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Little known history of Goa and the Portuguese Inquisition

And the continued after-effect of conversion in current times

Little known history of Goa and the Portuguese Inquisition



The “‘Goa Inquisition”‘ was the office of the Inquisition acting in the Indian state of Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. Established in 1560, the inquisition was aimed primarily at Hindus with inquisitions against Indian Muslims, Indian Jews, and others.

By the time it was suppressed in 1774, the inquisition had had thousands of people were given the death penalty, tortured and executed.

The French philosopher Voltaire wrote about the Goa Inquisition where he observed:

catholic_inquisition_in_india“Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, which is contrary to humanity as much as to commerce. The Portuguese monks deluded us into believing that the Indian populace was worshipping the Devil, while it is they who served him” (Voltaire, Lettres sur l’origine des sciences et sur celle des peuples de l’Asie (first published Paris, 1777, letter of 15 December 1775)

Sephardic Jews living in Goa, many of whom had fled the Iberian Peninsula to escape the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition to begin with, were also persecuted.

The records speak of the necessity for hundreds of prison cells to accommodate fresh victims. Seventy-one “autos da fe” were recorded. In the first few years alone, over 4000 people were arrested, with 121 people burnt alive at the stake.

The Hindus of Goa were one of the most affected by the inquisition. The condemned Hindus were publicly burned at the stake in the square outside the Sé Cathedral in batches during ceremonies . Those who confessed to their accused heresy would be strangled prior to the burning. In this case, heresy was to practice a faith other than Christianity.

Historian R.N. Sakshena writes “.. in the name of the religion of peace and love, the tribunal(s) practiced cruelties to the extent that every word of theirs was a sentence of death”.

Anti-Hindu laws and prohibitions

Laws were passed banning Christians from keeping Hindus in their employ, and the public worship of Hindus were deemed unlawful:

A large number of restrictive religious laws were enacted, including the banning of Hindu musical instruments and clothing. Hindu temples were converted or destroyed, and Christian churches built in their place, often from the materials of the temples they replaced. Throughout this period several important Hindu texts were burned in an effort to saturate the area with Christian religious texts.

1322893830_h4Orders were issued that Hindu children who were orphaned be “taken immediately and handed over to the College of St. Paul of the society of Jesus of the said city of Goa, for being baptized, educated and indoctrinated by the Fathers of the said College and being directed by them and placed in positions according to their respective aptitudes and abilities”. The order was endorsed by the viceroy of Goa, Antao de Noronha and the Governor, Antonio Moniz Barrette. While the original order applied only to orphans, there were frequent complaints that Hindu children with parents were kidnapped from their families and forcibly baptized. Some Hindu families secretly smuggled their children out of Goa. Other less fortunate Hindus paid extortion money to Christian priests to keep their children from being kidnapped and baptized

Many Christian priests disagreed with these draconian measures and sympathized with the Hindus, generating a brief lull in the forced conversions. However, Francis Xavier, the “Father of the Christians”, upon hearing of this, complained to the Archbishop and reinstated a new wave of forced conversions.

Several [anti-Hindu] laws were enacted with the expressed intent to “humiliate Hindus” and encourage conversions to Christianity. The viceroy ordered that Hindu pandits and physicians be disallowed from entering the capital city on horseback or palaquins, the violation of which entailed a fine. Successive violations resulted in imprisonment, Christian palaquin-bearers were forbidden from carrying Hindus as passengers. Christian agricultural laborers were forbidden to work in the lands owned by Hindus and Hindus forbidden to employ Christian laborers. The inquisition guaranteed “protection” to Hindus who converted to Christianity. Thus, they initiated a new wave of baptisms to Hindus who were intimidated by their brutality into converting.

catholic_inquisition_in_india_2The inquisition supplied the ecclesiastic Jesuit priests with a strong state-sanctioned weapon to use against the Hindu population of the region. Moderate Catholics who tried to build bridges with Hindus were also persecuted. Even the governor of Goa from 1588-1591 was investigated when he consulted Hindu clerics about the auspicious dates concerning the arrival of ships. The adverse effects of the inquisition were tempered somewhat by the fact that Hindus were able to escape Portuguese hegemony by migrating to other parts of the subcontinent. 

