Goa Liberation War
Goa Liberation Struggle, Goa Liberation Movement, or Goa Liberation Struggle refers to the entire struggle that was done to liberate Goa from Portugal. When the British were ruling over large areas of India, Goa, Daman, and Diu were ruled by Portugal. This struggle had started on a small scale only in the 19th century, but between 1940 and 1961, it came in the form of a very strong movement. Finally, in December 1961, the three wings of the Indian Army together liberated Goa.
The first rebellion against the Portuguese took place at Kunkali on 15 July 1583. After this, Pinto Rebellion and Rane Rebellion in 1788 played an important role in the Goa Liberation Movement. In this sequence, Goa’s famous freedom fighter TB Cunha formed the Goa Action Committee in the year 1928, which created mass awareness for the independence of Goa through satyagraha and non-violence. Women also actively participated in the Goa Liberation Movement. Sudhatai Joshi is one such heroine.
Let’s start with the history of Goa-
Goa is mentioned in the Mahabharata as the country of Goparashtra i.e. Gopalkas. Goa’s long history dates back to the third century BCE when the Maurya dynasty ruled here. Later, at the beginning of the first century, it was established by the rulers of the Satavahana dynasty of Kolhapur and then the Chalukya rulers of Badami ruled it from the year 580 to 750. In the years that followed, it was ruled by many different rulers. In the year 1312, Goa first came under the Delhi Sultanate but they were expelled from there by Harihara I, the ruler of Vijayanagara. In 1469 it was again made part of the Delhi Sultanate by the Bahama Sultan of Gulbarga.
Portuguese company’s entry into India
Among the European powers, the Portuguese company was the first to enter India. The new sea route to India was discovered by the Portuguese merchant Charco da Gama on May 17, 1498, by reaching the port of Calicut, located on the west coast of India. Vasco da Gama was welcomed by the then ruler of Calicut, Zamorin (this was the title of Calicut). In March 1510, the Portuguese under the leadership of Alphonso-de-Albuquerque invaded the city. Goa came under Portuguese possession without any struggle. Goa became the capital of the entire Portuguese Empire in the east. Napoleon occupied Portugal between 1809–1815, after which Goa automatically came under English jurisdiction following the Anglo-Portuguese alliance. Goa was ruled by the British from 1815 to 1947, and like the whole of India, the British exploited the resources there too.
British move and Portuguese possession of Goa
At the time of the country’s independence, when talks were being held with the British, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru demanded from the British that Goa should be given to India. At the same time, Portugal also staked its claim on Goa. The British did not listen to India and Goa was transferred to Portugal. The argument for Portuguese possession of Goa was that the no Republic of India existed at the time of Portuguese occupation of Goa.
Air strikes lasted for more than 36 hours
Goa or Goa is the smallest state in India by area and the fourth-smallest state by population. The Portuguese ruled Goa for about 450 years and in December 1961 it was handed over to the Indian administration. When India gained independence from the British in 1947, the Indian government requested that the Portuguese territories in the Indian subcontinent be handed over to them. But Portugal refused to negotiate the sovereignty of its Indian territories. On 18 December 1961, the Indian Army launched Operation Vijay in Goa. On 19 December, the Portuguese army surrendered to the Indian Army and gave up its possession over Goa. While the Portuguese were facing the onslaught of India, on the other hand, they were also facing the fury of the people of Goa. There were land, sea, and air strikes in Goa, Daman, and Diu for more than 36 hours. After this, the Portuguese army surrendered to the Indian Army on 19 December without any conditions. Dayanand Bhandarkar became the first elected Chief Minister of Goa on 20 December 1962.
Goa was the first choice of the British
Goa had always been the first choice of the British. Even during the Mughal rule, the king was very much attracted to its beauty. Goa’s long history dates back to the 3rd century BC when the Maurya dynasty ruled here. Later, at the beginning of the first century, it was established by the rulers of the Satavahana dynasty of Kolhapur and then the Chalukya rulers of Badami ruled it from the year 580 to 750. In the years that followed, it was ruled by many different rulers. In the year 1312, Goa first came under the Delhi Sultanate but they were expelled from there by Harihara I, the ruler of Vijayanagara. Vijayanagara rulers ruled here for the next hundred years and in 1469 it was again made part of the Delhi Sultanate by the Bahama Sultan of Gulbarga. In 1510 the Portuguese, with the help of a local ally, Timaya, defeated the ruling Bijapur Sultan Yusuf Adil Shah. He established a permanent state in Velha Goa. This was the beginning of Portuguese rule in Goa which lasted for the next four and a half centuries. In 1843, the Portuguese moved the capital from Velha Goa to Panjim. By the mid-18th century, Portuguese Goa had extended over much of the present-day state border.
