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SOAS Studies on South Asia
Print and Politics in Goa
Rochelle Pinto
YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi 110 001
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For my parents
Preface ix
Acknowledgements xi
Glossary xiii
Abbreviations xv
Introduction: The Goan Elite and their Nineteenth Century 1
1. Borrowing a Past: History, Culture, Nation 35
2. Governance Without Governmentality 72
3. Education and its Languages 95
4. The Unhappy Period of Revolution: Norms for Newsprint 121
5. The Truth About Pamphlets 141
6. Divergent Literary Histories 173
7. The Province of the Novel 196
8. The Domain Of Konkani 223
9. Against Exceptionalism 260
Bibliography 268
This work began as an exploration of the contours of print production
in Goa as an extension of the questions that had prompted the
proliferation of studies on print in colonial India. It was expected that
the preliminary collection of print and inquiry into the linguistic politics
of Goa would yield already identifiable if different images and the complex
interweaving of colonial politics and indigenous responses would emerge
by applying similar questions to similar material. Despite attempts to
shape the texts found to the theories that they should have adhered to, it
became obvious that they only generated evidence of processes that were
dissimilar to those of British India. As happens frequently perhaps in the
task of thesis and book production, this one developed through a sort of
reverse process in the effort to explain the texts and concerns that are the
focus of the latter part of the book. Increasingly the challenge was to
provide an explanatory framework that would not only stress difference
from British India, but provide suggestions for the nature and reasons
for such difference.
This required not only further enquiry into the nature of and
principles guiding Portuguese colonialism in Goa, but also an examination
of what was at stake in the several studies on print in colonial India. The
discussion of print as the locus of the formation and contestation of
polities rested on certain assumptions about the functioning of the
colonial state, its relation with the colonial elite, relations within colonial
society, dissemination and bilingualism. The reason way divisions of
language and linguistic power could not be traced in the same form in
Goa evidently had to with the nature of the Portuguese state and the
nature of Portuguese colonialism. The full elaboration of these requires
more than this book can attempt, but it hopefully suffices to provide
enough of an explanatory framework for print in colonial Goa not to be
seen only through a series of absences against the norm of British India.
x A Place Between Empires
The series of steps towards an explanation were also a series of departures
from the explanations surrounding the phenomenon of British
colonialism, and required the naming of British India as a historically
and perhaps conceptually different entity.
The political place that print would occupy in Goa was fundamentally
determined by the relationship between the colonial state and colonial
elite. For this reason, if the book appears initially to draw exclusively on
the representations of the Catholic elite, it is (aside from my linguistic
limitations) because it is they who were historically situated by colonial
policy to occupy that public realm in which representations from state
and elite circulated among a limited public. The basic determinants of
the colonial print sphere, such as language, the price and availability of
print, but more importantly, the Portuguese colonial states stance towards
indigenous culture and the colonial elite were manifest in this interaction.
The particular features of print among a range of other groups in Goa
later in the century would be difficult to comprehend without an attempt
to define the nature of this relationship.
To those acquainted with Goan historiography, it might appear that
the nineteenth-century elite were in no need of representation, being
almost the only subjects in historical accounts. This hopes however, to
have asked different questions of their position in Goa. And as a challenge
to the assumption that no one but the elite had access to the public
world of writing and print, this text does offer a reading of rebellions
and of popular print generated by predominantly Catholic migrants, to
indicate other spheres of intellectual production that rarely find a place
in histories of Goa.
This is therefore very far from an exhaustive representation of the
responses to colonialism in nineteenth-century Goa and a listing of
omissions from what would be a more complete or adequate picture of
politics or print would be substantial. This work may be more usefully
read for the lines of argument and inquiry that it suggests might prove
more fruitful for the location of Iberian colonialism and for those
responses to colonialism that I have examined in some detail.
Place: Bangalore Rochelle Pinto
x Preface
The Goan Elite and their Nineteenth Century xi
This book was researched in the course of a PhD degree at the School of
Oriental and African Studies, and was funded by the Felix Trust. For
additional support I thank the SOAS fieldwork grant, The Central
Research Fund of the University of London, The Leche Trust, The
Hammond Trust, The Charles Wallace Trust and the Ernest Cassel
Memorial Trust. I thank Dr. Stuart Blackburn who supervised this thesis
for his patience. I also thank Rupert Snell, Daud Ali and Peter Robb for
their frequent support and help. I am also grateful to the staff, students
and faculty at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore,
where this book was completed, particularly Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana.
The initial questions that motivated this research were shaped through
my interaction with lecturers and students of Jawaharlal Nehru University
in Delhi. The work owes much to Ania Loomba and Majid Siddiqi for
their contributions in very different ways. I also thank Ramesh Mallipedi
Kumar and Amit Sengupta for their support.
For their daily help and interest, I am grateful to Lilia Maria de Souza
at the Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Porvorim and Lourdes Bravo
da Costa Rodrigues at the Central Library, Panjim. For assistance with
library access and materials I thank: Aarti at the XCHR, the library staff
at the Central Library, Panjim for their patience and co-operation, Mr.
Navelkar at the Directorate of Archaeology and Archives of Goa, Tammy
Winter at SIU, Carbondale, the University of Chicago Library, Catherine
Picket and Antonia Moon at the British Library for their assistance.
I thank Gauri Patwardhan, Ubaldo Dsouza, and my parents for help
with translation.
I am grateful to riends and relatives in Corjuem and Panjim for their
kindness and hospitality, especially Aurelia and Tome Mendes. For their
support, I thank Jos Bendito, Silvia Sala, Monica Fagioli, Antoine Lewis,
Naresh Fernandes, Eddie Rodrigues and Nivedita Rao, Veronica Castro,
Jangam Chinnaiah, and Vijay Rao. John Game and Shabnum Tejani for
their warmth and generosity. Bhavana Krishnamoorthy contributed much
to this book and to the years spent researching it. Her absence continues
to be felt. For her inexhaustible friendship, I thank Sanghamitra Misra.
For his affection and presence over the years, I thank Kurush Canteenwala.
This book is for my family and especially for my parents who, as
always, offered every resource they had to further this project and whose
lives and memories primarily have shaped my work.
xii Acknowledgements
All translations into English are mine unless otherwise specified.
Nineteenth-century orthography was not entirely standardized, and
spellings sometimes vary perhaps also due to the vagaries of each press.
Irregularities in titles or quotes from texts have been maintained.
AdministradorA district-level official.
CastioA term denoting descendants of Portuguese settlers in India,
often used pejoratively to indicate colonial as opposed to metropolitan
location. A similar quantification that denotes the mixture of European
and Indian parentage s the term mestio.
ChardoA caste grouping among Catholic Goans. The origin of the term
is disputed, but it ranks among the upper castes, though it was customarily
considered as subordinate to that of brahmins.
Communidade or gaunkariaA administrative body whose origins village-
level precede the Portuguese conquest, composed of the male members
of here ditarity determined administration of groups of families in a
village which had hereditary responsibilities to administer land and public
properties as well as the profits of a portion of village revenues. Where
this appears in the titles of Portuguese texts, it is retained as communidade.
ConfrariaA socio-religious and formerly caste-based organization
restricted to males among Catholic Goans within each village. The
Confraria was attached to the village church and played a prominent part
in its administration and in the organization of church festivities.
CulacharinsArtisans who were maintained by the village communidade
or gaunkaria, and had to provide free services to gaunkar members.
They were granted rights to dividends in the communidade land
(thereby making them khuntkars), and subsequently were given a say in
The Goan Elite and their Nineteenth Century xiii
the running of the communidade, which substantially increased their
power in the village.
DescendentesDescendants of Portuguese who were born in India
and discriminated against by the European-born Portuguese as being a
race apart. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with castio.
GauddoCaste group among Catholic Goans.
Gaunkar or gauncarMember of a gaunkaria. See Communidade.
Gaunkaria or gauncariaSee Communidade.
JonoShare in the annual profits of the village, initially claimed by the
gaunkars alone.
KulkarniUsually a brahmin clerk attached to the village communidade.
Mazanes or MazaniaAn organization directed primarily towards the
maintenance of temple and village lands. This was a counterpart of the
institution of the confraria.
NadkarniUsually a brahmin scribe often engaged in legal work.
Novas Conquistas or New ConquestsThe territories of Pernem, Bicholim,
Sattari, Ponda, Sanguem, Quepem, and Canacona, over which the
Portuguese gained control by the end of the eighteenth century.
Velhas Conquistas or Old ConquestsThe territories of Ilhas (now Tiswadi),
Bardez, and Salcette, secured by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century.
PadroadoA combination of rights, privileges, and duties granted by
the Papacy to the Crown of Portugal as patron of the Roman Catholic
missions and ecclesiastical establishments in vast regions of Africa, Asia,
and in Brazil.
PardoA relatively indeterminate term for mixed race slaves and freemen,
often connoting African parentage.
RanesThe hereditary title of a group of families who collected revenue
in the regions of Sawantwadi and the New Conquests of Goa.
ReinoisTerm used for Portuguese who were born in Europe, to
distinguish them from the descendentes, or castios.
VangodesThe term for the groups of families in each village which
comprized the original membership of each gaunkaria.
xiv Glossary
AHU Arquivo Histrico Ultramarino, Lisbon, Portugal
DAAG Directorate of Archaeology and Archives of Goa, Panjim, Goa
MSA Maharashtra State Archives, Bombay, Maharashtra
NAI National Archives of India, Delhi
OIOC Oriental and India Office Collections, London, UK
The Goan Elite and their Nineteenth Century
If there was a single dominant perspective through which Goas Catholic
elite viewed their nineteenth century, it was as a condition to be mourned.
The defining condition (and its predicament) of colonial Goa as the elite
saw it was its dual location within the economic twilight of the Portuguese
empire and the political fringe of British India. Their vocal exposition of
all that was amiss in Goa was channeled through economic analyses, political
histories, and poems. This prolific output not only served as a critique of
the Portuguese colonial state, but it also stapled the nineteenth century
into historical and cultural frameworks that would outlast their moment
of origin, to become resilient filters through which the century and its
aftermath would be received.
The visibility accorded by print to the self-reflexive representations
of a Catholic Goan elite helped crystallize assumptions about the century
and its location within the history of colonial Goa. While the claim of
this elite to speak for Goa as a whole was vigorously contested within the
nineteenth century, (as soon as other groups gained access to print), the
domain of literary and political history would be imprinted with the
conceptual legacy of their writing beyond the time of its production.
Some twentieth-century literary histories of Goa that deal predominantly
with this sphere of intellectual production carry telling (and puzzling)
statements that are symptomatic of the frameworks put in place within
the nineteenth century:
In as much as the nineteenth century in Goa witnessed a restructuring
of its character and a revision of the historical bases of its culture, it was
only in the twentieth century that Goan literature found maturity. However,
as happened everywhere else, in Goa too the nineteenth century began
very late, although in the particular case of Goadue to the backwardness
2 Between Empires
of its infrastructurethe twentieth century possibly began later than in
any other civilised country.
This characterization of Goa as always out of time with civilization
emerged from within Portuguese historiography, and not as an external
commentary. What does it mean to say that though the nineteenth
century in Goa inaugurated a process of revision and restructuring, it
had begun very late? The spectre of a temporal and civilizational norm
against which the Goan nineteenth and twentieth century had begun
late had arisen in the course of the nineteenth century. Approaching the
question of print in Goa therefore required filtering through a vision of
the century constructed by its elite.
This discursive embedding of the nineteenth century is not elaborated
at length outside of a few literary histories. A general paucity of secondary
historical work on this century has been noted by historians who indicate
the reasons for, and implications of this lack.
A privileging of the
periodization (sixteenth to seventeenth centuries) that was economically
significant for the Portuguese colonial empire, or of that leading to the
Liberation of Goa and after (mid-twentieth), has led to a comparative
absence of work on the nineteenth century. The bracketing of the century
usually occurs as no more than a passing references to the epoch, in texts
that focus on other periods in history. A study on post-Liberation (post-
1961) Goa states,
over the course of two centuries (roughly 1700 to 1910), Goan society
stagnated, its trade in decline and its politics unchanged. Though there
were sporadic revolts and conspiracies by both Hindus and Catholics,
Portuguese rule continued basically undisturbed.
While this is no more than an incidental qualification in the essay, its
commonsensical value within the historiography of Goa relies on the
political and economic momentousness attributed to conquest and to
liberation, while the intervening centuries are characterized by near total
subjugation. While literary histories of Goa therefore hail the nineteenth
century as a time of renewal, propelled by the reintroduction of the
printing press, political histories of the same period tend to find a dormant
polity. And literary histories too, as indicated by the quote above, believed
that the nineteenth century had begun late.
Aside from examining ways in which to study the nineteenth century
that do not yoke it to the fortunes of the Portuguese empire or to the
(also-belated) Liberation of Goa in 1961, another compelling narrative
Introduction 3
of print and literature has emerged from studies focused on British India.
Any study of print and colonialism in the Indian sub-continent must
contend with the stronger and more obvious theorization of print in the
context of British India. While this study of Goa draws its theoretical
impetus from the questions raised regarding print and colonialism in British
India, it has also had to set aside those aspects that universalize British
colonialism and the structure and responses of society in British India.
The concern with print and with the nineteenth century has been
impelled by the questions that emerged in part from those strands within
postcolonial studies that address the domain of literature, nationalism,
and history, particularly works of the late 1980s and early 1990s that
articulated and addressed the crisis of English studies in India. These
texts, many of which were generated by lecturers in English departments
in India, altered the discipline of literary studies by indicating its implication
in the dominant narratives of empire, and of the nation.
These were an
explicit acknowledgement of the task awaiting literary historians of India
arising out of the challenges posed by post-structuralist theories.
emphasized the need to depart from exclusively nationalist frameworks
in order to identify the terms within which a modern literary history of
India could be discussed, by tracing the ways in which the literary domain
was framed by broader discursive structures.
Whether as a response to feminist critiques of nationalist literary canons,
or questions posed by Marxist critics, questions about reading practices,
literacy, genre-definition, orality, and representation were the grounds
on which literary histories began to be constructed.
The seemingly secure
categories of regionally or linguistically defined literatures were interrogated
to suggest instead, that varying power relations had defined the contours
of linguistic fields in India, as well as the central concerns of each literature.
It was only through identifying such defining impetuses, such critiques
claimed, that the question of a literary community could be posed. This
was one set of influences for the emergence of studies of print that
circumvented the focus on pre-given notions of literariness and literature.
They were also simultaneously shaped by theoretical challenges emerging
outside the domain of literary studies, through the re-engagement with
questions of nationalism and colonialism.
A set of assumptions about nationalism and anti-colonial politics
either explicitly or implicitly underpins the proliferation of studies about
4 Between Empires
print politics. The impetus for these are the debates over nationalism,
national imaginings and print, generated predominantly by Benedict
Andersons conceptualization of print nationalism and print-capitalism,
and Partha Chatterjees responses to Andersons Imagined Communities.
Chatterjees essay, Whose Imagined Community? elaborates a historical
and political argument that has come to typify nineteenth-century India.
In an attempt to counter Andersons claim that modular nationalisms were
exported to and absorbed by the worlds colonies, Chatterjee asserts instead
that a creative opposition constructed by colonial elites contested the
onslaught of modernity by constructing a domain of the outside, of
economy, science, and technology, where the superiority of the colonial
power is granted, and an inner domain, a sovereign space where the colonized
fashioned a culture of difference. This response, Chatterjee suggests, holds
true not only for the particular social group he studies, or Bengal or India
as a whole, but is a feature of anticolonial nationalisms in Asia and Africa.
The corollaries to this argument rely on a distinction drawn between the
two halves of the nineteenth century in India, divided roughly by the
rebellion of 1857 and the establishment of a modern colonial state. The
shift from the early to the late nineteenth century was marked by the
transfer of colonial power from a company to a state that exercised its
control through modern governmentality. It was also a shift from the
displacement of earlier languages of bureaucracy by English, to the
emergence of a bi-lingual indigenous print sphere, and a shift from an
early stage of reformism, to the articulation of an anti-colonial nationalism.
It was within this bi-lingual, secondary stage of nationalist consciousness
that language would be constituted as that inner domain that would be
transformed by the colonial elite to become a bearer of cultural difference.
The association of an emergent indigenous print sphere with a contested
public domain elicited comparisons with and the whole-scale borrowing
of Jrgen Habermas characterization of a European bourgeois public
The conceptual load of the term public allowed for institutions,
political processes, and the relationship between a bourgeoisie, state, and
other social groups, to be made part of the study of print and of literature.
The proliferation of studies on nineteenth-century print tends to rest on
this coincidence of technologies of disciplinary power exercised by the
colonial state, with the complementary and simultaneous crafting of an
intensely contested indigenous print sphere. Whether in Bengal, in
Maharashtra, or in areas where Hindi gained pre-eminence, dominance
over specific print-language spheres was exercised through bi-lingualism
and the print market. The intelligentsia of these different regions achieved
Introduction 5
this through processes that hierarchized and standardized literary and
linguistic production.
These histories of print also implicitly questioned Eurocentric
accounts of technology, print, and reading. This counter-reading was
framed within a broader theorization of colonial modernities that insisted
on the impossibility of Europes self-imagining outside of the history of
Chatterjees The Nation and Its Fragments, which asserted
the historical specificity of colonial modernities, indicated that the task
of fashioning a colonial modernity lay centrally with the same elite that
produced print, that negotiated the bi-lingual world of English and the
vernacular, and that helped construct lines of circulation and dissemination,
so crucial to urban modernity.
This analysis of the crafting of colonial
modernities was naturally mapped onto the phased division of nationalism,
and the stage-divided account of anti-colonial articulations.
Naregal for instance, makes these assumptions explicit in her discussion of
how anti-colonial responses were divided by nationalist histories between
the initial phase of social reform and mature phase of political reform.
This nationalist schematization, contested by the Marxist division of anti-
colonial articulations into conservatives and progressives, was further
contested by Chatterjee, who however indicated three stages or moments
of anti-colonial nationalismthat of the encounter with Enlightenment
rationalist thought, of maneouvre in the form of political mobilization,
and of arrival. This deservedly triumphant movement is reproduced in
Sudipta Kavirajs diagnosis of the melancholy of anti-colonialism which
is similarly chronologized to arrive at a full nationalism: Its melancholy
does not begin to turn into optimism before it changes into nationalism
proper. From being a negative reaction to colonial power, it turns positively
into a consciousness of a new identity.
Analyses of anti-colonial politics
that rest on these assumptions have naturalized these chronological and
analytical distinctions. In particular, those studies that elaborate the
contested claims to cultural and political representation made by the
colonial elite, and the forms of opposition from other groups construct
a complex half-century of anti-colonial politics. Naregal for instance
emphasizes that the colonial intelligentsia displayed a diminished interest
in the egalitarian possibilities of literacy or print dissemination in the
post-1857 political climate that offered them greater promise of political
From the dominance of the English language to that of the bi-
lingual elite, from egalitarianism to a swing to orthodoxy, the post-1857
period was also marked by the transition from fuzzy to enumerated
Unenumerated communities, according to Sudipta Kaviraj,
6 Between Empires
which were incommensurable with the rationalist discourse that would
be instituted after the rebellion were transformed into a polity of mature
nationalists (who) would turn the rationalist apparatus itself against the
colonial state.
Analyses of print politics were an important inflection
to the connotations of mid-nineteenth century transformations of state
power and social formations and a domain of publicness through which
new social relations would be mobilized eventually to the political ends
of nationalism.
The Subaltern Studies project dislodged the centrality of nationalist
preoccupations and their corresponding polities by delineating domains
of experience and representation that could not be accommodated within
teleologies of nationalism. These studies gestured to the exclusionary effect
of writing, print, and representation and indicated the different meanings
these acquired in the hands of subaltern groups. They drew attention to
that boundary where official reports, orders, writing, and print acquired
meanings and uses unimagined on the side of those who habitually
generated them.
The sometimes-bemoaned entry of postmodern inquiries
into Subaltern Studies, which drew attention to the problem of reading
necessarily-elusive subaltern consciousness, identity, and agency from
representations, placed an additional demand on histories of linguistic
and literary politics in colonial India.
In the context of the developing
debate on nationalism outlined above however, the central challenge posed
by the Subalternists was their delineation of the ways in which subaltern
groups constituted the other of modernity and could never be assimilated,
either by the state, or by dominant articulations of nationalism. The
character of Indian nationalist modernity was framed by these debates.
Lodged in the articulations of the indigenous and often bi-lingual
intelligentsia, they drew their effectiveness from an emerging domain of
publicity, from negotiations with ideas of modernity, and their insertion
into the technologies of governance and political representation. Print
in British colonial India was a visible conduit for these processes.
It is from this particular conjunction of time and colonial processes that
the history of Goa finds itself dislocated. The debates discussed above that
theorize the links between texts, colonial processes, and politics are quite
specific to the form of colonial rule in British India. If one were to hunt
for a similar set of arguments or representations from the Goan nineteenth-
century as those described within colonial Bengal or Maharashtra, they
Introduction 7
would not be hard to find, but appear enmeshed within other puzzling
and contradictory responses that are hard to shake off as incidental or
local exceptions. The discourses and institutions that provide the ground
for the appearance of certain kinds of linguistic politics and the formation
of elite groups may have taken quite different forms in Goa.
The fact of having been colonized from 1510 on suggests that the
encounter with colonialism, if not the particular forms of governmentality
prevalent in British India, would have generated encounters with modernity
before the nineteenth century. In the case of Portuguese colonialism,
however, this is far from being only a question of chronology. A prior
question may be needed to uncover what colonial modernity constitutes
within the history of colonialism in Goa. A critique of Eurocentric accounts
of modernity asks of Foucaults genealogies of modernity: His genealogies
of modern methods of knowledge, power, and selfhood provide no
account of how France and northern Europe came to be defined as
modernitys location.
If critiques of Eurocentric modernity gesture to
the fashioning of Europes sense of self outside European boundaries, in
its colonies, or among creole populations generated through colonialism,
studies of Portuguese colonial history are only too aware of how Europes
Other was also found within itself.
The history of Portugal as a
component of European and world history was successively over-written
by the dominance of Anglo-American historiography. Portugals place
within the history of capitalism, colonialism, the enlightenment, modernity,
and nationalism was dogged particularly in the nineteenth century, with
the threat of being represented as the Other of Europe within Europe.
The question posed within the context of Goa, about the when and how
of modernity, therefore, was linked to Portugals own dilemmas of having
to contest the question emerging from the stern centre of Eurocentrism
of whether it had a modernity at all.
Against narratives of European modernity that are told predominantly
from eighteenth and nineteenth century Anglo-American perspectives,
theorists of imperialism indicate the different philosophical and political
legacies that informed Iberian empires. Anthony Pagdens Lords of All
the World emphasizes for instance the Romanist conception of empire,
law, and governance that shaped Spanish colonies in America.
distinguishing characteristic of such a conception of empire was the
production of polities under a universal and unitary civilizational ideal.
8 Between Empires
Pagden indicates that these notions of simultaneous singularity and
exclusivity were reinforced when accompanied by a distinction between
Christian and non-christian as defining categories.
Therefore, while
the nineteenth century brought its discontinuities and changes, this was
far from a first encounter with colonialism or its intervention into colonial
culture for the territories in Goa first conquered by the Portuguese.
Centuries separate the conquest of areas along the western coast of Goa
known as the Old Conquests, from 1510 on, and the next acquisition in
1763 of Ponda. Between 1763 and 1788, the Portuguese took over the
territories that were known as the New Conquests.
By this time the
Goan colonial elite, both Catholic and Hindu, had already carved out a
presence for themselves on the then vast stage of Portuguese colonialism.
The production of colonial modernities, forced by their incorporation
into this colonial circuit, therefore, was long in the making.
The argument for an early colonial modernity draws from the experience
of Goas forced insertion and reinscription into civilizational and racial
hierarchies, into the identities offered by Christian universalism, and into
norms of governance that characterized the Portuguese Catholic monarchy.
The significant markers associated with nationalism as a period and a
process in British India, such as the production of a colonial elite, of
transformed notions of community, the emergence of anti-colonial
articulations and the use of print for political representation are traceable
in the case of Goa, between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries.
The process by which the church established its authority from the
sixteenth century in Goa involved not only the use of physical violence
and mechanisms of economic punishment or reward, but a more complex
engagement with caste. In fact the effectiveness of early colonial intervention
was due not only to the unquestionable use of violence, but also perhaps
to the fact that a comprehensive religio-political structure simultaneously
replaced notions of kingship, religion, political administration, and
economic control in colonial Goa. Economic privileges and administrative
control were channeled through caste structures, as was the domain of
religion. The church was inserted into traditional cultural practices by
occupying ritually significant positions. These practices were incorporated
into the form of Catholicism generated in the colony. This is evident if
one were to examine just the role of the Foral or charter of 1526. The
Foral or Register of the uses and customs of the Gaunkars and labourers
of the island of Goa compiled in 1524, was among the first Portuguese
documents to be drawn up with the help of the lettered of the land and
was distributed to the gancares, labourers, tributaries, residents and
dwellers of the villages and towns of our city of Goa.
By reordering
Introduction 9
forms of revenue collection, the Foral also prescribed procedures for new
rituals, and installed the Portuguese in positions of ritual authority. Revenues
were farmed through the gaunkaria (a village-level administrative body
that pre-existed and survived rulers prior to the Portuguese), and land
was communally owned and administered, by a hereditarily appointed
group of men. At harvest time, the gaunkar whose fields were the first to
be reaped was instructed to present a sheaf from it before the high altar
of the Church. The bestowing of ritual marks of honour on the gaunkars
that accompanied the harvest ritual thereby fell within the domain of
the Church. The Foral also established that the allocation of other such
insignia, such as the presentation of areca nut, including those that were
markers of caste privileges, was the prerogative of the new rulers.
The offering of betel nut is an honour that may be sold or taken by the
scrivener. No one shall be able to bring torch, andor ( a sort of sedan
chair) or hat without our permission, or that of the Governor, except
those who inherit the right, and those to whom the said licence is given
by us, or our governor on account of a reward for their service.
While this is not a detailed study of Portuguese colonialism in
sixteenth century Goa, such instances not only indicate the transformative
nature of colonial rule in Goa from the beginning, but also suggest the
transformations in the conception of Christian universalism when it
encountered cultural difference.
The nature of control and negotiations conducted between newly-converted
Catholic Goans and Hindus indicates that emerging racial hierarchies that
distinguished Brazilians and Africans from Goans or ndios, also informed
colonial policy.
Though Catholic Goans were the intended subjects of
colonial rule, the impossibility of total conversion forced an accommodation
of cultural difference. The formulation of a set of codes regulating property
and marriage and the banning of a range of rituals and practices (such as
sati) among Hindus and new Christians under the surveillance of the
Inquisition was undertaken through different conceptualizations of
indigenous culture than those arrived at under the British. The formulation
of codes was by way of a default pragmatism, as a management of unintended
colonial difference. These codes were viewed with suspicion by the Inquisition,
which scrutinized local practices and concessions made by the state as
closely as it could, given the circumstances of its location. The importance
10 Between Empires
of factoring in a different pattern of colonialism is most visible if one
considers the divergence in the construction of colonial elites in Goa. It
was the Catholic elite, the primary subjects of colonialism, who could be
potentially assimilated as a part of the unitary empire. The Hindu elite
were constructed by default, without a coherent positive conception of
their position as recipients of colonial rule. The repositioning of Hinduism
in Goa and its cultural practices effected by the threat of conversion and
the Inquisition are yet to be examined in any historical depth, aside from
an emphasis on the intensity and scale of oppression. Sufficient information
exists, however, about the terms and rules required to be followed, regardless
of the degree to which these could be implemented, to suggest that new
modes of enumeration had also been introduced among Hindus who were
not converted.
While Chapter 3 of this book argues against assuming
that the Portuguese colonial state in the nineteenth century was effectively
transformed by modern notions of governmentality, this does not aim
to reproduce the categorization of their colonial practices as pre-modern.
Instead, it emphasizes that questions and notions of modernity were
prefigured from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, and quite
differently for Hindu and Catholic Goans.
Portuguese colonial governance is customarily seen as a pragmatic
compromise that resulted from the colonial zeal for transformation coming
up against an inadequacy of capital and labour.
In particular, the
exemptions from inquisitorial surveillance and the concessions enjoyed
by a range of Hindu groups from the sixteenth century on are attributed
to the need for maintaining alliances beyond the indigenous Catholics,
and to a virtual dependence on local capital and local skills and knowledge.
In the absence of any convincing theorization of the relations between
Goas Hindu subjects from the Old Conquests and the colonial state, it
suffices to say that the pre-nineteenth century interventions in the familial
and ritual life of Hindus were effected in a variety of ways. The colonial
state undertook to curtail practices and legislate in domains that the
British colonial state and the Indian colonial elite would debate at
The difference emphasized here is the one between a colonial
subject conceived of as other than Christan (in the case of 16
Goa) and a subject conceptualized as the other of the West (in the case of
the British). Another aspect that might illuminate the question of Hindu
Goan subjectivity is the difference in state policy towards the Hindus of
the Old Conquests, and those of the New Conquests who were assured
religious freedom from the time these territories were acquired by the state
in the eighteenth century.
This is evident for instance in Cristiana Bastos
discussion of the religious freedoms granted to Hindu physicians, where
Introduction 11
she refers to these groups in the Old Conquests as Christianized Hindu
The issue of a split relation to colonial culture and state power is
therefore not one that has to be posed only between Catholic and Hindu
populations, but between the Hindu subjects of the New and Old
Conquests as well.
This complicates the cultural image that is conjured up if one
characterizes the Iberian empires as an attempt to reproduce a singular
entity through Romanized law and Christianity. It also substantially alters
the fundamental assumptions about the relation to colonial culture and
politics developed by a colonial elite; assumptions that are naturalized in
the case of British India. Caste among indigenous Catholics was restratified
and in the case of the upper castes, certain groups acquired new names
that signified new social identities.
While this was a modernity powered
notoriously by the Inquisition, indigenous Catholics were active in
negotiating new avenues for the articulation of caste identity and power.