Hindus who were arrested for repeated violations of the laws were taken in by the inquisition to the “Palace of the Goa Inquisition” for “confessions”. The confessions were attained by various torture techniques. Techniques included Hindus being tied up and having their feet burned slowly with sulphur, water torture techniques and racks on which the victims were manacled and their joints slowly dislocated by stretching. This “strappado” method was a particular favorite among the inquisitors. Thumb-screws and leg-crushers called Spanish boots were also employed. Often, boiling oil was poured on their legs and sulphur dropped on their bodies with lighted candles held beneath their armpits. Another technique involved fixing the victims to revolving tables and whirling them round until they were nauseous. These techniques were applied to the victims until they were weakened to the point of being persuaded to “convert” to Christianity and “confess”.

Those who “confessed” were strangled to death and their corpses burned. Those who did not were burned alive at the stake. All the victims of the inquisition eventually had their shirts steeped in sulphur. Those who did not confess had their shirts painted with flames pointing upward. Those who did had their shirts painted with flamed pointing downward. They were taken from the palace to the Church during Sunday mass. Then, they were subjected to ridicule by the Christian parishioners. Once that ritual was complete, the non-confessors were strangled and their corpses, together with the living non-confessors, were “conducted to the Campo Sancto Lazaro” and burned at the stake in the presence of onlookers.




During the British Era, thousands of missionaries routinely defamed and denigrated Hinduism in books and pamphlets. they forcibly converted people to Christianity by kidnapping poor Hindus and forcing beef into their mouths, making them apostates by force and then torturing them to “confess” and convert. Then they would turn the converts against Hindus through propaganda and incite them into violence. It is these activities that led to the discontent among Hindus and Muslims in the great rebellion of 1857 and beyond.

In contemporary times, large parts of Northeastern India have become Christianized owing to the fervent activities of missionaries. In these states, especially Nagaland, Hindus are not able to celebrate Durga Puja and other essential festivals due to harassment and killing by Christian Terrorist groups. In Tripura, the “National Liberation Front of Tripura”, a designated terrorist organization, has targeted Swamis and temples for attacks. The Baptist Church of Tripura, instilled there by Christian white supremacists from New Zealand, has supplied NLFT with arms and financial support and encouraged the murder of Hindus, particularly infants. A conventional tactic of the terrorists is to torch houses of Hindus with the residents still in it. They have been known to raid Hindu sanctuaries and shoot all the members. They have killed a total of 13,000 Hindus over the course of the 1990’s before they split up and most of them surrendered to the Indian Army. Similarly, the Baptist Christians in Manipur in India have also committed anti-Semitism on the Bnei Menashe Jews of India, denying the Jewish Rabbis from Shavei Israel to teach them the Talmudic laws (with which they were unfamiliar since the Bnei Menashe left Israel before the Talmud was written and concluded by Rabbi Hillel).

-Plan_de_Goa-,_in_Histoire_générale_des_voyages,1750Similar atrocities were committed by Fundamentalist Christian terror groups such as the Nagaland Rebels, converted to Christianity in the same way as most others (i.e forcibly) and turned against Hindus.

Hindus in Fiji constitute approximately 38% of the population. During the late 90’s there were several riots against Hindus by radical elements in Fiji. In the Spring of 2000, the democratically elected Fijian government led by Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry was held hostage by a guerilla group, headed by George Speight. They were demanding a segregated state exclusively for the native Fijians, thereby legally abolishing any rights the Hindu inhabitants have now. The Hindu minority are denied any land owning rights and are routinely attacked and harassed. Several dozen Hindu temples have been vandalized or destroyed by arson or looting.

The Methodist church of Fiji repeatedly calls for the creation of a Christian State and has endorsed forceful conversion of Hindus after a coup d’etat in 1987.

Indians, predominantly Hindus, came as indentured laborers in 1838 to British Guyana and later to Trinidad, Jamaica, Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Surinam. During the initial decades of Indian indenture, Indian cultural forms met with either contempt or indifference by the Christian majority. Hindus have made many contributions to Trinidad history and culture even though the state historically regarded Hindus as second-class citizens. Hindus in Trinidad struggled over the granting of adult franchise, the Hindu marriage bill, the divorce bill, cremation ordinance, and others. After Trinidad’s independence from colonial rule, Hindus were marginalized by the African-based People’s National Movement. The opposing party, the People’s Democratic party, was portrayed as a “Hindu group”, and other anti-Hindu tactics were used against them. Hindus were castigated as a “recalcitrant and hostile minority”. Hindus were alienated by such Christian communal groups. The support of the PNM government to creole art forms in Carnivals, while their public rejection and ridicule of Hindu art forms, was a particular source of contention for the Hindu minority. The displacement of PNM from power in 1985 would improve the situation.

