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The Partido Indiano and the September Revolt of 1890 in Goa

A small section of the Goan elite sought political and civil rights and founded the Partido Indiano (Indian Party) in 1865 in the village of Orlim. It enjoyed mass support particularly of the local Catholics. The rival party was the pro-establishment Partido Ultramarino. The violence that ensued in Margao in 1890 during the municipal elections is known as the 21 September Revolt. It lasted for a mere 20 minutes though the military firing killed 12 persons on the spot besides injuring many more. Protest meetings were held not just in Goa but also in Bombay, Poona, Karachi and Zanzibar. Even the Canadian and American press condemned the brutality and carried news on the "Goa Revolution". This article brings out the history of that revolt in the context of the working of colonialism in Goa.


The Partido Indiano and the September Revolt of 1890 in Goa

Sharon da Cruz, Max de Loyola Furtado

A small section of the Goan elite sought political and civil rights and founded the Partido Indiano (Indian Party) in 1865 in the village of Orlim. It enjoyed mass support particularly of the local Catholics. The rival party was the pro-establishment Partido Ultramarino. The violence that ensued in Margao in 1890 during the municipal elections is known as the 21 September Revolt. It lasted for a mere 20 minutes though the military firing killed 12 persons on the spot besides injuring many more. Protest meetings were held not just in Goa but also in Bombay, Poona, Karachi and Zanzibar. Even the Canadian and American press condemned the brutality and carried news on the “Goa Revolution”. This article brings out the history of that revolt in the context of the working of colonialism in Goa.

Sharon da Cruz ( is with the Department of History, CES College of Arts and Commerce, Salcette, Goa and Max de Loyola Furtado ( is a general practitioner based in Goa.

Economic & Political Weekly

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he records of the history of the 21 September 1890 Revolt under study show two dominant yet opposing trends: the one that is left behind by the Portuguese follows a Eurocentric literary genre that narrates the incident as being an attempt by the Portuguese authorities in Goa to control the law and order situation in Salcette. The other trend reflects a nationalist element in a localised event that had close linkages to the politico- economic changes and social diversities in the Iberian peninsula and to the territorial contestations between Portuguese Goa and British India. Narrativising a sociopolitical event and analysing it within a broader theoretical perspective enables us to understand the linguistic turn in its interpretation down the years.1 Hence, we have to be aware not just of the event and how we look upon it today but also of the ways in which the event was interpreted through the intervening centuries. This is possible only through a study of the detailed record of the sources and the different interpretations recorded in written history and through diverse genres of literature ranging from historical accounts to satirical folk songs.

By the early decades of the 19th century, several political changes were taking place in Europe particularly after the French Revolution that sought to assert and establish the power of the people. While the Portuguese state was an absolute monarchy with Roman Catholicism as the state religion, the concept of liberalism was gaining ground since 1820 when a parliamentary form of government was established in Portugal. Since Goa was a thalassocracy, any administrative change in Portugal influenced the administration in the colonies. The constitutional regime apparently had limited success in Goa on account of a general aversion towards constitutionalism within a predominantly absolutist base. The hitherto voiceless Goans began to voice their political aspirations for civil liberties despite the conscious efforts of the government to manipulate elections and secure a victory for their own candidates.

The Portuguese and the British were old allies and despite intentions to further their commercial interests in the area up to the western littoral, the British allowed the Portuguese to retain their hold over Goa as a part of the strategic alliance against Spain and later France. The temporary occupation of Goa by the British in 1799 that was a part of the defensive system of British India against the Napoleonic invasions and that ended with the defeat of Wellesley at Seringapatnam in 1812, was the first step towards the British asserting claims of paramountcy over the Portuguese possessions as evident in the visit of the Prince of Wales to Goa in 1876.2 Thereafter, the eco-political


relations between Portugal and England became more clear and definite.

At the same time, the Pax Britannica infused a spirit of the law while the French invasion spread the spirit of liberty, equality and fraternity both of which inspired the Goans (many of whom were educated abroad) to assert their claims over civil and constitutional rights. The political idealism in Portugal was then dominated by the Portuguese Jacobites who were inspired by the ideals of liberalism in France and constitutionalism in Spain and clamoured in favour of a liberal revolution. This was the main cause of the frequent political upheavals that characterised the polity in Portugal in the third and fourth decades of the 19th century, which culminated in the triumph of the liberals in 1834 under Donna Maria II. The limited liberal regime of the regent Dom Pedro IV, the Duke of Braganza rewarded a loyal Goan supporter Bernardo Peres da Silva who was appointed the Prefect of Goa.3 He subsequently issued a series of reforms (Perismo) that benefited the Goan military and civilian groups much to the chagrin of the Portuguese who dislodged him in 10 days and put him under house arrest.4 Dom Manuel do Porto e Castro who was scheduled to return as the governor appointed Marshal Joaquim Manoel Correia de Silva e Gama as the head of the interim government until he did so.