The need for indigenous priests in Goa and in other missions propelled
Goan priests into positions where they could negotiate their ascendancy
in the church as insiders despite being restricted to certain echelons within
the church hierarchy.
It is these last two aspects of the encounter between the church and caste
that are significant for a discussion of modernity in Goa, as they signal a
transformation in conventions of representation. The translation and
transposing of symbols of caste into the conventions of Christian
representation enabled mobility in their meanings and in the constitutive
practice of caste. Not only was caste given a history within Christianity,
it was also inserted into the representational norms of the Church, with
a view to altering the processes by which colonial identities would be
accommodated within Catholicism. One of the ways in which both
Church and caste were forced out of traditional modes of representation
into new forms of articulation and representation, was through print.
Three texts in Portuguese prose had emerged at the end of the
seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century.
These defences
of caste loyalties written by Goan priests constructed histories for brahmin
and chardo groups among Goans, and were a sign of the rivalry among
upper caste Goan Catholics for greater power within the church. Two of
these texts that were printed, indicate that the rhetoric against racial
discrimination, and assertions for greater mobility were long in use.
disingenuous arguments by indigenous priests for greater power within
12 Between Empires
the Church made the identity of being Catholic, and being brahmin or
chardo, contingent and increasingly reliant on the effect of representation.
If the reinvention of caste through Christianity and Portuguese print is
symptomatic of colonial modernity in Goa, the participation of the Goan
clergy in discourses of the Church that extended beyond the boundaries
of the empire in Goa, could constitute another such instance. The limits
placed on native ambition and mobility within the church had generated
violent conflict between Goan and non-Goan clergy more than once.
In 1787, a group of Goan priests had been tried, persecuted, and killed
on the charge of conspiring against the Portuguese state and plotting its
The alleged conspiracy was an outcome of resentment among
the Goan clergy over the fact that they were never allowed to rise beyond
a certain point in the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the Catholic Church.
The priests had charged the church with going against its own principles
by permitting racial discrimination to govern its functioning. Arguing
for more space within the church familiarized the Catholic elite with the
experience of battling for space within structures they had come to call
their own, and was a demand for the fulfillment of universalism promised
by the Church. The formation of colonial subjectivity in the case of this
colonial group was effected by altering the discourse of Christianity through
caste in Goa, while staking a claim in the offer of universal egalitarianism
held out by the church through the Portuguese empire.
While the introduction of a printing press in Goa in 1556 spurred the
process of colonial reinterpretation and reinscribing of religious and
linguistic practices, its immediate use was restricted to the domain of the
church. In actual numbers and reach, therefore, and in terms of its discursive
location, this could not be further from the domain of nineteenth century
print. However, not only was the Goan elite already embedded as readers
if not writers in print markets located elsewhere (in Lisbon for example),
but resistance and opposition to colonialism had acquired a range of registers
that underwrote the appearance of similar and different discourses in print
in the nineteenth century. Chapter 3 of this book argues that with the states
singular agenda for the promotion of Portuguese, a bi-lingual print sphere
and its attendant politics did not emerge in nineteenth-century Goa. The
philosophies that urged the construction, teaching, and monitoring of
vernacular as opposed to colonial languages, and indigenous religions, laws,
and customs, did not preoccupy the Portuguese colonial state in quite the
same manner as they did the British. This apparent disinterest, which
Cristiana Bastos describes in relation to the field of medicine as a lack of
interest in exercising colonial biopower, is made visible through the inevitable
Introduction 13
comparison with northern European practices.
Anthony Pagden for
instance suggests as a generalized feature of Iberian colonialism, that,
If the empires of the nineteenth century possessed no larger vision of
themselves which they were prepared to articulate with any force, if they
were, as Marx and others supposed, merely the necessary expression of a
certain kind of economic system, this was, in part at least, because their
ideological groundwork had already been laid out. The older providentialist
languages of imperialism had been transformed into a pretence to
enlightened rationalism.
If one were, therefore, to attempt a history of nineteenth century
print in Goa it would require turning ones back temporarily on the near
natural assumptions evoked by a greater familiarity with historical and
literary writing on British India.
Legislation that effectively debarred Hindus from occupying most
bureaucratic positions or entering the few institutions of higher education
in Goa, ensured that until the late nineteenth century the domain of state
and electoral politics were largely the preserve of the Catholic elite.
the acquisition of new territories towards the end of the eighteenth century
however, Goa as a whole had a marginally greater number of Hindus in
the mid-nineteenth century, and the newly acquired territories were
predominantly Hindu.
Hindu Brahmins, who had worked as political
agents of the Portuguese from the sixteenth century on, had a fair degree
of monopoly in the maintenance of land records, in addition to retaining
control of banking.
The Hindu elite (not just brahmins) found employment
as interpreters and as clerks and scribes in revenue and legal departments
predominantly in the New Conquests, territories acquired in the late
eighteenth century.
Among prominent Hindus, Shankar Shenvi Kenkre,
head of his firm in Cumbarjua and of the most eminent mercantile family
in Goa, was kidnapped by rebelling revenue titleholders in 1852. This
persons position in Goa is (to compare small things with great) something
like what a few years ago that of the Rothschilds was in Vienna or the
Lafittes in Paris. He is the great banker and loan negotiator of the Goa
government. This was one assessment of the family by a government official.
However, for the purposes of demarcating the difference of colonial
Goa, what is significant is that the division of capital and political power
14 Between Empires
and the different constitution as colonial subjects generated a split vision
among the Goan elite of their future under colonial rule. Narratives of
opposition to colonialism, or the chronologizing of moments of political
liberalism and ascendancy differed radically between these two elites.
The Catholic elite were inserted into vocabularies of liberalism and into
ideologies of Christian equality and into the particular relationship
articulated between empire and colony that allowed the production of
discourses that were similar to those of the Latin American colonies. It
was the small fraction of Catholic elite that dominated direct political
representations to and against the state through the first half of the
nineteenth century. The anti-colonial representations of the nineteenth
century (traced in Chapter 1), which seized on the recently introduced
vocabulary of liberalism cannot be seen as a discontinuity with pre-colonial
notions of politics, but as an extension of the struggle for equality within
the Church, and within the Portuguese empire.
A mid-century anonymous diatribe that emerged from Bombay against
anti-Hindu articles that had appeared in newspapers in Goa provided a
defense against the accusation that the unique determinant motive of Hindu
Goans was pecuniary interest and profit, and that Hindus could not
therefore be constitutional citizens.
In response, the writer, a Hindu
from Bombay, resident in Goa, asked how a people who had been excluded
from public office, honours, lucrative gain, and had been subjected to
barbarous insults...could be expected to be paradigms of virtue.
articulation of disaffection or the negotiation for greater opportunity by
the Hindu elites was achieved therefore, through different discourses.
The plurality of political and cultural contexts emerging in nineteenth
century Goa that this dispute indicates is also the point of interest in the
following quote:
Hence, when changing circumstances, such as a growing economic crisis
causing a mass emigration of Goan Catholics to British India and
elsewhere, and the

considerable restriction of the power of the Catholic
orders led to a gradual political liberalization in Goa in the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries, the return of Hindus, the re-erection of Hindu
temples and shrines, and the formal relocation of once displaced deities
brought about a revival of Hindu culture in the former core-areas of
Portuguese and Catholic domination.
It would be too simple a representation of the constitution of the
Hindu subject in Portuguese Goa, however, to imagine that the resurgence
Introduction 15
suggested above was either a pan-Hindu phenomenon, or that it resulted
in a unification of Hindu interests in other realms, such as those of
political representation. Though the colonial state was unquestionably
perceived as hostile, culturally alien and discriminatory by Hindu Goans,
as the unassimilated subjects of the Portuguese empire they were placed
in a curious position. The lifting of Inquisitorial surveillance (whose
effectiveness and actual practice is difficult to gauge) was not replaced
in the nineteenth century by the efficiency of modern techniques of
On the nature of Portuguese colonial rule therefore,
Miguel Vale de Almeida claims that it was only from the establishment
of the Republic in 1910, and with the coming of the dictatorial regime
in 1926, that Portuguese colonialism was implanted in the Estado in the
modern sense of the term colonialismin effect, institutions, courts,
knowledge and discourse.
The Portuguese state did not posit elaborate
theories of tradition, culture, and history that would link the work of
ethnographers, linguists, and historians to the formulation of state policy.
This does not suggest that with the lifting of the Inquisition, Hindu Goans
found that they were unmonitored colonial subjects. However, the demands
of the Hindu elite (largely of the Old Conquests) in the nineteenth century
were demands for a restoration of cultural rights that were granted without
question to those of the New Conquests, and for governmental measures
that would compensate them for the discrimination in the domain of
education and employment that they had suffered in the past, in comparison
with the indigenous Catholic elite. The monopoly of the Catholic elite
over state politics meant that there was comparatively little engagement
from the Hindu elite with questions of constitutionalism or the form of
the state. The difference from British colonialism and British Indian anti-
colonialism, to draw together some of the arguments attempted above, lay
firstly in the absence of governmentality that generated forms of representation
and classification that linked indigenous representative politics and cultural
enumeration through a common template. There was no correspondence
between the manner in which Hindus in Goa were counted and described,
and represented politically. In the absence of such a conjunction, resistance
to Portuguese colonialism, when articulated by the Catholic or Hindu
elite in the nineteenth century did not structure itself through public-
private or tradition-modernity divides, such as those that were arguably
present in British India.
The task of print in the nineteenth century
was not to engage with the experience of colonialism as a new and disruptive
phenomenon, but to recast the relation of the Goan elite to colonialism
in what they envisioned as the context of the nineteenth century.
16 Between Empires
Representing the domain of print in colonial Goa is therefore in part an
attempt to grasp the multiple locations of its colonial elite, and the nature
of the colonial state. An important feature of the political constitution
of the Catholic elite was not merely its dominance within Goa, but also
its substantial encounter with other Portuguese colonies. It is necessary
to capture the self-perception of this elite, which, far from seeing itself
cut off from an indigenous tradition, saw itself as a participant in the
European enlightenment, and in the extension of Portuguese imperialism.
The predominantly upper caste Catholic Goan intelligentsia was
accustomed to a fair degree of mobility within Portugal and its colonies.
Accustomed to holding office in various colonies, alert to academic shifts
and to the workings of power within the Church, the army and the
bureaucracy, the Goan elite was probably accustomed to seeing themselves
as prominent, if not equal, citizens of the expansive cultural milieu that
constituted the Portuguese empire.
The extent of mobility available to the Catholic as opposed to the
Hindu elite is an indication of why the self-construction of the Catholic
elite resonates with the phenomenon of creolization. Along with the
colonial bureaucracy, the church had produced an indigenous clergy in
Goa that could be exported to other Portuguese colonies. Contrasting
the construction of colonial elites in Spanish as opposed to Portuguese
colonies, specifically Brazil, Jos Murilho de Carvalho argues:
My contention is that the...Spanish colonial universities made possible
the creation of numerous local educated elites, with little if any contact
with the mother country or with other neighbouring colonial
subdivisions. But at the same moment, in the former Portuguese colony,
there was a single elite, one that was, so to speak, a small club of friends
and former classmates.

By the nineteenth century, a Catholic Goan quasi-aristocracy was
integrated into a community of academicians and bureaucrats they
encountered in Europe. Some taught in institutions in Portugal and were
members of academic associations across Europe and England, and those
who returned were often inducted into the Portuguese bureaucracy in
Goa. Once again, comparisons with Brazil seem apt, as in the contention
that Brazilian intellectuals moved within the orbit of the mother country,
usually knew it personally, and viewed themselves as part of a broader,
more inclusive tradition.
From 1822, when constitutionalism was
Introduction 17
precariously introduced into Goa, elected representatives (from an exclusive
electorate) were deputed to the Portuguese parliament. Forty-seven of
the fifty-five deputies to Parliament elected between 1822 and 1919
were Goan Catholics. The rest were of Portuguese descent.
Some incidental details surrounding the participants in the priestly
rebellion of 1787 mentioned earlier indicate the extent to which the
Goan elite inhabited the intellectual milieu of Portugal and Europe. The
conspiracy itself was apparently not hatched in Goa alone. One of the
conspirators, Caetano Vitorino de Faria, was accused of travelling to Paris
to meet Tipu Sultan (who paid a visit there in the same year), in order to
urge the French to oust the Portuguese from India. The life of the Faria
family in itself is picturesque. Pe. Farias son (from a failed marriage which
preceded his ordination as a priest), Jos Custodio de Faria (also a priest),
travelled with his father, and became a prominent hypnotist in France.
In 1819, he published a work on hypnotism in French.
His experiments
with magnetism and hypnotism had not yet acquired scientific legitimacy,
and he was the subject of a vaudeville farce in Paris, La Magnetismomanie,
and is said to have inspired the persona of Abb Faria, the prisoner in the
Chateau dIf in Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo.
These avenues of circulation introduced another element into the
constitution of colonial identitythat of race. If the reconstitution of
caste structures through colonial administration and the church signaled
the onset of modernity within Goa, the interpellation of the Catholic elite
into race hierarchies was the process through which they were inducted as
subjects of the wider empire. There were at least two spheres of interaction
through which Goans were inserted into a racialized colonial discourse:
one of these, obviously, is the presence of the colonial state in Goa, and
the other, the circulation of Goans through other Portuguese colonies.
As with the church, the Goan elite used print to protest against racial
discrimination at home, even while they produced descriptive and
ethnographic accounts to insert themselves into a favourable position in
racial hierarchies in Africa.
The role of Goans in other Portuguese colonies has its own complex
history. Goans exercised substantial control over the bureaucracy of
Mozambique for example, until the late eighteenth century, owing in
part to the fact that Goa was the administrative and educational centre
of the Portuguese empire for the early centuries of colonial rule.
presence in East Africa inserted them into a hierarchization of race and
colonial power that differed from their encounter with race within Goa.
From the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries there are instances of
18 Between Empires
racial mixing and indigenization, where Goan families formed marriage
alliances with African kings to expand their powers in Mozambique.
the nineteenth century, however, Goan officials and bureaucrats represented
themselves unmistakably as a part of the Portuguese imperial enterprise
in Africa, through narratives of colonization through which they inserted
themselves as racially neutral pioneers who had thrown in their lot for
the glory of the empire, in civilizing Africa.
Since these zones of contact outside Goa had contributed to shaping
colonial subjectivity, the most obvious question would be whether
creolization would not be an appropriate term to use for a class that found
itself apparently traversing racial and cultural boundaries with some ease.
The term creole has a complex history in different colonies of the English,
French, Spanish and Portuguese. In postcolonial contexts, the term has
been examined for connotations of inclusiveness and exclusiveness that
shape contemporary politics.
Often however, the term had a variable
racial value, and could apply to descendents of white settlers, as in Peru,
or those of black slaves, as in Brazil.
The term also carried national and
linguistic markers.
Recent contestations over the term however, emphasize
that there is an unaddressed assumption that the cultural hybridity assumed
in the state of being creole was implicitly, assimilation to white.
Arguments that address this implication remark that the term has both
the negative connotation of lack, with regard to sullying some essential
racial or old world purity, as well as a related positive connotation of
combining two essentially different groups.
If considered an entity on its own, the context of Portuguese colonialism
does not provide any synthesized connotation to the term crioulo, nor in
fact was there any continuity between the racial categories generated in
each colony.
Historically, the fact of racial mixing did not necessarily
place limits on the positions mixed race individuals need occupy within
the empire. However the official attitude towards the existence of these
populations varied across time, and according to the actual composition
of these figures, whether as African assimilados, Portuguese castios, or
Luso-Indian mestios. Within official categories, the Catholic elite in Goa
were never referred to as Crioulos. An interesting observation in an essay
on creolization within the Portuguese colonial context suggests why the
historical role of the Goan elite indicates that their approximation to
crioulidade (creoleness), or crioulizao (creolisation), is a feature of their
constitution, despite the degree to which their identities were still lodged
within caste hierarchies. The term, according to Miguel Vale de Almeida,
(I)in various contintental African contexts, refers to the historical roots
Introduction 19
of those urban and coastal social groups who mediated between the
administration or Portuguese merchants, and the population of the
While this may have reference to African populations, this
in-between zone was also unquestionably occupied by people from the
Indian sub-continent, among whom were Goans. The author refined the
connotation to the term crioulu in the context of Portuguese colonialism,
to state that it was in keeping with the semi-peripheral and subaltern nature
of Portuguese colonialism, that it generated creolization as a process, but
one that did not lead to a creole identity that was politically projected
as such.
This is perhaps the more appropriate characterization of the
participation of Goans in the discourse of race outside of Goa.
Census categories and typologies reproduced the fluidity of racial
identity prevalent in the Portuguese empire. Within Goa, the appearance
of the Catholic elite as native Christians in census records was not a
clear division of either race or religion, but a combination of the two. At
the beginning of the nineteenth century, census categories divided white
from negro and pardo (both latter terms referred to black populations),
clubbed together Hindus and Muslims, and had a separate slot for native
The terms Hindu and Muslim could still denote racial
difference for the Portuguese. By the 1830s, not only were Hindus and
Muslims counted in different categories, but a broad division between
Europeans and Natives was put into place. This division may have been
intended to demonstrate racial distinctions within the category of
Europeans, as they were divided into Portuguese and descendentes, and
Natives were divided into Christian, Hindu and Muslim.
Aside from
the extension of a broader theorization of racism in the nineteenth century,
it is possible to see these shifts in census categories as emerging from
contemporary political anxieties in Goa. The nineteenth century saw an
increased visibility of racist and racial discourse, with intensified political
rivalry between the metropolitan and the colonial Portuguese, and between
the latter and the indigenous Catholic elite. To a large extent, among the
Portuguese alone, a broad distinction was made between those who were
born in the colony and were therefore tainted by association, if not by
blood, and those born in the metropole (reinois).
This sensitization to
differences in race and religion, therefore, may have been a response to
an immediate political situation through the latent racial divisions that
operated variably from situation to situation.
In Goa, the indigenous Catholic Goan fringe constituted a secondary
elite, in competition with the descendentes who could, in terms of race
alone, be equated with the white creoles of Spanish American colonies. In
20 Between Empires
his chapter, Creole pioneers, Anderson reminds us that Brazil and the
former colonies of Spain were creole states, formed and led by people
who shared a common language and common descent with those against
whom they fought. Goa was not a settler colony in the way that Brazil
was, however, and the descendentes were too few to assume control over
all dominant echelons of power.
To revert to the question of the uses of
race in the running of the empire, it was out of necessity that an indigenous
elite was constructed.
While constructions of nationhood and identity
in Portugals African and Latin American colonies were dominated by the
history and metaphors of racial miscegenation and slavery, questions of
identity in Goa did not hinge on the question of race, even if race occupied
an important place in anti-colonial rhetoric. Though from the perspective
of metropolitan Portuguese, defined racial categories distinguished
Brazilians and Africans from Indians, these operated alongside the careful
calibration of racial difference among the Portuguese themselves.
Goan elite often represented themselves not in subordination to, but in
rivalry with the descendentes for political power. The early decades of
the nineteenth century were marked by conflicts between factions
comprised of both descendentes and elite Goans opposed to or in support
of the declining power of the crown and marked the ascendancy of an
increasingly ambitious colonial elite.
There are, therefore, only certain aspects of the conceptual history of
creoleness that can be used to capture a facet of the existence of the Catholic
elite. This was their sense of the necessity to approximate whiteness in the
various colonial contexts they inhabited. The representations of the elite
reproduced their confident insertion into racial hierarchies outside Goa,
while repetitively reasserting their loyalty and commitment to the
Portuguese Crown.
The fact that they were occupationally poised to
approximate the role of quasi-colonizers, particularly in the African colonies
of both Portugal and Britain provides another aspect that approximates
the position of white creoles, and has resonances with Andersons depiction
of the (implicitly white) traveling colonial functionary.
Race was virtually absent however, as a determinant of power in the
internal stratification of Goan society, and it is this that makes the notion
of creolization most tenuous with regard to the Goan insertion into the
Portuguese empire. The Catholic Goan elite were always also representatives
of their caste groups. They negotiated, simultaneously, political conflicts
around caste and land that were internal to Goan society, along with their
identity as the subordinated subjects of the Portuguese who could be
deputed as colonizers in other contexts of empire. The one did not
Introduction 21
delegitimize the other. It is in this character that they were a somewhat
unique subcontinental colonial elite, and their political articulations were
shaped and striated by these various facets of their political and cultural
composition. Mobility within the Portuguese empire was not restricted to
or even dominated by the Catholic elite. Gujarati traders and Hindu Goan
traders had a substantial presence in these realms. It is the articulation
and representation of their presence, and the association with governance
that gave the Catholic elite their visibility and political dominance.
Miguel Vicente de Abreus Noo da alguns filhos distinctos da ndia
Portuguesa of 1874 had a list of sixty-seven people who had acquired
prominence in their fields outside Portuguese India.
De Abreu had used
the term naturaes as a criterion of selection. The term implied that those
listed were born in Portuguese India, and on that ground, were counted
as the sons or natives of the land. In keeping with the racial distinctions
maintained between the metropolitan and colonial Portuguese, this list
included the descendentes. The study not only listed the village of origin
of each person, but in the case of the Goans, identified their castes. This
was symptomatic of the simultaneously-layered caste and racialized identity
deployed by the Goan elite. Most of them had studied in schools in Europe,
where they remained for a large part of their lives. A few had studied at
the Grant Medical College in Bombay, which had six Goans among its
first students. Only eight of these distinguished sons of Portuguese India
were non-brahmins, and only six of the fifty-nine brahmins were Hindu.
If nineteenth-century Goa was already and inevitably incorporated into
certain forms of modernity, what transformation did the reintroduction
of print in the nineteenth century bring? This study elaborates the ways
in which the phenomenon of print was managed by a colonial state, and
was used by different sections of Goan society. In particular, the initial
sections try to capture how the Goan elite saw itself repositioned in the
nineteenth century, and their elaboration and containment of the political
possibilities that seemed to be open to them. When print was eventually
accessible to the Hindu elite and non-elite Catholics of Goa, it was in
languages other than Portuguese, and articulated concerns that were distant
and opposed to those of this group.
Even if the production of print by non-elite Goans was not contained by
the vision of the elite, the nature of the print sphere was given a distinctive
22 Between Empires
shape by the linguistic policies of the colonial state, as well as by the self-
representations of the elite. These self-representations enjoyed a dominance
that persisted as a naturalized and latent set of assumptions underpinning
the histories of literature, culture, and politics of nineteenth-century Goa.
If one of the most significant contradictions the Bengali colonial elite
found themselves negotiating was the one between the idea of tradition
and the experience of modernity, for the Goan elite, it was the demotion
of Portugal in a global narrative of colonialism, and of a range of attendant
discourses of history, civilization, and culture, which they encountered
as new challenges. This subordination of Goan history to the fortunes of
two colonial powers was both a perception as well as an economic
condition. Though the latter claim about the significance of the Goan
and wider Indian economy to the Portuguese empire is now contested,
the political visibility of Goa to its nineteenth-century elite, in the light
of the increasing prominence of Portugals holdings elsewhere, was much
diminished. This perception was not shaped by the Goan elite alone, but
was moulded through the influence of dominant Anglo- and Eurocentric
representations of history, colonialism, and colonial cultures. The filtering
of these representations combined with the elites own vision of their place
in the world to generate a historiographical framework for nineteenth-
century Goa.
In a lengthy discussion on hybridity and its connotations in postcolonial
theory, Boaventura de Sousa Santos attempts to define a specific space
for the discussion of race and hybridity under Portuguese colonialism. De
Sousa Santos concern is to emphasize that racial and cultural ambiguity
and hybridity between colonizer and colonized, far from being a
postcolonial claim, was the experience of Portuguese colonialism.
the Anglo-Saxon polarization of identity between the colonized and
colonizer that a radical postcolonial critique dislodges by positing hybridity,
the difference in Portuguese colonialism, de Sousa Santos argues, lies in its
hybridity as a historical fact, but, more importantly, as a crisis of identity.
The unraveling of identity produced by Portuguese colonialism, he
emphasizes, is the burden of the colonizer as much as it is that of the
colonized. While Portugal would cite the fact of hybridity as a sign of
the absence of racism and of better colonialism, its own inscription as a
colonized, racially suspect European power endowed it with a double
ambivalence of representation that it would have to negotiate. The
dilemmas of the process of identity formation among the colonized of the
colonized (or among the colonies of Portugal) are broached in this essay,
which suggests that those colonized by the Portuguese always had to situate
Introduction 23
their representations not only in relation to their direct colonizer, but their
indirect colonizer, the British colonial empire. As a colonized elite, situated
favourably in racial terms, in relation to their African counterparts, the
Catholic Goan elite, I suggest, took on the burden of mortification that
Portugal had to bear for being a failed colonial power, as well as the
burden of being a failed colonized elite. This vision that is branded on
their representations in print seemed to be continually reinforced by the
fact of British India and the formation of the Indian elite.
This perception of Goas diminished significance was for some a
pitiable conclusion to its once-prominent position within a global history
of empire.
The importance of Goa to the Portuguese empire from
1510 on had won it the epithet of the Rome of the Orient.
historiography prior to and within the nineteenth century tended to hark
back to this privileged representation and was moulded by the hope of
restoring Goa to its former glory. This hope was tempered, however, by
the realization that Portugals inability to transform its expropriations from
its early colonies into industrial capital had doubly disadvantaged its colonial
dependencies. The proximity to British Indian territories provided visible
evidence, moreover, that even among subordinate colonies, colonial rule
had economically benefitted the elite of some colonies more than it had
that of others. For the Goan elite in the nineteenth century, this position
of keeping Portuguese pride and presence alive in the once powerful Estado
da ndia, while the Goan economy itself fast dwindled, was unsatisfactory.
As they bore witness to their diminishing role in the history of the world,
a narrative of decline became the dominant prism through which the Goan
elite viewed the history of Goa.
This view of colonial history inserted Goa into a temporal bracket generated
by narratives of the economic and political ascendancy of England (and
other northern European nations) as a global imperial power, and
specifically, as the one that was dominant in colonial India. Earlier sections
that describe the absorption of the Goan elite into the spread of empire,
suggest that this experience had already inserted them into a historical
bracket articulated by earlier colonialities. The question of which colonial
time, and which colonial narrative to inhabit appears to have been one
of the implicit challenges confronting the Goan elite. The narrative of
Iberian colonial expansion aligned them with the colonial histories of
Latin American and Portugals African colonies, while the contemporary
24 Between Empires
intellectual dominance of British knowledge production provided them
with a different set of chronologies through which to tell their history.
Walter Mignolos essay, Coloniality of Power and Subalternity, is an
important account of the emergence of these different temporalities.
Mignolos assertion that colonialism has different temporalities when
articulated by different colonial populations is significant for its relevance
to the the case of Goa. His essay, dwells on the problem faced by theorists
of colonialism of identifying beginnings for the history of colonialism:
For Guha, and in general for the South Asian Subaltern Studies group,
there was no choice but to locate the beginning of coloniality in the
emergence of British India. For Latin American intellectuals interested
in understanding coloniality and coloniality of power embedded in nation
building, there was no choice but to locate the beginning in the emergence
of Spanish (and later on Latin) America....
For the historian of Goa, the sixteenth century colonization by the
Portuguese and the subsequent articulation of Goan history, up to the
moment of liberation in 1961 has generated a series of problems resulting
from its isolation from and/or ill-fitting inclusion within histories of
British India. Where Mignolo answers Guhas two hundred years of
solitude under British colonial rule with Latin Americas five hundred,
the historiography of Goa has thus far tended to lay claim to the latter of
these temporalities. Mignolos call to historians of coloniality and to those
involved with subaltern studies in particular, to suggest ways in which
commonalities and joint theorization may be possible, could be addressed
through the experience of colonialism as articulated by the Goan elite.
The articulation of anti-colonial arguments by the Goan elite of
the nineteenth century vividly demonstrates their encounter of the
historiographical anomaly of being part of a long Iberian colonial history,
but geographically joint to British India. The sixteenthcentury beginnings
of colonialism in Goa drew it into histories of Portuguese expansionism
in Asia. The significance of the moment of liberation in 1961 however,
is split between this history, and the uncomfortable proximity to the
recently decolonized Indian state. The pressure of alternate temporalities,
generated by Portuguese and British colonialisms, and alternate narratives
of conquest and liberation, (British colonialism and Indian nationalism)
were visible by the nineteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century,
three dominant historiographical options seemed to weigh on the Goan
literati: nationalist histories of the Portuguese empire and nation, English
Introduction 25
supremacist histories to which Portuguese historians had begun to succumb,
and the range of elite Indian theorizations of colonialism and nationalism.
Goan historiography from the mid-nineteenth century on veered between
inserting itself within histories of the Portuguese empire, Indian nationalism,
and liberal anti-colonial arguments that articulated Goas own specific
encounter with colonialism.
The following chapter will trace the conflicting temporalities through
which the Goan elite voiced their anti-colonial articulations in print.
These overlapping multivalent discursive threads were evident in every
genre of print produced by the elite. They enscapsulate the range of
political and representational alternatives available to the Goan elite from
the initial decades of the nineteenth century on. Chapter 3 suggests that
the reason why an elaboration of the place of the colonial elite preoccupies
the initial sections of this work is that it was the colonial elite, far more
than the colonial state, who were influenced by the disciplinary
transformations resulting from the enlightenment and the effects of these
in the linguistic terrain of British India. It suggests therefore, that the
question of governmentality and the place of writing and representation
in the practice of the colonial state cannot be assumed. In the light of
these arguments about the elite and the state, Chapters 3 and 4 elaborate
the contours of linguistic and educational policies in Goa to highlight
the role of the indigenous elite as actors and decision makers against the
states uncertain and enforced incorporation of enlightenment reforms.
