Madeira Santos points out, the term senhorio had a non-technical or elastic use, where it
designated jurisdiction over territory that had been politically subordinated.31

The phases of political change foregrounded by Madeira Santos are the events between 1515
and 1530, which determined whether and how Goa (over Cochin or Ceylon or other territories)
would be considered as the capital of empire, a political conception that was in itself new. The
transfer and growth of bureaucratic institutions associated with a centralized state she suggests
occurred only after 1530.32 1526, the year the Foral was distributed to the gaunkars, is in fact
marked in this history by political instability caused by the competing jurisdiction of two
interim governors (with the active participation of the distributor of the Foral, Afonso Mexia)
until they were replaced in 1528. This would suggest that the Tombo Geral de Goa of 1595,
initiated at the instance of a Provisã o Ré gia and an Alvará (ordinance) by the Viceroy and
executed by the Provedor-Mó r (chief superintendent), Francisco Paes, was a more
comprehensive and coherent exercise of state power than the initial effort of 1526.

Antó nio Vasconcelos de Saldanha offers different possibilities as he argues for attentiveness to
the interpretive strategies that sutured the gaps between the legal power implied in self-
representations of the King and the political realities of empire. He notes that the lengthy titles
referring to territories over which there was little or no control drew on legal traditions of
property in which the declaration of intent was a legitimate step towards staking a claim for
ownership.33 Thus, he claims that the word conquista (which appears in the title of the King in
Mexia’s Foral) was appropriate as a universal designation of a senhorio or

31
Santos, “Goa é a chave de toda a Índia”, 38–39. Santos mentions two bulls, A ineffabilis of 1497 which granted dominium over
lands, cities, and fortalezas which had to pay tribute and the Praecelsae Devotionis of 1514 which extended senhorio over navigated
seas and lands until India.

32
The seat of government was transferred from Cochin to Goa in 1530, though preliminary measures to create a city administration
had already begun in the years after conquest. de Souza, Medieval Goa (1979), 97.

33
Antó nio Vasconcelos de Saldanha, Iustum Imperium: Dos tratados como fundamento do impé rio dos portugueses no Oriente:
estudo de histó ria do direito internacional e do direito portuguê s (Lisboa: Fundação Oriente: Instituto Portuguê s do Oriente, 1997),
285–288.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 195

dominium that was “not entirely concretized, but indubitably a senhorio that was legitimate and
virtual and would not wish to see itself restricted by the delineation of possessions that were
often precarious and circumstantial.”34 This emphasis on titles as techniques of political
incorporation and extension indicates how formal representations signified legal and political
relations even when the economic and military realities of the empire did not mirror them.35
The Foral of 1526 may be seen as an early strategy of political alignment, which actualized and
demonstrated senhorio over the land through the extraction of tribute symbolically termed
foro. It was transformative at the point where state interventions collided with local power
structures, both for gaunkars and for less privileged groups.36 The significance of the extension
or replication of terms and rituals from prior contexts to colonial ones, to stabilize new power
structures, has been analyzed by Ricardo Roque in the context of Timor.37 Roque critiques a
strand within postcolonial studies that focuses exclusively on linguistic elements in the
elaboration of how representational structures secured colonial power. He emphasizes that the
power attached to words drew from the technologies of use, whether these were rituals,
documents, or ceremonial moments when power was enacted.38 The distribution of the Foral,
this suggests, was an act of power that drew on its status as an official document, and that
mimicked a metropolitan practice while incorporating local ones to establish a new
authoritative regime in relation to agricultural land.

Alternate approaches that help situate the intervention of the Foral are the comparative studies
of early modern agrarian relations within the empire. Some of these mark a division between
territories treated either as uncultivated land, or zones where property rights did not have to be
recognized, and territories where layered traditions of land rights made the modified
application of emphyteusis (a contract bestowing
34
Saldanha, 291, 301.
35
Saldanha, 293.
36
Susana Mü nch Miranda, “Fiscal System and Private Interests in Portuguese Asia

under the Habsburgs, 1580–1640,” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 60, no. 3 (2017): 204,
https://doi.org/10.1163/15685209-12341424. For an account of new rural and urban dispensations orienting the village to the
parish, seemingly in the image of the metropole, but with altered hierarchies and forms of control after 1530, see Xavier,
“Introdução,” A invenção de Goa.

37
Ricardo Roque, “A voz dos bandos: colectivos de justiç a e ritos da palavra portuguesa em Timor-Leste colonial (sé culos XIX–XX),”
O governo dos outros: poder e diferenç a no impé rio portuguê s (Lisboa: ICS – Imprensa de Ciê ncias Sociais, 2016).

38
Ricardo Roque, “A voz dos bandos: colectivos de justiç a e ritos da palavra portuguesa em Timor-Leste colonial (sé culos XIX–XX),”
O governo dos outros: poder e diferenç a no impé rio portuguê s (Lisboa: ICS – Imprensa de Ciê ncias Sociais, 2016), 563–564.

196 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

long term use or possession of land) more viable. Such studies also emphasize variability within
Atlantic territories for instance, between areas that could be controlled and others where ruling
groups continued to exercise control. Further many such accounts note that the notion of
property itself implied different things and that colonial land relations were characterized by
conceptual ambiguity.39 José Vicente Serrã o emphasizes the hybridity of economic
arrangements in the emergence of “Indo-Portuguese” property institutions, where a direct
transfer of metropolitan concepts did not work, “because not only did they accommodate in
conceptual and legal terms to the indigenous ones, but also they were appropriated and
modified by the social actors.”40 In relation to the term foro, unquestionably derived from the
metropole, Serrã o cites two different kinds of foro (cotubana and corrente) that drew from
specific local gaunkaria practices and had no resonance with the occurrence of the term within
the metropolitan use of emphyteusis.41 The use of both the terms renda (rent on land) and foro
(tax or tribute) in the Foral produced contesting interpreta- tions of the status of the gaunkars
in relation to land and state.42 The state’s right to foro or tribute as a right flowing from
conquest (just war) is also declared with great certainty in the Tombo de Chaul, later in the
century, as the Portuguese Crown asserted its right to receive foro and cultivate lands that
formerly paid tribute to the Nizam. While fidelity to the economic meaning of the term foro may
be in doubt, the term retained political connotations from its metropolitan usage.43

39
Serrã o et al., Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, 10, 173; Miranda, “Property Rights and
Social Uses of Land in Portuguese India: The Province of the North (1534–1739),” 169–180; Allan Greer, Property and
Dispossession: Natives, Empires and Land in Early Modern North America (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

40
Serrã o et al., Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, 13. This holds for other revenue
arrangements and land grants made in Goa and in other territories held in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Thomaz for
instance, suggests that the prazos of the territories north of Goa represented an amalgam of the system of indo- Mughal feudalism,
the iqta, combined with Portuguese law. What occurred over time was a substitution of Portuguese and Goan brahmin landholders
for the earlier iqtadars, according to Thomaz, a change that had already occurred by the time the Tombo da Índia was written in
1554. Thomaz, “Estrutura política e administrativa do Estado da Índia no sé culo XVI,” 237. The Tombo is a register of properties and
revenues.

41
José Vicente Serrã o, “Foros (Goa),” in Da Terra e do Territó rio no Impé rio Portuguê s, ed. José Vicente Serrã o, Má rcia Motta, and
Susana Mü nch Miranda, 2012, https://edittip.net/ citar/.

42
Dias, “The Socio Economic History of Goa with Special Reference to the Comunidade System: 1750–1910,” 142.

43
Artur Teodoro de Matos et al., O Tombo de Chaul, 1591–1592 (Lisboa: Centro Estudos Damiã o de Gó is, 2000), 16.
Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 197

Though the ability of the gaunkars to manipulate the new regime is taken as a sign that local
power structures were not significantly disturbed, comparisons with proximate revenue and
administrative posts that were likely displaced after the Portuguese conquest, qualify this
assumption.44 Subrahmanyam for instance suggests that the Portuguese found iqta-holders in
Goa.45 There are also counter- arguments that administrative positions such as that of the
deshmukh, representing the state in neighbouring territories, did not exist in the regions first
conquered.46 Fukazawa however, is categorical in refusing what he terms as a “romantic” notion
of voluntary cooperation in the meeting of village assemblies. Instead he argues that the Majalis
(an assembly in terms introduced or modified by the Sultanate), the body that delivered a
judicial decision in a dispute, represented state power, had judicial powers, and saw the
participation of specific bureaucrats appointed by the state, such as Desais, and other hereditary
office- holders.47 As others have suggested, analyses of contemporary land relations just prior to
conquest or in contiguous territories indicate that the Foral was a normative narrative that did
not reference elements it may have changed.

THE FORAL AS A POLITICAL DECLARATION

J. H. da Cunha Rivara’s Brados a favor das communidades . . . of 1870 divides the financial
connotations to the term foro from its political meanings, a reason to consider the text though
Rivara is known to have

44
Joaquim Romero de Magalhã es, “Algumas Notas sobre o Poder Municipal no Impé rio Portuguê s durante o Sé culo XVI,” December
1988, https://estudogeral.sib.uc.pt/handle/ 10316/11698. See also de Souza, Medieval Goa, 1979, 117, which indicates that by the
seventeenth century, Hindu inhabitants controlled various economic trades.

45
Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500–1700: A Political and Economic History, 2nd ed. (Chichester, West
Sussex, UK; Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 14. See also Anant Sadashiv Altekar, A History of Village Communities in Western
India (H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1927); Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “O Româ ntico, O Oriental e O Exó tico: notas sobre os
Portugueses em Goa,” in Histó rias de Goa, ed. Rosa Maria Perez et al. (Lisbon: Museu Nacional de Etnologia, 1997), 29–43.

46
Paul Axelrod, “Living on the Edge: The Village and the State on the Goa-Maratha Frontier,” Indian Economic Social History Review
45, no. 4 (2008): 555–557, 569. de Souza, Medieval Goa, 1979, 61. Similarly, Medieval Goa in 1979 contested Altekar to suggest that
the village headman or Patil as an executive position (common in neighbouring territories) did not exist in Goa. Teotó nio de Souza
mentions that the Rayarekha system of assessment was introduced by the Vijaynagar Empire. de Souza, 78.

47
Hiroshi Fukazawa, “A Study of the Local Administration of Adilshahi Sultanate (A. D. 1489–1686),” Hitotsubashi Journal of
Economics 3, no. 2 (1963): 48–50.

198 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

reproduced the mythology around the ancient political autonomy and self-sufficiency of the
gaunkaria. Rivara posited that the relationship that the 1526 Foral was meant to activate, and
the sense in which it was received, was as a declaration of power that offered in return for its
recognition, a guarantee of the “rights, privileges, prerogatives, uses and customs’ of the
sovereign’s new subjects.”48

An instance of the conventions the Foral used to achieve this is the declarative force with which
gaunkars are addressed in the third person, but with the use of possessive pronouns, enacting
communication between the Portuguese sovereign and his new subjects. The first paragraph
acknowledges the newness of the Portuguese regime, but minimizes mention of its violent entry
by aligning it to the preceding power, whose demand for tribute it vowed not to exceed. This
tone of address is distinctive for its absence in the Tombos and forais that followed, indicating
that the primary political articulation was accomplished by the Foral of 1526. A comparison
with other forais helps identify similar elements that were generic to the form.

THE FORAL AND THE FORAIS

Forais were typically documents issued by the King, the church, or nobility (as landholders) to a
community to repopulate and settle lands taken from Muslims in the eleventh and twelfth
centuries.49 These specified the payments of foro that the community would make in return for
the grant of land. There is also the instance of a twelfth century Foral mentioned by
Subrahmanyam, which was issued to Muslim residents within Portugal after the conquest of
1170, citing their duties and responsibilities with respect to the Christian community and the
Crown.50 The claims of the community were often heard or channeled through the concelho, or
municipality, leading to its association with the Foral and the regulated autonomy it assured to
communities.51 By the fourteenth century, the typical grants or doaç ão of senhorio from the
King to members of the nobility, were to

48
da Cunha Rivara, Brados a favor das communidades das aldeas do Estado da India, 12. He suggests that the actual payments
gaunkars made to the treasury were akin to an older form of taxation (cabeç ão das sisas).

49
Costa, Lains, and Miranda, An Economic History of Portugal, 1143–2010, 28.
50
Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500–1700, 43.
51
Costa, Lains, and Miranda, An Economic History of Portugal, 1143–2010, 20–21.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 199

individuals and not to communities. These were hereditary in the legitimate male line, and
specified limits to jurisdictional powers, and the right to make public appointments within a
territory, valid until the line of succession died out and the land reverted to the Crown.52

In 1507, a grant of an island in the Azores group permitted the donatary (the recipient) to
confer a deed and title to a third person, provided the land was brought under cultivation in five
years. This grant of 1507 is the first, according to H. B. Johnson, to specifically mention a Foral,
though its existence would be assumed, he states, in any such carta de doaç ão or grant that
preceded it.53 The difference, he states was that while the carta de doaç ão directly addressed
the obligations of the donatary to the monarch, the Foral regulated the obligations of the
inhabitants of the territory, the comunidade, towards the senhor. Forais issued by Manoel I in
the early sixteenth century resulted from the wholescale review or reform of the original forais
and have been seen as instruments to concentrate the rights to prior settlement grants in the
hands of the monarch. Standing guarantee against abuses by the nobility, such agreements were
intended to build a direct relationship between the monarch and the comunidades.54 They
specified obligations, regulated economic activity, and could contain punitive measures for
crimes.55 Such Cartas de Privilé gio conferred a limited dominium over the territory of birth and
sometimes implied habitation in perpetuity, a hereditary duty and right in lands that could only
be alienated under defined conditions.

Hespanha’s As vé speras de Leviathan notes that the conjunction between geographical
conditions and prevailing social relations would be represented through the eco-political order
laid down in the Foral, which hierarchized the benefits that would accrue to the comunidade,
the senhores, and to the crown. While Hespanha emphasizes that social concepts defined the
representation of space and terrain, Jason W. Moore characterizes the “biological invasion” of
uncultivated land in Madeira in the mid-fifteenth century, the subsequent felling of forests and
the rapid rise and decline in sugar production all within the first half of the sixteenth century, as
a particular “ecological regime” of early

52
H. B. Johnson, “The Donatary Captaincy in Perspective: Portuguese Backgrounds to the Settlement of Brazil,” The Hispanic
American Historical Review 52, no. 2 (1972): 206, https://doi.org/10.2307/2512427.

53
Johnson, 209.
54
Johnson, 210.
55
Hespanha, As vé speras do Leviathan. Instituições e poder político. Portugal – sé c. XVII;

Joã o Cosme, O Foral manuelino de Arronches (Colibri, 2005).

200 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

Portuguese colonialism.56 Such concepts detail the broader claim about how rural and urban
spaces were reconfigured through colonial rule, cited earlier in relation to A Invenç ão de Goa.
Through the regulation of economic activity, the forais put in place a regime that would
facilitate the production of wealth specific to each terrain, and with the authority of the
monarch and other terms intact, the kinds of beneficiaries and the terms of use it stipulated
could be modified. The provisions of the Foral given to Duarte Coelho in 1534 regarding rent,
succession, and monopolies were modified to facilitate settlements on the northeastern coast of
Brazil, and included the right to enslave indigenous populations.57 Its clauses indicate how
significant natural resources, minerals, precious metals, and the sale of weapons were to secure
a hold on the territory.58 In both Madeira and Brazil, where land was conceived of as available
for settlement, the Foral or the sesmaria (in Brazil) enabled production initiated by
metropolitan settlers. An assumption that is held in common by histories of the early sixteenth
century is that seigniorial forms of rule were applied in areas conceived of predominantly as
agricultural economies, such as the Atlantic islands, Brazil, certain parts of Africa such as Angola
and Zambezi, and absent in places conceived of in terms of the movement of goods and trade.
Agricultural production in Goa in this view was an aspect that weighed in favor of its selection
as a capital, less as a commercial product than as an assured form of sustenance.59

The studies cited above indicate the need to include a conception of terrain as an element of the
political ecology framed by the Foral. The Foral de Mexia could well have imbued the territory
of birth with a legal significance, introduced or enhanced the importance of heredity,
patrilineage, inalienable land, regulated autonomy, and not least, the agrarian
comunidade/gaunkaria as a legal entity. The Foral had introduced a formal political relationship
and a civic structure for a domain of rural life that would also prevail, though some aspects of it

56
Moore, “Madeira, Sugar, and the Conquest of Nature in the ‘First’ Sixteenth Century,” 345–348.

57
Johnson, “The Donatary Captaincy in Perspective,” 208.

58
“Carta de foral doando a capitania de Pernambuco a Duarte Coelho,” September 27, 1534,
http://bdlb.bn.gov.br/acervo/handle/123456789/37106.

59
Santos, “Goa é a chave de toda a Índia”, 99. This is also supported by Mü nch Miranda who claims, “(I)ndeed, within the prevailing
political culture common to most European monarchies and transposed to colonial offshoots, governance was still far from being
dominated by revenue-maximizing notions.” Miranda, “Fiscal System and Private Interests in Portuguese Asia under the Habsburgs,
1580–1640,” 211.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 201

would acquire substance only later.60 Preexisting structural elements that were incorporated or
rendered in Portuguese and infused perhaps with new meanings were the gaon, equated with
the aldea (archaic usage), and the “gancaria” with the câ mara (council). The term comunidade
began to be used only in later reports.61 The recognition of the eight principal villages of
Tiswadi (Ilhas) at the beginning of the Foral is seen as recognition of the desa, an internal
administrative body that was termed the câ mara gerais. The desa, a general assembly with
representatives from powerful villages, is a formation in contiguous territories that preexisted
the Portuguese.62 This accommodation recalls Benton’s argument regarding the existence of a
single legal regime across territories, made possible by the incorporation of difference.

USES AND CUSTOMS, WRITING, AND ORALITY

Another set of concepts that could have been introduced from a metropolitan context is that of
usos e costumes, which, when it appears in Mexia’s Foral seems to be a recognition of the
difference of colonial culture, as is commonly understood within colonial history. The term
“usos e costumes” however, appears in metropolitan forais, which were reissued within
Portugal at approximately the same time as they were used in Azores and the conquests. This
leaves open the question of whether the term arose to demarcate the rights of communities in
relation to the nobility and the crown, or whether the usage had begun to denote cultural
distance and difference in the conquests. An account of the Foral de Arronches (1512) also
mentions that by the middle of the fifteenth century, customary rights of the local comunidades
were being secured in writing, a transition made visible in a complaint to the king that stated
that the Foral was neither being interpreted according to

60
Thus, Medieval Goa states, “Goa city was also declared to be realenga, which meant an inalienable possession of the Portuguese
Crown, and this was done years before it was made the headquarters of the Government of the Portuguese State of India.” de Souza,
Medieval Goa, 1979, 96.

61
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 124 XIV.
“Regimento de Tanadar desta Ilha de Tycoary (Goa) a Duarte Pereira” J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portuguez Oriental, vol. Parte 1,
Fasciculo 5 (New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1992), fol. 97, 1519.

62
de Souza, Medieval Goa, 1979, 57. Burton Stein’s periyanadu is another conception of supra-assemblies that characterized the
segmentary state, with the peripheries “shading off into a ritual hegemony.” Burton Stein, Peasant State and Society in Medieval
South India (Delhi: Oxford Paperbacks, 1995), 265.

202 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

(oral) customary usage, nor according to the Manueline ordinations of the turn of the sixteenth
century that sought to reform them.63 Another usage in the Foral that has been read literally,
though its obfuscation of power has been noted, is the claim that it had been arrived at after
discussions with the gaunkars and with the learned members of the community. A comment on
the Foral do Mourã o, however, reveals that these sentences were a convention that intended to
establish the monarch’s practices of good governance, and a formal sign of the participation of
the comunidade, leaving ambiguous once again, the question of the original impetus for the
phrase.64

Writing and orality had political meanings in both metropolitan and local contexts. The Foral of
1526 rhetorically established its place in local politics through the act of being read out to
inhabitants of villages.65 It contained prescriptions for other official oral pronounce- ments and
declarations that indicate its role as mediator of local hierarchies.66 Section XXII states that
where written records do not exist or are lost, an oath would suffice, and that agreements such
as Nemos (resolutions regarding financial allocations) had to be both written and recited aloud.
The honor of making the announcement fell to the principal gaunkar, and in his absence, to the
escrivã o.67

CONTEMPORARY DOCUMENTS—CARTA, NEMO, REGIMENTO, AND FORAL

The Foral de Mexia was not the only Foral issued in Goa. Other forais and Tombos written in
1540 followed, such as the Tombo Geral do Estado da Índia of 1554 (compiled by the sixth
Vedor of the treasury, Simã o

63
Cosme, O Foral manuelino de Arronches, 16.

64
Cosme, O Foral manuelino de Arronches. It is known that information was extracted against the will of the gaunkars in stages.
Some obligatory payments came to light only later, as a further footnote to a Regimento indicates, with the information added
retrospectively to the Tombo Geral. This footnote adds a further payment of two leaes that the gaunkars admit to have been obliged
to pay. However, this was only recorded by the Vedor Fernã o Rodrigues Castelo Branco in fol. 20 of the Foral of 1541, and had been
added to fol. 24 of the Tombo Geral retrospectively.

65
Carmo D’souza, “The Village Communities – A Historical and Legal Perspective,” in Goa and Portugal History and Development, ed.
Charles J. Borges, Ó scar G. Pereira, Hannes Stubbe (New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 2000), 159–168.

66
Both the Foral and a letter addressed by the Crown to the escrivã es discussed later in this article, repeatedly assert the need to
record agreements in writing. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras
annexas a ella,” 126, Section 22.

67
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, 126.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 203

Botelho), registers of temple properties in 1560, and subsequent records for properties in Diu
and Chaul in the 1590s.68 The construction of Tombos was a process of confirming taxation and
property regimes that stretched into the next century.69 Economic histories would tend to use
the Foral and Tombo interchangeably as records, as does the author of the Bosquejo Historico
das Communidades, a foundational text for the retrospective historicization of the
gaunkaria/comunidade in the nineteenth century.70

The later Tombos as  ngela Barreto Xavier has pointed out, convey the sense of a suppressed
narrative, of disputes over properties, of the unwillingness of inhabitants to reveal information,
and of the violence of the destruction of temples and transfer of properties, implied in the
Tombos after the mid-sixteenth century.71 The Tombo Geral de Goa of 1595 for instance, was
expressly instituted to inquire into whether there were payments due to the crown that had
been concealed or lands that had been undervalued.72 It rehearsed the account of the origin of
the gaunkaria from the Foral of 1526 as history and was a cumulative discussion of the validity
of prior claims and information about the nature of dues to the state.
Aside from the Tombos which as records or accounts replicated the nature of information
regarding property, other components of the Foral were not very different in content from prior
and contemporary political imperatives, such as the royal Carta (royal missive) of March 30,
1519 which acknowledged the existing administrative position of the Tanadar in Goa, with an
assurance that no more taxes would be demanded of local elites than in the prior system of
governance, with

68
 ngela Barreto Xavier, “O Orientalismo Cató lico. Rotinas do Saber na Goa da É poca Moderna,” in Neue Welten (International
Symposium, Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 2006), 5, http://www.dhm.de/archiv/ausstellungen/neue-
welten/pt/docs/Angela_ Barreto_Xavier.pdf.

69
Economic histories draw on the Foral das Ilhas de Goa of 1553–1562, the Foral de Salcete of 1567 (begun in 1562) and the Foral
de Bardez of 1645, the Tombo do Estado da Índia, by Simã o Botelho of 1554 (begun in 1547), the Tombo de Diu of 1592 (as well as
those for Chaul and Damã o), and the Tombo das rendas de Goa, Bardez e Salcete of 1595. Â ngela Barreto Xavier, “Disquiet on the
Island,” The Indian Economic & Social History Review 44, no. 3 (2007): 273, https://doi.org/10.1177/001946460704400301.
Serrã o et al., Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, 165.

70
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 114; Xavier,
Bosquejo Historico das Communidades das Aldeas dos Concelhos das Ilhas, Salsete e Bardez.

71
 ngela Barreto Xavier, “O Orientalismo Cató lico. Rotinas do Saber na Goa da É poca Moderna.” Xavier, “Disquiet on the Island,”
288.

72
Francisco Pais, Panduronga S. S. Pissurlencar, and C. R Boxer, Tombo da Ilha de Goa e das terras de Salcê te e Bardê s (1595) (Nova
Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1952).

204 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

the additional claim that even were there to be revisions in the future, it would not exceed what
the Sultanate of Adil Shah demanded.73 Likewise, the Regimento do escrivã o da Ilha desta
cidade (Goa), instructions issued by Mexia to the escrivã es (legal clerks/translators) of the city
of Goa and the Tanador-mor of Ilhas is regulatory and instructive, establishes hierarchy and
answerability between the escrivã o and the Tanadar mor, and in insisting that agreements be
recorded in both Canarim and Portuguese, altered the system of accounting.74 The Foral
installed the Vedor at the head of this hierarchy, with the Tanador-mó r, the escrivã o, and the
gaunkar instructed in the terms of their accountability to each other. It also regulated the
internal hierarchy of gaunkars to agricultural workers and scribes, and to those who held
entitlements and obligations other than those implicit in the gaunkari position, by prescribing
what kinds of payments and concessions could be made and to whom.

Documents such as the Regimento and the Carta addressed similar issues as the Foral did, but
they were issued by and transmitted to different authorities. Likewise, a Nemo of 1524,
originally in “canary” (possibly in the Modi or Hale-Kannada script), was written by gaunkars
and transcribed in Portuguese as the “Assento da obrigaç ão dos Gancares,” confirming the
obligation of gaunkars to pay eighteen thousand tangas at four barganis a tanga to the “Moor”
who ruled them earlier.75 The term Nemo indicates that it was a resolution issued by the
gaunkaria, and was of local provenance, but had been produced under the eye of the state. It is
perhaps one of the sources to which the Foral referred in its preamble where it claimed that
information was gathered about the obligatory and customary payments that governed
relations in the territory. The Regimentos that followed transformed the Nemo and other such
documents into state regulation, and authorized
73
“Livro de Registos antigos no cartorio da Fazenda de Goa,” fol. 25 J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portuguez Oriental, Parte 1:1–3.
As de Souza points out, this was an amendment of a proclamation of 1518, which sanctioned the seizure of all land. de Souza,
Medieval Goa, 1979, 60.

74
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Regimento do Escrivã o da Ilha desta Cidade (Goa),” in Arquivo Portuguê s Oriental, vol. V, doc. 57, n.d., 120.

75
“Assento da obrigação dos Gancares desta Ilha de dezoito mil tangas brancas,” No. 52 (Livro de Registos Antigos, fol. 99), J. H. da
Cunha Rivara, Arquivo Portuguê s-Oriental, Parte 1:75–76. Canarym is a term that the Portuguese administration used to denote (in
this context) the Hale Kannada or old Kannada or Modi script, which was also in use for official documents. Prachi Deshpande,
“Scripting the Cultural History of Language: Modi in the Colonial Archive,” in New Cultural Histories of India: Materiality and
Practices (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2014), 62–86.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 205

different offices of state to enact its stipulations.76 In the context of these documents, the Foral
carries an enunciatory authority while the others demonstrate the redistribution of that
authority and information among other offices of the state.

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND THE DIFFERENTIATION OF IDENTITIES

The following sections discuss some of the provisions of the Foral that reveal how legal
identities were positioned in relation to each other. If Christian practice and codified law
embodied the primary political subject in the metropolitan center, the Hindu gaunkar as a
politico- legal entity appears to have been allocated a different position in comparison to the
gentios da terra or indigenous in Brazil named in a Foral of 1534. In the hierarchy of rights that
ordered colonial identities according to the degree to which they departed from a primary
political subjectivity, the contingencies of empire would allow greater latitude to some
differences over others but the nature of hierarchies established between communities were
often broadly coherent.

Inquiries and complaints following on the Foral of 1526 extended through the century involving
both the interests of the state, and those of indigenous property-holders.77 The state was
concerned with identifying undeclared portions of village land, with the aim of bringing as much
land under cultivation and within the tax bracket as was possible.78 The clauses of the Foral
until clause XXVI prioritized the settling of property that owed foro to the state, before moving
to forms of property that did not. These determined how transactions

76
“Capitulo Primeiro do Regimento que o Vedor da Fazenda Affonso Mexia, deu ao Feitor desta cidade de Goa para arrecadar os
direitos e fó ros desta Ilha e das annexas a ella, no qual se continha o que cada Aldea devia em forma de Foral,” No. 59 J. H. da Cunha
Rivara, Parte 1:133–134. The portion of the Regimento Rivara had reproduced was found in the Tombo Geral (fol. 24) and had the
date 1530 attributed to it. It seemed to da Cunha Rivara who had compiled several of these documents, that the Regimento was
referred to in the preamble of the Foral and therefore could have dated from 1526, which seems plausible.

77
J. Duncan M. Derrett, “The Administration of Hindu Law by the British,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 4, no. 1
(1961): 20.

78
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Provisã o do Governador Nuno da Cunha em favor do povo desta Ilhas, e concerto que nã o sejã o
demandados por a terra sonegada,” in Arquivo Portuguê s Oriental, vol. Part I, doc. 73, Fasciculo 5 (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional,
1857), 159–160. This document from 1534 issued by Governador and Vedor Nuno da Cunha concerns complaints about gaunkars
who had not revealed land that was lying uncultivated. This referred to either the former property of Muslim inhabitants who had
fled persecution or was simply undeclared land.
206 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018 would be validated, claiming on occasion to draw on, “o livro
da

Aldê a,” or the village records, as authoritative texts.79 INHERITANCE LAW

Gaunkars had considerable success in having interventions in inheritance law controverted.


Clauses XXVII to XXXIII were concerned predominantly with familial and individual inheritance.
Clause XXVII begins by separating foro-paying lands from escheated property, from someone
whose son had died without an heir. Gaunkars were to apportion such lands to relations of the
deceased should they come forward to claim them, failing which the land would be in the care of
the gaunkars.80 It is only after these provisions that the movable property that might fall to the
state was discussed.

Clause XXXIII, which reasserted, in acquiescence to local representations, that no daughter


would inherit property from either her father or mother, also instituted a division of property to
men by stirpes in the case of polygamous households. The latter provision was contested and
resolved in 1534.81 The petition against Clause XXXIII to the governor Nuno da Cunha referred
to the laws of inheritance ratified with the help of the lettered of the land. The governor was
requested to correct the Foral as the “learned” or “lettered men” (from “the mainland” or terra
firme) had argued that custom not only permitted a division of the inheritance between
individual sons, but that the father could apportion the property at will.82 The

79
Clause XXII, J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,”
126.

80
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, 128–129.

81
Clause XXX already debarred women from owning property, a provision that was vehemently defended and secured in disputes.
Clause XXXIII stated that if the first wife had four sons, they would divide half the property among them, irrespective of the fact that
the second wife might have just one son to inherit the other half. de Souza, Medieval Goa, 1979, 65. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos
usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 129–130. The case involved ‘Sausinay’ and Santu
Sinay (the last name Shenoy, denoting a brahmin) against Ramu Sinay. This judgment is reproduced in Fasciculo 5 as no. 72,
“Sentenca sobre as partilhas dos naturaes da terra.” J. H. da Cunha Rivara, 155–159.

82
Derrett quotes A. E. d’Almeida Azavedo who suggested that Hindus successfully evaded escheat until 1691. J. Duncan M. Derrett,
20; J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 129 Section
33.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 207

representation disingenuously claimed that when Mexia was writing the Foral, he had not
sought clarification in great detail on this particular issue. Duncan M. Derrett suggests that the
Foral was also amended in 1542 and 1544 in favor of claimants, which saw a reduction in
properties flowing to the state.83

“E SE ALGUM DESTES IRMÃ OS SE TORNAR MOURO”

What has remained understated as a factor in the formation of legal subjectivities is the
distinction insistently made between the status of Hindus as distinct from Muslims (though this
has been noted as a corollary to the fact of conquest from the Sultanate). Section XXVII, which
lists situations when property may be retained by relations of a person who died without an
heir ends with a qualification: it emphatically states that if any brother who is heir to such
property converts to Islam, he would forfeit everything to the state.84 The tendency to see the
Sultanate as an external conquering force in subsequent history elides the possibility of the
existence and claims of indigenous Muslims, much as indigenous Christians would be created
under the new regime. Luís Filipe Thomaz mentions that in the fortalezas, the laws operating in
the town were extended on occasion to all Christian subjects, irrespective of race, an indication
that the Foral too was a preliminary demarcation of rural administration and the
gaunkaria/comunidade a specific kind of legal entity.85

Muslims were forbidden from retaining their lands if they had fled Portuguese jurisdiction. In
the event that these were foro-paying lands, even were they to be sold, foro and other pieces of
property would still be due to the state. The Foral specified punishments for others who had
fled its jurisdiction (Clauses XVII and XVIII), proposing mechanisms through which the
gaunkaria/comunidade could continue to tend the
83
An order of 1544 declared that widows, their daughters, and their minor sons (dispossessed of their property on the death of the
husband/father) should be allowed to retain their moveable property up to the value of 50 tangas brancas in keeping with custom,
and that this law should replace the former ruling on the question. Nos. 76, 78 J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portuguez Oriental,
Parte 1:171–172, 175–177.

84
De Souza notes that a proclamation of 1518 ordering the distribution of all land to the victors was amended a year later to restrict
seizure only to land belonging to Muslims. de Souza, Medieval Goa, 1979, 60. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portuguez Oriental, Parte
1:128.

85
Thomaz, “Estrutura política e administrativa do Estado da Índia no sé culo XVI,” 229.

208 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018 lands of the absent gaunkar, a provision intended to ensure
the

continuous payment of foro.86 GANCARES AND GENTIOS DA TERRA

In contrast to this situation that combined coercion and acquiescence in recognizing the claims,
whatever their actual provenance and veracity, of local elites, the Foral for Brazil received by
Coelho in 1534 clearly distinguishes between the political status of those born in Portuguese
territory, “naturais de meus reinos ou senhorios,” those who are “christians and my subjects”
(que forem cristã os e meus s uditos), foreigners (pessoas estrangeiras), and the local non-
Christian inhabi- tants (gentios da terra).87 It prohibited trade with indigenous inhabitants of
Brazil. Policies suppressing economic and other activities of Hindu subjects would be attempted
later in Goa, and a similar differentiation of political and economic rights based on territory of
birth and race prevailed in Goa, but were not the focus of the Foral. Though among the
indigenous, the privileged identity under colonial rule in the future would be that of the
indigenous urbanized upper-caste Christian, the Foral of 1526 confers a legal and politico-
economic identity on upper caste Hindu subjects who could demonstrate the existence of
political structure (desa/câ mara geral), written legal tradition (livro da Aldê a), and a regime of
property (leis, costumes, letrados).

RECONCEIVING SOCIAL TERRAIN

Madeira Santos’ Goa é a chave de toda a Índia indicates how early modern conceptions of the
political center of power assumed a city space. In the case of Goa, she emphasizes, “We could say
there was a capital in the juridical sense of the term but without territorial expression.”88 These
initial demarcations of spaces initiated new flows
86
J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 124–125. The
depopulation of the area of Hindus had in any case been critiqued by the government as an economically calamitous policy, and this
is echoed for instance in the introduction to Filippe Nery Xavier, Bosquejo Historico das Communidades das Aldeas dos Concelhos
das Ilhas, Salsete e Bardez, vol. I (Rangel, 1903), 106–108.

87
“Carta de foral doando a capitania de Pernambuco a Duarte Coelho.” 88 Santos, Goa é a chave de toda a Índia, 89.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 209

of authority. The village boundaries, which began to be defined by the rules governing payment
of foro acquired legal definition. Clause XXVIII allowed for the gaunkaria to find a relation
willing to cultivate a deceased’s land, but specified that the land should not be auctioned to a
gaunkar outside the village of the deceased.89

Anthropological studies suggest that the displacing of shrines from the structure of the
gaunkaria fragmented and reapportioned claims on space and economy.90 Rather than seeing
the Foral as the initial step towards the secularization of the economy, based on the distancing
of the temple, as these suggest, it would appear that the Foral effected this separation with
regard to Hinduism but perhaps hinted at how one of these practices could also form part of an
indigenous Catholic ritual in the future.91

The Foral carried details of a harvest ritual (Clause XLV) that was to be conducted by gaunkars,
but with the cathedral (Altar-mó r da Sé ) and the Portuguese official as the ritual authorities,
another indication that an alternate parallel structure was forged with the suppression of
Muslim and Hindu religious spaces.92 The village (aldea) of Taleigã o would begin the harvest
ritual (as it does today), with the first sheaf of the paddy harvest offered at the Sé Cathedral,
from where the vigario would go to the Feitor who would offer marks of honor to the gaunkars

89
XXVIII J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Archivo Portuguez Oriental, Parte 1:128. In 1604, the gaunkars of Tiswadi took a decision to disallow
the alienation of the gaunkar’s jono (an individual or familial share in the profits of the gaunkaria) and other privileges to those
outside the village. In cases of financial necessity, only the entire assembly of gaunkars could arrange to sell the rights to jono to
somebody within the village community for the length of his lifetime, after which, the jono would revert to the gaunkaria. This, as
they noted in a representation via the tanadar mor, was to prevent the administrative difficulties that arose when an increasing
number of outsiders entered the village. Teotó nio R. de Souza, Medieval Goa: A Socio-Economic History (Goa, 1556 and Broadway
Book Centre, Panaji, 2009), 167.

90
Alexander Henn, Hindu-Catholic Encounters in Goa: Religion, Colonialism, and Modernity (Indiana University Press, 2014);
Alexander Henn, “The Becoming of Goa. Space and Culture in the Emergence of a Multicultural Lifeworld,” Lusotopie (2001): 333–
339; Paul Axelrod and Michelle A. Fuerch, “Portuguese Orientalism and the Making of the Village Communities of Goa,” Ethnohistory
45, no. 3 (1998): 439–476, https://doi.org/ 10.2307/483320; Axelrod and Fuerch, “Flight of the Deities.”

91
Henn, “The Becoming of Goa. Space and Culture in the Emergence of a Multicultural Lifeworld”; Axelrod and Fuerch, “Flight of the
Deities.”

92
The number of parishes would not expand beyond the singular one of the city of Goa until 1543. Santos, Goa é a chave de toda a
Índia, 202. In later years, Confrarias, caste-based village confraternities that organized various activities central to the religious life
of the catholic members of the village and the Fabrica, an administrative committee that managed Church properties were set up.
Dias, “The Socio Economic History of Goa with Special Reference to the Comunidade System: 1750–1910.”

210 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

in recognition of precedence, and then to the other villages in the order prescribed.93 The state
perhaps attempted to replicate local ritual practices that renewed relationships with symbols of
religious and political power, but in doing so, had laid the ground for the imminent
identification of the village with a parish and with a comunidade that was defined, through
these metropolitan associations as both a structure and a people.94 The clauses on honors detail
the order and manner in which they are to be bestowed on gaunkars in order of rank, and are
recognizably components of prevailing ritual.95 Magalhã es asserts the spatial organization
inherent in rituals associated with sowing and harvesting, when he suggests that the offering of
nā ivedya along with the cultivation of land, produces an “implicit sociology of village space that
makes the habitability of a given territory dependent on agriculture and on the temple.”96 He
details similar ritual practices and struggles between Hindu observances and the state in
relation to the establishments of comunidades in the New Conquests, in the eighteenth century.

CONCLUSION

In a comparison with land grants and revenue arrangements arrived at in other territories of
the Portuguese, the gaunkaria stands out for being the recipient of an agreement arrived at with
a collective, rather than with individual agents.97 The Tombo de Chaul or that of

93
Joaquim Heliodoro da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a
ella,” 131–132.

94
Thomaz attributes the dominance of the gaunkaria to the absence of conditions producing the feudal formations of the north and
suggests that it served as the basis for the structure of the parish. Thomaz, “Estrutura política e administrativa do Estado da Índia no
sé culo XVI,” 235. Magalhã es, “Pequenos Reis e Grandes Honras Culto, Poder e Estatuto na Índia Ocidental,” 54–58. Serrã o et al.,
Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, 10.

95
They specify that the foremost gaunkar’s land was to be sown first; they detail the way in which palms of the hand should be
crossed so that the honor is received in the right hand by gaunkars who are ranked in a particular order in relation to each other;
that betel nut was to be received by all and that the escrivã o would receive the honor on behalf of gaunkars, if the status of gaunkars
was equal. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, “Foral dos usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores da Ilha de Goa e outras annexas a ella,” 132.

96
Magalhã es, “Pequenos Reis e Grandes Honras Culto, Poder e Estatuto na Índia Ocidental,” 42.

Pinto: The Foral in the History of the Comunidades of Goa 211

Daman (Damã o) produced at end of the century indicate that seized land was distributed
through individual grants and sometimes the bestowal of entire villages, with attached
conditions that they had to be inhabited and cultivated in the case of emphyteutic leases.98
These grants were made to individuals, and in many cases, such entitlements presumed the
provision of military support to the state.99

Where collectives were recognized as political and economic entities, in other places and other
times, these tended to be religious communities with customary trades and occupations, with
specified rights in relation to the sovereign. Sanjay Subrahmanyam cites fifteenth century
practices in Europe and Asia where foreign trading communities had a recognized leader, as
was the case with Gujaratis and Tamils in fifteenth century Melaka, and in the case of Portugal,
where a specified quarter or neighbourhood was recognized, as for instance, the mouraria in
Lisbon, or the Paravas as a community in the Tamil region with a pattangatim-mó r (jati-
talaivan).100 The gaunkaria was not defined by any exclusive religious or caste identity, as it
primarily addressed prevailing Hindu practices, but it included Hindu and Catholic gaunkars,
with Catholic gaunkars increasing in number in later years.101
The stability of the hereditary fixed patrilineages, the vangods, which held perennial
administrative rights over land, the harvest ritual, and the fact that the gaunkars were
addressed as a collective

97
A document entitled “Requerimento que fizeram os Gançares Cochim aos Oficiais e Feitor de Goa para se lhes descontarem a
Renda a que eles eram obrigados a pagar da Fazenda que lhes tinham tomado,” 1527, Corpo Cronoló gico, Parte II, mç . 145, n.00B0 3,
Torre do Tombo, Lisboa, indicates that the term gaunkar was not exclusive to Goa.

98
Dias Antunes suggests that after 1540, there was greater readiness to make concessions to Portuguese and Goan brahmin settlers,
especially of lands abandoned by Muslim titleholders. Those who had rendered services to the crown, were rewarded with entire
villages (through aforamento or emprazamento), for the length of three lives; grants that were made largely to Christians. Luís
Frederico Dias Antunes, “A Persistê ncia dos sistemas tradicionais de propriedade fundiá ria em Damã o e Baç aim (Sé culo XVI),” in
Property Rights, Land and Territory in the European Overseas Empires, ed. José Vicente Serrã o et al. (Lisboa: CEHC-IUL, 2014), 160,
http://hdl.handle.net/10071/2718.

99
Luís Frederico Dias Antunes, 161. Lívia Baptista de Souza Ferrã o discusses both prazos (land grants that were not necessarily in
perpetuity) and foreiros who were individual beneficiaries of grants and were bound to pay foro to the Crown for their enjoyment
of the use of the land. While the prazeiro had to provide for the defence of his territory, the foreiros were responsible to the factor.
Lívia Ferrã o, “Rendas e foros de Damã o nos finais do sé c. XVI,” in Anais de Histó ria de Alé m-Mar, ed. Artur Teodor de Matos, vol. 2
(Lisboa: Universidade Nova, 2001).

100
Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500–1700, 43, 49, 276.

101
Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, Myth and Reality: Studies in the Formation of Indian Culture (Popular Prakashan, 1962), 163.

212 JOURNAL OF WORLD HISTORY, JUNE 2018

entity, distinguishes the gaunkaria/comunidade from other forms of land administration.102


Often enough the state was acquiescent with the interpretation of the Foral as a pact with the
gaunkars, as it worked as a mechanism of self-legitimation and continuity through which it
aligned itself with prior sovereigns.103 Representations by both the state and by gaunkars in
later centuries could obfuscate the economic conditions about which they complained, but the
insistence on the relationship with the Crown emerged from the complainants’ familiarity with
Portuguese law, and constitutes a political maneuver made in mutually recognizable terms. In
order to stabilize and contest the magnitude and types of payments drawn from the gaunkaria,
this was a maneuver that tried to insist on a primary agreement on the autonomy of the
gaunkaria which delimited the right of the state, and in the nineteenth century, to save it from
dissolution. Rather than fixing the meaning of the Foral to a singular original context (though
specifying that context is a necessary element in its historical analysis), it may be pertinent to
trace the reactivation and changing political value of the document, much as economic concepts
and legal terms were seen to have transformed and combined in different arrangements across
the empire.

102
Magalhã es strongly suggests that the Foral introduced substantial changes by making changeable entitlements permanent. He
argues that prior rituals legitimized the relationship between the inhabitants and space by articulating a “homology or
consubstantiality with the space – a given space, with a fixed group that may be comprised of diverse lineages, but never called to
represent a supra-local occupation or exceeding the territory.” Magalhã es, “Pequenos Reis e Grandes Honras Culto, Poder e Estatuto
na Índia Ocidental,” 54–58.