The frequent political flux of the 19th century resulted in consistent deterioration of the law and order situation in Goa with revolts, insurgencies, retaliations, counter-revolutions, political assassinations and a general disillusionment that ranged from whimpers of dissent to open rebellions led by the civilians, ecclesiastes and military personnel.5 These protests have to be also contextualised within the wider political scenario in the terra firme that by then became a bone of contention between the European imperialist rivals, namely, the British, French and Dutch and the Indian chieftains like the Sondekars, the Sawants of Wadi and Tipu Sultan.6

Since 1821, elections were held in the Portuguese overseas colonies including Goa to elect deputies to the Portuguese cortez (Parliament).7 As the constitutional monarchy consolidated its position in Portugal,8 Goans were given representation in the Portuguese Parliament although it was a limited franchise.9 Subsequently, even these were generally rigged as the Portuguese administrators in Goa attempted to browbeat the electorate into voting in favour of the officially sponsored candidates who had good relations with the Portuguese government: a move that often resulted in bloody clashes and killings.10 It must be noted that the constitutional regime though limited resulted in the growth of political consciousness that was manifested in the form of political writings, political parties, poems, editorials, speeches by local leaders and popular writings that were critical of the colonial regime in the Old Conquests.11

The Indian Party

The Portuguese colonies were allowed to have their political parties as per the decree of 1865. During this time, a small section of the Goan elite sought political and civil rights and selfdetermination under the initiative of Jose Inacio de Loyola. A group of Goans popularly known as the coleados (collaborators), namely, Joao Joaquim Roque Correia Afonso, Joaquim Bras Afonso, Salvador Felipe da Piedade Soares, Bernardino Machado, Joao Olegario Pestaninho da Viega and Jose Luis Caetano da Cunha Alvares founded the Partido Indiano (Indian Party) in 1865 in the village of Orlim. Its rival was the pro-government Partido Ultramarino (Overseas Party) that had some support in Margao. The political ideology and style of functioning of the two parties was partly reflective of the contemporary caste- differences between the bamons (brahmins) and charddo bhatkars (Catholic kshatriya landlords), the latter representing the Partido Indiano and commanding the support of the masses particularly the Catholics. Their overt hatred for the representatives of the Partido Ultramarino was popularised in a manddo (satirical folk song)

Partido Catolico rê povacho (The Catholic party is of the people) Khobor quitem rê Costacho (what is the news of the Costa’s) Deputado motintulo povan fuchen vinchun calò (the chosen deputy selected by the people was) Dr Minglú natu Loyolalo (Dr Miguel, nephew of Loyola)

The same manddo warns the government-sponsored candidates thus:

Aichano motinto dôre rè certo (from today, get it certainly in your mind)

Nacano kuris queliare sato (even if you make seven crosses with

your nose)

Povache tuca quedinch meuchenãe vota (you will never get the votes of

the public)

The latter was accused of bribery and criticised as

Are Modgãvchea otia (Oh! The elephant of Margao)

Quiteac fotoita papia (why are you bluffing dear)

Charxim dilei tuca rupia (you were paid Rs 400)

...Povo munta teca chicaneiro (the people call him a trickster)

... Goantum binai tuca conum (no one is afraid of you in Goa) because

Are Modgãvchea otia (Oh! The elephant of Margao)

Quiteac fotoita papia (why are you bluffing dear) Charxim dilei tuca rupia (you were paid Rs 400) Charxim dillei tuca rupia (you are given Rs 400)

The political aspirations of the Partido Indiano were clearly expressed in the critical columns and polemical essays of a weekly newspaper A India Portuguesa that was started in 1861 in an atmosphere of stringent censorship norms. Its regular column Correspondencia para Portugal acquainted the central ministry of overseas affairs in Lisbon with the political and administrative demands of the people of Goa.12

The People vs ‘Traitors’

Around this time, the viceroy who was a representative of absolute monarchy was deposed as he refused to take an oath on the new constitution.13 Consequently, two provisional governments took over one after the other quickly but became targets of attacks by the discontented masses.14 In this situation, the Partido Indiano struggled to uphold the civil liberties of the Goans much to the consternation of the Portuguese.15 After the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in Portugal in 1820 and the subsequent establishment of the liberal regime, three Camaras Municipais (municipalities) were set up in Goa. Margao was administratively categorised as a villa by the law of 12 June 1779 and declared as the headquarter of the Salcette taluka.

Between 1889 to 1892, four parliamentary and two municipal elections were held16 in which, the Partido Indiano nominated its

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candidates. It was subsequently able to hold the reins of the municipal government in Salcette by winning 13 consecutive terms until 1890. In every biennial municipal elections that were held, the party won in 14 elected and three government-nominated municipal bodies. That was “a unique record probably unequated in the history of any of the civic bodies in India”.17 The success was partly on account of the resolution that was adopted by the party in 1889 that stated “...never again official candidates”.

In the elections to the Camara Muni cipal de Salcette of 1889, for instance, the Portuguese attempted to rig the parliamentary elections in favour of Brandâo who represented the Partido Ultramarino. The Partido Indiano nominated Christovão Pinto as its candidate for the elections. Frustrated by this, Vasco Guedes dissolved the committee of the municipality of Salcette that was the stronghold of the Partido Indiano and ordered fresh elections wherein he proposed his own candidates18 much to the disappointment of the Partido Indiano that lent its open support to Cristovão Pinto thus infuriating the official candidate Brandão. In a fit of rage, governor general Vasco Guedes Carvalho de Menezes resorted to rather ruthless means to ensure that Brandão was elected.

The election census committee was threatened, Roque Correia Afonso was assaulted, election papers were stolen and the municipal building was taken over in a desperate attempt by the Portuguese government to achieve its political ends. Despite all machinations by the Portuguese government, Cristovão Pinto won. Meanwhile, the Portuguese Parliament was dissolved and fresh elections were announced in the colonies. This time, the Portuguese took every precaution to manipulate the elections. Despite this, both Brandão and Pinto were simultaneously elected with equal number of votes. Left with no other alternative, the Tribunal of the Verification of Powers declared the elections null and void.

