Tag Archives: 50 Years of Goa

Amitav Ghosh on Goa

Some musings here about the liberation of Goa from Portugese rule by India:

But the interaction between Portugal and India also produced vibrant cultural hybrids in architecture, music and food. Among the state’s most famous dishes is the spicy vindaloo, a curry whose name is thought to be a contraction of the Portuguese phrase “vinho de alho,” or garlic wine. Besides, as Mr. deSouza pointed out, Goa was where the influence of the Enlightenment and the Renaissance in Europe was felt much before it reached other parts of India. As a result, the practice of sati – or widows immolating themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres – was abolished in Goa 200 years before the British banned it in the rest of India. [Naresh Fernandes]

And on Portugese language, 50 years after the Portugese were sent back to Portugal:

The popular history of the Portuguese period in Goa has largely been restricted to the gory tales of the initial conquest of the island of Goa, of the Inquisition, and the dramatization of the anti-colonial episodes in the territory’s history. To a large extent, this nationalist history dissuades Hindus from subaltern castes from studying the language. This has ensured that it is solely dominant-caste narratives that are incorporated into the histories of the territory, preventing alternative and liberatory narratives to emerge from a re-reading of the texts and narratives of the period of Portuguese sovereignty over the territory.  It is little known for example, that the knowledge of Portuguese is critical to the bahujan challenge to Hindu upper-caste groups’ monopolistic control of the Goan temples. This monopolistic control of the temples was forged in particular through these latter groups’ knowledge of Portuguese. [Jason Keith Fernandes]