103
Representações das comunidades agrícolas do estado da Índia. Representations by state officials in response to petitions
submitted by gaunkars would voice this interpretation. Filipe Nery Xavier, Bosquejo Historico das Communidades das Aldeas dos
Concelhos das Ilhas, Salsete e Bardez (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1852), 176–177 Doc. 22. The Bosquejo stated that a document
issued by the Treasury in 1649, deprived the gaunkars of their sovereignty by declaring the state the senhorio directo of the lands,
and the comunidades mere grants of usufruct. Document 34 is an Alvará of 1711 that the Capitã o Geral, D. Rodrigo da Costa urged
the king as the directo senhorio of the villages of Goa to publish, as it would restrict the gaunkars from drawing on the revenues of
the comunidade on various pretexts. Xavier, 258–259.
ROSA MARIA PEREZ

Artigos

Provincializing Goa: Crossing Borders Through Nationalist


Women1
Rosa Maria Perez
CRIA-ISCTE – University of Lisbon Institute

Abstract. The nationalist movement in Portuguese India has not been systematically analysed and the
studies produced exclude women’s voices. In this article, I will present a small constellation of women
nationalists who, since the beginning of the anti-colonial movement, were engaged in the larger Indian
group of satyagrahis, therefore merging into the pan-Indian freedom movement. As I will try to show,
there was a transit of ideas and of ideals from Goa to India and from India to Goa, in which Goan
women played a crucial role, crafting nationalism and national belonging against the winds of colonial
rule, therefore crossing the geographical borders of colonized Goa to the broader nation of India. They
invite us to re-examine the role played by women through their emancipatory actions, under colonial and
patriarchal rules that restricted their political and civic participation. Discursive images need, therefore, to
be deconstructed when considering women’s participation in the public arena, which overran the
boundaries imposed by family, caste and political power. They also illustrate that, unlike what a
substantial portion of scholarship on Goa has assumed, Portuguese colonialism was not secluded in the
mythical universe of Goa Dourada, “Golden Goa”. I will try, therefore, to borrow a Chakrabarty-inspired
expression regarding Europe, “to provincialize Goa”, a procedure that entails looking at Goa not from
Lisbon but from India, in the broader extension and expansion of the British raj and of its negotiations
with Indian culture, mainly with Hinduism.

Keywords: Goa, women, nationalism, political borders, circulation of ideas, political movements

1. Women in Goa: The Sounds of Silence

As I have often written before, the dominant scholarship on Goa has conceived of
Goan society as Catholic and Portuguese-speaking, reducing India to the small
territories of Portuguese colonialism. This scholarship was also mainly
androcentric, in other words, it was produced by and focused on men. Furthermore,
Goan society has been largely analysed through the narratives of the dominant
groups that tend to be privileged and hegemonic, even if they are not consensual
or uniformly shared. Indigenous views were excluded from Portuguese
descriptions, as they were from subsequent analyses of Goan society (Perez, The
Tulsi and the Cross). So were women, in colonial and anti-colonial histories and
ethnographies. Indeed, women’s voices and women’s representations have been
neglected or relegated to remote and unclassified shelves, if not irreversibly
deleted.
225

226 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)


My current research on women’s representations in colonial periodicals has
allowed me to identify women’s voices, sometimes only alluded to, sometimes
recovered from the silence of non-canonical archives, often produced by Catholic
authors,2 that allow us to raise a veil that has separated Portuguese from British
colonialism, dominant in India. In fact, these texts dialogue with the Indian
nationalist movement—that in Goa brought Catholics and Hindus together—in
parts of India in which it played a dynamic role, such as Bombay and Calcutta.
They also show us that, unlike what a substantial portion of scholarship on Goa
has assumed, Portuguese colonialism was not secluded in the mythical universe of
Goa Dourada, “Golden Goa”.3 I will try, therefore, to borrow a Chakrabarty-
inspired expression regarding Europe,4 “to provincialize Goa”, a procedure that
entails looking at Goa not from Lisboa but from India, in the broader extension
and expansion of the British raj and of its negotiations with Indian culture, mainly
with Hinduism. By the same token, I would like to challenge a Portuguese
nationalist scholarship that, echoing the Portuguese colonial ideology, tended to
immobilize Goa in space and time, under the long- lasting mythology of Goa
Dourada.

As an anthropologist, it is at the level of what I have called, probably in an


uninspired way—and perhaps unoriginally—”ethnography of colonialism” that it
seems possible to recover the specificities not of colonialism but of colonialisms.5
Above all, it would be possible to identify the nature of the colony through the
voices that have structured it, to map its classifications and representations—
particularly the very notion of “colony” and “colonialism”— to disclose
indigenous categories, forms of affinity and antagonism, endogenous and
exogenous negotiations of culture and power.

Such an ethnography should pay attention to native representations, then to the


first interpretations of these representations, the passage from local classifications
to an analytical and critical apparatus that would later permit its cultural and
political manipulation, to the transformations of colonial knowledge. In short, to
focus on the local, to move from the general to the particular. This knowledge
would allow access to levels of perception and representation hitherto practically
ignored, suggesting that we follow Spivak’s theoretical suggestion of “reversing,
displacing, and seizing the apparatus of value-coding” (Outside in the Teaching 63).

Ashis Nandy, in his essay, “History’s Forgotten Doubles”, criticized the methods
of history because, unlike the objects of study of anthropologists, “they never
rebelled because they were dead” (61).6 The ethnography of colonialism, in the
dialogue between the archives and social reality, would allow us to give voice to
this silence of the past. This approach would also let us dispense with calcified
categories—those of the observer—that have removed dynamism and change
from the colony and have ascribed them to the colonial process and project; it
would let us question narrative conventions that tend to restrain instead of
challenge, to allow lived experiences in colonialism to emerge. Thus avoiding, as
Said suggested, “sanitizing the culture” (13).
Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 227

The analyses of the processes through which specific cultural devices have
effectively served political goals (or the way in which colonial discourse has often
appropriated native practices as a form of legitimation) are quite meager in studies
of colonialism. In previous texts, I have tried to demonstrate the replication of this
process in Portuguese and, to a greater extent, in British colonialism in India
(Perez, “Portuguese Orientalism”; Os Portugueses). Therefore, so many years and so
many texts after the beginning of academic studies on colonialism, part of its
structural principles is still, at many levels, to be identified. I believe that
representations of women and representations by women offer a web of meanings
whose disclosure constitutes a relevant process to understand some of the above
principles. As Ray put it, “Hindu woman begins to function as a crucial semiotic
site in and around which the discourses of imperialism, nationalism, and Indian
postcolonialism, and feminism are complexly inscribed” (8).7

2. Engendering the Nation: Women and Nationalism

I have argued in another context that the imperial European representations of


India were largely built on gender relations (Perez, “The Rhetoric of Empire”).
Gender asymmetries constituted a key metaphor for representing Europe and its
others, colonized and colonizers, and reified the major cultural differences used to
legitimate colonial interference, justified as a reformation of traditions set in
motion to liberate Indian women from male oppression (Perez, “The Rhetoric of
Empire”).

The relation between gender and colonialism inspired a vast body of scholarship.
As Ghosh argued, gender and colonialism, once associated with the narrow
definition of the white women in the colonies, is now largely concerned with the
ways in which colonialism restructured the gender dynamics of both colonizing
and colonized women (737). This author drew our attention to a challenge that the
expansion of this field of study raises: how to define and study gender in a way that
does not replicate the inequalities and hierarchies of colonialism (738).

Indeed, we should not impose gender on other categories of analysis, which would
largely compromise the understanding of the system as a whole (see Perez, The
Tulsi and the Cross).8 Nor should we equate gender with woman (Scott, Gender and the
Politics). Although gender first materialized as a descriptive category for woman,
woman—being fluid, partial and fragmentary—is not a universal or essential
category, on the one hand, nor independent, on the other, of differences of class
and caste, religion, age and relationship to power—a view that challenges a
generation of feminist writing.9
We should also be aware, in a way echoing Rosi Braidotti, that the sex/gender
distinction makes neither epistemological nor political sense in many non-English,
Western-European contexts (38).10 Kamala Visweswaran further calls our attention
to the fact that, for some theorists, gender itself is a sociologism that reifies the
social relations that are seen to produce it by failing to account for how the terms
‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are rooted in language prior to any given social
228 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

formation (592). I will try to show below that women nationalists in Goa invite us
to unsettle gender categories on the one hand, and on the other to redefine them
in the light of female agency and self-empowerment that Goan women achieved by
claiming their rights as citizens in the public sphere.

In different texts, Partha Chatterjee has analysed the articulation between Indian
nationalism and gender (see, namely, “Colonialism, Nationalism” and The Nation
and its Fragments). Since then, the study of Indian nationalism has frequently looked
at the gendering of political discourse and the sexualization of concepts related to
the complex of nation and nationalism, state and nation- building (Ivekovic and
Mostov 9). Gender and nation are social and historic constructions which
intimately participate in the formation of one another (Mostov 89). To Mostov,
“Nations are gendered, and the topography of the nation is mapped in gendered
terms (feminized soil, landscapes and boundaries, and masculine movement over
spaces)” (89).11

With regards to Goan nationalism, gender is far from being a “social shifter” (to
borrow Deborah Durham’s terminology “Disappearing Youth”). In fact, gender
constructs were important tools for the expression of Goan nationalism, though
not as centrally as they were for the Indian national project. Representations of the
homeland were often feminized and portrayed as a woman, functioning as a source
of Goan cohesion, particularly when its integrity was at stake (see Perez, The Tulsi
and the Cross, chap. 5).

What remains to be studied, through a combination of intensive fieldwork and the


analysis of the archive is, as I have maintained so far, the crucial role played by
Goan women in crafting nationalism and national belonging against the winds of
colonial rule. Therefore, crossing the geographical borders of colonized Goa to the
broader nation of India. What follows is a short synthesis of my research in this
direction.

3. Provincializing Goa: From the House to the Nation

The nationalist movement in Portuguese India has not been systematically


analysed, and, as I mentioned above, the studies produced excluded women’s
voices. However, I came across a small constellation of women nationalists who,
since the beginning of the anti-colonial movement, were engaged in the larger
Indiangroup of satyagrahis,12 thus merging into the pan-Indian freedom movement.
They invite us to re-examine the role played by women through their emancipatory
actions, under colonial and patriarchal rules that restricted their political and civic
participation, therefore modifying Spivak’s model of the silent subaltern (“Can the
subaltern speak?”).13

Indeed, the silence created around women in the Goan nationalist movement
vanishes when digging in secondary archives and in once subaltern voices, where
we can observe a group that participated actively in the anti-colonial process. It
was part of the larger Indian nationalist project, which, inspired by Gandhi,
claimed a non-violent path to freedom. Moreover, when moving through the lives
of these women, it is possible to acknowledge the extent to which they have left
their

imprint on the Goan political agenda, both in the last decades of Portuguese
colonialism in India and in the aftermath of the colonial period.

I will now disclose one Goan female voice who played a crucial role in Goa’s
liberation and decolonization—if one can give that name to operation Vijay, which
put an end to Portuguese colonialism overnight. Her name is Libia Lobo Sardesai.
From the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Maharashtra, she created a radio
station that broadcasted to Goa the silenced voices of the opposition to
Portuguese rule. By the same token, her life story helps us to acknowledge, on the
one hand, that Goan decolonization was set in motion years before Nehru’s
decision to send his army to Goa at midnight on December 17– 18, 1961, after 14
years of reluctance to use military force. On the other hand, contrary to the
assertions of Portuguese official narratives, the colonial power was clearly aware of
the existence of an anti-colonial movement in Portuguese India, which merged
into the pan-Indian nationalist one.

When I first paid a visit to Libia Lobo Sardesai at her house in Panjim, she was
very hostile, even intimidating. It took me many hours to convince her that,
despite being Portuguese, I was never sympathetic to the colonial regime; on the
contrary, as a young woman I had lived under the same dictatorship from which
she had fled into exile. I had experienced fear and revolt as she did, though I was
far from comparing our respective political experiences and our relative distances
to power and to the centres of decision making. At the end of that day, which
seemed to me like a trial, she invited me for tea the following evening. That was
the beginning of many conversations during which Libia spent hours talking about
her seven long years of broadcasting news to Goa, sharing with Vaman Sardesai,
her friend and future husband, an unorthodox life for a woman at that time,
reading me long passages of the news that they had written in Portuguese and in
Konkani, offering to loan me her records, which, so far, she did not want any
scholar to analyse.

Her surname—half Catholic, half Hindu—is the outcome of a quite unusual


marriage in Goa: one of a Catholic woman to a Hindu man. Furthermore, it did
not follow the rules of either a Catholic or a Hindu marriage, both of which were
traditionally arranged. It was a love marriage decided by Libia after a long period of
living together with Vaman Sardesai, despite the pressure of her Catholic family for
her to marry this Hindu man rather than having him as her lover. For a Catholic
family like the one that Libia belonged to, it was—it still is—unacceptable for a
single woman to spend time with a man, not to mention a Hindu man.14 But this is
the end of a life story that started much earlier.

Libia belonged by birth to the Catholic elite, who used to send their sons to study
abroad or at prestigious Indian universities. After finishing high school, Libia Lobo
persuaded her parents to accept what at that time was quite uncommon for a
woman: to take a degree, and additionally to take it far from home. This was how
Libia went to Bombay Law School to become the first Goan woman lawyer.
Nothing in her life earlier had prepared her for the larger movement that India was
experiencing at the time. Moving within a colonial elite,
Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 229

230 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

she was hardly aware of names such as Rajagopalachari, Jawaharlal Nehru,


Vallabhbhai Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose and others, who were prominent voices
of the “Quit India Movement”,15 deeply influenced by Gandhi. At home, she
would wake up to the sound of Emissora Nacional, “National Broadcast Radio”,
stating: “This is Portugal”. Emissora Nacional would not transmit news from British
India, let alone from independent India, as part of the political isolation imposed
on Goa by the colonial regime.

It was one of Libia’s teachers, a satyagrahi, who first exposed her to a contradiction
under which she was living: in a colonial regime that clung on in a subcontinent
that persevered in India, a country that had recently become independent from the
British raj. The provoking words of her teacher of International Law—”You are
Goan, you are not free”—would reverberate in her mind day after day, long after
she had concluded her course. Eventually, her teacher’s statement led her to join
the satyagraha movement, in 1955. Successive ahimsa raids in which she participated
at the borders of Goa, in Maharashtra and Karnataka, culminated with the
Portuguese shooting to death many satyagrahis, both men and women, which
triggered her long-lasting revolt against Portuguese rule and her commitment to do
her utmost to combat it. She therefore offers an opposing version of the one
proposed by Tanika Sarkar for the Hindu nationalist movement in Bengal:
When she joined the satyagraha movement, Libia gave up her job as a lawyer and
began what would be, for seven years, a real emotional and physical ordeal.
Actually, on the 25th of November 1955, she launched with Vaman Sardesai an
underground radio station called “Voz da Liberdade”, Goenche Sadvonecho Awaz in
Konkani.

From Amboli, a hill station at the border of Maharashtra, they started to broadcast
news to Goa, morning and evening, in Portuguese and in Konkani. Amboli,
receiving an annual rainfall of about 750 centimetres, is considered the wettest
region in Maharashtra. The heavy rainfall contributed to the growth of forest along
the steep hills of Amboli. Libia coped with the inclement weather, the steady
presence of unpleasant animals such as leeches, geckos, rats, not to mention
squadronsofmosquitoesthatwouldbiteherwithoutmercy.Shehandledfearlessly an
absolute lack of comfort and of regular fresh food. However, the two trucks where
she lived with Vaman and an old man exiled from Goa, raised suspicions among
the Portuguese soldiers who patrolled the border, leading them to move further
inside, to an abandoned railway station at Castle Rock.17

The living conditions in this new habitat were much harsher than in the previous
one. In Amboli, a priest, Libia’s uncle, would regularly cross the border to bring
them medicine, soap, and fresh food without raising suspicions among
“The male body, having passed through the grind of Western education, office,

routine, and forced urbanization (

...

) was supposedly remade in an attenuated,

emasculated form of colonialism. The female body, on the other hand, was still pure

and unmarked, loyal to the rule of the shastras”.16 (43; emphasis added)

the Portuguese authorities. Now, they had to live on canned food, and hygiene was
a problem, given the scarcity of water. After a couple of months, the old man who
lived with them was unable to cope with starvation and fear, and tried to persuade
the couple to abandon their activity. Libia, however, convinced Vaman that, even
without much hope concerning the outcome of their mission, they should
continue to send to Goa updates from India, insisting on the chance of achieving
freedom. The other man left, and they spent the following six years living in a
truck, sometimes hidden in a small hut, and broadcasting to Goa news from India
and from around the world.

Ghosh has suggested that feminism and women’s activism, even outside the
circuits of imperial governance, were nonetheless bound to the class hierarchies of
imperial rule (741). When we consider Goan women nationalists, we may conclude
that they cross not only the Hindu social structure but also the divide between
Hinduism and Catholicism. In fact, the women that we come across reveal a true
stratification of roles and performances, as well as of status and social
classifications. Moreover, the traditional boundaries for female nature and
performances are often blurred and ill-defined, slipping into masculine roles:
boundless strength, undaunted courage, complete fearlessness. Therefore,
competing discourses on female roles as multivocal and at times even
contradictory challenge the dominant heterodoxy on the one hand and, on the
other, the pertinence of transferring metropolitan orthodoxies to the colony.

At this stage, I would like to quote a very recent text by Walter Mignolo:
(14; emphasis added)

The narrative of this long period would deserve greater detail than I will provide,
due to a shortage of space. Let me shift to the other side of the border. Consider
the last period of the Portuguese rule in Goa.18

speech at the International Diplomatic Academy of Montevideo, Carlos Fernandes


attempted to justify Portuguese sovereignty in India, by conveying to
Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 231

Therefore, white, heterosexual sensibilities from the former First World, can accompany decolonial
healings, support them, but whomever did not experience the colonial wound cannot heal others even when becoming
aware and cognizant of how colonial wounds are inflicted. But they can of course heal themselves, reducing to size
the privileges that whiteness, heterosexuality, and First Worldness bestowed upon them. Briefly, we are all
involved in the messy situations provoked by imperial (cf. modern/colonial)

racial/sexual classification.

In January 1958, in a
the audience Salazar’s propaganda on Goa:
Any person who, coming from the Indian Union, enters into Goan territory cannot avoid the impression
of entering a completely different country, where people feel, think and act in a European way. There is
arguably a human frontier, but Goa is the

expression of Portugal in India, Goa is the West in the East.

On 5 December 1958, during a ceremony to consecrate a national flag

offered to the Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Goa (Holy House of Mercy of Goa), the
Patriarch of Lisbon said: “in Goa is the very image of the Nation” (Diário da

Noite, 14 January 1958).

232 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018) In the next troubled
year of 1959, on his return to Goa, the Vice-Secretary

of State for Development made the following statement to the Diário da Noite:
I see with emotion and joy the land and the people of Portuguese India. With emotion, because during
the five years of my absence a beautiful page of the motherland’s History has been written here. With joy,
because the difficulties were overcome without hatred or injustices, and thus the bases for prosperity have been not
only exceeded but were hardly paralleled in centuries of life in this part of the nation. (4 April 1959;
emphasis added)

“Terrorists” was the label

However, from the beginning of 1958 that same newspaper, Diário da Noite,

a Goan daily sponsored by the colonial regime, began publishing discrete news
items called Boletins Oficiais (‘Official Bulletins’), written in a small font and located
at the lower corner of the pages, which suggested that there were terrorist

attacks launched from outside the borders of Goa.

ascribed by the Portuguese to satyagrahis, precisely those who espoused violent civil
action.

non-

There were, in fact, an increasing number of victims of these attacks, which


contradicts the official version that the principle of non-violence (ahimsa) was
being observed by the colonial army. Moreover, this information demonstrates that
the Portuguese authorities were somewhat aware of a systematic and increasing
local opposition to the regime. Consequently, they were not taken by surprise, as
they declared officially, by Operation Vijay. Actually, on the 12th of December 1961

(one week before Operation Vijay took place),

made an

about

to evacuate

and they

the Overseas Ministry unofficial statement a plan women and children, began to be
transported out of Goa in the ship India, along with regular passengers. This
evacuation followed a flow of continuous communication between Lisbon and
Vassalo intense religious activity that culminated with a Catholic pilgrimage to
St. Francis Xavier. It would be interesting to observe the recurrence
of collective public prayers, held since the unstable late 1950s, and announced in
the newspapers of Goa: “At the feet of St. Francis Xavier, a prayer for peace and
for Goa, always Christian and

always Portuguese” (Perez, The Tulsi and the Cross).

e Silva, the governor-general, which paralleled the

the church of

Across the border, Libia and Vaman began to prepare the Goans for the

fact that soon they would be part of India, since a military action had been set in
motion. As a woman, she was particularly sensitive to the disturbing effects of this
news among the population, and wanted them to know Nehru, the Prime

Minister of India, better.

with China on the definition of political borders.

They focused on Gandhi, on his enormous influence


on Nehru, on the 14 years spent by the latter trying to use peaceful methods to
bring Goa into the Indian Union against the wishes of Congress, his party, and of
the Afro-Asian leaders, enduring two wars with Pakistan and growing tension

Most of all, Libia insisted on the price and on the prize of freedom. This is

particularly compelling, as it allows us to see the ways in which a Goan woman—


as opposed to the dominant representations—could exercise agency in making her
own entry into the public domain of nationalist politics. Her biography, yet to be

written, tells us a lot about the social perceptions and representations of an upper-
caste woman, Catholic by birth, Hindu by marriage, against patriarchy and a male-
dominant political regime.19 In fact, her life story shows weak social integration and
a complex relation with social and economic power, which would deserve a deeper
anthropological analysis.

Her voice emerged in the realm of public discourse to create a collective self,
against the silence and immobility imposed by Portuguese colonialism on its
subalterns, particularly women. Discursive images need, therefore, to be
deconstructed when considering women’s participation in the public arena, which
overran the boundaries imposed by family, caste and political power.
Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 233

Ivekovic and Mostov argued for the precariousness of a woman’s place in

the home/nation, which at the same time is her designated space, but which

underlines the danger of exclusion and the pressures to conform (14). By opting

for dwelling outside the home and the state, Libia rejected the terms of belonging

assigned to her by the political and historical hierarchies, therefore wavering

protected at the borders of the “national” community (see Mostov).20

Much has been written about the night of 18 December, 1961 that put an

end to almost five centuries of Portuguese colonialism in India. Much less has
been written about the Goans who lived through that period and suffered an
overnight change of nationality, from Portuguese to Indian citizens, and whose

losses and traumas cannot be disregarded.

The passage from a colonial regime to a post-colonial nation-state is usually


made by an interregnum called decolonization, a problematic category that I will
not question here. However, if such a process took place, we should pay tribute to
Libia and Vaman Sardesai. Before surrendering to the Indian army, the last
governor-general, Vassalo e Silva, ordered the destruction of bridges and of the
airport. The Indian commander-in-chief, general Chowdhury, contacted Libia and
Vanam to relay the message that Vassalo e Silva had surrendered at 6:00 in the
evening, and that they could return to Goa. Libia had a request: to see free Goa
from the skies, a request that was granted by V. K. Krishna Menon, Minister of
Defence of Nehru, and who had fought Salazar tirelessly. The unmatched role
played by Libia Lobo Sardesai in the process, which eventually led to the
integration of Goa into the Indian Union was acknowledged in India, to begin with
by Nehru himself, who appointed Libia’s husband as the first ambassador of India

to Angola, therefore opening a diplomatic path that only recently has been taken.

Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin once stated that “Women’s bodies mark the
vulnerability of borders and, in another sense, women embody the borders: they are
‘signifiers’ of ethnic or national difference and the boundaries of the State” (252). I
would not find a better definition for Libia’s life in exile. Furthermore, I would add
that her voice erased the borders that separated Goa from India; in other words,
Libia, who was deprived of a proper national belonging, ultimately built amongst
the Goans the idea of a nation.

The political itinerary of Libia Lobo Sardesai shows a mobility between Goa and
India that the colonial policy tried to freeze and that many academic
234 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

narratives about Goa tended to reproduce. Indeed, the ideology of satyagraha,


which attracted many Goans, crossed the borders of the territory through
permanent movements of men and women. These movements, although often
doomed to failure, were powerful enough to stimulate an anti-colonial sentiment
which India had known for many years and which had led to independence.

In a text published by Goa University, expressively titled, “Role of Women in


Goan Freedom Struggle–I”, Archana A. Kakodkar considers three main categories
of women who participated in the nationalist activity after 1946. The first consisted
of a very small number of the social elite (e.g. brahmans), attracted to the pan-
nationalist movement, from which she singles out Berta Menezes Bragança (later
Berta Antonio Furtado by marriage). Secondly, there was a small group of women
who took part in social reform linked to Gandhian ideology, in a campaign for
khadi21 and village industry, therefore contributing to the economic improvement
of downgraded groups. As an example, she suggests Premilatai Zambaulikar, and
Sarubai Vaidya. Lastly, she considers the satyagrahis, who were influenced by the
mass movement after June 18, 1946. It is important to underline that they
belonged to different castes and communities,22 based in Goa or Bombay, or
elsewhere in India (172). The author is worth quoting: “Of course, the number of
women who were totally committed to the liberation movement was not in equal
proportion to men politicians or even to the total female population. But their
impact was telling” (172; emphasis added). She further adds, “Nationalism had
stimulated change and intellectual activity and involved women in roles that were
new and diverse” (173).

When at Lohia’s rally at Margao,23 in June 1946, Vatsala Kirtany was arrested, a
group of forty women marched to Margao Police Station and demanded the
immediate release of Vatsala. Premilatai Zambaulikar led this group. On August
15, 1954, a mass satyagraha was launched in which people from all parts of India
participated. Sudha Joshi, under the auspices of the Goa National Congress (Goa),
made a revolutionary speech. She was arrested and put into Aguada Jail. After her
arrest, the movement intensified in India. Satyagrahis enlisted in Poona, and men
and women from Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other parts of
India came to Poona to join Goa’s freedom struggle. Women of Poona took the
responsibility of providing food for the satyagrahis. Later on, from Aronda came a
group of women, comprising Mandakini Yalgi, Kamala Upasani, Prabha Sathe,
Shanta Rao, Sharayu Diwekar, shouting slogans such as “Goa Bharat Ek Hai!”24
Police started firing on satyagrahis; many of them fell (Kakodkar 176–177).

The conclusion drawn by the author on the political involvement of these women
deserves to be reproduced:

It is worth underlining that Libia is far from being the only woman who
personified a nationalist awareness that cut off the political seclusion imposed
within the narrow limits of Portuguese India, under the mythology of Goa Dourada.
Other women vehemently opposed the regime, and their lives are a narrative of
courage and resilience still to be written.
Thus, the successful participation of women definitely dramatized the effective and important role of
women in the political movement, and the participation of women in the liberation movement created a
tradition of female involvement in politics in Goa. The freedom movement had enabled women to evolve
from an oppressed and subordinate position to an enlightened and equal position in social and political
affairs of the territory. (Kakodkar 177–178)

Julie Mostov sustained some time ago that the “nation” naturalizes constructions
of masculinity and femininity: women physically reproduce the nation, and men
protect and avenge it. At the same time, nation collectivizes and neutralizes the
sexuality of female (and, to some extent, male) members of the nation (89). The
behaviour of Goan women nationalists urges us to question this notion of the
“nation”. In fact, when we take into account their political achievements, as well as
those accomplished by Libia Lobo Sardesai, we should rather assume that they de-
sexualize the nation along the lines of the gender divide and of gender “traditional”
roles.

We do not need much more data to start deconstructing the dominant narrative
about the nationalist movement in Portuguese India.
Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 235

This

deconstruction urges us to abandon the classical archives and search for elusive
and obscure sources and, above all, to listen carefully to the voices of the women

who participated in that movement and to those who lived closely with them.

Amita Kanekar recovered one of those voices, and one of the most

powerful ones: Mitra Bir (

born Mitravrinda Kakodkar)

, her mother’s sister, a

schoolteacher who was in prison for many years for opposing the Portuguese
regime. A few years after getting her final school certificate examination in
Bombay in 1949 (two years after the independence of India), Mitra joined
Karnataka College, in Dharwad, to get a Bachelor of Arts. The cosmopolitan and
free environment of the city at that time impressed her deeply, yet, she gave up

her BA when

India’s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, visited her college, and she could not
bear the shame of living under Portuguese rule (46). In Kanekar’s words, “It was a
watershed moment in her life” (46).

In 1953, Mitra Bir joined Gundu Amonkar’s school in Mapusa, and given her
fluency in both Portuguese and English, she was invited by Pundalik Gaitonde,
one of the founding members of the National Congress (Goa), to teach English to
his Portuguese wife, Edila.25 It was the beginning of a political itinerary of struggle
and endurance. She would quit her job at the Mapusa School to live in a village on
the border of Goa, carrying out intense political activity by distributing pamphlets
and trying to get women to join and take part in the protests and processions.

The anti-colonial struggle was strengthened in 1954, the year Gaitonde was
arrested, and the satyagrahis’ peaceful protests intensified, with thousands of
volunteers entering Goa from India, leading to strong restrictions by the colonial
regime, detentions and shooting at unarmed satyagrahis (Kanekar 48). Mitra Bir was
arrested in March 1955. She was tried and sentenced to twelve years in prison. She
was twenty-two years old at the time. Kanekar’s expressive description of that
period is quite revealing:
236 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

Mitra was kept in the Panjim lock-up for nearly two years. Shashi Almeida who had been there for a few
months before her own trial remembers cells that were like small cages, each containing four inmates,
with just enough space for the four to lie down, squashed up against one another. They were kept inside
the whole day and night, except for one visit out, usually in the afternoon, to use the toilets and
bathrooms. The lack of movement was stifling and physically painful after a while. (48–49)

After two years of dwelling under arduous conditions in a prison that had not been
conceived for women, Mitra was transferred to Margao. In this prison, she shared
a room with seven other women,26 to whom she taught English and Hindi, and
with whom she socialized until 1959, when the Portuguese gave full amnesty to
their non-violent opponents.

Amita Kanekar’s text on her aunt, Mitra Bir, a woman about whom the canonical
texts do not speak and whose participation in the nationalist movement in Goa
was remarkable, leads us to other women, equally unknown when we confine
ourselves to the official narratives. These women had, as opposed to the dominant
discourses, a central role in motivating and mobilizing other women who, like
them, were instrumental in the freedom movement.

Through their actions, they crossed the borders of Goa to India, therefore

underlining a cultural and political circulation that went through much of


Portuguese colonialism in India, which tried to confine women to the home and

to domestic chores.

This circulation paralleled a transit of ideas and of ideals from Goa to India and
from India to Goa that we can also observe in the archive,

provided we are willing to abandon the beaten tracks.

In order to achieve these goals, it is crucial to decentralize the observation,

evading the pitfalls of a metropolitan vision (I am avoiding, of course, using the


worn-out terminology of “Eurocentrism”), and to pay attention to local
phenomena that the colonial narratives did not include. It is also essential to be
aware of what Gruzinski has called “the middle-grounds”, to which world
conceptions converge, strategies of appropriation and resistance, those places
where groups and societies emerged without precedent in history and where the
mechanisms to repress and tame them were produced (115).
Notes

2 See namely,

The Tulsi and the Cross). However, when we focus on women, we can tackle diverse and complex
representations that evade the sanitized representations of Portuguese colonialism in India. These
representations

challenge historically gendered structures and offer new gendered forms.


3 Goa Dourada was promoted by the Portuguese at different levels, the first of which was architecture and

urban planning, that were meant to reproduce in the colony at the civil (in its elitist and popular forms),
the religious and the military levels the most attractive styles of the Portuguese material heritage. From a
social perspective, Goa Dourada was idealized as a harmonious society without remarkable conflicts and
cleavages between individuals and groups, converted to the egalitarian values of Christianity, in theory
incompatible with the Indian caste system. However, Goa Dourada’s social and political mythology resists
with difficulty a deeper historical and anthropological analysis.

1 This
study is part of the international project, Pensando Goa. Uma Biblioteca Peculiar de Língua Portuguesa
(FAPESP – Processo 2014/15657-8).

O Oriente Portugês. It is not at first sight a non-canonical text like those I have suggested

that we should privilege for a comprehensive understanding of the colony (Perez,

4 Chakrabarty’s book, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, had as a central
question the possibility of dislodging the European thought from the practice of history by Indian (and
non-European) scholars. Let us listen to the author: “The Europe that I seek to provincialize or to
decenter is an imaginary figure that remains deeply embedded in clichéd and shorthand forms in some
everyday habits of thought that invariably subtend attempts in the social sciences to address questions of
political modernity in South Asia” (3–4).

5 In a previous text, I emphasized my theoretical identification with Bernard Cohn and other scholars
(Stocking 1991, Pels 1997, Mathur 2000, Dirks 2002, Burton 2003, Stoler 2009) who started to analyse
colonial archives from an ethnographic perspective (2012). In the case of India, Nicholas Dirks has
underlined the need for anthropological historians to engage in an ethnography of the archives, for the
archive itself reflects the forms and formations of colonial epistemology in ways that have been
misrecognized by historians and anthropologists alike (175). We could add, therefore, that the archive
reflects an encounter saturated with power—an idea that I have already tried to develop (Perez, “The
Rhetoric of Empire”; The Tulsi and the Cross).

6 Itis relevant to illustrate Nandy’s comparison between history and anthropology: “History is not the
anthropology of past times, though it can come close to it. The growing popularity of anthropological
history gives a false sense of continuity between the two disciplines, for they are separated by a deep
political chasm: victims of anthropology talk back in some cases and in many other cases retain the
potential for doing so (. . .). In the first instance, the worst affliction is colonial anthropology, in the
second the civilizational hubris that claims that not merely the present but even the past and the future of
some cultures have to be reworked” (61).

7 Ray draws our attention to the appropriation of the Indian woman by Indian nationalists when “they
sought to advance their agenda by fusing their desire for an independent nation with the independence of
the Indian woman, who, they argued, could never achieve her ‘pure’ status as an equal participant in the
domestic or public spheres within the boundaries of a spurious community” (8–9). Therefore, the author
concludes, the discourses of imperialism and of nationalism became increasingly intertwined as each
group tried to exercise control over the representations of the Indian woman (19). A deeper analysis than
the one that fits into the scope of this article would lead us to a similar conclusion regarding Portuguese
colonialism in India and the nationalist movement that antagonized it. Here is a path that I would like to
travel in the near future.

8 Itis worth quoting Sarah Lamb: “Around the same time that social theorists were refashioning the
concept of culture to include the disparate voices and contests of its members, feminist theorists were
endeavouring to rethink, de-essentialize, and fragment the concept of ‘woman’” (5).
9 As Purkayastha, Subramaniam and Bose put it, “women (. . .) emphasized the interaction of class,

gender, caste, religious, and regional specificities as key for understanding the conditions of women and
men” (506).

10 Forthis author, the notions of “sexuality” and “sexual difference” are currently used instead. In her
own words, “Although much ink has been spilled over the question of whether to praise or attack
theories of sexual difference, little effort has been made to try and situate these debates in their cultural
contexts” (38).

11 Inthe Introduction of a book for which she served as editor, Tamar Mayer further illustrated that:
“Both ‘nation’ and ‘gender’ help construct a fiction of ‘innateness’ in the name of bonds whose fragile,
endangered status is evidenced in the fierceness with which they are defended – and in the fierceness with
which the role of the imagination in the construction of transcendent categories and the urge to reify
those categories are both, at once, revealed and denied” (3). To this scholar, more than gendered, the
nation is sexed, and this sexuality plays a key role in nation building and in sustaining national identity (3).

12 The satyagrahis were men and women involved in satyagraha (from satya, “truth”, and agraha, “to hold
to”), a central pillar of Gandhi’s project for the independence of India, based on non-violent civil
resistance.
13 As Spivak argued, there is a double circle of subalternity: by reclaiming a collective cultural identity,

subalterns re-inscribe their subordinate position in society. Moreover, the academic scholarship, being
eminently ethnocentric, does not account for the heterogeneity of the subaltern colonized—therefore
merging them in one category of analysis (“Can the Subaltern Speak?”).

Rosa Maria Perez / Provincializing Goa │ 237

238 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

14 Much has been said about the emergence of feminism in India along the lines and the time of
nationalism. Libia Lobo Sardesai would be a clear illustration of a feminist, even though she did not have
any involvement with a broader feminist project or process. This being said, I am far from

15

See
16 The shastras are a genre of Sanskrit texts that give an exposition of a body of knowledge (see
Dharma Shastra, the social and ritual duties of individuals in regard to their caste and stage of life, and
Artha Shastra, “The Science of Material Gain”, which advises how to run an empire in order to attain
prosperity).

18 For a broader understanding of this period and the respective political and social circumstances, see
Perez, Os Portugueses e o Oriente, chap. 5; and Perez, The Tulsi and the Cross, chap. 1.
19 Yet, we should not, as Tanika Sarkar reminded us, absolutise male and female domains and see them as

“seamless blocks, forming opposites of total power and total powerlessness. Patriarchy (. . .) operates
through far more complicated trajectories, with crisscrossing power lines that fracture both domains and
that, at times, unite segments across the blocks” (21).

20 Ivekovic and Mostov further consider women’s exclusion from the nation as an inherent, political
status; as opposed to men, they are not the nation’s bearers or representatives. Therefore, women’s
attachment to the nation is grounded as much on penalties of exclusion as on national representations of
inclusion (18). Within the same conceptual realm, see, in the same volume, Ritu Menon’s article, “Do
Women Have a Country?”: “‘Belonging’ for women is also – and uniquely – linked to sexuality, honor,
chastity; family, community and country must agree on both their acceptability and legitimacy, and their
membership within the fold” (56). At this stage, I am not commenting on these approaches. For the
moment, it is worth underlining that Libia Lobo Sardesai and other women nationalists in Goa show us
how women can contest the borders and terms of belonging imposed on them by both patriarchy and
nation.

21 Khadiis hand-spun and hand-woven cloth. Gandhi adopted it as a crucial goal of Indian economic
independence, which led to the dissemination of spinning wheels (charkhas) in the villages. He advocated
that the Congress Party should adopt khadi as a condition of membership, as well as daily use of the
spinning wheel, which became a symbol of Indian will for self-determination and self-governance.

22 These “communities” (the term used by the author) include adivasi, animist groups whose women also
participated in the nationalist movement and whose analysis I intend to pursue.
23 Ram Manohar Lohia had studied with the Goan nationalist, Julião de Menezes, at the Humbolt

University of Berlin and later met him in Bombay, in 1946, after Lohia was released from the British jail
in Lahore. Following Menezes’s invitation to stay in his house in Assolna, Lohia went to Goa, where he
vehemently stood against the Portuguese ban on public meetings. On the 18th of June 1946, they were
both arrested by the Portuguese police in Margao, under an impressive public demonstration.

24 “Goa and India are one”.


25 Edila Gaitonde, born in the Portuguese islands of the Azores, was the first Catholic woman to marry a
Hindu. They met in Lisbon, where she was studying piano, and after their marriage they lived in India,
where he joined the nationalist movement. Edila wrote a few books about that period, among them, In
Search of Tomorrow.
26 “Shashi Almeida, Suryakanti Phaldesai, Kumud Paiginkar, Laxmi Paiginkar, Caliste Araujo, Shanta

Hede, and later on Sharda Savoikar. Sudhatai Joshi joined them for a short while” (Kanekar 50).

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Rosa Maria Perez is a professor in the Department of Anthropology of ISCTE–University of Lisbon


Institute, and in the last five years she was a visiting and chair professor (Anthropology) at the Indian
Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar (spring). Her core research is on Indian society and social
segregation (with special focus on untouchables and women), colonialism and post-colonialism in India,
fieldwork methodology, globalization and diaspora. Perez is a member of the board of the South Asia
Democratic Forum (EU), of the Pool of Reviewers of Anthropology, European Science Foundation, of
the Pool of Experts of European Network for Contemporary Research on India, under the European
Commission. She is a counselor for the UN Commission for Gender Equality and Women’s
Empowerment. She is a member of the editorial board of peer-reviewed journals in Portugal and other
countries. Her last books in English are: The Tulsi and the Cross: Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter in
Goa, Delhi, Orient Blackswan, 2011 (1st edition out of stock; 2nd edition in print); Kings and Untouchables: A
Study of the Caste System in Western India, New Delhi, DC Publishers (2nd edition; out of stock). She is
currently editing a book with Lina Fruzzetti under the title, Women in the Field: Transdiciplinary Ethnography
in Contemporary India (Routledge, in print).
Os Sidis do Gujarat. Entre as duas margens do Índico.
Rosa Maria Perez

Africa in India: the impasse of contemporary classifications

The African presence in India, of which there is profuse evidence, has been dominantly

analysed from a historical location and from a hegemonic Eurocentric perspective. An Afrocentric

model has seldom been adopted, despite the current academic interest in the African diaspora

paradigm, which has started to attract scholars whose research simultaneously unsettles Eurocentric

narratives and illustrates the existence of independent transoceanic and transcontinental interactions

between Africa and Asia (see Zeleza 2010).

As a consequence, people of African origin in India coming from different states from East

Africa at different periods have essentially been classified as slaves, although not all the Africans in

India have origin in the slave trade (some came as merchants, sailors, soldiers, and more recently as

a result of forced migrations). According to Obeng, they were first led by Muslim Arabs to coastal cities

of the Indian subcontinent, and a few centuries afterwards they were part of the Indian Ocean route,

handled by English, Dutch and Portuguese (Obeng 2002). The latter have reportedly brought Africans

to India as slaves, especially to the Portuguese colonies of Goa, Daman and Diu. They named them

derogatory as Caffre, Abyssinian and Habshis, as the British did in other parts of India (Chauhan 1995).

Ewald argued that the late nineteenth‐century Indian Ocean world reveals intriguing questions

and insights about the slave trade and slavery (Ewald 2008:4). Some slaves could move from freedom

in their African homelands to enslavement many miles away and back to freedom in British realms

within the space of short lifetimes. In fact, the bonds of slavery were flexible enough to display benign

images of slavery (some enslaved Africans could move to freedom without fleeing their owners to whom

some remained loyal) and, on the contrary, to exhibit forms of cruelty and brutal treatment, such as

children forced to work in the arduous and dangerous job of diving for mother‐of‐pearl (idem 4-5). To

this scholar, the different meanings of sidi/seedie

provide a palimpsest that accrued new meanings and retained older ones. Delving into the
layers of this palimpsest reveals something of the history of enslaved Africans in the Indian Ocean
world. (…) Sidi and its variations always referred to African or African‐descended people. It usually bore
a maritime connotation. But shifts in its meanings accorded with three overlapping eras of the African
slave trade and slavery in the Indian Ocean (idem; my italics)
Nevertheless, when we focus on Gujarat and particularly on Ahmedabad from a historical

perspective, we are confronted with apparent contradictions regarding the European notion of a slave.

Indeed, one of its most famous mosques is Siddi Saiyyed, located in Lal Darwaja, near the old city. Its

big windows are sophisticatedly carved in stone latticework (jalis), one of which became Ahmedabad if

not Gujarat’s symbol. Sidi Saiyyed, a slave who lived in the entourage of the general in the army of the

last sultan of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah IIIiii, built the mosque in 1573.

Nearby the railway station (nowadays closed to the public due to the friability of its structures),

rises another imprint of the African cultural aura in the city’s heritage: the Sidi Sashir Mosque or Jultha

Minar, the “Shaking Minarets”. This name originates in the fact that a soft shaking of either minaret

reverberates on the other after a few seconds. Built in 1452 in sand stone – a very rigid material, which,

in principle, would not have flexibility -, its construction is credited to Siddi Bashir, a slave of sultan

Ahmed Shad who founded Ahmedabad after his name.

We should retain two main details: on one hand, the span of time between the construction of

the mosque and today, a sign of the long-term presence of Africans in India. On the other, the apparent

contradiction between the contemporary ghettoization of Muslims in Ahmedabad along with the

discrimination of Indians of African origin and the fact that an African Muslim symbol is intrinsically

associated with the city's distinctiveness. But then again, what are apparent political and social

contradictions can offer powerful meanings for a comprehensive cultural understanding, providing that

we move from a superficial to a deep, and thus a multilayered level of representations.

The above-mentioned monuments of Ahmedabad and other less significant ones are nowadays

dashes of a paste of splendour that does not necessarily reverberate in the present. In his essay on the

Sidis of Gujarat, James Micklem evoked a recurrent conversation with his interlocutors in the following

terms: “What is your purpose here? – I am interested in the Sidis of Gujarat… - Ah, yes, the cities of

Gujarat… so you are a student of architecture?” (Micklem 2001:2).

Janet Ewald and other historians have drawn our attention to the social stratification within the

universe of slaves in the Muslim realm (Ewald 2008), a stratification that to an extent the etymology

reiterates. In fact, to some scholars the term “sidi” is a corruption of “sayyad”, therefore implying that
the Sidis were in the service of the Muslim rulers of India. The original term, Arabic “sayyd", is honorific,

and in Gujarat, most of the Sayyed families descend from advisors and administrators of the Muslim

rulers. Later on, they held civil and ecclesiastical posts and served the army under the Mughal rule. Let

us move a little further. The Arabic-Persian Dictionary of Steingass offers the following definition of Sidi:

“’Saidi’ – lordly, an appellation of Africans, a Negro” (in Basu 2003). In this definition, we can observe

a semantic contradiction that has coexisted in the academic research on the Sidis: a person of the

social elite and a “negro”, identified with a former slave. Helen Basu tried to clarify this contradiction

asserting that in India Muslim slaves were not differently treated from other enslaved subjects, and that

as slaves in the Muslim army they could attain aristocratic positions (Basu 2003:231). Yet, in this as in

other circumstances, it is our systems of social classification that are at stake. Indeed, when looking at

the history of the medieval Muslims in India we can observe that the so-called "slaves" were more

engaged in the organization of Muslim states than in workforce. They could, therefore, rise to the

position of governors or even of rulers when sent to conquer distant territories. This was the case of the

Delhi Sultanate, a term that encompasses five sultanates based in Delhi in medieval India (13th to 16th

centuries).