The municipal council that was headed by J F Menezes was dissolved and was replaced by Santa Catharina Coutinho from Seraulim who was a supporter of the governor general. The replacement of the candidatures was satirically viewed as shown by the Konkani folk songs:

Sasti povo ectaim zaunum (the people of Salcette came together)

Cristovam Pintoac deputadò dalò (sent Cristovão Pinto as a deputy)

Cortinto entrar zainam fudem (as soon as he entered the Parliament)

Parlamento dissolveru zalò (the Parliament was dissolved)

It accused the Portuguese authorities of being traitors in a rather vengeful language

Ai! Serpa Pimentel regenerador fottò (Oh! venomous snake, deceitful official) Vasco Guedes traitor motto (Vasco Guedes is a big traitor) Caderno rubricar corchea dissa (on the day of signing the book) Vasco Guedino forço Modgonvam dalle (Vasco Guedes sent the military to Margao) Cainchi corunc nezò zalem (it was not possible to do anything) Soglem camro cercar corune lailem (the entire municipality was encircled)

The manddo goes on to narrate

Oficial entrarò zauno (the officials got inside) Sogle empregadanc gaile bairi (put out all the employees) ...Soglea povachi bobati gaili! (All the people started shouting) and since the authorities realised that they could no longer depend on the votes of the aristocrats

Economic & Political Weekly

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Votação real melonam munum (as they were not getting votes of the aristocrats) Choru guelo rê povonum (the thief ran away) Modgovam apuramento chorunum (after robbing the whole of Margao) as Soglo serviço eleiçãovanchoPotta boric mulatanim quelo (the election work was done by the blacks) for which Premio tencam favò (they deserve a prize)

The Goans who supported the government like Santa Catharina were condemned as traitors thus:

Tode partidario Indieche (a few party men of India) Emprego meta munum inimigo zale (became enemies because they were getting employment) Ai! Quessole dordire potta boriche (Oh! What rascals who only feed their stomach) Emprego meta munum inimigo zali (became enemies because of employment)

Anticipating trouble, the Portuguese authorities in Goa did not allow the people to carry anything that “could be used as weapons” and every attempt was made to prevent them from voting. Having manipulated the municipal chamber, Vasco Guedes tried to “manufacture” a deputy and fixed a Sunday (19 September) for the elections. But, the king of Portugal abandoned the candidature of Brandao d’Albuquerque and promoted Constantino Roque da Costa who was associated with the O Ultramar to the post.19

On 21 September 1890, nearly 4,000 odd supporters of the Partido Indiano gathered at the Camara Municipal de Salcette in Margao20 to exercise their franchise and elect representatives to the Parliament, Junta Geral do Distrito (district assembly), and the municipality in accordance with the Carta Consti tutional of 1826. The Camara could not accommodate more than 400 people and since there were more than 3,000 voters, it was decided to conduct the elections in the church square or in Fatorda. The critics pointed out that the voters exceeded 3,000 because elections to two assemblies were held and several polling stations like Benaulim, Margao, Navelim, Colva, Seraulim and Betal batim were pooled together.21 They alleged that the venue was shifted merely to prevent the people from voting. In spite of this, the voters assembled in the square of the Holy Spirit Church in Margao.

The September Revolt

The political crisis that followed thereafter forced the governor general to resort to unprecedented measures by forcing the executive and judiciary in Salcette into service and even seeking the assistance of the military. When the police inspector sought their help, the authorities who were in a session at the municipal hall disappeared. The provisions of the constitutional monarchy ensured the liberty of the press but newspapers like India Portuguesa, Ortigas, O Crente, etc, and others like Correia da India and O Convicao de Bardez that were owned by Goans were banned. As such, the Portuguese government flouted the very essence of the concept of constitutional monarchy.22

At 9 am the administrator of Salcette Luis Carneiro, the president of the municipality Santa Catharina, the administrator of the communidade Joao M Pacheco, the delegate Mota Viega and others of the Partido Ultramarino entered the Camara. The supporters of the Partido Indiano tried to enter but were bundled


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august 13, 2011 vol xlvi no 33

out. Some of them managed to push their way in but were beaten back with fists, stones and boots with the silent approval of the admini strator. The Goan voters were unarmed as their hats and sticks had been confiscated by the government authorities and they had nothing to defend themselves with.23 Outside the Camara, the soldiers started attacking the people with stones and bayonets thereby forcing them to seek refuge in the church. The elections of 21 September 1890 were clearly manipulated by the Portuguese.

The government machinery under Vasco Guedes made every effort to discredit the Goan candidates who were endorsed by the Partido Indiano. It had made conscious efforts to field Goan candidates who were earlier disqualified by the orders of the governor general. There was an air of expectancy in the church square. Anticipating trouble, the administrator took shelter in the house of Rosario Alvares that connected the Communidade to the Camara and requested the authorities to send 120 personnel from the military quarters. Following the instructions of the governor general, the administrator of the Conselho of Salcette, Luis Carneiro de Souza Ferrão sent a telegram to Panjim asking for soldiers to be deputed to Margao. Accordingly, 400 soldiers were dispatched.24 The administrator then came to the scene of the trouble, stationed a Portuguese grenadier within the precinct of the polling station and opened the doors to the public. He stopped the supporters of the Partido Indiano from entering and ordered the rest to be dispersed with whips to which a drunken doctor yelled “Let us see where the immense power of the popular party is!”.25 The fact that the supporters of the Partido Ultramarino were selectively permitted to enter the Camara agitated the other voters who started stoning the building and snatched the bayonets and guns of the police. A massive scuffle took place in the church square.

‘Open Fire!’

In the commotion that followed, Roque Correia Afonso went to the house of Salvador Felipe Alvares that was located to the right of the church square and instigated the public to sign a protest letter in the presence of the public notary Silva Coelho26 that would be drafted and forwarded to Portugal for necessary action. Others assembled to the north of the church to pose for a photograph when a section of the army led by Raimundo Assa positioned itself on the road leading to the church. When the people who had gathered in Alvares’ house saw this, they began to get agitated but were pacified on the pretext that the army was proceeding to Raia. But, as soon as the soldiers reached the church square, they started dispersing the “harmless” crowd with bayonets and kicks.