Goan-Inquistion-300x223There has been persistent discontent among the Hindus with their marginalization. Many Christianized groups portray Hindus as “clannish, backward and miserly” (Just like Jews were characterized as such in Europe by Christians once). During the General Elections of 1986, the absence of the Bhagavad Gita and the Quran at polling stations for required oath-taking was interpreted as a gross insult to Hindus and Muslims. The absence of any Hindu religious texts at the official residence of the President of Trinidad and Tobago during the swearing in of the new Government in 1986 was perceived as another insult to the minority communities since they were represented in the government. The exclusivist Christian symbolism operative in the country’s top national award, the Trinity Cross, has persistently stung Hindu religious sensibility. This was to climax in 1995 with the refusal of the Hindu Dharmaacharya to accept the award, while issuing a statement that his action should be seen as an opportunity for those in authority to create a national award that recognizes the plurality of religious beliefs in this country. The national education system and curriculum have been repeatedly accused of such majority-oriented symbolism. The use of discernibly Christian-oriented prayers at Government schools, the non-representation of Hinduism in approved school textbooks, and the lack of emphasis on Hindu religious observace evoked deep resentment from the Hindu community. Intensified protests over the course of the 1980s led to an improvement in the state’s attitudes towards Hindus.The divergence of some of the fundamental aspects of local Hindu culture, the segregation of the Hindu community from Trinidad, and the disinclination to risk erasing the more fundamental aspects of what had been constructed as “Trinidad Hinduism” in which the identity of the group had been rooted, would often generate dissension when certain dimensions of Hindu culture came into contact with the State. While the incongruences continue to generate debate, and often conflict, it is now tempered with growing awareness and consideration on the part of the state to the Hindu minority. Hindus have been also been subjected to persistent proselytization by Christian missionaries.

Christian missionaries operate a network of hate sites and hate groups all over the world that spread misinformation and falsehoods against Hindus and incite others to attack and murder them.

Historian Alfredo de Mello aptly describes the performers of Goan inquisition as, nefarious, fiendish, lustful, corrupt religious orders which pounced on Goa for the purpose of destroying paganism (ie Hinduism) and introducing the true religion of Christ.

 

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34 Responses to "Little known history of Goa and the Portuguese Inquisition"

  1. ramanath maiya  April 29, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Barbaric! You do not find any old temples in Goa!

    Reply
  2. Prajwal  May 3, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Oh My God ! I never knew that ! 🙁

    Reply
  3. Dr Nila Madhab Das  June 2, 2014 at 1:38 am

    The missionary oppression on Hindus is still prevalent in some parts of Bharat. It has to stop. The Hindus should fight it out.

    Reply
  4. Ramakant Halankar  June 5, 2014 at 6:10 am

    As on date the place where the inquisition was housed in Goa is not knowm. Required reserch.The documents of inquisition should be obtaineed from Portugal and preserved as historical documents; as part of Goan-Hindu resistance against church onslought.

    Reply
  5. Ramakant Halankar  June 5, 2014 at 6:30 am

    The first demand for the establishment of enquisition was made by Francis Xavier to the king of Portugal on 16th may, 1545 such person responsible for hindu torture need not to be prefixed as saint.

    Reply
  6. Ramakant Halankar  June 5, 2014 at 6:37 am

    I am retired person from Goan origin interested in participating in research group if any, on Goa inquisition.

    Reply
  7. Ramakant Halankar  June 5, 2014 at 7:00 am

    In case if you visit Goa and happen to go to old Goa church where Fancis xavier remains is exibited; pl ask any church authority on inquisition or where is HAT KAPRO KHAMB. They will express as if nothing exist of this nature. Then ask any local hindu they will direct you to a historical pole (khamb), where hindus were tied and tortured.

    Reply
  8. Uttar Pradesh  July 19, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    The name of the Dharmacharya in Trinidad is Pundit Krishna Maharaj. He was also a founding member of the largest Hindu Organisation in Trinidad. He and his brother Pundit Hardath Maharaj were largely responsible for the protection and maintenance of Hinduism in Trinidad through personal service to the community and the training of a large number of purohits for the past 70 years.

    Reply
  9. rupshar  September 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    still we prefer to send our present generation to missionary schools. since most of the missionary schools have a good academic track record, the ERD ministry can exclude the church authority from regulating such schools and the ministry itself can take the responsibility.