The first revolt against the Portuguese took place at Kunkli on 15 July 1583 when five priests who had come to convert were systematically attacked and killed by the local people. For the local people, it had now become a fight for identity and existence. The Portuguese took revenge for this incident by deceit. He called 15 people from Kunkali area for talks and surrounded them and attacked them with deceit. In which everyone died. It is believed that he was the first martyr of Goa’s freedom struggle.
The Pinto Rebellion took place in 1788. Vittorino Faria and Jose Gonsalves, who was in Portugal at the time. Both were witnessing the advent of democracy in Europe. Both of them returned to Goa and nurtured the idea of freedom and democracy in Goa. With the help of the Pinto family, a rebellion broke out in 1788 which was suppressed. On 13 December 1788 47 leaders were arrested. Many of whom were hanged.
Rane’s armed rebellion is a very important chapter in the independence movement of Goa. From 1755 to 1912, the Rane community fought armed conflicts with the rulers several times. The rulers repeatedly crushed this struggle in a barbaric manner. With local weapons like guns, swords, etc., the Ranas of the seventeen areas fought bravely and filled the heart of the Portuguese rule with fear. Guerrilla fighting continued for about 150 years in the mountainous areas and interior forests.
Formation of Goa Congress Committee
In 1926, Taristav de Braganza Cunha returned to India and along with five of his companions formed the Goa Congress Committee in 1928, which made satyagraha and non-violence his weapon for the liberation of Goa. Through his pen, he continued to keep the issue of Goa’s independence in front of the whole world. Luis de Menezes Braganza, a relative of T.B. Cunha, who was a journalist and colonial activist, continued to be active against Portuguese rule. Minaj was among the founders of Braganza, The Herald, The Debate, The Evening News Daily, etc. You used to write a satirical column in The Herald. In which the issues of freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom from exploitation, and secularism were raised prominently. You also kept the people of Goa aware of the freedom movement and strategies going on in India. Menezes Braganza has been in the lead role in various organizations and agencies and has been raising the slogan of Goa’s independence from every platform.
Censorship and Colonial Act ordered in Goa
In 1930, the Colonial Act was passed in Portugal, according to which rallies, meetings, and any other anti-government gathering and activity were banned in any colony of Portugal. He was put in jail for speaking ‘Jaihind’. When Antonio de Oliveira Salazar became the ruler of Portugal in 1932, repression in Goa reached its end. Terrible censorship was imposed. Even wedding cards were censored to see if any secret message of freedom was being spread.
Women also actively participated in this struggle. Sudhatai Joshi is one such heroine. Sudhatai organized a meeting of mahlas in Mapasa in 1955. As Sudhatai started delivering the speech, a policeman pointed a gun directly at Sudhatai’s face. Sudhatai continued to speak without fear. The women involved in the meeting started raising slogans of Jaihind while waving the tricolor. Sudhatai was arrested and put in jail. Not only Sudhatai but Vatsala Kirtani, Sharda Saw, Sindhu Despande, Libya Lobo, Ambika Dandekar, Mitra Bir, Celina Monizh, Shalini Lolaykar, Kishori Harmalkar were many such women who took part in the freedom struggle and made sacrifices.
Contribution of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia
On 15 August 1947, the British declared India independent. But the Portuguese remained frozen in Goa, Daman, and Diu. Purgatory was not ready to leave Goa at any cost. The local people revolted against the Portuguese.
Inspired by the Indian independence movement, Goa’s independence movement had gained momentum by the 1940s. The way movements were going on in the whole country to end the British rule, Similarly in Goa also there was continuous and spontaneous resistance of the local people against the Portuguese. The measures taken by the Portuguese rule from time to time to bring the Goans under their complete control were always strongly opposed. Goa Congress was formed and a freedom movement was started. The Congress which was in India got its support.
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had a great contribution to the liberation of Goa. In 1946 he went to Goa, where he saw that the Portuguese were worse than the British. There the citizens did not even have the right to address the meeting. All this was not noticed by Lohia and he immediately called a meeting of 200 people. Despite the heavy rain, he addressed a public meeting for the first time, in which he raised his voice against Portuguese repression. He was arrested and kept in the jail of Margao. But he had to leave later due to a huge public outcry. Portuguese banned Lohia from coming to Goa for five years. But in spite of this, the freedom struggle of Goa continued continuously.