The leaders of the Partido Indiano popularly known as the Septemberists27 requested the people not to resist the attacks. Some of the soldiers entered the church in pursuit of the people who had taken refuge there. Claudio Mendes who represented the committe for public works turned towards the residence of Alvares and threatened the caudillos when someone flung a stone at him while another official named Felippe Torres fired two rounds on the people who had assembled in the balcony. Two of these people succumbed to the injuries they received from Torres’

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gun. A policeman named Azavedo who shot several voters was stopped by a sergeant Sabaio on the grounds that the army “did not have orders to open fire”. When the administrator of Salcette heard this, he shouted “open fire”.28 The army shifted its base nearer to the cross at the centre of the church square and fired at the people there, in the direction of the church, and Alvares’ house as most of the people had assembled in these places. Since the bullets from the rifle magazines had been removed earlier, some shots were without a live wire and the number of those who died or were injured was less than the number of bullets that were fired.

Almost immediately, a telegram was dispatched by the Partido Indiano to the Goans in and outside Goa at 10.56 am wherein it was stated that the administrator had provoked the people with his whip and denied them access to the municipal hall following which the agitated voters stoned the building and took refuge at the side of the church while the military and police were near the municipal building. The Portuguese retaliated with only five to six soldiers, of whom two or three were armed.29 The official telegram that was sent by Afonso at 2.08 pm referred to the protest by the “drunken voters” and focused on the entry of the people into the church and the attack on the municipality.30

This seemed to be untrue considering that as per the Akbari regulations that were in force alcohol was not easily available to the populace. The newspaper Correia da India narrated a detailed account of the event while the O Ultramar provided an official version wherein the event was narrated as a continuous episode that started with the scuffle in the municipal hall and ended with the firing on the people in the church square. Surprisingly, neither the report nor the governor in his telegram dated 22 September mentioned the use of dynamite or firearms by the Goan voters31 though the telegram of the chief secretary and the soldiers interviewed make a mention of this. The Partido Indiano contended that this was impossible as the Goans were not permitted to import or use firearms and if they did there were no marks on the buildings or killings or confiscations of the arms32 to show for it.

The report of the military secretary Joao de Mello Sampaio contradicted the information that was provided by the chief secretary, the governor and president which stated that the killings were a consequence of the conflict between the two political parties and that the government did not take any interest in the elections. It went on to say that only the members of the Partido Indiano were killed because they assaulted the administrator on his way to the municipality and attacked the building following which the soldiers rushed out of their barracks. The shots were not only fired at Alvares’ house but also at the altar of the church where a priest was serving mass and those who had gathered there were shot. The supporters of the Partido Indiano argued that the government machinery was responsible for the injuries and deaths33 “...if the Administrator was assaulted by a mob how did he get off without a scratch”.34 The Portuguese soldiers seemed to have fired at point blank range on the voters who had assembled in the square.35

The 21 September Revolt lasted for a mere 20 minutes but 12 persons died on the spot. There was blood in the balcony of Alvares’


house, in the office of Tabellão Cohelo and on the road and dead bodies were strewn in the church square. No doctor in Margao was willing to attend to the injured for fear that they would die and the doctors would be blamed. Socrates da Costa was officially summoned to attend to the injured. A commemorative satirical folksong Setembrachè ecvissaveri (21 September) narrates the details of the event thus:

Setembrachè ecvissaveri (On 21 September) Camrachim folim daram (they broke the doors of the municipality) Titlean soldad ailè Moddgonvam (by then, the soldiers came to Margao) Pongè cadun tar (by crossing the Panjim ferry) ...Cornete vazun soldado aile (the soldiers came wielding their bayonets) Povac topunc lagle (started stabbing the people) Missò cabar zatá muleari (by the time the mass was over) ...Padre Lucas agua benta addi (Father Lucas brought holy water) Atmea salvar cori (and saved the souls)

The same manddo accused the King of Portugal

Xi...xi...Raza (Shame ...shame...King) Te sujear kortole tuka (they will discredit you) tuzo jiv legun ghelear (even if you lose your life) povacho vot na re tuka (you will not have the peoples’ votes) ...tujer poddun maldisanv (may curses befall on you)36

Another manddo entitled Rogtacho Batism summarises the event thus:

Setembrache ekvis tarker Moddgovant (On 21 September in Margao)

Farancho avaz ailo re kannant (bullet shots came to be heard).

It was portrayed as an incident that “Kedinch kednach ailem nam sopnant” (we had never even dreamt of).

After the voters were deterred, only the government personnel remained in the Camara. Some of them voted a number of times (an estimated 700 times) along with their chief to ensure that the government candidates won at the polls. At night, a meeting of the government authorities was held where it was decided to prosecute all the leaders of the Partido Indiano. Those who were shot were buried at the orders of the government without any heed to the request of the doctor, Loyola, for a medical examination of the dead bodies.37 The authorities even refused to permit the Goans to shift the injured to the hospital in Mormugao or to be treated by Nunes, a medical officer in the railways. The wounded were shifted to an asylum in Margao where most of them succumbed. Later in the day, the administrator used his despotic powers granted by the governor general to control the situation. It was said that the government nominees stepped into the municipality “over the corpses of their fellow citizens”, namely, A Ligorio da Cunha, Jose Nicolau da Silva Albuquerque, Elesbao dos Prazeres Barreto, Manoel Agostinho Rebello, Pedro do Rozario, Joao de Motta, Baracho Joao Baptista de Miranda and Ignacio Xavier T do P Godinho.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Accusing the Partido Indiano of provoking violence in Salcette, Vasco Guedes ordered the grenades to arrest Loyola and the caudillos. The next day, a platoon of 500 soldiers cordoned off Loyola’s house. But before they could arrest anyone, some villagers of Orlim rang the church bells and the soldiers found themselves encircled by the residents of Orlim and the surrounding villages. Loyola and some of his caudillos like his brother Avertano de Loyola, Roque Correia Afonso and his brother Jacinto, Salisinho F Alvares, Joaquim Felipe Soares, Quntiano Mascarenhas, J V Baretto Miranda, took advantage of the confusion, and escaped to Fatrade a village on the outskirts of Carmona from where they proceeded to Betul, boarded a country craft and sailed to Karwar. From there, they proceeded to Belgaum and escaped to Bombay through Poona. They lived in exile in British India from where they later proceeded to Bhopal and further to Baroda at the invitation of Pherozeshah Mehta. The fact that they represented the Partido Indiano and had close links with the leaders of the Indian National Congress leads us to assum e that the caudillos were associated with the struggle for civil liberties that was gradually developing in the Bombay Presidency.