Subsequent chapters of this book concern themselves with detailed studies
of the emergence of newsprint, pamphlets, novels, and literary histories,
to elaborate how questions of representation, genre, publicity, and literary
history had divergent histories among non-elite and elite writers, as a
consequence of the nature of linguistic and print politics. In conclusion,
this book traces the resonance of the vision of the elite in mid-twentieth
century articulations, to suggest that the erasure of the specificity of
colonialism in Goa, and the structure and responses of various elements
of colonial society enables the history of Goa to be overwritten by the
narrative of Indian nationalism.
1. Alexander Henn in The Becoming of Goa, states By turning towards
the nineteenth century, the name of Goa had become not only a current
political designation for the whole of the territories which the Portuguese
26 Between Empires
controlled on the Konkan coast, but also a cultural framework within and
through which Goans began to reflect their cultural and religious identities
in a new way. Alexander Henn, The Becoming of GoaSpace and
Culture in the Emergence of a Multicultural Lifeworld, Lusotopie (2000),
pp. 3339.
2. Vimala Devi and Manuel de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I,
(Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971).
3. Teotonio R. de Souza, The Voiceless in Goan History, in Goa to Me (New
Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1994). De Souza suggests that the
narrative of the Portuguese empire, which celebrates the memory of the
sixteenth century in Goa, when it was profitable for the imperial economy,
has also shaped the historiography of Goa.
4. Robert S. Newman, Goa: The Transformation of an Indian Region, Pacific
Affairs, 57, no. 3, 1984, p. 429.
5. Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1989).
6. Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, After Orientalism: Colonialism and English
Literary Studies in India, Social Scientist 16, no. 7, 1986.
7. Svati Joshi, ed., Rethinking EnglishEssays in Literature, Language, History
(New Delhi: Trianka, 1991); Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, The Lie of the Land
(Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992); Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, Empire,
Nation and the Literary Text, in Interrogating Modernity, Tejaswini Niranjana,
P. Sudhir, and Vivek Dhareshwar, eds (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1993).
8. See for instance Jasodhara Bagchi, Positivism and NationalismWomanhood
and Crisis in Nationalist Fiction: Bankimchandras Anandmath, Economic
and Political Weekly of India, XX, no. 43, 1985; Tilottama Misra, Social
Criticism in Nineteenth Century Assamese Writing, Economic and Political
Weekly of India, XX, no. 37, 1985; Tanika Sarkar, Nationalist Iconography:
Image of Women in 19th century Bengali literature, Economic and Political
Weekly of India, XXII, no. 47, 1987.
9. Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory (London: Verso, 1992).
10. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments (USA: Princeton University
Press, 1993), Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1983).
11. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments.
12. Ibid., p. 6.
13. Jrgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public SphereAn
Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans., Thomas Burger with the
assistance of Frederick Lawrence (USA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Introduction 27
14. Veena Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere (Delhi:
Permanent Black, 2001); Anindita Ghosh, Power in Print (Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 2006).
15. Timothy Mitchell, ed., Questions of Modernity, vol. 11, Contradictions of
Modernity (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000).
16. Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments, pp. 3575.
17. Mitchell, ed., Questions of Modernity. Mitchells introduction cites Chatterjee
among a range of other studies on British India that trace the staging of
modernity within cinema, medicine, and within notions of time.
18. Sudipta Kaviraj, The Imaginary Institution of India, in Subaltern Studies,
ed. Partha Chatterjee and Gyanendra Pandey (Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1992).
19. Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere.
20. S. Kaviraj, On the Construction of Colonial Power: Structure, Discourse,
Hegemony, in Politics in India, Sudipta Kaviraj, ed. (Delhi: Oxford University
Press, 1999).
21. Ibid., p. 148.
22. To cite only a few examples, Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant
Insurgency in Colonial India (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983); Shahid
Amin, Event, Metaphor, Memory, Chauri-Chaura, 19221992 (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1995); Ajay Skaria, Writing, Orality and Power
in the Dangs, Western India, 1800s-1920s, in Subaltern Studies IX, ed. Shahid
Amin and Dipesh Chakravorty (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996).
23. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Can the Subaltern Speak, in Colonial Discourse
and Post-Colonial Theory, Laura Chrisman and Patrick Williams, eds, (New
York: Columbia University Press, 1994). For critiques of the changed focus
and meanings of the term subaltern over the duration of the project, see
Sumit Sarkar, The Decline of the Subaltern, in Writing Social History (New
Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1997); K. Sivaramakrishnan, Situating the
Subaltern: History and Anthropology in the Subaltern Studies Project, in
Reading Subaltern Studies, David Ludden, ed. (Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001).
24. Francesca Orsini therefore states in The Hindi Public Sphere 19201940, A
general model that encompasses the literary, social, and political phenomena
as well as activities, institutions, actors and discourses is thus required.
Francesca Orsini, The Hindi Public Sphere (Delhi: Oxford University Press,
25. Mitchell, ed., Questions of Modernity.
26. Luis Madureira, Tropical Sex Fantasies and the Ambassadors Other Death:
The Difference in Portuguese Colonialism, Cultural Critique no. 28, Autumn,
28 Between Empires
1994. Madureira cites several characterizations of Portuguese colonialism
and culture over the centuries that subordinate it to being an outsider in
27. Anthony Pagden, Lords of all the World (New Haven and London: York
University Press, 1995).
28. Ibid., p. 20.
29. Pratima Kamat, Farar Far, Local Resistance to Colonial Hegemony in Goa
15121912 (Panaji: Institute Menezes Braganza, 1999).
30. Registry of the uses and customs of the Gancares, and working men, of
this island of Goa, and her annexes, Corpo de Gavetas, Gaveta 20, Mao
10, 1524, pp. 361, IOL.
31. Foral de usos e costumes dos Gancares e Lavradores desta Ilha de Goa, e
outras annexas a ella, in J. H. da Cunha Rivara, ed., Archivo Portuguez Oriental,
vol. Fascculo 5, 1er parte (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1865). Also see P.
P. Shirodkar, Socio-Cultural Life in Goa during 16
Century, in Charles J.
Borges and Helmut Feldmann, eds, Goa and PortugalTheir Cultural Links,
XCHR Studies Series No. 7 (New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company, 1997).
32. Felipe Nery Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica
Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza (Nova Goa: Typographia
da Cruz, 1879), p. 20. Eighteenthcentury instructions warning against
racial discrimination in schools and colleges in Asia, added the caveat that
this would be easier to follow in Asia, where the people were so intelligent
and of such clear and delicate judgment, as is evident, while those of
Maranho (a territory in Brazil) were all savage, barbarous and rude.
33. A. K. Priolkar, The Goa Inquisition (Bombay: A. K. Priolkar, 1961). Also
see Rowena Robinson, The Construction of Goan Interculturality: A
Historical Analysis of the Inquisitorial Edict of 1736 as Prohibiting (and
Permitting) Syncretic Practices, in Goa and PortugalHistory and
Development, Charles J. Borges, Oscar G. Pereira, Hannes Stube, eds (New
Delhi: Concept Publishing Co., 2000). The claim that two ethnographic
texts that were produced in the eighteenth century were written by Ananda
Camotim Vaga, an official interpreter who may have been among the earliest
Hindus to write in Portuguese, is another sign of the distinct history of the
pre-nineteenth-century Hindu encounter with colonialism that needs to
be plotted. Panduranga S. Pissurlencar, Um Hindu, Autor desconhecido
de duas publicaes Portuguesas, in Sep. De Memrias da Academia das
Cincias de Lisboa, tomo VII. (Lisboa: Ottosgrfica Ltd., 1959). Pissurlencar
suggests that the text Notcia Summria do Gentilismo da Azia was written
in the eighteenth century by Ananta Camotim Vaga.
Introduction 29
34. G. V. Scammel, The Pillars of Empire: Indigenous assistance and the
Survival of the Estado da India, c. 16001700, Modern Asian Studies 22,
no. 3 (1988), p. 477. Scammel states, Only by such pragmatism could
Portugal, a tiny and backward country, desperately short of manpower and
skills, survive...
35. Cristiana Bastos, Race, Medicine and the Late Portuguese Empire: The
Role of Goan Colonial Physicians, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies
5, no. 1 (2005).
36. Robinson, The Construction of Goan Interculturality.
37. C.R. Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 14151825 (London:
Hutchinson and Co., 1969).
38. Bastos, Race, Medicine and the late Portuguese empire: the role of Goan
colonial physicians, p. 30.
39. The formation of the chardo caste among Catholics, often interpreted as
subordinate to brahmin, was a neologism that emerged much before the
nineteenth century.
40. Foucaults The Order of Things suggests that a dissociation of meaning
between words and things marks a transformation in representation from
the nineteenth century on. With language no longer the indispensable
link between representation and things, he stated, a profound historicity
penetrates into the heart of things, isolates and defines them in their own
coherence.... And as language loses its privileged position, it becomes in
turn, a historical form, coherent with the density of its own past. Michel
Foucault, The Order of Things (UK: Tavistock Publications, 1970), p. xxiii.
41. Pe. Francisco de Rego, Tratado Apologtico contra vrias calumnias
impostas pela malevolncia contra a sua Nao Bracmana, (1686), Pe.
Antnio Joo de Frias, Aurela dos ndios & nobiliarchia bracmana. Tratado
histrico, genealgico, panegyrico political, & moral (Lisboa: Officina de
Miguel Deslandes, impressor de Sua Magestade, 1702), and Leonardo Pais,
O Prompturio das Diffinioens Indicas deduzidas de vrios chronistas da ndia,
graves authores, & das histrias gentlicas (Lisboa: Officina de Antnio Pedrozo
Galram, 1713). Rego is said to have produced Comdias Varias, which to
date remains unpublished. See Digo Barbosa Machado, ed., Bibliotheca
Lusitana histrica, crtica e cronolgica Lisboa: 174159.
42. The first of these to have been produced, Pe. Francisco de Regos Tratado
Apologtico, probably remained in manuscript form.
43. See for instance accounts of disturbances over the election of the first Goan
bishop, D. Matheus de Castro Mahale in the seventeenth century in Teotonio
R. deSouza, Christianisation of Goa and Cultural Conflicts, in Goa To Me,
30 Between Empires
(New Delhi, Concept Publishing Co., 1994). See also correspondence from
1761, alleging that the Jesuits, contradictory to the orders of the Viceroy,
would not admit Goans to seminaries. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao
da Instruco Pblica Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza,
p. 11.
44. A. A. Bruto da Costa, Goa sob a dominao Portuguesa (Margao: Tip. O
Ultramar, 1896).
45. Bastos, Race, Medicine and the Late Portuguese Empire: The Role of Goan
Colonial Physicians, p. 27.
46. Pagden, Lords of all the World, p. 10.
47. Voting rights were restricted through economic criteria to a fraction of the
population. Portarias do Ministrio do anno de 1846, vol. 355 (220A),
Mones do Reino 184552 (Panjim: DAAG). Some sources suggest that no
more than 40,000 in a population of 5,50,000, were granted franchise. B. G.
DSouza, Goan Society in Transition (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1975).
48. By 1835, there were an equal percentage of Catholics and Hindus in Goa,
though the Old Conquests that had a far higher percentage of Catholics
were far more densely populated than the New. A total of 1,11,810 people
lived in the New Conquests, as opposed to the 1,91,268 in the Old Conquests.
Rudy Bauss, A Demographic Study of Portuguese India and Macau as Well
as Comments on Mozambique and Timor, 17501850, Indian Economic
and Social History Review, vol. XXXIV, no. AprilJune (1997).
49. Panduranga S. Pissurlencar, Colaboradores Hindus de Afonso de
Albuquerque, in Boletim do Instituto Vasco da Gama de Nova Goa, no. 49,
(Bastora: Tipografia Rangel, 1941), and Panduranga S. Pissurlencar, Agentes
da Diplomacia Portuguesa na ndia (Bastora: Tip. Rangel, 1952). Pissurlencars
accounts of Hindu Goan agents who worked for the Portuguese, traces
their role as ambassadors and aides for the regime from the sixteenth century
and plots familial links and professional continuity between free agents of
the sixteenth century who reportedly assisted Albuquerque in his conquests
and the officials of state of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
50. Ibid.
51. Political Department, vol. 155, No. 31, 1852, Maharashtra State Archives.
Within the seventeenth century itself, when one might imagine that the
Inquisition had a stronger influence, only 20 per cent of the listed tax-farmers
were Catholic. 50 per cent of the posts were held by Saraswat brahmins, and
30 per cent by other Hindus. Celsa Pinto, Merchants: Social Identities and
Business Strategies, in Trade and Finance in Portuguese India, (Xavier Centre
for Historical Research, Goa, 1993), p. 53. As owners of agency-houses,
Introduction 31
insurers, traders, and moneychangers dominant Hindu castes have a substantial
presence in government and private records. Ibid., pp. 5084.
52. Ensaio Panegyrico sobre a obra do Sr. Vasconcellos por um Hindu de Bombay
Residente em Goa, (Bombay: Thomas Graham Press, 1859).
53. Ibid., p. 10.
54. Henn, The Becoming of GoaSpace and Culture in the Emergence of a
Multicultural Lifeworld, p. 3.
55. Miguel Vale de Almeida, Crioulizao e Fantasmagoria, Srie Antropologia
365 (2004).
56. Ibid., p. 5.
57. Chatterjee, The Nation and its Fragments, p. 26; Partha Chatterjee, The
Thematic and the Problematic, in Nationalist Thought and the Colonial
World: A Derivative Discourse? (USA: University of Minnesota Press,
58. Jose Murilho de Carvalho, Political Elites and State Building: The Case of
Nineteenth-Century Brazil, in Comparative Studies in Society and History
24, no. 3 (1982), pp. 37899.
59. Stuart B. Schwartz, The Formation of a Colonial Identity in Brazil, in
Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World 15001800, Nicholas Canny and
Anthony Pagden, eds (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987), p. 37.
60. Biografia de Camillo Vicente da Silva Coelho, (Nova Goa: Typografia da
Casa Luso-Franceza, 1905).
61. Jos Custdio de Faria, De la cause du sommeil lucide ou tude de la nature
de lHomme (1815), (Paris: Henri Jouve Editeur, 1906).
62. D. G. Dalgado, Mmoire sur la vie de labb de Faria, (Paris, 1906). Jules
Vernets La Magntismomanie was first performed at the Thtre des Varits
in 1816. Also see Hannes Stube, Jos Custdio de Faria, the School of
Nancy and Sigmund Freud: An Unknown Goan source for Psychoanalysis,
and Chirly dos Santos-Stubbe, Abade Faria (17561819) in Scientific and
Fine Arts Literature, in Borges, Pereira, and Stube, eds, Goa and Portugal
History and Development.
63. Manfred F. Prinz, Intercultural Links between Goa and Mozambique in
their Colonial and Contemporary History: Literary Mozambiquean Traces,
in Borges and Feldmann, eds, Goa and PortugalTheir Cultural Links.
Prinz argues that Mozambiques dependence on the Goan economy
continued until Pombal attempted to centralize economic control in
Portugal. Mozambiques economic dependence on India however, is also
substantially due to the activity of traders from the western coast of India.
64. Allen Isaacman and Barbara Isaacman, The Prazeros as Transfrontiersmen:
32 Between Empires
A Study in Social and Cultural Change, The International Journal of African
Studies 8, no. 1 (1975).
65. Augusto Estanislau Xavier Soares, Descripo da Villa de Sofalla (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1857), J. J. Antonio de Campos, Antiguidades Portuguesas
em Mombasa e na Costa de Azania, sep. De Boletim do Instituto Vasco da Gama
(Bastora: Typografia Rangel, 1934). Aquino Furtado, Cidades Africanas
Suakim e Porto Sudaonotas de viagem (Rio de Janeiro: Papelaria Venus,
66. Supriya Nair, Creolization, Orality, and Nation Language in the Caribbean,
in A Companion to Postcolonial Studies, Henry Schwarz and Sangeeta Ray
eds, (UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2000).
67. Ibid., p. 237.
68. Miguel Vale de Almeida provides an account of how the appearance of race
discourse worked as a legitimating fantasy and theory for Portuguese
colonialism. Vale de Almeida, Crioulizao e Fantasmagoria.
69. Ibid., p. 8.
70. Faith Smith, Introduction, Creole RecitationsJohn Jacob Thomas and
Colonial Formation in the Late Nineteenth-Century Caribbean (USA:
University of Virginia Press, 2002), p. 3.
71. The term crioulo in contemporary usage, refers to the culture and identity
of Caboverdian migrants to contemporary Portugal, according to Vale de
Almeida, as well as to the descendants of black slaves in Brazil. Vale de Almeida,
Crioulizao e Fantasmagoria. Timothy Walkers, Abolishing the Slave Trade
in Portuguese India: Documentary Evidence of Popular and Official
Resistance to Crown Policy, 184260, discusses the shifting meanings of
racial terms within and between Portuguese colonies, with varying denotations
of lineage, purity and miscegenation. Timothy Walker, Abolishing the Slave
Trade in Portuguese India: Documentary Evidence of Popular and Official
Resistance to Crown Policy, 184260, Slavery and Abolition 25, no. 2 (2004).
72. Vale de Almeida, Crioulizao e Fantasmagoria., p. 2.
73. Ibid., p. 3.
74. Mappas da Populao, vol. 274, pp. 35761, Mones do Reino (Panjim:
DAAG, 1800), Mappas da Populao, vol. 276, fls. 18993, Mones do Reino
(Panjim: DAAG, 1801).
75. Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere.
76. C. R. Boxer, Portuguese India in the Mid-Seventeenth Century (Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1980).
77. Anderson, Imagined Communities. Anderson in fact quotes Charles Boxers
argument that in the eighteenth century, the enlightened autocrat Pombal
not only expelled the Jesuits from Portuguese domains, but made it a criminal
offence to call coloured subjects by offensive names... But he justified this
Introduction 33
decree by citing ancient Roman conceptions of imperial citizenship, not
the doctrines of the philosophes. (p. 60).
78. See Patrick Chabal, ed., The Post-Colonial Literature of Lusophone Africa
(Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1996).
79. Each Portuguese colony had developed its own internal practice of racial
hierarchization and discrimination. Of a similar stratification in Brazil, Stuart
B. Schwartz claims, As elsewhere in the Americas, in Brazil the Indians provided
an example of what the colonists were not and what they should not be. The
colonists thus had a standard by which they could measure themselves. Social
distinctions of noble and commoner were transferred from Portugal, but in
the colony, especially on the frontiers, these tended to be levelled and replaced
by a hierarchy based on race and European culture, in which the Indian and
later the African provided the base point against which status was judged.
Schwartz, The Formation of a Colonial Identity in Brazil, pp. 267.
80. Newspapers and pamphlets circulated during the political disturbances of
the 1820s reveal the factionalist rivalry between Goan elites and the
descendentes. Antnio Maria da Cunha, A Evoluo do Jornalismo na ndia
Portuguesa, in A ndia Portuguesa (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1923).The
quick deposing of the Goan Prefect, Bernardo Peres da Silva, fifteen days
after he had made a beleaguered arrival in Goa following his appointment
in Portugal in 1835 provides another instance. See Resumo Histrico da
Rebelliam que arrebentou em Goa, (Bombay: Jose Francisco de Aguiar, 1835).
81. Soares, Descripo da Villa de Sofalla. C. M. Ribeiro, Os Indo-Portugueses
Perante a Histria da Colonizao de Moambique, Joao Luis Cezario de
Nazareth ed. (Loureno-Marques: Tipografia Minerva Central, 1930).
Ribeiro elaborated the professions and contributions of various Goans who
had made sacrifices to maintain the empire in Mozambique.
82. Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 58.
83. Miguel Vicente de Abreu, Noo de alguns filhos distinctos da ndia Portuguesa
que se illustraram fora da Ptria (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1874).
84. Pramod Kale, Goan Intellectuals and Goan IdentityAn Unresolved
Conflict, Economic and Political Weekly of India (1994). Kale maps these
divisions onto the Gramscian distinctions between traditional and organic
intellectuals. See also Raghuraman S. Trichur, The Politics of Goan
Historiography, Lusotopie 2000, http://www.lusotopie.sciencespobordeaux.fr/
somma2000.html., pp. 63746, which discusses the world-view of the Sudhirs
(Sudras) emerging in the late nineteenth century as a critique of the Lusophile
Goa Dourada view.
85. Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Between Prospero and Caliban: Colonialism,
Postcolonialism, and Inter-identity, Luso-Brazilian Review XXXIX, no. II
(2002), p. 16.
34 Between Empires
86. See for instance Gonalo de Magalhes Teixeira Pinto, Memrias sobre as
Possesses Portugueses na Asia (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1859). Teixeira
Pintos depiction of the deserted fields of Goa, abandoned by those who
could no longer withstand rural poverty, and of the diminished potential
for entrepreneurship, particularly among the dispossessed Hindu Goans,
evokes a richer past.
87. de Souza, The Voiceless in Goan History. De Souza emphasizes the paucity
of historical works that do not reproduce the myth of Goa Dourada or
Golden Goa, pp. 6971.
88. Walter D. Mignolo, Coloniality of Power and Subalternity, in The Latin
American Subaltern Studies Reader, Ileana Rodriguez, ed. (USA: Duke
University Press, 2001).
89. Ibid., pp. 4244.
Borrowing a Past 35
Borrowing a Past
History, Culture, Nation
In his theorization of the subaltern status of Portuguese colonialism in
relation to the normative status of British colonialism, Boaventura de
Sousa Santos says,
the subalternity of Portuguese colonialism resides in the fact that, since
the seventeenth century, the history of colonialism has been written in
English, not in Portuguese. This means that the Portuguese colonizer
has a problem of self-representation rather similar to that of the British
In this exploration of the implications of Portugals fractured relation to
normative histories, for the production of Portuguese subjectivity, de Sousa
Santos also observes:
A particularly complex research topic consists in assessing to what extent
this problem of the Portuguese colonizer reverberates in the Portuguese
colonized. Could it be that the Portuguese colonized have a double problem
of self-representation: vis--vis the colonizer that colonized them, and vis-
-vis the colonizer that, not having colonized them, has nonetheless
written the history of their colonial subjugation?
Both Walter Mignolo, cited earlier, and de Sousa Santos, draw on
Immanuel Wallersteins notion of a world-system, with its peripheral zones
that are necessary, but not dominant within the history of capitalism, to
situate the political consciousness of the colonies of peripheral capitalist
Arguments against such a theorization indicate that it ensures
a continuing historiographical centrality to European politics and economic
activity in areas and at times when this has been contested.
Even if one
were not to assume the claims to economic and political dominance,
36 Between Empires
Mignolo and de Sousa Santos exploration of the effects of representations
of dominance on the psyche of the colonized are of importance. De Sousa
Santos description of the complexity of representational choices
confronting the Portuguese colonized resonates with the temporal and
political dilemmas of the Goan elite.
Cultural histories of nineteenth-century Goa speak of the sudden and
prolific print material circulating through the century as an intellectual
renaissance spurred by the reintroduction of the printing press (after its
initial introduction in the sixteenth century).
The tumultuous entry of
constitutionalism in 1821 had helped lift the ban on print in the region.
Though the print production of this period would be termed a renaissance
only at the beginning of the next century, the term was a historiographical
consequence of the ideologies that eventually proved dominant in
nineteenth-century Goa. With each text produced, the historically self-
conscious literati elaborated their place in the world. As subjects of the
declining empire, the logic of their arguments suggested, they had imbibed
the flaws that had led to the decline of the mother country. In unravelling
the strands to nineteenth-century print produced by the Catholic elite,
however, the most volubly invoked discourse of the early decades, at first
glance, seemed to be that of anti-colonial liberalism.
This critique of colonialism, as the previous chapter has argued, can
only be understood in terms of its continuity with earlier ideologies of
empire and critiques of those ideologies. This continuity between the
ideals of a constitutional monarchy and prior frameworks was as visible
in Portugal, as in Brazil. An account of the critiques of colonialism
prevalent in nineteenth-century Brazil emphasizes that the introduction
of constitutionalism both limited the powers of the Crown and assured
its continuity.
Anthony Pagdens Lords of all the World examines the
different ideologies of empire underpinning the Spanish, British and French
imperial projects.
By the end of the eighteenth century, the European
empires in America had become very different kinds of polities, but in
their links with their respective mother countries they could never fully
escape the terms of their creation, he states, of the nature of movements
for independence in Latin America.
Patrick Wilckens A colony of a
ColonyThe Portuguese Royal Court in Brazil, which describes the
political climate between 1807 and 1822, when the Portuguese Court
shifted to Brazil emphasizes, the unseemly appearance of a European court
Borrowing a Past 37
resident in one of its own colonies that generated widespread discontent
within Portugal.
The liberal protests of 1820, and the talk of revolution,
Wilcken indicates, were prompted as much by the unsightly vision of
transformation from metropolitans into colonials, as by other ideological
and economic compulsions.
Opposition to colonialism among Goans
was couched alternately as a declaration of rights as constitutional citizens,
while avowing loyalty to the Crown as an overarching authority. The
comparison with Brazil, as Wilckens and Schultzs work indicates, is severely
limited by the constraints on and situation of the colonial elite in Goa.
The availability of capital in Brazil, its political and economic significance
to empire, and the prominence of race as a structuring social trope
underwrote the transformative potential of the discourse of constitutionalism.
No other colonial power transferred its capital from the metropole to
the colony as Portugal did between 1808 and 1821 due to the Napoleonic
wars. This particular move led to the emergence of Rio de Janeiro as the
center of the Portuguese empire, states Fernando Arenas of the reasons
that contributed to the construction of nationhood and subjectivity in
Brazil also had distinct regional economies and elites in
Pernambuco, Bahia, and Sao Paolo, well able to declare their own stance
on autonomy from Portugal.
The potential of (t)his quest for a new, transparent language of politics,
in opposition to the deceptive one of the old regime within Goa however,
was contained to a degree that is belied by the enthusiasm with which
the new language was adopted by the colonial elite.
In 1866, when
Rustomjee Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy one of the wealthiest Parsi industrialists
of Bombay visited Goa, he is said to have granted 15,000 Rupees to the
government for a public utility, and rented lands for 10,000 Rupees for
fifty years for the plantation of opium.
In contrast, at the end of the
nineteenth century, two separate critiques of Portuguese economic policy
in Goa claimed that no one possessed an annual income of over 20,000
Rupees, and that it would be difficult to find 200 people in Goa with an
annual rent of a 1000 rupees.
Fr. Antonio F. X. Alvares, a particularly
articulate opponent of Portuguese governance, declared that a middle
class Goan with land had about 650 rupees in hand annually, after paying
all dues and taxes. This was scarcely sufficient to meet the needs of a
family in 1877, he said. When rents doubled by 1899, a person was left
with scarcely 400 rupees a year.
In combination with these factors, the fractured relation to colonial
interventions in the realm of culture positioned various groups quite
differently in relation to the state. Anti-colonial articulations by the Hindu
38 Between Empires
elite in Goa had a greater political affinity (at least in terms of the language
of opposition) with elite Hindu groups in neighbouring territories under
British rule, than with the Catholic elite within Goa. The nineteenth
century was characterized by occasional bids for state power made by the
Catholic elite, and violent rebellions led by the (predominantly Hindu)
revenue chiefs and peasants of the New Conquests, with little sign of
solidarity between the two. Nor did the Hindu elite of the Old Conquests
and the revenue chiefs of the New Conquests ever construct a common
identity on the ground of cultural affinity. Since the Catholic elite had a
monopoly over access to print and, by default, to election to the Cortes in
Portugal, the initial decades of the nineteenth century saw the emergence
of anti-colonial critiques in print directed to the state, from this fraction of
society. Akin to the class of letrados in Angel Ramas The Lettered City who
wove a tissue of signification through their world of letters, when the
Catholic elite argued for a larger space within the church and state, these
were couched as opposition to discrimination by Portugal against the
region as a whole, with little expectation of seeing this manifested in any
realm outside of print.

Academic societies in both Portugal and Goa which had been instituted
as a sign of the flowering of enlightenment learning, provided institutional
support for the production of secular hagiographies of Portuguese
colonialists. The commemoration of the conquest of Goa in 1510 in
the November of each year for instance encouraged the production of
flattering poems and biographies of Albuquerque.
Despite this, the
always-loyal texts fluctuated between maintaining the terms of Portuguese
narratives of nationalism, while incorporating calls for specifically Goan
nationalism. Histories, geographies, literary histories, and popular print
forms such as newspapers and pamphlets began to manifest these
contradictory and assertive declarations. The initial verses of Fernando
Leals famed poem A Reconquista de Goa, written to commemorate the
anniversary of the reconquest of Goa by the Portuguese in 1510, were
appropriately celebratory of Portugals imperial glory.
The poem wound
its way, however, towards being a song of disenchantment sung by the
progeny of the land, mourning the current abject and subordinate position
of a nation.
The vocabulary of liberalism helped script a strong current of anti-
colonial opposition whose clarity and vehemence was a contrast to the
Borrowing a Past 39
derivative narratives of cultural and economic progress that eventually
endured as the dominant framework to understand Goan history. These
initial promising critiques took the form of political and economic histories
that sought to reinterpret contemporary and past conflicts between Goans
and Portuguese as a series of efforts by Goans to combat oppressive rule.
When the Goan elite criticized colonial governance, their complaints were
couched as a plea to the Portuguese Crown against its representatives in
Goa. The misrule of the government in Goa, these complaints implied,
was a betrayal of the true principles of Portuguese governance, which the
crown was invited to restore. The O Paiz in 1873 addressed the Portuguese
metropolitan government as a paternal authority, even as it constructed
a legacy of anti-colonialism.
we the grandchildren of Peres da Silva would be the first to proclaim the
independence of Goa, not because the gentle dominion of the Portuguese
weighs on us but by the natural tendency of the human spirit for liberty:
and Portugal should pride itself on this fact as would a mother who sees
the son she educated occupying a prominent place in society.
The reference to Peres da Silva, the first Goan to be nominated in
Portugal as the Prefect of Goa, the highest political authority in the colony,
is significant. In a much-embattled brief fortnight of rule in 1835, Peres
da Silva had pushed through a series of reforms that were beneficial to
the economy and people of Goa, before he was ousted by a coup. The
invocation of da Silva as a political legacy is an unmistakeable construction
of a history of anti-colonialism, or of the articulation of a political realm
potentially autonomous from Portugal.