It is once more our conception of a slave, grounded on a Eurocentric view that must be

reconsidered. It is worth quoting Ali:

Historically, Africans and their descendants in the Indian Ocean world tended to have greater
social mobility, due to Islamic laws and societal conventions that incorporated the children of enslaved
women into the homes of slaveholders as free kin (the law of Istilad); allowed for greater responsibilities
among enslaved men who had specialized skills (for instance, administrative or equestrian); and
provided explicit Quranic justification (i.e., Sura Al-Nur [The Light] 24:33) for emancipation” (Ali 2011:2).

Another point should be added to the “invisibility” of people of African origin in the academic

production of knowledge: the supremacy of the Indian caste system and of Hinduism in India, its

coexistence in the subcontinent with dominant world religions such as Islam and, to a less extent,

Buddhism or Catholicism, the political problems and paradoxes of the “larger democracy of the world”.

Edward A. Alpers enhanced an additional circumstance for the above mentioned “invisibility”: the

absence of an educated class of people of African origin as opposed to the situation in the Atlantic

world (Alpers 2000:84). This class would probably have produced an archive of the history and the

memory of Indians of African origin, which, nevertheless, is ready to be recorded in the voices and in
the musical genres of those who keep creating and recreating Africa in India, as we will see below.

Despite the long-lasting presence of African settlements in India, only recently the Census have

included them in different categories to which I will return shortly. This lack of analysis has reverberated

in social sciences since the study of these communities has not stimulated significant research, the

exception being located in the field of History and, to a less extent, Archeology.

2.Time and the other. Subaltern Africans in India

A diachronic perspective is important to map out classifications and terminologies ascribed to

the Sidis, the processes through which they were identified and would subsequently be calcified within

a European system of classifications. However, as an anthropologist, it is at the level of contemporary

Indian society within the dialectic and dialogic framework of relationships between the Sidis and the

other groups that I tried to observe them. Before proceeding, I must clarify that I am not considering the

Sidis a monolithic group, based on a racial classification, such as the one that has been dominantly

adopted. I am aware of the discontinuities existing within this category on the one hand and, on the

other, and more importantly, as an anthropologist I am far from adopting a racial matrix as analytically

pertinent.

As I already mentioned, the Sidis were considered by different scholars as the contemporary

offspring of the African migration to India, although there was no systematic analysis of the Sidis from

an African standpoint, which would shed light on possible cultural contiguities persisting nowadays

between an African cultural imprinting and the contemporary Indian one. We should, therefore, give up

looking for cultural links possibly lost in the transoceanic route and try to perceive them through

contemporary lens, no matter if the present bears real or imagined dashes of the African past. Or, if as

Zeleza suggested, “‘Africa’ is a material and imagined place, a historical geography, the constellation

of the places and peoples embedded in its conceptual bosom” (Zeleza 2010:6).

In most of the Indian contexts, the Sidis fell under the category of Scheduled Tribes (ST),

animist groups whose depressed conditions make them qualify for economic and educational support

from the government. They constitute a social minority of about forty thousand in a country with a
population of over one billion people. Nevertheless, in Gujarat, they have inscribed themselves in the

political agenda, and have structured an inter-state movement to organize and unite all the Sidi groups

in order to improve their economic condition and to play a role in the state’s policy.

According to the Census and other administrative documents, there are about 250.000 Indians

of African origin in India, settled mainly in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andra

Pradesh, and Goa, predominantly at the coastal areas. These statistics, like many others, lack

precision, since it is not possible to determine the number of those who over the centuries have been

absorbed by Hinduism, Catholicism and most of all by Islam. The latter can barely be identified as

having an African origin, since, as opposed to some academic assumptions, the Sidis did not always

observe a strict endogamy and some merged in the local Muslim society – another point to question a

racialist approach. Indeed, the official numbers refer to those who kept a distinctive cultural and social

identity, and whose anthropological understanding has still a long way to run.

Sadik Ali stated that the role of African migrant communities in India (as opposed to the one

played by Indian migrants to Africa) has been quite neglected by historians, a neglect that he attributes

to intermarriage and the absorption of Africans into India society, which has blurred over the centuries

racial and cultural identity (Sadiq Ali 1996). The religious atmosphere of bhakti might have encouraged

Muslims and Hindus, in general, to seek commonalties in expressing their devotion (Gordon 1993:18).

However, although adopting an apparent different language to attribute status than the ritual pollution

adopted by the Hindus, the Sidis have crafted their jamat, the Muslim term for caste or jati, therefore

replicating the idiom of endogamy of the larger Gujarati Hindu society. According to Helene Basu, one

of the few social anthropologists who carried out fieldwork among the Sidis of Gujarat, the Sidis who

keep a distinctive African identity observe a strict “endogamy of hair”: a wife should look like an African

woman and have curly hair (Basu 2003:224). I could observe the same practice among the Sidis of

Gir, in Saurasthra, to which I will return soon. Also, like with the caste system, the jamat endogamy

does not only link a man with a woman or even a family with another family; it brings together two

groups, socially and ritually. Therefore, a man without a family could not marry and had to be initiated

into a group of which he would become a member.

The religious and cultural level provide significant tools to better identify the Sidis of Gujarat,
as well as, I believe, the Siddis from other states of India. In Obeng words, “They shed light on the

processes and factors that motivate some African Indians to reject the local identity classifications

based on religion and resort their “Sidiness” or Africaness as the basis of their own identity” (Obeng

2007:240).

The Sidis of Gujarat are mostly Sunni Muslims and their main spiritual centre is the dargahiii of

Bava Ghor in Ratantpur village, Rajpipla. Bhava Gor built up an extended network linking Sidis living

far from each other, therefore reversing their geographical and kinship separation, and, by the same

token, bridging the divide between family by blood and by marriage. Indeed, the norm of patrilocal

marriage imposes, sometimes for very long periods, a separation between a married woman and her

parents and relatives by blood, which the worship of Bhava Gor breaks on a regular basis. His devotion

also webs a larger Gujarati community by drawing to his shrine and the shrines of his siblings spread

over the territory non-Sidis devotees of the pir that, like his “kinship”, is supposed to treat mental and

other disorders – a faculty that the Vankar and other castes of Gujarat sanction.

The crossroad between Islam and Hinduism in India has been analyzed by some

anthropologists, amongst whom Jackie Assayag’s book, At the Confluence of Two Rivers – Muslims

and Hinduism in South India (2004), deserves special attention. The author questions the common

conception of Hinduism and Islam being distinct and monolithic religions in India, working as the alterity

of each other. Carrying out a long-term fieldwork in rural Karnataka and in an urban milieu of that state,

Assayag reveals a much more complex nexus of relationships and interactions between Hindus and

Muslims, namely across hybrid cults and saints cum-healers, rites of fakirs, and daily life. He further

sustains that “contrary to the general belief that the term Hindu and Muslim denote descriptive and

analytical categories, membership and belonging cut across religious boundaries” (Assayag 2004:42).

As faqirs in the rituals of the dargah, the Sidis play a central role in Gujarat by widening popular

Sufism and Muslim local culture, grounded on the ritual culture of their past – no matter how

discontinuous it may look when considered from the present-day. Simultaneously, they developed a

common idiom through which they communicate in terms as “one own people” as Africans (see Basu

1998 and 2003).


This “Africaness” dilutes their social stigma within Indian society and ascribes them a cultural

belonging, whose meaning I will try to clarify.

Africa in India: recrafting social belonging

Many Sidis in Gujarat are known for performing sacred music as wandering fakirs, Sufi ascetics,

in the worship of Bava Gor and other saints. They perform goma (or dhamal), a word deriving from the

Swahili ngoma (drum and dance), in celebration of urs, commemorating Muslim saints, sometimes over

the course of several days (see Ali 2011).

Helene Basu expanded her fieldwork from Gujarat to East Africa, particularly to Zanzibar, in

order to ascertain that the goma is related to the Zanzibari ngoma that “traces the journey of African

cults of affliction and their musical practices through different local sites related by dhow cultural

features” (Basu 2008:162). Furthermore, the ngoma (which is a type a drum, means drumming and

refers to performers organized in ngoma cells) is the “umbrella term for cults of affliction associated with

spirit possession and the healing of consequent mental and physical disorder” (idem:163).

It is worth quoting Basu:

Sidi crossers of the sea transmitted embodied forms of knowledge of ngoma that assisted
their transformation from status-less slaves and strangers into a community with a socially ascribed
status of religious specialists. Fakirs took a leading role in working out the concepts and ritual
practices through which a complex collective identity of Sidi in Gujarat was created. A distinction
between ‘ritual’ and ‘real’ kinship as articulated by fakirs was of particular significance for the
unfolding of sociality on different levels (idem:170).

Shian de Silva Jayasurya extended the scope of music performance to African migrants to

South Asia. According to her, either are Afro-Asian music associated with religious practices or simply

forms of entertainment or means of expressing collective identity (de Silva Jayasura 2008: 436), they

carried their music from Africa to South Asia since the early stages of their migration (idem: 429).

My short ethnography of the Sidis was carried out in Gir or Girnar, Saurashtra, western Gujarat,

where the Sidis are demographically significantiii. Gir became in the last decade a touristic destination,

both by Indians and by foreigners, due to its Forest National Park, the only setting in the world of the

Asiatic lion, listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red

List, given the low number of these animals. The Sidis are the guards of the lions and the guides in the
Park par excellence, an expertise that should not surprise us – their connection with nature is part of a

broader system of classifications that we already tackled.

They tend to follow the jamat endogamy of the “curly hair”, using the best of their ability to keep

their girls inside the community. Contrasting to some stereotypes ascribed to Muslims in India,

polygamy is not accepted nor can divorce be unilaterally declared by the husband; it must be decided

by the council of the elder men.

In a recent visit to Ghir, in Saurashtra, I came across an unexpected event: at night, a group

of Sidis from Jambur would come to the main hotels now scattered all over Gir to make a bizarre

performance. In the place where I was staying, they didn’t break the rule. Half naked, dressing lungis

with a flair of African patterns, their faces painted in white mimicking animal faces (tigers, lions,

leopards), a group of men danced and sang to the sound of drums, screaming from time to time as if

possessed. After the dance, the performance continued in a caricature mode. Some Sidis put petrol in

their mouths to make a flame that they exhibited with great show-off, others mimicked wild animals like

those of the Gir park, others still made daring pirouettes. In the end, the tourists threw coins and bills to

the ground that they caught with their mouths. The show ended with a photo session with the tourists,

for which they received a few extra rupees.

One of the men worked out as the manager of the group and we became in close contact from

then on. He was young and extremely polite and as the night went on, I grew more and more amazed

– and more aware of how deep my prejudices were engraved despite my apparent self-consciousness.

He had got a BA in Sociology from the University of Baroda, benefitting from the reservations granted

to the Scheduled Tribes and, after marrying a Sidi woman from his jamat, he went back to his village,

Jambur, to start what he called in English “civic work”, a crucial part of which was constituted by music.

Indeed, besides bringing the Sidis together and strengthening the sense of belonging to a community,

music made them be known outside the boundaries of their community and, through the technologies

of communication, allowed them to cross the border of the State if not of India.

In his study of the Siddis of north Karnataka, Obeng highlights their agency and empowerment

through their performance and argues that: “[The] Siddis use their dance and street theatre as important

cultural resources to resist exploitation while they struggle for their freedom, thereby generating new

meaning systems and creating political action to empower themselves” (Obeng 2011:3). In Gujarat, we

could contend that dance bridges the gap of power relations and of cultural communication between
the Sidis and the other groups.

This Sidis also help us understand what means socially and ritually to be an African Indian,

both at the level of self-perception and of negotiation with other African Indians and the dominant Hindu

caste system. Furthermore, in the specific case of Gujarat, they show us how deep they merge in

Hinduism, intertwining a web between Hindus and Muslims that the political appearances seem to deny

and that the social reality illustrates at different levels.

Furthermore, the religious experience and cultural practices of the Sidis provide a context for

understanding ways in which religion and culture become a contested locus for creating and recreating

a "counter hegemonic world view" (Basu and Werbner 1997, 117). In spite of their "fractured past," as

Basu calls it (2000, 267), Indians of African origin have recrafted their social and ritual belonging,

articulating African Indian memory and history.

By the same token, they invite us to follow the global departures, dispersals, and destinations

of African peoples, which means tracing their material and discursive journeys; that is, simultaneously

unravelling the complex and disordered historical processes behind their movements and formations,

unpacking the analytical frameworks that inform our analyses.

To conclude, I would go back to Zeleza: “Our challenge, it seems to me is to (…) develop

analytical models that are historically grounded and theoretically suggestive - that are sensitive to local

experiences without losing sight of the global forces that structure them (Zeleza 2010:2). Consequently,

I would add, resisting and refusing classifications that tend to immobilize a group inside an old

cartography, which tends to resist change and historical and social dynamics.

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Media
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Diaspora, 73 mins. VSH video, VanNuys, CA, Apsara Media Publications;

Catlin-Jairazbhoy, Amy and Nazir Jairazbhoy, 2004b, The Sidi Malunga Project. Rejuvenation of the
African-Indian Musical Bow, 33 mins. VSH video, VanNuys, CA, Apsara Media Publications;

Catlin-Jairazbhoy, Amy and Nazir Jairazbhoy, 2002, Sidi Sufis: African Indian Mystics of Gujarat, CD
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SANDRA ATAÍDE LOBO

Educating Opinion, Invigorating Intellectual Links, Promoting International


Solidarity: T. B. Cunha’s Anticolonial Nationalism1

Sandra Ataíde Lobo2

Abstract. The present study approaches T. B. Cunha’s years in Paris, in particular his writings along the 1920’s, linking such
activity to his intervention in major debates that primordially ran in intellectual magazines and newspapers, namely regarding the
role of the intellectuals, the Indian National movement and anticolonial thought and activism. As a Marxist anticolonial
nationalist thinker, acting when such family of thinkers was gaining form, his writings should be inscribed in the process of
affirmation of the autonomy of anticolonial thought and movement, anticipating directions lengthily explored latter by other
better-known authors. These writings are furthermore important to read his action, along the thirty years that followed, for the
cultural and political liberation of Goa from Portuguese colonialism.

Keywords: Anticolonial nationalisms, Indian National Movement, Intellectuals from the Colonies in Europe, Intellectual
movements and periodical press, T. B. Cunha

Recurrently named the “father of Goan nationalism”, Tristão de Bragança Cunha (Chandor, 1891–
Bombay, 1958)3 was, without doubt, the most influential intellectual of the Goan movement for liberation
from Portuguese colonialism. Cunha’s main thesis was that Goa and Goans were Indian and for that
reason the territory should be considered by India as an Indian territory occupied by a foreign power, and
Goans as Indian citizens. As such, he denied any historical, moral or legal authority to the fascist
Portuguese Government position that Goa was a non- negotiable, integral part of Portugal, but instead
insisted that the Indian government should on no occasion allow room for any suggestion that it
recognized the legitimacy of such claims. He defended this thesis even against the opinions or hesitations
of the Indian national leaders, considering to be an error, for instance, the recognition of Portuguese
sovereignty over Goa by the Indian government, after India’s independence. Throughout the 1950s, by
recalling the fascist character of the ruling power in Portugal, he vehemently opposed the idea that
liberation could be achieved through reasonable negotiation.

137

138 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

Although during this period, Goans debated different views and sentiments regarding the political and
cultural identity of their land, when speaking of Goan nationalism this article will refer to the current of
thought that argued they were part of the Indian nation. While pointing out that even before T. B. Cunha
started his involvement in the situation of Goa under Portuguese colonialism there was already a Goan
movement of pro-Indian activism inside and outside the territory, the claim that he was the “father” of
such a current of thought will be accepted. Such recognition is justified, not only because of his symbolic
initiative of taking a Goan delegation to the 1928 annual conference of the Indian National Congress
(INC) for the Goan branch to be acknowledged, but also due to his capacity to draw up a set of theories
and lines of argumentative reasoning. These were fundamental in defending the cause of Goa’s
integration in the Indian nationalist movement, and not least, to spur his activism, which guaranteed the
social outreach of the movement. I refer namely to his arguments regarding Goan identity, the nature of
Portuguese domination of Goa and its consequences on the Goan mind and living conditions, as well as
concerning the political management of the Indo-Portuguese conflict.

Similarly to other intellectuals of his time, engaged in either political or cultural movements, the press was
the means chosen by T. B. Cunha to expose and debate ideas in his spheres of interest, both in magazines
published for more educated circles and in newspapers for vaster audiences, though some of such
material ended up being republished in the form of books and pamphlets. In most cases, T. B. Cunha’s
work not being an exception, these articles were dispersed in different periodicals, some of them not
referred to by any biographer, being for that reason particularly difficult to track. Along with the
importance of recovering texts that may be fundamental to clarifying the authors’ thought, research in
this area allows us both to reintegrate such texts in the publications (magazines or other periodicals)
where they appeared, and to better understand how these articles contributed to concrete political,
cultural or intellectual debates. As such, this line of research underlines the important role played by the
periodical press up to the 1960s in configuring modern ideas via major debates that marked
contemporary intellectual history. In the case of T. B. Cunha, the academic interest in his writings has
been largely restricted to the texts published in Goa’s Freedom Struggle (Selected Writings of T. B. Cunha)
(1961). The main focus of this memorial volume, organized by a committee formed by some of his close
collaborators, was a representative selection of his articles and speeches published in Free Goa (1953–
1958), together with some significant early pamphlets. However, it totally ignores his early contributions
to the press in Portuguese and British India, as well as his role in publications such as Azad Goem and The
Goan Age in the 1950s. Moreover, it also completely ignores his articles published in France, where he
lived for 14 years.

This article will approach his activity in Paris, guided by the scarce information known about this period
of his life and by some of the writings that I have located in several newspapers and magazines, a
significant task never

before undertaken. During his stay in Paris, the Goan activist joined with a new generation of Indian
intellectuals acting in different European cities, particularly post-First World War Paris. By that time Paris
had become the international hub of various vanguards and resistance movements, some of which were
clearly anti- colonial and involved intellectuals originating from the colonies of different European
Empires. These Indian intellectuals aimed to counter the narrative of British propaganda regarding the
Indian situation and the liberation movement, a narrative in which the British were supported by the
hegemony of Reuters over the production of news. For these actions they counted on the support of
some eminent French left-wing intellectuals. In most cases the left-wing periodicals in which these Indian
intellectuals published did not focus on the colonial question. Yet, in the context of the aftermath of the
war and the ongoing Soviet Revolution, the emergence of Asian and African anti-colonial movements
and the attempts to create pan-Asian and pan-African anti-imperial fronts caught the attention of the left-
wing European intellectuals who wanted to understand such movements, being themselves involved in
fighting the alliance between capitalism, imperialism and aggressive politics. Contributions to the debates
of the day or those which led to a better knowledge of the conditions and events in the colonized
countries, tended, therefore, to be welcomed. The periodicals in which T. B. Cunha published, along with
the contents of his writings, give evidence of such a hospitable environment.

This phase of his intellectual activity needs to be connected to his activism in India after his return in
1926. We should make it clear that the years spent in Paris were fundamental to the construction of his
intellectual mind-set, to his national and international networks and, not the least, to his intellectual
authority in India. I shall argue that T. B. Cunha’s nationalism was essentially anti-colonial, anti-
colonialism being a motor for liberation (physical and mental) and the basis for his analysis of home
affairs and international relations. Contrary to other Indian and European intellectuals of his generation,
he was uninterested in building a mystic or idealistic counter-orientalist discourse on Indian politics and
cultural identity. Neither had he any sympathy with external attempts to appropriate the liberation
movement. Rather, he insisted on the autonomy of India’s political and cultural dynamics, even if he read
them as a part of a wider anti-colonial trend. He supported the construction of Indian modernity within a
national context, while still aiming to be a leader in (and in dialogue with) the cultural and political
vanguard of his time.

A Meeting in Lisbon
During my PhD, while doing preliminary research on early manifestations of Goan pro-Indian
nationalism in Portugal, I came across newspapers polemics between Goan students regarding a telegram
expressing solidarity with the Indian nationalist students in England. These students also discussed an
initiative to create a Hindu Nationalist Party4 in Portugal. Apparently, these acts had been motivated by
the presence in Lisbon, in December 1925, of some Indian students

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from Oxford, one of them with the surname, Paniker (Lobo, O Desassossego 459; Lobo, “The Return”
131). Regardless of the polemics, this contact seemed to confirm the linkage of Portugal to a network of
political interaction amongst Indian nationalist student communities in Europe. I was puzzled as to why
these Oxford students, identified in such vague terms, ended up not attending the meeting in which the
party was born, after having had an initially enthusiastic dinner with the Goan activists.

Much more recently, I was able to discover a part of the solution to this mystery in the autobiography of
K. M. Panikkar (1895–1963). In these memoirs, Panikkar refers to his stay in Portugal in December 1925,
in the company of V. K. John, a young nationalist student at Oxford who later became a leading lawyer in
Madras (Panikkar, An autobiography 57). By then, Panikkar was already a journalist and historian, having
recently edited the Gandhian Bombay daily, Hindustan Times, founded in 1924. Apparently, the purpose of
his visit to Portugal was to do research for his book, Malabar and the Portuguese. Panikkar recalled being
helped in Lisbon in the process of collecting and translating source material by some Goans, particularly
one Furtado.5 He also recognized the role of the Goan painter, António Piedade da Cruz, by that time
also in Portugal, above all for introducing him to the Portuguese diplomat, Alberto da Veiga Simões6,
who helped him in his research7 and opened the doors to the Portuguese press.8 But there is not a single
mention of any political activity, neither of the dinner with the Goan nationalists, nor of the meeting
Panikkar decided not to attend. As such, he does not offer any direct explanation for his remaining
distant from the Goan youth initiative. Given the context of his visit to Portugal, it becomes plausible
that the journalist and scholar, although happy to publicize his link to the Indian national movement, was
less keen to raise any suspicions of being engaged in political activities in the country at the time. The
Portuguese authorities, in a moment of diplomatic tension with Britain over labour conditions in the
Portuguese African colonies, could welcome an anti-British Indian nationalist, but would probably not
show the same sympathy with any attempt to connect the cases of British and Portuguese India.

Irrespective of Panikkar’s actual political links with the Goan youth in Portugal, there are several
instances of contact by this group with nationalist centres in Europe and India (Lobo, O Desassossego;
Lobo, “The Return”). Several of these students would very soon establish lasting political links with T. B.
Cunha, following his return to India. It is even possible that these links had already been opened at a
private level while Cunha was in Paris, as at least one of the Goan intellectuals in Lisbon associated with
these students, António Aleixo Santana Rodrigues, had lived in Paris at the end of the First World War.
In fact, in the early 1920s, Rodrigues was the first Goan to write in Lisbon’s periodicals in favour of the
Indian national movement. As for Panikkar, he piqued my interest because he was the author of the
“Preface” to the Goa’s Freedom Struggle (selected writings of T. B. Cunha). In this “Preface”, he revealed that he
had met Cunha in Paris, a connection that confers particular authority on his statements regarding
Cunha’s political role in the French press:

During the years of his stay in Paris he became in effect nationalist India’s first ambassador to that country, utilising every
opportunity he had or could create to explain the Indian point of view to the French public. In this connection his most notable
achievement was when, single handed, he was able to break through the news blockade which Britain had established in respect
of the Jallianwallah Bagh massacre. It is Tristão Cunha who exposed in the European press the full extent of that tragedy. (. . .)
He wrote with ease and elegance in French and the biographical study of Mahatma Gandhi which he contributed to the French
press created at the time a great impression in France. (V)

A Long Sojourn in Paris


Curiously, Panikkar did not dedicate a line to T. B. Cunha in his autobiography, although he described in
some detail his first stay in Paris as well as the lasting ties he established with several intellectuals and
political activists on that occasion. Interestingly, it was immediately after his visit to Portugal that he
travelled to Paris in January 1926, extending this visit until the end of the year. By that time T. B. Cunha
was on the eve of his return to Goa, where he arrived by the end of July. This means that the two
intellectuals could only have crossed paths in Paris for a few months, but it is certain that they frequented
the same political circles and, in most cases, also contributed to the same French periodicals. Yet, it
becomes clear that Panikkar’s knowledge of Cunha’s participation in the French press before this period,
namely regarding the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre, could only have reached him either in India or by
hearsay in Portugal or Paris. The present state of my research allows me to confirm that T. B. Cunha
contributed with some regularity to the French press during the 1920s, although his role in raising
awareness among the European public about the atrocities committed by the British authorities in
Amritsar in April 1919 still needs to be proved.

Tristão de Bragança Cunha arrived in the French capital in 1912 to enrol at the École Supérieure
d’Électricité. In 1907, his brother, Francisco, had also left Goa for Paris to study Letters at the Sorbonne,
having furthermore followed the classes of Sylvain Levi at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (Lobo,
O Desassossego 404). Francisco de Bragança Cunha (Cuelim, 1887–Paris, 1954) would thereafter maintain
his relationship with Levi, creating a reputation as an Indologist, although there is no sign that he
published in that field. He was one of the promoters of the work of Rabindranath Tagore, namely in
Germany (1913), and assisted the Indian writer as a translator upon his visit to Europe in 1921 (Lobo, O
Desassossego 404–405).

According to James Campbell Ker, a senior officer of the British Home Department, in May 1916,
Francisco de Bragança Cunha was stationed in Zurich, serving as a translator of pro-German literature for
circulation in neutral countries. The same Ker reveals that his younger brother, Plácido de Bragança
Cunha, by then studying in Calcutta, in late 1915 had provided to two Bengali revolutionaries some letters
of introduction to acquaintances in Goa. The letters served to facilitate the movements of these
revolutionaries, who were involved in the German Batavia (Java) Plot. As by then Portugal had still not
entered the war, the plan was to use Goa, a neutral territory, for a joint military action in India (Ker 284).
This plot was

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a relevant episode in the alliance between groups of Indian revolutionaries and Germany during the First
World War, united by their common enmity towards the British.9 By that time there was already a British
Indian nationalist group close to Baal Gangadhar Tilak that had been operating for some years in the
region of Goa known as the New Conquests. Pressured by the British secret services, the local
Portuguese authorities ended up deporting the group (Hatalkar; Lobo, O Desassossego 268–269).

These scarce clues, calling for deeper research, point to an early involvement of the Cunha brothers in
nationalist activities both in Europe and India.10 This means that, once in Paris, after studying in a French
college in Pondicherry where he may have already absorbed the nationalist atmosphere,11 Tristão most
probably found his brother involved in such circles. Yet, there is hardly any knowledge of T. B. Cunha’s
first years in France, apart from his graduation and practice as an electrical engineer. He may have
travelled with his brother to Switzerland, or at least visited him on some occasion. If not before, in Paris,
they may have first met Romain Rolland12 on such a trip, as by then the latter was living in Switzerland. In
any case it is certain that T. B. Cunha began a lasting relationship with the French intellectual during his
stay in France, as he suggests in the article “Romain Rolland’s Indian Diary”, published by Free Goa on
April 10, 1955.
It is only around the 1920s that his activities and political circles are better documented. Nishtha Tombat,
in her unpublished PhD thesis of 1995, summarizes the known biographical information on T. B. Cunha,
with regard to his French connections:

Pannikar and others have mentioned that Cunha came into contact with numerous international luminaries during his stay in
Paris, such as Henri Barbusse, Romain Rolland, Ho Chi Minh and Chou En Lai. He was able to establish strong ties with each of
these persons, and took part in different activities with them. (202)

In her work, Tombat was able to add relevant information regarding his political links in France that she
learnt through an interview with the Goan freedom fighter, Ravindra Kelekar, in 1990. Kelekar shared
information passed on to him by the Gandhian pacifist, Horace Alexander. After a series of interviews
with T. B. Cunha, the British Quaker reported that Cunha mentioned sharing a room in Paris with Ho
Chi Minh for a period of six months, that is, at some point during the Vietnamese’s second residence in
Paris (1919–1923). Kelekar further mentioned that the Chinese leader, Zhou Enlai, stated in his memoirs
“that the only reliable information on the Indian national struggle was obtained by him from Cunha”
(202).

More recently, Klaas Stutje has written a remarkable study on the Perhimpunan Indonesia movement in
Europe during its anti-colonial nationalist period (1917–1931). I thank Dr. Stutje for generously sharing
the manuscript of his PhD thesis before its defence at the University of Amsterdam, which took place in
June, 2016, as well as for the articles from Indonesia Merdeka mentioned below. In this study, Stutje traced
several students acting in different European

capitals, principally, Arnold Wilson Mononutu during his stay in Paris from the summer of 1925, when he
resided in one of the hotels favoured by Indonesians in the Quartier Latin. Stutje offers us a vivid
description of the political geography of this Paris district in those days.

The Quartier Latin attracted the Indonesians not only because it was near the university and provided cheap housing, but also
because it was the epicentre of anti-colonial and nationalist politics. Within 300 meters from Taverne Pascal and Hôtel Soufflot
were located the Association des Étudiants Hindous de France, Association Mutuelle des Indochinois, the Khana Ratsadon/Thai
People’s Party, the Association des Étudiants Chinois and the leftist faction of the Chinese Guomindang nationalists. Often,
these office buildings sheltered several organisations at the same time, providing ample opportunity for cooperation and cross-
fertilisation between the different nationalities and political groups. (89)

As implied by Stutje, this traditional centre of the Parisian bas-fonds and artistic life had become the home
of an informal international school of politics and a space in which plans for joint international action
were hatched. We may define such environment as that of a counter ‘Society of Nations’ formed by anti-
colonial movements, along with other more or less radical movements. Having been recently elected vice-
chairman of the Perhimpunan Indonesia, Mononutu represented the radical faction which had for the
first time stated their nationality as “Indes Orientales” instead of “the Netherlands” or “Dutch East
Indies” (Stutje 83). The mission of the 26-year-old Mononutu was to work for the new political goals of
the organization, aiming at the reinforcement of “intra-Asian” ties and raising the international visibility
of the “Indonesian question” (Stutje 84).

Klaas Stutje informs us that in a letter to a friend, Mononutu refers to efforts to meet several activists and
academics. Amongst others, he mentions Tristão de Bragança Cunha, whom he invited to contribute to
the monthly, Indonesia Merdeka, which started being published in Rotterdam in 1923 (Stutje 89). The fact is
that T. B. Cunha’s links to the Indonesian movement and its journal preceded his contact with Mononutu
in 1925, as already in early 1924 the periodical featured a review of a book that Cunha was trying to
publish, Gandhi, Ses Idées et Son Action. The editors of Indonesia Merdeka quoted the Goan activist’s reading
of his difficulties in finding a publisher. T. B. Cunha attributed the “bad will”13 of the French publishing
houses to what he believed to be their unwillingness to expose the French public to “some truths too
unpalatable to be understood by the parasites of this country”14 (“Varia” 15–16). As far as I could find, T.
B. Cunha never managed to publish this book, though he often recalled its existence and tried to have it
published in different languages, amongst which Russian.15 Because this book chiefly aimed to enlighten
the European public, once back in India and involved in a different political context, it seems that he lost
interest in the project. Yet, this and other articles show that Cunha not only publicized the existence of
the book, but actually circulated the manuscript within his political circles.

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Indonesia Merdeka

The Goan activist ended up contributing to Indonesia Merdeka’s double issue of June–July 1926, just before
he left Paris (Cunha, “Le Rôle des Étudiants dans les Mouvements Nationaux des Pays Coloniaux” 34–
36). Although the journal was in Dutch, his article appeared in French, at that time still a recognized
international lingua franca amongst intellectual elites. The editors of the nationalist publication, when
presenting the Indian engineer to its public, emphasized Cunha’s firm defence of an Asiatic Bloc against
Western imperialism (34). In doing so, they underlined an important common position regarding the need
for an anti-colonial Asian front.

In fact, in August 1926 the 25-year-old leader of the Perhimpunan Indonesia, Mohammed Hatta, would
be one of the delegates to the Sixth International Democratic Congress at Bierville, an initiative which
had been sponsored since 1921 by the Catholic pacifist and social activist, Marc Sangnier.16 What marked
a change in that year’s meeting was a statement by the Asiatic congressmen. By the end of July, Hatta had
had a meeting with Panikkar, amongst other Asian nationalists brought together by Mononutu, with a
view to the creation of an “Asian bloc” at the conference. As a result, a manifesto of the group, drafted
and read out by Panikkar, made a strong statement about the right to self-determination for all nations,
and the importance for future world peace, of ending colonial imperialist oppression (Stutje 103–104;
Panikkar Autobiography 63–65). Six months later, the same Hatta would be at Jawaharlal Nehru’s side at
the Congress against Colonial Oppression and Imperialism organized by the German communist leader,
Willi Münzenberg (Brussels, February 10–15, 1927). Gathering delegates from all continents, this meeting
resulted in the creation of the League against Imperialism and for National Independence, which very
soon would be dominated by the Comintern, generating strong internal tensions.17 Once in India, T. B.
Cunha did not attend any of these meetings, but it is certain that he kept in contact with the board of the
League, as the Goan Section of the INC was invited to the Second Anti-Imperialist World Congress, first
planned to be held in Paris on July 20–31, 1929.18

Returning to his contribution to the youth journal, Indonesia Merdeka: his article addressed the students’
role in the anti-colonial nationalist movements (“Le Rôle des Étudiants dans les Mouvements Nationaux
des Pays Coloniaux”), a text which Klaas Stutje has described as ‘fanonian’ avant la lettre (Stutje 90). In
fact, it contains some of Cunha’s most cherished ideas, developed later on in various texts regarding the
Goan case—namely, the idea of the enslavement of the mind/soul, and the idea of denationalization.
While not totally new in Goan political debate, these ideas were for the first time fully developed and
clarified in ideological terms. Cunha’s purpose was to elucidate and defend the direction towards
revolutionary militancy taken by the contemporary intellectual youth groups formed by students from the
oppressed countries in Asia and in Africa, a direction contrary to the free countries’ tendency to generate
increasingly conservative and reactionary youths. He underlined that this former tendency

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educated by

the colonizer to be the main support and instrument of its domination:

Not to mention that this instruction was always delivered to us sparingly, the quality of this teaching has been harmful to us. It is
a perfidious form of domination trying to instill poison in our brains. It aims to denationalize our intellectual class by imposing
upon it a foreign culture and to force it to abandon the arts and the letters of its own country. It imposes upon that class a
language that is not its own and compels it to stuff its memory with useless science. With the subtlest methods, it [our intellectual
class] has been given the soul of a slave.19 (34)
Because he was certainly aware of the already long-standing debates regarding the proletarianization of
the intellectual workforce, Cunha was able to use such theories in the analysis of colonial societies.
According to him, the colonized middle class, constrained by the structural impoverishment of its country
and the colonial obstacles to free self-development, had become used to the privileges offered, in
exchange for their loyal services, by the colonial state machinery and its associated institutions. As a
result, this middle class had become totally dependent on the system and for that reason invested in the
instruction of its children to secure their future. The problem was that, given the natural limits of such an
employment market, the children’s future was no longer guaranteed, thus creating amongst the youth a
sentiment of revolt and of a shared destiny with the other exploited classes. The strength of this group
came from its education, designed to serve metropolitan interests. As a result, it was quite knowledgeable
about the exploiters’ minds and fighting tactics. This knowledge could now be used to serve the cause of
the exploited. Such an advantage made the colonized middle class the natural leader of the liberation
movement. Using a martial image, Cunha visualised this westernized class as being the “chief of staff” (état-
major) of the revolutionary army composed of the labouring and productive classes:

To the intellectual youth is assigned the role of enlightening it [the army], of organizing it for the fight and of preparing the
decisive battles that are approaching.20 (Cunha, “Le Rôle des Étudiants 35)

Moreover, on the eve of the Bierville Conference, T. B. Cunha claimed that in the forthcoming period of
revenge (sic) by the colonial peoples, the nationalists had to be prepared for conflict, and should be able
to resist the appeals of the “sentimental pacifists,”21 whom he declared to be often no more than
conformists that in practical terms should be called “opportunists”. The target of this derogatory
statement was the Indonesian writer, Noto Soeroto, who had recently placed his faith in the capacity of
both Eastern and Western men to avoid a racial conflict.22 Attacking Soeroto, Cunha recalled that such
conflict already existed, wreaked on the bodies and pride of the victims of colonialism, a situation that
Soeroto chose to ignore, as if he did not belong to the same race. At the time, he argued, counselling
pacifism to the victims of colonialism was a call to remain

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resigned to the status quo, whilst conflict was the path to restore equal terms. Analysing Soeroto’s
statement, Cunha concluded that the Indonesian was expressing his “slave mentality” when trusting the
will of the conquerors to gradually allow the expression of desire for self-determination.

With the publishing of this article, T. B. Cunha entered the conflict among Indonesian intellectuals that
opposed Arnold Mononutu to Soeroto, or, to be more precise, the nationalists against the
collaborationists. This conflict had led to the latter’s expulsion by Mononutu from the Perhimpunan
Indonesia in December 1924, marking a nationalist radicalization of the organization (Stutje 83–84).
Simultaneously, Cunha’s attack on the moderate and pacifist positions within the nationalist movements
of the moment, accusing them of serving the interests of the dominant powers, may be read as much as a
clarification of his position regarding the internal tensions of the Indian nationalist movement as a
statement in the ongoing international debate about the status and role of intellectuals.

Cunha’s theories on the role of an intellectual youth influenced by colonial education in the founding and
subsequent leadership of nationalist movements would soon be reflected in his active connection with
local youth movements after returning to Goa. Not only did he continue to interact with the leaders of
the nationalist group living in Portugal, he also assisted in the development of the nationalist youth
movement in Goa. Berta de Menezes Bragança (1911–1993), daughter of the republican journalist, Luís
de Menezes Bragança (Cunha’s cousin), would become his political collaborator, with the specific task of
mobilizing Goan youth towards nationalist militancy. Cunha readily supported any cultural initiative that
might have political resonance, increasingly one of the few legal forms of opposition left in the context of
the Portuguese dictatorship in place since 1926. Such initiatives appeared largely in the press, for example
in the magazine, O Académico, published by the Goan Academic Union in the early 1940s.23 Conversely,
his reaction to essays expressing detachment from such a political mission, speaking against what he saw
as youth’s natural impulse towards national struggle, would be immediate and crude, as was the case of an
article published in Free Goa, on December 10, 1956 (Cunha, “Goan Students are Misled”):

There is no example of youth having refused to take active part in national struggle on the clumsy excuse that it is not concerned
with politics (. . .) Mental enslavement is incompatible with liberation. (2)

He gave short shrift to the idea of political non-commitment of the youth. In general terms he believed it
impossible for intellectuals to detach themselves from major struggles, such as the liberation of their
countries.

Les Continents

This bi-weekly, was the first periodical published in Paris by the black elites of the French colonies, being
the organ of one of its radical wings: the pan-Africanist Ligue Universelle pour la Défense de la Race
Noire. Both the Ligue and its newspaper were created in 1924 on the initiative of the Dahomean Prince
Kojo

Tovalou-Houenou. Les Continents was published between May and December 1924. Its closure was a
direct result of the financial constraints created by a lawsuit for defamation brought against it by the
Senegalese deputy, Blaise Diagne.24 The journal was edited by Houenou, who was often accused of having
close links with the French communist party. Its staff consisted of Jean Fangeat, Prince Ouanillo
Behanzin and the Goncourt prize writer, René Maran.

Bringing racial problems to the centre of the debate and arguing for the development of a black
consciousness, rather than defending African national independence, the aims of the League and its
journal were anti-colonial. The journal described colonialism as a practice of exploitation of the African
continent and its peoples, without any respect for or recognition of their right to their homeland, and as a
violation of basic human rights through racialized politics.

As with other contemporary anti-colonial critics, including many active within the Portuguese Empire, the
editors of Les Continents considered that the legitimacy of the French presence in Africa was fully
dependent on its political attitude. They demanded that the French practices be changed, with a view to
the full integration of the African people into the Republic, i.e., they regarded the legitimacy of the
French power in Africa as depending on a policy of African equality vis-à-vis European French citizens.
Such an approach to colonialism was directly linked to the “assimilation” model, whose theoretical
framework was constructed in France and had had a strong influence on Portuguese constitutionalism
since the nineteenth century. This model pointed to the creation of a unified pluri-continental nation.25 In
concrete terms, the League defended the assimilationist model and the right of colonial subjects to full
citizenship within the metropolitan nation, with all necessary consequences both in terms of social and
political rights and in terms of access to the benefits of “civilization” and “progress”, particularly equal
instruction. By that time other lines of argument, with clear goals of liberation, had begun to criticize this
model, comparing it to the British style of colonialism that did not aim to create a pluri- continental
nation. The British model seemed to them more intent on respecting the traditions and cultural rights of
the colonized, namely, the right to use their native languages. By this I mean that they attributed the
alienation of the colonized to the hegemony of the colonialist language and curricula. T. B. Cunha
implicitly supported this point of view against the assimilationist model when explaining the process of
“denationalization” and the “mental enslavement” of the colonized elites. His position was thus opposed
to that of the League, which defended the assimilationist model and expressed highly critical views
regarding the French colonial theorists and administrators who considered that such a model should be
abandoned. Against assimilation, this new French colonialist current of thought defended the political
management and institutionalization of the “otherness” of the African “indigene” population, through a
differentiated system of education. The aim now was not to create French citizens, but to prepare a loyal
and obedient workforce. For that purpose, this faction considered it useless and even counter-productive
to teach the French language and
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curriculum to Africans.26 As for the leaders of the Ligue Universelle pour la Défense de la Race Noire,
namely René Maran, the fight for cultural, political and civil equality in opposition to this new trend in
French colonialism was seen as completely compatible with militant activism regarding the restoration of
African pride in their own civilization and history.

Even if T. B. Cunha had strong reservations about such opinions, his early contribution to the newspaper
reflects not only his contacts with its leaders, but also the recognition of the importance of this new
movement for African political self-awareness. In such circumstances he could work to influence the
group’s views on the colonial question and anti-colonial action. Anil Nauriya notes the interest of the
journal in Gandhi, evident since its first issue featuring an unattributed review of Romain Rolland’s book,
Mahatma Gandhi, which gathered together a series of articles previously published by the magazine, Europe,
in 1923. An article by René Maran about Gandhi and his non-violence movement was given particular
attention, being reproduced in the New York journal, Opportunity, in February 1925. Nauriya underlines
how well-informed Maran was and draws attention to his critique of Rolland’s biography of Gandhi.
Maran accused Rolland of having totally neglected the “noblest” years of Gandhi’s activism, when he was
in South Africa “groping to find THE PATH” (Nauriya 85). Given that Cunha himself was particularly
attentive to Gandhi’s activism in South Africa, and also given his relationship with the journal, there are
grounds to believe that Maran relied on information provided by Cunha, who most probably shared the
manuscript of his own book.

Significantly, Cunha offered a political analysis of the state of affairs in the Indian national movement in
his article on June 15, “Vers l’Indépendance de l’Inde”. He predicted the imminent return of the Swaraj
Party to civil disobedience and described Gandhi’s Satyagraha. The fact that Cunha chose to contribute to
the new-born African publication with a description of India’s nationalist struggle is not innocent, as it
advocated the creation of liberation movements as the way to oppose colonialism. Cunha had been quite
disturbed by the picture created in Europe of Gandhi as a mystic and utopian leader, due to his idea of
non-violent resistance to the British dominion in India. Cunha attributed this picture to a superficial
approach to Gandhi’s writings, in which such images were created through the frequent use of religious
allegories that Gandhi as well as other Indian politicians used to make themselves understood by the
Indian population. In accordance with an image that was becoming popular in Europe, Gandhi was a
religious apostle primordially focused on the moral and spiritual purposes of humanity, being for that
reason compared to Christ and Buddha. Contradicting such an image, Cunha defended the thesis that
Gandhi was a great political leader who, far from being motivated by pacifist aims, conceived Satyagraha
as a tactical method adequate to Indian means, capable of opposing the repressive machinery of the
British. According to Cunha, any serious approach to Gandhi’s thirty-year-long career as “political
agitator” would show that, far from being a mystic, Gandhi was a “realist man

of action”, who had the political capacity to transform the nationalist fight into a national movement.
Moreover, Cunha pointed out the lack of originality of Gandhi’s strategy, as there were previous
examples of non-violent resistance in other Asian countries:

[Non-violence] is a mode of struggle for unarmed peoples to defend themselves against the powerful weapons of their
dominators. Gandhi cannot claim sole paternity of such a discovery. In recent times, similar means were employed by the natives
of Korea and China against the tyranny of the Japanese government. In India, non- violence allowed the nationalists to pursue,
without excessive violence, the task of uniting their country. Somehow, it [non-violence] was necessary to overcome the period
of preparation for independent life, an indispensable stage in all people’s life. (“Vers l’Indépendance” 2)27

Cunha emphasized that when proposing such a method, Gandhi was not defending pacifism as an
essential feature of the Indian nationalist struggle, but as a tactical approach which, the Indian leader
admitted, could be changed to other tactics if they were considered more adequate at a later stage. Cunha
himself believed that such a moment was close, and he predicted that it would take the form of “a fierce
fight where victory will be achieved by the strongest”28 (“Vers l’Indépendance” 2).
Gandhi in European Polemics

This and other texts of T. B. Cunha published during those years reinforce the need to examine his
thoughts on Gandhi’s work, a debate initiated by Tombat’s examination of the texts gathered in Cunha’s
memorial volume. In fact, these articles deepen our understanding of his views on Gandhiji’s political
thinking and his place in the freedom struggle. In the context of his political writings and action in Paris,
it is relevant to go back to Cunha’s relationship with Romain Rolland. Amongst Cunha’s biographers,
António Furtado (1898–1988)29 was the sole to suggest the impact of this relationship on the French
intellectual as he prepared his book, Mahatma Gandhi. According to Furtado, having already written his
own book, T. B. Cunha lent his notes to Rolland. The fact is that I could not trace any data that might
confirm this statement. Rolland does not mention Cunha in his acknowledgements, but recognizes the
historian and politician, Kalidas Nag,30 as his guide through the “forest” of Hindu thought. There is also
no reference to Cunha in Rolland’s “Indian Diary”. Most important, by this time their views on Gandhi’s
thought and role were so far apart that even if Cunha had shared his notes with Rolland, the French
writer could hardly have subscribed to the opinions they contained. Yet, Furtado was right in his
suggestion that Rolland’s work was preceded by Cunha’s study. The Goan intellectual may have been
motivated to write the book in reaction to the French intellectual’s first references to Gandhi, which
anteceded his more in-depth study. Yet, as I shall show, Cunha’s work would play a significant role in the
debate provoked by Rolland’s reading of Gandhi.