Since the prime accused could not be arrested, the army encircled the houses of some leaders while others like Antonio Mergulhao, Esmeraldo Diniz and Teofilo Fernandes were arrested. The next day, a curfew was declared in the church square. The Goans felt that “there is no justice or administration. There is anarchy and insecurity of life and property”. The Portuguese police hired the services of the “roughs” from the “new conquests” but no one was killed or imprisoned. Though the official version stated that law and order was restored, the reporter of the Times of India stated that even after the event, a reinforcement of 60 soldiers with three cases of cartridges were sent to Margao the following week in the course of which the military was scouting the villages and arrests continued to be made. By the 27th, four arrests were made and more contingents continued to be dispatched. A manddo narrates the story of the commonfolk:

Aplo kornum retrataro (after retreating)

Protest korunn assinaro (they signed the protest)

The happenings on the second day were recorded in a similar folksong thus:

Eleisanvanch dusrea disa (On the second day of the elections)

Cercu galo re goranko (the house was encircled)

Carneiro guneaum nivarunko (Carneiro to get his sins forgiven)

Dorum bounta popularanko (is roaming to catch the people)

Saxttich pova bienaka (Oh! People of Salcette don’t be afraid)

Vegim sornvonddar itelo tuka38 (the Saviour will come soon for you)

Other manddos also narrate the reaction of the caudillos after the curfew was imposed in Salcette thus

Baelean far zatai (outside there is shooting)

Dotor-bab kuznam gussolo (the Doctor pushed himself in the kitchen)

Igrahe kuzner xeutto toddy (inside the cook was frying the mullet)

Theghe xeutto korpolo (his mullet was burnt)

Molbar chondrim udeta (as the moon rises on the horizon)

Render kateo pajita (the toddy tapper sharpens his chopper)

Doriam paghi paghel gata (in the sea, the Pagis cast their nets)

Dotor baghelam lipola (the doctor is hiding in the garden)

The manddo Rogtacho Baptism (Baptism by blood) specifically narrates

the escape of Dr Loyola to the outro bando (adjoining ter ritory) thus

Sipeanim Igorjek vello gatlo (the soldiers surrounded the Church)

Dotor Loyol kuznantulean sorlo (Dr Loyola went through the kitchen)

Police Sargeant Orlle legun ailo (the police sergeant came up to Orlim),

Punn dotor, poder zaun Karwar pavllo (but, the doctor reached Karwar

disguised as a baker).

The governor formally declared the rebellion in Salcette to be an open revolt and sought the help of the home government. The overseas government however instructed them to control the

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situation with the means at their disposal. In the meanwhile, the associates of the Partido Indiano like Pestaninho da Viega, João Francisco de Menezes, Manuel Ventura Pimenta, Adv Roque Correia Afonso and his brother Jacinto Francisco, João Gomes, Salvador Felipe Alvares, Joaquim Felipe Soares, J V Baretto Miranda, José Luis da Cunha Alvares, Quintiano Mascarenhas, Francisco Assis Fernandes and Bernardino Machado went underground and yet others were arrested and exiled to British India.39 The church of Holy Spirit was placed under an interdict by patriarch of Goa, Dom Antonio Sebastião Valente because blood was shed within the sacred precincts of the church.

Not Even for the King of Portugal

This brutal massacre resulted in a public outcry in the Velhas Conquistas. A protest meeting was held in Divar. The government authorities both in Goa and Portugal received telegrams and letters on the odious behaviour of the authorities in Goa under Vasco Guedes who was accused of “inhuman repression against the Goans and leaders” and of the Partido Indiano. The press categorically blamed the Portuguese for the violence that was perpetuated in the name of controlling law and order. The Bombay Gazette surmised from the conflicting statements on the event, that the Portuguese were guilty of a gross blunder if not a crime40 and the official version was projected as being grossly improbable.41

In Bombay, mass meetings were held by the Goans in retaliation against the killings. The popular newspaper, Anglo Lusitano called upon the governor general and his adherents to ensure that the anti-Portuguese sentiments expressed at the protest meetings that were held in Bombay, Poona, Zanzibar and Karachi were kept in check. While the newspapers like the Bombay Gazette reported on the meetings, the venue and date of these meetings as well as the names of the participants were “studiously kept in the dark”. Some of the prominent citizens who were involved in the massacre did not go for the public meeting that was held on 24 September, for they had been warned against it. Others, like M V C Marques, were not allowed to enter the hall. The public response accused the Portuguese of being responsible for the events that took place on 21 September and appealed that the matter should be referred to the Tribunal of Public Opinion.