As they analysed and identified all that was wrong with the land,
writers also identified reasons internal to Goan society by which to explain
its predicament. Economic histories, for instance, attributed the problem
to the faltering Goan capacity for entrepreneurship. In 1823, Teixeira
Pintos commentary on Portuguese possessions in India, which set out
to explain the reason for their decline, held both Catholics and Hindus
culpable for their flawed economic choices.
According to the writer,
by the beginning of the century, agricultural production was insufficient
to meet the needs of the people, and Goa had begun to import essential
food-grains. In such a situation, he said, Hindus and Catholics, and
especially the latter, had lost their entrepreneurial skills, and Hindus, who
were a prodigious commercial force prior to colonization, had failed in
their endeavours. Teixeira Pinto emphasized the consequent reliance on
40 Between Empires
the colonial bureaucracy for employment: one often sees many people
striving for the same position which would not earn them more than
600 xerafins annually.
As early as 1823, according to the author, public
office in Goa or service of any sort under the English was much sought
after. This mania is common amongst Goans, concluded the author,
among both Hindus and Catholics.
By the end of the century, as increasingly blinkered economic policies
had led to famine, mass migration, and the impoverishment of Goas
rural economy, even otherwise measured economic analysts were sharp
in their criticism. The first privately-owned newspaper to be printed, O
Ultramar whose editor was often elected as a representative from Goa,
criticized what it saw as the overall uselessness of attempts at reforming
the educational system:
But with fifteen years of experience of this we may gauge our progress in
the state of the rural economy, by the way in which the construction of
the railway has initiated expropriations in the country, in political economy,
by the admirable fiscalisation of the same construction, and in agriculture,
by the present state of our imports and exports. We are outside the atrium
of material civilisation with our bravado of elections, of military parades,
and of religious pomp. We import pineapples from California, salmon
from Colombia, sarsaparilla from Jamaica, peas from France...and
cheroots that come from India return to us as essencia febrifuga.
At the end of his statistical essay on trade and economy, another
prominent news writer and priest, Pe. Alvares indicated how Portuguese
policy had strengthened Portuguese as well as British markets.
The priest,
whose unorthodox stances on Catholicism, as on Portuguese colonialism
brought him visibility and notoriety, tried to initiate a campaign in 1895
to boycott all Portuguese imports.
There are few signs that the Association
against luxurious items was successful.
Alvares suggestions that coconut
oil be used to light lanterns in ballrooms and that only palm or coconut
feni be consumed (among other wider economic programmes), could
not form the basis of a mass movement. Along with Bernardo Francisco
da Costa, the editor of the Ultramar, Pe. Alvares was also associated with
newspapers that were subject to state surveillance and with the more
vigorous opponents to colonial policies. To explain the marginalization
of Goans within their own land, the Ultramar claimed that the idiot
sons of Portugal had been sent to India since the colony was a place to
offload the extra hungry mouths of Portugal. As a result, it argued, the
Borrowing a Past 41
sons of Goa had to make do with a minimal salary whereas drunken and
ignorant Europeans were given the pickings.
In a much quoted passage
that earned the Ultramar the charge of sedition, the writer urged Goans
to leave their mother country before they were made destitute, and to
seek employment in other parts of India where some semblance of
commercial life existed.
The criticism of land use and land ownership in Goa was a dominant
metaphor in all genres of writing, and formed the substance of most
economic critiques. While the gaunkaria system, whereby portions of village
land were held communally and administered by a hereditary body of
male members, was common to the whole of Goa, it influenced social
structures more in the Old Conquests, where it accompanied the
establishment of the Catholic Church, than in the New Conquests.
Separate procedures were therefore put in place in the New Conquests
to deal with the question of land rights and customary law. In the Old
Conquests, the gaunkaria system had been absorbed into the structures
of both church and state, while revenue rights in the New Conquests
were invested largely with clans who had held revenue titles under former
rulers. An article that traces a distinct Portuguese orientalism in the way
the village and village economy was conceptualized in Goa, emphasizes
that the predominance of paddy production in the Old Conquests, as
opposed to the forested or fallow land in the New Conquests, would
have influenced forms of social organization that distinguishes these areas.
When they found the Portuguese State extracting more from them than
they were willing to give, the revenue chiefs in the New Conquests called
on clan and economic solidarities to unite the prominent families in these
areas. By commandeering the resources of peasants to fund their campaigns,
they maintained an almost continuous level of rebellion through the
nineteenth century.
Apart from analyses of trade, most economic critiques were
preoccupied with land distribution. A bibliography prepared by the Goan
government functionary, Ismael Gracias, lists seventy-six works; both
officially commissioned and unofficially produced, on the question of land
rights, from the 1840s on. Felipe Nery Xavier produced at least seven
substantial volumes on land rights, particularly those applicable to the
New Conquests.
Nery Xaviers defence of the rights of gaunkars of 1856
claimed that the gaunkarias of the Old Conquests were impoverished by
the seventeenth century, and by the time those of the New Conquests
were acquired by the Portuguese, it was too late to amend the situation.
42 Between Empires
The situation as he described it was one where a majority of the lands lay
uncultivated with no hands for labour.
Francisco Lus Gomes, another
prominent economist and novelist argued from a position contrary to
that of Xaviers. The monopoly of the gaunkars over village gaunkarias, he
said, had led to their decay. Lus Gomes was a proponent of laissez-faire
policies, and asserted it was only by freeing the land completely from all
regulation, whether that of the village community or the state, that the
rural economy could recover.
The conflict around land spurred a
theorization of utility and of social organization in Goa, either demanding
the protection of the gaunkarias, as a means to protect an earlier form of
social and economic organization, or their dissolution, to salvage a
declining economy.
Even those critiques of land that were not officially
commissioned were quoted and legitimized in legal disputes that indicated
the growing public dissatisfaction with the running of the gaunkarias.
Axelrod and Fuerchs discussion cited earlier, of the essentializing
functionalism of colonial representations discusses these texts as examples
of Western and Portuguese orientalism. However, not only were most of
these discussions of land written by Goans expressly to criticize the role
of the Portuguese government, but the absorption of utilitarianism and
conservationist approaches into caste and localized land disputes suggests
that they were transformed in their application.
Through the century, these critiques of land policy accompanied,
but were politically distanced from, the series of rebellions in the New
Conquests spurred predominantly by questions of land administration.
Though Goan economists rarely extended support to the rebellions, their
critiques of land policy began to be drawn into a nationalist framework,
and on rare occasions, they openly sympathized with rebelling peasants.
An article in A Aurora de Goa for instance claimed that those who wished
to liberate Goa, implicitly had to desire enormous changes in agriculture,
which science advises and teaches.
The writer elaborated:
We wish to work for the masses, because we prefer that they find their
daily bread in their native soil, rather than have to immigrate to alien
territories to procure what they cannot find here... We are in the year
1863, and we must be directed by the ideas of the times. If the roman
people were given bread and circuses, we wish that the mass of people of
this state be given land and work,...so that they can raise their children
with sufficient means, and not with penury, and suffering.
Through meticulous, empirical, descriptive analysis, one strand among
economic critiques implicitly advocated the separation of the interests
Borrowing a Past 43
of the Goan economy from those of the Portuguese without couching
this in explicitly nationalist terms.
While economic texts and historical works maintained the rules of
the forms they had adopted to make an argument against colonial rule,
polemical newsprint by the same authors did not shy away from direct
political exhortation. The separation of the history and fortunes of Goans
from those of the Portuguese was extended in newsprint, further back
from the nineteenth century into the early years of colonialism. The
Portuguese enterprise in Goa was not viewed as a moment of renewal
and progress for both people as was customary with assimilationist colonial
discourse, but as the beginning of oppression. Pe. Alvares, the Syrian Christian
priest, who had converted in defiance against the Catholic orthodoxy in
Goa, was perceived as iconoclastic by both the religious and political
establishments. Alvares was associated with an overtly nationalist newspaper,
O Brado Indiano. The Brado ascribed the downfall of Goa to the moral
turpitude of the Portuguese. Through the latter half of the century the
vituperative paper discredited individual officials with personal invective,
urged people to turn against the pigs who call themselves European, and
ended with cheers for independence, with demands that the reactionaries
and the governor leave, and that European banditry be suppressed.
Alvares critiques, as those of other nationalist papers, were not merely
vituperative. He had also reinterpreted events that were the mainstay of
Portuguese nationalism. With reference to the arrival of Vasco da Gama
and the conquest of Goa by Albuquerque, he said:
The banditry and piracy through which the rich city of Goathe celebrated
empire of the Orientwas taken, has no justification in the laws of divinity
or of humankind. All manner of oratory and poetry are unable to render
holy, just, and right, what was in fact the work of piracy...
Alvares recalled the massacres of Muslims which marked the entry of
the Portuguese into Goa, the rape of women, the violent suppression of
revolts, and remarked on the greed with which the country was plundered.
Though India had suffered many invasions, said the priest, all invading
forces apart from the Portuguese were eventually naturalized.
Through these statements, considered nearly blasphemous at the time,
Alvares not only inverted the dominant historical interpretation of Vasco
da Gamas voyage, but also extended the charge of plunder and oppression
to Albuquerque.
In the most trenchant critiques of Portuguese rule prior
to this, writers usually took recourse to upholding Albuquerques rule as
one that was just and ordered, had brought about the prosperity of Goa
44 Between Empires
and of Portugal, and whose principles had been betrayed by recent regimes
in Goa.
Earlier criticism of governance in fact had appealed to the Crown
to restore the still sacrosanct legacy of Albuquerques rule, upheld in contrast
to the corrupt contemporary state.
While Alvares was most prolific at the end of the century, in the thick
of a rebellion by soldiers and peasants, during which he was imprisoned,
the beginning decades of the century had also seen several sharp anti-
colonial articulations. The writing of the 1820s and 30s, to reiterate what
has been said earlier, was situated within the terms of constitutionalism.
The threat of a constitutional coup being imported to India split the
Portuguese and the descendentes. Pamphlets issued during this period
by Goans, who for the first time, could be elected to the Cortes, alleged
that it was the descendentes who opposed the advent of constitutionalism.
Resistance was therefore articulated against a localized colonial presence,
but was addressed to the Crown as an appeal for intervention. The
publication issued from Bombay, Resumo Histrico da rebelliam que
arrebentou em Goa, claimed that the descendentes, accustomed to their
political preeminence, treated the natives as slaves.
This same group,
the writer said, spread propaganda among the military and administration,
and organized public opinion against the Goan Prefect due to arrive from
Portugal, Peres da Silva. The figure of Peres da Silva, as is evident from the
quote cited earlier from the O Paiz, was recuperated immediately as a
sign of Goan political aspiration. In contrast to the propaganda generated
by the descendentes, which would have been easy to do in Cmaras
(municipal districts) already intimidated by bayonets, the writer described
the groundswell of support when the plot to overthrow da Silva made
itself known:
...the people began to agitate, the most prominent citizens began to
protest loudly; there were lampoons circulating through all the public
places of the city...and through the streets ran men vowing vengeance
against the tyrants who...made them mourn the state of the country and
still intended to enslave it.
A common strand to such reports that followed on the heels of political
strife through the century was the description of the excesses of punishment
meted out to individuals, and collectively, to villages. As another note of
appeal to a higher authority for the restoration of better rule, the Resumo
reported a series of attacks, arrests without trial, deportations, and lashings
in public parades. The provinces were given over entirely to the rapacity
Borrowing a Past 45
of the Military Commandant which resulted in extortions, assaults and
general devastation, claimed the writer, who went on to describe a siege
of Peres da Silvas supporters, who were shot and beheaded, while their
supporters were smoked out of their houses, killed, and their heads
impaled on posts outside their houses in Bardez.
Such publications were in turn recuperated in other publications, as
sources for political histories. With varying degrees of autonomy expressed
from the interests of Portugal, these publications were either accounts
that interwove frequent assurances of affection and loyalty within their
arguments, or solicitously addressed the metropole with advice on how to
retain the loyalty of the colony against its misguided representatives who
claimed to work in the interest of Portugal, but only succeeded in alienating
the colonies from the metropole. This strand remained alongside the
increasingly strident and direct criticism of the Portuguese presence,
evinced in Alvares diatribes at the end of the century.
Claims to loyalty to the Portuguese, however, also had simpler motivations.
Histories of print in Goa usually cannot emphasize enough the perennial
threat of censorship and therefore, the need for caution. Aside from the
fact that no press existed in Goa for over half a century prior to 1821, the
nineteenth century itself was dotted with injunctions banning the press
during times of political turbulence. Protests of loyalty were, therefore,
also intended to protect the writer against allegations of nationalist
ambition, made either by rival Goans, or Portuguese officials.
Alongside the demand for inclusion within a Portuguese political
identity while advocating political autonomy, a central conflict within
Catholic society was played out: the rivalry between the brahmin and chardo
castes. The chardos, a powerful but subordinate caste among Catholics
had long opposed the monopolistic hold of brahmins over the church and
the bureaucracy under the Portuguese.
Much of the early print from
1821 on, were multi-layered elaborations of caste oppositions, anti-colonial
critiques of Portuguese governance, economic critiques, and analyses of
land laws.
Caste rivalries manipulated the prevailing tendency towards political
repression; a situation in which the charge of sedition could lead to severe
punishment. Chardos claimed that nationalist papers were run by brahmin
Catholics who only sought to remove the Portuguese from power so that
46 Between Empires
they could resume their place of dominance in Goa which they had enjoyed
in pre-colonial times.
For this reason, the most vehement critiques of
the Portuguese often concluded with affirmations of loyalty as well as
apparently schizophrenic disclaimers to nationalist ideas or hatred of
European rule. The extent to which all political conflict and nationalist
discourse could be contained by the tussle of interests between two dominant
caste groups seems most starkly visible in polemical print produced in
the midst of rebellion. With rancour and sophistication, the failure of rival
castes to achieve a hegemonic position within Goan society was elaborated.
According to Jos Inacio de Loyola, the chardo editor of the newspaper
A ndia Portuguesa, the rival paper, O Ultramar, which was run by the
powerful da Costa family, carried many articles viciously criticising
Portuguese rule, in a period when the country enjoyed a free press and a
liberal atmosphere.
Loyola wanted to highlight what he saw as their
inherent ingratitude, as the da Costas occupied seats in the Portuguese
parliament while their publication derided these very rights. Along with
the da Costas, Loyola attacked the editor of the Brado, Pe. Alvares, who
was said to belong to the same political tendency as the da Costas:
How was this priest, Pe. Alvares, who, it is said, is unstable, and to whom
one cannot attribute responsibility for the Brado, able to set up as many
newspapers as he desired, when he had no money of his own? And what
about the numerous and devoted readers he has had since the time of the
Cruz (a newspaper) which criticised the entire ecclesiastical hierarchy...to
the time of the Brado which constantly turned people against the metropole?
Who gave him the money to buy these presses? And where did he find the
readers who applauded his work?
By 1888, historians like Frederico Diniz dAyalla could assess the caste
interests of a generation of Goan historians and writers who had preceded
Diniz dAyallas history was a concerted attempt to delegitimize
all the nationalist histories that had ever been written by brahmins. Diniz
dAyalla himself had worked on a newspaper, and tried to form a
nationalist party that would save Goa for the Portuguese, and restore it
to the glory it knew in the days of Albuquerque.
The writer claimed:
In no other Portuguese colony...does the political or intellectual life manifest
itself as it does here, without ever achieving a form that is perfected and
animated by a spontaneous solidarity of all the social strata. But in Goa as
in all Orient, this is common because these people are not linked by a
unity of interests and by identity of origin, nor do ideals of truth and justice
Borrowing a Past 47
inspire their literature, which reveals a complete absence of patriotism
and a political ideal.
Diniz dAyalla claimed that the chardos formally began their struggle
to assume their rightful place with the launch in 1861, of the newspaper
A ndia Portuguesa.
His text, Goa Antiga e Moderna represented pre-
Portuguese Goa as a period of brahmin domination effected through
the gaunkaria system.
Though the Portuguese had helped to break this
monopoly, their rule had degenerated over the years and in the nineteenth
century could only be characterized as a militaristic and oppressive regime.
The average Goan, according to this history, was therefore caught between
brahmins who had tried fiercely to overthrow the Portuguese only to re-
establish their own dominance, and the degenerate representatives of
the Portuguese. dAyalla wrote in the aftermath of the Anglo-Portuguese
treaty of 1878, which had virtually reduced Goa to a feeder state for the
British colonial economy. With much bitterness, he portrayed a nation
on the brink of being taken over by a stronger and more organized
opponent, because of a dual betrayalthe one by brahmins, the other by
Portuguese disloyal to their traditions.
Brahmins, he said, had also secured their monopoly through the
production of history, and he elaborated the deficiencies of each. According
to him, J. C. Barreto Miranda, a prominent brahmin writer, government
official, and advocate, had
a limited imagination...his intelligence was only a sly sharpness, and his
sensibility mere hypocrisy...he was the type of brahmin who was made
savage with the pride and ambitions of his race, as his Quadros Histricos
de Goa demonstrated.
Miguel Vicente dAbreu and Felippe Nery Xavier, both employed in
different posts in the bureaucracy in Goa, aside from their substantial
writings, escaped such a critique only because, by his reasoning, they spent
enough time in the company of the Portuguese to take the edge off their
casteist world-view, or at least, to pretend a neutrality on the question of
caste. dAyalla cautioned that though this caste dispute might seem
absurd, Portuguese India owed its astonishing stability to it. He further
cautioned that the Portuguese should guard against those who seemed
to want to unite these two, since they probably planned the overthrow
of the state.
The degree to which this was a public struggle for supremacy is
evidenced in the posthumous account of the rebellion of 1895, by the
48 Between Empires
reviled Portuguese official Gomes da Costa.
The tract was written as a
defence against the various allegations that had been made in the
aftermath of the rebellion against da Costa, and the exhaustive account
detailed all the interests involved in the conflict. According to this text,
therefore, the supremacy of the brahmins (implicitly Catholic) within Goan
politics began with the dissolution of the army in 1871, said da Costa,
which in effect destroyed the one realm in which the descendentes had a
monopoly. The native press, especially the brahmins, rejoiced in this, and
nothing stood in the way of brahmin domination. It was they, in fact, who
had manipulated soldiers to rebellion in 1895.
The recounting of resistance or rebellion was embedded in the
construction of caste rivalries, and immediate circumstances of state politics.
Anti-colonial articulations were also, however, situated in another context.
The narrative of ascendant British colonialism and Indian nationalism
introduced a range of discourses that not only provided yet another layer
to these representations, but introduced an alternative historical framework.
This framework could not be absorbed into the strands of anti-colonial
thought already described, in the way caste was accommodated to
Catholicism, or anti-colonialism to assimilationist imperialism. It provided
a dominant and detrimental historiographical bracket through which Goan
culture and nationalism would be reinscribed. This not only submerged
the initial claims to discrimination that were voiced within the terms of
liberalism, but inflected the way history and literature would be
understood for many years in Goa.
These contesting strands have been detailed to argue that despite the
number of histories produced in the nineteenth century, no single group
or view of colonialism was dominant. Each attempt to present a universal
history for Goa or a contemporary critique was ruthlessly stripped by a
counter-critique, in the form of a pamphlet or a whole history. While
these strands to the nationalist histories of the Goan elite extended to
the end of the nineteenth century, they were further compounded and
radically altered by the perception that British academic production had
upstaged that of the Portuguese. Goan writers continued to be primarily
influenced by French and Portuguese theorists, but by the mid-nineteenth
century most texts paid homage to their counterparts in English and
incorporated a self-conscious comparative evaluation of how they measured
up to English work.
Borrowing a Past 49
Histories of the Portuguese nation along with Cames epic poem,
the Lusiadas regarded as the foundational celebration of empire, had found
their way into Goan school syllabi in this century.
Portugals nationalist
histories however, were shaped as critically as were the writings of the
Goan elite, by the consciousness of the ground lost to dominant colonial
powers. It was in the context of a decline in Portugals colonial fortunes
that sixteenth century Goa began to be celebrated as Goa Dourada, or
Golden Goa, a city that adequately reflected Portugals former colonial
The Goan elite received the discourse of British imperial
dominance through Portugals self-representations of decline as much as
through their proximity to the intellectual and political currents of British
India. The encounter with British India provided Goans with a substantial
and ill-fitting intellectual vocabulary through which they tried to situate
their dissatisfaction with Portuguese governance and their own role as a
representative indigenous elite.
In particular, three aspects of the Indian colonial experience and the
nationalist discourses it generated helped structure images of Portuguese
rule. These were: representations of the comparative superiority of English
rule over that of the Portuguese, the rewriting of modern Indian history
as a progressive decline from a glorious past, and representations by
reformers in British India, of the need for improvement and change in
Indian society.
Portuguese and Goan bureaucrats frequently punctuated their official
reports with an apologetic acknowledgement that they compared
unfavourably with those produced by the British. Census reports
confessed that they had been modelled on those of British India but had
not achieved the same results; that they had tried to minimize mistakes,
but these were unavoidable even in the publications of the most developed
English-language texts had achieved legitimacy bolstered by
the economic and political supremacy of the English, which was
manifested, according to the rationale of Goan writers, by the ability of
the English to hold on to colonies. While concessions were made in official
educational reports as early as 1836, that the best developments in the
sciences were largely in the English language, concepts of nation, culture,
and civilization were also redefined among Goans who relied on ideas
constructed largely in English by the end of the century.
Even Pe. Alvares,
as a means for the regeneration of the Goan political milieu, suggested,
We need a journal in English, which is today almost a universal language.
When J. A. Ismael Gracias, the historian, archivist, and Director of the
Public Library, had to make his annual purchases for readers, his choices
50 Between Empires
revealed his own preoccupations as well as the aspect presented by the
international intellectual market to a librarian in Goa.
Gracias lauded
Britain, France, and Germany for their efforts to reprint old Indian texts.
Reports on the Indian Mutiny, as well as biographies of eminent Indians,
patriotic Hindus and Parsees fighting for civil emancipation, were
Portuguese books formed the largest single majority of books
bought over the two years, but there was a clear preference for French
literary and scientific works and almost anything about India on offer in
these two languages. For Gracias, the English and French investment in
acquiring intricate knowledge of the colonies had helped them wrest
these away from the Portuguese. His explanation of his choices makes
explicit the links he drew between knowledge accumulation and colonial
I principally wish to enrich the library with books about India. The English
have expended a lot of money in projects aimed at trying to understand
peoples, races, religions, and languages. The Portuguese havent done this
and Portugal as a result is reduced to a small part of the territory.
The nineteenth century in Goa was isolated from the preceding centuries
and recast, as a result of this insertion into the chronology generated by
British colonialism, only as a comparative point to British India. Another
legacy of this concession to the discourse of British India was the thirst
for empiricism and scientificity as a means for progress. The absence of
systematization and rigour, according to the Goan elite, were responsible
for many of the problems in Goa, whether those related to colonial
governance, or to the diminished capacity of the colonized. Felipe Nery
Xavier, for instance, declared:
It is evident, that in the neighbouring Countries belonging to the English
Company, where there are Hindus and indigenous people as in this
state...the information and reports issued by them, not only about people
or things belonging to that vast Country, but also about those relating
to Goa, are so thorough and exact, that they cause astonishment, as has
happened several times.... In view of this it is to be believed that the
difference that one notes in the information (collected) in both
Countries...proceeds from the system of governance, and of individual
education, and not from (the difference in) people. In that country,
Borrowing a Past 51
punishment follows crime, and reward follows good service, as a
consequence of which, corruption is avoided, and that makes for good
public servants.
Two prominent public figures and writers who wrote several of the
forewords to many books of this century, were J. H. da Cunha Rivara, the
Portuguese Secretary to the Governor General, and J. A. Ismael Gracias.
Both consistently urged and encouraged any study that would augment
Portugal and Goas fund of accurate information. For Gracias, not only
had superior empirical knowledge led to better governance by the colonizer
(English), but it had, to his mind, produced a colonial intelligentsia which
seemed to be able to address the challenges of colonialism because of
their access to the same knowledge. However the absence of knowledge
production that was protested so vehemently by Gracias and others is
scarcely borne out factually, given the relatively prolific output of the
Goan elite in various fields. It would seem that this was yet another instance
of the way in which those colonized by the Portuguese found a mode of
articulation that was latent in the dominant view of world colonial expansion
as they wrote themselves into the place of marginality and backwardness.
And it was in the light of their diminishing role in the world stage that the
wider political canvas available to the colonial Indian intelligentsia seemed
to show up the deficiencies of the Goan elite. While a critique of their
historical role would have been beneficial, when it appeared only as a
comparison to a model provided by the Indian elite, it merely served to
obfuscate the political and historical place of the Goan elite.
The preoccupation with scientificity was most evident in the desire
for ethnography. The terms of British Indian ethnography and Indian
cultural nationalism were adapted by Goan academics who were also
absorbed into English academic institutions. A history of Goa by the
French priest Cottineau de Kloguen, in English and published in Madras
in 1831, was translated into Portuguese by Miguel Vicente de Abreu in
Despite the prevalence of detailed critical studies of the impact
of the Portuguese on Goa in the form of economic histories or pamphlets,
it was works such as Cottineau de Kloguens text that were said to represent
the empiricist splendour achieved by the English academia, which
Portuguese and Goans hoped to mimic. De Kloguens descriptive and
statistical essay combined the earliest mention of Goa in ancient texts
with an overview of trade and commerce, and a short note, General
Observations on the Manner of Goanese, in a gazette-like format. This
combination of orientalist bureaucratic and ethnographic writing had
52 Between Empires
begun to be admired and reproduced. J. Gerson da Cunha was a
prominent Goan historian who was associated with academic associations
based in Bombay. His Materials for the History of Oriental Studies
amongst the Portuguese began with the customary comment on how
the Portuguese had pioneered the commercial movement in the east,
but were lagging behind in the study of its languages and literature.
defence of the Portuguese with whom he identified himself, however, da
Cunha also commented that the earliest Portuguese efforts in the study
of languages were ignored because they were in a language not read outside
the Iberian Peninsula.
These frameworks were most at odds with the impetus behind the political
histories, including polemical accounts of anti-colonial rebellions that
were printed virtually in the heat of battle. Antonio A. Bruto da Costa,
who inherited the familial work of editing the Ultramar, also produced a
history of the nineteenth century in 1896. This text emerged in the
aftermath of a large rebellion, in the course of which many of Bruto da
Costas colleagues had been arrested or forced to flee the country. The da
Costa press too was forced to stop publishing the Ultramar after the
government issued a ban on all periodicals.
While Bruto da Costas As
Revolues Polticas Da ndia Portugueza Do Sculo XIX, recounted the
motivations of a range of rebellions in Goa in the nineteenth century, it
also included an ethnographic description of Goan society and a broad
outline of Goan history that reproduced a set of categories and typologies
apparently frozen in time. Histories of Goa in general, including textbooks
produced for schools, began to incorporate large sections of ethnographic
description. In da Costas text, however, this was an uneasy accompaniment
to the political critiques implicit in his account of nineteenth century
rebellions. Goan historians until this point had no use for the division of
ancient, medieval, and modern history into religious and civilizational
categories of Hindu antiquity, Muslim invasion and Western colonialism.
Nor had history-writing among the Goan intelligentsia emerged as a
sub-genre of ethnographic writing until this time. Details of the uses and
customs of Goan people, therefore did not feed easily into their version of
nationalist histories.
By the time Vicente de Bragana Cunha wrote his Literatura ndo-
Portuguesa in 1926, English historians were credited with having produced
the best Goan histories:
Borrowing a Past 53
The history of the Portuguese dominion in Asia has had, in the recent
years, many enthusiasts among the English...It is known that Danvers
wrote a general history of Portuguese dominion in India, (The Portuguese
Empire in India: its rise and decline) and Whiteway wrote another (Rise of
Portuguese Power in India). In 1897, in the Boletim da Sociedade de Geografia
de Lisboa, David Lopes wrote, We do not possess in Portuguese any
work about the same subject and on this scale. It is always to be regretted
that we do not have anything which compares with the English works,
which display a great spirit of analysis and criticism. There is no doubt
that it is because of the English that we have important historical works.
Bragana Cunha listed the many Portuguese historians available, but
suggested that few of them constructed their histories from original
He quoted a critique of Portuguese historiography produced
in Lisbon which claimed:
lack of professional culture has meant that the science of history among
us has turned into a veritable shame. Our writers know nothing of effort
and labour. They ornament their texts with older ones without bothering
to ascertain the truth of earlier writers.
Bragana Cunha himself suggested that most recent histories were
biographies, which speak a lot about Preste Joo and accumulate stories
and fables. The truth is that the Portuguese did not know the literature
of the country they had discovered. In the sphere of oriental history the
Portugueseit hurts us to saybut we must say it because it is true
are the most backward in Europe.
Bragana Cunha concluded his long critique of casteism in Goa and
his admiration for the constitutional coup that inaugurated the Goan
enlightenment of the early nineteenth century, with a comparison between
the nationalist movement in British India and Goa. For thirty nine years,
he said, an example was set by the Indian National Congress. He quoted
Sarojini Naidus Declaration of the Rights of India, and declared, In our
India, we see nothing of this. Not having made the necessary effort to
liberate men, the Indo-Portuguese do not understand freedom as anything
other than a donation.
While he reiterated his great love of Portugal, he
added, There is no lesson more profitable than the one we can learn by
confronting our civic imbecility with the actions of the leading intelligentsia
of neighbouring India.
This expansion on the general tendency to
subordinate all manner of thought to the production of both English
54 Between Empires
and Indians in British India had incorporated a slightly misplaced critique
of the Goan intelligentsia itself, in the work of Bragana Cunha.