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The place of Romain Rolland, a left-wing intellectual, has been shown to be instrumental in the creation
of a favourable public opinion in Europe regarding the Indian independence movement. His approach to
the Mahatma resulted in a portrait of a man with a message concerning mankind, individual and collective
action and the relations between people. This construction of Gandhi’s image proved to be important to
what we may call a wave of left orientalism arising in the late nineteenth century. This wave of eclectic
influences and aims, bridging Eastern and Western intellectuals, fed in broad terms into the idea of the
Orient as mankind’s spiritual reservoir.

As David Fisher emphasizes, Rolland’s Gandhi cannot be disassociated from his 1921–1922 polemic with
Henri Barbusse, of whom he was a brief companion in the movement, Clarté.31 This was a debate that
touched, on the one hand, on the harshening of the Soviet regime and the closure of debate within the
Third International, as well as on the practical significance of the pacifist movement in which he had
played an important role since the Great War. On the other hand, the polemics it contained marked a
new episode in the controversy over the status and role of the intellectual, which started in 1919 with
three manifestos published within the context of the Versailles Peace Conference. These manifestos not
only led to arguments between left- and right- wing intellectuals, but also paved the way for dissension
among left-wing intellectuals.32 As the most important controversy in the French press of the 1920s, it
had an international dimension and worldwide impact, and ended up involving a number of individuals.
This confrontation between Rolland and Barbusse, regarding the involvement of intellectuals in politics,
has been analyzed by several scholars. It took place after Barbusse and the Clarté movement drew closer
to the French Communist Party and pro-Soviet militancy. The debate was first provoked by Barbusse in
the article, “L’Autre Moitié du Devoir: A propos du ‘Rollandisme’”, which he published in Clarté, in
December 1921. In this article, Henri Barbusse attacked the Rollandists’ intransigent defence of the
autonomy of the intellectual from any political organizations or clan, a position stated by Rolland in his
1919 manifesto which in fact had also been subscribed to to by Barbusse. At this stage, Barbusse accused
the Rollandists of defending moralistic and unrealistic ideas and of having an ahistorical commitment to
pacifism. David Fisher summarizes his critique in the following terms:

The Rollandists remained pessimistic because they were unable to enlist completely in the social revolution: they lacked a unified
doctrine, a coherent method of inquiry, and a viable program to replace what they condemned. (. . .) Barbusse advanced the
model of Clarté, an implicit revolutionary commitment to the Third International and to Leninist socialism. Socialism was
synonymous with scientific infallibility, realism, reason, advanced republicanism, and true internationalism. The strength of
Clarté’s commitment to socialism derived from its capacity to unite philosophy and action, “idea and will.” [According to
Barbusse] “Violence is in the totality of the revolutionary social conception only a detail and only a provisional detail.” (91–92)

It is not my intention to follow the ins and outs of this seminal debate. It suffices to underline that at
some point Rolland introduced the idea of Gandhi’s non-violent resistance and the non-cooperation
movement as a practical solution to the problem of working towards change without sacrificing pacifist
and moral values, a path that in addition allowed space for individual reasoning and led to the negotiation
of conflicts. This was a choice that he could contrast to the idea that commitment to social and political
change implied the abdication of individual and civil liberties, blind obedience to organized group
strategies and, when necessary, violent action. Rolland being a firm opponent of colonial imperialism,
which he believed to be anchored in an alliance between militarism and capitalist greed, he considered
Gandhi’s political philosophy to allow one to envisage an alternative to the escalation of violence between
imperial states and their Asian and African opponents, as well as a solution for European impasses.
According to Fisher,

Romain Rolland’s Gandhian phase was, in part, a flight from socio-political preoccupations into oceanic metaphysics.33 The
Orient offered attractive regenerative possibilities for Europe; Indian thought might give receptive Europeans ontological as well
as political options, introduce them to an alternative ethical system, encourage them to rethink their discredited values. (116)

Acknowledging his limited knowledge of Gandhi’s thought, Romain Rolland thereafter dedicated some
time to studying his writings. As a result, he published his reading of Gandhi in the magazine, Europe,
between March and May 1923. In early 1924, he released the book, Mahatma Gandhi. In 1923, soon after
the end of Rolland’s series, Barbusse published an article in issue 39, July 13, of Clarté, the lengthy
“Révolutionnaires d’Orient et d’Occident: A propos de Gandhi”. For the purposes of the present article
it is particularly significant that in the introduction, Barbusse recognized the role played by T. B. Cunha in
his approach, a tribute that has passed unnoticed until now:

It is within this order of ideas that I wish to submit some reflections to my friends of Clarté. They are supported by precise
documents;34 in particular, a remarkable essay by a young Hindu, T. B. Cunha, about the life, ideas and actions of Gandhi, a work
which soon will appear in the bookstores.35 (314)

This passage justifies my paying a certain degree of attention to this text. Like T. B. Cunha, Barbusse
argued that Gandhi was a realist and a practical spirit, in the French intellectual’s own words: a practical
idealist. ‘Practical idealism’ defined Gandhi as a true revolutionary: far from moving within the realm of
utopian sentimentalism, he was committed to transformative action. Yet, as opposed to Cunha,
Barbusse’s main point was to state that Gandhi distanced himself from the Russian Revolution due to his
ignorance of communist doctrine and Soviet reality. In fact, Barbusse argued, the “Oriental” revolution
was closer to communism and the Russian experience than Gandhi realized. According to

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Barbusse, to argue that Gandhi was moved by mysticism was to misunderstand his thought and action.
Although recognizing that religiosity played a significant role for Gandhi, since in India it could not be
otherwise, Barbusse pointed out that his Hinduism was both anti-mystic and anti-fanatical, being rather
eclectic in its influences and reformist in its approach. The French intellectual considered that the same
kind of misunderstanding accompanied European views about Gandhi’s relationship with nationalism. In
fact, Barbusse pointed out that what actually brought Gandhi closer to the communists was that, contrary
to xenophobic nationalism such as the Irish and the Egyptian movements, his quest was moved more by
social concerns than nationalist ideology. Barbusse thought Gandhi’s attention to the untouchables, to the
victims of capitalism, and his fight against industrialism, should be read as a typical form of class war, a
fact that Rolland had failed to understand:

It is impossible not to notice Gandhi’s ongoing concern to be supported directly by the mass of workers and peasants. It seems
quite inexplicable that Romain Rolland should declare Gandhi to be the man, not of the majority but of the minority. For the
self-proclaimed elite of writers and intellectuals he manifests but a haughty condescendence.36 (316)
Moreover, similarly to T. B. Cunha and citing Gandhi, Barbusse contradicted Rolland’s reading of the
Indian’s pacifism, by insisting that his commitment to non-violence was not a moral principle or an end
in itself, but rather a political means of achieving Swaraj. This tactic fitted the Indian context of the
moment, as it enabled Gandhi to mobilize the unarmed Indian masses into resistance and to unite the
different communities around a common aim. Furthermore, similarly to Cunha, he insisted on Gandhi’s
openness to other methods of struggle, even violent ones, as Rolland acknowledged with astonishment.
Unlike Rolland, Barbusse praised Gandhi’s political flexibility regarding political tactics:

We believe, on the contrary [unlike Rolland], that this is totally in accordance with the genius of the Mahatma: that it corresponds
to the language of a true leader of the masses, a true builder of societies, who is not at the service of abstract ideas, and we are
not surprised to learn that the apostle has frequently spoken like that. Indeed we state: If Lenin had been in Gandhi’s place, he
would have spoken and acted like him regarding the form to give to the irreducible war between the exploited and the
exploiter—because they are men of the same sort, men of prodigious reckoning who, looking down over the bustling continents,
know how to measure the pros and cons!37 (318)

Barbusse further recalled that non-violent action had always been the weapon of slaves when awakened
to their class rights and duties, in a stage preliminary to revolution. Non-violent and violent action were
both admissible tactics, but from a moral point of view, self-sacrifice as an individual right was not
admissible. According to Barbusse, it was only the circumstantial case of serving a transcendent collective
aim that made such suffering tolerable. Circumstances arose and justified

both the Indian and the Russian peoples’ sacrifices. What differentiated Gandhi from Western
revolutionaries was his rejection of material progress and insistence on a return to a patriarchal age, a
view that Barbusse attributed to the Indian leader’s unawareness of the scientific instruments of
sociological analysis. If he had understood international communism, if only he had been aware of this
“scientific gospel” (“évangele scientifique”) that drove the Soviet Republic, if he had been aware of
Russia’s non-colonial policies in Asia, Barbusse had no doubt that Gandhi would have adhered to the
Communist International. In the meantime, Gandhi, like the communists, was haunted by the misuse of
his principles by some followers who were prone to compromise. Such was the case of the Swaraj Party
when it attempted to force “parliamentary nationalism” (“nationalisme parlementaire”), that is, when the
Swaraj Party proposed to nationalize the Assemblies (national and regional parliaments) created by the
British in India by allying non-cooperation with nationalist legislative initiatives.

Like the communists, Gandhi had become the target of utopians, such as Rabindranath Tagore—the
“Hindu Romain Rolland” (“le Romain Rolland indou”)—who did not believe in the necessity for
disciplined action. Such a position ultimately led them to a conservative belief in the immobility of the
status quo.

What should we conclude? (. . .) it is necessary to establish profound and comprehensive contact (superficial contacts are
clashes), between the Oriental revolutionary movement and the Occidental movement.38 (320)

Consequently, Barbusse appealed for an approach between the Eastern and the Western revolutionaries,
united by their commitment towards practice:

Reach out your hand, make yourselves known to each other, you who are both touching models of an almost religious [self]
sacrifice, freely given so that others may benefit; you who the English, proud robbers of the world, hate equally apiece; you who
incarnate action-thought against dream-thought; you who, repeatedly, give flesh and blood to the word: practice.39 (320)

The Rolland–Barbusse discussion of Gandhi and the nature of the Indian movement provoked several
reactions and nourished parallel polemics among intellectuals, both well known and lesser known. An
examination of this ongoing debate allows not only a better understanding of T. B. Cunha’s work during
his last years in Paris, but also an evaluation of his contribution to these polemics. As in the case of other
Indian intellectuals, what differentiated his positioning, and had an impact on the debate, was the change
of perspective from a Western to Eastern standpoint and political agenda. This change may be
appreciated via his writings and through the knowledge that he served his European contacts as an inside
informant concerning the Indian situation. His aim, and that of the other Indian intellectuals acting on
the European stage, was to promote a more sophisticated view of the Indian national movement and the
context that framed the action of its leaders.

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Barbusse’s approach to Gandhi could have hardly been the same without T. B. Cunha’s involvement. His
text proves the importance of Cunha’s early relations with the Clarté movement and its mentor. Yet,
contrary to what is frequently suggested by his biographers, he was not a regular contributor to this or the
other seminal intellectual magazines which reached the world from France, such as Europe, which was
inspired by Romain Rolland’s ideas40, or Louise Weiss’s L’Europe Nouvelle. The fact is that in each of these
three cases, only one article appears under Cunha’s name. Here we return to the issue of his difficulty in
publishing Gandhi, Ses Idées et Son Action, which would thereafter be used to introduce T. B. Cunha to the
European public, serving as a credential for his opinions. Why, despite moving within European circles
and being positively referred to by actors with open access to the French editorial scene, was he unable to
publish the book?

One possible explanation is that Cunha, not being a subject of the British Raj, could not be presented as a
spokesman of the Indian movement in an authoritative publication. His own Christian name, which did
not have Hindu or Muslim exoticism, also disappointed European expectations regarding Indianness.41
Because of this position at the margins of Indianness, Cunha’s work may have also failed to serve the
purposes of the different political groups acting on the European stage. My reading is suggested by T. B.
Cunha himself when, as cited by the editors of Indonesia Merdeka in the abovementioned presentation of
his work, he accused the French publishers of boycotting the book because it contradicted stereotypical
views on India. In other words, it may not have actually served the agenda of either the pacifists or the
communists. If a reference to this book was important to the editors of these periodicals to justify the
occasional “Indian” perspective, its actual contents probably did not serve to confirm the views of any of
the European groups.

Moving to an Indian Point of View

Recently, I was able to track down several of T. B. Cunha’s post-1920 contributions to L’Humanité, the
main organ of the French Communist Party, once again confirming his close ties to Comintern circles, if
not an affiliation with the Third International. The “Seconde Opinion sur le Rôle de Gandhi”42 is
significant here. Published on February 10, 1924, the “Second Opinion” was a letter that Cunha directed
to Parijanine43 in response to his review of Mahatma Gandhi.44 On February 3, the communist writer, while
paying tribute to the book, had criticized Rolland’s approach to Gandhi’s pacifism as a model of action.
As a Leninist who believed that the world had reached a stage of “universal violence”, Parijanine refused
to accept that pacific methods could serve the proletariat in its international revolutionary combat against
the forces of capitalism and imperialism. He argued that such methods would not serve the cause of
India’s liberation either. The editor of L’Humanité stressed the mystic, contemplative character of
Gandhi’s pacifism, its “Tolstoian” roots, and defined it as a proposal for “pacific revolt, achieved through
individual renunciation, moral purity and contemplation”.

In his short letter to Parijanine, T. B. Cunha censored the French communist for adhering to the opinion
prevailing in Europe about Gandhian non-violence, pointing out that this opinion had become
unacceptable after Barbusse’s article about Gandhi, published in Clarté.45 Cunha recalled that Barbusse
had based his article on source material provided by himself. He emphasized that Gandhi was a realistic
man of action and not a “pure” Tolstoian and that his tactics were fundamental to India’s recent, gigantic
progress towards emancipation. Cunha’s letter is remarkable for criticizing the European communists’
lack of interest in the reality of India, an attitude that they also displayed regarding other colonized
societies. He decried their readiness to reproduce what may be called “orientalist commonplaces” as they
appealed for unity in the fight against the “international regime of money”. Such indifferent ignorance
would result in their failure to penetrate colonial societies, which remained themselves ignorant and
indifferent to the agenda of the European International.

From at least September 26, 1924 until October 2, 1925, T. B. Cunha contributed to another periodical
linked to the Third International, La Vie Ouvrière, which by that time had become the organ of the
revolutionary unions. So far, I have been unable to access this publication, but some of its tables of
contents published by L’Humanité allow me to state that he continued to contribute material on India in
particular and the colonial situation in general. In fact, his first contribution bore the title, “Gandhi et le
Bolchevisme”, which indicates his interests.

By November 7, 1925, his prestige was sufficient for him to become one of the guest contributors to an
issue of the magazine, L’Europe Nouvelle, dedicated to Oriental affairs. Unlike earlier publications, this
magazine, founded in 1918 and having as chief-editor the pacifist and feminist, Louise Weiss,46 had no
association with radical political circles, being dedicated to international affairs and committed to the
peaceful resolution of international tensions within European imperial states. Weiss had been engaged
with the League of Nations, an institution that maintained ambiguous positions regarding colonialism as,
while defending ideas of self-determination and standing against any subjugation of one people by
another, it had guaranteed the legitimation of colonial relations through the creation of the mandate
system. This system institutionalized the tutelage by European powers of the non-European peoples that
were considered “not yet” prepared to achieve their independence and progress in the new international
order. It did not go unchallenged, though. The League’s ambiguous positions were already being
denounced by anti-colonial circles disillusioned with the outcome of the post-war project.

Cunha was presented by the editors as the Goan author of a biography of Gandhi, which had been
translated into several languages, and the Parisian correspondent of a number of Indian newspapers,
which information only added to his credentials. This reference to Indian newspapers is a clue that calls
for proper research. Additionally, the editors mentioned that Cunha had declared that he was unaffiliated
to any party. The essay, “Les Luttes Politiques dans

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l’Inde”, is an important political text in the evolution of Cunha’s thought and positioning within the
currents of the Indian Congress. Yet, the idea of the issue published in L’Europe Nouvelle was to present
an objective approach to Indian affairs, contradicting what he considered to be mistaken ideas in the
European press that contributed to forming Western opinion, and which, as he pointed out, were based
exclusively on British sources. The essay presented a reading of India’s politics since the 1919
Constitutional Reform, which he deemed a caricature of a representative regime, and the resulting non-
cooperation movement launched in 1920, leading to a violent British reaction.

The first “error” to be scrutinized by Cunha concerned the standard Western vision of that “formidable”
movement as totally centred on Gandhi’s pacifism. Arguing against this vision, he maintained that the
non-violence of the non- cooperation movement was a tactic necessary for an unarmed people faced with
a powerfully armed adversary. He insisted on the Indian collective will to rebel against foreign
domination, which had always been an inspiration for mass mobilization in Indian history. What is new in
this essay, when compared to previous texts, is that it is a clearer defence of “the people” as the real
motor of history; a devaluation of Gandhi’s capacities as a political leader; a direct critique of his
penchant for negotiating in order to resolve conflicts; and an insinuation that his leadership could become
a problem for the nationalist cause. Referring to his leadership of the non-cooperation movement and its
suspension after the Chauri Chaura confrontations, Cunha stated:

Gandhi, who is wrongly considered a mystic idealist, on that occasion committed the sin of excessive realism. As during his long
political career, Gandhi was used to participating in battles of limited scope, this time he revealed himself to be unprepared for a
great task. Attracted by temperament to a politics of concessions and horse- trading, he became frightened at the pace of events.
Being a practical man, who had in sight immediate ends, Gandhi lost track of one essential idea: the liberation of the country
from a foreign yoke. Nonetheless, he was frank enough to confess his incapacity to lead a movement that he saw as a calamity
given the enormity of the forces at work and their gigantic proportions. His hesitations and scruples have led to the progressive
abandonment of the tactic of non-cooperation in its original form and to the adherence to the new political approach that had
been initiated during his incarceration.47 (1490)

In other words, Cunha accused Gandhi of weakening the liberation cause by suspending the non-
cooperation movement. According to Cunha, the birth of the Swaraj Party was a soft version of the
movement which was created to contest the legislative assemblies under the motto, “parliamentary
obstruction”. In fact, it represented a retreat, even if the initiative had the virtue of furthering the
isolation of the government vis-à-vis the Indian people, which had a clear impact on British political
circles. Our Goan analyst argued that in India, even the moderate party was by then demanding no less
than Dominion status. As for the other nationalist currents, he remarked that the Swaraj Party and the
Gandhian non-cooperators—known as “no changers” for their opposition to any change in the original
attitude of the movement—who represented the

majority of the nationalists, were now proclaiming the Indian people’s right to define their own
constitution and future, only disagreeing on the means to achieve such goals. In any case, those
advocating violent revolution were a minority and acted in isolated, secret groups.

The author also reserved some space to discuss the British thesis that India was incapable of self-
government due to religious divisions. Accusing the British of being the root cause of such hostilities, he
argued that this was a non-problem, as realization of their shared enslavement had led, through the
initiative of the INC, to the united political front between the Hindus and Muslims in the name of
liberation.

More relevant for him was the intensification of social conflict in the country, which he explained as
being the outcome of the exploitation of the Indian people and the resultant draining of their wealth to
Britain. This exploitation had provoked multiple peasant revolts, strikes and popular demonstrations
which were violently repressed. Cunha’s intention was to demystify the idea that such social convulsions
were orchestrated by the Bolsheviks. He attributed this idea to the British, who used it to hide from
Europe the miserable reality they had created in India, and to frighten the nationalist bourgeoisie in India
itself. Cunha pointed out that it would be enough to read the Indian press, even the most radical of
papers, to understand that no trace of Bolshevik ideology and practice was to be found, as it was
unknown to both the Indian proletariat and the intellectual youth. Yet, British propaganda was so
successful that it actually convinced the European communists that Communism was already well
grounded in India. Cunha pointed out that these communists’ misunderstanding of the Indian situation
was due to the information spread by British propaganda. Their misunderstanding was so great that many
believed that the leader of the Swaraj Party, C. R. Das, was a revolutionary opposed to Gandhi. These
misinformed communists failed to understand that, on the contrary, Das was closer to bourgeois
positions than Gandhi, who had always been responsive to the grievances and aspirations of the masses.
In short, T. B. Cunha underlined the autonomy of the Indian movement, which he believed should not
be subjected to manipulation or the propaganda of any external forces. In his reading, the British were
frightened by the Russian proximity to India, but that was a kind of tension with imperial roots, arising
between two powers that menaced the future of India. In fact, Cunha was convinced that armed
confrontation between the two “giants” would happen sooner or later.

Imperial Ideology and Anti-Colonial Movements

Regardless of his relations with Henri Barbusse and the Third International, the fact is that only one
article appears under Cunha’s name for Clarté, published on October 15, 1925 (“Wembley, la Foire
Impérialiste”),48 just two weeks before his contribution to L’Europe Nouvelle. The issue was a political
examination of the 1924–1925 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, on the eve of its closing. The
article contrasted the purpose of the Exhibition as announced by British propaganda—showing the
civilizing role of the Empire throughout the world—to what Cunha saw as the real aim of that Empire,
the exploitation of the world’s
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natural resources (“Wembley, Image of the Smuggling Empire”49), and its hidden reality—the violent
exploitation of millions of adults and children around the world:

All over the world, the sentiment of revolt is growing against this monstrous enterprise which was exalted in Wembley and
whose true end is to corner the material resources of the earth for the benefit of the “English race” as was cynically admitted by one of the
organizers of Wembley, the “socialist” J. H. Thomas. But if Wembley symbolizes the climax of the fast ascension of the Empire,
it is also a symbol of the beginning of its irreparable fall. And that fall will sound the death knell of all imperialisms. 50 (310)

T. B. Cunha had already returned to Goa, when he published his last article, as far as I could find up to
now, in a French publication, the magazine, Europe, where, a month after its launch in February 1923,
Romain Rolland started publishing his study of Gandhi. Cunha’s article again dealt with the Bolshevik
question, this time the party’s role in anti-colonial nationalisms in general, even if focusing on the case of
India. Significantly, “La ‘Main de Moscou’ et l’Orient” appears in the March issue of 1927, that is, soon
after the foundation in Brussels of the League against Imperialism and for National Independence by,
amongst others, Jawaharlal Nehru, the future architect of the non-aligned movement. Nehru’s interest in
communism and the Bolshevik experience would clearly not be accompanied by the wish to have the
League taken over by the Comintern. Cunha used the occasion to develop his argument regarding the
autonomy of the nationalist revolts and of social conflicts in Africa and in Asia, denying the idea that
such movements had their origin in communist organizations guided by the Soviet State. The British
information services were again accused of being the source of such falsehoods. He also expounded the
thesis that the real British problem was not the spread of communism, but the geostrategic power of
Russia that menaced the survival of its colonial imperial interests in Asia.

What makes this article particularly interesting is the fact that it added a new explanation of the naïve
manner in which Western opinion embraced such a theory: the dominant racism towards the Asian and
African peoples which made it difficult for Europeans to conceive that “inferior races” were capable of
autonomous thought and action. He mentioned how the racist theory of white superiority was being used
to justify the need for European dominion over the other races, serving as the basis of an imperialist
ideology inculcated in Western minds from primary school upwards. Additionally, Cunha accused the
producers of Orientalist studies (“science livresque”51) of being at the service of this imperialist agenda.
Convinced that these peoples were fated to be perpetually enslaved, Western belief in its own superiority
was reassured by the idea that liberation movements had only sprung up due to the involvement of
European/Soviet communists (who were still of the “superior” race).

According to Cunha, such beliefs regarding the importance of communist influence in subjugated
countries like India had become popular despite the reality of these countries. He pointed out that in
India British propaganda accusing the

Bolsheviks of violent anti-religious policies had, in fact, created a real horror of communism. Even
politicians such as Gandhi, not to mention the Indian terrorists, accepted this accusation and became
suspicious of Bolshevism. On the one hand, Cunha refuted these accusations regarding Soviet religious
politics; on the other hand, he ridiculed the so-called efficiency of Bolshevik propaganda by noting that
its main press organ that aimed to guide the Indian struggle was a miniscule monthly leaflet, written in
English, printed in Paris and totally ignorant of Indian conditions. He also pointed out the timing of
events, to show how the new-born Third International could hardly have played a role in a movement
that preceded it. The “Great Chinese Wall” against objective information created by the British had, in
addition, so far guaranteed the Bolsheviks’ irrelevance in India. At this point, Cunha admitted that they
had indeed been trying to extend their efforts to India. Such a goal, which Cunha considered to be
grounded in an erroneous approach to historical comparativism, not only remained unaccomplished, but
served as a pretext for a new outburst of British violence:
The Bolshevik literature which reduced colonial matters to vague doctrinaire generalities and that pronounced itself to be
presenting facts apparently identical to the history of the Russian Revolution marvelously lends itself to this game where the
English propagandists excel.52 (410–411)

Unaware of the real conditions of the colonized countries, the anti-colonial Comintern continued to
perpetuate the racist division of intelligence and power in the world, formulated by colonial ideology:

Have we not been able to read, coming from the pen of an important personality of the Comintern, this stupefying sentence that
testifies to their enthusiasm for their own work: “The emancipation of the oppressed people will happen under the direction of
the vanguard of the Western proletariat”. And yet, that same vanguard of the proletariat is reduced to judging the situation of the
people, to whom it so generously offers its protection, based on the gossip of the bourgeois press! 53 (412)

Contrary to such visions, Cunha insisted on the need for recognition that liberation of the oppressed
peoples would come from within, as they needed no direction or support from Western organizations
and ideologies to achieve their aims:

But while we resort to these stories to try to misrepresent the nature of the revolt of the East, she [India] still pursues her march
with giant steps and by her own means. Secret conspiracies have their place in cinematographic scenarios but not in real life.
Colonial revolt is the natural reaction against the exploitation that burdens the mass of people, who constitute a considerable part
of humanity, and results from their suffering a long enslavement. There lies the sole source of its strength and the guarantee of
its triumph.54 (412)

Final Remarks

Hopefully this study may promote interest in T. B. Cunha’s involvement in international debates on the
crucial political ideas and tensions of the twentieth century, as well as the role of intellectuals in society. In
the 1920s such debates

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were nourished by intellectuals in different parts of the world as well as in European centres, above all
Paris. My study aims to show the importance of viewing such participation at its locus of enunciation, the
press (magazines, journals and newspapers), where the seminal ideas, ideologies and tensions of the 20th
century were being shaped, discussed and spread in different ways. In fact, the first decades of the 20th
century, inaugurating a trend that continued until the 1960s, were marked by the birth of intellectual
movements with different, and sometimes clashing, projects for the political and cultural transformation
of the public sphere. Usually these movements used the press as their primordial means of spreading
ideas, especially by publishing magazines and journals which, when launched, were normally accompanied
by a manifesto. Titles such as Clarté or L’Europe in France, Seara Nova or A Águia in Portugal, and New
Age in England, irrespective of their aims and impact, not only brought together the members of the
movements that they represented or tried to create, but also ended up becoming, due to their prestige or
through intellectual identification, spaces that attracted outsiders and newcomers, as we saw in the case of
T. B. Cunha. As such they are fundamental to our present understanding of the different intellectual
circles of that period, which, as Klaas Stutje writes, had concrete expression in the geographies of
European imperial cities such as Paris or London. In this respect also, by following the presence of
Cunha’s writing in various periodicals, we can imagine the Paris in which he moved, mobilized by these
different intellectual circles, and the spaces where they intersected.

At this time, the “father of Goan nationalism” did not occupy himself with Portuguese India or the
Portuguese Empire. Rather, his focus was the British Empire and the Indian nationalist movement for
liberation. He used them as a point of departure to think about not only colonial imperialism and anti-
colonialism in broader terms, but also the place of intellectuals in the transformation of the status quo.
We need to pay attention to his desire to counter hegemonic views circulating in the West about the
Eastern world and the colonial situation under the British Empire, and to widen the Western public’s
vision of the world through an Indian lens. His approach to the violence of colonial ideology and its
agents, and the analysis of its impact on both Eastern and Western minds, anticipates in several aspects
the post-colonial criticism regarding Orientalism. The influence of Marxism on his mind-set, shown in his
historical and political analysis, and on his vision of intellectual engagement, seems clear. His approach to
different Bolshevik circles, taking into account the profile of most of the titles to which he contributed,
also seems clear. Notwithstanding such political links, his position was marked by independent thinking
and by the liberating perspective of an anti-colonial nationalism, which included a refusal to be under the
tutelage of, or in subservience to, the Western agents of his natural political family, that is, the Marxist
circles.

As I have already pointed out, several ideas and political views, which appeared in an embryonic state in
the articles published by T. B. Cunha in France, would be developed by him upon his return to India. He
arrived in Goa in July

1926, where the first signs of deep change were being felt due to the Portuguese anti-democratic
revolution in May. Soon after, he started to elucidate the political changes in Europe, in India and other
places to the Goan public, and to introduce it to the thought of many Western communist intellectuals by
reproducing some major texts they had published in European periodicals and commenting on them in
the local press. In fact, it becomes clear that Cunha returned with a program of political action, using for
that purpose the knowledge, experience, political framework and intellectual links garnered during his
years in Paris. Firstly, he aimed to make accessible a general critique of imperialism and to mount a
critique of Portuguese colonialism in which we can perceive the influence of Marxism, in particular
regarding the interpretation of Portuguese history in India. Secondly, he aimed to encourage the
transformation of the Indian nationalist movement into a nationalist anti-colonial movement beyond the
artificial borders imposed by the colonial empires. Lastly, and related to the previous aim, he intended to
channel local sympathies and political activism towards Indian nationalism in Goa. He wanted to impress
the idea of Indian nation on Goans and therefore promote united Indian nationalist activism on both
sides of the frontiers created by the colonial empires.

T. B. Cunha’s history in Paris and in India, forces us to think of him not only as the father of Goan
nationalism, but also as a significant early actor in the Indian anti-colonial nationalist movement, from
which perspective he never ceased to argue the case of the Portuguese enclaves in India.

Notes

1I thank Dr. Helga do Rosário Gomes for her continuous help in my academic searches, in the case of this study, with the access
to the journal, Les Continents. I also thank Dr. Isabel Vaz for the copy of António da Cruz’s article in Goa, Men and Matters
(“Father of Goan Nationalism”). The revised version of this study benefited substantially from the patient reading done by the
editors (Cielo Festino, Paul Melo e Castro and Robert Newman), helping significantly the clarification of ideas, and turning my
writing into acceptable English. Of course, any remaining problems are my responsibility.

2 Thisarticle was carried out as part of the FAPESP thematic project, “Pensando Goa” (proc. 2014/15657-8), and my Post-doc
project, “The Home and the World”, supported by FCT (SFRH/BPD/97264/20). The opinions, hypotheses and conclusions or
recommendations expressed herein are my sole responsibility and do not necessarily reflect the ideas of FAPESP or of FCT.

3 Soon after his death, Free Goa dedicated an issue to T. B. Cunha in October 1958, and in the following year published several
memorial articles. The first approach to his writings is due to António da Cruz (La Croix), between November 1958 and June
1959 in the same newspaper, afterwards gathered in the volume, Goa, Men and Matters: Goa’s Freedom Struggle. There was also an
unsigned biography written by Berta de Menezes Bragança, who also dedicated considerable space to Cunha in her book,
Landmarks in My Time. Apart from several short tribute articles, studies on T. B. Cunha include Tombat (1995), Desai (2000) and
Parobo (2015).

4 The abundant use of the term, Hindu, in this period did not necessarily express a religious or communalist approach to politics,
such as was being proposed by the emerging Hindutva ideology, and it was used to mean Indian. Yet, it inescapably transported
at least an underlining of the cultural role of Hinduism in the Indian identity and mindset. I approach the polemics that such use
of the term, Hindu, by the nationalist movement arose in Goa in my article, “The Return to Indianness”. 5 Although Panikkar
evidences a clear difficulty in dealing with Portuguese names, such as those used by the Goan Catholic community, it is almost
certain that he refers to António Furtado, a law student
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and member of the group of young Goan nationalists, who will be mentioned later in this article.
6 Acting as Envoy in Berlin of the Portuguese Government, Veiga Simões met and took a keen interest in António Piedade da

Cruz’s work, while the painter was studying at the German Academy of Fine Arts
(https://cruzostudio.wordpress.com/cruzo/biographical-sketch/). In 1958, Cruz would author a sketch of T. B. Cunha for the
tribute issue released by the newspaper, Free Goa.
7 Panikkar later dedicated the book to Veiga Simões.
8 For instance, at the daily, Diário de Lisboa, to which he was invited to speak about the Indian national movement, he was

presented as the director of Gandhi’s newspaper in Bombay and also as acquainted with Tagore, the two most known Indian
names in Portugal (“O Oriente” 5).
9 Such an alliance would again be essayed during the Second War under the leadership of Subhas Chandra Bose, hoping to

negotiate India’s independence following an invasion led by the German- Japanese alliance. Francisco would offer his full
support to this move (Cunha, “Conceitos”).
10 It is sustainable to speculate that Francisco de Bragança Cunha may have been in contact with the circles of Madame Cama in

Paris. It is to be remembered that most Indians related to her circle were compelled to leave Paris during the First War.
11 By that time the French enclave received several anti-British nationalist exiles, namely Auribindo Gose. 12 During the war,

Rolland started living between Switzerland and Paris, having changed permanently the French capital for Villeneuve in 1922,
where he lived until 1937.
13 “mauvaise grâce”.
14 “quelques vérités un peu désagréables à entendre pour les parasites de ces pays-ci.”
15 See J. L., “Les affaires”; “Engenheiro”.
16 Marc Sangnier’s work is nowadays followed at the Institute Marc Sangnier. For a brief bio, see its homepage,

http://www.marc-sangnier.com/.
17 Petersson (We Are Neither Visionaries; “Hub of the Anti-Imperialist”).
18 The “Invitation to the second antiimperialist world congress of the League against Imperialism and for national independence”

includes a list of Organizations and Persons that announced their intention to accept the invitation to attend the Congress (W. E.
B. Du Bois Papers). The meeting ended up being held in Frankfurt, a reflex of the internal tensions regarding the growing
appropriation of the organization by the Comintern. Following the 1929 meeting, Hatta would become persona non grata, and in
1930 Nehru resigned from the Executive Committee. Irrespective of such dissentions and the short life of the League, Fredrick
Petersson, based on his through research on the history of the League and the new documents released after the fall of the Soviet
Union, defends its crucial importance in the history of the anti-imperialist movement, the 1927 meeting being a marker in this
history.
19 “Sans compter que cette instruction nous fut toujours distribuée au compte-gouttes, la qualité même de cet enseignement nous

était néfaste. C’est une forme perfide de domination qui a pour but de distiller le poison dans nos cerveaux. Elle vise à
dénationaliser notre classe intellectuelle en lui imposant une culture étrangère et en l’obligeant à délaisser les arts et les lettres de
son propre pays. On lui impose une langue qui n’est pas la sienne et on l’oblige à se farcir la mémoire avec une science inutile.
Avec les moyens les plus subtils on lui façonne une âme d’esclave.”
20 “A la jeunesse intellectuelle revint le rôle de l’éclairer, de l’organiser pour la lutte et de préparer les combats décisifs qui

s’approchent.”
21 “Pacifistes sentimentaux”.
22 Cunha alludes to Soeroto’s article, “Orient et Occident”, published in the journal, Le Monde Nouveau, in April 1926 (Ligt 311).
23 See Cunha’s article, “Conceitos”. The magazine counted the collaboration of several intellectuals linked to the nationalist

movement, such as Berta de Menezes Bragança, António Furtado, Lúcio de Miranda and P. S. Vardé, amongst others.
24 About the journal, the League and the pan-African movement, see Egonu (“Les Continents”), Ikonne (“Rene Maran”), Khalfa

(“Naissance”), Langley (“Pan-Africanism”), “Conférence des Intellectuels d’Afrique”, and Marjomaa (“The LACO”).
25 Regarding the “assimilationist” model and its impact in Portuguese colonialist and anti-colonial debates, see Xavier and Silva

(O Governo dos Outros).


26 For cultural-political discussion of the language question in Goa, in the 19 th and 20th centuries, see: Pinto (Between Empires),

Lobo (O Desassossego) and Fernandes (“Citizenship Experiences”).

27 “[La Non-violence] est un moyen de lutte accessible aux peuples désarmés pour se défendre contre la puissance des armes de
leurs dominateurs. Elle n’est pas une découverte dont Gandhi puisse revendiquer pour lui seul la paternité. En Corée e en Chine,
à une époque encore récente des semblable moyens on été employés par les indigènes contre la tyrannie du gouvernement
japonais. Dans l’Inde, la non-violence a permis aux nationalistes de poursuivre sans trop de heurts la grande œuvre de l’unité de
leur pays. Elle était en quelque sorte nécessaire pour franchir le période préparatoire à la vie indépendante, étape indispensable
dans l’existence de tout peuple.”

28 “une lute acharnée où la victoire appartiendra au plus fort”.


29 Previously referred to as one of Panikkar’s contacts in Lisbon, António Furtado maintained a lasting political relation with T.
B. Cunha, which would be strengthened by family ties when he married Berta de Menezes Bragança in 1947. United by their
common political militancy, the couple was forced into exile in Bangalore in 1950. In 1953, following Cunha’s return to India
after a sojourn in Portuguese jails, the trio started the newspaper, Free Goa, which would be published until Goa’s liberation from
Portuguese rule.
30 Kalidas Nag was one of the founding members of the Greater India Society in 1926, and published in 1950 the study, Tolstoy

and Gandhi.
31 On the Clarté movement and magazine, see Nicole Racine (“The Clarte Movement”), Guessler Normand (“Henri Barbusse”)

and Alain Cuenot (Clarté 1919–1928).


32 Following the trend of these type of public statements, all manifests were signed by several intellectuals. The first text to be

published was Henri Barbusse’s “Un Manifeste des Intellectuels Combattants”, on 17 January 1919 in the newspaper, Le
Populaire, appealing to all combatant intellectuals of the world to detach themselves from national agendas and unite in a fraternal
embrace to reconstitute the International of Thought. Furthermore, the manifest stated its support for Woodrow Wilson’s
project for permanent peace. On June 26, Rolland published in L’Humanité the “Fière Déclaration d’Intellectuels” (better known
as the “Déclaration d’Indépendance de l’Esprit”), which also counted Barbusse’s signature. This manifest appealed to all
intellectuals to detach themselves from the “selfish interests of any political or social clan” and to serve only the cause of
humankind, being the intellectual’s first duty to “show the polar star, in the midst of the tourbillon of passions, in the night (. . .).
We will honor only the truth, free, without frontiers, limits, without race or caste prejudices”. Finally, on July 19, the
conservative, Henri Massis, was the author of the manifest, “Pour un Parti de l’Intelligence”, published in Le Figaro: Supplement
Littéraire, that reacted to the “Déclaration”. It stated the need to form a party of the “national intelligence to serve the national
interest”, and by doing so they were serving the cause of civilization, as they “believed— and the world with us—that it is the
destiny of our race to defend the spiritual interests of humanity”. It furthermore clarified that such a party aimed to oppose
“bolshevism which, from first, attacks the spirit and the culture, to better destruct the society, nation, family, individual.”
33 Romain Rolland’s “oceanic” metaphysics refers to the spontaneous feeling of the eternal, previous and independent of any

religion. It was first coined in a letter to Sigmund Freud in 1927, “simple and direct fact of the feeling of the ‘eternal’ (which can very
well not be eternal, but simply without perceptible limits, and like oceanic, as it were)” (translation of William Parsons cited by
Ayon Maharaj, “The challenge”, 474).
34 This information appears as a response to Rolland’s initiative of opening his series of articles with the bibliography that

supported his thesis, an inventory that emphasized the “Indian” sources of his study.
35 “C’est dans cet ordre d’idées que je voudrais soumettre quelques réflexions à mes amis de Clarté. Elles ont pour point de

départ une documentation précise; notamment, un remarquable essai d’un jeune Indou, T. B. Cunha, sur la vie, les idées et
l’action de Gandhi, ouvrage qui ne tardera pas à paraître en librairie.”
36 “Il est impossible de ne pas noter le perpétuel souci de Gandhi de s’appuyer directement sur les masses ouvrières et paysannes.

Il me paraît assez inexplicable que Romain Rolland ait dit que Gandhi était l’homme, non de la majorité mais de la minorité. Il n’a
manifestement pour la partie de la population proclamée (par elle-même) l’élite, pour les lettrés et les intellectuels, qu’une
condescendance assez hautaine.”
37 “Nous l’estimons, au contraire, tout à fait conforme au génie du Mahatma: c’est là le langage d’un vrai manieur de foules, d’un

vrai constructeur de sociétés, qui n’est pas le jouet d’idées abstraites, et nous ne sommes pas surpris que l’apôtre nous apprenne
qu’il a souvent parlé de la sorte. Et nous

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disons: Si Lénine s’était trouvé à la place de Gandhi, il aurait parlé et agit comme lui en ce qui concerne la forme à donner à la
guerre irréductible entre l’exploité et l’exploiteur – parce que ce sont des hommes de même espèce, des calculateurs prodigieux
qui, penché au-dessus des continents animés, savent mesurer le pour et le contre!”

38 “Que devons-nous conclure? (. . .) il est nécessaire d’établir un contact profond et compréhensif (les contacts superficiels sont
des chocs), entre le mouvement révolutionnaire oriental et le mouvement occidental.”
39 “Tendez-vous la main, faites-vous connaître les uns aux autres, vous qui êtes d’un coté et de l’autre, d’émouvants exemples de

sacrifices religieusement consentis pour que d’autres en profitent; vous que les Anglais, brigands somptueux du monde, détestent
autant les uns que les autres; vous qui incarnez la pensée-action contre la pensée-rêve; vous qui, à l’envi, mettez de la chair et du
sang dans la mot: pratique.”

40 For the history of the magazine, Europe, see Nicole Racine (“La Revue Europe”), David James Fisher (Romain Rolland), and
Special Issues of Europe (1955, 1973, 1974, 1998).
41 By this time, several Goan Catholic writers, T. B. Cunha included once he returned to India, would occasionally or

systematically adopt “Hindu” pen names as a way of stating their Indianness. 42 The article appears signed by “T. Blunha”, a
typographic error of the newspaper. In fact, this would not be the only occasion in which Cunha’s name appears misspelt, which
creates a problem to any attempt at digital search based on OCR reading of documents.

43 Parijanine was the pseudonym of Maurice Donzel, being the editor of the L’Humanité section “Les Lettres”, which occasionally
alternated with A travers les Revues.
44 In fact, in 1923, Donzel had already commented on Rolland’s articles published in the magazine Europe. See also his articles at

L’Humanité published on April 14 and 30. Marcel Martinet, one of the writers of La vie ouvrière, also dedicated a considerable
attention to Rolland’s study of Gandhi, while writing at Donzel’s section of L’humanité, “Les lettres”, on May 15, 1923.
45 Parijanine was also a regular contributor of the magazine.
46 See Bess (Realism, Utopia).
47 “Gandhi, qu’on considère à tort comme un idéaliste mystique, pécha au contraire en cette occasion par un excès de réalisme.

Habitué pendant sa longue carrière politique à mener des batailles d’envergure limitée, il se révéla, cette fois, insuffisamment
préparé pour une grande tâche. Porté par tempérament à la politique des concessions et des marchandages, il s’effraya de l’allure
que prenaient les événements. Homme pratique, visant à un but immédiat, il perdit de vue cette idée essentielle:
l’affranchissement du pays du joug étranger. Il eut d’ailleurs la franchise de confesser son incapacité à conduire un mouvement
qui lui apparaissait comme une calamité en raison de l’énormité des forces en jeu et de ses proportions gigantesques. Ses
hésitations et ses scrupules le menèrent peu à peu à abandonner la tactique de non-coopération sous sa première forme et à
adhérer à une nouvelle politique inaugurée pendant son incarcération.”
48 Once again there is an error in his name, which appears as “J.-B. Cunha”.
49 “Wembley, Image de l’Empire Trafiquant”.
50 “Partout dans le monde s’affirme de plus en plus le sentiment de révolte contre cette monstrueuse entreprise qu’on a voulu

exalter à Wembley et dont le vrai but est d’accaparer les richesses matérielles de la terre au profit de la «race anglaise» comme l’a
cyniquement avoué l’un des animateurs de Wembley, le «socialiste» J. H. Thomas. Mais si Wembley marque le point culminant de
la rapide ascension de l’Empire, elle marque en même temps le point de départ de son irrémédiable chute. Et cette chute sonnera
le glas de tous les impérialismes.”
51 The expression does not have a brief or simple translation. It points to the construction of scientific discourse that is totally

theoretical, closed in itself, without the support of data.