Before matters could get worse, the Goa authorities requested the acting governor and others to censor the publication of this news though they knew that this was impossible in British India.42 It must be noted that the telegraph offices in Goa were under the British and though the Goa court pressurised the British Telegraph authorities to hand over the working of the affairs in Goa to the Portuguese, this request was rejected. It was reported that the governor general of Goa attempted to bribe the telegraph master during the last municipal elections in Salcette.43 On 21 September, clear attempts were made by the Portuguese governor to interfere with the British Telegraph Service by sending the head of the police force to request the telegraph master in Panjim to send all the private incoming telegraphs from Salcette to him. But he refused and pledged to keep to his decision even if the king of Portugal came and requested him to do so in person.44

In the proceedings that followed, some of the secret allies of the Portuguese like Agapito Dias and E Messias were not arrested and

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others like Bernardino Machado and four others were set free after eight days. Even the vicar of Mormugao was taken into custody for attending the electoral assembly and attempting to identify electors from among his parishioners.45 The Canadian and American press condemned the brutality and carried news on the “Goa Revolution”. The Goans who had settled in British India appealed for an intervention by England while the Correio da India opened a subscription for a relief fund for the affected families. Vasco Guedes and his associates tried to control the correspondence from reaching the home government and denied that protest meetings were held following which they were questioned by Lisbon. For instance, when a protest meeting presided over by J Accacio da Gama, the president of the vigilance commission, was held in Bombay on 24 September, he received a telegraph from Lisbon to report as per the facts.46

As per the legal proceedings of the Margao judiciary, bailable and non-bailable charges were levelled against Loyola and four caudillos, namely, Roque Correia Afonso, Salvador Felipe Alvares, Jacinto Correia Afonso and J V Baretto Miranda. In the Bombay Court, the Government of Goa charged Loyola and his allies with homicide and sedition. At the request of the Government of Goa, the British governor of Bombay, lord Harris ordered an inquiry in the Court of the Chief Presidencies Magistrate where the exiled leaders were charged with “attempted homicide” that was in contravention of the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty. The Anglo Lusitano reported that it was necessary to take the barristers from other parts of Goa like Prudente Mascarenhas of Ilhas and Pascoal Joao Gomes and Raymundo Fernandes of Bardez to monitor the proceedings of the court on behalf of the Goans to rule out any case of extraterritoriality.

The lengthy proceedings were finally resolved on 18 September when the Bombay High Court annulled the proceedings for “want of evidence”. For instance, it was denied that the tradesmen of Margao telegraphed the governor of Bombay asking for protection as their business was suspended47 while a telegram to the Deccan Herald reported that the shops were not closed and nor were the people terrorised. It was even denied that the constitutional guarantees were suspended and that there was no decree in that regard. Subsequently, the accused were exonerated as the court “could not find even a shadow of the crime”. The Portuguese government in Goa was unable to prove that the alleged crimes were non-political in nature. Taking note of this, lord Harris eventually dropped that enquiry and this decison was approved by the viceroy lord Landsdowne and the British secretary of state. After almost a year of persecutions and trials, the High Court of Panjim released the accused. Even the cases of treason that were filed against them in the high court in Portugal failed as the Portuguese did not make a single arrest immediately after the incident.

In Goa, the Portuguese ordered general elections wherein Christovão Pinto was elected as a member of the Portuguese Parliament. He was closely assisted by Jose Luciano de Castro, a leader of the Partido Progressista of Portugal. Interestingly, both of them approached the queen of Portugal and appealed on behalf of Loyola probably because the latter advocated the principles of their party. Accordingly, the queen deputed the chief


justice to Goa who after preliminary enquiries and the fall of the government in Portugal withdrew the cases that were pending against the leaders of the revolt. Eventually, Vasco Guedes was recalled to Portugal and Dom Francisco Maria de Sousa was appointed as the new governor general of Goa. On 27 September 1891, Loyola de Furtado and his liberal caudillos “triumphantly returned” to Goa where they were accorded a warm welcome at the Margao railway station. Shortly after this, the Partido Indiano recaptured political power in the municipal govern ment in Salcette48 and for almost four decades thereafter (1864-1902), the party won every biennial election in Salcette except in 1890.49

Incidentally around this time, the political scene in Goa was characterised by minor unreported retaliations and conflicts even in the New Conquests. Between 1895 and 1897, the Dada Rane revolt broke out in Sattari wherein the Ranes tried to retain a hold over their lands. A month before that the Maratha sipai mutiny had started and lasted for two years – the soldiers deserted the army because they were forcibly enlisted for compulsory military service in Mozambique. The September revolt of 1890 has to be contextualised within a general situation of retaliation that prevailed in Goa which by then was mapped and territorially demarcated as being distinct from British India.

For Representation and Identity

It is interesting to note that the Partido Indiano championed the political aspirations of a section of the Goans in the Old Conquests against the colonial interventions and manipulations. In Portugal, there were a series of revolts ranging from whimpers of dissent to open military coups that had resulted in the establishment of the constitutional regime. In Goa, there were promises of constitutionalism and assurances of “limited” adult suffrage and free and fair elections. The Goans who were fighting for the cause of civil liberties found an appropriate representation in the Partido Indiano. But, the unprecedented success of the Partido Indiano prompted the colonial authorities in Goa to propose their own candidates to represent the democratic fora. The revolt was not an attempt to challenge or replace colonialism but a means by which the Goan political aspirants forced the colonial regime to devise ways of reorienting itself to permit the local Goans to assert their political rights within the context of constitutionalism – declared in Portugal but denied in the colonies. This revolt was merely a reaction against the unprincipled practice of the Portuguese government of fielding “official candidates” for the municipal and parliamentary elections.