This note of self-flagellation featured in much of the nationalist
writing by the Goan bourgeoisie, but did not alter the fact that they
would not associate with the large rebellions of the New Conquests,
even though they held the Portuguese state culpable for the condition of
Goan agriculture. The comparative isolation of Goa was not conducive
to the appropriation of peasants into a nationalist movement. The Goan
intelligentsia could possibly gauge moreover, from the fate of various
rebellions in Goa, that the British were not inclined to extend their support
to anti-colonial movements, but were more likely instead, to shore up
Portuguese forces despite their differences with Portugal. Britains repeated
efforts to have Goa ceded to them bolstered this perception. The more
astute of writers would mention this occasionally, and urge the Portuguese
to protect and nurture Goa, to prevent it from being consumed by the
British leopard.
In the course of political communications between
the two powers, the English themselves generated images of their superior
forms of colonial governance, their ability to construct formal institutions
through which to maintain order and contentment in the colony, and
contrasted this to Portuguese incompetence.
The internalization of this image is visible in the compilation prepared
by a teacher at the military school of mathematics, Joo de Mello de
Sampayo, who traced the history of Portuguese educational initiatives in
Goa in his Breve Notcia da Origem dos Estudos Superiores em Goa por
methdos europeus e em lngua Portuguesa.
De Sampayo bestowed a glorious
pre-colonial past on Indian civilization, which in his work included Goa.
Contrary to what was popularly believed, de Sampayo clarified, it was
not the Portuguese, but Indians themselves who had established school
systems through the vast Indian peninsula. The East India Company
found the Dharmashastra being taught in schools when it received Bengal
from the Emperor of Delhi, said de Sampayo, and the company furthered
this project by disbursing funds to set up a madrasa and a Sanskrit college
on the lines of earlier institutions.
It was later that the English language
began to replace existent languages of power and it subsequently became
both necessary and compulsory to learn it. De Sampayo described the
tussle between Orientalists and Anglicists and the extent to which
vernacular languages and the scope of indigenous schools of instruction
drew the admiration of educated men who urged the British to continue
teaching these languages within new institutions.
When de Sampayo
Borrowing a Past 55
eventually began an account of the Portuguese entry into India, it had
already been pushed into a secondary position by the history of British
colonial education, which began nearly three centuries later.
The adoption of the terms of dominant Indian nationalism also put
in place notions of culture and nationalism that had little applicability
in Goa, but that would be the filter through which Goan history would
be seen until post-independent India. When Joo de Mello de Sampayo
replicated the chronology through which the British historicized their own
superior colonial governance, he had also adopted a value-loaded temporal
bracket. The transition he described from rudimentary schooling in pre-
colonial India, to the systematic, closely debated establishment of a
schooling system and policy, was a transition from an undated continuous
Indian past, to the nineteenth century. This transition allowed for the
British to record their arrival and intervention as a post-enlightenment
phenomenon that resulted in the spread of modern learning and civilization
through their recognition of cultural difference and the cultural heritage
of India. But this same chronology left no space, when applied to Goa,
for the recognition of the ideologies and philosophies of colonialism
and education specific to the Portuguese either in the sixteenth, or the
nineteenth century.
As an unfortunate consequence of the homage paid to English dominance,
the texts which won acclaim from the otherwise astute members of the
Goan intelligentsia tended to be empiricist ethnographies, lauded for
their adherence to chronologies dominant in British India, and for their
archival weight. In his preface to Padre Gabriel de Saldanhas Histria de
Goa of 1925, the librarian and historian, Ismael Gracias, emphasized
that the text filled a gap in Goan historiography as it provided an overview
of the most important facts from antiquity to modern times.
cultural consequences of valourizing a chronology that upheld a distinctly
Hindu antiquity, a medieval Muslim age and a debilitated present were
evident in contemporary commentaries.
Gracias ran through the strengths and weaknesses of Portuguese
historians of Goa prior to the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century
in Goa was already commemorated as a milestone, because, after the
consolidation of the constitutional regime in India, a new light came
56 Between Empires
into view, a civilising movement began and great intellectual achievements
were enabled.
Gracias noted the range of histories produced by Goans
in the nineteenth century with pride, and went on to list Dutch and
English historians. The enormous undertaking of producing a proper
history of pre-Portuguese Goa, however, was destined to be that of a
great power which expended in equal proportion, its intelligence, will
and monetary resources.
It was that which had ensured English
dominance, which instead of dispersing its efforts had consolidated them
with its amply remunerated collection of treasuries of information about
India. Like a patient anatomist, the English researcher reconstructed the
immense mosaic of peoples and races, of religions and languages which
are heard all over Hindustan, making, in all, profound archaeological
searches, digging up cities and dead civilizations, from whose ashes emerge
luminous rays.
It was this project that had produced not only great
English administrators and academicians, but also a host of Indian
intellectuals. Gracias list of Indians included Toru Dutt, Keshub Chandra
Sen, Trimbak Telang, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Bankimchandra Chatterjee,
Raja Rammohan Roy and Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar.
In comparison to these later currents of thought influenced by Indian
nationalism, it appears that the liberal framework evident in writings
earlier in the century had a greater critical value because they contained
a critique that was historically more pertinent to the situation of Goa. The
susceptibility to the alternative discourse of British colonialism/Indian
nationalism was no historical anomaly. Not only was Goa politically and
economically subordinated by the British through the Portuguese, but the
impinging effect of dominant colonial discourses had also subordinated
Portugals self-representation. The predominantly upper-caste Catholic
elite moreover, would not have found the discourse of an ancient cultural
tradition and legacy unfamiliar. Upper caste Catholics in the eighteenth
century itself had employed similar discourses to bolster their presence
in the Church.
By yoking Goan history to the British historicization
of nineteenth century India, the Goan elite had also acquired the trope
of a dead civilization awaiting an awakening.
The conviction in the existence of a great and buried civilization,
whose discovery had fallen to the British colonial government, is visible
in both de Sampayos history of educational policy, as well as Ismael Gracias
report on the public library. This inherently exclusive enumeration of text
and tradition that largely represented the claims of upper-caste Hindus
had legitimized upper-caste practices and endowed them with the mantle
Borrowing a Past 57
of antiquity and authenticity. The claims for nationalism that were made
by Goans prior to this had not relied on a definition of cultural authenticity
and antiquity to legitimize their insistence that Goan interests suffered
under colonialism. If they chided the Portuguese for their economic
decline, the reasons for this were not located in a theory of civilizational
and cultural decline. And while among Hindu Goans, Portuguese rule
was undoubtedly represented as culturally disempowering and alien, this
had not yet become the foundation for a public articulation of a political
theory of difference. The Catholic Goan elite, however, absorbed the
prevalent beliefs of the English and Indian intelligentsia, and saw in the
claim to an antique culture, an attractive legacy that they could adopt.
In 1861, in a letter to Lamartine that accompanied the gift of his
novel Os Brahmanes, Francisco Lus Gomes, (whose economic critiques
have been discussed earlier) represented himself as a descendant of a
ruined nation and civilization. His letter accompanied a novel which
tried to locate the problems of both Goa and the rest of India as a result
of cultural degeneration:
I was born in the East Indies, once the cradle of poetry, philosophy and
history, now their tomb. I belong to that race which composed the
Mahabharata and invented chess...but this nation which made codes of
its poems and formulated politics in a game, is no longer alive. It survives,
imprisoned in its own country.
The contradictions of anti-colonial rhetoric that were produced by
this are evident in Francisco Lus Gomes novel, Os Brahamanes, a narrative
that fictionalized a liberal critique of caste, racism and colonialism and
was located in the 1857 rebellion in British India. Lus Gomes economic
treatises on land have been cited earlier among liberal critiques of
colonialism. For his analysis of caste and race, however, the form of the
novel seems to have been more alluring. Lus Gomes narrativization of
caste conflict constructed a pan-Indian social and cultural domain. The
encounter of caste under colonialism no longer retained a distinct history.
It was instead framed within the influential narrative of cultural decline,
as a flaw whose removal would lead to the rejuvenation of a pan-Indian
culture. The overthrowing of colonial rule, similarly, would draw from
the symbolic weight of the 1857 revolt and not from the range of anti-
colonial articulations by the Goan Hindu and Catholic groups that
parallel publications had begun to construct as a political legacy.
58 Between Empires
Many histories accepted the valorization of the Sanskrit language and
Sanskrit literary texts as the basis for an authentic Indian culture. This
was the underlying premise of Orientalist scholarship and dominant trends
in Indian cultural nationalism.
Mariano Saldanhas exposition of the
place Sanskrit would have in Goa synthesized a great Indian tradition
with modern Goan realities. At his inaugural lecture in 1915, when the
first Sanskrit class was instituted at the Lyceu, Saldanha, a doctor and
professor of Marathi and Sanskrit in Goa and Lisbon, provided a lengthy
historical and cultural rationale for the study of the language.
His history
traced a continuous period of glory for the Sanskrit language, from its
institution as a university language at Nalanda and Taxila to its cultivation
by European scholars. He cited reformers and educationists of the
nineteenth century, whose success in producing an Indian renaissance
was premised on their security in their mutual heritage of Sanskrit as a
mother tongue (Saldanha here employed the term to mean an origin
and source for all other languages) and as a culture. Saldanha hoped that
Goans could have the same uses for the language. In fact, he elaborated
an agenda that the study of Sanskrit would fulfil in Goa.
He did not intend, he claimed, to invest in the rarefied pursuit of
the science of Indo-European languages, but vernacular languages
Marathi and Concaniabove all the unfortunate Concani, whose
reconstruction, today so ardently desired, is impossible without the
knowledge of the mother-language.
The Sanskrit class, he said was not intended for the study of:
a science of religion, but the study of the Hindu religion from a historical
point of view; not Indo-European ethnography, but the existing races
and castes in our own country; not Aryan jurisprudence but the codes
and Sutras which regulate the socio-religious life of Hindus in Goa...
Saldanha provided a tentative defence against critics for whom the
study of ancient languages had no use. Illustrious Hindus, conscious of
the importance and advantages of the study of Sanskrit for their class,
he said, had demanded that it be taught whether at separate schools or as
a course at the Lyceu.
Saldanha here cited the efforts of Suriagy Anand
Rau, who had taught Marathi since 1847, and had campaigned for the
teaching of Sanskrit as the cradle language of Hindu civilization.
Borrowing a Past 59
Saldanhas speech excluded all but Hindus from a hereditary right to
this legacy. He had in effect, carved out a historical and cultural legacy
which, by his account, only Hindus could draw from. This speech indicated
that upper-class Catholics felt intellectually anchored in Portuguese or
wider European intellectual traditions, and for this reason, Saldanha here
offered a similar use of the past to Hindus of Goa, and described a non-
antagonistic cultural division through which Hindus could strengthen
community ties.
The exposure to the great tradition which Indians seemed able to
summon as a unified past created grounds for yet another complaint against
the Portuguese state, which prominent Goans now argued, had deprived
them of a sense of history. This plaint referred to their deprivation of a
particular kind of history; one that stretched back infinitely, endowing
its current legatees with the achievements of the past. Maria E. dos Stuarts
Gomes, a primary school-teacher, noted that the Christians of Portuguese
India do not know their own history and the Hindus learn it from Marathi
books and journals, which, being nativist, were filled with defects which
the government ought to rectify in the courses of the secondary schools
and the Escola Normal.
In Portugals four centuries in the Orient, she
said, it had not produced a single general history of India. In comparison,
Britain, which according to Stuarts Gomes was neither as humanistic
nor as egalitarian a power as Portugal, would begin the education of
students in India with Indian history and only then teach them that of
their own country.
By the 1890s, the history of Goa had entered the syllabus of the Lyceu.
Among texts being taught in schools, seminaries, and the Lyceu, there
were histories that borrowed an ancient Hindu past from historians in
British India. Within political histories of Goa, the glorious sixteenth
century when Portuguese trade flourished before its take-over by Spain
had to be given a place. But Stuarts Gomes Sumrio da Histria Geral da
India of 1930 had no place for the Portuguese at all.
The author, who
had seven other publications to her credit, devoted Book V of her volume
to dominant European powers in India and listed the ingress of the Dutch,
the Danish, the French and the English from 1600 to 1880. Evidently
this was a political history of a country which by now decisively excluded
Goa from its territories, though cultural histories, such as those of Suriagy
Anand Raus and Mariano Saldanhas, could still draw from its past.
The Goan intelligentsia found its own conviction in the power of
print and intellectual production reflected in the claims made by the Indian
intelligentsia; that a focus on cultural renewal would bring about a national
60 Between Empires
political awakening. Subsequently, these analyses incriminated the
unreceptive lower classes for their refusal to fall in with the expectations
of the lettered. The discourse borrowed by the intelligentsia from their
Indian counterparts required the valourization of a dominant indigenous
high culture to which other social groups could be subordinated.
In keeping with their aping of Indian nationalists, the Goan intelligentsia
aspired to become reformists to a reluctant mass. The situation of language
and education among the non-elite emerged as the most prominent
aspects of culture that drew the criticism and attention of the erudite.
The abolition of sati in the sixteenth century and the application of a
uniform law to Goa had taken the initiative away from this group, but
they nevertheless tried, briefly, to construct a position of social leadership
for themselves.
Prominent women among the Catholic intelligentsia once again drew
from discourses across the border and tried to identify Hindu women as
the subjects of oppression, and the recipients of reform. Of the many
Catholic women who had begun to receive a higher education by the
twentieth century, Propercia Correia Affonso de Figueiredo who taught
at the Escola Normal was among the more erudite. At her address to the
Dnyan Prasarak Mandali, an educational association set up by the doctor
R. P. Vaidya and others, an occasion which opened a tunnel through the
mountain of prejudices which have impeded communication between
the Christians of Goa and their Hindu fellowmen, she advocated that the
Hindu woman be educated.
A sharp distinction existed in Goa, she said,
between the intellectual development of women and men, particularly
because of the tendency among Hindu men to make their women
repositories of an unchanging tradition. Since women would pass on
their learning to their children and could form a great intellectual force
for the country, she asked that this familial and social capital not be allowed
to remain unproductive, like the coins buried by the miser in the fable.
Correia Afonso de Figueiredo cited historical and mythological warrior
figures to indicate that an alternative ideal existed for Hindu women. In
anticipation of arguments that the country needed to be free before its
women could be independent, she stated that people did not have to put
their house in order before demanding political rights, in this case,
womens rights. On the contrary, she said, the struggle to demand political
rights provided the occasion to effect social and domestic reform.
Borrowing a Past 61
While Hindu Goans, in the mid-nineteenth century, had adopted the
nationalist discourse of British India almost exclusively to gain recognition
of the Marathi language in the nineteenth century, certain prominent
Marathi papers extended open support to the nationalist movement in
British India by the early twentieth century. They were, however, irked
that the rhetoric of reform, an intrinsic part of the form of nationalism
imported from British India, was directed exclusively towards Hindu
women. In 1859 for instance, a Hindu of Bombay resident in Goa
published an essay criticizing various articles, which had claimed that Hindu
women were slaves of their husbands, were imprisoned in their homes
and could not appear in public.
Journals run by Hindus began to run
a series of articles foregrounding prominent Hindu Goan women. These
emphasized that Hindu Goan women had played as public a role as women
from any other community or as Hindu men had, and many among them
were prominent philanthropists, educationists, doctors, and novelists.
The editor of the journal Luz do Oriente was similarly motivated to carry
articles about and pictures of educated Hindu women from Goa and other
parts of India.
Braving the scepticism of readers, Mirabai had sent this
letter to the editor of the Correio de Bicholim:
In the annals of Portuguese domination in the Orient, I am the first
Hindu woman who dares to write in Portuguese.... I have never been to
school, always studied in the house and passed the primary school exams
as an external student five or six years ago. I passed my exam of the
second grade with my entire effort devoted to rendering myself capable
of providing some service to the public.... I know how to express my
ideas sufficiently well in the current idiom and in sufficiently correct
Portuguese to engage the public so that they know that a Hindu woman
appreciates the questions and problems of our land...another reason is to
prevent, whatever its intention, a critique of the life of the Hindu woman,
which arises out of incomprehension, and takes advantage of the ignorance
and silence on our part to spread ideas and facts about us.
By the twentieth century, the question of education had become a
means by which to talk about the decline of Goan culture, and this time
around, the Portuguese alone were not held responsible for the ills of society.
Goan attitudes were held responsible by the reformist intelligentsia for the
fact that society as a whole did not dwell enough either on their past or
their future. At a conference organized by the Grmio Literario Hindu
in 1922, a Catholic doctor and teacher at the Lyceu, J. Benedito Gomes,
was invited to give the opening address, which he devoted to elaborating
62 Between Empires
the problems of education and the economy in general.
Gomes was
apprehensive of the effects of an education in Portuguese on manual
labourers. He furnished statistics to back his apprehensions. For 8000
students who completed the first grade of primary school, a mere 1200
completed the second, and 500 made their way through primary school.
Of the 300 who attempted higher secondary education at the Lyceu,
forty-six completed the final year. Of the many dropouts who migrated,
most were half-educated with no means of earning a living. It was only
the English schools that offered a different statistical picture.
Mariano Saldanha was concerned that when Goan peasants were given
an education in Portuguese, they showed an unpleasant tendency to aspire
to a less laborious life. An education in Konkani according to him would
keep them in their place, and equip them with a vibrant organic culture.
The condescension implicit in the advocacy of Konkani by the elite was
made overt when Goan peasants and migrants would not strictly follow
the plans made for their redemption.
Mariano Saldanha wrote a number of articles on the history of the
Konkani language under colonial rule. His criticism of Goan people,
particularly the Catholics, for their neglect of the language, and the
connection he drew with the decline of society, was common to the writings
of many Goans by the 1930s. It was Saldanha, however, who created the
image of a society of illiterate literates to typify Goans. His O Ensino de
Concani em Goa thrust responsibility for the poverty of social life on
artisan groups in Goa, especially the community leaders among them.
The argument that berated only the Catholic Goans explicitly marked
off the Konkani language as their vernacular, as opposed to that of Hindu
Goans, which he assumed was Marathi and that of Muslim Goans as
Urdu. By the 1930s, therefore, it was possible to produce a history of the
decline of Konkani and hold the Catholic population responsible for
the failure to develop the language. To cite an instance of the inadequacy
of the Christian peasants and artisans, said Saldanha, it would suffice to
compare them to the artisan groups of other religions:
While the Hindu tailors and barbers, with only three classes in elementary
Marathi are capable of spending their leisure reading from romances
and dramas of the legendary heroes of the land, or of the socio-religious
conferences of their reformers; while the Maratha soldiers gather in the
evening to read epics about the military exploits of the preferred national
heroes; while the Muslim reader knows how to keep himself informed of
Borrowing a Past 63
events in Turkey and the writings of the Aga Khan through Urdu journals;
while the Christian fishermen of Malvan, encamped on the Calangute
beach under a roof of palm trees, entertain themselves through the week
singing the Konkanized Marathi strophes of the Christa Purana composed
by the Jesuit Toms Estevo, what advantages do their (Goan) Christian
colleagues avail from their primary education in Portuguese?
Saldanhas metaphors specifically identified the Goan Catholic among
other kinds of Goans and other kinds of Christians, as those who lacked
the ability to develop the bonds and cultural strengths arising out of shared
cultural practices. The fact of having being taught to read and write in a
language that was not their own had led to the decline of this community,
according to Saldanha. Most Goans could not understand Portuguese
publications though their first lessons in literacy were in that language,
nor could they savour writings in Konkani or Marathi, because they
havent read any literary piece in that language which could captivate the
popular soul. Our boy said Saldanha (in English), perhaps as a derisive
reference to the position of many Goans as butlers and waiters in British
India, though of a superior grade in terms of social civilization, having
attended a parish or public primary school, restricts himself in his free
hours to criticizing the acts of his bhattcar (landlord) or pad-vigar (vicar)
of the parish.
The Goan elite perhaps had cause for concern, as Goan migrants to
British India and lower-caste Goans within Goa were developing into very
vocal groups who did not necessarily require the elite in their newfound
role as cultural representatives of Goans as a whole. Saldanhas critique is
typical of the productions of elite Catholic Goans who, with increased
exposure to the political and linguistic movements in British India, turned
on their communities with angry criticism for their failure to develop in
the same direction.
In 1922, J. Benedito Gomes linked the paucity of agricultural produce
in Goa to the perils of literacy.
Education drew people away from manual
work, he said, and since 2,000 people each year dropped out of the
education system, they became parasites on the state because they were
not trained for anything. Gomes did not advocate the withholding of
public education as much as urging a syllabus that had direct application
to agriculture and industry. While Goan students dropped out of Portuguese
schools, English schools said Gomes, were a haven for those who had
neither schooling nor land nor capital, nor protectors, and found a way
64 Between Empires
to forge a future with an English education. This was a reference to the
large-scale migration of Goans to British India where they secured jobs
because of their rudimentary knowledge of English. Though this resulted
in denationalization said Gomes, it was a worthwhile service as it
strengthened the personality and moral fibre of the students.
Gomes elaborated the markedly different character of the unenterprizing
Goan at home from that of the Goan abroad. For the many who pondered,
there were few who could act, he said, While outside we are admired and
respected, and are giants of intelligence, at home we are pygmies, parasites
of the state, egoists, expending energies and time in petty matters.
The 25 per cent of people who know to read and write in Portuguese,
Marathi, or Gujarati utilize it largely for electoral purposes, he stated.
Mariano Saldanha who taught Sanskrit in the Escola Superior Colonial
in Lisbon shared this suspicion of mass education. Saldanha claimed that
an inspector of primary instruction had informed him that a prominent
member of a village had once dissuaded him from his plan to set up a
school, as it would be prejudicial to rural life and to the well-being of the
Saldanha interpreted the fear among landlords, that their labour
would get above themselves if educated, as proof of the unworthiness of
the Catholic Goan peasant. Whereas vernacular instruction did not
impede the Hindu and Muslim from returning to offices befitting their
social position, he said, the Christian believed he had gained entry to a
socially superior scale and would not return to rural labour, and not
being able to complete his studies or get a job, prefers to remain idle, or
offer his labour outside Goa.
This was the shape that anti-colonial articulations took through the
length of the century. Defined simultaneously by Iberian colonialism,
and the norms of Indian nationalism, it was a discourse riddled with
contradictions that constituted the situation of the Goan intelligentsia.
It was never to form the basis of mass mobilization in Goa. To Boaventura
de Sousa Santos query about how the Portuguese colonized located
themselves in the world, one could suggest that the Goan elite specifically
yoked themselves to an alternative mode of historicizing culture, caste,
nationalism, and colonialism. Their response to the British narrative of
colonialism was to depict themselves in a situation of intellectual deprivation
and decline that was compensated by the adoption of a range of discourses
generated by British colonialism. By the early twentieth century a story of
nationalism that did not reach fruition was being unfavourably compared
to the history of Indian nationalism.
Borrowing a Past 65
To return to the question of temporalities for colonialism, and the question
of modernity, it is useful to recall Walter Mignolos comment that the
universalist historiography of nationalism buries Latin American history
after the second modernity, to focus on the economically ascendant nations
of England, Germany, and France. The post-Enlightenment ascendance
of France and England was narrated to obfuscate the centrality of empire
to early modern European capitalism. From the point of view of recently
independent Latin American nations, Mignolo argues, this renewed
assertion of modernity could only be a second modernity that effectively
erased them from new universalist histories. This chapter has argued
that this fate, shared by Goa, was also shared by Portugal. Portugals place
in the world was received by its colonies as a condemnation, to being
not only colonized, but to being a colony of a failed European power.
For the Goan elite, poised at the edge of the British empire in India, this
historiographical switch was only too visible. While Goa was witness to
its disappearance from world history and its relegation to a forgotten
corner of the Portuguese empire, the Goan elite was active in articulating
the terms of this disappearance. Goa was reinserted, through their vision,
into a second modernity, as a colony of a dwindling and backward
European colonial power, reliant on the example provided at close quarters
by British colonial rule, and, even later, elite Indian nationalism. Inscribed
as much by caste as by their induction into a creolized realm, the Goan
elite crafting of a second modernity was weighed by vocabularies borrowed
from orientalist discourse and from Indian nationalism.
One of the questions that emerge from an overview of this thin
Orientalist borrowing is why this shift was not visible to the goan
intelligentsia itself. A reconstruction of the intellectual history of the Goan
intelligentsia would uncover an erudite and even pioneering group of
scholars who enjoyed substantial recognition, particularly for their scientific
writings. None of these find a new place or even a mention in the intellectual
and cultural absences outlined in comparison to England or to British
India. Aside from this act of self-erasure by an otherwise self-possessed
elite, what is also curious is the underlying assumption, that the borrowed
learning, available in British India, could not be traced in Portuguese
India. The following section examines the apparent absence of such an
inscribing framework within Portuguese governance in Goa that seemed
to allow for its import from another tradition.
66 Between Empires
1. Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Between Prospero and Caliban: Colonialism,
Postcolonialism, and Inter-identity, Luso-Brazilian Review XXXIX, no. II
(2002), p. 11.
2. Ibid.
3. Walter D. Mignolo, Coloniality of Power and Subalternity, in The Latin
American Subaltern Studies Reader, ed. Ileana Rodriguez, ed. (USA: Duke
University Press, 2001), Immanuel Wallerstein, Theoretical Reprise, in
The Modern World-System (New York: Academic Press, 1974).
4. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Trading World of the Western Indian Ocean,
154665: A Political Interpretation, in Mughals and Franks, Explorations
in Connected History (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005).
5. Pia de Menezes Rodrigues, Emergence of a Goan Elite of Intellectuals
(18201926), in Goa and PortugalHistory and Development, Charles J.
Borges, scar G. Pereira, and Hannes Stube, eds (New Delhi: Concept
Publishing Company, 2000); Vimala Devi and Manuel e Seabra, A Literatura
Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I (Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971).
6. de Menezes Rodrigues, Emergence of a Goan elite of intellectuals (1820
7. Kirsten Schultz, Royal Authority, Empire and the Critique of Colonialism:
Political Discourse in Rio de Janeiro (18081821), Luso-Brazilian Review
37, no. 2, Special Issue: State, Society, and Political Culture in Nineteenth-
Century Brazil (2000), p. 13.
8. Anthony Pagden, Lords of all the World (New Haven and London: York
University Press, 1995), pp. 89.
9. Ibid., pp. 89.
10. Patrick Wilcken, A Colony of a Colony The Portuguese Royal Court in
Brazil, Common Knowledge 11, no. 2 (2005), p. 259.
11. Ibid., p. 260.
12. Fernando Arenas, Utopias of OthernessNationhood and Subjectivity in
Portugal and Brazil (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003),
p. xxi.
13. Jeffrey C. Mosher, Political Mobilization, Party Ideology, and Lusophobia
in Nineteenth-Century Brazil: Pernambuco, 18221850, The Hispanic
American Historical Review, vol. 80, no. 4, Special Issue: Colonial Brazil:
Foundations, Crises, and Legacies, pp. 881992.
14. Schultz, Royal Authority, Empire and the Critique of Colonialism: Political
Discourse in Rio de Janeiro (18081821), p. 18.
Borrowing a Past 67
15. Anon, Visit of Rustomjee Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy to Goa, in M. J. da Costa
Campos, ed., Goa Socivel, 4 May 1866.
16. Jos Joaquim Lopes da Lima, Francisco Maria Bordalo, Ensaios sobre a
Estatstica das Possesses na Africa Occidental e Oriental na Asia Occidental
na China e na Oceania (Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1859), p. 47; A. A.
Bruto da Costa, As Revolues polticas da ndia Portuguesa do sculo XIX
(Margo: Typografia do Ultramar, 1896).
17. Pe. Antonio F. X. lvares, Preleco sobre a situao actual no interior e exterior
do paiz (Nova Goa: Typ. do Times of Goa, 1886), p. 21.
18. Angel Rama, The Lettered City, trans. John Charles Chasteen (USA: Duke
University Press, 1996), p. 25.
19. See for instance, Actas e Memrias, in Seco da Sociedade de Geographia
de Lisboa em Goa (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1892).
20. Ibid.
21. O Paiz, 10 June 1873, no. 19, A Independncia e Conquista, p. 2.
22. Gonalo de Magalhes Teixeira Pinto, Memrias sobre as Possesses Portugueses
na Asia (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1859), pp. 634.
23. Ibid., p. 63.
24. Ibid., p. 64.
25. A Convico, April 2, 1887, Margao, Typographia do Ultramar.
26. lvares, Preleco sobre a situao actual no interior e exterior do paiz.
27. Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em Goa comeada em 1895, (Goa:
1896), pp. 223.
28. Gomes da Costa, A Revolta de Goa e a Campanha de 1895/1896 (Lisboa:
Carlos Gomes da Costa, 1938).
29. Veredictum da Opinio Publica sobre os Apontamentos para a Histria da
Revolta em Goa dos Soldados, Ranes e Satarienses, (1896), pp. 28.
30. Ibid., 34.
31. Teotonio R. de Souza, Goa To Me (New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co.,
32. Paul Axelrod and Michelle A. Fuerch, Portuguese Orientalism and the
Making of the Village Communities of Goa, Ethnohistory 45, no. 3 (1998),
p. 447.
33. See Pratima Kamat, Farar Far, Local Resistance to Colonial Hegemony in
Goa 15121912 (Panaji: Institute Menezes Braganza, 1999), for an account
of some of these rebellions.
34. J. A. Ismael Gracias, A Imprensa em Goa nos sculos XVI, XVII e XVIII
(Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1880).
35. Filipe Nery Xavier, Defensa dos direitos das Go-carias, Go-cares, e dos seus
68 Between Empires
privilgios, contra a proposta de sua dissoluo, e diviso das suas terras (Nova
Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1856).
36. Francisco Lus Gomes, A Liberdade da Terra e a Economia Rural da ndia
Portuguesa (Lisboa: Typografia Universal, 1862).
37. Axelrod and Fuerch, Portuguese Orientalism and the Making of the Village
Communities of Goa.
38. A Aurora de Goa, 5 May 1863, no. 18, p. 69.
39. Ibid.
40. Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em Goa comeada em 1895.
41. Ibid., p. 3.
42. Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama (UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1997). This conclusion to the book summarizes
the preoccupations with the figure of Vasco da Gama and indicates the
continuing significance of the legend in contemporary times.