    Reply
  10. TRIPLEBREAKPOINT  September 25, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Lord have mercy on all those persecuted souls.
    How in the name of GOD can these type of atrocities
    be happening in this time and age.
    Where are our leaders. Do they just turn a blind eye.
    Why is this not part of the curriculum in the history of
    our nation in high school.
    All those people that were forcibly converted,
    are they now not looking to go back to Hinduism.
    Some of them are now taking advantage by
    getting Portugese passports to help migrate out of India.
    Unbelievable !!!

    Reply
  11. Chidanand  September 26, 2014 at 6:26 am

    These demons who came from outside were doing such atrocities on locals. Very very shameful and atrocious. This shows that the Hindu society is always very weak and are never united to fight against any oppression. Even now they always fight among themselves in the name of caste, creed, language, region, etc. and they are yet to learn lesson from the past!

    Reply
  12. Ram Sharma  November 18, 2014 at 2:36 am

    There is nothing pious about Christianity or Islam. Their history and present continuous to be brutal. Just look around,

    Reply
  13. Pradeep.i  February 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Bring them back all to their own religion who had been forcibly converted under the name of some god… More research needs to be done as to what structures were destroyed by the invaders and similar structures need to be re-erected in the memory of the lost history and lost lives..

    Reply
  14. Devendra Pal  March 13, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I am really sorry to read all this…how bravely our forefathers have been fighting these Christians as well as Mughal tyrants in the Middle Ages and upto now…even then they could not do much damage to Hinduism but we can imagine how predominant Hindus would have been if it all had not happened…Muslims and Christians would have only a miniscule
    fraction of what they are….but I wonder what is stopping the govt.from checking their activities in the north east now…

    Reply
  15. Ilanko  March 15, 2015 at 6:16 am

    Even in Podicherry there is not many old Hindu temples when you look around.
    Even the mukkula vinayakar was thrown into sea three times .

    Reply
    • Raghavendra Prabhu  May 25, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Puducherry may have had lost Hindu temples during French colonization. However, that cannot be compared to Inquisition. French did not do Inquisition, Portuguese and Spanish did within their nations in Europe. They tortured non-christians like Jews back there in Portugal and Spain resulting in exodus of non Christian population from these territories. Portuguese later extended Inquisition to their colonies as well and that was when Goa suffered.

      Reply
  16. SUBHASH  April 21, 2015 at 11:26 am

    i JUST MENIONED THIS MORNING THAT THE CHURCH WHICH HAS THE BODY OF FRANCIS XAVIER IN OLD GOA HAS NOT CROSS ON THE TOP, THOUGH MORE THAN 17 ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE CHURCH . THE CROSS IT APPEARS ALWAYS FELL DOWN TO EARTH WITHI 24 HOURS. THIS WAS TOLD TO ME BY A CHRISTIAN PRIEST OF THAT CHURCH. THE REASONS HE SAID, WAS THAT THERE WAS A GANESH TEMPLE WHICH THE PORTUGESE DESTROYED AND BUILT THE CHURCH. IT IS CURSED FOR THAT REASON.

    Reply
  17. abhimunyu  May 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    HINDUS are, their own enemies, because of caste systems, in their own country and outside the country.It is a shame.They do not look back about the torture,raped,burnt live by the churches in GOA.No wonder Goa is blamed to be christian country by forced, but in fact it is a Hindu country.

    It is heart breaking story, for those who have suffered a terrible torture, and forceful raped against the Hindus girls and converted them into christian.

    Even now VATICAN is hiding the rapists, never came out openly to accept the sins committed by churches around the World.

    Reply
    • Shenoy  May 24, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Caste system is more profound in other religions. So much so that they kill each other. I find in this article, the courage of our Hindus, as they have survived the onslaught.

      Reply
  18. seema  July 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    so cruel .
    i wish u listen the lecture given by RAJIV DAIXIT on how VASCO DE GAMA entered india , who was he , how he cheated in disguise of a guest n how he extended his cruilty . its an eye opening lecture .

    Reply
  19. Hans Raj Parmar  July 18, 2015 at 8:10 am

    where were our Rajputs yodha to stop this cruelty.

    Reply
  20. bharat bhushan sharma  July 18, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    purtges jalim log

    Reply
  21. mohamed pasha  July 19, 2015 at 6:08 am

    hindus must be real bad guys just as indian muslims are.did i hear a bigNO from you guys.other wise why they are subjected to all that torture in old time goa,present day fiji and srilanka( hindu tamil tigers).again a big NO from you guys …history studying is for preventing bad things recurring.not to rewrite it by repeating old atrocities.it is high time we all say nomore discrimination!