52 “La littérature bolchevique qui en matière coloniale se cantonne dans des vagues généralités doctrinales et qui se prononce sur

les faits apparemment identiques de l’histoire de la révolution russe se prête merveilleusement à ce jeu ou les propagandistes
anglais excellent.”
53 “N’avons-nous pas pu lire sous la plume d’une importante personnalité du Comintern cette phrase stupéfiante qui témoigne de

leur enthousiasme pour leur propre œuvre: «L’émancipation des peuples opprimés se fera sous la direction de l’avant-garde du
prolétariat occidental». Et cette même avant- garde du prolétariat en est réduite à juger la situation des peuples sur lesquels elle
étend si généreusement sa protection, d’après les racontars de la presse bourgeoise!”

54 “Mais on a beau recourir à de telles histoires pour essayer de travestir la révolte de l’Orient elle n’en poursuit pas moins sa
marche à pas de géants et avec ses propres moyens. Les conspirations secrètes ont leur place dans les scenarios
cinématographiques et non pas dans la vie des peuples. La révolte coloniale est une réaction naturelle contre l’exploitation qui
pèse sur les peuples constituant une portion considérable de l’humanité et a ses causes dans le long asservissement qu’ils
subissent. C’est de là seul qu’elle tire sa force et c’est cela qui garantit son succès.”

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Sandra Ataíde Lobo holds a PhD in History and Theory of Ideas. She is a Post-doctoral Researcher at CHAM—Centre for the
Humanities, FCSH/NOVA-UAC, supported with a grant by FCT— Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. She is a founding
member of the International Group for Studies of Colonial Periodical Press of the Portuguese Empire (IGSCP-IP), and member
of the projects, Thinking Goa (USP) and Portuguese Orientalism (FLUL).

Sandra Ataíde Lobo / Educating Opinion │ 167


Hispanic Horizon
2015
ISSN 0970-7522
Special Issue on Portugal

Editorial Board

Anil Dhingra Nabiel Ansari Minu Bakshi Gaurav Kumar \laite Miramon lndrani -Mukherjee
e i i v Saxena

Lipi Biswas Sen Meenakshi Sundriyal

Editor

Sovon Sanyal

Hispanic Horizon is an annual publication. It publishes themes in the board areas of


HispanicPortuguese literary and cultural studies as well as themes of Indological concern in
those areas. Contributions are invited. Manuscripts, in English or Spanish, typed in double
space, should be sent in duplicate. All notes and references should follow the main text.

Correspondence and contributions should be directed to:

The Editor, Hispanic Horizon,


Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian & Latin American Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru
University,
New Delhi - 110067 - India.
E-mail: editorhh@mail.jnu.ac.in
1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

Contents
The Presence of the Other in the Portuguese Literature: From the Colonial to the Post-colonial

Inoc&nciaMata

Liberation of Goa: Exploring Political Cartoons as a Source of History

Poulami Aich Mukherjee

The 0Anglo-Lusitano: in Search of Identity Sandra Ataide Lobo

Luso-Indians in British India: Home, Exile and Nationality 65

v/j-qanBhattacharya

Circulation of ToxicologicalMedical Knowledge and

Flow from the Tamil Coast to Europe in the

Eighteenth Century

S. Jeyaseela Stephen

Existence: A Dilemma Ad Infinitum in Rui Zink's 0Destino Turistico

Richa Nehra

Recalibrating 'Anti-coloniality' in Francisco Luis Gomes's 0 s Brahamanes

Sovon Sayal

Catholic Orientalism: The Power and Knowledge

of an Emerging Informational Order

Rakesh Batabyal
The 0Anglo-Lusitano: in Search of Identity Sandra Ataide Lobo
(MemberofCHAM-Portuguese Centrefor Global History; Group for the Study of Colonial Periodical Press in
the Portuguese Empire; Thinking Goa: a singular archive in Portuguese')

This paper focuses on the early years of the bilingual weekly newspaper 0 Anglo-
Lusitano, published in Bombay by the elite of the Goan native2 Catholic migrant
community between 1886 and

1955. Contrary to the purpose of dual-language native newspapers


in British India, also found within this community, its bilingualism was not intended
to bridge English and vernacular readerships but to span the linguafranca of both the
British and Portuguese empires. By doing so, it at once widened the scope of its
potential public and asserted a particular intellectual identity in a political context
where clarification of the place of the community in British India became relevant to
its social affirmation. Yet, the newspaper's profile evidences the difficulties facing a
community that nursed . both sentiments of belonging and conflicting loyalties. On the
other hand, its profile also suggests this fluid place could offer intellectual advantages,
namely with regards political analysis.

Goans and Bombay

England's domination of India started when Bombay was

gifted to King Charles I1 as part of Catherine of Braganza's dowry in

a matrimonial alliance between the Crowns of Portugal and England 'This paper was carried out as
part of the FAPESP thematic project "Pensando Goa" @roc. 2014/15657-8).
1' use the concept for the operational importance to discussions on colonialism, social profile of colonial societies, identity, anti-colonialthought andmovements.
In theconcrete case I apply it to the population of Indian 'blood'(non- European) that assumed that affiliation or to whom it was attributed, choosing not to
discuss its racist implications or its racial ambiguities born of actually happening miscegenation.

*Author is a Postdoc Researcher financed by FCT - Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technologr, S F W BPD/97264/20.
46 The 0Anglo-Lusitano...
(1661). The Portuguese kept other surrounding territories until these were conquered
by the Marathas in eighteenth century, which were followed the British in 1770.
Those territories, which by the middle of the 19th century were being absorbed by the
city, were dominated by the Catholic community, of Portuguese and native origin.
Their links to Portugal continued through the Padroado, which was the right to
administer the churches in the East granted by the Vatican to the Portuguese. A
significant part of the clergy was Goan, as Goa hosted the seminaries that trained the
local clergy. This right had other important implications, namely the use of the
Portuguese language by the elites and the development of Portuguese dialects, as
religious services were run either in Latin or in Portuguese and several Catholic
schools had their curricula in Portuguese3. The elites of this community also stood out
for their adoption of European dress and manners. For this reason, until late in the
19th century these people were known as Bombay Portuguese, Native Portuguese or
simply Portuguese, alongside designations such as Norteiros (northerners, by
comparison to Goans)4.

In the Portuguese Goan Old Conquests, the early Portuguese politics induced the
majority of the population, through force and persuasion, to convert to Catholicism.
The conversion of the elites of this community (Brahmins and Chard&) was closely
followed by cultural and political conversion to the Empire. Contact with Portuguese
and other European languages promoted an early dialogue between European and
local intellectual debates. From the

18thCentury onwards, the vanguard of this elite imbibed the ideas

'Aloysious Soares, 'Four centuries of education' in the Mission Field: the Diocese of Dommm.Bombaim, S. R Santos, 1925, p. 181-241.
'Paulo Varela Gomes, "Bombay Portuguese": ser ou n5o ser portugub em Bombaim no Gculo XIX" iRevista de historia das ideias, v. 28 (2007), p.
567-608; Teresa Albuquerque, Goanpioneers in Bornboy. SaligZo:Pangim, Goa 1556 &Broadway Publishing House, 2012.
and values that were reframing modem political thought, immersing themselves in this
revolutionary atmosphere through print culture.

The Goan native Catholic population maintained links with Bombay, namely through
migration. The place of Bombay in the Oriental maritime economy and its
transformation into a cosmopolitan metropolis spurred this movement, which became
massive in the second half of 19" Century. Being the core of the first migrant
movement, the elites from Catholic upper castes were able to capitalize on their
formal schooling through European languages and their experience of dealing and
working with Europeans. They easily integrated into thejob market ofthe city and
found employment as clerks or opted for liberal professions, ending up participating in
its burgeoning intellectual life, namely through the publication of Bombay's first
native periodicals. Bombay University and the city's Catholic education institutions
received children fiom the migrant community or directly from Goa. The in-migration
of other castes also grew, eventuating the formation of an urban petit bourgeoisie
willing to assert itself within the community.

Tensions in the Bombay Catholic communities

TheOAnglo-lusitanoappearedinamomentoftransformation of the patterns the press run


by the migrant community, which was previously written solely in Portuguese and
focused on internal debates and colonial tensions in Goa. Its contents began to treat
migrant affairs and the reality of India under British rule. The new profile of this press
also included the adoption of bilingualism, though Portuguese/English press had first
been created by the aforementionedBombay Portuguese.

Sandra Ataide Lobo 47


48 The 0Anglo-Lusitano...
The first bilingual newspaper founded by the Bombay Portuguese had been 0 Patriota
(The Patriot), started in 1858 to defend the community in face of Bombay's changing
reality. According to Paulo Varela Gornes, it was guided by two convergent concerns:
to compete with the Goan migrant elite, which was being preferred by the British for
white-collar positions that had previous been the virtual monopoly of this community
and the tensions surrounding the Portuguese Padroados.

In an effort to convince the British that it was in their national interest to reconsider
their preference for Goans, The Patriot stressed the political loyalty of the
Bombay Portuguese by trying to prove that, despite the name by which the
community was called, they were Anglicized in all aspects except religion6.By
contrast, the newspaper presented the Goan migrants as Portuguese nationals, bound
by Portuguese interests. This social tension helped the community, and its newspaper,
to review its earlier loyalty to the Padroado in its ongoing conflict with the Vatican,
who wanted to move over to direct administration through the Propaganda Fide. This
conflict had direct impact on the spiritual and social life of the Catholic communities,
as in several locations the Padroado's and the Propaganda Fide's jurisdictions
overlapped.

The different actors had diverse motivations. The British showed discomfort with the
Padroado's jurisdiction in their dominions. The Portuguese felt that this secular right
represented the last remnants of their past greatness and believed that its survival
ensured sentimental and cultural ties vaster than the actual political frontiers. Goans
expressed ambivalent feelings, for if they

protested against its cost to the treasury of the State of India, they
Ibid. 61dern,p. 579.
also had direct interest in its being upheld. Not only did the local elites provide
abundant ecclesiastic vocations, but the Padroado also allowed Goans to continue to
play a central role in the management and guidance of the Catholic Church in the
region. The successive efforts to solve the conflict had important moments in the
Concordats of 1857 and 1886, both followed by intense conflicts between the two
parties, particularly in Bombay.

In this process the Bombay Portuguese increasingly severed their links to the
Portuguese by affirming their Indianness and their fidelity to the British rule and to
the Propaganda Fide. On Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (1887) they officially
adopted the designation of East Indians and created the East Indian Association. The
bilingualism of their newspapers, which would continue for some years yet, was an
expression of this process of political and cultural reconfiguration.

Discussing political identity

This atmosphere also surrounded the birth of bilingual newspapers published by the
Goan Catholic community in the Iate 1860's, as it did to some extent o the appearance
of the 0 Anglo- Lusitano = The Anglo-Lusitano on lStJuly 1886. The adoption of
English became crucial to the community's participation in the social, cultural and
political world of British Bombay, and in particular its ability to influence its public
opinion. It also helped enlarge its audience in migrant communities around India and
in other parts of the British Empire, some of which were now only literate in English.
Portuguese was still assumed as the common language of the Goan elite resident in
Bombay, constituting a social and cultural marker with ambiguous political effects. If
it was

Sandra Atai'de Lobo 49


50 The0Anglo-Lusitano...
advantageous in their position as Portuguese citizens, this citizenship could cause
discomfort in a British Indian context, as demonstrated by the tensions with the
Bombay Portuguese. Nevertheless, their Portuguese citizenship justifies why
Portuguese occupied the first pages of the 0Anglo-Lusitano.

Regarding the newspaper's linguistic make up, the Portuguese and English sections
diverged yet also dialogued with one another. Each language had its own editor.
Rather than bilingualism implying translation between languages, there was rather a
thematic continuity: sections tended to replicate themes but seldom offered the same
articles. Quotations and the cross-pollination of ideas and arguments disclose that
bilingual composition did not undermine bilingual habits of reading. This pattern
extended to the abundant collaboration of occasional and regular correspondents. The
newspaper's bilingualism may have contributed to its ability to attract a considerable
network of Goan correspondents within a few years, which covered the Portuguese
and British empires in Asia and Afkica, including of course the Hindustan
subcontinent. Arguably 0 Anglo-Lusitano ended up performing a pivotal role between
the Goan Catholic migrant communities in Bombay and those spread around the
world, making no little contribution to fortifiing a sense of Goan identity and creating
an image of the same.

The birth of the newspaper immediately followed the 1886 Concordat, which was
signed on 23* June. The tensions surrounding the signing of the treaty counted were
decisive here: its pro-Padroado positions were considered aggressive and disturbing
enough to be noted officially by the Holy See and directly censured by the Secretary
of the Propaganda Fide, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla. I will not dwell on the ins and
outs of this polemic although its
relevance to the newspaper's agenda must-beb o n e in mind. Instead I prefer to focus
on other dimensions of its politics of identity.

The newspaper's own name seems to be a statement of identity, bridging the


community's Portuguese citizenship and cultural influences and its insertion into the
British Empire. The impulse to construct such bridges was surely not foreign to a wish
to disavow the raising Anglophobia in Goan political circles after the 1878 Anglo-
Portuguese treaty, which was considered in Goa to be fatal to the fiagile local
economy. Beyond doubt is the importance of addressing the community's political
identity. Apart from the tense atmosphere with the Bombay Portuguese, the
newspaper's concerns must be linked to the effort to organize, classify and describe
the Indian populations in community frameworks, which was promoted

by the British in their commitment to transfer the management of India's social and
political complexity from the domain of politics to the routine of administrative
affairs7. The resulting pressure for self-definition had been significant to the Bombay
Portuguese1 East Indian process. It was also reflected in the organization of the first
Indian National Congress on 28& December 1885 in its aim to represent the interests
of the different communities of the Indian 'people'.

The fact is that this concern with the social and political

consequences of this changing panorama inspired the editor of the

Portuguese section, Leandro Mascarenhas, to open a discussion

about this matter in his editorial ThePortuguese Community in India,

right on the newspaper's second issue8. The article departed from a


T o r an Anglo-Indian critic of this approach see Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton's New India or Indio in wonsition (1885). I recall that Henry Cotton had a
relevant role in the Indian National Congress.
EkeandmMascarenhas], 'A comunidade portugueza na India' 2 (15.07.1886). Neither editor signed the editorials as it was current in Goan periodicals of the
period, but this use and editorial responsibility allows us to amibute them with a high degree of certainty. The translation of the titles and quotes that follow is
mine. In all quotes of the newspaper I will dispense referring its title, signalling only the number and date of edition.

Sandra Ataide Lobo 5 1


5 2 The 0 Anglo-Lusitano...
social delimitation of the Portuguese Community to approach the tensions that divided
it and appeal to reform. According to the editor, the 'Portuguese Community'
comprised two elements: the 'sons of the North' and the 'sons of Goa', both of which
had converted to Catholicism under Portuguese rule and now formed two factions. He
believed that it was the change of ruler, in the case of the Northern people, which had
fed dissention, to which the recent step of the 'sons of the North' regarding their
denomination had contributed. In addition such dissention was aggravated by the idea
that subjection to different political and ecclesiastical jurisdictions was sufficient
grounds for separate political representation. He considered this view particularly
scandalous as it offended the very concept of a Catholic community, which ought not
to be touched by profane considerations. In his description of the situation,
Mascarenhas chose to hush up the contribution of Goans to dissent9.

The journalist's argument against separatism is particularly interesting for the


elements in which he rooted the community. First of all, India was their motherland
and this shared cradle should be considered the primary marker of their identity. In
other words, the human territorial unity called India prevailed over all others
comprised by it, be they Bombay, Goa or Kolkata. Not only that, it also prevailed over
the circumstantial 'political nationality' and was compatible with overlapping loyalties,
such as Goans experienced regarding the Portuguese and the British. The immutable
fact was that, before being Portuguese citizens or British subjects, they were Indians,
that is, 'natives' (naturais) of India. Secondly, they were united and at the same time
distinguished fi-om other Indian communities by their religion, habits and customs, as
well as by
9PauloVarela Gomes,'Bombay Portuguese'.
their language. He felt that it was fair to -attributethe birth of this socio-cultural profile
to the 'nation that taught all others the path to Orient'.

Mascarenhas's aim of course was to foster unity, which he considered achievable by 'a
patriotic effort, dedicated, sincere, sustained by an unshakable will and guided by the
serene light of reason'. Patriotisminthiscasereferstothedefenceofthe'Portuguese'
Catholics interests within the political reality of British India. He acknowledged
British rule as a 'constitutional government', by which he meant a political system
where the Government pondered the collective needs and interests of its subjects, as
embodied by their different communities. Consequently, each community had the
'right and the duty*to represent those needs and interests to the Government, an action
that entailed a previous delimitation and mobilization of communities. In fact, in such
cases, representation grounded its 'value and constancy from the force, influence and
importance of the community which is its expression'. Thus, for him it was beyond
doubt that the union of the 'two classes' would ensure theimportanceofthe'Portuguese'
communityandallowitgradually toconstitutea'partyinIndianpolitics',
thatisapoliticalorganization formed to represent its particular interests. Mascarenhas
proposal was mainly political as he firmly emphasized when defending the need to
overcome the total abstention of Catholics from the Indian reformist movements that
agitated Bombay, bringing together 'Hindus, Mohammedans, Parsis and others, [who]
so different and opposed by their race, religion, uses and traditions, were able to hold
arms for their common progress'.

This editorial had a considerable impact and consequently the newspaper announced it
had received a significant number

Sandra Ataide Lobo 53


5 4 The 0 Anglo-Lusitano...
of letters either of support or rejection, some of them published in subsequent issues.
The tone of the critical responses provoked Leandro Mascarenhas to write a new
editorial, The Portuguese Community in English India, to clariQ his ideado.Again he
insisted on the need for a political alliance and organization of a community that only
in Bombay numbered some twenty thousand Goans and six to seven thousand natives
of the city. According to him, the lack of organization these 'Portuguese' had just
recently had practical consequences during the first meeting of the National Congress,
where all the 'classes of India' were supposed to be represented but which featured no
elected 'Indo-Portuguese' deputy. Such

misrepresentation was not to be taken lightly given the political importance of the
Congress. The founding of this movement had already been recognized through India
and England as a turning point in the demand for political regeneration that was
agitating the 'Indian nation'.

Mascarenhas suggested that the members of both 'sections' of the community had to
ask themselves why as sons of India they were being left behind by history though
they had been the first Indians to experience political modernity. Furthermore he
insisted on the Indianness of the Goans to answer those who classified Goan migrants
as foreigners to British India due to their Portuguese citizenship. Against such an
exclusory approach, he argued:

--
The [Portuguese constitutional] Charter offers nationality to Goans and its political and civil
prerogatives "in the most perfect equality, both evangelic and liberal"", but it does not give
them their birthplace [naturalidade]. They may be Portuguese

'O'AcomunidadeportuguezanaIndiaingleza'm ePortuguesecommunityinEnglishIndia]7(19.08.1886)
"There is a degree of irony in the statement under brackets as just before he distinguished law from the derogatory social attitudes and
discriminatory practicesof the successive governments in Goa.
citizens, but they may never cease to be natives [naturais] of India. Goa is their cradle and India
their homeland [Phtria]. It is frequently said that they are foreigners in this town. As
Portuguese citizens,yes; but as sons of India, no.

In other words, being Indians by birth they could never be considered foreigners on
Indian soil. The idea of an Indian nation formed by individuals, Indian by birth
irrespective of their origin", regardless of political nationality and Imperial
boundaries, emerges from his argument. Developing it, he argued that even for those
migrants who kept Portuguese citizenship; this affiliation became irrelevant in a
British Indian context. Having clarified that issue, he waxed expansive about the
future designation of the community. Mainly political as we have seen, the name
should jettison any allusion to Portugal so as to avoid misinterpretations. That didn't
impede the community as a whole from paying tribute to its Portuguese religious and
cultural roots. It didn't even prevent Goans maintaining their Portuguese political
links, when these did not interfere with public sphere of British India and British
interests. Mascarenhas, himself, found the name 'Indian Catholics' adequate, as it was
open to all Indian Catholics and not only those with direct Portuguese influences, yet
closed to other Christians.

Among the correspondencepublished during this discu~sion'~, those in the English


language were more sympathetic to the idea of open even more such organization
through the concept of 'Christian community', of more embracing spirit. We may
identify different positions according to the origin of the contributor. The letter of
"Against the exclusory view, he observed that if the argumentwas to be taken seriously then one could hardly point a 'true' native of Bombay as the
city evolved along the centuries supported by wide migration from all comers and races.
"The editors recognized that most were not published for space problems.

Sandra Ataide Lobo 55


56 Yhe 0 Anglo-Lusitano...
a correspondent using the pseudonym Vox indicates that although the newspaper was
mainly related to the Goan community, it had a broader public since its beginnings14.
This correspondent clearly positions himself as an outsider, an Anglo-Indian or, less
probably, an Englishman.

Vox's argument against the name 'Portuguese' is telling. According to him, the
community's 'wretched position' among 'the races in India' and the contempt of
Englishmen towards it, was a consequence of the effort to pass for something it was
not. That is, native Indians should never self-identi* otherwise and even less so allow
themselves to be recognized as such. Not only was 'Portuguese' a self-designation
lacking social acceptance, but it was also abusive due to its national resonances. In his
definition:

A man's nationality is determined by two considerations, viz, that of his parentage, and that of
the country of his birth, and when it is thus determined it is no more in the power of the man to
alter it otherwise than by naturalization.

That is, outside the exceptional case of naturalization, nationality was an organic
unchangeable condition determined by birthplace or immediate origins, irrespective of
political or other environmentalfactors.Consequently,Goansas 'Portuguese subjects'
could not be included in the Portuguese national community. Vox preferred to ignore
that Goans were constitutionally Portuguese citizens, a status that blended nationality
and citizenshipI5,as he diverged from the voluntarist and essentially political concept
of nationality defined by the Portuguese constitutional tradition, under
"Vex,'TotheEditorofthe"Anglo-Lusitano" 6(12.08.1886).
I5CristinaNogueira da Silva, Constitucionalismo e impPrio: a cidadania no til/rammpomrgub. Coirnbra,Alrnedina, 2009;SandraAtaide Lobo,
Odesassossegogo6s:culfuraepoliticaemGoadoliberalismoaoActo Colonial.Lisbon, FCSWUNL, 2013.
French inspiration. A tradition that emphasized the distinction between nationality and
birthplace (naturalidade), as Mascarenhas arguments well illustrate. He also diverged
from the historical, cultural and religious affiliation that justified the designation
'Portuguese' by which the Catholics of Bombay and surrounding territories had been
long known. Even if Mascarenhas and Vox converged in the rejection of the
designation 'Portuguese' for the community, they grounded their position in quite
different ideas.

Vox did not elucidate the motives that inspired the adoption of the 'Portuguese'
designation, but I venture that he believed natives aimed an upgrade in the hierarchy
of races by pretending to have European roots. What he clarifies is English disgust,
rooted in ideas of the irrevocable nature of nationality and the associated duty to hold
nationalist pride:

Not only is it beyond our power to alter it [nationality], but honour, truth and patriotism
demand that we vindicate it, and it is not surprising, therefore, that proud Englishmen should
despise those who, as they suppose, are endeavouring to pass for what they are not.

Vox proposed the designation 'Native Christians', contrary to the community's writers
who favouredthe name 'Indian Christians'16 or, as in the case of Mascarenhas, 'Indian
Catholics'. His problem was with the criteria that delimited the community. According
to him the term Indian Catholic 'sounds neither euphonious nor rational' because it
largely exceeded the bounds of the 'proper sphere' of the so-called 'Portuguese'
community. Even if the writer does not develop the argument, his statement points in
a clear

direction. Having in mind what we may call natural communities of '"AnIndian Catholic, 'To the
editor of the "Anglo-Lusitano" 6 (12.08.1886).

Sandra Ataide Lobo 57


58 The 0 Anglo-Lusitano...
a society, in the present case Indian society; it would be acceptable and even
convenient to embrace coherent religious diversity, as in the case of Christianity, but
not racial diversity. In fact race was seen a natural marker of community, for which
reason the national (Indian) connection sounded so unmelodious. Vox's apprehension
most probably regarded temptations to amalgamate natives with Anglo-Indians. The
latter didn't need any more wood to fuel the fire of British contempt for their claim to
be privileged actors, due to their Indian experience and British roots, in the
establishment of an equilibrium between British and Indian interests. Simultaneously,
he either did not recognize the existence of Luso-descendents in the 'Portuguese'
community or was suggestingthat those too should not integrate the proposed group.

The social interest of cultural identity

The political unification of the communities did not occur, as I have already suggested
when referring the East Indians, although the newspaper occasionally returned to the
subject". The term 'Portuguese' regarding the migrant community would be
increasingly replaced by 'Goan', but the process was far fi-om being closed in the
following decades. Its continuation was due to migrant's elite own active maintenance
of political and cultural links with Portuguese India, and its cultivation of
distinctiveness in Bombay society. In the last case its defence of the Portuguese
language was significant, while the second generations, educated for the British India
professional market, increasingly chose English as its literary language.

The battle was assumed fi-om its beginning by the 0 Anglo-

Lusitano, once again in particular by Leandro Mascarenhas who


"[JosC Manuel da Silva], 'Indian Christians' 569 (12.06.1897).
defended that Portuguese language had a social and cultural importance for the
community similar to Gujarati for Parsis or Marathi for Hindus. That is, it should be
understood as the equivalent to any literary vernacular. For that reason, he defended it
was worth campaigningforCatholicschoolstoteachitandfortheGoanCatholic youth to
cultivate it alongside English18. Regarding the social and intellectual 'improvement'
of the community, Mascarenhas praised the role of 'Portuguese' association^^^. In
particular, he highlighted the Luso-Indian Institute founded in 1883 on the initiative of
the migrant elite, of whose board he was a founding mernbe3O. He emphasized its
investment in cultural bilingualism via familiarity with Portuguese and British
literatures and the instrumental role of its library, which though it had started out with
holdings in Portuguese was already planning an equal investment in English-

language worksz1.

Colonial experience as instrument of political analysis

The cultural intervention of the newspaper, which paid particular attention to


educational problems and to the politics of language, ran alongside critical political
discourses regarding the realities of Goa and India. Goan colonial experience could be
drawn upon to analyse the British Indian process. Two editorials in the English
section, which was edited by JosC Manuel da Silva, are particularly illustrative of this
approach. Published in January

188722,they commented on the second meeting of the Indian


'*[Leandm Mascarenhas], 'A lingua portugueza na India ingleza' m e Portuguese language in English India] 6 (12.08.1886).
I9[Leandro Mascarenhas], 'InstituiqBes portuguezas em Bombaim' Portuguese institutions in Bombay] 8 (26.08.1 886).

2oRelatorioe contas do gerencia do Instihito Luso-Indian0 desde Agosto de 1886 at6 31 de Dezembro de 1887. Bombaim,s.n, 1888.
"The services of the Institute to the promotion of Portuguese culture in Bombay would be recognized in 1902 by King Charles I by granting it the benefit of
becoming a Royal Institute (National Archive Torre do Tombo, Registo Geral de Merces de D. Carlos I, liv. 15, fl.164).

22[JosCManuel da Silva], 'Indian aspirations' 32 (13.01.1887); 'Natives under Portuguese rule' 33 (20.01.1887).

Sandra Ataide Lobo 59


60 The 0Anglo-Lusitano...
National Congress (December 1886), held in Calcutta.

The editor criticized the radical resolutions adopted by the Congress':

Even those who sympathize most hardly with the cause have not been quite satisfied as to the
moderation and opportuneness of the demands. A subject conquered nation may ask anything, but it is
to be seen whether the conquerors are likely to concede it even in this enlightened nineteenth century,
so long as it is in their power to withhold it.23

Silva vouched that his position was not guided by 'a spirit of hostile criticism' as he
was a native entirely sympathetic with the reformist ideas of the Congress.
Nevertheless, though agreeing that native grievances were altogether just, he
considered it premature to fully address them. To support his views he invoked the
Goan process as a comparator for British India. He described the situation in Goa at
that time:

At the present day Goa is not governed by Portugal, so much as by herself, as an integral part of the
Portuguese Kingdom. The vast majority of the people of Goa are natives of the country, but in Goa
the difference of race is seldom felt so far at least as the Government concerned.

Through this description Silva transmitted an idea about Goan ethnic and political
identity, based both on the formal status of its natives under the Portuguese liberal
Monarchy and on the actual local reality. That is, a political configuration by which
the territory became a province of Portugal, participating in the representative
government through an electoral system in which local citizens,

mostly natives, exercised their political rights. This configuration


"[JosC Manuel da Silva], 'Indian aspirations'.
allowed Silva to affirm that Goa had reached self-government, given that 'race' was
seldom a basis for inequality. He considered of the utmost importance the fact that the
'vast majority of the people of Goa were Christians three hundred years ago'. A point
of view that disregarded that at present 415 of Goan territory was formed by the News
Conquests of the 18h Century, whose population, almost equal in number to that of
the Old Conquests, was overwhelmingly
Hindu.Inotherwords,heidentifiedGoaastheOldConquestsandits people. This was a
lasting image founded by the Catholic population based on local historical process,
which even resisted Portuguese government practices to promote political
amalgamation with the New Conq~ests~~.

Regarding the Congress' demands, Silva alerted his readers to what he characterized
as the colonial mind-set, or the nature of conquerors to impose their will for as long as
possible. Such a mentality ensured that unless they became less powerful, as in the
Portuguese case, the conquered should expect resistance when demanding rights:

India may be prepared to take as much as England can give, but the previous question is
whether England is yet prepared to forego her real or imaginary rights o f conquest and grant
all that India may be disposed to ask.

In his view overly ambitious claims could provoke defensive attitudes.


ConsideringtheGoanreality,herecalledthatthePortuguese 'generosity' regarding native
rights came only with the 1820 liberal revolution, after more than three hundred years
of domination.

The editor introduced yet another point of view into the

discussion when he argued that, in fact, 'Goa now enjoys more


2JSandraAtaide Lobo, 0 desassossego go&.

Sandra Ataide Lobo 6 1


62 The 0Anglo-Lusitano...
privilegesthanshecanwellexercise', aftercenturiesofreligious conversion and exposure
to European developments in culture and politics. With this statement, Silva echoed
current colonial political discourses regarding native lack of preparation to enjoy
modern political rights and exercise self-government. The argument was generally
supported by allying historical evaluation with social and cultural observation, and
adapted to the colonial context much of the conservative argumentation against
revolutionary voluntarism. The singularity of the article under analysis came not from
the appreciation, but fkom the fact that it was penned by a Goan native. In his second
article, Silva expanded this perspective to the British Indian situationz5.He offered a
panorama of coeval Goa and of 'lessons of history' provided by its evolution, where he
discussed the egalitarian policies of the Portuguese in detail. The comparative exercise
allowed him to question preparedness of Indian society to deal with the Congress's
full demands and with the social problems that radical change might bring, especially
at the political level:

Suppose India obtains representative assembly - a sort of Parliament of her own. Whom will that
assembly represent? Will it represent only the educated and the rich, or also the poor and illiterate?
Will the uneducated classes form part of the electorate, and if so, are the masses capable of electing at
all? Is there a guarantee that representative institutionswill not be the occasion of giving rise to small
parties perpetually engaged in internecine quarrels? Popular representation is a very good thing in its
way, but like every other good it is liable to be abused and we think that it is yet to be shown that

25Jos6Manuel da Silva, 'Natives under Portuguese rule'.


it will not be abused in India, in the existing state of society; that it will not be popular
representation only in name.

Silva's conservative line of questioning was mixed with a patronising elitist attitude
represented by the newspaper in its readiness to claim Goan authority to counsel
fellow Indian natives. Such positioning was grounded on Goa's prior experience of the
European civilizing mission and the problems adjacent to liberal dynamics. The image
that it reflected was that of natives that although sharing colonial subjugation with
other Indian natives, had a different historical experience and were better prepared to
disentangle the complexities of the civilizing process. Here, as on other occasions
since the 1820s, their status of Portuguese citizens occupied a relevant place in the
construction of Goans' political identity.

This self-perceptionwas in fact startingto be confronted by the evolution of British


India. An evolution that led to compare colonial models and practices and reflect
about practical achievements. I shall not dwell on this phenomenon here, as it justifies
its own paper. Nevertheless,itisworthnotingthatthiscomparativeexercisestarted in the
newspaper as soon as 1888, with the editor of the Portuguese section targeting the
defaults of Portuguese style of administration and its impact in local development.
Soon, the debate extended to discussion with Goan based newspapers, some of which
accused the 0 Anglo-Lusitano of being Anglophile. Portuguese liberalism in granting
rights and its less distant attitude regarding race relations, as compared to the British,
continued to largely justify this elite's repeated affirmation of preference for
Portuguese domination. But when political conflicts with the Portuguese authorities
arose the

Sandra Ataide Lobo 63


64 The 0 Anglo-Lusitano...
threat of voluntarily swapping of masters would henceforward be a rhetorical weapon.

Independent of these emotional moments, the fact is that British Empire and its style
of colonial administrationwas becoming an unavoidable point of reference, even if not
the sole one, to think though colonialism and the construction of colonial societies, a
fact that was acknowledged by the Portuguese colonialists and the Goan political and
intellectual circles, as the newspaper amply testifies. On a different tack, although this
particular newspaper maintained a cautious position against political radicalism, only
a few years later the evolution of the Indian nationalist movement started to be taken
as an example of civil mobilization, namely for the effects of its persistent action for
self-improvementz6and pressure for rights. In this process authoritative posture of the
Goans gave way to a more critical self-image, which contributed to reflections on the
concepts of citizenship and political identity in a colonial context. This reflection was
particularly disturbed by the somewhat schizophrenic coexistence of a growing
theorization and practice regarding the constitution of colonial difference within the
Portuguese egalitarian Constitutional tradition, which even suggested the inexistence
of colonies and consequentlyof colonial relations within the Portuguese
pluricontinental territory.

***
-
pp -

26Socialreform and the promotion of national self-esteem became relevant issues of the newspaper. For instance, the links betweeneconomicand
culturalpatriotismwere enthusiasticallydefended('0luxona sociedadegoense'[Luxury in Goan society] no464 (16.5.1 895); 'RepressPo do luxo'
[Repression o f luxury] no478 (29.08.1895).
O Anglo-Lusitano=The Anglo-Lusitano (1886-1897): constructing identity and public
opinions across languages and empires
Sandra Ataíde Lobo
CHAM – Centro de Humanidades, FCSH-NOVA e Un.Aç., Pensando Goa,
GIEIPC-IP
sandralobo@netcabo.pt

My paper approaches the weekly bilingual newspaper O Anglo-Lusitano, published in