Historical narratives clearly specify that class, caste and personal animosities and rivalries were responsible for political obliterations. In this case, the political space in the municipal elections in Salcette was dominated by the high landowning charddos. The alternative and popular histories and lived memories like folk songs constituted the conscious contours of resistance that reflected the anti-colonial tensions in the fertile coastal tracts of south Goa. The perceptions of the locals were reflected in political aspirations and a search for identities and representations. Such memorialisations that is a collective memory of an oral tradition has a public character and capitulate upon a historical moment to

produce metaphors for public life50 and this keeps it deeply ingrained in the collective psyche even at the grass-roots level.

Niti nam fori Gorantum (there is no justice at home)

...Justis nam saiba (there is no justice, Oh Lord!)

Saxttintum innocenticha rogtanum (at the cost of the blood of the

innocent people of Salcette).

This revolt changed the course of the functioning of the constitutional regime by challenging colonialism and devising ways of reorienting its administrative set-up to face a political future that was otherwise shrouded with uncertainties. This was considered to be a precedent that had to be borne in mind by the powers when they attempted to confront and suppress the voice and aspirations of the people.51 The supporters of the Partido Indiano in Salcette rose en masse and fought with a spirit of defiance and militancy to put a stop to the despotic interventions of the Portuguese into the democratic realm of suffrage.52 The succeeding governor general had no alternative but to provide a public space for the local political aspirants within a predominantly thalassocratic structure.

The dynamics that were rapidly evolving in the course of this political movement and the very outbreak of the revolt threatened the established hierarchies both in the colonial set-up as well as in the indigenous polity. The caudillos intended to carve out a separate political space for themselves within the colonial power structure. Despite strong links with the people, the leaders possessed a distinct identity that kept them away from the other social rungs. At the structural level, the revolt seemed to be a struggle betwen the feudal groups that were afraid of losing their privileges as a result of the gradual changes in the nature of the colonial administration and the newly introduced mercantile capitalism that sought to achieve political supremacy over the landed gentry. These feudal groups were trying to use the administrative changes, brought about in the wake of the constitutional regime, to empower themselves and assert their hold over politics by acquiring the status of a new elite.

An analysis of the gender involvement in the revolt indicates that the active participants were men. There was a reference to one woman being hit while she was leaving the church and another was struck when she was coming out of the drug store.53 There were inscribed inventions like killing and violence that furthered the political hysteria that emanated from the event. Though the revolt took place within the church square and predominantly involved Catholics, the direct involvement of the church authorities was restricted to administrating the last rites by Lucas the parish priest of the Holy Spirit Church.

The narrative of the revolt is not a simple political rhetoric. It was embedded in an inclusive space of a political party that was gradually extending and incorporating its spatial hold beyond Margao into Salcette as well as its social influence thereby transcending the localised and marginalised nature of the revolt. The main factor that exaggerated the popular sentiments was the unnecessarily brutal measures that were adopted by the government that went to the extent of ordering the military to fire when bayonets would have sufficed.54 The voters did not yield to the pressures and were determined that their decision was important if the administration of the country was to be carried out in accordance with the constitutional principles “the

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government is yet to learn that the popular will must carry eve-when major welfare activities were being undertaken by the rything before it and that the use of bayonets is a measure that municipality. This was also a time when political decisions were will turn on it the hatred of the entire popular party”.55 The taken by consensus with the Portuguese authorities much to protagonists of the Partido Indiano lamented the martyrdom of the disappointment of the locals who sought to carve out an innocents and the machinations of the Portuguese government autonomous space and zone of power for themselves within the and their agents thereby trying to appropriate it within the na-newly evolving power hierarchy. The leaders came from differtionalist imagery. ent villages within the same taluka and there was a high level

The colonial reports, on the other hand, were dismissive as of participation as far as the involvement of the electorate was evident in their newspapers like O Ultramar that described the concerned. It seemed to be a symbolic way of displacing power incitement of acts of violence, manipulation of the Goan elec-by challenging the contested order and an attempt to challenge torates by getting them drunk and other unscrupulous methods the oppressive order by collective gestures of defiance or negathat were used to achieve their political ends. They even saw it tion.57 At the same time though it was elitist in nature, it had a as an attempt of the last vestiges of the feudal power to assert mass popular base as the electorates were largely drawn from its political identity and regain their privileges by controlling the Mundkar community. The trends in the postmodern the local polity. A focus on this specific area indicates that there paradigm argue that the historicity of an event like a revolt can were no intentions whatsoever to turn the tide of foreign domi-be best understood through the narration of the past conditions nation or challenge the legitimacy of the British rule56 neither within a contextual location and further analysed through a was the anger of the local electorate directed against those who comparison of its retellings. This provides us with a overview of were associated with the colonial power. both chronological and contextual historical changes as they

Nevertheless it represented yet another step in the process are based on the event per se and an analysis of its contesting that interrogated and furthered the movement of the dominant versions thereby enabling us to view the historical process ho-Goan groups to assert their claims over civil liberties and con-listically by visibilising the other and objectivising the invenstitutional rights and a movement against those who were iden-tion of history of the event with literary sources, oral traditions tified with an internal area of political exploitation at a time and the voices of the voiceless.

Notes was appointed as its first editor. Interestingly, this of the Holy Spirit Church in Margao. The deep newspaper was printed in the Portuguese language bullet bores have been framed in wood and marked

1 R J Evans, In Defense of History, London, 1997.

but owned and published by the Goans themselves. 21 September 1890. Those punched on the walls of

2 Maria Aurora Couto, Goa: A Daughter’s Story

15 Paulo Andre, “O Europeismo e o revolta – Carta ao the Holy Spirit Church in Margao were recently(New Delhi: Penguin Publishers), 2004, p 291.

Dr Jose Ignacio de Loyola”, India Portuguesa, 1896. plastered.