    Reply
  22. RAMESH. PAI. A  August 9, 2015 at 10:54 am

    As my forefathers were persecuted Portuguese, and as I am presently living in a democratic set-up, I am not afraid of disclosing my identity. The present write-up, I am not in a position to down load, and hence please send me the entire passage in a form which can be saved, downloaded and then taken prints, so as to send it to my friends and relatives. Please send it in soft copy immediately.

    Reply
  23. Hariharan  August 11, 2015 at 6:43 am

    “The use of christian oriented prayers at government schools”. Don’t we do the similar thing here in India also?

    Reply
  24. Dr. Arun Kumar. S  August 13, 2015 at 8:30 am

    We lack a sense of pride in our nationality because we are not aware of the great heritage of our country. It is very important to make every Indian aware of the heritage of Bharat. We should try every means to propagate the great wisdom of this country. Please sign this petition.

    Reply
  25. Samrat  December 20, 2015 at 9:00 am

    The way of propagation by oppression and denigration of ethinic religions is prevalent in all Abrahamic Religions.

    Reply
  26. Pramila Lall  March 15, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    People talk of Nazi persecution which was horrible and unpardonable, but how come these Portuguese and the Christians who are responsible for Hindu Inquisition escaped the condemnation by the world community?

    Reply
  27. G. Shyam Sundar  May 23, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Do not be surprised. Now the same policy is followed by ISIS, in Kerala etc. Hindus do not feel the pinch because they always divide themselves on caste and selfish basis. They never think collectively. Even if you think as a hindu you will be branded as nonsecular or discriminating other religions or hurting their feelings. None will voice when others hurt your religion. Did any national news channel or print media has reported about the breaking of idols at Srirangapatna. No because it is done by the peaceful community for a peaceful purpose in a peaceful way.

    Reply
  28. Telef  May 23, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    The Inquision was indeed horrible, not only in Goa but also in Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany etc. Incidentally, Inquisition came to Goa well 10 years after the death of St. Francis Xavier and almost 275 years after it was introduced in Europe. The Basilica of Bom Jesus where the body of St. Francis Xavier is kept was built by the Captain of Cochin in 1594 and completed in 1605. It is , perhaps, the only Church not built by Church money or Portuguese Gov money.By 1594 there could be no traces of Hindu temples there and incidentally the Old Goa area had no Hindu temples because it was held by the Muslim ruler- Adil Shah , but there were mosques.

    Reply
  29. abhi  May 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Nice article .full of information..kudos.
    but the biggest fact- people have killed in the name of religion for centuries. yes we have been wronged and not given justice that does not mean even we do that same thing and just like a five year old would say “they started it first” why do bring up the old dead! in current time even a small spark can start a big war ,we should not be talking about which religion was bad and good.

    Reply
  30. CA Ramakrishnan K P  May 24, 2016 at 6:31 am

    The Christianity that we see, was established by a Roman emperor called Constantine, 300 years after the disappearance of Yeshuwa the merciful. Christian establishments continue to be cruel because their foundation is built on cruelty and bloodshed. They use the name of Yeshuwa, as it suits them. They wouldn’t want to follow His instructions or actions, which are more or less in line with Dharma as practiced in Bharat. These are rank Adharmis of Kali Yuga. They will continue to do so at every possible place. Regards

    Reply
  31. Telef  May 28, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Curiously Tiimaji the Hindu Chieftain of Goa who was the Vijayanagar Admiral and Mhall Pai Vernekar, the Sardessai of Verna asked Afonso de Albuquerque to attack Goa which was ruled by Adil Shah. Hindus were harassed by Adil Shah. When finally Albuquerque attacked Goa, the ships of Timaji fought along the ships of Albuquerque.. Albuquerque in a letter to the then king of Portugal, Dom Manuel, appreciated the help given by the naval ships of Timaji. Timaji was made the tax collector of certain parts of Old Goa. Timaji later converted to Christianity voluntarily. The first Hindu Brahmin to voluntarily become Catholic.

    Reply
  32. Swami Parmatma  June 21, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Sadly, others continue to steal from Hindus/Hinduism. Today, for example, should be called International Hindu Day. A day to respect the Hindu/Yoga religion and not all this phony non-Hindu “yoga stuff.”

    Reply

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