Bombay by the elite of the Goan native Catholic migrant community between 1886 and 1955.
Contrary to other native bilingual newspapers in British India, its bilingualism was not intended
to bridge English and vernacular readership but both lingua franca of the British and
Portuguese empires. By doing so, at once opened the scope of its potential publics and asserted
an intellectual identity through language affiliations, in a context where clarification of place
under British domain became relevant. Yet, the newspaper evidences the difficulties of such
clarification for a community with sentiments of belonging increasingly regarded as
conflictual.
The appearance of bilingual newspapers represented a new phase of Goan periodical
press in Bombay in contrast with its first period during which it mainly served to create a public
sphere in Goa. The adoption of bilingualism appears to respond to social and political anxieties
of the migrant community. Regarding the O Anglo-Lusitano two significant moments were
focused: the founding years and the period of 1895-1897. In the first moment, the newspaper
was situated in British India changing political environment, being highlighted its editors’
efforts to force the community’s inscription in British India politics through Catholic political
organization. On the other hand, it was evidenced how its political experience served to analyse
native politics. From the discussions presented it hopefully turns evident how different political
experiences and intellectual influences were significant to think the political and mould
understandings of political ideas.
As for the second period, a time of highly controversial political crisis, I focused the
newspaper’s intervention on Goan affairs under Portuguese rule in a turning point of
Portuguese and Goan views regarding the Portuguese political model and native positioning
vis-à-vis coeval colonial and anti-colonial thoughts. The contours of the crisis and that of native
political reflection were intimately connected with the contradictions born out of the status of
full Portuguese citizenship and provincial conception of overseas spaces when confronted with
practical political and social subalternity. By embarking in the discussion of colonial
governance and citizenship in a situation of formal non colonial political model, the
newspaper’s editors and with them a significant part of Goan politicians were not only
admitting the existence of colonial difference recommending specific governance and
consideration of according political agendas for the colonized, but also forcing Portuguese
politicians to assume the inherent responsibilities. Becoming relevant the exercise of
comparative analysis of colonial models, the experience of both Portuguese and British
colonialism underlined the particularly authoritative position of migrants to perform such task.
As the paper refers the birth of the O Anglo-Lusitano was strongly linked with the
Padroado conflicts and with the tensions with the Bombay Catholic community, soon to
become known as East Indian. On the other hand
Surprisingly it was not this community that initiated the Portuguese/English bilingual
press, but the said Bombay Portuguese, in 1858, against professional concurrence of Goans
and to take a position regarding the Padroado’s conflicts. This right was being for long disputed
by the Vatican, which tried to expand direct administration through the Propaganda Fide,
partially reflecting its sensitiveness to the discomfort of other potencies, namely the British,
with such jurisdiction in their dominions. Goan Catholics had direct interest in this right for
the place of Goa and of native priests in its management. The successive efforts to solve the
conflict had important moments in the Concordats of 1857 and 1886. Amidst these conflicts,
the Bombay Portuguese departed from their Portuguese links to affirm their Indianness,
obedience to the Vatican and fidelity to British rule. On occasion of Queen Victoria’s Golden
Jubilee in 1887 they definitely adopted the designation of East Indians. The bilingualism of
their early periodicals reflected the religious and cultural transition from the Portuguese to the
Roman and British realms.
These tensions contextualize the first Goan bilingual newspapers in the late 60’s, being
still relevant to the O Anglo-Lusitano’s birth on 1 July 1886. The adoption of English became
crucial for the community’s inscription in British Bombay’s dynamics, to offer the Goan point
of view in the religious conflict and to respond to the East Indian agenda. It also mattered to
enlarge its audience near the migrant community around India and other places of the British
Empire, a part of which was becoming literate only in English. Even so, Portuguese was still
assumed as the common language of the elite stationed in Bombay, constituting a social and
cultural marker with ambiguous political consequences. For if served their positioning as
Portuguese citizens, this citizenship could cause discomfort in British Indian context.
The bilingual contents of the O Anglo-Lusitano was marked by diversification and
dialog between the Portuguese and English sections, starting with each language having its
own editor and ending on the thematic continuity: sections tended to replicate themes but rarely
offered the same articles. Quotations and cross-pollination of ideas and arguments insure us
that the situation did not discarded, in fact it may have stimulated, bilingual reading. The
pattern extended to the occasional and regular collaboration and may have contributed
significantly to attract the considerable network of Goan correspondents soon gathered by the
newspaper through the Portuguese and British empires. For this reason the O Anglo-Lusitano
ended up performing a pivoting role among the Goan Catholic communities around the world,
contributing not little to fortify the sense of Goan identity and to create an image of that
identity.
Not by chance the birth of the periodical immediately followed the 1886 Concordat,
signed on 23 June, a its pro-Padroado statements in the following years were considered
disturbing enough to be censured by the Holly See. I will not detain in this relevant polemics,
but in other dimensions of its politics of identity. The newspaper’s own name appears as a
statement bridging the Portuguese citizenship and cultural influences and the community’s
inscription in the British Empire. Adding to the tense atmosphere with the Bombay Portuguese,
this positioning needs to be linked to the British effort to organize the Indian populations in
community frameworks.
The changing panorama inspired, right on the second number, the editorial The
Portuguese Community in India in the Portuguese section (15.07.1886). The article proposed
the political reunion of the Portuguese Community, which according to the editor, Leandro
Mascarenhas, embraced Goan migrants and the ‘sons of the North’. He rejected the idea that
subjection to different political and ecclesiastical jurisdictions justified separate political
representation. His argument is particularly interesting for the elements in which he rooted the
community, birthplace, religion and culture:
First of all, India was their motherland, their primordial identity marker. In other words,
the human territorial unity called India prevailed over all others comprised by it, even over
circumstantial ‘political nationality’ being compatible with overlapping fidelities. Before being
Bombays or Goans, Portuguese citizens or British subjects they were Indians, that is, ‘naturals’
(naturais) from India.
Secondly, they were united and at the same time distinguished from other communities
for their religion, uses and language, being fair to tribute the birth of this common ground to
the ‘nation that taught all others the path to Orient’.
Unity of this natural community should be achieved through ‘a patriotic effort’ to
defend its interests in British India, where political representation was emerging. He defined
British rule as a ‘constitutional government’, meaning in this case a Government that ruled
pondering the collective needs and interests of the different communities of Indian society.
Consequently, each community had the ‘right and the duty’ to represent them in a strong basis,
as representation grounded its ‘value and constancy from the force, influence and importance
of the community, being its expression’. The union of the said ‘Portuguese’ would assure great
importance to the community, allowing it to constitute a ‘party in Indian politics’. Mascarenhas
emphasized the need to overcome abstention from the Indian movements that agitated Bombay,
and offered the example of ‘Hindus, Mohammedans, Parsis and others, [who] so different and
opposed by their race, religion, uses and traditions, were able to hold arms for their common
progress’.
This editorial had considerable impact, with a significant number of letters of support
or rejection being addressed to the newspaper. The critics provoked a new editorial, The
Portuguese Community in English India, reinforcing the need for unity (19.08.1886). Leandro
Mascarenhas pointed how the lack of organization had practical consequences in the first
meeting of the National Congress (December 1885), where all the ‘classes of India’ were
represented but not the ‘Indo-Portuguese’. Such misrepresentation should not to be taken
lightly as the Congress movement was already recognized as a political turning point of the
‘Indian nation’. Mascarenhas insisted on Goan Indianness against the idea that Goan migrants
were foreigners in British India for their Portuguese citizenship. Indians by birth they could
never be considered foreigners in an Indian territory. The idea of an Indian nation formed by
individuals indifferent to political nationality and to Imperial boundaries, emerges from his
argument. On the other hand, he became expansive about the need to detach this political
community from any allusion to Portugal and enlarged its potential scope by proposing the
self-denomination, ‘Indian Catholics’.
The selection of letters published by the newspaper evidence the interest in opening the
debate by presenting different thesis. Those of English language evidenced more sympathy
with the idea of affirming a ‘Christian’ community, a point of view that suggests the influence
of British education and at least appeals to a certain ecumenical attitude for practical political
purposes. Even in this point of view conceptual frames depended on the origin of the
contributors. A correspondent under the pseudonymous Vox, probably Anglo-Indian or
Englishmen, indicates that from its beginnings the newspaper had a public larger than the
Goans or even the said Portuguese (‘To the Editor of the “Anglo-Lusitano”’ 12.08.1886).
Interesting are his arguments against the names ‘Portuguese’ and ‘Indian’ which in
different ways introduce the divide of race in the consideration of community. To him the said
‘Portuguese’ community’s ‘wretched position’ among ‘the races in India’ and the contempt of
Englishmen towards it, resulted from the effort to pass for something it was not. In this view,
‘Portuguese’ was a self-designation without social acceptance, abusive due to its national
resonances. Unless on the exceptional case of naturalization, nationality was an organic
condition determined by birthplace or immediate origins, irrespectively of political or other
environmental factors. Vox preferred to ignore that Goans were constitutionally Portuguese
citizens, a status that mingled nationality and citizenship, as he diverged from the voluntaristic
and essentially political concept of nationality defined by the Portuguese constitutional
tradition, under French inspiration. A tradition that emphasized the distinction between
nationality and birthplace (naturalidade), as Mascarenhas arguments well illustrate. He also
diverged from the historical, cultural and religious affiliation that justified the designation
‘Portuguese’ by which the Catholics of Bombay and surrounding territories were known for
long. Even if Mascarenhas and Vox ultimately converged in rejecting the designation
‘Portuguese’ for the proposed political community, they grounded their position in quite
different ideas. Vox did not elucidate his explanation, or at least that of the Englishmen, of the
motives that inspired the adoption of the ‘Portuguese’ designation, but I suggest believing that
natives aimed an upgrade in the hierarchy of races by pretending European roots. What he
clarifies is Englishmen disgust, entrenched on the idea about the irrevocable nature of
nationality and on the associated duty to hold nationalist pride.
.
On the other hand, he proposed the community of ‘Native Christians’, contrary to the
writers that sympathized with the name ‘Indian Christians’ or, as in the case of Mascarenhas,
‘Indian Catholics’. His problem was with the criteria that ruled the delimitation of community.
According to him the term Indian Catholic ‘sounds neither euphonious nor rational’ because it
largely exceeded the bounds of the ‘proper sphere’ of community. Even not developing the
argument, his statement points a clear direction. Having in mind what we may call natural
communities of a given society, in the concrete case Indian society; it was acceptable and even
convenient to embrace coherent religious diversity, as in the case of Christianity, but not racial
diversity. Race was a natural marker of community, being that reason why the national (Indian)
connection sounded so unmelodious. In my reading, Vox was refusing any amalgamation of
natives with Anglo-Indians, having the last community trouble enough in affirming their
British origins when dealing with European contempt, and in trying to assert themselves as
privileged actors, for their Indian experience and British roots, in the establishment of
equilibrium between British and Indian interests. Simultaneously, he either did not recognize
Luso-descendents in the ‘Portuguese’ community or was suggesting that those too should not
integrate the proposed group.
The political unification of the communities did not happen, as I have already suggested
when referring the East Indian process, although the newspaper occasionally came back to the
matter. The term ‘Portuguese’ regarding the migrant community was increasingly replaced by
‘Goan’, but the process took long decades. The survival counted with the migrant’s elite own
activism in maintaining the political and cultural links with Portuguese India, and in cultivating
its distinctiveness in Bombay society. The O Anglo-Lusitano had an important role in this
process, which expanded from the promotion of associations to a particular attention to
educational problems and to politics of language, alongside with critical political discourses
regarding Goan and Indian realities.
Goan colonial experience could be worked to analyse British Indian political process.
Two editorials of the English section, whose responsible was José Manuel da Silva, are
particularly illustrative of this approach. Published in January 1887, they commented the
second meeting of the Indian National Congress (December 1886), held in Calcutta (‘Indian
aspirations’ 13.01.1887; ‘Natives under Portuguese rule’ 20.01.1887). He criticized the
Congress’ radicalism, considering that natives’ grievances were altogether just, but being
prematurely addressed in their full extent. To support his views he invoked the Goan process
for political comparison. He described coeval Goan situation, through which he transmitted an
idea of Goan ethnic and political identity, based both on the formal status of natives under the
Portuguese liberal Monarchy and on the actual local reality. That is, a political configuration
by which the domain became a province of Portugal, participating of the representative
government through the electoral system in which local citizens, dominantly natives, exercised
their political rights. That configuration allowed Silva to affirm that Goa had reached self-
government, being ‘race’ seldom a basis of inequality. He considered of the utmost importance
the fact that the ‘vast majority of the people of Goa were Christians three hundred years ago’.
A point of view that disregarded that 4/5 of Goan territory was formed by the News Conquests,
whose population, statistically almost equal to that of the Old Conquests, was overwhelmingly
Hindu. In other words, he identified Goa as being formed by the Old Conquests and its people,
a lasting image founded by the Catholic population based on local historical process.
Regarding the Congress’ demands, Silva alerted to the colonial mind-set, being the
nature of conquerors to impose their will as long as possible. Unless they became less powerful,
as in the Portuguese case, the conquered should count with resistance when demanding rights.
Too ambitious vindications could induce defensive attitudes. Considering the Goan reality, he
recalled that the Portuguese ‘generosity’ regarding native rights came only with the 1820
liberal revolution, after more than three hundred years of domination.
The editor introduced yet another point of view into the discussion, when defending
that, in fact, ‘Goa now enjoys more privileges than she can well exercise’, after centuries of
religious conversion and conviviality with European cultural and political evolution. With this
statement, Silva echoed current colonial political discourses regarding native lack of
preparation to enjoy modern political rights and exercise self-government. The thesis was by
norm argumentatively supported by the alliance of historical evaluation and social and cultural
observation, and adapted to colonial context much of the conservative argumentation against
revolutionary voluntarism. Silva closed the Goan panoramic and ‘lessons of history’, where he
abundantly approached Portuguese egalitarian politics, by questioning India’s society
preparedness to deal with the Congress full demands and with the social problems that radical
change might rise, namely at the political level. This conservative line of questioning was
mingled with a patronising attitude of the elite represented by the newspaper in its readiness to
convoke Goan authority to counsel fellow Indian natives; a positioning grounded in Goan
priority in experiencing European civilizing mission and the problems adjacent to liberal
dynamics. In this, as in other occasions since the 1820’s, the status of Portuguese citizens
occupied a relevant place in the construction of Goan political identity.
This self-perception was in fact starting to be confronted by the British Indian process,
inviting the exercise of comparing colonial models and practices and reflecting about practical
achievements. Portuguese liberalism in granting rights and the less distant attitude regarding
racial relations, as compared with the British, continued to largely justify this elite’s repeated
affirmation of preference for Portuguese domain. But when political conflicts with the
Portuguese authorities arose the threat of volunteer change of masters was henceforward
rhetorically used. Independently of these emotional moments, the fact is that British Empire
and its style of colonial administration was becoming an unavoidable reference, even if not the
sole one, to think colonialism and the construction of colonial societies. A reference
simultaneously acknowledged by the Portuguese colonialists and the Goan political and
intellectual circles, as the newspaper amply testifies. On a different direction, although this
particular newspaper maintained a cautious posture against political radicalism, only a few
years later the evolution of Indian nationalist movement started to be taken as an example of
civil mobilization, namely for the effects of persistent action for self-improvement and pressure
for rights. In this process Goan authoritative posture gave place to a more critical self-image,
contributing to the reflection about the concepts of citizenship and political identity in a
colonial context. This reflection was particularly disturbed by the somehow schizophrenic
conviviality of growing theorization and practices regarding the constitution of colonial
difference with the egalitarian Constitutional tradition, which even suggested the inexistence
of colonies and consequently of colonial relations within the Portuguese pluricontinental
territory.
Expressing feelings, bridging public opinions: 1895-1897
By the last decade of the century, political tensions raised in Goa partially due to
confronts between local Catholic elites (Brahmins and Chardós) and partially promoted by a
group of Europeans and Luso-descendents, militants of the new nationalist colonialist vogue.
The current was mounting in Portugal in reaction to the international movements upon the
partition of Africa and sequent pressure over the territories claimed by the Portuguese. The
process had already resulted in humiliations inflicted, namely by the British, to Portugal as a
week power in the new concert of Colonial Empires. In Goa, the excitable group was mostly
formed by militaries and magistrates, several of them related to Lisbon’s intellectual circles.
Feeding the neoromantic sensibility with militaristic dreams of grandeur, they claimed the
recovery of the ‘Portuguese Race’ to its original intrepid character, needed to the development
of Portuguese colonial vocation.
The group, soon designated as ‘Europeist’ for its insistence in underlining colonial
subalternity, felt less than happy with the political and social ascendency in Goan society of
the native elites and with their claims against the weight, merits and performance of the
‘Europeans’ in the different branches and ranks of the State of India. Brahmins’ influence in
Lisbon’s political circles, anchored in political alliances between local and metropolitan parties
for purposes of local control, helped resentment. Native elites were accused of serving caste
interests against local aspirations and generally ‘gentle’ feelings towards the Europeans, a
commonplace of colonialist discourses to deny to native politicians representativeness of local
societies. More generically, they found unbearable the unsubmissive attitude of those they
accused of ‘Nativism’ and defended a more muscular presence of the ‘European’ element in
Indiaiii. Even if the delimitation of champs is immensely confused by different ideological
ponderations and circumstantial alliances and resentments that the political panorama fed; we
may generally affirm the existence of a colonial confront between the ‘Europeists’ and native
elites, depending on the occasions more centred in conflicts with Brahmins or with Chardós.
Acrimony escalated in the press, frequently through the most offensive language, being
common the resource to defamatory rumours.
Since the end of 1894 a particularly virulent weekly, O Brado Indiano (The Indian Cry),
was published in Goa. Its editor, António Francisco Álvares, was a Brahmin related to
influential local families, being a former priest of the Roman Catholic Church. After the 1886
Concordat, Father Álvares brock with Rome and increased his critics to Portuguese action in
India. In 1887 he joined, with a group of Goan followers, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian
Church, a Church that claims the Indian autonomous Catholic process through the apostolate
of Saint Thomas and does not recognize Rome’s ascendency, having its own Patriarchs. Soon
after he formed his own branch by claiming the Latin Roman Rite, being elected by his
followers, in 1889, Bishop of Ceylon, Goa and India with the name of Mar Juliusiii. This step
had evident nationalist connotations, as by taking it Álvares was rejecting that Christianity was
a European gift to India and refusing submission of Indian Catholics to European kingdom. In
this quality he returned to Goa and soon after began publishing the O Brado Indiano. It didn’t
take long to become a public secret that the newspaper was supported and anonymously
collaborated by the Brahmin political circles to attack the ‘Europeist’ functionaries. Amongst
the attacked was the police administrator of the Islands of Goa, Captain Manuel Gomes da
Costa, known for his brutal methodsiii.
Rumours of eminent sedition to overthrow the Portuguese gained force, being attributed
a particularly disruptive role to local press. Accordingly, by the end of August 1895, the
Governmental Council of the State of India voted the extension to India of the 1890 law
destined to repress Republican and Socialist press in Portugaliii. By the same time, Gomes da
Costa arrested Bishop Álvares under a humiliating apparatus, finding also a way to jail his
lawyer. The headquarters of the O Brado Indiano were vandalized in search for compromising
papers. Eventually, the prisoners ended up being freed as there weren’t any consistent grounds
to sustain the imprisonment.
By the middle of September, a distinct situation occurred: the mutiny of Maratha
soldiers against the order and conditions imposed to sail to Mozambique to repress a native
revoltiii. Almost immediately these insurgents run away, ending up in the province of Satary
(New Conquests) being joined by the Ranes who taking up the leadership transformed the flight
of the soldiers in an organized revolt with a list of claims. The Ranes were a martial clan of the
region of Satary that since the 18th Century commanded innumerable revolts to maintain their
territorial feudal rights over the region and to protest against taxes and the alienation of lands.
Specialists in guerrilla tactics, in this as in other revolts they sustained by resorting to pillages
and other banditry acts through Goan territory. The Portuguese ‘literary’ correctness of the list
that reached the authorities would afterwards be one of the bases that sustained the theory that
there were ‘occult forces’ beyond the revolt.
Unrelated at the beginning, some Goan and Lisbon’s press started to link the
Maratha/Ranes revolt and the supposed ‘Nativist’ conspiracy involving also some Luso-
descendents, as part of the same seditious planiii. At the Council of Government military and
civil authorities were divided about the issue and the solutions to face the revoltiii. In any case,
by the middle of October the state of emergency was decreed in all Goan territory, arrests and
persecutions flowed, newspapers suspended and the remaining prohibited of publishing news
about the revolt and its repression. In the meantime the King’s own brother, the Duque of
Oporto D. Afonso Henriques sailed to India with a new Governor appointed to end the revolt.
This Governor, Rafael de Andrade, initiated in December a systematic cleaning of all public
services of native elements and several Luso-descendents through resignations or transfers to
other provinces of the State (Daman, Diu). Additionally, he issued a ban upon publishing and
circulation of any periodicals either in print or manuscript forms. Coordinated with the Duque
of Oporto, initiated a violent percussion of the insurgents with the most unorthodox methods,
including the burning of entire villages suspected of hiding rebels. The state of war in the New
Conquests and the repression of liberties in all Goan territory lasted under the hands of
successive governors. Only in 1897 a new Governor, Joaquim José Machado, negotiated with
the insurgents their surrender, ending the political crisis.
In the meantime, the troubles in Goa provoked a significant movement of refugees to
British India borders. Especially during the first year of more violent repression, a part of the
Catholic elites the Old Conquests integrated that movement, even if more directed to urban
centres like Bombay. Simultaneously, some elements sailed to Portugal to join the
representatives of the different groups that campaigned to influence the Government and
metropolitan public opinion about the Indian affairs.
Following the restrictions upon freedom of the press and lately its total ban in Goa, the
O Anglo-Lusitano, being the only Goan newspaper continuously published in either sides of
the Indian frontier during the whole crisis, gained a significant role in circulating news and
opinions regarding Goan affairs. In this case it became evident that the newspaper addressed
Lisbon politicians and public opinion as much as Goans, while simultaneously entertained the
wider Bombay public opinion with the singularities of Portuguese colonialism. Yet, when
compared with the panorama of the first half of the Century this role had another configuration,
as the communication technologies and the opening of the Suez Channel had in the meantime
revolutionized the ancient rhythms of intercontinental circulation of people, merchandises and
news. In such panorama, not only the time of reaction of the Central Government to overseas
crisis shortened immensely, but also the native one. By that time there was already a significant
Goan community in Portugal, from native and Luso-descendent elites, mainly in consequence
of academic migration to which in several occasions followed professional career. Natives
were well integrated in Portuguese political and intellectual circles, several of them being
regular contributors, when not directors or editors, of Lisbon’s political and colonial press.
Consequently, using their own nets of correspondents, they soon reacted to the news and
comments of the European sources stationed in India that in the first moments dominated the
narratives about the Goan situation. It goes without saying that rapidly polemics was installed
at the metropolitan press.
The O Anglo-Lusitano’s coverage followed the changing panorama. At first relied
mainly on its own correspondents and on British Indian newspapers, particularly the Times of
India that sent reporters to the terrain. In a short time, however, the focus dislocated to the
extensive transcription and comment of the Lisbon press, where the actors of the Goan conflict
positioned to dispute readings of Indian political tensions. In this dispute, the divide was not
only between Europeans and natives but also between natives, transporting the local political
tensions to the central stage of Portuguese politics. Conversely, Lisbon newspapers frequently
reproduced news and articles from Bombay press, namely those published by the O Anglo-
Lusitano.
The political developments soon provoked this newspaper to become an involved party.
Interviews given to the Times of India and later on to The Advocate of India by the Commander
of the troops mobilized to the Mozambique conflict were considered significant enough to be
reproduced both on the Portuguese and English sectionsiii. The Commander and brother-in-law
of the Governor, Júlio Felner, confirmed the newspaper’s first views about the conspiratorial
character of the rumours of seditioniii. The comments published in the Portuguese section, after
his revelations, are fully illustrative of such understanding:
‘After the truly vandal actions against Father Álvares and the Commentator
Sertório Coelho [his lawyer] practiced by the Captain Gomes da Costa, this functionary
needed to justify his brutal proceeding near the Overseas Minister. With that aim, the
Sanhedriniii, of which resolutions he is the avid executor, invented the said sedition to
oust the Portuguese Europeans. But that wasn’t enough. There was the need to involve
in it some Europeans, without which the work would be incomplete; and for that reason,
they attributed the head of the imaginary movement to Coronel Felner whom they
wished to cause all possible damage and even achieved, through low and shameful
intrigues, to alienate the Governor’iii
However, it soon became visible the impact in Bombay of the tensions provoked by the
sedition theory. The fear for the families back in Goa motivated Leandro Mascarenhas and
other leaders to convoke a meeting of the community, which took place days lateriii. The
intention was to guarantee to the Portuguese authorities the unquestionable loyalty of the
natives. In this occasion, the priority was not anymore inscribing the community within the
British Empire, as we saw in the early years of the newspaper, but to affirm its continuing
affiliation in the Portuguese realm. The meeting was abundantly covered by the newspaper in
both its sectionsiii.
According to the editorial of the English section, in his intervention Leandro
Mascarenhas went to the point of sustaining that Goans ‘were more Portuguese than the
Portuguese themselves, a people who carried their love of Portugal wherever they went’ iii. In
this discourse he absolutely separated those sentiments from the natives’ right, as Portuguese
citizens, to political criticism. Mascarenhas’ statement fully disregarded that the natives’
fragile positioning in the Portuguese nation was on several occasions objectified in
accompanying those critics with the suggestion that Goa could be better off with other rulers.
However the newspaper itself abundantly issued this view, sometimes with an intimidation
tune. Mascarenhas only a few months earlier when appealing to union of Goan citizens to
protest against the weight of taxes, had picked up the example of the Azoreans and their
methods to obtain autonomy:
‘We are not slaves to submit ourselves without protest to all sorts of iniquities.
We are free citizens; and we may openly manifest our sentiments. (…) The Azores
already felt tired of this dependency, and started to demand autonomy. They saw their
petitions unanswered and threatened Portugal with separatist ideas, and even went to
the point of negotiating union with the United States. Only then the Portuguese rulers
opened their eyes and now granted the concessions claimed by the Azoreans. Why
cannot we follow the same path? (…) Don’t the peoples of Portuguese Africa do the
same? (…) let us frankly declare to the Government that if it cannot rule with
consciousness and in harmony with our legitimate aspirations, let us search a way of
becoming better served.’iii
This kind of approach to political protest is inseparable from the surviving ambiguous
place of the overseas territories and populations on the imaginary of the Portuguese nation and
of the Portuguese nation on the imaginary of these populations, despite the Portuguese
constitutional assimilationist tradition and the repeated local protests of belonging. The
ambiguity had direct links with the effective ongoing colonial hierarchy, portrayed, for
instance, in the practice of reserving the top ranks of public service to Europeans or in the
different weights of the European and overseas populations in national representation.
Conversely, it became highly problematic defending the voluntary character of these
populations’ presence in the political union when many, including the New Conquests’
populations in the Goan case, remained governed by military commands. The situation, as the
Azorian case illustrates, at once materialized the contractual concept of nationiii and questioned
its compatibility with a colonial framework.
Within these limits, Portuguese national contract as define by its liberal
constitutionalism still played a structuring role of the political imaginary of the Goan Catholic
elites. When confronted with accusations of separatism, as in the present case, the invariable
tendency was to confirm their Portuguese nationalism. Impossible to stablish is the respective
weight of actual feelings of belonging and self-preservation caution. Anyway, this tendency
allows us to view occasional separatist threats as rhetoric resources of local political discourse,
even if plausible ones in face of other nations’ interest in the territory. Differently, the eminent
perils of uncontrollable colonial violence could advice distance from radical political
discourses.
The Bombay meeting ended up indicating a turning point in the newspaper’s discourse,
when detaching the people of Goa from those whose ‘disturbances and imprudence’ had
provoked the ‘indignation of the Europeans’. The partakers of the meeting specifically
mentioned the entourage of O Brado Indiano and the director of the newspaper O Universal
who, with his ‘inconveniences and imprudence, largely contributed to escalate the spirits in
Lisbon against the indigenous of India’iii.
In the last case, they were referring to the former MP, Constâncio Roque da Costa. The
politician belong to the new generation sons of Goa highly educated in Portuguese and other
European university centres, being himself an alumni of the École Libre des Sciences
Politiques (Paris). Nephew of the introducer of private press in Goa, his family headed an
influential local party known as Partido Ultramarino (Overseas Party) due to the newspaper O
Ultramar [The Overseas] that Bernardo Francisco da Costa founded in 1859. In local politics,
the Partido Ultramarino had its main opponent in the Partido Indiano (Indian Party), also
associated to a newspaper, in this case the A Índia Portuguesa (The Portuguese India)
published since 1861. While the first party was strongly associated to the Brahmin elite, a
higher presence in Lisbon, more liberal political ideas and insinuations of freemason links; the
last was more connected to the Chardó elite which disputed the Brahmin predominance in Goan
native society, a higher capacity of local mobilization, and more conservative political
positioning, ideologically close to the militant Catholicism that was gaining a new theoretical
impulse in Europe. Nonetheless, their national alliances, consolidated by the beginning of the
90’s, evidence the difficulty of asserting straightforward these profiles and their significance
in the local and national realms, as in both levels disputing ideas, social concurrence and
caciqueismiii played roles uneasy to discern. While the Partido Ultramarino had ancient close
links with the conservative metropolitan Partido Regenerador (Regenerator Party), in which
formally affiliated in the 90’s; the Partido Indiano was since the same time affiliated in the
more reformist Partido Progressista (Progressive Party), that disputed with the earlier rotation
in power.
Constâncio Roque da Costa had become, since 1894, the director of the O Universal,
the organ of one of the factions of the Regenerador party whose leader, Júlio de Vilhena, was
a former Minister of Marine and the Overseas. Following the polemics installed in Lisbon with
the September revolt it became public that C. R. da Costa negotiated with his Goan colleagues
the financial support of the newspaper to gain its political control. The information added
gravity to the current charge of being the agent in Lisbon of the political and private interests
that moved the Ultramarino party, as his connections in the Regenerador party in Government
were appointed as key to his ability to manipulate the backstage of politics. Contrary to what
could be expected in this panorama, this image was somehow reinforced by his virulent attacks
at the newspaper on Goan affairs and on the quality of the European public servants in India.
Lately he had added fuel to the polemics that surrounded him by publishing a critical history
of the Portuguese presence in Indiaiii.
The O Anglo-Lusitano expressed very critical views about native political divisions and
the promiscuity with the metropolitan parties considering it highly negative to local interests.
That was one of the responsibilities the editors attributed to the Ultramarino partyiii. These
critics were intimately connected with a thesis, influential in Goan political debates, build in
the crossroad of decades of local experience of the Portuguese representative system and
readings of growing theorization about colonial political specificity, namely by influence of
the British imperial model. The thesis being, that the proper political space of the colonized
was the local not the national. Furthermore, native representation and political activism should
be conceived on basis of community of interests rather than diversity of political visions, being
that one of the reasons why the Indian National Congress movement gained increasing
admirers. Similarly, at the other end of the colonial relation, it was expected that the definition
of colonial politics and the practice of colonial governance was assumed as a national goal,
defined within the colonizing interests and responsibilities, and escaping from political agendas
to the supposed neutral domain of the science of colonial administrationiii.
While accommodating civil and political rights and guarantees comprehended by
Portuguese national citizenship, the suggestion was that of an essential difference, being the
national the political realm of the colonizer and the local as that of the colonized. In such case
native representation should focus on locality, indifferent to national politics, being their
condition as colonized and interest for self and local improvement the proper fields for their
activitiesiii. Decades of national parliamentary experience had evidenced the marginality of the
colonies in the national democratic decision make, being the presence of their deputies in the
national parliament totally insignificant when confronted with that of the European provinces.
Even so, the metropolitan parties and government insisted in interfering in local electoral
processesiii. In view of what could be considered a political fraud, the colonized could consider
its interest in abdicating of such spurious right if substituted by local legislative assemblies
which would open the way to self-government, following British India exampleiii. That is, the
idea that Portuguese India was already self-governed for its inscription in the Portuguese
national realm, which we have seen expressed only a few years before by José Manuel da Silva,
was increasingly contested to give place to claims for concrete democratization of local
governance. From the holders of central and local government, natives should claim
impartiality and competence in harmonizing national and local interests, being the evaluation
of the last built in the intersection of scientific colonial knowledge and attention to the local
expectations voiced by its public opinion.
From different points of views the unitary and integrationist trends of the Portuguese
political system inaugurated in the 1820’s, highly influenced by 18th century anticolonial
thought which mainly targeted American settlers colonies, were being defied. These trends
were giving way to the concept of Colonial Empire, regarding which the different actors were
expressing their own expectations. This repositioning integrated the movement of renewal of
colonial and anticolonial thoughts that after the second half of 19th century accompanied the
expansion and consolidation of European empires in Africa and Asia.
This background situates the accusations that emerged from the Bombay meeting
regarding Constâncio Roque da Costa. The issue grew in the O Anglo-Lusitano accompanying
the debate in Lisbon and Indian newspapers and pamphlets about the Goan affair. In fact, it
was through the selected transcription of metropolitan periodicals in the Portuguese section
and commented abstracts in the English part that these narratives developed, involving
Constâncio Roque da Costa and his party with the O Brado Indiano and the alleged anti-
Portuguese revolutionary plans. Even if the Bombay newspaper continued to insist on the thesis
of the popular fidelity towards the Portuguese, it evidenced an increasing openness to admit a
complot involving ‘the sect’, as consistently named the Ultramarino party. The denomination
distanced the Goan people from this party, as much as discretely convoked the accusations,
repeated by its militant Catholic adversaries, of freemason affiliation and of a subterranean
modus operandi. Coherent with the newspaper editorial rule of denying endorsement to caste
dissent, the ‘sect’ was never concretely identified as being the upper Brahmin caste that
dominated the party. Yet, even if it insisted that its views as speaker of the migrant community
were marked by distance from local disputes, it may hardly be denied the involvement of the
newspaper in the political concurrence and frequent violent confronts between the Ultramarino
and the Indiano parties, being evident its enduring sympathy for the last.
Regardless of that fact, most interesting from the political point of view is the reading
of the Ultramarino’s presence in Lisbon through Constâncio Roque da Costa. One of the first
editorials to fully address the matter came from the English sectioniii, commenting the dominant
views of the metropolitan press about the group’s ambitions, which could be epitomised as
such:
‘India (which Portuguese grandiloquence substitutes for Goa and the two other
bits of Portuguese territory of India) for us; the other Indians under us; and the
Europeans far from us’.
Being well prepared to partially endorse the accusation, the editor showed surprise for
such late awareness, as the sect’s agenda had long before become self-evident. However, Silva
objected to the idea of a complot to overthrow the Portuguese given its probable disastrous
consequences to the group:
‘Now an independent Goa being an impossibility in the present political state,
the consequence of throwing off the Portuguese yoke could only be that another
European power would take possession of the country. Such being the case the sect,
which is composed by shrewd practical men, must know that its interests and its aims
and objects are best served under a system of misrule and corruption such as the
Portuguese, and that no other civilized Government would tolerate its impudent
pretension’
Being misrule and sectarian interests such good allies, in the editor’s view the group
could be accused of conspiring at another level and with different goals:
That ‘the dependence of Goa upon Portugal shall be as nominal as possible, its
own members being the real and virtual masters’. What the Regeneradores are doing in
Portugal the sect is trying to do in Goa’.
In other words, the ambition was to gain absolute power in local society. Bearing in
mind this aim, the modus operandi was simple and transparent to attentive observers. If the
group wanted some benefit – manipulation of an election, removal of unfriendly officials, or
nomination of a ‘friend’ – Constâncio Roque da Costa was informed. Next step he would
address the Minister of Marine and the Overseas and ‘the thing” was ‘done’. In case the
pretention depended on the Governor-General of the State of India, instructions would be
issued by the Minister. If the Governor evidenced scruples the attitude would cost his place.
According to this narrative, the deputy who gained his election due to the protection of the
Regenerador party in power was now capable of dismissing the own Heads of the State of India
if inconvenient to his group. This power had been consolidated through his activity as director
of the O Universal:
‘The present Portuguese Colonial Minister is Mr. da Costa’s personal friend and
protégé; yes, a protégé, for Mr. da Costa is the editor of a paper (a paper which, if a
letter recently published by the India Portuguesa be authentic, would appear to be
subsided with founds from Goa), and a Portuguese editor being apparently a great
political personage, Mr. da Costa has kindly condescended to take the Minister under
his editorial wings’.
Not anchored in any political convictions, this support had the sole aim of free
manipulation of governmental decisions:
‘Now when a person manipulates Ministers like puppets we must hold either an
exalted opinion of the former or a contrary opinion of the later. As we happen to know
the worth of our countryman Mr. Da Costa, we are driven to the alternative of
entertaining a very mean opinion of those who in Portugal thoughtlessly lend
themselves as his tools’.
The situation led to an upside down political situation, as recently the author of a letter
addressed to the Duque of Oporto, D. Afonso Henriques, had denounced:
‘In conclusion the author in asking for a thorough investigation without any
prejudice and bias reminds the Prince to observe the absurdity of governing in India,
by the present absurd method i.e. of Europeans governing in India, who are themselves
governed by Indians, and the Indians governing the Minister of Marine in Lisbon.’iii
The said author was Cristóvão Pinto, a native deputy elected by the Indiano party. The
politician was using the occasion to offer the Portuguese public opinion his view about Goan
reality and political panorama, resorting to the political figure of the ‘loyal advisor’ of the
Prince. The letters he addressed to D. Afonso Henriques were in fact published at the influential
newspaper Jornal do Comércio (Journal of Commerce), under the pseudonymous ‘Um
Portuguez’ (A Portuguese). The O Anglo-Lusitano considered their contents important enough
to reproduce them along several weeks at the Portuguese section, being the referred letter the
first of the series.
Cristóvão Pinto’s intervention and that of the O Anglo-Lusitano of course aimed to
prove the sectarian agenda and methods of the group. But as much as that demonstration, they
targeted Portuguese misrule, denouncing how the corruption that marked the political system
when extended to the overseas government, through party politics, allowed the emergence of
‘absurd’ situations as the described. The consequences of such path became evident in the
climate of revolt lived through the Empire, proving the ruling class’ inadequacy to perform a
satisfying colonial politics. This inadequacy started with its higher colonial public servants’
total ignorance of the principles of colonial administration, there being no school to prepare
the colonial bureaucracy as was current in other Empires; and ended with ‘the various measures
adopted to convert the different colonies into happy hunting grounds for the Regenerador
party’. Thus, a complete reconfiguring of Portuguese colonial administration became urgent.
Independently of the likelihood of the situation as it is described it deserves attention
the denomination ‘absurd’ to classify it. Cristóvão Pinto had similarly appreciated the situation,
using the word ‘ridiculous’ to epitomize it. But, what was absurd about it? Not so much the
evident corruption of the morals and practices that should support any liberal political system,
being at least hurt the principles of representation, justice, fair concurrence and public service.
That was obviously condemned, but in itself did not fit the classification. The absurdity stood
on a colonized native being allowed in national politics in such a way that he could practically
own one of its main political papers and manipulate a Minister to determine the profile and
constrain the performance of the Europeans in India. If corruption was regrettable this situation
was a pantomime in which the core of colonial hierarchies was subverted, leaving the
Europeans in a ridiculous position. The native analyst did not seem to realise his own singular
position when urging the Portuguese to assume their place in the colonial system. Neither did
he question the compatibility of such hierarchies with the Portuguese constitution, even if they
rejected the ‘Europeist’ thesis. He was well prepared to recognize those hierarchies if bounded
by clear practical rules, namely native right to intervene in decision making insured by
transparent political processes and equity in the management of local forces. Cristóvão Pinto,
himself, concluded his first letter precisely affirming that India demanded to be governed ‘not
by occult powers, but by his Majesty’s Government’iii.
This criticism would be insistently followed along the crisis, being questioned if the
Portuguese would be able to sustain its colonies without profound moral and political reform.
In March 1896 the Duque of Oporto was given the Government of India, with the title of
Viceroy, with ample powers to find a solution to end the revolt. In a moment that the Ranes
advanced to the Capital of the State, the Prince offered a pardon which acceptance they
conditioned to a new list of demands. The list publicized by the Bombay Gazette was promptly
condemned by Leandro Mascarenhas for its ‘insolence and impudence’. The editor considered
the whole situation highly humiliating to the Government and exasperating to the Goan
population after all the burdens suffered:
‘There could not be a greater humiliation or more degrading condition to a
government than to grovel at the feet of a handful of rebels holding an amnesty, and
having dictated by them the conditions of acceptance (…) we do not want war, no; we
want peace, but with dignity, safeguarding the prestige of the nation, pardoning those
who deserve and punishing those who are worth punishment, without dithering, without
compromises that mean opprobrium or denounce weakness or cowardice of the
Government.’iii
The image of decadence of a people would be strongly associated to the incapacity to
hold the Empire. Commenting the state of affairs, José Manuel da Silva recalled the history of
the Portuguese Empire, echoing British historiography and as much as coeval Portuguese
historic-philosophical discourses upon national decadence. The narrative is not far from the
constructed by Orientalist historiography regarding the relation between the fall of Oriental
civilizations and the moral weaknesses of Orientals, past and present united by the same fate:
‘It is always painful to continually remind those we love of their faults and
failings, and yet it is one of our bounden duties to do so. (…) Portugal the proud mistress
of the seas is dead long ago and lies buried in the graves of her Gamas, Henrys,
Albuquerques and Castros. (…) One single century saw the rise and fall of that nation.
The history of Portugal reads like a romance, a beautiful dream. What sins had the
nation committed to be punished in this way? The same sins of which her public men
are guilty today – self-aggrandizement and corruption. Portugal caught the bird but had
not prepared a cage for it. (…) She had not the requisite capacity for colonizing the vast
regions that came under her way’iii.
Having exhausted her forces in the act of conquering and wasted its profits in lazy
luxurious habits, corruption and misgovernment, the nation was now in evidence by its
backwardness and humiliating situation in the concert of nations:
‘In the march of civilization she lags in the rear, dragging her course limpingly
and painfully like a wounded follower of the army. In the council of nations she has no
voice, she has to take a back seat. The great and powerful nations bully her at every
step and she has to pocket affronts and insults on every side’.
The image was far from the expected from a colonial empire, being in peril the
country’s own future. As an increasing number of Portuguese politicians and intellectuals, also
José Manuel da Silva pointed the development of the colonies as the only evident salvation.
The problem was the lack of preparation of the Portuguese elites to undertake such mission:
‘The public men of Portugal do not study colonial questions they cannot grasp
the problems of colonial administration, they do not even know the geography of their
colonies. They are eloquent in talking and smart in writing, but when any question
comes within the range of practical polities they fight shy of it’.
With such a weak colonizer, the colonies were the first to suffer. Anywhere one may
turn, irrespectively of the populations’ position in the scale of civilization, the grievances were
all the same:
‘The same willing cry for good government which comes from the civilized
Goans is also heard from the self-sufficient pig-tails of Macau, the semi-barbarous
tribes of Timor and the despised negroes of Mozambique. Portugal has made it a rule
to turn deaf ear to all the just demands of the colonies’iii
In such case the colonies would be better off with other colonizers, as the British
insisted in the case of Mozambique:
‘Our contemporary of the Times of India published a letter sometime back from
a correspondent at Lourenzo Marques (…) In the hands of the English that place would
become the Bombay of Africa, but the Portuguese have neither the spirit nor the energy
for the great task: they lack the power of organisation and consolidation. They are
indifferent altogether’.

The image of Goan politics and Portuguese colonialism in the pages of the O Anglo-
Lusitano during these years reflects a profound discomfort of this sector of the Goan Catholic
migrants with the local impact of the Portuguese subaltern position amongst European empires
and structural state of economic crises, as much as with the contradictions of the Portuguese
political model and style of overseas administration. Rochelle Pinto in her elucidating study
about Goan print sphere in the 19th and early 20th century defends that:
‘If there was a single dominant perspective through which Goa’s Catholic elite
viewed their nineteenth century, it was a condition to be mourned. The defining
condition (and its predicament) of colonial Goa as the elite saw its dual location within
the economic twilight of the Portuguese empire and the political fringe of British
India.’iii
When frequenting coeval Goan print, be it published in Goa, in Portugal or in Bombay,
one may appreciate the sharpness of Rochelle Pinto’s evaluation. Goan presence in Bombay
allowed larger access to English language sources of political thinking which, together with
the practical experience of the impact of British domain in a fast changing city, incentivized
the comparison of colonial styles. By this time Goan elites were far away from the views of
their first liberal generation, who although denouncing the secular oppression of the Europeans
that dominated local administration, saw the non-colonial profile of the new Portuguese
constitutional regime as redemptory of past grievances and counselled liberal England to learn
with the Portuguese the right path to build future relations with the populations under their
domainiii. The explosion of ‘activity’ noticed in the Indian subcontinent, the image of efficiency
build by British civil service and the evident capacity of its political power to promote civil
society and respond to its pressure, as compared to the ‘quietude’ of Portuguese India, the
image of administrative inefficiency and profile of its unstable political dynamics added large
arguments to Goan mourning. As we saw the critic views regarded not only Goan condition
under Portuguese domain but also Goan elites’ own lack of unity to affirm Indian interests as
essentially different from the Portuguese Europe even if not necessarily incompatible. In this
case the example of the ‘other’ Indians under British domain became significant.
Even if mourning, expressing an urge for profound reform, had become a structural
aspect of the profile of Goan political discourse, it would still be accompanied by periodical
winds of hope renewed in the following decades. As happened with British India the political
debate would focus on self-government, a demand that in the Goan case in fact had closely
followed the stabilization of the Liberal Monarchy even if consensus was difficult to achieve.
However, differently from the British Indian case this discussion, influenced by Portuguese
decentralizing and federalist debates particularly promoted by the Republican movement and
by Portuguese constitutionalism, would largely move within the realm of the construction of a
pluricontinental nation-State in which diversity and unity could finally be harmonized on truly
equal basis. The hegemonic trends in Portuguese politics would however frustrate that path and
in 1926 a new cycle in Portuguese colonialism would be opened, giving a renewed strength to
Goan pro-Indian nationalist movement that was emerging since the beginning of the 20th
century.
As referred before, in 1897 the crisis that we have accompanied was closed with the
appointment of a new Governor who restored civil liberties and initiated a series of reforms,
and although postponed the reintroduction of any elections he achieved to govern with a
reasonable local consensus. The next year coincided with the commemoration of the Fourth
Centenary of the discovery of the Cape Route and of the arrival of Vasco da Gama to India.
When effusively joining the festivities and reaffirming the common sentiments of love for the
‘mother country’, paying tribute to the ‘seed of Christianity and civilization’ planted by Vasco
da Gamaiii, the O Anglo-Lusitano once again confirms us the complex profile of these elites
whose identity was reborn with the Portuguese domain and successively reconfigured in close
connection with Portuguese own political and cultural evolution along the sequent centuries.
TERESA RIBEIRO ESPALLARGAS

O Acadêmico: periodismo como expressao


̃ histórico-cultural de
1
Goa
2
Teresa Ribeiro Espallargas

Resumo: O presente artigo visa o estudo crit́ ico-descritivo da revista literária O


Acadêmico , publicado entre 1940 e 1943 em Nova Goa, hoje Pangim, antigo
território da Índia Portuguesa (1510 - 1961) . A partir do fichamento do periódico,
que reúne artigos, ensaios e textos literários com temáticas que vão da filosofia à
ciência, intentou-se auxiliar na reconstrução histórico-literária de Goa, sobretudo
aquela escrita em lin ́ gua portuguesa, e compreender o papel que publicações
jornaliś ticas como essa tem na expressão literária, polit́ ica e cultural goesa. O
fundamento teórico de tal estudo se assenta principalmente nos textos de Sandra de
Ataid́ e Lobo (2013), Ana Luiza Martins (2001) e Joana Passos (2012).

Palavras-chave: O Acadêmico, Goa, imprensa colonial, revista literária.

1
Projeto de Iniciação Científica orientado por Cielo G. Festino e vinculado ao Projeto Temático
“Pensando Goa. Uma Singular Biblioteca em Língua Portuguesa” (USP-FAPESP proc. 2014/15657-8
) coordenado pelo professor Helder Garmes (USP-FAPESP).

2
Aluna de graduação da Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas da Universidade de São
Paulo.

O objetivo deste artigo é fazer uma análise crit́ ico-descritiva da revista goesa O
3
Acadêmico a fim de compreender seu papel na construção da história cultural,
literária e polit́ ica goesa. A revista foi publicada entre 1940 e 1943 na cidade de
Nova Goa, hoje Pangim, capital de Goa, território que formou durante cerca de 450
anos, junto com Diu e Damão, a chamada Índia Portuguesa. A pequena região
goesa foi pioneira da imprensa no Oriente, com a publicação já em 1556 do
documento Conclusiones Philosophicas, por parte dos jesuit́ as, responsáveis pela
tipografia da época. Bastante dinâmica inicialmente, a imprensa goesa viveu um
longo perio ́ do de interrupção, retomando sua vitalidade somente no inić io do século
XIX. A partir dai,́ cresceu constantemente, chegando à década de 1940 com uma
produção consistente e diversificada, o que propiciou o surgimento de um periódico
como O Acadêmico.

A publicação bimestral, escrita em português, lin


́ gua oficial do império, era
propriedade e expressão da associação União Acadêmica, composta pela elite
intelectual goesa, com membros tanto católicos quanto hindus, sendo estes últimos
a maioria, a julgar pelos nomes da comissão administrativa, descrita quase sempre
nas primeiras páginas da revista. Nele aparecem nomes como Ramachondra
Xencora Naique (1893-1960), Jorge Ataid
́ e Lobo (1920-2004), Data Caxinata
4
Naique e Panduronga Sinai Vardê .

Ao longo de seus treze volumes, O Acadêmico reuniu textos jornaliś ticos e literários
de autoria diversa, além de propagandas que ilustram o mercado local e
internacional. Os autores que tinham suas contribuições publicadas na revista eram
tanto hindus, quanto católicos, bem como homens e mulheres; de procedências
distintas, entre elas goeses, portugueses, indianos e ingleses. O maior destaque da
publicação eram as reproduções de ensaios e artigos de autores consagrados como
Guerra Junqueiro (1850-1923) , bem como textos de escritores locais como
Propércia Correia Afonso (1882-1944), Laxmanrao Sardessai (1904-1986) e Renato
Sá (1908-1981) . Transcrições e traduções para o português de escritores como o
ganhador do Prêmio Nobel Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) também tinham
3
Ao qual pude ter contato graças à cordialidade de Sandra de Ataíde Lobo.
4
Os nomes que não apresentam efemérides resultam de uma pesquisa inconclusiva acerca das
datas de nascimento e falecimento dos autores.

espaço na publicação . Tal variedade de autores é um dos fatores que revela a


abrangência do periódico e o caráter progressista dos editores da revista.

Para além da diversidade autoral, o periódico reúne também uma gama de assuntos
diversificada, com temas como literatura, filosofia, educação, ciência, arte, crit́ ica
literária e religião, os quais, sobretudo a seção denominada “Atividade da União
Acadêmica”, uma espécie de boletim informativo das atividades organizadas pela
associação, registram parte do cotidiano da população local e do pensamento
polit́ ico desse setor da sociedade da ex-colônia portuguesa.

Como suporte teórico da pesquisa desenvolvida, tem-se a tese de Sandra de Ataid ́ e


Lobo O desassossego goês. Cultura e política em Goa do liberalismo ao Acto
Colonial (2013), que ajuda na compreensão do recorte social dos responsáveis e
colaboradores da revista, além do público alvo para qual ela era dirigida. Já o texto
A Literatura Goesa em Português nos séculos XIX e XX: Perspectivas pós-coloniais
e revisão crítica (2012) de Joana Passos auxilia na compreensão da rede literária
goesa escrita em lin ́ gua portuguesa, enquanto a dissertação de Ana Luiza Martins
(2001) Revistas em revista: Imprensa e Práticas Culturais em Tempos de República,
São Paulo (1890-1922) é o material base na perspectiva da análise jornaliś tica de O
Acadêmico.

A partir da leitura teórica e da análise do periódico, o presente estudo visa contribuir,


portanto, para a reconstrução da história da literatura de Goa, em particular aquela
escrita em português. Uma vez que a imprensa era o espaço destinado à literatura
na época, intentou-se determinar também a relevância que determinadas
publicações tinham na formação de uma identidade literária goesa.
União Acadêmica: um espaço heterogêneo

Fundada em 26 de janeiro de 1934, a União Acadêmica era uma associação de


jovens intelectuais goeses, hindus e católicos, responsável, seis anos mais tarde,
pela publicação de O Acadêmico. O grupo era dividido em três categorias:
Assembleia Geral, Conselho Superintendente e Fiscal e Direção Administrativa, que
eram, respectivamente, subdivididas em Presidente, Vice-presidente, 1o e 2o
Secretário; Presidente e Vogais; e Presidente, Secretário Geral, Tesoureiro,

Secretários de conferências, de propaganda, de debates e de jogos, cargos estes


ocupados por uma maioria hindu, se assim pudermos inferir a partir dos nomes de
origem indiana descritos no periódico. Tal presença majoritária reflete o que havia
sido conquistado durante a República, época entre 1910 e 1926, classificada, de
acordo com Kamat (1996, p.399), como os anos dourados da história colonial de
Goa, devido à liberdade sociopolit́ ica e cultural desfrutada pelo povo goês,
sobretudo pela população hindu, em comparação ao precedente governo
autocrático e sucessivo regime ditatorial. Durante este perio ́ do, os hindus gozavam
de uma atmosfera de liberdade religiosa, de direitos polit́ icos e de uma posição
equivalente à dos católicos.

As figuras que ocupavam estas posições eram também aquelas que constituia ́ mo
corpo redacional da publicação, dirigida do começo ao fim pelo médico Quensoa
Mortó Bandari. Dentre a comissão de redação encontram-se: Panduronga Sinai
Vardê, Jorge de Ataid ́ e Lobo (1920-2004) , Pundolica Candeaparcar, Data Caxinata
Naique, Xencora Babussó Camotim e Vasco Benedito Gomes. Este último foi
substituid́ o por Data Folo Dessai já no terceiro volume da revista devido sua ida à
metrópole para fins educativos, da qual temos conhecimento ao ler uma nota que
justifica brevemente a viagem, publicada em O Acadêmico ([...], 1941, v.3, p.32).

Inspirados pelas conquistas do perio ́ do republicano, o papel deste grupo, seja na


parte administrativa ou na de conteúdo jornaliś tico, era a produção e reprodução de
conhecimento, bem como a criação de uma consciência social e polit́ ica de forma
discreta e a promoção da sociabilidade e lazer entre seus associados. Para cumprir
tal missão, a associação organizava um largo espectro de atividades, dentre elas
palestras, debates e torneios esportivos inter e intra-sócios, além de ter na revista
um espaço de expressão e discussão, que divulgava também a programação
organizada pela União Acadêmica, através da seção “Atividade da União
Acadêmica”, mais bem delineada no primeiro e segundo volume da revista . Nos
números subsequentes, este boletim é destinado mais a descrever os torneios
desportivos e seus vencedores e divulgar as publicações editadas pela associação,
muito provavelmente porque a censura do regime salazarista tinha especial atenção

às atividades de grupos como este, onde poderiam surgir sentimentos e ideias que
questionassem a legitimidade do ditador e a condição colonial de Goa.

As palestras e debates da União Acadêmica, os quais sabemos apenas os tit́ ulos


devido ao informativo publicado em O Acadêmico , discutiam temas de relevância
social, cultural, histórica e polit́ ica, refletindo inclusive bastante sobre o grupo em
questão: os jovens goeses, a fim de promover o “desenvolvimento mental da
mocidade” ([...],1940, v.1, p.29 ) . É o caso da palestra “Os estudantes devem tomar
parte na polit́ ica?” e da conferência “A União Acadêmica, ponto de partida para a
União Goesa” ou os debates “As revoluções impõem-se aos homens ou os homens
impõem as revoluções?” e “Qual das vidas é preferiv́ el: a da aldeia ou da cidade?”.