43. Joo de Melo de Sampayo, Brve Notcia da Origem dos Estudos Superiores
em Goa por mthodos Europeus e em Lngua Portugueza (Nova Goa: Imprensa
Nacional, 1905).
44. Resumo Histrico da Rebelliam que arrebentou em Goa, (Bombay: Jose
Francisco de Aguiar, 1835), p. 1.
45. Ibid., p. 39.
46. Ibid., p. 42.
47. See for instance, Bruto da Costa, As Revolues polticas da ndia Portuguesa
do sculo XIX, A. A. Bruto da Costa, Goa sob a dominao Portuguesa (Margao:
Tip. O Ultramar, 1896). Both texts list every anti-colonial rebellion in the
region from the revolt of priests in 1787, ostensibly in order to provide a
document for future generations, and to indicate the loyalty of the Goan
people to Portugal, as none of the rebellions, the author claimed, were
intended to overthrow the Portuguese, or had popular support.
48. See Teotonio R. de Souza, The Rural Economy and Society in Portuguese
India: Colonial Reality v/s Stereotypes, in Vasco da Gama e ndia (Lisboa:
Fundao Calouste Gulbenkian, 1999).
49. O Visconde de Contrabando e A Revolta de 1895 em Goa, (1896).
50. Ibid., p. 2.
51. Ibid., p. 5.
52. Frederico Diniz dAyalla, Goa Antiga e Moderna (Lisboa: Typographia do
Jornal do Comrcio, 1888).
53. Ibid.
54. Ibid., pp. 45.
55. This newspaper is universally acknowledged as the organ of the chardos,
Borrowing a Past 69
pitted against the dominance of the brahmins, represented by O Ultramar,
the first privately owned newspaper run by a Goan.
56. Ibid., p. 27.
57. Ibid., p. ivv.
58. da Costa, A Revolta de Goa e a Campanha de 1895/1896.
59. de Melo de Sampayo, Brve Notcia da Origem dos Estudos Superiores em Goa
por mthodos Europeus e em Lngua Portugueza, Felipe Nery Souza, Notcia
Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria, Secundria e Superior na
ndia Portugueza (Nova Goa: Typographia da Cruz, 1879).
60. Caroline Ifeka, The Image of Goa, in Indo-Portuguese HistoryOld Issues,
New Questions, Teotonio R. De Souza, ed. (New Delhi: Concept Publishing
Company, 1985).
61. Censo General da Populao do Estado da ndia (Nova Goa, Imprensa
Nacional, 1903).
62. de Melo de Sampayo, Brve Notcia da Origem dos Estudos Superiores em
Goa por mthodos Europeus e em Lngua Portugueza.
63. lvares, Preleco sobre a situao actual no interior e exterior do paiz, p. 27.
64. J. A. Ismael Gracias, Biblioteca Pblica de Nova GoaRelatrio do ano
econmico de 1892 a 1893 (Nova Goa: Imprensa da Universidade, 1893).
65. Ibid., p. 5.
66. Ibid., p. 1.
67. Veredictum da Opinio Pblica sobre os Apontamentos para a Histria da
Revolta em Goa dos Soldados, Ranes e Satarienses, p. XIII.
68. Denis L. Cottineau de Kloguen, An Historical Sketch of Goa (New Delhi,
Asian Educational Services, 1995).
69. J. Gerson da Cunha, Materials for the History of Oriental Studies amongst
the Portuguese (paper presented at the Congresso Internazionale degli
Orientalisti, Florence, 1880), pp. 17980.
70. Portaria 303, 2 December 1895, Boletim do Governo.
71. Vicente de Bragana Cunha, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos (Bombay:
Vicente de Bragana Cunha, 1926), p. 9. Bragana Cunha elaborated: Richard
Major wrote the life of the Infante Dom Henrique, (The Life of Prince Henry),
where the qualities of his erudite biography were confirmed; Morse Stephens
shone with the biography of Afonso de Albuquerque, and the important
series of Rulers of India; Donald Ferguson who translated and edited the
history of Ceylon, (The History of Ceylon from the Earliest Times to 1600 A.D.
as related by Joao de Barros and Diogo do Couto), and which are found in the
Journal of the Ceylon Asiatic Society was the author of important
monographs about the Portuguese in Ceylon, written with great impartiality;
70 Between Empires
K. G. Jayne wrote an important work (Vasco da Gama and his successors)
about the action and Portuguese supremacy in the Orient.
72. Ibid.
73. Jos Caldas, Histria de um Fogo Morto, Lisboa, 1904, cited in Vicente de
Bragana Cunha, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos (Bombay:
Vicente de Bragana Cunha, 1926), p. iii.
74. de Bragana Cunha, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos, p. iii.
75. Ibid., p. 37.
76. Ibid., p. 41.
77. Bruto da Costa, Goa sob a dominao Portuguesa. See also Ignacio Caetano
de Carvalho, Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em Goa dos Soldados,
Ranes e Satarienses em o Anno de 1895 (Bombaim: Nicols Printing Works,
1896), a pamphlet which asserted that anglophilism as a political aspiration
would only be suicidal for Goa.
78. See the range of correspondence generated during border rebellions, within
the colonial government in Bombay as well as between the British and
Portuguese for varying expressions of British dismay and contempt for
Portuguese management of political crises and governance in general.
Political Department, (Vol. 99, MSA, Bombay, 1895), Political Department,
vol. 155, No. 31, MSA (Bombay: 1852). Foreign and Political Records of the
British Government, (National Archives of India, New Delhi: 18451852).
79. Joao de Mello de Sampayo, Breve Notcia da Origem dos Estudos Superiores
em Goa por Methdos Europeus e em Lingua Portuguesa (Nova Goa, Imprensa
Nacional, 1905).
80. Ibid., p. 5.
81. Ibid., pp. 56.
82. J. A. Ismael Gracias, Carta-Prefcio, in Histria de Goa (Nova Goa: Livraria
Coelho, 1925), p. 1.
83. Ibid., p. VIII.
84. Ibid., p. 14.
85. Ibid., pp. XXXXVII.
86. Pe. Antnio Joo de Frias, Aurela dos ndios & nobiliarchia bracmana.
Tratado histrico, genealgico, panegyrico political, & moral (Lisboa: Officina
de Miguel Deslandes, impressor de Sua Magestade, 1702).
87. Francisco Lus Gomes, The Brahmans, trans. Armando Menezes (Bombay:
Sindhu Publications, 1971).
88. Jerome A. Saldanha, Origin and Growth of Konkani or Goan Communities
and Language (Bombay: Anglo-Lusitano Press, 1904).
89. Mariano Saldanha, Da Importncia do Sanscrito (Nova Goa, Imprensa
Nacional, 1916).
Borrowing a Past 71
90. Ibid., p. 17.
91. Ibid., p. 18.
92. Ibid.
93. Maria Ermelinda dos Stuarts Gomes, Sumrio da Histria Geral da ndia
(Bastora: Tipografia Rangel, 1930).
94. Ibid.
95. Proprcia Correia Afonso de Figueiredo, Os Pergaminhos da Mulher
Indiana, in Trs Ineditos, Joao de Figueiredo, ed. (1945), p. 26.
96. Ibid.
97. Ensaio Panegyrico sobre a obra do Sr. Vasconcellos por um Hindu de Bombay
Residente em Goa, (Bombay: Thomas Graham Press, 1859).
98. S. P. Mambro, Ainda as Almas Irms? A mulher hindu perante a sociedade e
famlia (Nova Goa: Typ. Colonial, 1906). A riposte to F. X. de Spinola
Corras pamphlet Almas Irms of 1905.
99. Pythagoras Lobo, A Mulher ndu, in R. P. Vaidya, ed., Luz do Oriente,
vol. XII (Ponda: Typ. Sri Atmaram, 19061914). Ibid. See No. III,
December 1913, and No. VIII, August 1915.
100. Correio de Bicholim, 20 April 1931.
101. Ibid.
102. Ibid., pp. 445.
103. Mariano Saldanha, O Ensino de Concani em Goa, in Congresso Provincial
da ndia Portuguesa (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1932).
104. Ibid., p. 15.
105. Ibid., p. 17.
106. J. Benedito Gomes, Necessidade de Educao Tcnica em Goa, in
Conferncias e artigos relacionados da imprensa e sociedade, de estudos
pedaggicos de Lisboa (Nova Goa: Artur e Viegas, 1925), pp. 2759.
107. Ibid., pp. 402.
108. Saldanha, O Ensino de Concani em Goa, p. 17.
109. Ibid., p. 17.
110. Luis Madureira, Tropical Sex Fantasies and the Ambassadors Other Death:
The Difference in Portuguese Colonialism, Cultural Critique, no. 28,
(Autumn 1994), pp. 14973.
72 Between Empires
Governance without Governmentality
If a dominant place in the description of the Goan cultural field until
now has been occupied by elaborating the nature of the indigenous elite,
this is in part because of what appears as the disinterested nature of state
cultural policies in the nineteenth century. This contrasts sharply with
accounts of the Inquisition that mark narratives of Goan cultural history
from the sixteenth century, and those of censorship that characterize the
experience of cultural production until the time of Liberation in 1961.
The perception that the Portuguese colonial state shifted from its sixteenth
century effort to reorder all aspects of colonial life with military might
to a period when it suspended its will or ability to generate knowledge
about colonial society in the nineteenth century, characterizes customary
explanations of colonial rule. Cristiana Bastos discussion of the Goa Medical
School as an instrument of colonial power and authority in the nineteenth
century emphasizes that in fact the medical establishment in Goa was not
the handmaiden of a system emanating from Lisbon. In contrast to parallel
studies on Britain and colonial medicine, she states, the picture that emerges
is of a weakened imperial project.
Bastos ascribes to the explanation that
attributes this weakening to Portugals declining empire: One should not
forget that British and Portuguese power in India relate to two quite different
cycles of empire.
This chapter attempts to argue that alongside the
contingencies of imperial fortune, which cannot be discounted, Portugals
ambivalent reception of Enlightenment thought and of modern
governmentality determined the space available to indigenous elites.
Portugals suspicion of new learning is legendary in most English
accounts of Iberian history. C. R. Boxer for example, comments,
Adolfo Coelho (18471919), Portugals pioneer philologist in modern
times, stated that intellectual and scientific pursuits, or even simple curiosity
about them, developed only tardily and incompletely among all classes
in Portugal as compared with other countries.
Governance without Governmentality 73
Boxer attributed the tardiness towards the absorption of new forms
of knowledge to the hold of the church. While the eighteenth-century
Pombaline reforms relaxed some of the censorship practised by the Jesuits
in metropolitan and colonial institutions, Boxer remarks that the Board
of Censorship (Mesa Censria) established in place of the Inquisition after
1810 continued to ban the works of Bayle, Hobbes, Espinoza, Voltaire,
Rousseau and other controversial writers.
Jose Murilho de Carvalho
cites the University of Coimbra that managed to isolate its students from
the most dangerous aspects of the French Enlightenment, admitting
only the reformist and Christian version of the Lumires, and adds, ...It
might not be an exaggeration to say that it was easier to have access to
the philosophes in the captaincy of Minas Gerais, four hundred miles to
the interior of Brazil, than at Coimbra.
Walter Mignolo, however, warns
against the Anglo-American tendency to historicize Iberian forms of
governance as the black legend of European history. (T)the idea that
modernity is a question of the Enlightenment and that the Iberian Peninsula
was steeped in the darkness of the Middle Ages...is part of the very self-
fashioning of the Enlightenment..., he asserts, to argue, that a result of
this kind of reasoning is to view Iberian colonies as cultures caught in a
similar time-warp.
Representations of the Enlightenment generated from outside the
assumption of Anglo-American supremacy offer a more detailed picture.
For instance, Ana Carneiro et al., do assert that a number of Portuguese
intellectuals of the period lived outside Portugal for reasons ranging from
compulsion to convenience.
Intellectual currents that implicitly threatened
the cornerstone of the ancien regime however, were not received with
sustained hostility. Beatriz Helena Domingues in The Role of the Jesuits
in the Iberian Catholic Enlightenment, states,
Enlightened Despotismwhich is the form adopted by Catholic kings in
several countries of Europe, including the Iberian Countriesaimed at
strengthening the role of the national state in order to modernize it. The
chosen way was to adopt, in their way, ideas from the Enlightenment, but
only to the point of defending the submission of the church to the State.
Domingues stresses the eclecticism and mosaic-like nature of what
has come to be termed as the Catholic Enlightenment. Her argument,
that those receptive to Enlightenment thinking assimilated it to the
frameworks of Catholicism rather than dislodge one or the other completely,
resonates with Anthony Pagdens characterization of the late eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries in Spanish America. Pagden characterizes the
74 Between Empires
shifting ideological objectives of empire in the nineteenth century as an
overlaying of ideology, not a displacement. Despite expectations, therefore,
that, as commerce had replayed conquest, so Enlightenment would replace
evangelization and the crasser forms of cultural domination, the ideologies
of the sixteenth century were still visible.
A central argument in
Dominguezs essay, therefore, is that the process of identifying Portugals
sense of a nation was vested in dislodging the Jesuits; once the bearers of
nationalism, but by the eighteenth century, symbols of those aspects of
Christianity which were a threat to the nation overseas.
If one examines the ways in which this form of Enlightenment thought
was encountered in Goa, a different intellectual and social situation unfolds.
Ines G. Zupanovs Disputed Mission traces the contesting seventeenth-
century accounts of Indian missions in the letters of the Jesuit priests,
Roberto de Nobili and Gonalo Fernandes.
The impulse to write, says
Zupanov, was built into the foundations of the Society of Jesus, and the
copious letters circulating between missions and metropole provided
legible knowledges about Tamil society.
This was done by rendering
the experience and interpretation of Jesuits in the mission into the
repertoire of Christian conceptual and spiritual constructs through which
contemporary Jesuits understood the pagan. These two contesting
interpretations of Tamil society, she argues, represented two principal Jesuit
approaches to the Otheruniversalist and ethnic.
The former,
constituted by the principles of uniformity, sameness, and the levelling
of difference, while the latter, which entailed becoming the other as a
prerequisite to understanding and transformation, would both be
employed in a range of combinations through various encounters between
the Christian and non-Christian.
More interestingly for this location of the Enlightenment in Goa,
Zupanov suggests that these fundamental precepts would be refined by
the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, and then turned against the Jesuits:
Jesuit detractors in the 18
century, the French Enlightenment philosophes,
were nourished on and later processed such and similar ethnographic
conclusions provided by missionaries in India and China.
Two important claims made in this study of this particular moment
in European and Indian history are that the fundamental tools, practices,
and representations that would provide the ground for colonial and post-
colonial discourses, were put in place. Through the relativization of the
religious, the social and the political, Zupanov argues, Jesuit letters
constructed a space for modernity, but
Governance without Governmentality 75
[I]t was not until the relationships of power drastically changed with the
advent of British imperialism that the anthropological and Indological
overdetermination of Indian cultural and social essences took shape in
unfolding colonial discourses.
In colonial Tamil Nadu, where this argument is located, the transition
from Jesuit letters to British Indology is easily mapped onto the political
shift from one colonial power to another. In Goa however, it was the
Pombaline reforms that aimed at effecting the central thrust of a range
of programmesdislodging the Jesuits from their zones of influence,
specifically, that of education, nationalizing various public offices, and
centralizing political control in Lisbon.
Whereas in British India,
therefore, missionary treatises were transformed into instruments of
governance, the Marquis de Pombal, the most drastic state authority to
introduce reforms, was wary about any knowledge generated by Jesuits,
and tried to curtail their impact by subjecting their writings to censorship.
Questions that were foregrounded as issues of governance in British India
were, consequently, not the object of Enlightenment reform in Goa.
The focus of Enlightenment reform was the political nature of the state,
the economy, and the establishment of institutions that mirrored similar
forums in Europe. The very mechanisms by which Pombal would ensure
that his writ was followed, that is, the use of censorship, and the expulsions
of Jesuits, curtailed the degree to which these would become the subject
of debate within the state. Pombals notoriously ruthless writ continued
until the death of the King who had installed him.
In Portugal itself, the struggle to install a constitutionalist monarchy
occupied a large part of the nineteenth century. It was this particular
legacy of the prolonged Portuguese Enlightenment that coexisted with
church and monarchy that was transformative, at least for the Catholic
elite in Goa. The introduction of the printing press provided a local sphere
of circulation for elites who were already conversant with developments in
Europe in their fields of interest.
What was eventually hailed as a Goan
renaissance, therefore, was the Catholic elites quick assimilation of new
avenues for political power and intellectual production. New public
institutions for intellectual improvement and educational standardization
were set up, as were the considerably fewer ones for public improvement.
And public life, or at least, the public life of the small Goan Catholic
and Hindu elite, was saturated with print.
Against earlier images of an intellectually tardy colonial power, therefore,
it is fruitful to posit the numerous reforms suggested and implemented
76 Between Empires
in nineteenth-century Goa, as a simultaneous extension of debates over
education in Portugal. As a contrast to the famed conservatism and
centralized control that prevailed in the University of Coimbra, then the
only university in Portugal, there is the evidence of a generation of
academics who drew on contemporary debates on the structure and place
of education underway in other parts of Europe and England.
Conflicting views over questions of public education, of disciplinary
divisions, of the utilitarian versus the academic value of education, and
of the relation of the university to other institutions of education and to
the state were publicly voiced. The fact that Coimbra retained its status
and leanings until the early twentieth century has to do with the difficulty
of changing the nature of the state and its deployment of power through
the nineteenth century. In Goa, a range of mid-century reforms brought
the question of public education within their purview by ensuring that
primary schools were subjected to public inspection periodically, and by
putting in place measures for district schools, schools for girls, an Escola
Normal for the training of teachers, medical schools, and the Lyceu, a
nationalized institution for higher education that, according to the
provisions of reforms in Portugal, had to be instituted in each provincial
Earlier chapters that cited the engagement of the Goan
intelligentsia with assessing the nature and value of education in the colony
are a sign that debates were simultaneously prevalent in Portugal and in
Goa. It is in the resistance of the state to the overhauling of its mechanisms,
subject to these concerns, that one can locate the absence of certain
discourses that had a robust presence in the circles of the intelligentsia.
Aside from the discourses around political economy, land rights, and
caste rivalries cited in Chapter 1, a substantial corpus of scientific texts
emerged from this class who were often pioneers in specific fields.
corpus merits a separate study to gauge how developments in the sciences
were received and adapted in Goa. Studies of the transformation of strands
of Portuguese Enlightenment thought in Brazil indicate that emergent
scientific studies on Brazil were also a route for the self-definition and
significance of the Brazilian nation to be articulated.
In contrast, the
effect of the Enlightenment in Goa had certain substantial differences.
The intended recipients and respondents to Enlightenment thinking
in Goa were the Catholic intelligentsia. The continuing economic
dominance of the Hindu elite, and the access of many to education, if not
in Goa, then in British India, ensured that another, less visible audience
for these ideologies existed, but were not positioned as recipients for them.
Instead, the Hindu elite began to find public definition within a cultural
Governance without Governmentality 77
realm that had taken shape as a response to British colonialism. This
division within the elite compressed the domain where intellectual
production coincided with and intertwined with the sphere of state politics
in Goa, largely within the circles of the Catholic elite.
An important aspect to assessing the impact of Enlightenment thought,
for this reason, is the question of religion, and that of culture. Pombals
efforts were directed towards reducing the influence of the Catholic Church
on the state.
As an accompanying effect, the waning power of the
Inquisition could not be more evident than in the development of separate
legislation for the Hindu populations of New Conquests. Enlightened
governance not only promised Goans the same rights as Portuguese subjects
of the Crown, but required recognition of the states responsibility towards
the divided populations they had constructed and acquired in Goa.
From the eighteenth century on, Hindu Goans had been incorporated
into the task of locating a different norm of governance for themselves.
In the Old Conquests, this shift was manifest in the amendments made to
the customary law for Hindus. This was also a response to the demands of
Hindu males to have their property rights restored, by ensuring that the
rights of wives, daughters, and widows to property were revoked.
1840, the laws that would safeguard religious freedoms assured to the
people of the New Conquests were codified in Portuguese.
The Cdigo
regulated familial relations and was evidently a safeguard against the
changes the Portuguese had successfully introduced into the lives of Hindus
in the Old Conquests.
By the late 1860s, all Hindus were brought under
a common law.
The work of defining the domain of indigenous religion and culture
was therefore, already complete, but was being altered in the light of new
ideologies. The provisions for new Hindu subjects, however, were made
with the least amount of deliberation. While the process of codification
in the nineteenth century involved the translation of certain texts like
the Manusmriti, which began to represent a composite Hindu law, it
was not part of a larger project to engage Portuguese officials and Hindu
Goans in a process of defining and transforming a tradition and culture.
Once again, the task of collecting and codifying information seemed merely
an extension of what had already been put in place, by default and by
design, from the sixteenth century on. Through prohibitions on cultural
practice, and through property laws, a circumscribed realm of practice
78 Between Empires
had already been determined from the days of Inquisitional fervour. The
question of defining religion was not posed afresh, except as a matter of
withholding control, and restoring property. The thrust of arguments
presented by the Hindu elite at this juncture drew on the structure of anti-
colonial articulations prevalent in British India, but were deployed for
the purposes of restoration and protection of caste markers and privileges.
These were, therefore, more responses to the sixteenth-century interventions
of the Portuguese, than a new formulation of opposition. Likewise, the
production of anti-colonial arguments by the Catholic elite in the early
nineteenth century seemed relatively free of the burden of combating
the fixities of an orientalist understanding of indigenous culture. From
the point of view of the Catholic elite, the large-scale conversions and
restructuring of cultural and economic relations in the sixteenth century
did not allow for an easy normative differentiation of the foreign from
the indigenous in the nineteenth.
Altogether, it would appear that it was through the renewal of scientific
knowledge, economic policy, and the philosophy of a centralized, national
monarchy, that the danger of Portugal being completely vanquished
through the world economy was contained, and it is these realms that
received the most attention. The colonial state, therefore, addressed only
those aspects that posed a threat to the areas in which it saw itself deficient.
The conceptualization of a distinct indigenous cultural sphere that
was so crucial to effecting British rule, was not within the ambit of
Pombaline reform.
Aside from tracing the intellectual currents through which Enlightenment
thought was eventually housed in Goa, another significant factor is the
question of governmentality, or the instrumentality of knowledge.
Rosa Cloclet da Silvas A Formao do homem-pblico no Portugal
setecentista: 17501777, emphasizes that the construction of appropriate
bearers of Enlightenment thought through the empire, found their target
in the bureaucrat.
It was these early exponents of the Portuguese
Enlightenment who diagnosed a cultural and economic petrifaction
within Portugal, and who attributed it to the ideological hegemony of
scholastics, and to the hold of English economic interests over the nation.
The sphere of influence of an enlightened bureaucrat was restricted
by the fact that the principles enforced by Pombal or acquired by some
representatives of the state did not necessarily lead to a reinscription of
Governance without Governmentality 79
statecraft. The partial assimilation and concession to the ideas propagated
through the Enlightenment ensured that governance continued to be
defined more by monarchist notions of power than a systematic
establishment of technologies of disciplinary and regulatory power. A
political history of nineteenth-century Portugal indicates the consistent
instability of the state through the length of the century and the fluctuating
battle for supremacy among stakeholders in various forms of the emergent
Portugals colonies were not safeguarded from the vagaries of this
period. On the contrary, geographic and economic reversals of power flows,
as well as the identities of metropole and colony were shaken a little
when the Portuguese Royal Court shifted from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro.
The relationship between Portugal and Brazil underpins the defining
characteristics of the Portuguese Enlightenment during the late eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries. It was to protect national interests that an urgency
to shift the crown to Brazil was expressed.
Consequently, the definition
of a Portuguese state through the pressures of Enlightenment thought,
were inevitably focused on Brazil. The definition of the sphere of politics
in Goa was far less monitored by the Portuguese crown.
The tortuous tussle between factions within the state and the Church
was played out in Goa in combination with the elaborate range of
indigenous stratifications of power already described in earlier sections.
These tussles did not merely reflect or duplicate the struggles in Portugal.
If anything, the overwhelming presence of factions ensured that these
enjoyed a fair degree of political autonomy in Goa. If the transfer to Rio
de Janeiro had led to a shifting location of power between Portugal and
Brazil, in Goa, political conflicts were played out in a state that had an
uncertain locus of political authority. One illustration of this is the case
of the nominated Prefect of Goa, Bernardo Peres da Silva.
A coup in 1821 had scarcely established liberal constitutionalism in
Portugal when factions in Goa forced similar changes in the colony, and
alongside the contemporary system of governance, three deputies were
elected to the Portuguese Parliament from the whole of Goa.
In 1835,
Bernardo Peres da Silva, who had been elected to Parliament since 1822,
was nominated (as a personal preference of the Crown) Prefect of Goa, the
highest political position within the new nomenclature, to be enjoyed by
a Goan. Peres da Silva governed Goa for scarcely a fortnight. The new Prefect
had instituted a series of reforms in the administration and the taxation
system before he was therefore overthrown, and a provisional government
installed by means which, even by the terms of an unrepresentative electoral
system, were considered against the will of the people.
80 Between Empires
What is of significance for an attempt to capture the nature of the
state in Goa, is the manner in which disputes such as the one described
above, were resolved. With complete disregard for an injunction that had
been issued after all, by the Crown, the Prefect was opposed vigorously,
in part through personalized invective in pamphlets that circulated in Goa,
Bombay, and in Lisbon.
The military were given a free hand, as they
often were in the aftermath of political revolt. In one instance, supporters
of da Silva, anticipating a comeback from his exile in Bombay, took
shelter in a fort. Once the military arrived, they were shot and beheaded.
The same account reports that their heads were impaled on stakes and
exhibited, and collective punishment meted out in villages that were
said to harbour supporters.
The frequency with which the military are
said to have meted out punishment after a rebellion, independently of
judicial processes that had been set in place, is symptomatic of the fluid
locus of state authority in Goa, and of the coexistence of different norms
for legal justice and governance. In addition, the ease with which factions
among the Portuguese overturned or rejected decisions sent from the
metropole suggest that the sanctity of the new state in Portugal had still
to be established. The account of Peres da Silvas term is just one instance
of the times when conflict within political circles in Goa, particularly
from 1821 to 1835, are said to have led to a lapse in the consensual
recognition of law and administrative procedure.
The question of governmentality in the nineteenth century cannot
but refer to the comparative referential point posed by the British colonial
government in India, through which the Portuguese presence is customarily
interpreted. The reports circulating among the British colonial
government during the course of various rebellions that occurred across
the borders of Goa and present day Maharashtra expressed their dismay
over Portugals strategies for dealing with rebellion.
This dismay was
premised on the boundaries that implicitly should have been in place
between colonizer and colonized, and which the Portuguese, according to
the British, routinely transgressed. The subordination of procedure,
protocol, racial distancing, and occasionally, the written word of the law,
to the contingencies of contemporary politics, and toward the immediate
restoration of order, overturned every belief the British nurtured in
producing a systematic form of governance.
As a complementary phenomenon, the fixity ascribed to writing, to
procedure, and to bureaucratic process that one associates with modern
states, were not always the central ordering signifiers of power. Studies of
the effects of Enlightenment in Brazil and Portugal emphasize that these
Governance without Governmentality 81
were unevenly absorbed, imprinting themselves on disciplines and spheres
of intellectual circulation more than on administration and statecraft.
This distribution most aptly captures the nature of nineteenth-century
reforms and renaissances in Goa. The instances of bureaucratic and
political lapse that have been cited therefore, are part of an attempt to
argue that the space of law, government orders, and written documents,
was often unfixed. A repetitive motif that exceeded the bounds of legality
was the performance of the collective restitution of order during rebellions
in Goa. The combination of offering amnesties and concessions to rebels,
alongside the performance of supremacy through substantive violence
typifies descriptions of Portuguese mechanisms of dealing with political
disturbances in Goa at other moments as well.
This performance ran
parallel to and sometimes exceeded the mandate of legality that was
supposed to govern the handing of rebellion. In 1895 for instance, after
a rebellion had been suppressed, the British noted that gallows were
being erected in Panjim when Portuguese law had no provision for capital
Without a discourse that was common and determinant for the
military and judiciary, state-produced texts were constantly devalued by
the states different branches. This depleted the truth-value that was
assigned to state pronouncements, and to representations generated in
this field altogether. This undermined the weight attributed to the written
and printed word issued by the state, and made the public realm of print
and writing porous and receptive to representations emerging from groups
outside and opposing the state.
Judicial processes also did not mirror
the elaborate formalistic exercises in truth extraction that the British
administration had constructed contemporaneously, and when dealing with
similar groups of indigenous rebels.
Later sections will indicate that this
uncertainty over the locus of authority was visible in the early print of
the nineteenth century, where predominantly state-controlled newsletters
and gazettes were surprisingly susceptible to factional pamphleteering.
It is unsurprising that the significant actors throughout the nineteenth
century seem to have been individuals who were bolstered by factional
power, rather than institutions or disciplines or schools. This would seem
a plausible way to understand the occasional disregard or non-
implementation of policy, and helps situate in particular, the phenomenon
of Joaquim Heliodoro da Cunha Rivara, the Secretary to the Governor
82 Between Empires
General of Portuguese India. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, was convinced that
a systematized accumulation of information about Goan society would
improve administration. He embarked on a relatively solitary effort to
commission reports on festivals and religious practices in the hope that
this would be incorporated into administrative policies. It is uncertain
whether any of these reports were published, but Rivaras private papers
indicate that the official translator in Goa, Suriagy Anand Rau, put together
a Biographical Essay on Gns (Ganesh).
This essay, written in 1858,
described the myths surrounding Ganesh, and explained festival practices.
Rau also translated works that had been published in English and Marathi
in Bombay. These contained critiques of festivals, discussed the strengths
and problems of Hinduism, and provided evidence of the rights of
Brahmins, established during the foundational moments of the Hindu
Rivara may have hoped that these would throw light on the
many disputes between brahmin and other upper-caste groups in Goa.