3 Roberto Bruto da Costa, A Hydra do Nativissimo,

16 Alvaro de Loyola Furtado, “The Salcette Munici-36 Dulpods (chorus of the manddo). The verses from(Nova Goa: Tipographia Braganza), 1920, p 7.

pality”, Goa Today, June 1979, p 6. 8-10 were compiled by F X D’Mello.

4 This may be one of the many reasons as to why

17 T R de Souza, “A Scholar’s Discovery of Goa”, 37 Correio da India, 22 September.

the bamons, charddos and Hindus supported him.

Alvaro de Loyola Furtado: A Tribute from His Fellow 38 Maria Aurora Couto, op cit, p 296.

Roberto Bruto da Costa, p 12.

Citizens, Margäo, 1982, p 53.

39 Centennial Celebrations of Goa’s Historic Battle for

5 This constitutional monarchy continued till 1910

18 Bailon de Sa, op cit, Herald, 19 May 2002. Civil Liberties, 21-09-1890 to 21-09-1990, p 42;

when a secular republic was proclaimed in

19 Anglo Lusitano, 9 October 1890, p 5, in the Correia World, Vol XV, No 9, 1937.

Portugal. Till then, there were revolts led by da India, the special correspondent of the Times of 40 Bombay Gazette, 29 September condemned theindividuals like Padre F X Alvares, Fr Pedro India, Hughes remarked that the Governor was authorities in severe terms.

Antonio Rebeiro, Estevao Jeremais Mascarenhas “a down right boulanger”.

and Antonio Francisco Xavier Alvares and others. 41 Pioneer, 29 September 1890.

20 The vestige of this is the old Municipal Square in

6 Some of these revolts find a reference to in 42 Anglo Lusitano, 9 October 1890, p 5.

the Margao that is located in the Avenida do Espirito

A A Bruto da Costa, As Revoluooes Politicas de 43 Times of India.

Santo in front of the Capela de Santas Almas in the

India Portuguesa do Seculo XIX (Margao: Typo- 44 Anglo Lusitano, 9 October 1890, p 5.

precinct of the old market in Margao.

graphia do Ultramar), 1896.

45 Ibid.

21 Anglo Lusitano (Supplement), 9 October 1890.

7 Bernardo Peres da Silva, Constantino Roque da 46 Ibid.

22 Times of India, 27 September.

Costa, Jeremais Mascarenhas and Francisco Luis

47 Times of India.

23 Anglo Lusitano (Supplement), 9 October 1890. 24 However, the authorities later admitted that the Gomes were elected to the Cortes.

48 George Moraes, Centennial Celebrations of Goa’s8 M V de Abreu, Relaoko das alteracoes politicas de Historic Battle for Civil Liberties, 21-09-1890 to

force was dispatched three days in advance.

Goa desde 16 de Setembro de 1821 até 18 de Otubro 21-09-1990.

de 1822 (Nova Goa: Impresa Nacional), 1862. 25 Anglo Lusitano, 9 October 1890.

49 T R de Souza, op cit.

26 The photographs were taken by Jose Pereira. 50 Paul Ricoeur, “The Uses of Artificial Memory: The 9 Antonio Jose de Lima Leitmo was among the first

of the three representatives of Goa. 27 Max de Loyola Furtado, “The Goan Septem-Feats of Memorisation” in Kathleen Blamey and

berists”, p 40; Zinto Martins, “Goa’s Historic Battle

10 Max de Loyola Furtado, “Dr Jose Inacio de Loyola

David Pellaur, Memory, History and Forgetting,

for Civil Liberties”, Centennial Celebrations of

Goa’s Historic Battle for Civil Liberties, 21-09-1890

Furtado”, Navhind Times, 19 May 2002. Others University of Chicago Press, 2004, pp 58-68.

have also written about these political upheavals

to 21-09-1990. 51 Olivinho Gomes, “Goa’s Continual Revolution”,

“Primordios da Imprensa e do Journalismo em Goa e resto da India” in Boletim Instituto Menezes 28 Anglo Lusitano (Supplement), 5 October 1890. Goa Today, August 2008, p 8. Braganza, No 129, 1989. 29 Ibid, 9 October 1890, p 6. 52 Max de Loyola Furtado, op cit, Navhind Times, 19 May 2002.

11 This was delimited to the islands of Goa, Bardez 30 O Ultramar, 22 September 1890. and Salcette that were acquired by the Portu-31 Nor did the interview with the Times of India,

53 Maria Aurora Couto, p 294. guese in concentric semi-circles till the first half refer to the use of weapons. 54 Anglo Lusitano (Supplement), 9 October 1890. of the 16th century. 32 Anglo Lusitano (Supplement), 9 October 1890. 55 Deccan Herald, 29 September 1890. The Statesman, 12 Bailon de Sa, “A Tribute in Memoriam of Jose 33 These questions were raised in the column writ-of Calcutta, 25 September and Deccan Times, of Inacio”, Herald, 19 May 2002. ten by Loyola in ibid. Hyderabad, 2 October also made similar comments.

13 This was since 15-16 September 1821, George 34 Interview of Loyola Furtado in Times of India, 56 Michael Fisher, Counterflows to Colonialism (New

Moraes, “The Historian in Dr Alavro” in Dr Alvaro Correia da India. Delhi: Permanent Black), 2006.

de Loyola Furtado, Timblo, 1982, p 33. 35 The hole caused by the shots of the bullets that were 57 Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant 14

They had to defend themselves for which they star-They had to defend themselves for which they star-
fired figure on the walls of the house of Salvador Insurgency in Colonial India (New Delhi: Oxford

ted the Gazeta de Goa. Antonio Joao de Lima Leitao Felipe Alvares that is located on the northern side University Press), 1983.

Economic & Political Weekly

august 13, 2011 vol xlvi no 33

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