Sunday, April 21, 2013
THE SECOND CONQUEST AND SUBJUGATION OF GOA by Paulo Dias
19/12/1961 - The second conquest and subjugation of Goa
Portuguese citizens (including Goans) throughout the world suffered under the dictatorship regime of Salazar. Nobody can deny that. The Portuguese people in Portugal suffered a lot more than many in the overseas provinces. How many Portuguese lost their sons and husbands in colonial war in ex-Portuguese Africa?
Salazar had an idea of an extended map of Portugal. That is why he converted all colonies into overseas provinces and made sure that everyone by 1952 had exactly the same rights and full Portuguese citizenship regardless of residency. In Goa we had a 95% self autonomy with all the high government posts headed by Goans (Catholics and Hindus alike), except the post of Governor. However, that was done a bit too late. The damage was done centuries earlier and people did not forget. In Africa (especially Mozambique and Angola), the Portuguese army had great loss of lives trying to keep up to Salazar's dream. By the end of 1960s, the dictatorship regime (then headed by Marcelo Caetano) had so many opponents, including in the army high command itself, that it was clearly reaching the end. Portugal finally achieved democracy through a democratic revolution of 25 April 1974. Salazar was dead by then and Marcelo Caetano was forced into exile in Brazil.
The map of the Republic of India was invented by the British. It was the British who brought India together under one single political entity. Before the British, India was a sub-continent composed by princely states and ruled by different rulers. It was never ever one single political entity as we know the Republic of India today.
The map of Goa was invented by the Portuguese much before the British invented their version of the map of British India. It was the Portuguese that brought Goa together under a same territorial map following the old conquests and the new conquests.
Given the above facts, and after explaining that Goa and the Republic of India had different origins and that the map of territorial Goa 1961 precedes the map of territorial Republic of India 1947, what right did the Republic of India have to conquer the territory of Goa in the XX century, after both Republic of India and Goa/Portugal accepted that they were neighbouring countries and maintained diplomatic representations from 1947 up to 1954? And both countries were members of the United Nations Organization. It is quite obvious that the Republic of India could not have any valid claim over the territory of Goa for the simple reason that Goa existed much before the Republic of India. So, to what extent were the actions of 19 December 1961 legitimate?
The Republic of India first called the operation Dec 1961 a Police Action! Does that sound lawful to anyone? Then they renamed it to an Act of Conquest and subjugation through a determination from the Supreme Court of India. Does that sound right to any proud Goan?
So are we liberated or are we conquered? Can't be both for sure as those words are not synonymous.
This is what the freedom fighters should have questioned then! How come the Supreme Court of India determined that Goa has been conquered and subjugated in 1961 from the Portuguese???
Where is the liberation then?
Liberation is when people are liberated and allowed to choose their future democratically. Kuwait was liberated from Iraq. I cannot think of a better example of liberation.
Clearly Goans were not allowed to choose their future immediately after 1961. This is what Nehru said: "We are 700 million and the Goans are 700 thousand.". This was democracy for Nehru. It is consistent with his "Police Action" over Goa (operation Vijay – 1961)
As a proud Goan, I see it more likely like a robbery. A neighbour country (that accepted the legitimacy of Goa under Portuguese rule by maintaining diplomatic representation in Portuguese Goa from 1947 to 1954 with a Consulate General of India in Panjim) robbing another sovereign country.
The real freedom fighters wanted an independent Goa. This means independence from Portugal and independence from the Republic of India. That is what independence meant for them. Many had a very clear plan of action and Goa had very intelligent Goan people already running the state at that time. What did the Republic of India do? Dismissed most of them and brought their own people from Delhi. Those who remained were forced to change allegiance but sooner or later were replaced and subjugated.
The Republic of India tried to brainwash most of us Goans by saying that Goa was always part of India and all the rest that you already know.
The truth is: Goa was part of the Indian subcontinent. Not part of the political entity called the Republic of India. The Portuguese did not conquer Goa from the Republic of India. So the Republic of India (founded in 1947 as a single entity which they inherited from the British) cannot claim that Goa was always a part of the Republic of India! It does not make sense.
At the most, they could have helped us Goans by liberating us from the Portuguese and allow us to choose democratically our future. The proper thing to do would have been to held a democratic plebiscite to decide the future of Goa immediately after 1961.
It could be that majority of Goans wanted the merge with the Republic of India but the plebiscite would have been the fairest way to demonstrate that. But I think Nehru was fearing that the plebiscite could demonstrate a different result and he would lose face to the world.
As you know, the plebiscite did not happen. I am not defending Portugal. My point is that the case of Goa was not handled in accordance with International Law for which both Portugal and Republic of India are to be blamed. The Goan people did not have a say in the actions of 19 December 1961. No questions were asked. No options were given.
Yes, we did have an opinion poll in 1967 (they would not allow it to be called a referendum or a plebiscite!) but there was no option for a independent Goa even then, 6 years after! Where is the respect for the Goan people? Didn't we deserve to be given an option that so many people had asked for, including a full association of well organised Goans who had been demanding independence since the foundation of their association and conference in Paris 1963.
Could the freedom fighters in Goa not bring up this issue? Why was independence not on offer when so many people were asking for it?
And people continue to call it liberation even after knowing that the Supreme Court of India has labelled it as an Act of Conquest and subjugation which completed on the 20 of December 1961.
Do the freedom fighters agree with that determination from the Supreme Court of the Republic of India that say that we were all conquered and subjugated? If not, why did they not protest?
As a very proud Goan I feel sad that we Goans fail to understand these facts and who the real freedom fighters really were in 1961!