All of Rivaras efforts to construct spheres of textual production that
would require the participation of the indigenous intelligentsia were
evidently of no great interest to anyone in the colonial government. His
varied publications or attempts at generating such texts were clearly an
attempt to replicate what other European colonial powers had achieved
in their colonies. Rivaras prominence or significance as Secretary to the
Governor General cannot be overemphasized. The fact that his work
continues to be celebrated as a sign of his personal erudition, and did not
form the foundation of cultural or linguistic policy, only illustrates the
detachment of the state from his vision.
The emphasis placed above on the case of Rivara is to stress the absence
of an impulse on the part of the Portuguese state to systemize and
consolidate an indigenous cultural tradition, rather than to suggest that
the state did not exercise its power in the realm of culture. The discussion
of the linguistic policies of the state in the nineteenth century indicates,
however, that these tendencies trickled into official policy, in a domain
that did not overly concern the state. Further, the uncertainty over the
locus of cultural authority was more than ably used by the colonial elite,
whose investment in defending linguistic interests far outstripped that
of the state.
Most literary histories of Goa acknowledge that aside from the initial
publications of the missionaries, the first few centuries of Portuguese rule
Governance without Governmentality 83
had a destructive impact on the development of the Konkani language.
By the nineteenth century, Konkani, the spoken language in Goa, was
relegated to being an oral language alone, despite the reintroduction of the
printing press into Goa in 1821. Through the centuries after the initial
capture of Goa in 1510, the Portuguese state and the Goan elite used either
Portuguese or Marathi for official, academic, and literary writing. The
linguistic repertoires of nineteenth-century Goans, therefore, were finely
stratified. Elite Catholics and many elite Hindus were literate in Portuguese
and Konkani, while elite Hindus were also literate in Marathi. Both groups,
however, had almost ceased to employ Konkani was not employed in any
official or elite public realm. Among the earliest Hindus to write in
Portuguese was Ananda Camotim Vaga (cited in Chapter 1) whose two
ethnographic texts were produced in the eighteenth century.
Vaga was
an official translator and interpreter, and his work indicates that Hindus
in select positions within the Portuguese bureaucracy had mastered the
language as well, though they never made a political claim over it.
The following sections suggest how the impetus of the first two
centuries of Portuguese rule to master Konkani and produce a variety of
texts in the language in order to entrench the rule of the Church and the
state, no longer defined linguistic policy in the nineteenth century. Works
such as Jos Pereiras Literary Konkani reconstruct literary and other uses
of Konkani prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, and indicate that though
Konkani was used in land records and for devotional purposes, it did
not have steady official patronage by most rulers prior to the Portuguese.
Instead, Marathi, Kannada, or Persian were the official languages of varying
feudatories that had ruled Goa prior to the Portuguese, and Marathi had
subsequently been adopted as the language of devotional verse among
upper-caste Goans. When the Portuguese established their rule over three
territories in Goa by 1543, Marathi retained its dominance in official
spheres, but was subordinated to Portuguese as a language from which
land documents would have to be translated. The entry of the church set
off a series of linguistic changes that aided the development of Konkani,
while ensuring that it would not contribute to a common literary or
linguistic medium for Goan people.
The earliest institutions of education to be set up by the Portuguese
were the colleges and seminaries run by the Jesuits and Franciscans. At
84 Between Empires
least seven of these existed by the beginning of the seventeenth century,
beginning with the Colgio de Santa F set up in 1541.
Many of these
institutions taught the Konkani language alongside classical European
languages, music, theology, and philosophy, in the hope that those who
were unable to complete the course, could at least serve as translators and
faithful interpreters, of whom there was such great need.
The beginnings
of primary education are nearly simultaneous with these as in 1545 the
Viceroy was ordered to set up primary schools in each parish. These taught
the rudiments of reading, writing, counting, and music, and their repertoire
did not expand significantly until the nineteenth century.
By 1556, Goa had a printing press using moveable metallic types, the
first of its kind in Asia. This equipped Konkani with the kind of patronage
and institutional backing it did not have in the centuries prior to their
Grammars and vocabularies helped standardize the language in
which Goans and Portuguese wrote catechisms, confessionals, and
theological treatises and translated religious texts.
Konkani began to be
written in the Roman script, and was adopted as the medium of writing
by priests and lay Catholic Goans. While it provided an impetus for the
development of Konkani, it also worked to divide the Goan readership
into a Catholic readership that wrote in Roman, while Hindu Goans
predominantly used the Devanagari script.
While the Foral of 1526 had introduced Portuguese as an administrative
language, and the introduction of the printing press initiated the
development of Konkani as a print language, subsequent decisions by
both state and church curtailed the use of Konkani. Decisions about
language use made by varying Archbishops and councils indicate the
shifts in how the Church theorized language. These veered between having
to consider the pragmatics of conversion and communication with New
Christians and gauging the potential danger posed by indigenous language
as a carrier of pagan culture and cultural memory, and the contesting notion
that the most effective conversion would be through an accommodation
of indigenous culture. The impact of the printing press on Konkani in
Goa, particularly among the new Christians, must therefore be seen
alongside that of the inquisition, set up just four years after the printing
press in 1560. The central conflict, (between assimilation, or the universalist
levelling of difference, and becoming the Other) outlined in Ines D.
Zupanovs Disputed Mission, discussed earlier, is in evidence here.
the late sixteenth century saw the emergence of the first few Konkani
grammars and Church edicts favouring Konkani, as well as the repressive
Governance without Governmentality 85
Inquisition, the late seventeenth century is marked by dwindling
production in Konkani, and the emergence of definite edicts against the
spoken language. In 1684, the Viceroy prohibited the use of Konkani
altogether and printing was formally banned from 1754 to 1821 in Goa.
Linguistic policies continued to be conflicted in the eighteenth
century. In 1731, the Inquisition complained that people were drawn
back to Hinduism and attributed this to the failure to suppress Konkani.
When the anti-ecclesiastical Marquis de Pombal took over in 1759,
however, he ordered that Konkani be taught in schools with the use of
dictionaries that were expurgated of any Jesuit influences. Contrary to all
that has been argued about Pombals success in achieving unprecedented
change, this edict was not implemented. As a result, the efforts of those
who had composed the first grammars and works in standard Konkani
did not form a basis for its development into a medium for written literary
texts. Pombal had attempted to extend the control and responsibility
of the Portuguese state through educational reforms. The actual
implementation of suggestions, reforms, or orders in colonial Goa however,
could never be assumed.
Jos Pereira traces the breakdown into isolated dialects of a standard
Konkani that had evolved through the texts and grammars of the sixteenth
century, once the decree of 1684 was issued.
Literary production was
dispersed among dialects of Konkani whose speakers worked in isolation
from each other. In another work on Goas literary history, Pereira
remarked on the discontinuities that typify literary developments in the
state. He claimed that writers have had to write in their language as if it
had never been written in before; one is always coming across assertions
that a particular writer is Konkanis first.
Only the divisions among
the Goan readership remained. Catholics were instructed through the
Roman script, and the Devanagari and Modi scripts were alien to
succeeding generations of Catholic Goans.
In the light of these contradictory injunctions, the production of
grammars and devotional texts by the missionaries seem more like the
early zeal of those new to the field than a process that was intertwined with
centralized policy. Until the nineteenth century, it was predominantly
the churchs theorization of the relation between language and religious
doctrine that shaped the Portuguese states linguistic policy in schools.
The choice of a language for administration and questions of evolving a
literary language were less consciously shaped. In fact, in keeping with
the policy of political centralization, the propagation of Portuguese is
86 Between Empires
perhaps the only somewhat systematized intervention of the Portuguese
state within this realm.
Portugals dwindling colonial fortunes were reflected in the
impoverishment of any institutions set up for civilians, despite their
substantial incomes from inland trade. Though funds for the maintenance
of colleges and seminaries were drawn from the revenues of gaunkarias,
by the middle of the eighteenth century these institutions were strapped
for funds and the records for this period are dotted with entreaties to the
Viceroy and King about the need for money. Through the movements
for constitutionalism in the first half of the nineteenth century, ecclesiasts
continued to be on syllabi-planning boards for schools, and the church
was knit into the structures of administration and taxation, particularly
in those areas where Catholics predominated. This did not mean, however,
that concerns with improving, modernizing, and widening the reach of
education, in keeping with metropolitan transformations, were not of
importance to the state. The Portuguese state in the nineteenth century
took a bleak view of its own efforts to provide educational facilities in
Goa. In 1808 the Viceroy wrote to the Portuguese king:
Public instruction here is almost non-existent. In a population of 260,000
souls there is not a single institution of education. There are five classes
for Latin grammar and none for the Portuguese language. At a cost of
20,000 xerafins, the treasury teaches thirty students the same Latin
grammar, philosophy, dogmatic and moral theology, through an old and
prolonged method...those who suffer most are the sons of the Portuguese
and their descendants.
The Viceroy was more concerned about the welfare of Goas Portuguese
citizens than Goans, but his letter indicates a perception of a need to
function as a modern state.
Aside from the introduction of the history of India into school syllabi,
there was little deliberation over whether the content of school teaching
had to be specially shaped for Goans. Universal modernization, with the
attendant requirements of uniformity and innovation, rather than the
reshaping of colonial society was the impetus for school reforms.
the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the colonial state in Goa had
already produced the strata of Portuguese or Marathispeaking Goans
through which it administered its territory in India. Goan Catholics received
a rudimentary primary education in the parish school, and a select few,
usually at the expense of the village gaunkarias, would complete their
higher education in Portugal.
Governance without Governmentality 87
Schools in the nineteenth century began gradually to be administered
by governmental rather than church bodies.
Whereas in the Old
Conquests educational efforts on the part of the state had to be
supplemented, in the New Conquests, the establishment of Portuguese
schools was a fresh effort. Schools in the New Conquests were exempt
from religious instruction, and Latin schools were reduced to one in
each district.
The acquisition of territories that were guaranteed religious
freedom presented the state with administrative problems, particularly
with regard to linguistic decisions. Therefore, while policies applying to
Catholic Goans continued to be assimilative, they could not be applied
to the New Conquests.
It is interesting to note that after the early prohibitions directed against
New Christians and Hindus by the Inquisition, the only edicts against a
language were directed against Konkani. The state usually fell back on
censorship as its most persuasive deterrent against Konkani. Evidently
no language other than Konkani seemed to pose a threat to the desired
lusophone identity. Perhaps as the most widely spoken language, Konkani
posed a threat that no other language did. However, as subsequent sections
will indicate, it was Marathi and English that grew in dominance through
the nineteenth century. In a situation in which the Portuguese state had
a bare legislative infrastructure to influence linguistic policy, the place
and form of print and language in Goa were substantially shaped by the
linguistic formation of the Goan elite and by its interests. Once the language
of religion and national identity were ascertained, the state seemed to
withdraw its powers of intervention. The vast realm of economic, political,
and literary communication was decided through the realpolitik of
clashing elite interests, and state concessions to vocal lobbyists.
1. See for instance, B. G. DSouza, Goan Society in Transition (Bombay: Popular
Prakashan, 1975), p. 224. DSouza states, The fact that the majority of
the newspapers and journals were published in the Portuguese language
and not in Konkani...furnishes additional evidence pinpointing to the policy
followed by Portuguese in strangulating the national culture of the Goans
and forcing on them the Portuguese culture.
2. Cristiana Bastos, Race, Medicine and the Late Portuguese Empire: The Role
88 Between Empires
of Goan Colonial Physicians, Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies 5,
no. 1 (2005), p. 26.
3. Ibid., p. 27.
4. C. R. Boxer, The Kaffirs of Europe, the Renaissance, and the
Enlightenment, in The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 14151825 (London:
Hutchinson and Co., 1969), p. 341.
5. C. R. Boxer, The Portuguese Seaborne Empire 14151825, p. 363.
6. Jos Murilho de Carvalho, Political Elites and State Building: The Case of
Nineteenth-Century Brazil, Comparative Studies in Society and History 24,
no. 3 (1982), p. 388.
7. Walter D. Mignolo, Coloniality of Power and Subalternity, in The Latin
American Subaltern Studies Reader, Ileana Rodriguez, ed. (USA: Duke
University Press, 2001), pp. 42444.
8. Ana Carneiro, Ana Simes, Maria Paula Diogo, Enlightenment Science in
Portugal: The Estrangeirados and their Communication Networks, Social
Studies of Science 30/4, no. August 2000.
9. Beatriz Helena Domingues, The Role of the Jesuits in the Iberian Catholic
Enlightenment (http://woodstock.georgetown.edu/programs/vf/
Jesuits_in_Iberian_Enlightenment.htm, 2004 [cited).
10. Anthony Pagden, Lords of all the World (New Haven and London: York
University Press, 1995).
11. Ines G. Zupanov, Disputed Mission (New Delhi: Oxford University Press,
12. Ibid., p. 9.
13. Ibid., p. 23.
14. Ibid., p. 35
15. Ibid., p. 145.
16. Pia de Menezes Rodrigues, Emergence of a Goan elite of intellectuals
(18201926), in Goa and PortugalHistory and Development, Charles J.
Borges, scar G. Pereira, and Hannes Stube, eds (New Delhi: Concept
Publishing Company, 2000). See this essay for a list of changes brought
about by Pombals rule.
17. Felipe Nery Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica
Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza (Nova Goa: Typographia
da Cruz, 1879). Nery Souza mentions the scrutiny by the Mesa Censria,
of grammars and other texts produced by Jesuits to be used in schools.
18. Domingues, The Role of the Jesuits in the Iberian Catholic Enlightenment (cited).
19. An article on the reports submitted to the Royal Academy of History in
Lisbon, about book collections in libraries in Goa, for instance, traces an
eighteenth-century mention of the existence of Newtons Philosophiae
Governance without Governmentality 89
Naturalis Principia Mathematica of 1687. Ana Isabel Buescu, Reports about
Goa for the Royal Academy of History (1726), in Goa and Portugal
History and Development, Charles J. Borges, scar G. Pereira, and Hannes
Stube, eds, XCHR Studies Series, no. 10 (New Delhi: Concept Publishing
Co., 2000).
20. Luis Leal de Faria, The Two Cultures in Nineteenth-Century Portugal:
Scholarship v. Science in Higher Education, e-JPH 2, no. 1 (2004).
21. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria, Secundria
e Superior na ndia Portugueza, de Menezes Rodrigues, Emergence of a Goan
elite of intellectuals (18201926), Leal de Faria, The Two Cultures in
Nineteenth-Century Portugal: Scholarship v. Science in Higher Education.
22. See for instance the substantive listings of scientific works of Goan academics
that had drawn international attention in Aleixo Manuel da Costa,
Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, vol. IIII (Macau: Instituto Cultural de
Macau e Fundao Oriente, 1999).
23. Lorelai Kury, Homens de cincia no Brasil: imprios coloniais e circulao
de informaes (17801810), Histria, Cincias, Sade-Manguinhos, vol.
11 (suplemento 1) (2004), Juan Pimentel, The Iberian Vision: Science
and Empire in the Framework of a Universal Monarchy, 15001800, Osiris
15, no. Nature and Empire: Science and the Colonial Enterprise.
24. The nineteenth century saw a complex and fierce struggle between the
Portuguese Padroado and the Propaganda Fide, set up by the Vatican. See
M. N. Pearson, The Portuguese in India, vol. 1.1, The New Cambridge History
of India (UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987), pp. 11819. By Bulls of
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the Portuguese crown was given certain
revenues and privileges within Portugal and overseas, and in return had to
finance and support the missionary drive in Africa and Asia. This was the
Padroado whose functioning drew sufficient criticism over time for the
Vatican to try and curtail its powers. The effort of the Vatican was to reduce
the power of the Padroado and to strengthen its own standing as a centralized
authority over Catholic orders. Pombals expulsion of the Jesuits was linked
to this battle. Any effort to diminish the hold of the Church over affairs
of the State in the nineteenth century would have involved negotiating
this struggle.
25. de Menezes Rodrigues, Emergence of a Goan elite of intellectuals (1820
1926), Felippe Nery Xavier, Colleco de Bandos, e outras differentes
providncias que servem de leis regulamentares para o Governo Econmico, e
Judicial das Novas Conquistas (Pangim: Imprensa Nacional, 1840).
26. This was a different approach from that which led to amendments to the
Foral, the sixteenth-century charter allocating land rights. Petitions against
90 Between Empires
it were frequent in the sixteenth century itself, particularly from Hindus who
found the distribution of familial property and the lines of inheritance disturbed.
27. Celsa Pinto, Womens Inheritance Rights: Conflict and Confrontation,
in Goa: Images and Perceptions (Panjim: Prabhakar Bhide Publishers, 1996).
28. Xavier, Colleco de Bandos, e outras differentes providncias que servem de
leis regulamentares para o Governo Econmico, e Judicial das Novas Conquistas.
This was the first of a series of publications that were based on the findings
of a Commission appointed to gauge popular opinion and demands. The
1861 edition of the Cdigo claimed that a written set of laws would help
solve the number of disputes that had arisen through the century.
29. It guaranteed to Hindus and Muslims, for instance, the right to polygamy
at any age, it allowed for women to be wed before puberty, and forbade
Hindu women from contracting a marriage after puberty. It specified that
widows could not remarry, even if widowed before puberty. The rights to
ownership and maintenance of property within marriage were minutely
detailed. It is this area which seemed to have incorporated some of the
safeguards to the property of women which could be found in the Old
Conquests as well. The absolute juridical power of men within a marriage,
however, helped safeguard certain economic-political spheres for men of
the New Conquests, at a time when the Portuguese state would alter taxation
and land relations in these areas.
30. Michel Foucault, Governmentality, in Power, James D. Fabion, ed.,
Essential Works of Foucault 19541984 (England: Penguin Books, 1994).
31. Ana Rosa Cloclet da Silva, A Formao do homem-pblico no Portugal
setecentista: 17501777, Revista Intellectus Ano 02 Vol II (2003).
32. Paulo Jorge Fernandes, Filipe Ribeiro de Meneses, and Manuel Baia, The
Political History of Nineteenth Century Portugal, e-JPH I no. 1, no. Summer
33. Patrick Wilcken, A Colony of a Colony The Portuguese Royal Court in
Brazil, Common Knowledge 11, no. 2 (2005), p. 253.
34. Ofcio, no. 2, Direco Geral do Ultramar, Correspondncia GeralIndia
1833/ 36 (Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (AHU), Lisbon).
35. Ofcio, no. 18, Direco Geral do Ultramar, Correspondncia GeralIndia
1833/ 36 (Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (AHU), Lisbon).
36. See Resumo Histrico da Rebelliam que arrebentou em Goa, (Bombay: Jose
Francisco de Aguiar, 1835) for an account of the events around Peres da
Silvas removal.
37. See Foreign and Political Records of the British Government, (National Archives
of India, New Delhi: 18451852), Estrangeiros, vol. 1225 (Panjim: DAAG,
Governance without Governmentality 91
38. Kury, Homens de cincia no Brasil: imprios coloniais e circulao de
informaes (17801810).
39. Ignacio Caetano de Carvalho, Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em
Goa dos Soldados, Ranes e Satarienses em o Anno de 1895 (Bombaim: Nicols
Printing Works, 1896); O Visconde de Contrabando e A Revolta de 1895
em Goa, (1896). Both Carvalho and Loiola (the alleged author of the
anonymously issued O Visconde de Contrabando), who were political
opponents, and issued pamphlets attacking each other during the rebellion
of 1895, criticized the state for its indiscriminate punishment and flawed
policy whether in the context of judicial punishment or land policy.
40. Political Department, 1895, vol. 99, MSA, Bombay.
41. The contemporaneous production of defensive pamphlets by representatives
of state and the trial of indigenous rebels in the context of the revolts of
1870 and 1895, indicates that the realms of judicial truth, popular gossip,
and pamphleteering were intertwined and as important in the restitution
of order and public opinion, to the state, as to the colonized. See for instance,
Visconde de So. Janurio, Duas Palavras cerca da ltima revolta do excrcito
do Estado da ndia (Bombaim: Economist Steam Press, 1872), Ovdio de
Alpoim, Analise de Algumas Affirmaes feitas no folheto do V. de Bardez (1896);
Gomes da Costa, A Revolta de Goa e a Campanha de 1895/1896 (Lisboa:
Carlos Gomes da Costa, 1938)., pamphlets produced by administradores,
judges, and governor generals defending themselves against criticism of
their handling of political crises, as well as charges of corruption.
42. Pol. Dept. Records, vol. 155, MSA (Bombay: 1852), Estrangeiros, vol. 1233,
no. 9 (Panjim: DAAG, 1848), Foreign and Political Records of the British
Government, Processo crime sobre a revolta militar e desero, vol. 1446/1354,
fl. 91, 99, 1224 Auto de interrogatrio, Conselho de Guerra Permanente
(Panjim: Directorate of Archaeology and Archives of Goa, 1895). A
comparative study of records of trials conducted by the British government
in Bombay and the government in Goa indicates the British absorption
with rendering culpability, truth or innocence, visible through the formal
methods prescribed for the written reports of evidence or a trial.
43. See Chapter 5.
44. Ensaio Biogrphico de Gns, Box 6, no. 12, Fundo Rivara, Biblioteca
Publica de Evora.
45. The Ensaio descritivo-analtico das Festas dos Hindus ou ndios (A
descriptive-analytical essay on the Feasts of the Hindus or ndios) contained
critiques of various festivals and discussed the strengths and problems of
Hinduism. The English version of the text was published in 1853 in Bombay.
The Analyse das Regalias dos Bramanes dictadas no instituto da religio dos
92 Between Empires
Hindus ou ndios (Analysis of the Customs of Brahmins as established during
the foundation of the religion of the Hindus or Indios) claimed to establish
the rights of brahmins as understood within Hinduism. The Marathi version
of this text appeared in 1855 in Bombay.
46. Box 2, no. 14 of the same collection has a set of documents on the rights of
certain castes to use the palanquin from the seventeenth century on. Disputes
between brahmins and the goldsmith caste in Goa frequently dwelt on this
47. Jos Pereira, Literary Konkani (Dharwar: Konkani Sahitya Prakashan, 1973).
48. Panduranga S. Pissurlencar, Um Hindu, Autor Desconhecido de Duas
Publicaes Portuguesas, in Sep. De Memrias da Academia das Cincias
de Lisboa, tomo VII. (Lisboa: Ottosgrfica Ltd., 1959).
49. Pereira, Literary Konkani, pp. 1821. Pereira lists the earliest appearances
of Konkani usage in Kannada inscriptions, Marathi poems and official
records. The earliest known epic in Konkani is the Godde Ramayan, which
was a folk epic, and the Tales of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, a work in
Konkani prose by Kruxnnadas Xama Kelosikar, which are said to date from
the sixteenth century. Olivinho Gomes, Old Konkani Language and Literature
(Goa: Konkani Sorospot Prakashan, 1999). Portuguese missionaries
transcribed Kelosikars work in the Roman script.
50. See Antonio Pereira, The Makers of Konkani Literature (Pilar: Xaverian Press,
1982), and Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica
Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza.
51. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria,
Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza, p. 7.
52. Ibid., p. 76.
53. The first printed book in Konkani was a translation of the Doutrina Crist
that appeared between 1557 and 1561. Mariano Saldanha, Introduo in
Toms Estvo, Doutrina Crist em lngua Concani, ed. Mariano Saldhanha
(Lisboa: Agncia Geral das Colnias, 1945), p. 3; (Henrique Henriques is
said to have prepared a Konkani grammar in 1567. This was never printed.
See Pereira, Literary Konkani., which cites Documenta Indica vol. VII, Doc.
95 p. 442,) and the English Jesuit, Thomas Stephens, composed his grammar
between 1568 and 1617.
54. Jos Pereira, Konkani: A Language (Dharwar: Karnatak University, 1971),
p. 3.
55. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, An Historical Essay on the Konkani Language, trans.
Fr. Theophilus Lobo (Bombay: Marathi Samshodhana Mandal, 1958).
Though by 1548, indigenous literature was confiscated and burnt, the
subsequent pronouncements of the Church largely encouraged the use of
Governance without Governmentality 93
the Konkani language. By 1567, decrees issued from the Viceroy and from
the Provincial Councils that were held in Goa urged Portuguese priests to
learn Konkani. In 1573, the second Council of Goa suggested that missionaries
who could speak the language of the land should spread the gospel with
gentleness and without uproar that may cause scandal. In 1585, the third
Council emphasized the need for uniformity of religious texts, while using
different vernaculars. The fourth Provincial Council in 1592 was distressed
that the practices of witchcraft, divination, superstitions, and the bad
habits and perverse education which Goans received when they were Hindus
persisted after their baptism; it advocated, as an antidote, more translations
of catechisms into Konkani. By 1606, vicars who had not managed to learn
the local language in six months were threatened with the suspension of their
jurisdiction over parishes, and in the Franciscan college of Reis Magos, parish
priests were examined in Konkani, Tamil, and Sinhalese by Inquisitors. In
1684, the Viceroy abolished Konkani, indicating a shift in policy. This is
aside from the fact that despite earlier injunctions in favour of Konkani,
reports from the colony to the metropole, often complained that none of
the priests had learned the language. pp. 166, 171, 183.
56. Vimala Devi and Manuel e Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I
(Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971). Souza, Notcia Histrica
e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia
Portugueza, p. 35.
57. Francisco Luis Gomes, Le Marquis de Pombal: Esquisse de sa vie publique
(Lisbon: Presse Franco-Portugaise, 1869).
58. Though there is no reason to assume that standardization would have been
a natural process without Portuguese intervention.
59. Jos Pereira, The Era of Unified Konkani, in Pereira, Literary Konkani, p.
18. Devi and e Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, similarly remarks that
one of the most singular characteristics of the literary history of Goa is the
fact that these early works were insignificant to the formation of its cultural
60. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria,
Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza, p. 92.
61. Language reforms for instance, usually dwelt on the need to introduce
modern methods to teach Portuguese: children were to be taught to write in
the lower case before they learnt to write capital letters, and the lower part of
capitals before the upper; students had to be strong enough to write, and
to sit upright with their arms in the right posture. Ibid., pp. 97100.
62. J. Benedito Gomes, Anurio Escolar (Bastora: Tipografia Rangel, 1926).,
p. xxvii.c.
94 Between Empires
63. Parish schools for instance were placed under the jurisdiction of the Tanadar-
Mor (the administrative head of the gaunkaria) in Ilhas, whereas the schools
of Bardez and Salcete were under the District court. The number of parish
schools dwindled from forty-nine to twenty-five in the Old Conquests,
and where there was a government primary school, there would be no
parish school.
64. Apart from the absence of Christian doctrine as a subject in the schools of
the New Conquests, school holidays in these areas included a range of Hindu
and Muslim festivals, while the ones in the Old Conquests were closed
predominantly on Christian festival days. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao
da Instruco Pblica Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza,
p. 167.
Education and its Languages 95
Education and its Languages
One of the reasons why the colonial states singular positive linguistic
agenda that Portuguese be taught in schools did not suffice as a means to
determine the future linguistic repertoire of Goa, was because the
government in neighbouring territories had emerged with a sophisticated
discourse of linguistic identity. This discourse welded linguistic research
to theories of identity, history, and literature, and forged policy based on
these conclusions. This suggests that where the Portuguese colonial state
faltered in its conception of how it should intervene within linguistic policy,
other more powerful discourses effectively took its place. Partly by intent,
partly by default, and by yielding to the realities of realpolitik, the Portuguese
state allowed control over the realm of linguistic education to be prised
from its grasp and reshaped by the discourse of English colonialism and
the interests of the Goan elite.
In 1812 the newly appointed Archbishop, Manuel de So Galdino
prohibited the use of Konkani in primary schools as a medium for both
teaching and conversation to further the spread of Portuguese.
One might
take this ruling, and the fact that it was reinforced in 1847, as a sign of a
general suppression of all languages other than Portuguese, if, on the
question of the place of Marathi and English, the state did not prove so
malleable. Though state and church policy indicated a specific preference
for Portuguese and against Konkani, the history of policies regarding
Marathi and English is revelatory of an inability to actually confront a
strong campaign.
However, its rival and neighbour, the British colonial government,
as well as Goans propagating Marathi within Goa, had learnt to deploy
cultural and linguistic power for different uses and with great proficiency.
Almost all interested groups were either indifferent to or actively opposed
any development of the Konkani language. Such a situation had the most
damaging consequences for speakers of Konkani. With no state backing,
96 Between Empires
nor a popular campaign around the language, nor a dominant indigenous
group to argue for a place for Konkani within the educational system, its
speakers were excluded from those circuits of power to which Marathi,
English, and Portuguese granted access. The near absolute lack of support
for Konkani also implies that a history of the redistribution of linguistic
power through the field of education in Goa can only be structured
around the absence of Konkani. The following sections therefore trace
the process by which the discursive spaces Konkani could have had, within
state policy and within public debates, were occupied by Marathi and
other dominant languages.
In 1836, the Archbishop reorganized primary and secondary education,
considering that without public instruction, the constitutional system
could not progress.
Among the significant reforms of 1836 is the state
recognition of privately run primary schools that did not instruct in
Portuguese. The reforms indicate an attempt to broaden the reach of the
state and encourage private initiative in education, even if it meant
accommodating languages other than Portuguese or Latin. The reforms
specifically recommended that classes be instituted to teach French and
English to further ...the acquisition of knowledge about the sciences, as
the better works of this nature are in these languages, especially in the
neighbouring areas where English is the universal language.
Two decades
later, the state recommended setting up an English school in Mapusa to
ease the path of the many inhabitants of Bardez who go to the English
territory in search of employment, particularly Bombay.
In 1842, however, the Governor General claimed that knowledge of
Portuguese was an indispensable element of civilization in Goa, as those
who did not know it would find it difficult to enjoy their political rights
in the plenitude with which other subjects of the Crown did.
the Portuguese state, at the level of linguistic policy, was forced to
acknowledge that their dual policies of mass education and knowledge
acquisition could not be served through the same language. Further, by
1843 the state found it necessary to set up Marathi and Konkani classes in
the New Conquests to facilitate accurate governance since Marathi alone
was spoken by one group of people and both old and new documents
were written in that language.