Tais atividades, organizadas pela União Acadêmica, eram feitas por e para a elite e
intelectualidade local, sendo eles sócios ou convidados, incluindo também as
mulheres, a exemplo de Propércia Correia Afonso, colaboradora da revista e
presidente de uma das mesas de discussão de cunho didático, cujo tit́ ulo era “Os
jogos são úteis os prejudiciais?”. A programação da União Acadêmica, então,
parecia refletir a ideologia de seus membros e construir um ambiente de diálogo
democrático não só pelas pautas, mas também pela integração de goeses hindus e
católicos, tanto da população masculina, quanto feminina, ainda que timidamente, o
que ressaltava o caráter progressista da associação, logo, de seu periódico.

Neste sentido, os componentes de grupos como a União Acadêmica eram


responsáveis não só pela abertura de um espaço de debate para participação
cultural e polit́ ica, mas também pela defesa e afirmação da necessidade da criação
de uma literatura local, pautada pela educação dos jovens, como bem defende
Jorge de Ataid ́ e Lobo, membro da administração da União Acadêmica e editor e
colaborador da revista, no ensaio “O Problema da Carência do Romance na
Literatura Goesa” publicado nos volumes 7, 8 e 9-11:

Ora, são os romances desse gênero, os romances intelectuais, que devem ser cultivados em Goa.
Porque é necessário que sobre os alicerces já corruptos, já tuberculosos - se me permitem o termo -
desta nossa sociedade se erga uma outra, de

pensamento puro e de sentimentos nobres. (LOBO,1942, v.8, p.15).

Além disso, vale ressaltar também que a imprensa era o espaço, na época,
destinado à escrita e crit́ ica literária, a exemplo do próprio texto sobre o romance
goês, o que ressalta o papel desempenhado por O Acadêmico na formação de uma
identidade literária local.

O Acadêmico: Um veículo de identidade e representação social

Publicado, então, a partir de novembro de 1940 até julho de 1943, O Acadêmico ,


que se dizia “revista bimensal” — na realidade tratava-se de uma publicação
bimestral, já que circulava a cada dois meses não duas vezes por mês — , teve em
seu curto perio ́ do de existência 13 volumes, 12 deles impressos na Tipografia
Sadananda, e um, o primeiro, na Tipografia Diário da Noite.

A denominação “revista” por parte dos editores, em detrimento do uso do termo


“jornal”, mesmo que aquela tenha surgido deste, reforça o fato do periódico em
questão não se ocupar de notić ias do cotidiano e sim ser uma “publicação periódica
mais ou menos especializada, [...] que contém ensaios, contos, artigos cientif́ icos
etc. [...] que, como o nome sugere, passa em revista diversos assuntos” (MARTINS,
2001, p.45).

A composição de O Acadêmico ressalta esta definição, já que ele era subdividido,
na maioria dos números, em sete seções, sendo elas: “Anúncios”, com propagandas
majoritariamente de vestuário, produtos para toalete, educação, serviços relativos a
impressão e seguro de vida; “Editorial”, espaço de diálogo direto com o leitor;
“Ciência”, de textos mais teóricos-cientif́ icos; “Coisas do Velho e do Novo Mundo”,
com curiosidades e descobertas atuais e antigas; “Édipo”, seção charadista; “A
Criança”, com contos e desafios dedicados aos pequenos; e “Atividade da União
Acadêmica”, o boletim informativo das atividades do grupo. Em alguns volumes
aparece também a seção “Curiosidades” e “Crônica”, autoexplicativas.

Quanto às temáticas, ainda que variadas, O Acadêmico tinha como foco principal a
juventude goesa e sua autonomia, como descrito no editorial do volume do terceiro
volume: “ O Acadêmico é a voz da mocidade. Ele traduz integralmente, em todas as
páginas, o seu sentir e o seu pensar. E não haja dúvidas que os

nossos sentimentos são puros e que o nosso pensamento caminha para a


emancipação” ([...],1940, v.3, p.1). Este trecho evidencia não só sobre e para quem
o periódico era produzido, senão também sua missão civ́ ica e pedagógica, muito
comum neste tipo de publicação.

Insista-se que a modalidade periódica, em particular revistas, carregam inerentes, a “proposta


formadora”, o que vale dizer que a Educação, finalmente, vem a ser um pressuposto do periodismo.
Daí a oportunidade da publicação “revista” no campo educacional e a frequência com que
intelectuais, imbuídos desse

mister, buscaram aquelas páginas. (MARTINS, 2001, p.305).

O propósito pedagógico do periódico, já implić ito em seu tit́ ulo era, por sua vez,
como também delineado no primeiro editorial, comprometido com a emancipação da
juventude goesa através da educação. Esta função está declarada, por exemplo, no
texto do colaborador Mayer Gração publicado no terceiro volume, que tem como
pauta o crit́ ico literário Moniz Barreto: “Servirão essas palavras [do texto de Gração]
para conhecimento da nossa mocidade que compreenderá assim a homenagem
que um grupo de almas jovens, numa nítida consciência de seu dever cívico,
vai prestar ao grande Moniz Barreto” (GRAÇÃ O, 1941, v.3, p.23, grifo meu).

Sendo assim, O Acadêmico era voltado para um público restrito, sobretudo porque
escrito em português — lin ́ gua oficial do império ainda que falada por cerca de 5%
da população (PASSOS, 2012, p.440) — , e tinha uma pequena segmentação, com
leitores que frequentavam a União Acadêmica e/ou colaboravam com a revista. Tais
restrições provavelmente refletiam em uma pequena tiragem do periódico, número
com o qual não foi possiv́ el ter contato. Neste sentido, a publicação pode servir ao
mesmo tempo de instrumento de inclusão e exclusão social. Por um lado, o acesso
à educação no liceu, onde se ensinava o português, era reservado ou aos luso-
descendentes ou à elite intelectual dos naturais convertidos ao Cristianismo,
deixando à margem o resto da sociedade. Por outro, o idioma conferia legitimidade
pública e estatal tanto à publicação quanto a seus colaboradores, como explica
Sandra Lobo (2013, p.261):

O Estado colonial somente admitia o português como fonte e veic ́ ulo de formação da opinião polit́ ica
dos seus cidadãos, pelo menos no que respeitava a polit́ ica nacional, responsabilizando-os pela auto
exclusão do efectivo gozo dos direitos

políticos se persistissem em não conhecer a língua pátria.


Os autores, portanto, escrevendo no idioma oficial do império atuavam como
profissionais da imprensa, ainda que não se reconhecessem como tal, e ganhavam
status e notoriedade social no exercić io da escrita e publicação de textos:

Não obstante a dissimilitude de origem e formação desses agentes, o ponto comum a todos foi a
colaboração no periodismo como prática cultural que lhes conferia representação, especialmente nas
revistas de variedades, modalidade indefectível para aqueles dias de experimentos de toda ordem.
(MARTINS,

2001, p.419).
No entanto, ao ler a revista é possiv́ el perceber que este exercić io

apresentava um caráter amador.

Numa terra onde não havia escolas nem cursos profissionais, o jornalista fez-se por intuição, por
auto dedicação, pondo ao serviço da sua missão o somatório das suas faculdades e aptidões,
aperfeiçoando-se cada vez mais ao contacto da imprensa metropolitana e da vizinha Índia Inglesa,
numa irreprimível

conduta de formação deontologia profissional. (LOPES, 1971, p.8).

Além do fato de ser um instrumento contraditoriamente de inclusão e exclusão


social, — ou semelhança e ameaça como contrapõe Homi Bhabha (1998, p.131) —,
u ma outra explicação plausiv ́ el para que O Acadêmico fosse escrito em português
é a constatação de que, mesmo sendo defensores da valorização da tradição
indiana, os editores da revista prezavam pela manutenção da cultura portuguesa.
Tal caracteriś tica peculiar dos envolvidos com a publicação, o que definiria o goês
5
para Carmo de Noronha como a sin ́ tese contraditória dos dois legados, um do
passado indiano, outro resultado do processo de colonização, relembra o que
Bhabha afirma sobre o fenômeno da mim ́ ese colonial:
Quase o mesmo, mas não brancos: a visibilidade da mim ́ ica e sempre produzida no lugar da
interdição. É uma forma de discurso colonial que é proferido interdicta: um discurso na encruzilhada
entre o que é conhecido e permitido e o que, embora conhecido, deve ser mantido oculto, um
discurso proferido nas entrelinhas e, como tal, tanto contra as regras quanta dentro delas. [...] Como
lembra Lacan, a mim ́ ica é, como a camuflagem, não uma harmonização ou repressão da diferença,
mas uma forma de semelhança que difere da presença e a defende, expondo-a em parte,

metonimicamente. (BHABHA, 1998 p.135).

5
“Até aqui se fala de uma personalidade goesa [...] essa personalidade só nos deu para imitar não
para criar. Não há, pelo menos nos últimos 100 anos, cousa alguma que possamos dizer
genuinamente goesa, tipicamente nossa. Nada que nos dê uma fisionomia própria, distinta,
inequívoca [...] Assim como estamos, repito, a nossa personalidade não passa de uma manta de
retalhos em que somos europeus no traje, ingleses na fala, portugueses na moleza de hábitos e
sentimentalismo, franceses na cozinha, italianos na música, medievais na religião, asiáticos na
perfid́ ia, astúcia e fatalismo, e só goeses pelo registro civil” (1991, p.7).

No entanto, por mais provável que seja é difić il afirmar que o desejo de agregar as
duas culturas presentes em Goa era generalizado entre os redatores oficiais e
colaboradores do periódico, uma vez que entre eles encontramos tanto perfis
variados quanto figuras polifacetadas, muitos dos quais tiveram um papel
fundamental na história da cultura e da literatura goesa em lin ́ gua portuguesa.
Entretanto, o fato indubitável é que os autores eram figuras politizadas e bem
formadas, em sua grande maioria sócios da União Acadêmica. Nas páginas da
revista podemos encontrar, por exemplo, diversas passagens em outros idiomas
como o francês, o inglês, as liń guas vernáculas indianas e até o latim, além de
referências à teóricos e escritores clássicos e modernos de diversas nacionalidades
e áreas do conhecimento tais como Aristóteles (384-322 a.C.), Isaac Newton (1642-
1727), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900),
Immanuel Kant (1724 -1804), Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), James Joyce (1882
- 1941), Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) e Romain Rolland (1860- 1944),
estes últimos em grande frequência. Há, inclusive, a menção a dois brasileiros: José
de Alencar (1829-1877) e Machado de Assis (1839-1908), ambos no texto “Do
Gênio” do médico brasileiro Antônio Austregésilo Rodrigues de Lima (1876-1960)
(1942, v.9-11, p.2,3), extraid ́ o da revista carioca Imprensa Médica , único que
aborda superficialmente a literatura brasileira em todo O Acadêmico .

Já em relação aos nomes da intelectualidade goesa que colaboram com a


publicação temos: Renato Sá (1908-1981), Carlos Xavier, Antonio de Miranda,
Jorge de Ataid ́ e Lobo (1920-2004) , Data Caxinata Naique, Xencora Babusso
Camotim (1921-2014), Ruy Sant’Elmo (1885-1942), Rajendra Bose, Laxmanrao
Sardessai (1904-1986), Alfredo Lobato de Faria (1917 -), Tito de Sousa Pereira
(1919-1986), Mayer Garção (1872-1930), Aureo de Araújo Quadros e Kumar Dutt.
Entre as vozes de mulheres encontramos Propércia Correia Afonso (1882-1944) ,
Berta Menezes Bragança (1911 -1993) e Beatriz da Conceição de Ataid́ e Lobo e
Faria (1913-1994) . Ressalta-se também a reprodução de textos de poetas lusitanos
e ingleses renomados nas páginas de O Acadêmico , tais como o já mencionado
Guerra Junqueiro (1850-1923) e Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), este tendo um

volume (no6) todo em sua homenagem, além de autoras como a portuguesa Odette
Passos de Saint Maurice (1918-1993) e a francesa Jeanne Sylvie Lefèvre.

Os colaboradores escreviam em grande parte de seus textos sobre temáticas


correntes da época, que debatiam literatura, educação, arte, filosofia, religião,
história, cultura, entre outros temas. As páginas da revista reuniam principalmente
artigos, ensaios, crônicas, contos, poemas, frases e excertos, sendo estes últimos
escritos em português e também traduzidos do inglês, do francês e das lin ́ guas
vernáculas da Índia. Na maioria das vezes, as publicações discutiam questões que
envolviam a faixa etária e a camada social a qual pertenciam — à jovem elite liberal
— , com o intuito de propiciar uma discreta reflexão estética, social e polit́ ica a seu
público, vide que o periódico estava na mira do regime salazarista desde seu
surgimento. A censura, o contexto histórico de repressão polit́ ica e a falta de
recursos podem ter sido as razões que motivaram o fim do periódico.

Ainda que não houvesse nenhum indić io de que o no13 seria o último volume
publicado, a revista já vinha diminuindo de tamanho desde o no7 e sendo impressa
com maior intervalo de tempo, não mais a cada dois meses, como anunciado no
editorial do sétimo volume:

Não nos foi fácil a luta. Contrariedades de várias ordens vieram perturbar a nossa ação, tentando
desviar-nos do caminho por que marchávamos. A cada bafejar de desalento, porém, uma nova dose
de otimismo fazíamos injetar no espírito. E foi assim que o nosso ânimo se manteve sempre cheio de
vigor. E é desta forma que “O Acadêmico” continua a viver, graças também — profundamente gratos
o declaramos — ao apoio franco dispensado por
muitos dos nossos assinantes e amigos.
A terrível crise da guerra almejou-nos também. Eis a razão por que, como o presente número, os

futuros se apresentarão apenas com vinte e quatro páginas, até que ventos propícios desfaçam a
calamidade que avassala o mundo inteiro. ( [...], 1942, v. 7, p.1).

Debatida nos editoriais e evidenciada pelos dizeres “visada pela censura” impressos
já no segundo volume do periódico, a censura funcionava como um aparelho de
ação polit́ ica que garantia a continuidade do regime salazarista, reprimindo a livre
análise crit́ ica de seus opositores, muitos dos quais participavam de O Acadêmico .
A censura serviu como instrumento de repressão cultural e de condicionamento
intelectual e fez desta revista literária goesa um de seus alvos, não só porque toda a
imprensa periódica devidamente autorizada independente de sua

periodicidade estava sujeita à censura prévia, mas também porque o periódico


contrariava o que previam os censores:

... não poderia haver textos que revelassem “as profundas deficiências da estrutura social
entre nós”, nem considerações que evidenciassem “irreverência em matéria religiosa ou de
fé” ou “ação desorientadora dos espiŕ itos católicos”, nem “realismo descabido”, nem textos
que refletissem “rebeldia e oposição à soberania nacional”, nem “crit́ ica destrutiva à nossa
polit́ ica ultramarina”, nem “hinos à liberdade”. ( AZEVEDO,

1999: p.28, 29.)


Diante de tamanha restrição, a redação e os colaboradores não mencionam

diretamente a figura de Salazar, com exceção do texto “ Prof. Ramachondra


Xencora Naique” (1941, v.3, p.6) escrito pela própria redação da revista, que o faz
sem criticá-lo. Pelo contrário, o texto faz uma homenagem aos ideais
revolucionários do presidente da União Acadêmica e, estranhamente, aproxima-os
do pensamento tanto de Mahatma Gandhi quanto do ditador português, pelo fato de
ambos promoverem mudanças “lentas e seguras”6.

Todavia, os colaboradores de O Acadêmico fazem referência à hostilidade do


colonialismo e criticam o regime nazista, tornando o contexto polit́ ico da Segunda
Guerra Mundial uma temática recorrente, a exemplo dos artigos “A Alemanha de
7
sempre” de Carlos Xavier , “Henri Bergson — O Pensador Filósofo do élan Vital...O
8
Gigante Que Tomba ” de Renato de Sá , “Novos e Velhos” de Constancio
9 10
Mascarenhas e “Svastika” de Kumar Dutt , para citar apenas alguns. Além da
crit́ ica explić ita à situação local e global, o posicionamento polit́ ico progressista dos
responsáveis pela revista também fica evidente n os excertos de “Trechos seletos
11
de Menezes Bragança e Adeodato Barreto para a Mocidade Idealista” escolhidos
12
pelo corpo redatorial, no poema “Aquela Triste Voz...” de Joaquim da Silva e no
ensaio crit́ ico “Von Der Seele Der Indischen Frau: Um Livro e Um Exemplo” de
13
Antonio de Miranda os quais abordam, respectivamente, a necessidade da
construção de um
6
Ibidem.
7
1941, v.2, p. 21,22.
8
1941, v.3, p.2, 27,28. 9 Ibidem, p. 3,14,15.
10
Ibidem, p.31,32.
11
[...], 1941, v.5, p.2,3. 12 1940, v.4, p.14,15. 13 1942, v.9-11, p.8-10.

novo panorama social em Goa, a exploração colonial e a situação da mulher na


sociedade, discutidos mais a fundo abaixo.

A abordagem destas temáticas de cunho liberal são, portanto, repercussões do


contexto histórico em que surgiu O Acadêmico . Após a promulgação do Ato
Colonial em 8 de julho de 1930, a questão da cidadania goesa foi posta em debate,
vide que a primeira lei do regime de Antônio de Oliveira Salazar reforçava a
submissão das colônias diante da metrópole e a distinção das cidadanias de
primeira classe, dos portugueses, e de segunda, dos colonizados, retrocedendo nas
conquistas obtidas durante o perio ́ do republicano. O reconhecimento e a
valorização da autonomia dos cidadãos goeses antes conquistados, e naquele
momento combatidos pelo Ato Colonial, eram de fundamental importância para essa
elite intelectual, sobretudo porque refletia uma questão identitária:

Citizenship, while often understood as a legal status and a consequent claim on rights, is also
understood as membership in a single cultural community. (...) Where citizenship is about embodying
the ideal citizen-subject, citizenship is about forming the bodily dispositions, i.e. the habitus, of the
individual in the group (...) Citizenship then, is also a relational condition, involving not merely the
citizen and state, but a more complex relationality, involving relationships of the individual with the
group, individual with other individuals, groups with other groups, and the relationship between
structural places, scales and

14
epistemologies.
Uma das formas, então, de delimitar seu grupo e afirmar sua complexa

identidade goesa, isto é, a de indianos — hindus e católicos — herdeiros de uma


tradição colonial portuguesa, era a eleição de personalidades goesas e indianas que
estivessem afinadas com esse perfil. Do lado goês, surgem Adeodato Barreto
(1905-1937), escritor e consciência crit́ ica da geração republicana; Menezes
Bragança (1878-1938), intelectual republicano e laicista; e Tristão de Bragança
Cunha (1891-1958), popularmente conhecido como pai do nacionalismo goês. Do
lado indiano, celebridades como Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), Aurobindo Ghoshe
14
A cidadania, embora frequentemente entendida como um status legal e uma consequente
reivindicação de direitos, é também entendida como pertencimento a uma única comunidade cultural.
(...) No momento em que a cidadania é questão de incorporar o cidadão-sujeito ideal, ela torna-se
questão de juntar as disposições corporais, isto é, o habitus, do individ
́ uo no grupo (...) A cidadania
então, também é uma condição relacional, envolvendo não meramente o cidadão e o estado, mas
uma co-relação mais complexa, envolvendo relações do individ ́ uo com o grupo, individ́ uo com outros
indivíduos, grupos com outros grupos, e a relação entre lugares estruturais, escalas e
epistemologias. (FERNANDES, 2013, p.238, 239, tradução minha)

(ou Sri Aurobindo) (1872-1950), Rajá Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), Swami
Vivekananda (1863-1902), M.G. Ranade (1842-1901) e o já mencionado
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) . Neste sentido, mais uma vez ressalta-se o
caráter distintivo dos responsáveis pela revista, sobretudo os colaboradores
católicos, já que agiam na contramão do que era verificado na época:
Strange enough, the attitude of Goans in general and Catholics in particular towards the struggle for
the independence of India, revealed on their part, the most perfect ignorance of their own interests.
Whether, it was through apathy, want of courage, calculation or false comprehension of their true
position, the majority of the Goans kept themselves aloof from the great freedom

15
sttruggle going on in British India.

O Acadêmico trazia em suas páginas, então, textos de personalidades distintas


reunidos em torno de um mesmo ideal: a educação da mocidade goesa. Sua
proposta é tão nit́ ida quanto singular no contexto em que se inseria. Driblando a
censura e o retrocesso, a revista buscou plantar — ou regar — as sementes do
pensamento crit́ ico e da emancipação da situação local na geração que veria dali
quatro anos a independência da Índia e catorze anos mais tarde a anexação de Goa
a seu território.

Uma proposta de leitura

A partir da categorização feita dos conteúdos de O Acadêmico, proponho aqui uma


leitura crit́ ica de um excerto, um poema e um ensaio publicados , que ilustram a
perspectiva adotada pela revista, bem como o objetivo e as discussões propostos
por ela, os quais refletem, principalmente, a nacionalidade literária e o caráter
progressista de O Acadêmico.

O excerto, denominado “Trechos seletos de Menezes Bragança e Adeodato Barreto


para a Mocidade Idealista” eleitos pela redação para o quinto volume da revista
(1941), reforça a já mencionada missão pedagógica e cívica da publicação,
sobretudo, porque traz os escritos de dois grandes nomes do movimento
15
Suficientemente estranha, a atitude dos goeses em geral e dos católicos em particular em relação
à luta pela independência da Índia revelou, por sua vez, a mais perfeita ignorância de seus próprios
interesses. Seja pela apatia, falta de coragem, cálculo ou falsa compreensão de sua verdadeira
posição, a maioria dos goeses manteve-se distante da grande luta pela liberdade na Índia Britânica.
(KAMAT, 1996, p.404, tradução minha)

republicano de Goa em diálogo direto com a juventude goesa, defendendo a


necessidade de sua emancipação polit́ ica e moral através da educação. O primeiro
deles é Luis de Menezes Bragança (1878-1938), integrante de “um conjunto de
personalidades que no abrir do século passaram a construir ou intensificaram um
percurso de intervenção que se consolidou na República” (LOBO, 2013, p.176) . Ele
foi também um dos fundadores do periódico que inaugurou a imprensa diária goesa,
O Heraldo, “primeiro projeto destes novos atores que visando a regeneração goesa
não se reviam nas fórmulas do século que findava” (LOBO, 2013, p.176).

Esse sentimento de renovação pode ser percebido no trecho selecionado pelos


editores de O Acadêmico:

É necessário difundir em novos moldes a mentalidade deste povo, se queremos sinceramente que o
país possa viver. Claro está que não consideramos vida a mole passividade em que ela se arrasta,
pois que viver é, para um povo, acompanhar o progresso, desenvolvendo a sua capacidade moral e
econômica.
(BRAGANÇA, 1941, v.5, p.2).
Para o intelectual republicano, a educação cientif́ ica era o meio pelo qual a

geração moderna poderia “ter uma noção do passado de que o presente deriva,
16
para que tenhamos uma ideia da Natureza que nos cerca” e fundamentar sua nova
moral, prezando pela racionalidade:

A educação mental orientada pela ciência tem ainda em vista criar os bons hábitos do espírito. Pela
disciplina intelectual, presta um cunho de objetividade aos nossos conhecimentos, por forma que nos
ensina a subordinar o raciocínio aos fatos, em vez de deformarmos os fatos para os afeiçoar aos
caprichos da

17
fantasia ou escravizá-los ao preconceito.
Na mesma linha, Adeodato Barreto, lid
́ er do movimento pelo florescimento

das tradições indianas em Goa que, inspirado em Gandhi e Tagore, acreditava que
o “caminho mais frutif́ ero seria a pedagogia do nacionalismo, de modo a ‘ensinar os
goanos a amar a Índia’ LOBO, 2013, p.466), defende que a nova geração buscava
surpreender a verdade através da razão: “Nada de parras, nada de cachos barrocos
e acantos corin ́ ticos, nada de arrebiques artificiosos - valhacoutos escusos de
negrume e de poeira: Tudo liso e direto, tudo amplo e aberto para a vida, tudo claro
e rasgado para a luz!” (1941, v.5, p.3).
16
Ibidem, p. 2. 17 Ibidem, p. 2

Nesse movimento erguiam-se as linhas gerais da sua revolucionária concepção de


vida e de moral, a qual “substitua a reflexão à rotina, a sinceridade à hipocrisia, a
autonomia plena da vontade e da consciência à cega submissão a
18
convencionalismos estratificados” . Segundo ele, era justamente para essa
tentativa de renovação moral que a juventude deveria “urgentemente chamar a
atenção do público goês atrasado neste capit́ ulo — mais do que em qualquer dos
outros que interessam a sua vida social em algumas centenas de anos” (1941, v.5,
p.3).

Isto é, a nova geração, que era tanto a composta por Bragança e Barreto quanto a
dos criadores de O Acadêmico , ainda que aqueles já tivessem morrido quando
estes produziam a revista, tinha como missão sedimentar a mentalidade liberal e
libertária defendida pela elite na sociedade goesa como um todo.

Sendo assim, com a presença destes excertos no periódico, percebe-se que a


comissão editorial da revista, alinhada com o pensamento dessas figuras históricas,
objetivava mais uma vez esclarecer seu papel: a promoção da educação de seu
público. Através da razão, que tem teoricamente a imprensa como um de seus
instrumentos, o intuito era a criação de uma nova ordem social que soubesse
“antepor os nobres interesses do pensamento às mesquinhas preocupações dos
individ
́ uos ou das seitas” (BRAGANÇA, 1941, v.5, p.2 ) .

Em resumo, considerando que de um lado tem-se Menezes Bragança, referência


polit́ ica da República, perio
́ do no qual conquistou-se uma certa liberdade religiosa e
de pensamento, e de outro Adeodato Barreto, escritor goês crucial para o
questionamento do “lugar dos católicos goeses na afirmação da indianidade”
(LOBO, 2013, p.458), parece que referi-los, e mais, trazer a própria voz desses
atores para dentro da revista é uma forma dos editores sustentarem a
fundamentação de uma nova moral laica e corroborar para a formação de uma
identidade goesa, como relembrado no editorial do no7 ([...], 1942, p.1):

A verdade é esta. É necessário que “O Acadêmico” traduza o somatório de ideais de cada uma das
cédulas da mocidade goesa. Que todo jovem sacrifique uma parcela que seja das suas forças para o
fortalecimento da nossa raça, para que um

futuro ridente nasça no horizonte da nossa terra, no arrebol de amanhã. Eis a nossa orientação. Eis o
nosso ideal.

18
Ibidem, p.3.

Tal questão identitária aparece também no poema “Aquela Triste Voz...” de Joaquim
da Silva, publicado no quarto volume de O Acadêmico, cujo tema é a situação
colonial goesa. Dividida em três partes, a poesia versa sobre um lamento noturno a
princip
́ io desconhecido, mas que ainda na primeira parte revela ser o pranto de um
palmeiral, espécie comum em litorais como o de Goa e um dos principais bens
comerciais locais, o qual representa, portanto, sua pátria:

Abro com precaução


do meu quarto a janela
devagarinho, devagar
não vá eu despertar
esse alguém a cantar
tão harmoniosamente
a grande mágoa que lhe vai no coração o seu imenso mal...

E era — ó Céus! — o palmeiral


que assim soluçava, cantando! ( SILVA, 1940, v.4, p.14)

“Aquela triste voz” do palmeiral que ecoava na calada da noite parece ser devido,
como se vê nas estrofes seguintes, ao abandono e à falta de valorização promovida
pelos próprios goeses — o eu liŕ ico incluid
́ o — da riqueza local, logo, da terra e da
tradição por ela materializada, em detrimento da cultura portuguesa:

(...)Mudo, inerme,
ouço aquela canção das cousas mudas, chorando a traição desses vis Judas,
cuja alma álgido egoísmo só encerra
19
e que não têm amor para amar a sua terra!!!

No entanto, o choro da árvore provoca uma reação inesperada na voz poética. Ao


ouvir o lamúrio, desperta-se nela o desejo de prestigiar aquele ić one de
representação nacional, carregado de simbolismos de harmonia, felicidade e
ternura, que sofria com o esvaziamento provocado pela exploração do colonialismo:

E o palmeiral gemia, gemia pela vastidão fria


dos espaços!... Bruscamente,

como uma luz intensa que alumia


a treva negra, atroz dum subterrâneo o meu crânio
alumiou-o a Glória do Passado! Glória resplendente,
áureo sonho alado!...

19
Ibidem., p.15.

Ó Palmeiral! Ó Palmeiral! Noutros tempos, noutras eras tu eras


a riqueza dum país admirável, feliz...

Na tua sombra doce


havia o que quer que fosse
da imensa ternura duma mãe
inesgotável, carinhosa, quente... ( SILVA, 1940, v.4, p.14)

A contraposição entre os dois legados, um passado indiano e um presente


português, aparece também nesta última estrofe com a sugestão da ideia de “mãe
Índia”, reforçando a noção de que o paiś , logo, sua cultura tradicional, advém de
uma origem matriarcal, cuidadora, zelosa e afetuosa, que diferia daquela patriarcal e
exploradora trazida pelos portugueses. Além de maternal, o palmeiral era também
“hino triunfal da liberdade”, “a alma de Goa orquestrando (...)/ a canção da
prosperidade!” (SILVA, 1940, v.4, p.15), que, ao chorar, fez renascer o sentimento
patriótico:

Caim
́ os. Cais ́ te...
Hoje, triste,
como alguém que estremece ergues a prece
20
dum povo que tanto amaste!

Sendo assim, o poema de Joaquim da Silva é reflexo do ideal dos responsáveis por
O Acadêmico, que explica bastante a censura à qual a revista era submetida. Isto
porque a poesia demonstra que o sofrimento de um palmeiral, alegoricamente de
Goa, faz ver a necessidade da valorização da tradição local, pensamento que ia na
direção do que propunha o grupo envolvido com o periódico: o reconhecimento da
cultura indiana na região. Porém, ainda que a ideia não apareça no poema, vale
reforçar que este reconhecimento vinha acompanhado de um desejo pela
manutenção do legado português, elemento que sintetiza a identidade goesa, como
discutido anteriormente.

Por fim, na linha das discussões propostas pelo poema de Joaquim da Silva, tem-se
o ensaio publicado no no9-11 “Von Der Seele Der Indischen Frau: Um Livro e Um
Exemplo” de Antônio de Miranda, uma crit́ ica literária de trechos da obra da

20
Ibidem.

escritora suić ̧ o-alemã Hedwig Bachmann de Melo, classificada como um estudo da


psicologia da mulher indiana, retratada a partir do folclore. De acordo com o autor
do ensaio, este foi o meio pelo qual a autora decidiu trabalhar a temática porque o
desconhecimento dela das lin ́ guas vernáculas e o retraimento da mulher indiana,
21
provocado pelo sistema do purdah , impediram-na de realizá-lo de outra maneira.
O texto de Miranda, por sua vez, foi escrito em ocasião do lançamento da tradução
do livro do alemão para o inglês, o qual, segundo ele, é um “acontecimento literário
notável” (MIRANDA, 1942, v. 9-11, p.8). Do ponto de vista do leitor de O Acadêmico
, o ensaio chama atenção porque traz a discussão sobre a mulher na sociedade
local analisada a partir da voz de outra mulher, à qual ele dirige uma infinidade de
elogios:

Filha dos mais europeus dos paiś es da Europa, onde se cultivam no mais alto grau, as virtudes
civ
́ icas e morais que fizeram a glória do Velho Continente, até a catástrofe de 1914, a ilustre escritora
traz fortemente vincada no seu espiŕ ito a virtude nobre da tolerância tão necessária para quem quer
abordar os problemas indianos. Daí a total ausência desses ares de superioridade paternal e
pedante que tantas vezes notamos em críticos estrangeiros da sociedade indiana. É que a autora
tem perfeita consciência da delicadeza de sua missão. Ela não desceu à arena para apontar a
execração do público aos defeitos das mulheres indianas, à guisa dos detratores venais, gênero
Katherine Mayo. Longe disto. Com uma probidade mental que lhe faz honra, a ilustre senhora
abordou o assunto, como merecia sê-lo, impregnada de espírito indiano, animada do desejo de ver
restabelecida na

22
sua priś tina realeza a “filha dos Himalaias”.

No decorrer do comentário sobre a “mentalidade e carácter femininos do mais


23
elevado quilate” , o autor aproveita para concordar com Melo e demarcar seu
posicionamento diante da questão da mulher:

Os homens que a escravizaram (a filha dos Himalaias) não refletiram que a sua escravização traria
como corolário a escravização da Índia inteira! Por isso, com o orientalista Jacolliot ela exclama:
L'Inde n'était libre qu'avec la femme libre: l'inde devint

24
ésclave avec la femme ésclave !
Verdade profunda! Como a Índia cometeu um grave pecado esquecendo-se da sua velha máxima: “a

mão que embala o berço rege o mundo!”.Escravizando a mulher, forjou a Índia com suas próprias
mãos as grilhetas da sua sujeição. Esta verdade, sente-a a ilustre Senhora melhor do que ninguém
por pertencer à estirpe de

21
De acordo com o Cambridge Dictionary, o purdah é um costume de algumas culturas muçulmanas
e hindus que proib ́ e as mulheres de serem vistas por homens com os quais elas não têm nenhum
tipo de relação, que delimita os espaços a elas destinadas dentro de casa e que prevê que elas
usem trajes que cubram todo o corpo incluindo o rosto.

22
Ibidem., p.9.
23
Ibidem., p.8.
24
A Índia só foi livre com a mulher livre: a Índia se tornou escrava da mulher escrava! (trad. minha)

Gertrud Stauffacher e Wilhelm Tell. E, não obstante, ela não investe contra os homens, como
opressores de seu sexo. Antes, pelo contrário, procura explicar o fenômeno como resultante do
choque entre duas civilizações de princípios antagônicos, a ariana em que predominava o
patriarcalismo e a drávida que adotava o matriarcalismo. (MIRANDA, 1942, v. 9-11, p.9).

Denota-se que neste excerto a opressão da mulher é relacionada a outra temática


recorrente no periódico: o colonialismo. Aqui, uma das explicações para a sujeição
dos indianos diante dos europeus advém da própria dominação das mulheres
indianas por seus compatriotas, como se o domin ́ io patriarcal justificasse o colonial,
uma interessante análise da situação local, com a qual parece também concordar o
autor do ensaio.

Além da abordagem da problemática feminina, a passagem serve ainda como


exemplo do uso que os colaboradores faziam de outros idiomas em seus textos,
bem como da referência a figuras históricas e autores estrangeiros. No caso de
Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890), o adjetivo “orientalista” faz referência à obra do escritor
francês e, em uma análise atemporal, lembra a ideia defendida por Edward Saidem
Orientalismo:OOrientecomoinvençãodoOcidente( 1990),sobretudo porque o autor
“orientalista” foi citado em um texto que critica justamente uma obra sobre questões
culturais indianas tratadas por uma cidadã europeia.

Em suma, fazendo eco aos ideais libertários e progressistas de Hedwig Bachmann


de Melo, desejosa pela reabilitação da mulher indiana, acreditando que sua
regeneração social seria construid
́ a através da dignidade do trabalho, o texto do
colaborador de O Acadêmico reflete um pensamento nitidamente diferenciado para
a época, o qual aparece com frequência nas páginas da revista, como podemos
perceber nos três trechos selecionados para esta análise.

Reestruturando a história: Conclusão

A revista bimestral O Acadêmico, publicada entre novembro de 1940 e julho de


1943 em Nova Goa, cidade da então Índia Portuguesa, era órgão e propriedade do
grupo União Acadêmica, caracterizado como uma associação de jovens intelectuais
hindus e católicos da elite de Goa, onde floresciam sentimentos de liberdade e
nacionalismo. Atrelado à programação desportiva e social propiciada a

seus associados, a União Acadêmica via na publicação do periódico o instrumento


de educação polit́ ica, moral e social da mocidade goesa.

Como foi discutido acima, em suas páginas, a revista reunia uma série de textos
jornaliś ticos e literários escritos em português, senão traduzidos para o idioma, de
variados temas e autores, mas com um traço em comum: a discussão da situação
local da ex-colônia portuguesa, seja polit́ ica, social ou culturalmente, com o intuito
de espalhar seu ideário progressista entre seu público leitor — em sua maioria
integrantes e frequentadores dos eventos da União Acadêmica — , como percebido
na análise dos excertos de Menezes Bragança e Adeodato Barreto, no poema
“Aquela Triste Voz...” e na crit́ ica literária de Antonio de Miranda.

Através da publicação de artigos, ensaios, crônicas, contos e poesias, sobre


educação, literatura, filosofia, ciência e arte, dentre outros assuntos, os
responsáveis pela revista, os quais compunham um grupo heterogêneo de hindus,
católicos, homens e mulheres, ganhavam espaço para expressão da sua concepção
polit́ ica, da sua cultura, do seu modo de ver a sociedade e principalmente, da sua
nacionalidade literária. Neste sentido, compreende-se que o papel de um periódico
como O Acadêmico é constituir-se enquanto narrativa de representação social da
elite intelectual, visando questionar o colonialismo e auxiliar na construção da
identidade goesa através de um discurso liberal e de valorização da cultura e
tradição local, exemplificada sobretudo no poema de Joaquim da Silva.
Censurada desde a primeira edição, visto que a imprensa periódica estava sujeita à
censura prévia do governo de Salazar, a revista era também um reflexo do que
acontecia durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial na periferia do Império Português, em
especial em espaços de debate aberto e questionador, como aqueles
proporcionados tanto pela União Acadêmica quanto por seu veić ulo. Isto é, o estudo
de O Acadêmico auxilia a, mais que reconstruir, reescrever a história literária e
cultural de Goa, principalmente aquela registrada em lin ́ gua portuguesa, permitindo
“essencializar uma identidade (...) e reinterpretar o processo civilizacional à sua luz”.
(LOBO, 2013, p.418) .

Referências

AZEVEDO, Cândido de. A Censura de Salazar e Marcelo Caetano. Lisboa:


Caminho, 1999. 655p.

BHABHA, Homi K. O local da cultura. Tradução de Myriam Ávila, Eliana Lourenço


de Lima Reis e Gláucia Renate Gonçalves.Belo Horizonte: Editora UFMG, 1998.
395p.

CHAUI, Marilena. Convite à Filosofia. São Paulo: Ática, 2010.

FERNANDES, Jason Keith. Citizenship Experiences of the Goan Catholics. Tese de


Doutoramento em Antropologia. Lisboa: Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, 2013.

KAMAT, Varsha Vijayendra. Socio-political and religious life in Goa (1900 to 1946).
Tese de Doutoramento em História. Goa: Goa University, 1996.

LOBO, Sandra Ataid ́ e. O desassossego goês. Cultura e polit́ ica em Goa do


liberalismo ao Acto Colonial. Tese de Doutoramento em História e Teoria das Ideias.
Lisboa: Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa,
2013.

LOPES, António dos Mártires. A imprensa de Goa. Lisboa: Comissariado do


Governo para os Assuntos do Estado da Índia, 1971.

MARTINS, Ana Luiź a. Revistas em revista - imprensa e práticas culturais em


tempos de República, São Paulo (1890-1922). São Paulo: Edusp / Fapesp /
Imprensa Oficial do Estado, 2001.

NORONHA, Carmo de. A libertação psiq


́ uica em Goa. In: Contracorrente. Pangim:
edição do autor, 1991.

O ACADÊMICO. União Acadêmica. Nova Goa, 1940 - 1943. 13 v.

PASSOS, Joana. Literatura Goesa em Português nos séculos XIX e XX:


perspectivas pós-coloniais e revisão crit́ ica. Ribeirão: Humus, 2012.

“Purdah”. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus. Disponiv́ el em : <


https://dictionary.cambridge.org/pt/dicionario/ingles/purdah >. Acesso em:
25/09/2018
SAID, Edward W. Orientalismo: o Oriente como invenção do Ocidente. Tradução
Tomás Rosa Bueno. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1990. 370p.

The Goa Book Club. Disponiv́ el em:< https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/goa-


book-club >. Acesso em: 17/10/2018.
VIVIANE SOUZA MADEIRA
Selma Carvalho. Into the Diaspora Wilderness: Goa’s untold migration stories from the British Empire to the New
World. Saligão, Goa: Goa 1556 & Brodway Publishing House, 2010, 270 pp. Paperback. ISBN 978-
9380739021

Selma Carvalho. A Railway Runs Through: Goans of British East Africa, 1865–1980. Margao: Cinnamonteal
Publishing, 2014, 192 pp. ISBN 978-93-84129-21-7

Reviewed by Viviane S. Madeira University of São Paulo

Em seu poema “Lonjura” (1978), José Rangel expressa o dilema do goês que está longe do lar em um
verso: “Raízes cá, /Alma lá, /Será vida de entremez?”. A diáspora goesa tem sido amplamente discutida
em vários âmbitos desde o fim da presença portuguesa na Índia em 1961. Muitos goeses partiram para a
Inglaterra, Oriente Médio, Estados Unidos, Canadá, Portugal e para o continente africano (onde Portugal
ainda controlava alguns territórios). Esses movimentos não aconteceram ao mesmo tempo, motivados
por um fato histórico específico. Muitos ocorreram antes de 1961, dada a facilitada mobilidade entre
colônias pertencentes a Portugal. Outros se deram após o fim do colonialismo português, mas também,
algumas décadas antes, com o fim do colonialismo britânico na Índia e na África. Uma vez longe de casa,
os goeses precisavam lidar com a vivência da diáspora em distintos campos da vida social para se
estabelecer no país anfitrião, ao mesmo tempo que sentiam saudades, idealizavam a terra natal e lutavam
contra o seu desejo de retornar ao lugar de origem.

Apesar da decisão de migrar, os laços com as origens permanecem, dificultando a total identificação com
o destino almejado. Nesse sentido, enquanto estudava a diáspora judaica, James Clifford (308) observa
que as diferentes diásporas são rooted and routed (enraizadas e em rota1), ou que os indivíduos desenvolvem
“formas de consciência comunitária e solidariedade que mantêm identificações fora do tempo/espaço
nacionais com o intuito de viver em outro lugar, mas com uma diferença”. Além disso, ele aponta para o
fato de que “o termo diáspora não se refere simplesmente a transnacionalidade e movimentos, mas as
lutas políticas que definem o local, como uma comunidade distinta, em contextos históricos de
deslocamento” (308).

Os livros de Selma Carvalho Into the Diaspora Wilderness e A Railway Runs Through se propõem a discutir e
organizar a experiência diaspórica goesa e as inúmeras lutas a ela ligadas. A autora nasceu em Goa, mas
foi criada em Dubai,

355

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antes da cidade se tornar conhecida por seu desenvolvimento, seus arranha-céus e largas avenidas. Em
2008, mudou-se para Minnesota e, em seguida, para Londres, onde reside agora. Atualmente, edita a
revista literária João Roque, que reúne poesia, ficção, textos não ficcionais, arte e resenhas, tudo relacionado
à cultura goesa.

Em Into the Diaspora Wilderness, seu primeiro livro, Selma Carvalho reconstitui a migração goesa em
diversas direções: Golfo Pérsico, Novo Mundo, antigas colônias na África, Reino Unido. Para tanto,
utiliza uma grande variedade de fontes, como informações retiradas de jornais, documentos históricos,
romances, biografias, depoimentos de goeses que vivem no exterior, bem como sua própria experiência
diapórica.
O livro traz diversas questões, como, por exemplo, a segregação a qual os goeses foram sujeitados na
Índia sob colonização britânica, ainda que vistos como úteis para sua administração, o mesmo ocorrendo,
mais tarde, com escritórios no Golfo Pérsico. Em relação à presença de goeses no Golfo Pérsico,
menciona o papel que Goa desempenhou no tráfico de imigrantes ilegais depois da sua integração à Índia.
Isso ocorria principalmente porque os goeses, altamente qualificados, eram requisitados para executar
serviços de escritório. Também a religião teve uma função importante na formação das comunidades no
Golfo, pois os goeses católicos, na busca de preservar sua identidade, formavam grupos que procuravam
se distinguir claramente dos indianos hindus.

Nos anos 70, com a escassez de petróleo, algumas esposas goesas foram repatriadas enquanto seus
maridos permaneceram no Golfo, como “solteiros”. Ao mesmo tempo, outras goesas que ali
permaneceram executavam tarefas domésticas durante todo o dia para contribuir com o orçamento
familiar. De acordo com Selma Carvalho, “a [sociedade do] Golfo Pérsico, frequentemente criticada por
negar a suas mulheres direitos fundamentais, ironicamente empoderou as mulheres Goesas” (118). Muito
embora esse seja um ganho significativo para as mulheres de Goa em comparação às mulheres
muçulmanas locais, isso não significou que as circunstâncias eram ideais: elas passavam longas horas
trabalhando e, muitas vezes, enfrentavam abuso sexual e/ou psicológico, um preço alto a ser pago para
poder sustentar seus filhos estando longe de suas relações familiares.

