Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hindu temples of Goa?


Most Indians believe that Goa was settled by Portuguese. This is what
the history text books have taught them. But the facts are quite
different. Goa (Gomantak) was a bustling place, settled by Indians
continuously from at least 1200 B.C. It was a famous pilgrimage, often
known as Kashi of West.

Till the Portuguese missionaries came. They launched an aggressive
program of converting native Hindus and Muslims to Christianity.
Hundreds of Hindu temples were destroyed, and Brahmins were chased

Many converted as a result of this. The new converts were ordered to
give up their 'heathen' practices. However, when friendly methods
failed to keep the newly converted within the flock, inquisition was
called in. The Goan inquisition has often been called the worst in the
history of Christianity. It continued for about 250 years from 1570's
till 1812, when the British mercifully put an end to it.

Incidentally, the Goans did not take this lying down. According to the
World Book encyclopedia, Goa witnessed 400 revolts in the 400 years of
Portuguese occupation.

The book gives a scholarly, dry narrative of the excesses of
inquistion. Properly speaking there is no narrative as such, rather
sections, such as in a thesis. It is really more of a documentation
effort, as stated in the title. There are lots of references of
sources and footnotes, which add authority to the book.

It also reproduces some accounts of the inquisition written by a
Frenchman named Dhillon, who managed to escape it with his life. Some
photographs, sketches, and maps are included. he location of the 'big
house' (called 'orlem ghor' in Goanese), where thousands were interred
is also shown in a map. There are sketches showing auto da fe (where
victims were burnt alive) and some of the more popular tortures.
However, the maps are quite old, and it is difficult to locate the
ruins in Old Goa, where even the museum staff are ignorant about the
site or history of inquisition.

Thanks & Regards,

Sudhir Srinivasan
B.Arch, Dip.ID, Dip.CAD, Dip.PM, AIIA, IIID, ARIAI
| Architect |

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