On 11 June 1953, India closed its embassies in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Then began to put pressure on Portugal. There were restrictions on movement between Goa, Daman, and Diu. On 15 August 1955, three to five thousand common people tried to enter Goa. The people were unarmed and the Portuguese police opened fire. 30 people lost their lives. As tensions escalated, preparations were made for the army’s march on Goa. On 1 November 1961, the three wings of the Indian Army were asked to be ready for war. With the Indian Army finalizing its preparations, it finally started the campaign for the liberation of Goa on 2 December. Many people are of the view that Nehru did not free Goa in time to shine his international image.
Army by land, navy by sea, and air force by air. It was named ‘Operation Vijay’. In December 1961, the army advanced toward Goa for the first time. People welcomed as the army progressed. In some places, the Portuguese army fought. But being surrounded on all sides, defeat was certain. On 8 and 9 December, the air force carried out an impeccable bombardment of the Portuguese position, the Portuguese were stunned by the attacks of the army and air force. Finally, on the night of 19 December 1961, at 8.30 pm, the Governor-General of Portugal in India, Manu Antonio Silva, signed the Surrender Treaty. With this, the Portuguese rule of 451 years ended in Goa.
How is Goa Liberation Day celebrated?
After 14 years of independence, Goa became a new state of India, joining India after independence. The Union Territory was bifurcated on 30 May 1987 and Goa became the 25th state of India. While Daman and Diu remained a union territory. On Goa Liberation Day, a torchlight procession is taken out from three different places in the state, and all of them meet at Azad Maidan. This is where tribute is paid to those, who lost their lives in the annexation of Goa. Various cultural events such as Sugam Sangeet—an Indian musical style with poetry in the Kannada language—are organized to honor the occasion. Very few people know that Goa was earlier known by many names like Goanchal, Goa, Goapuri, Gopkapatan, Grant, etc. Apart from this, the medieval travelers of Arabia also named Goa Chandrapur and Chandrapur.
The story of Goa’s accession to India and Operation Vijay
The story of Goa’s merger with India is also the story of Daman and Diu’s merger with India. When the British were ruling over large areas of India. Then Goa, Daman, and Diu were ruled by Portugal. These two states were also neighbors in Europe. The Goans were married to Princess Catherine and King Charles II of England. Then it was the Portuguese who gave Mumbai to the British in dowry. Mumbai i.e. Bombay at that time became independent and became a part of India. But the Portuguese remained frozen in Goa, Daman, and Diu. Purgatory was not ready to leave Goa at any cost. The Portuguese kept their possession of Goa and Daman and Deep till 14 years after independence. Despite repeated requests from the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Defense Minister Menon, the Portuguese were not at all ready to bow down to India. The local people revolted against him. Goa Congress was formed and the freedom movement was launched. The Congress which was in India got its support. When the country became independent, talks with Portugal started. But Portugal did not respond to talks on Goa. On 11 June 1953, India closed its embassies in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Then started the pressure game on Portugal. There was a restriction on movement between Goa, Daman, and Diu. On 15 August 1955, three to five thousand common people tried to enter Goa. The people were unarmed and the Portuguese police opened fire. 30 people lost their lives. As tensions escalated, preparations were made for the army’s march on Goa. On 1 November 1961, the three wings of the Indian Army were asked to be ready for war. With the Indian Army finalizing its preparations, it finally started the campaign for the liberation of Goa on 2 December. Army by land, navy by sea, and air force by air. It was named Operation Vijay. Let us inform you that the Kargil war of 1999 was also named Operation Vijay. But this army’s first Operation Vijay was against the Portuguese. In December 1961, the army advanced toward Goa for the first time. People welcomed as the army progressed. In some places, the Portuguese army fought. But being surrounded on all sides, defeat was certain. On 8 and 9 December, the air force carried out an impeccable bombardment of the Portuguese position, the Portuguese were stunned by the attacks of the army and air force. Finally, on the night of 19 December 1961, at 8:30 pm, the Governor-General of Portugal in India, Manu Antonio Silva, signed the Instrument of Surrender. With this, 451 years of Portuguese rule over Goa ended. Goa Liberation Day is celebrated in honor of this historical event. This was an important point in Indian history that completely freed our country from the foreign rule that lasted for many centuries.