Outro tema relevante discutido por Carvalho é o fato de sua identidade goesa ter sido apagada quando ela
chegou aos Estados Unidos, uma vez que ela era vista como mais uma indiana na América:

Ninguém conhecia as identidades regionais indianas, ninguém sabia onde Goa ficava, muito menos se importava em procurar
saber. Para eles, eu era indiana, ponto final. Minha identidade goesa passou a ser um assunto pessoal, como um antigo camafeu
que eu usava no pescoço, contendo fotos daqueles que me são queridos mas que são irrelevantes para o mundo. Havia dias em
que eu me apegava a isso, à busca de respostas sobre a validade dessa identidade e lamentava sua falta de representatividade nos
Estados Unidos. Será que a minha identidade como goesa só existia quando refletida no reconhecimento de outrem? (134)

Quando afirma que sua identidade se tornou um “assunto pessoal” e questiona se só seria identificada
como goesa pelo reconhecimento do outro, a autora trata, de modo indireto, da “desmobilização da
consciência diaspórica”, conceito desenvolvido por Victoria Redclift. Em seu texto, Redclift analisa o
caso da diáspora Bihari e observa que as gerações mais novas não se identificam como Bihari devido à
falta de conhecimento compartilhado entre eles e seus pais e avós. Assim, no caso dos jovens, as
narrativas de identidade e comunidade que formam a identidade Bihari se desmobilizam e são sobrepostas
e substituídas por outras surgidas no país anfitrião (9). Ademais, o silenciamento de memórias ou a falta
de conhecimento acerca dessas narrativas (majoritariamente oriundas do passado) que constituem a
identidade podem levar a total desmobilização da consciência diaspórica.

De certa maneira, o desejo de reavivar sua identidade goesa, torná-la conhecida e evitar sua
desmobilização é o que motiva os alguns goeses a se envolverem com a literatura e construírem uma
ponte entre as comunidades goesas transnacionais, fato apontado por Selma Carvalho no capítulo
dezoito, significantemente chamado “O intelectual exilado”.

Ainda que os indivíduos diaspóricos consigam fortalecer laços com a terra natal pela literatura, a segunda
geração de imigrantes – talvez por causa da desmobilização de sua identidade goesa diaspórica – “não se
apegam a sua identidade regional” e sua assimilação pela América dominante é acelerada (157), assim
como no caso dos Biharis. Com essa rápida integração à cultura americana, os goeses nascidos na diáspora
se tornam mais cônscios de seu papel na política estadunidense, muito porque isso é parte do processo de
se tornar americano (157).

Selma Carvalho trata ainda de outras identidades embebidas naquela da diáspora, como a da noiva levada
para longe do lar com o propósito de se casar ou a do estudante. Comenta o papel das amizades no país
anfitrião e dedica uma parte do livro aos impérios Britânico e Português e suas colônias.
Com o intuito de sistematizar a memória dos goeses na África Oriental, o segundo livro de Selma
Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through: Goans of British East Africa, 1865–1980, expande a discussão da
condição diaspórica colonial, isto é, sobre a política e a manutenção de uma comunidade que vem de uma
colônia para viver em outra. Sua pesquisa toma como ponto de partida uma coleção de entrevistas e
documentos históricos que propiciam uma minuciosa análise da experiência diaspórica dos goeses na
África Oriental e, além disso, promovem uma reflexão detalhada das contendas políticas com que esse
grupo se confrontou enquanto a Ferrovia de Uganda estava sendo construída.

A autora retoma neste livro uma ideia já apresentada em Into the Diaspora Wilderness, a de que os goeses
tiveram um papel crucial no sucesso administrativo do colonialismo britânico na África, descartando uma
visão diminuta dos goeses como meros “parceiros juniores no negócio da administração, companheiros
solícitos dos exploradores britânicos, missionários e administradores”, ou aquela

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que os toma como grupos vivendo em “um estupor de resignação, um vácuo político de apatia e
complacência egoísta, mesmo quando eventos desastrosos se desenrolavam ao redor deles” (Carvalho, A
Railway Runs Through 7).

De fato, muitas das narrativas retratadas no trabalho mais recente de Selma Carvalho mostram que os
goeses eram bastante ativos nas antigas colônias da África Oriental. Eram proprietários e administravam
padarias, açougues, lojas e muitos outros pequenos negócios que forneciam bens essenciais aos
moradores locais. Além disso, serviram de intérpretes em encontros entre o sultão, árabes e europeus na
Zanzibar do fim do século XIX. Portanto, os goeses estavam muito cientes do jogo político, uma vez que
tinham acesso privilegiado a informações importantes.

A comunidade de goeses católicos também construiu igrejas, pois “estavam iniciando uma vida nova e,
por mais migratória e transitória que essa vida fosse, desejavam recriar a memória do lar” (Carvalho, A
Railway Runs Through 23). Isso também permitiu que continuassem a praticar seus costumes, incluindo as
tradicionais festas de casamento goesas, como descrito no excerto a seguir:

No meio de Janeiro de 1889, os sinos da igreja badalaram novamente. Desta vez, celebrava-se o casamento de Pedro Francisco
de Souza e Emilina Pereira. O jovem Pedro, que houvera ingloriamente rompido laços com C. R. de Souza dois anos antes e fora
obrigado a compensá-lo, deu a volta por cima. Ele se casou com a filha de um rico negociante e um dos concorrentes de C. R. de
Souza, D. B. Pereira. As celebrações duraram dias. A noiva usou um vestido marfim feito de seda enfeitado com pérolas e
carregou um buquê de flores brancas naturais. Virginia, a madrinha, estava igualmente resplandecente. Champanhe gelado e
sorvete era servido livremente. Entre os presentes postados na mesa havia um anel de ouro enorme adornado com belíssimos
diamantes, um presente vindo do próprio sultão. (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 24)

No início do século XX, casamentos entre goeses da África Oriental com mulheres levadas de Goa era
uma prática muito comum das famílias goesas que ainda residiam em Goa. As jovens goesas chegavam
em solo africano já casadas, por meio de procuração, com homens com quem nunca tinham falado
(Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 56). Tais arranjos matrimoniais abriram as portas para casamentos
inter-castas, uma vez que “era possível pagar uma compensação financeira pela incompatibilidade de casta
se o homem estava prosperando na administração britânica” (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 57). É
essencial apontar que a autora não menciona nenhum homem goês de casta alta na África casando com
uma jovem de casta baixa oriunda de Goa. Muito embora isso tenha significado uma mudança em um
costume profundamente arraigado, essa transformação não alterou em nada a situação das mulheres de
casta baixa.

Selma Carvalho observa que havia pouca informação disponível sobre as mulheres goesas na África
Oriental, entretanto consegue dar ao leitor uma ideia de como a vida dessas mulheres se desenrolava
longe de sua terra natal. Frequentemente, elas se envolviam em serviços da Igreja e festas em salões de
baile. Também participavam de grupos de mandó, compostos por homens e mulheres. Essa participação
ativa na comunidade “produziu mulheres muito

mais emancipadas que suas mães, mesmo que a sociedade que elas conheciam fosse profundamente
patriarcal” (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 26). Além disso, muitas mulheres herdavam os negócios de
seus maridos quando eles morriam e se tornavam as chefes da família, como aconteceu a Maria Blandina
de Souza em Nairóbi em 1906 e a Cecília Augusta Martins em Mombasa em 1917 (Carvalho, A Railway
Runs Through 56–57).

Em A Railway Runs Through, a questão racial reaparece, pois, em seu primeiro livro, Into the Diaspora
Wilderness, já havia se debruçado sobre o tema a partir do contato entre os britânicos e os goeses nas
colônias britânicas, observando que “um relacionamento complexo entre os goeses e os britânicos evoluía
como um pêndulo que balançava entre o racismo e o respeito. Em última instância, os goeses se
tornariam intermediários entre as populações nativas e a administração do Império” (Carvalho, Into the
Diaspora Wilderness xi). Em A Railway Runs Through, a autora aborda o tema com mais profundidade e
apresenta detalhes desse relacionamento complexo. Explica que quanto mais os goeses eram
considerados como cidadãos modelo, mais eles se conformavam com a lógica colonial (Carvalho, A
Railway Runs Through 45). Com o estabelecimento dessa resignação, eles não se rebelariam contra a política
racial britânica que visava garantir os privilégios do colonizador invés de assegurar direitos aos asiáticos e
africanos.

O fato dos goeses serem considerados cidadãos exemplares unido a sua “inerente aversão a pele escura”
(Carvalho, “A Railway Runs Through” 45) os colocou numa posição em que se julgavam superiores aos
africanos. Selma Carvalho comenta que “noções de igualdade eram estranhas aos goeses [. . .] o simples
pensamento de que o africano era um ser consciente e capaz de sentir a mesma dor e angústia que eles
não fazia parte do discernimento goês” (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 65–66).

Desse modo, os goeses foram verdadeiros agentes da propagação do racismo na África, indo muito além
de simples cúmplices do racismo dos britânicos. Todavia, se por um lado promoviam a descriminação,
por outro também a sofriam em larga escala.

Mais à frente, no capítulo chamado “A terra do homem branco – as regiões montanhosas brancas, 1900–
1925”, Carvalho demonstra que a comunidade goesa (e a comunidade indiana no geral) tinha mais em
comum com os africanos do que podiam imaginar: assim como os africanos, indianos não tinham
permissão para dar lances em terras e estavam confinados a viver em municípios (townships). Desse modo,
apesar de serem mais respeitados pelos colonizadores em teoria, na prática, os goeses jamais seriam vistos
como europeus e teriam seus direitos limitados, assim como acontecia aos africanos.

Impossibilitados de adquirir terras, os goeses continuaram a trabalhar no comércio e no setor de serviços,


enquanto viviam em municípios segregados. Por conta dessa mesma segregacão, os goeses pareciam se
unir mais e formar laços mais fortes dentro de seus grupos em locais diversos – Eastleigh, Pangani e
Parklands, regiões localizadas na porção leste de Nairóbi (Carvalho, “A Railway Runs Through” 72–73).

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A criação de clubes e associações também contribuiu para formar a identidade goesa na África Oriental,
mais especificamente em Nairóbi. Entretanto, tal fato fomentou um embate entre aqueles que se viam
como bastiões da alta cultura e aqueles que eram excluídos dela. O Instituto Goês reunia os “abastados
comerciantes e os escriturários educados que trabalhavam na Ferrovia Uganda ou no escritório do
protetorado da África Oriental” (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 79), enquanto a União Goesa
congregava vendedores, escriturários, artesãos e servidores que eram rejeitados pelo Instituto Goês e que
não aceitaram o papel subalterno imposto a eles em sua comunidade:

Por boa parte de 1911, as relações entre a União Goesa e o Instituto Goês eram intratáveis, controversas e divisivas em relação à
questão, aparentemente inofensiva, sobre quem deveria ter o direito de planejar as celebrações públicas na ocasião da coroação
de Jorge V. A União Goesa, acusada de ser muito vulgar para orquestrar o planejamento de um evento tão importante, contra-
atacou o Instituto Goês afirmando que seus adversários eram muito exclusivistas, arbitrários em sua decisão e que não
representavam a comunidade em sua maioria. A clivagem foi muito profunda e indicava perturbadoras tensões de classe. A União
Goesa passava suas resoluções em concani. O Instituto Goês não se comunicava usando línguas vernáculas, mas o inglês. Esses
eram sinais precoces de uma divisão que cresceria mais e mais entre os dois grupos socioeconômicos com sub-culturas distintas.
(Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 85)

O confronto entre esses dois grupos revela não só uma disputa no âmbito socioeconômico, mas também
uma querela a respeito de qual identidade seria representativa do que significava ser goês na África
Oriental. Esse enfrentamento também se deu no âmbito da língua que escolhiam para se comunicar em
seus grupos: o concani ou o inglês, o idioma do colonizador.

O tema da língua abrange o da educação escolar, um dos interesses políticos da comunidade goesa na
África. Na verdade, a Igreja providenciava a escolarização, uma vez que os goeses afirmavam que as
escolas indianas não eram apropriadas para seus filhos, pois nessas instituições o ensino das línguas
vernáculas era privilegiado, além do fato de o ensino não ser católico.

Houve um movimento em prol do financiamento de uma escola goesa não- confessional, algo que foi
recebido com resistência e ameaças de excomunhão a pais cujos filhos estavam matriculados em escolas
que não fossem ligadas à Igreja. A comunidade goesa estava devastada, afinal, eles haviam ajudado a
construir a missão francesa (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 119). Ademais, os goeses não queriam que
seus filhos frequentassem a escola ao lado de crianças africanas. Carvalho demonstra novamente que o
racismo que os goeses revelavam em relação aos africanos era um simulacro do racismo que sofriam em
seu relacionamento com os colonizadores europeus – eles reproduziam a opressão de que padeciam para
se colocar numa absurda hierarquia motivada pela imagem que os britânicos inculcaram nos goeses (a de
que seriam cidadãos melhores que os outros colonizados).

A Railway Runs Through avança para os momentos finais da presença colonizadora britânica na África e
detalha o que aconteceu aos goeses em outros

movimentos diaspóricos. A expulsão dos asiáticos de Uganda (em 1972) e do Malawi (em 1976) é
discutida pela autora, bem como a organização dos goeses da África Oriental na Grã-Bretanha. Muito
embora eles tenham acreditado que poderiam manter os mesmos laços que tinham na África agora que
haviam se mudado para a Grã-Bretanha, isso se provou impossível:

A ideia de comunidade passou por uma redefinição. Na África Oriental, havia objetivos políticos, econômicos e sociais comuns
que eram articulados pelas associações. Na Grã- Bretanha, essas transações aconteciam via concessão política ou agências estatais.
Então, o que era comunidade além de vagas noções de ressonância cultural? Uma comunidade goesa na diáspora, em seu sentido
mais tradicional, tinha se dissipado, mas a ideia de unir história e cultura compartilhadas persiste e toma forma nas conferências e
festivais ad hoc” (Carvalho, A Railway Runs Through 159-160).

Ao lançar luz em assuntos como os aspectos organizacionais das comunidades goesas, como eles
mantiveram o catolicismo como sua religião na diáspora, a presença da segregação e do racismo, bem
como a existência do patriarcado e o papel exercido pelas mulheres nesse cenário, os trabalhos de Selma
Carvalho põem ao chão o mito de que os goeses não têm interesses políticos quando vivem longe de sua
terra natal.

Ademais, a discussão de tais temáticas a insere no rol de escritoras que abordam tais temas enquanto
vivem na diáspora. Stella Mascarenha e Vimala Devi são outras duas autoras que fazem parte desse grupo,
colocando em questão muitos desses temas em debate no campo literário. A presença desses temas na
literatura mostra quão relevantes eles foram e são para a construção de uma identidade goesa. Assim, Into
the Diaspora Wilderness e A Railway Runs Through proporcionam uma visão abrangente do que é ser goês na
diáspora, facilitando a melhor compreensão de uma das muitas faces dessa comunidade.

Note

1 Tradução minha.

Works Cited

Carvalho, Selma. A Railway Runs Through: Goans of British East Africa, 1865–1980. Margao: Cinnamonteal Publishing, 2014.

---. Into the Diaspora Wilderness. Goa 1556 & Broadway Publishing House, 2010.
Clifford, James (1994). Diasporas. Cultural Anthropology, Durham, v. 3, n. 9, p.302–338.
Redclift, Victoria. “The demobilization of diaspora: history, memory and ‘latent identity’”. Global

Networks, vol. 17, no. 4, 2017, pp. 500–517,

Selma Carvalho is a writer, columnist and author of non-fiction books: Into the Diaspora Wilderness (2010), A Railway Runs
Through: Goans of British East Africa (2014) and Baker Butcher, Doctor Diplomat: Goan Pioneers of East Africa (2016). Between 2011-
2014, she led the Oral Histories of British-Goans Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund UK, and archived at the British
Library, King’s Cross. Her short fiction and poetry have been published by Litro, Lighthouse and online Mechanics’ Institute Review

Viviane S. Madeira / Book Reviews │ 361

362 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

(Birkbeck) among others. Her work appears in 12 anthologies, including the London Short Story Prize 2017 Anthology
(Kingston University Press, 2018), for which she was a shortlisted finalist. Her short stories have been placed in numerous
competitions, most notably as winner of the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2018, runner-up for the Dorset Fiction Award
2018 and the Dinesh Allirajah Prize 2017 (Comma Press & UCLan).

Viviane S. Madeira holds a Master degree in Portuguese Literature and is currently a PhD student at the University of São
Paulo. In her Master’s thesis, she researched the representation of the Goan community in novels written in Portuguese and in
English. She is responsible for the web page “Thinking Goa” and is a member of the thematic project “Thinking Goa”.

TRADUÇÕES

Seis meses de inverno

Selma Carvalho

Catarina chegou a Minnesota com duas malas grandes e uma bagagem de mão. Dormiu pelos três
primeiros dias. Ela estava perdida. Não sabia aonde ir. No primeiro dia, tentou sair do apartamento
alugado para ela pela empresa em que trabalhava, mas, quando estava na rua, os carros passavam rápido
por ela na direção errada e, diferentemente de Goa, não buzinavam para avisá-la que estavam se
aproximando. Eles surgiam silenciosamente em sua direção. Se ela pisasse na rua, eles paravam e a
deixavam atravessar. Os seus donos não buzinavam para apressá-la, não berravam obscenidades, nem
mostravam seu desagrado com gestos. Eles apenas olhavam fixamente para ela, através dos largos para-
brisas, atrás de seus volantes. Essa polidez apática a enervava.

No quarto dia, Catarina despertou. Havia uma caixa de pizza meio aberta ao lado do colchão, o único
bem no apartamento. Sua camiseta tinha manchas vermelhas que estavam ficando marrons. Supôs que os
borrões eram da pizza, mas não tinha certeza. Sua pele estava coçando por causa do aquecimento central
e tinha arranhões pelas pernas e braços.

Ela tomou banho e foi até a imobiliária para perguntar sobre sua correspondência. Uma americana magra
usando um pulôver de tricô Aran e jeans deu-lhe uma chave que abria sua própria caixa de correio no
prédio. Pegou a chave e colocou no bolso. Essa chave se tornaria seu vínculo com o passado. Papai ainda
escrevia cartas. Ele odiava usar e-mail. “Não consigo achar os acentos do português no teclado”, ele
reclamava. Ela também escrevia cartas. Achava mais fácil ser cortês quando escrevia cartas. Tinha a
oportunidade de compor seus pensamentos de maneira que parecessem sábios e misericordiosos, com
todas as injustiças que a vida tinha lhe imposto. O e-mail era instantâneo demais, ela pensava. Por ora,
ainda não tinha aprendido a controlar suas emoções ao mesmo tempo que digitava os e- mails. Estava
propensa a descontar tudo nos amigos e familiares e, por isso, tinha adquirido a reputação de ser
descontrolada.

Na parede da imobiliária, atrás da mulher magra usando o pulôver de tricô Aran, estavam quadro quadros
de arbustos floridos e árvores frutíferas, brotando de um carpete de grama verde. A mulher olhou para
Catarina com um olhar vazio e deu um sorriso amarelo. “Minnesota no verão”, ela disse.

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Catarina acenou com a cabeça e retribuiu o sorriso. Disseram que, na América, era importante sorrir para
aqueles que estavam no comando, para deixá-los saber que haviam sido compreendidos.

Quando voltou ao apartamento, o telefone estava tocando. Era o papai. “Eu mandei algumas coisas para
você”, ele disse com pressa.
“Oh?”
“Vá ao Taj Mahal em Plymouth. Um homem chamado Miguel lhe entregará

tudo.”
Um silêncio desconfortável surgiu entre eles.
“Foi bom que você tenha conseguido essa transferência para os Estados

Unidos, bambina”, dizendo ao final: “é um novo começo para você”. Desligou o telefone antes que ela
pudesse responder.

Do lado de fora da janela, um céu lúgubre de outubro se espalhava. Se pudesse suportar o inverno,
Catarina pensou, poderia sobreviver. Ela ainda não sabia naquele momento, mas aquele inverno a
envolveria em seus braços nos meses seguintes. De onde estava, podia ver o imóvel lago glacial no frio
invernal. Dele emergiam caminhos, como inúmeras artérias, conectando cafés ao leste e o bloco de
apartamentos a oeste. O bloco de apartamentos tinha uma piscina comunitária e uma quadra de tênis. Ela
precisava de silêncio e de tempo para pensar sobre seu futuro. Na segunda-feira, encontraria seus colegas
americanos no escritório pela primeira vez.

*
O restaurante Taj Mahal, em Plymouth, era um self-service, em que se come à

vontade, e lembrava um salão de dança com fortes luzes amarelas. Cheirava a comida velha e tapetes
mofados. No fundo, havia uma prataria arranhada que estava destampada para mostrar o frango e o grão-
de-bico boiando em manteiga clarificada. Ao lado desses pratos, estavam os acompanhamentos
costumeiros: naan e arroz. A partir do bufê, se espalhavam mesas quadradas com topo de fórmica e, em
cada canto do salão, havia gamelas com samambaias e flores de plástico cheias de pó. Garçons de rosto
triste, usando calças pretas e camisas brancas, se apressavam pelo salão, carregando garrafas de água
mineral, cerveja e refrigerante.

Catarina identificou o crachá de Miguel no meio dos garçons. Ele tinha um ar presunçoso, do tipo que
garotos goeses das vilas litorâneas desenvolvem bem cedo, acreditando que crescerão para se tornar
jogadores de futebol ou músicos famosos. Esse sonho apático que lhes é muito caro só é abandonado
quando a ambição de trabalhar em um cruzeiro, navegando em águas norte-americanas, o substitui. Sem
dúvida, Miguel era um imigrante ilegal que tinha abandonado o navio e agora trabalhava no continente.

Ele levou para ela um copo de soda com limão e açúcar. “Me encontra lá fora em dez minutos”, ele disse,
colocando o copo na mesa dela. Ele parece ter uns trinta anos, ela pensou. O cabelo dele ainda era preto,
bem escuro, tinha uma postura ereta, mas sua barriga tinha ficado mole e a pele do rosto amarelada.

Catarina esperou por ele no estacionamento vazio perto do restaurante. Um vento fino bateu em seus
pés. Ela não tinha levado casaco naquela noite. Cruzou os braços para se proteger do frio e se encostou
num Toyota verde, quando viu Miguel emergindo de um beco escuro. Ele não era o tipo de homem para
quem Catarina pediria favores, mas, naquele estacionamento no meio-oeste americano, encorajada pelo
anonimato, aturou nobremente a igualdade forçada entre eles.

Miguel lhe entregou uma carta com o endereço dela escrito à mão pelo papai. Os imigrantes ilegais
tinham um sistema postal obscuro que os permitia contrabandear cartas, dinheiro, chouriços e guloseimas
entre os Estados Unidos e Goa.

Catarina guardou a carta na bolsa.


“Tem mais uma coisa”, ele disse, observando-a atentamente.
Ele trazia consigo uma caixinha embrulhada em musselina e amarrada com

um fio.
“Isso veio junto com a carta.”
Os olhos de Catarina se arregalaram. O que papai tinha mandado? Ela

pegou a caixa, agradeceu e foi embora. Só quando virou a esquina é que olhou para trás. Miguel ainda
estava lá, fumando um cigarro e arrastando seus pés no frio. A quantos invernos teria o corpo cansado de
Miguel sobrevivido?

Quando ela voltou para casa, colocou o pacote no colchão e abriu primeiro a carta. “Querida”, estava
escrito, “estou mandando as joias da mamãe. Se as tivesse te dado antes, Aleixo teria perdido tudo em
apostas”. O tom do papai tinha uma finalidade. Ele tinha aceitado aquilo que ela já sabia há muito tempo.
Seu casamento com Aleixo tinha acabado.

Quase sem querer, Catarina voltou ao Taj Mahal um mês depois. Miguel lhe disse para esperá-lo no
estacionamento. Ela estava usando um sobretudo de lã ornado com imitação de pele. O vento cortava seu
rosto, seus dentes batiam violentamente e lágrimas caíam de seus olhos.

“Eu tenho um pouco de chouriço e fenim em casa”, ele lhe disse, quando apareceu vinte minutos depois,
usando uma jaqueta azul acolchoada, com seu rosto parcialmente coberto pelo capuz.

Ela limpou as lágrimas dos olhos com as costas da sua mão.


“Você vem?”, ele perguntou.
Uma escuridão impiedosa tinha caído sobre a rua, fazendo com que ela se
sentisse mais solitária do que era possível. Ela o seguiu pela rua, abrindo caminho com suas botas pela
neve recentemente caída. Miguel vivia num prédio velho não muito longe dali. A escadaria levava a um
longo e estreito corredor com carpetes puídos. A escuridão ali só era dissipada por lâmpadas fracas.

“Aqui costumava ser uma casa para a velhice”, ele contou.

“Um asilo, você quer dizer”, ela o corrigiu. A influência de outras línguas tinha começado a assombrar
suas frases.

Miguel abriu a porta para um apartamento frio e úmido. Na sala, havia seis homens sentados à mesa
jogando cartas. Ela soube de cara que esses homens de pele escura e cheios de marcas eram goeses que
tinham entrado ilegalmente no

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país. Eles viraram suas cabeças para ver quem havia chegado e, ao perceberem que uma mulher tinha
entrado no apartamento, levantaram-se e colocaram a mão direita sobre o peito para recebê-la.

“De que parte de Goa você vem?”


“O que o seu pai faz?”
“Você teve notícias da sua família ultimamente?”
Ela identificou a tão familiar enxurrada de perguntas como um atalho para

inquerir educadamente sobre o lugar dela na hierarquia de Goa.


Em um canto da sala, havia um pequeno altar para o Menino Jesus e para Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo
Socorro. Ali queimavam seis velas cuja fumaça com cheiro de cera enchia a sala, transformando o lugar
num santuário para os desprovidos—homens sem convênio médico, carteiras de motorista, contratos de
aluguel ou qualquer outra forma de legitimidade. Ao longo dos cantos das paredes havia roupas de cama
enroladas e, então, ocorreu a Catarina que esse espaço se desdobrava da socialização, ao silêncio, à suplica
e ao sono. Catarina

nunca mais voltaria a esse lugar.


*

A chave de Catarina para a caixa de correio tornou-se um elo com um outro mundo—o mundo dos
catálogos de móveis enfiados em sua caixa postal por um carteiro desconhecido e postados para ela por
lojas de móveis que desconhecia. Pilhas de livros brilhantes formavam pequenas torres, revelando as
cômodas de estilo colonial da Pottery Barn, o metropolitano-chique de Williams-Sonoma e a liquidação
de colchões Serta da loja de mobília HOM. Novos sonhos estavam germinando sobre as paredes
arruinadas da sua antiga vida. Esses novos sonhos tinham cômodos, pátios e jardins. Tinham mobília e
tinta. Tinham estrutura e determinação.

Catarina não convidou Miguel para sua vida, mas ele se intrometeu de qualquer jeito. Apareceu na sua
porta com um violão pendurado no ombro um dia depois de uma tempestade de neve que tinha tornado
a tarefa de dirigir pela cidade impossível. Ela preparou chá preto para os dois e sentou com as pernas
cruzadas ao lado dele no chão. Ele aninhou o violão no seu colo e começou a tocar um pot-pourri de
músicas da Connie Francis que tinha aprendido quando criança, enquanto ouvia a Radio Ceilão. O vento
batia nas vidraças e assoviava pela rua iluminada. Mais tarde, ela acordou nos braços de Miguel, sentindo
o cheiro da comida estragada do restaurante que estava impregnado no corpo dele. Ela se levantou e
tomou banho.
Depois disso, Miguel passava todo seu tempo livre com Catarina. Experimentavam fazer todo tipo de
culinária goesa na cozinha galé do apartamento. Iam às compras atrás de sementes de manjericão e xarope
de rosa para preparar falooda. Picavam pepinos e pimentões verdes para fazer uma salsa verde. O vinagre
de malte que eles compraram na Club Foods simplesmente não servia, então buscaram um vinagre de arroz
chinês no Bazar do Senhor Chen. Mais perto do Natal, visitaram o rude Sr. Chen para comprar carne de
porco. Ele olhou para eles com os lábios contraídos e os levou para o freezer que mantinha

no porão. “Melhor produto aqui”, ele disse, “você leva o que gostar. Eu faço preço especial”. Eles
compraram coração de porco, tripas e gordura. Cozinharam as carnes em fogo brando para fazer um
sarapatel e, no Natal, espalharam jornais no chão debaixo de um pinheirinho que Catarina tinha
comprado no Sam’s Garden Center e comeram sua ceia em silenciosa contemplação.

Frequentemente, Miguel tirava da sua carteira fotos recém-chegadas de sua esposa, Filu, em Goa, uma
mulher atarracada que dirigia uma scooter para deixar seu filho, Normano, na escola.

“Ele está crescendo sem mim”, Miguel se lamentava tristemente, deitado no colchão com seus braços
enfiados debaixo da cabeça.

A imparcialidade com que Catarina recebia essas revelações não a surpreendia. Miguel não era nem um
prefixo que esclarecia sua vida nem um sufixo que a expandia. Ele simplesmente existia na quietude do
momento.

Uma semana antes da Páscoa, Miguel apareceu carregando uma caixa de doce. Colocou-a no balcão da
cozinha e permaneceu imóvel perto da geladeira.

“O que aconteceu?”, Catarina perguntou.

“Foi a Filu. Acharam um caroço na mama esquerda dela.”


Catarina ficou em pé na cozinha estreita, seus olhos fitavam o piso. Afinal ela o abraçou. Ele enterrou sua
cabeça nos ombros dela e disse: “Eu preciso ir

para Goa”.
Catarina assistiu, pela janela, Miguel descer a rua. Ela não o veria

novamente. Seus caminhos não tinham se separado nos Estados Unidos, mas em Goa. Por mais que o
mundo de Miguel parecesse sem fronteiras, ele sempre estaria preso a Goa. Ele era como uma grande
árvore cujas raízes deslizavam ao encontro de seu alimento. Ela tinha se desenraizado friamente e estava
começando tudo de novo. Em alguns anos, ela venderia as joias de sua mãe para dar entrada no
pagamento de uma casa, se tornaria uma cidadã americana naturalizada, desapareceria na massa
trituradora de humanidade, indistinguível de todo o resto que já ansiou por um pedaço do bolo do sonho
americano.

O lago glacial estava pulsando com uma nova vida. A neve derretia nas árvores cansadas do inverno. Uma
nova casca estava esperando para romper.

—Traduzido de inglês por by Viviane S. Madeira

Viviane S. Madeira holds a Master degree in Portuguese Literature and is currently a PhD student at the University of São
Paulo. In her Master’s thesis, she researched the representation of the Goan community in novels written in Portuguese and in
English. She is responsible for the web page “Thinking Goa” and is a member of the thematic project “Thinking Goa”.

Selma Carvalho is a writer, columnist and author of non-fiction books: Into the Diaspora Wilderness (2010), A Railway Runs
Through: Goans of British East Africa (2014) and Baker Butcher, Doctor Diplomat: Goan Pioneers of East Africa (2016). Between 2011-
2014, she led the Oral Histories of British-Goans Project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund UK, and archived at the British
Library, King’s Cross.

Selma Carvalho / Seis meses de inverno │ 519

520 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

Her short fiction and poetry have been published by Litro, Lighthouse and online Mechanics’ Institute Review (Birkbeck) among
others. Her work appears in 12 anthologies, including the London Short Story Prize 2017 Anthology (Kingston University Press,
2018), for which she was a shortlisted finalist. Her short stories have been placed in numerous competitions, most notably as
winner of the Leicester Writes Short Story Prize 2018, runner-up for the Dorset Fiction Award 2018 and the Dinesh Allirajah
Prize 2017 (Comma Press & UCLan).

A cama

Himanshu Burte

Sunny se abanou com a gola de sua camiseta e assoprou seu peito repetidamente para aliviar o suor.
Inquieto, ele olhou ao seu redor e viu a sala de estar vazia; o chão brilhava mais alegremente do que
nunca, recebendo os raios do sol do fim da tarde que entravam pela sacada. Era tão estranho. Não parecia
em nada com o lugar em que vivemos por trinta anos, ele pensou. Será que a mobília era a única
diferença?

Ele podia ouvir Priyanka no outro cômodo, jogando fora pedacinhos de papel, papelão e corda deixados
para trás depois que a onda de compradores havia levado todas as coisas: televisão, sofás, mesa de jantar,
armários, tudo. Ele podia ouvi-la arrastando algo ao redor da cama. Cada movimento que ela fazia
chegava aos ouvidos dele com uma auréola de ecos. Distraidamente, ele pensou na viagem noite afora
para Mumbai que o esperava. No caminho, ele levaria Priyanka à casa de seus pais em um vilarejo a meia
hora da estrada para Mumbai. Ele mal podia esperar para sair de Goa em direção à multidão entorpecida
de Mumbai.

“Você pode me ajudar aqui?”, ele a escutou chamá-lo.

Sunny entrou silenciosamente, seus sapatos de couro detonavam ecos perturbadores no curto corredor.

Ela estava puxando um pedaço grande de papelão que estava preso debaixo de uma das pernas da cama
mais distante de si

“Você pode levantá-la um pouquinho, por favor? É muito pesada para mim”, ela disse sem olhar para
cima.

Ele fez o que foi pedido. É pesado mesmo, ele pensou, enquanto massageava a lombar depois de ter
realizado a tarefa. Típico, ele pensou, ela ia querer limpar o lugar perfeitamente, mesmo já estando
vendido. Mas ele não disse nada. Ela se endireitou se espanando com uma mão e segurando um pedaço
de pano na outra.

“Quando a moça vem buscar a cama?”

“Ela deve chegar a qualquer momento”, ele disse, se afastando em direção da janela para dar uma olhada
rápida na estrada.
Ela colocou uma mecha de cabelo para trás e olhou para a cama. Era uma cama especial. Eles a tinham
comprado logo depois do casamento, por um preço baixo, de uma casa velha que estava sendo
desmontada e vendida em um vilarejo próximo. O velho casal havia morrido e seus filhos (bem como
seus netos) viviam

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em Mumbai, Délhi e em outros lugares. Quando eles visitavam Goa, ficavam na praia e nadavam nas
piscinas do hotel. Priyanka tinha ficado surpresa com o preço que o homem sofisticado de quarenta anos
pediu pela cama. Ele devia ser o filho caçula. Parecia que ele queria vender tudo bem rápido e que não se
importava com o dinheiro ou com a beleza das peças. Um habitante local disfarçado de turista, ela havia
pensado, ao olhar para a camiseta do homem em que se lia “Eu amo Goa”, enquanto Sunny lhe entregava
o dinheiro. Quando os carregadores finalmente colocaram a cama no seu quarto, ela se lembrou de ter
sentido que a sua vida de casada tinha finalmente começado, um ano depois do casamento. O sofá, a
mesa de jantar e as venezianas para esconder as prateleiras da cozinha teriam de esperar. Eles tinham de
competir com a parcela para a moto de Sunny e a sua própria scooter. Mas agora eles tinham uma cama de
casal e isso já era um começo, ela se lembra de ter pensado.

Sunny entrou no quarto com uma Sra. e pegou Priyanka de surpresa. A Sra. entrou com uma bengala e
tinha um sorriso caloroso.

“Priyanka, essa é a Sra. Cordeiro, que . . .”

“Olá, Priyanka”, disse a Sra. Cordeiro e estendeu a mão, “muito prazer em conhecê-la”. Priyanka deu um
sorriso amarelo educado para a Sra. Radiante, acompanhado de um aperto de mão frouxo.

A Sra. Cordeiro virou seu olhar para a cama.


“É essa aqui que vocês querem vender?”, a Sra. Cordeiro perguntou. Sunny disse que sim com a cabeça,
virou-se, viu que Priyanka tinha

escapado da conversa para olhar pela janela.


A Sra. Cordeiro começou a passar suas mãos enrugadas pelos contornos

decorativos do poste, pela delicada grade de madeira aos pés da cama e ao longo da peseira,
vagarosamente arrastando seus dedos pelo comprimento do lençol com estampa ikat até chegar à
cabeceira. Parou e examinou a cama com um empenho inescrutável.

“Vem com o colchão?”, perguntou.


“Bom . . . não . . .”, Sunny começou a dizer.
“Sim”, disse Priyanka da janela.
“Ok, sim. Francamente, não chegamos a . . .”
A Sra. Cordeiro acenou com a cabeça e Sunny foi se calando.
“Eu gostei. Qual preço você tem em mente?”
“Cinco mil”, disse Sunny.
A Sra. Cordeiro balançou a cabeça em reconhecimento, mas não disse nada.

Sunny não podia ler o rosto dela. Finalmente, a Sra. Cordeiro com uma determinação em desacordo com
seus movimentos hesitantes.

“Vou levar.”
Sunny acenou com a cabeça e tirou as mãos da cintura, enquanto a Sra. Cordeiro olhava com um sorriso
nos lábios. Um silêncio constrangedor se seguiu. A Sra. Cordeiro esticou o braço novamente e acariciou a
saliência brilhante da cabeceira.

“Eles realmente sabiam como construir uma cama antigamente, não é?”, disse quase que para si mesma
soando, pela primeira vez, levemente cansada.

“Sim”, disse Sunny, se sentindo um pouco impaciente. Ele queria seguir adiante, tirar isso do caminho e
então eles poderiam ir embora desse lugar desgraçado. Mas a velha mulher estava andando ao redor da
cama, olhando-a de novo.

“Se não for muita intromissão, posso perguntar por que vocês estão se desfazendo dela? É tão bonita”, a
Sra. Cordeiro perguntou, enquanto andava ao redor da cama, sem poder tirar os olhos dela.

O que essa mulher veio comprar—a cama ou a história de suas vidas? Mas, momentaneamente, Sunny
não conseguia pensar em uma resposta que pudesse manter a mulher à distância.

“Ela é velha, sabe . . . e estamos de mudança”, ele disse, com a irritação tingida de alívio.

“Mas vocês poderiam tê-la levado com vocês”, disse a Sra. Cordeiro, inocentemente confusa.

“Na verdade, estamos nos separando, Sra. Cordeiro”, disse Priyanka de um canto afastado da sala, onde
ela estava inclinada e ocupada com uma vassoura. Mas a Sra. Cordeiro conseguiu o que queria só quando
a moça se virou para Sunny e disse: “o que há aqui pra se esconder?”

A Sra. Cordeiro ficou encabulada imediatamente.

“Ai, filha, sinto muito por ouvir disso, eu não sabia, eu não deveria ter perguntado.”

“Tudo bem”, disse Priyanka com simplicidade. “É melhor assim”.

Depois de um curto silêncio, Sunny decidiu que tinha de ser um pouco cara de pau.

“Então, Sra. Cordeiro, como devemos fazer isso?”

“Ah, posso pagar você agora”, ela disse rapidamente, compensando por não ter falado sobre isso mais
cedo, “mas eu não pude sacar o dinheiro porque cheguei tarde ao banco. Espero que um cheque sirva”.

“Mas eu achei que tinha claramente pedido o pagamento em dinheiro”, ele disse descontente.

A Sra. Cordeiro não disse nada.

Não havia nada a se fazer. A cama tinha de ir. Sunny viu Pryianka olhando para o outro lado e, então,
virou-se para a Sra. Cordeiro.

“Está bem, pode ser.”

“Oh, muitíssimo obrigada. Você pode me dizer que nome eu coloco no cheque?”

Sunny pensou por um momento. Ao mesmo tempo que a Sra. Cordeiro tirava o talão de cheques da
bolsa, ele disse:
“Precisamos de dois cheques.”

“Dois? Por . . .” ela engasgou antes que um pensamento parasse sua pergunta. “Está bem”, ela disse e
começou a escrever.

Himanshu Burte / A Cama│ 511

512 │ InterDISCIPLINARY Journal of Portuguese Diaspora Studies Vol. 7 (2018)

“Sunil Savardekar”, ele disse e esperou que ela terminasse antes de complementar, “Priyanka D’Souza”.

A Sra. Cordeiro escreveu vagarosamente, sua caligrafia era elegante, porém trêmula por causa da idade.
Ela assinou os dois cheques e os tirou do talão depois de checar os detalhes várias vezes.

“Obrigada”, ela disse e se virou para sair, mas voltou ao lembrar de algo.

“Eu esqueci de perguntar—meu genro, Mauvin, poderia vir amanhã de manhã buscar a cama?”, ela
perguntou a Sunny, e voltando-se para Priyanka com um sorriso carinhoso ao lembrar-se, ela acrescentou
“É meu presente de casamento para eles, sabe? Eles estão se mudando para um aparamento novo”.

“Mas, Sra. Cordeiro, nós não estaremos aqui amanhã. Eu disse para a Sra. no telefone que a cama tinha de
ser levada hoje!”, Sunny protestou. Ele olhou para Pryianka em busca de apoio. Para seu alívio, Pryianka
balançou a cabeça e completou calmamente: “Nós não passaremos a noite aqui, tia, não haverá ninguém
aqui amanhã”.

A Sra. Cordeiro estava desesperada. “Ai, Deus, eu não sabia que vocês não estariam aqui amanhã! O que
eu vou fazer agora? Meu genro só volta de Mumbai pela manhã.” De repente, ela teve uma ideia. “Outra
pessoa poderia abrir a casa para Mauvin depois que vocês forem embora?”

“Não”, disse Sunny com firmeza. Ele estava perto de perder a paciência. Essa mulher estava louca?

“Ai, meu Deus”, disse a Sra. Cordeiro, “o que eu vou fazer?” A agitação dela era crescente. Ela fez que ia
sentar, mas se endireitou ao perceber que não havia lugar para sentar. Ela resmungou algo para si mesma.

Sunny não conseguiu se segurar, pensando na situação em que a idiotice dessa mulher os colocaria.

“Sra. Cordeiro, isso é ridículo, eu tinha dito claramente para a senhora que a cama tinha de ser levada
hoje. Se a senhora não podia levá-la, então por que veio?” “Ai, mas eu não sabia que vocês estavam indo
embora. Mil desculpas! Ai, meu

Deus, o que vamos fazer agora?”


Sunny começou a vislumbrar o terror à frente. Não havia saída. A cama tinha

de ir. Ela não podia ficar aqui. O homem que comprou o apartamento deixou isso bem claro. E, de
qualquer forma, Priyanka e ele tinha concordado que não suportariam deixá-la para trás nesse
apartamento. Priyanka disse que a cama tinha de ter um novo lar e, apesar de não concordarem em nada
há um tempo, essa questão era diferente. Mas agora eles estavam presos pela idiotice de uma velha!

Antes de sair, a Sra. Cordeiro ficou efusivamente agradecida quando Sunny finalmente deu de ombros e
disse que iria esperar pelo genro dela chegar para pegar a cama na manhã seguinte. Naquele momento, o
sol tinha perdido sua nitidez e, em breve, a noite chegaria em sua varanda. Assim que anoiteceu, eles
jantaram. Comeram algumas fatias de pão e de queijo que estavam na mala de viagem de Sunny, O lugar
era um vazio nu na luz fluorescente. O sol tinha sido mais benevolente.
Depois do jantar, Sunny e Priyanka beberam água direto da torneira um de cada vez, não lado a lado
como eles fizeram na faculdade, na primeira vez que se conheceram, muitos anos atrás. Agora, eles
estavam repentinamente jogados à deriva no vazio do apartamento. Naquela imensidão encaixotada, não
havia lugar algum para ir ou para se esconder. Não parecia que fazia tanto tempo que eles tinham
conquistado aquele vazio sem hesitar, quando eles se mudaram para lá. Seu próprio apartamento!
Estavam orgulhosos e agradecidos por terem feito o que seus pais nunca poderiam ter sonhado quando
eram tão jovens como o casal, eles levaram consigo a rapidez dos planos, o riso, e discussões junto com o
tropel de colchões e o tinido dos utensílios na prateleira da cozinha. Suas conversas tinham preenchido o
vazio tanto quanto a música que frequentemente ia para a cama com eles, nos dois colchões colocados
juntos no chão.

Mas já era hora de acabar o dia. Como a esposa zelosa que tinha sido por muitos anos sem que Sunny
tivesse verdadeiramente notado, Pryianka começou a fazer os preparativos para a noite. Ela estava
sozinha ao lado da cama. Sunny estava na sacada, fumando depois de muito tempo sem fumar. Ela
pensou por um momento, tirou os dois travesseiros e os deixou no chão que tinha sido limpo há pouco.
Ela começou a puxar o lençol.

Quando Sunny entrou no quarto, depois de fumar, Pryianka já estava adormecida e as luzes estavam
acesas. Ele olhou para ela. Ela estava deitada sobre o lençol ikat, no chão, ao lado da cama. Ele não tinha
percebido que eles tinham dois lençóis diferentes durante todo aquele tempo. Do outro lado, estava o
mesmo lençol ikat com um travesseiro, prontos para ele. Ele tirou os sapatos e as meias, deitou a cabeça e
se virou para a parede.

“Boa noite”, ele disse.

—Traduzido de inglês por Viviane S. Madeira

Viviane S. Madeira holds a Master degree in Portuguese Literature and is currently a PhD student at the University of São
Paulo. In her Master’s thesis, she researched the representation of the Goan community in novels written in Portuguese and in
English. She is responsible for the web page “Thinking Goa” and is a member of the thematic project “Thinking Goa”

Himanshu Burte is an architect, critic and urbanist, and Assistant Professor at the School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of
Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. His book, Space for Engagement: The Indian Artplace and a Habitational Approach to
Architecture (Seagull Books, 2008. Kolkata), proposes an alternative conceptual framework for architecture centred on the act of
dwelling. A former Fulbright Fellow with a PhD in Urban Planning (CEPT University, Ahmedabad), Burte has published
extensively in the professional, popular and academic press for over twenty-five years. His research interests include modernism,
public space, urban infrastructure, housing policy, theatre architecture and sustainable urbanism.

Himanshu Burte / A Cama│ 513