Within the first half of the nineteenth century, therefore, one can see
Education and its Languages 97
that the differing pressures of differing ideologies forced a range of
concessions in the realm of linguistic policy. The ideologies of cultural
assimilation and the imperatives of state-encouraged knowledge acquisition
prompted the decision to increase instruction in Portuguese, and in English.
However, the argument that those who were forced to seek employment
outside Goa, should be equipped with the language to do so, is indicative
of the economic dominance of the British colonial state over Portuguese
territories, and of the transformations in Portugals self-identity. This
self-identity is characterized by what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls,
the subalternity of Portuguese colonialism, which, is twofold: it occurs
both at the level of colonial practices and at the level of discourses.
At the
level of practices, argues Santos, this is effected in the dependency on the
English. The fact that English was taught in Goa was a discursive effect of
this subalternity, which not only facilitated the passage of literate labour
to British colonies, but was a self-inflicted penalty to redress its omissions
as a colonial state.
The reasons offered by the Portuguese state for the setting up of Marathi
schools in the first half of the century was therefore a consequence of
having to dilute its thrust towards cultural assimilation, to accommodate
the realities of governing new territories, and the new requirements for
acknowledging cultural difference. If Marathi would secure economic
advancement among the Hindus of the New Conquests, as the state was
assured it would, then the state could provide a legislative space for it.
As a further comment on the functioning of the colonial state, de Sousa
Santos claims, colonial legality, for lack of a strong colonial state to
implement it, was less in the hands of those issuing the laws than in the
hands of those who were supposed to obey them.
The position of the
Catholic elite reflects these characteristics. The Catholic elite could not
see itself in a position of absolute cultural difference from the colonizer.
What is interesting however is that they also did not think that the question
of language choice for Hindu Goans required a separate theorization.
Instead, the linguistic needs of non-Catholic Goans were addressed not
within the realm of culture, but that of economic necessity and pragmatism.
Population statistics suggest that during the early years of the century, a
stream of migrants from the Old Conquests moved towards the growing
city of Bombay, as well as other British colonies where the modest salaries
they earned often as manual labour, helped keep their families afloat. This
98 Between Empires
avenue of escape from the stagnant home economy had opened up when
the British made a concerted attempt to edge out their troublesome
neighbour by sending troops into Goa in 1808, ostensibly to guard against
imminent French occupation (as a possible fall-out of the Napoleonic
From this moment on, Goan labourers found employment in British
concerns, and the British found it easier, with their troops stationed for
over a decade in Goa, to influence educational policies and economic
relationships between the two states. English schools rested on a framework
of subservience of the Goan economy to the British colonial one. Though
the first official recommendation for an English course was published as
early as 1843, and reports indicate that there were students of English and
Marathi by 1849, the first state-run English school was set up in 1869.
This development did not immediately cater to the Catholic or Hindu
Goan intelligentsia. Instead, the flow of working-class migrants had created
a potential market for English schools, and it was they who were prepared,
through classes in English to hold clerical jobs in British colonies. With
almost no investment, British India had acquired a literate labour pool
and though attempts to occupy Goa were repulsed, the dominance of its
economy could not be thwarted and grew in fact, through a series of Anglo-
Portuguese treaties during the century.
In their capacity as officials in the bureaucracy, some members of the
Catholic intelligentsia supported policies that advocated either Marathi or
English. As an elite whose interests had been secured prior to the nineteenth
century, their representations to the state linked the interests of the Catholic
working class to the spread of English schools, and those of Hindus as a
whole to the spread of Marathi schools. The consolidation of linguistic
divisions was, therefore, supported by the indigenous bourgeoisie and
stemmed from a pragmatic acceptance of the market determinants of
language development and paternalism towards less privileged classes.
Felipe Neri Pires who worked as a translator and advocate at the court in
Bombay wrote to the Secretary to the Governor General, J. H. da Cunha
Rivara, that the thousands of Goan migrants in Bombay were in a desperate
state. The city was unable to absorb all of them, and their state of penury
and misery had in fact prompted the most shameful representations of
the community in some of the Bombay papers. In an article on a Portuguese
church, the Bombay Times claimed that the greatness and glory of the
Portuguese nation had so utterly passed away, that the names of Da Gama,
Albuquerque, Menezes, Souzas and Silvas are seldom found in a higher
position than superintending a cookroom.
To remedy this situation,
Neri Pires suggested to Rivara that instruction in English and Marathi
Education and its Languages 99
be provided, and recommended that he publish a grammar to assist Goan
students. Pires English grammar was published in 1866, the same year
he began to teach English in Goa.
Offers of financial support from elsewhere in British India and within
Goa for English schools were the first signs of private investment by
Catholics in education. Perhaps the hurtling growth in the number of
English schools alarmed the state. English schools in Goa were affiliated to
Bombay University from the late nineteenth century on, but the Portuguese
government periodically suggested shaking off this link to the neighbouring
economy. Between 1929 and 1931, four directives were issued to regulate
English schools in Goa. They insisted that Portuguese had to be taught
at the primary level in English schools, and that students had to have
passed their primary examination in Portuguese to gain admission there.
But these were only attempts to assert some control over a linguistic field
shaped by forces stronger than the Portuguese state and could not do
more than place obstacles in the way of learning English.
State officials found it difficult to enforce Portuguese when they were told
that people in the New Conquests refused to support primary schools in
which it was a medium of instruction. A government order interpreted
this as defiance and said that It would be necessary to constrain them by
indirect means to make them avail of the benefits of civilisation which
they obstinately refuse.
The same document threatened that the Kulkarnis
and Nadkarnis, or clerks and scribes from the New Conquests would be
overlooked when it came to job appointments in the municipal and land
records offices in favour of those who were fluent in Portuguese. In 1847,
however, despite these misgivings, and with the apparent ease that typified
contradictions within Portuguese policy, it was suggested that interpreters
set up schools teaching Marathi, Hindustani, or Gujarati (applicable to
Daman and Diu) in each village.
In the same year, it is worth recalling,
the Archbishops injunction of 1812 prohibiting students and ecclesiastics
from conversing in Konkani was reinforced in the seminaries of Goa.
A far more important development of this time was the introduction
of Marathi types in the national press in 1853. The Imprensa Nacional
was the only functioning press in the state and had been reintroduced
after a ban of nearly fifty years, in 1821. Court verdicts and announcements
relating to land rights were printed in both Portuguese and Marathi in the
government bulletin, the Boletim Official. This established Marathi not
100 Between Empires
only as the language of official documentation, but as the medium for
communication between the state and its public as well.
Without any deliberation over the place of the vernacular or, in fact, a
mention of the concept within official documents, Marathi had won the
status of a dominant indigenous language largely through the lobbying of
influential groups such as interpreters and translators with the government.
The language had been accepted as the medium of state correspondence
with its subjects, which ensured jobs for those who were literate in Marathi,
but educational policies had still not been altered. Just as they had
advocated the spread of English as a sign of their concern for migrant
Catholics, the Catholic elite supported the demand made by Hindus for
Marathi schools in the New Conquests, as their due.
As an intervention in this dilemma, Miguel Vicente de Abreu, a Goan
member of the District Councils that administered the New Conquests,
presented his case at a general meeting.
De Abreus address was probably
the most articulate deliberation on the impact and requirements of
linguistic policy that the colonial administration would furnish. He called
for open acknowledgement of the fact that in the twenty-eight years
since the government had first set up schools in the New Conquests, it
had failed to attract Hindu students, and that the coercive means it said
it would apply to draw them in, had in fact not been implemented. As a
result said de Abreu, exams were not held in schools for lack of students,
and the government ought to set up Marathi schools speedily, as there
were few literate people among the 100,000 inhabitants of the New
Conquests. He explained that since Hindus did not speak or read
Portuguese at home, they found it extremely difficult to master the alphabet
and usage. In contrast, he said, they did not have such an aversion to
Marathi as they knew how to read and write it, and since its pronunciation
was not dissimilar to that of Konkani (just as the Portuguese could
understand Spanish), they learnt it more easily.
The urgency of de Abreus appeal derived from the fact that the
unlettered inhabitants had to run their gaunkarias. Since the Kulkarnis
were usually lettered, they habitually triumphed over the gaunkars by
altering records as they pleased and getting the gaunkars to sign them.
When the gaunkars realized belatedly that they had been duped, he said,
it was the government that was inconvenienced by their complaints. Apart
from this, he said, the government should stand warned of the growing
Education and its Languages 101
anger in these regions against the Kulkarnis and against the methods by
which the gaunkarias were being run.
To avert the legal and economic
burden and the political disturbance that would evolve from this state of
illiteracy, the government was urged to set up Marathi schools which all
inhabitants, whether Desais or Kulkarnis, would be compelled to attend.
Abreus report was heeded, and in 1870, Tomaz Ribeiro issued a circular
saying that in response to his representation, schools teaching alternatively
in Marathi and Portuguese would be set up all over Goa.
A Portaria of 1871 explained that since Marathi was assiduously
cultivated in all the regions of British India, and was spoken and written
in all documents of common use and in the gaunkarias by a population of
over a 100,000 Hindus of the New Conquests, all primary schools were
to teach Marathi and Portuguese.
All the schools in the New Conquests
were converted to bilingual schools, Marathi was taught at the Lyceu
Nacional and at the Escola Normal, which trained teachers. The
governments definition of the sphere of Marathi had widened to consider
it not just as a language that eased administration, but also as the spoken
and official language of the New Conquests.
A public elaboration of an argument around the question of a vernacular
in Goa therefore followed rather than preceded legislation on language,
and arose only when the first spokesperson for Konkani published a
defence of the language. This writer was the Portuguese secretary to the
Governor General of Portuguese India, J. H. da Cunha Rivara who was
in addition Director of Public Instruction, and of the government press,
the Imprensa Nacional. He found educational facilities in Goa wanting in
every way, faulted teaching methods, availability of schoolbooks, furniture,
and the absence of any instruction in Konkani. The consequences of
this, according to Rivara, were that while in the Old Conquests children
could not understand Portuguese easily, in the New Conquests Marathi
schools flourished. If pedagogic institutions were given a definitive
direction by the state at all, it was by functionaries such as de Abreu and
da Cunha Rivara who nudged the metropolitan and colonial states into
their role as modern nation states.
The first time a history of the Konkani language was used in an
argument which would link linguistic history with cultural identity and
language rights, was in 1858, when da Cunha Rivara wrote his history of
the language.
This essay and its negligible impact on Portuguese policy
102 Between Empires
encapsulates two of the dominant facets of nineteenth-century colonial
Goa that have been emphasized until now. It drew directly from dominant
philological theories about the links between language and cultural
renewal that had shaped colonial policy and anti-colonial responses in
British India, and it had no visible impact on legislation.
Rivaras An Historical Essay on the Konkani language of 1857 is perhaps
the first concerted effort to argue for state and public patronage for the
language. The choice of linguists and commentators through whose works
he tried to legitimize his own views was, from a linguistic point of view,
arbitrary, and for this reason he is belittled by supporters of Marathi as
well as those of Konkani as he evidently had little knowledge of either
language. Among those cited were the Orientalist, the Rev. J. Murray
Mitchell, Erskine Perry, and Robert Xavier Murphy, the translator to the
government of Bombay in 1852, and the Political Superintendents W.
Auld and J. Courtney who had withstood a rebellion at Sawantwadi, a
British territory that shared a border with Goa. Other travel writers and
lexicographers were an Italian missionary (whose dictionary of Mangalorean
Konkani Rivara had published for the first time), as well as the Rev. de
Kloguen who had visited Goa around 1829, Araujo de Azavedo, a
Portuguese visitor, Felipe Nery Pires and Felipe Nery Xavier, both of whom
had produced essays on the grammar of Konkani within the nineteenth
century. Almost all of these, travel writers as well as scholars, described the
language as a mixture and made a distinction between the spoken and the
written forms of the language. De Kloguen for instance claimed, The
poor and those who cannot read, chiefly the women folk, speak this
language only.
Azavedo had the most confused listing of languages and
dialects; he declared that Portuguese was a spoken language along with
the local language, that the Hindus used a variety of scripts to write in,
that those of the New Conquests could write as fast as they spoke these
languages, but what they wrote was usually a mixture of dialects. Nery
Xavier had a similar account but claimed that the language of the New
Conquests was purer and grew more so, the further it moved from the
territory of Goa (Old Conquests). Rivara established a lineage for academic
interest in Konkani through this motley and often contradictory set of
informants and provided proof that it was widely spoken and written.
Rivaras indifference to the inherent contradictions among the various
sources he cited suggests that he had adopted the generally accepted
assumption that Indias modern languages had been deprived of the memory
and influence of their source language, particularly Sanskrit. Cultural and
social development could be ensured, according to those who held this
Education and its Languages 103
view, by reviving these influences. Rivara undertook this task within his
official capacity in the hope perhaps, of achieving single-handedly, what
the British colonial state had undertaken as an administrative project.
As Director of Public Instruction Rivara advocated that Konkani be
made compulsory in schools.
His solitary effort to argue for the teaching
of Konkani stands out as a unique articulation by a representative of
the state of an argument, which linked the cultivation of the spoken
language of a people to their development. He referred to the practice of
teaching Latin through Portuguese in schools and seminaries, and since
the principle at work here was to move from things known to things
unknown, he suggested that Portuguese could be taught to Goans through
Konkani. However, he said, since Konkani had been despised in the
past, it would have to be restored through study and the promotion of
its culture, and this could only begin by working on its grammar.
Towards this end, Rivara published various dictionaries and grammars
of Konkani. By the end of the 1850s, he translated and issued the
first publications of some manuscript dictionaries, along with early
missionary grammars.
In 1857, Rivara published a Portuguese translation of Erskine Perrys
The geographical distribution of the principal languages of India and his
own essay on Konkani as an accompaniment to Thomas Stephens
seventeenth-century Grammtica da Lngua Concani, of which Rivaras
was the second edition.
In 1858, he published an edition of the
seventeenth-century manuscript grammar he had accidentally come across,
the Grammtica da Lngua Concani no dialecto do Norte, composed by a
Portuguese missionary.
A year later in 1859, Fr. Francisco Xavier de Santa
Annas Grammtica da Lngua Concani was published for the first time.
As usual, three agenda were addressed in the preface: stirring Goan youth
to pay heed to their culture, berating those who neglected their mother
tongue, and fending off attacks.
Rivara was apparently attacked for making changes to older texts,
which he believed, made the text more comprehensible. This, he said,
had antagonized those who live under the sweet delusion of having
reached the pinnacle of literary perfection, despising their own language,
claiming that it cannot have a grammar.
Rivaras defences against
unnamed critics are yet another indication that there were proponents
of Marathi who had begun to make their opposition against this
threatening defence of Konkani felt in the government circles in which
they moved. Other critiques regretted that Rivara had not provided any
alphabet other than the Roman for his dictionaries and grammars:
104 Between Empires
Those who invented these systems of romanisation, we are convinced,
could not correctly read any script whatsoever, and unhesitatingly
modelled it according to their own fantastic method, without any proper
reflection. Experience has amply demonstrated, if not the uselessness of
these inventions of fantasy, at least their inefficiency. Whoever doesnt
study Marathi and Concani in their proper alphabet, it can be freely
assumed, fundamentally doesnt know the language.
Though indifferent to the linguistic arguments offered by the people
he quoted, Rivara did absorb contemporary elitist concerns with linguistic
purity. According to him, Konkani was a distinct language but was under
threat of extinction, both from supporters of Marathi who tried to prevent
any academic and political recognition of it as a language, and from the
Portuguese who actively suppressed it. The intermingling of many
Portuguese words particularly in the speech of the Catholic Goans was
interpreted as a corruption of the language and a sign of its enslavement.
He berated the chardo community for their claim that the brahmanical
elements in the speech of Catholic and Hindu brahmins were signs of
affectation and corruption.
In an acceptance of brahmanical theories
of language, he asserted that if anything, links with a brahmanical past
could only strengthen the effort to resurrect a language, as this (pure)
tradition could then be called on and developed.
What he lacked in linguistic training was compensated for by his
energetic exhortations appended to this treatise and to any Konkani text
he had published:
To you then, O Goan Youth, is reserved this great work, this essential
element of the intellectual and social regeneration of your countrymen.
The methodical culture of the mother tongue will...facilitate the
knowledge of the British and European languages.... Do not be ashamed
to imitate the example of the British nation, exerting itself to cultivate
in Europe the semi-barbarous dialect of Malta, spoken by scarcely 70,000
persons, and in India the harsh Jataki or Baloochi.... Tell them that the
varieties of Konkani, from province to province or from caste to caste,
are not greater than the dialects of old Greek, modern Italian, French or
German etc.
His standing in the government did not strengthen Rivaras campaign,
though those who supported Marathi feared this. Earlier discussions of
how linguistic policy was arrived at in Goa indicate however that this
campaign failed not because of the indifference of the state alone, but
Education and its Languages 105
because no elite group would invest as much effort in the propagation of
Konkani as they did in English, Marathi or Portuguese. Given that reforms
until this point focused on Portuguese, Marathi, and English, and were a
response to the perceived needs and demands of Goans, it is evident that
neither by 1836 nor the 1850s when Rivara was most active, did the state
receive any appeal for a place for Konkani from among the groups of
Goans closest to it.
The history of the Konkani-Marathi debate as it came to be known
from the time of Liberation in 1961 has its origins in the period when
Rivara wrote. The history of this debate is here traced only from the
point at which the two languages were brought into confrontation with
each other in the limited public realm of published books and newspapers.
For, were it not for other factors which pitted one language against the
other, this would have remained a discussion, if at all, among linguists.
It is only in retrospect, however, that we may assess the reasons why
Rivaras efforts were unsuccessful. To those who stood to gain directly from
the acceptance of Marathi as the vernacular language of Goa, Rivaras
pronouncements threatened to overturn what had already been achieved
through their own efforts and through the official support of the Catholic
elite. An article published in the beginning of the twentieth century that
retraced the developments of these years provides a rare view of the tenacity
of those who stood to benefit from the promotion of Marathi. Writing in
defence of Konkani, Christovam Pinto said that Rivara must have been
exhausted by the opposition to his official and personal efforts to promote
Konkani and the ineffectiveness of his many publications. Pinto claimed
that it was Suriagy Anand Rau, the official translator to the Portuguese
government, who continually opposed the setting up of Konkani schools
in the New Conquests. A majority of the members of a commission
appointed to formulate a linguistic policy for the New Conquests favoured
Konkani, said Pinto, but Raus resolute opposition prevented an official
recommendation. The Portuguese state was not pleased since it did not
have teachers trained in both languages.
The dependence of any linguistic campaign on a developing pantheon
of international linguists and their contribution to shaping official
linguistic policy cannot be underestimated in Goa from the mid-century
on. If Rivara drew on theories of evolutionary progress and cultural
authority based on research in comparative linguistics, supporters of Marathi
also had their use for this discourse. The arguments and strategies of
dominant groups in Maharashtra to shape state linguistic policy to secure
their own cultural and political dominance were helpful to them.
106 Between Empires
The most well known of the proponents of Marathi was Suriagy
Anand Rau, the official translator to the Portuguese government, who
taught Marathi in schools in Goa from 1847 on. He had begun teaching
Marathi before the government printing press acquired typefaces to print
in Devanagari, and had published a Marathi primer as well as a translation
of Aesops fables in 1867.
Rau published his Grammtica da Lngua
Maratha in 1875, and by this time, was teaching Marathi at the Lyceu.
He wrote in Portuguese and constructed a lineage and a geographical map
of Marathi-speaking zones. His campaign provided an academic, cultural,
historical, and geographical argument for the supremacy of Marathi,
which would benefit bilinguals in Marathi and Portuguese who already
had a substantial presence in the New Conquests. Apart from relatively
badly paid jobs as schoolteachers, this particular form of bilingualism
fetched jobs in the legal and administrative system with proximity to the
processes of revenue collection and land allocation.
Marathi was to Sanskrit what Portuguese was to Latin, said Rau, but
erased any history of conflict or tension that may have occurred in the
assertion of Marathi as a separate language. From Daman in the northern
Konkan, this language ran down along the coast, then up over the Ghats,
into neighbouring Goa where it met the language, which, following the
authority of Mackenzie and Ellis is called Konkani.
But Rau differed
from these authorities. Konkani fell within the Marathi zone according
to him, and was spoken on a minor scale, by fewer than those who spoke
Portuguese, the principal dominant language of Goa. This region extended
to Mangalore, he said, where according to him, a corrupt Marathi was
spoken. Marathi was in fact the language of all castes in Goa, he claimed,
but found better articulation among educated brahmins, as opposed to its
corrupt form among the uneducated, or among those sections which spoke
a version infused with Portuguese. The latter section of this argument no
longer acknowledged Konkani as the spoken language of Goa, but as a
non-brahmanical form of Marathi.
In fact, Konkani was just a corrupt form of Marathi, and a speaker of
this corrupt Marathi, according to Rau, could easily understand the purer
language of the North. The markers which divided Konkani as corrupt
Marathi from pure Marathi in his argument were not just along the lines
of caste and education, but were geographic. Within Goa itself the New
Conquests displayed a progressively purified, de-Konkanized Marathi
the further one moved away from the centre of Goa, or Panjim, in the
Old (Catholic) Conquests, said Rau.
Marathi is the official language of
half the population, or of more than 100,000 Hindu inhabitants of Goa,
Education and its Languages 107
where all the public administrative and judicial papers are written in
Marathi, he claimed.
Yet Marathi existed in a debased form, said Rau,
in a state which still did not have a chair of Sanskrit, nor a great number of
public schools, nor the powerful means of instruction in which the cities
of Bombay and Pune abounded. This language, Konkani, has a grammar
today, wrote Rau, referring to Rivaras edition of Stephens grammar. Rau
generously paid obeisance to Rivara and in a resplendent appropriation of
the Portuguese officials efforts, added that Rivaras essay was a good
introduction to the study of Marathi.
It would seem that Rivaras campaign served only as a potential threat to
the growing campaign among proponents of Marathi and exacerbated the
divisions they drew between supporters of Konkani and Marathi. The fact
that Rivara had taken recourse to print and had serialized the publication
of a Konkani dictionary in his journal Chronista do Tissuary, gave the tussle
a new dimension.
It perhaps forced pro-Marathi campaigners who had
had tremendous success in pushing through legislation without any need
of wider public involvement, to contend with Rivaras campaign by
publishing arguments in both Portuguese and Marathi.
Until this moment, the tussle over the language of instruction in
Goa did not have a prominent presence in print. Though the Catholic
elite had officially articulated and accommodated absolute differences
and divisions between the interests of Hindus and of Catholics, the linguistic
interests of each group were not oppositionally defined. Moreover, linguistic
policies were articulated as a protection of interest, and not as an affirmation
of identity. The two were still quite distinct within the Portuguese state
with regard to any language other than Portuguese. When Rivara, however,
drew on models available in British India, as an acknowledgement of
their supremacy, he altered the terms of the discourse. Rivara wanted
to argue that Konkani had a primacy over other languages since it was
the most widely spoken language, and that the amelioration of the
situation of the majority of the population could not be achieved without
its development.
His arguments, however, drew on a notion of cultural and historical
authenticity and antiquity, which proponents of Marathi could furnish
with greater proficiency. Further, the use of print outside the realm of
the government bulletin, the Boletim do Governo, suggested that public
opinion, and not just the views of officials, would potentially be a deciding
108 Between Empires
factor. The proponents of both Konkani and Marathi began to construct
a potential public for the languages they supported, and the rationale
they used helped articulate an oppositional relation between the two,
and between Catholics and Hindus who, it was assumed, were represented
by each language respectively.
Within the bilingual Marathi-Portuguese press that emerged during
these years, a consistent and public campaign developed the arguments
that Rau was among the first to shape. Columnists were less concerned
with proving the linguistic legitimacy of their claim over Marathi as the
language of Goa, than with the need to secure Marathi schools.
the late nineteenth century, Hindus continued to be discriminated against
in the field of higher education, and the Portuguese state was called on
to compensate them by opening more Marathi schools.
During these decades, privately-run small Marathi schools enrolled
students across the New Conquests on a scale that was still invisible in
official statistics. It is through newspapers of the time that a sense of the
scale of individual initiatives can be gauged. An article in 1890 announced
that 100 schools, each with about forty students, had been established
through the initiative of Hindu brahmins in different villages. The schools
were supplied with books and journals printed in Goa and Bombay.
While newspapers mentioned these new ventures occasionally, their
particular focus was to extract more investment from the state, and to
ensure that this was directed to state-run Marathi schools. There was reason
for this anxiety since despite the gains of the campaign in terms of legislation
and policy there were merely seven state-run Marathi schools until the
early decades of the twentieth century. The grant-in-aid schools of British
India were upheld as an example for Goa.
The Govatma, a bilingual newspaper dedicated to the defence of Hindu
interests, claimed to represent the interests of Hindus of the New Conquests
of Ponda, Bicholim, Sanquelim, Sattari, and Quepem.
An article of
1885 recalled that the paper had asked that Marathi be taught at least in
the same institutions in which Portuguese was. This article argued that
there was no justifiable reason to refuse these demands, as Marathi was the
language of the land, the vernacular language, and not, as some suggested,
with complete ignorance, but posing as great savants, that the dialect we
speak is the actual language of the land... They show the most supine
ignorance who advance such an idea as it is certain that the dialect we
use is a mixture of words degenerated from various languages which have
Education and its Languages 109
been spoken in this country according to the dominant powers which
have succeeded each other in Goa.
It argued that while a dialect may be elevated through standardization,
this was not asked of the government.
There were sometimes reports about the abysmal condition of Marathi
schools in comparison with the Portuguese ones. In the published
proceedings of the state-appointed body, the Junta Geral de Provncia,
Lucio Carmeiro for instance reported that of four schools in Sanquelim,
two of them were held in the corridors of churches, one in a chapel, and
another in a shed. One of these was a Marathi school.
Others reported
that there was just one school in Pernem set up by a landlord, the Baro
de Pernem. An administrative official of Sanguem, Rudolfo Quadros,
seconded by Ismael Gracias, urged that a Marathi school be set up.
comments make it evident that among the prominent Catholic elite of
Goa, the demand for Marathi schools continued to find acceptance.
Antonio Jose de Almeidas school in Ponda for instance had a Marathi
section, and in an article in the Boletim Official to mark the opening of
the academic year at the Lyceu, Felippe Nery Souza relegated Konkani
to the position of a dialect, called Marathi the vernacular, and advocated
the opening of Marathi schools in Goa.
The association of a language with a religious community helped
construct a Hindu identity within Goa and prepared the ground for the
formation of specifically Hindu associations. The neglected and jeopardized
Hindu interests that newspapers frequently evoked referred in fact to the
posts of translators, clerks, and interpreters within Goa, and the
anticipation of many such jobs in the Marathi-speaking areas of British
India. Only specific castes would actually gain these posts, but access to
them via Marathi was couched in terms of an open offer to all Hindus.
The vision of a unified effort to improve the prospects of the community
however, caught the imagination of many writers.
The Gomontoc a Goa pleaded for change in the aspirations of Hindus
who it claimed, were content with securing posts of Kulkarnis. Since
access to Portuguese was increasingly possible, members at the meeting
of the Hindu Pustakalaya in 1890 berated the community for not learning
Portuguese, and urged Hindus to read more books. The circle of prominent
Hindus appears as narrow as that of the elite Catholics. Purshottama
Shenoy Bobo who had exhorted Hindus at the meeting cited above, was
also a member of the Goa Hindu Sarvajanik Sabha. Its secretary was
110 Between Empires
Ramachandra Pandurang Vaidya, who edited the journal Luz do Oriente.
The Sabha met in the Mhamai Kamat house in Panjim, one of the most
prominent brahmin traders in Goa.
The campaign for Marathi therefore had varying forms through the
decade. In the first half of the century, it had no public face, but worked
through internal influence on the state through the representations of
interpreters and translators. In the latter half of the century, the appearance
of defences of Konkani in print forced a public campaign largely in the
Marathi press. By the first few decades of the twentieth century, the
association of the Marathi language with Hindus was the basis for the
formation of a Hindu identity and for the establishment of associations
and societies for the advancement of Hindus. The confidence of those
engaged in this task in the legitimacy of their claims can be gauged from
an article that complained that the Biblioteca Nacional only acquired
Portuguese, French, and English books. It should also acquire Marathi
books, given that the number of readers is not negligible, and given the
place Marathi enjoys in our institutions of primary instruction, claimed
the writer.
Thirty libraries in Goa apart from the Biblioteca Nacional
were listed in 1929.
Associations set up in the early decades of the
twentieth century funded many libraries for the advancement of learning
among Hindus. Among others, the Shri Saraswati Mandir, Shri Mahalaxmi
Prasadica Vachan Mandir, and Shri Panduranga Prassadik Vidya Bhavan
were located in Panjim. Most libraries were attached to schools and
cultural associations, and received periodicals from within Goa and from
British India.
The Shri Mahalaxmi Prasadik Hindu Vachan Mandir, a free library
founded in 1907, declared that it was probably the first library for backward-
caste Hindus. It was also amongst the earliest public educational associations
to be set up by Hindus.
Apart from seven conferences held in 1913,
the establishment of a library, and a Marathi-Portuguese primary school,
the association also opened a free Marathi school. Visnu Sinai Dempo, a
prominent businessperson, was associated with this concern.
In 1911,
the Marathi script was adopted to print the Portuguese national anthem,
which was distributed among pupils of Marathi schools.
In the same
year, the report on the Mustifund Saunstha school stated that some
Hindus of Panjim, with the purpose of making the study of Marathi
accessible to all and especially to the poor, had founded the Institute.
Each person, irrespective of caste, class and colour, was to contribute one
measure or half a measure of rice on a weekly basis or more frequently, to
help subsidize the school. By 1911, this society had two Marathi classes
Education and its Languages 111
running in Panjim, with 141 students, forty-five of whom were girls.
The founders of the Pandurang Prasadik Vidyabhavan did not see the
Mustifund as representative of all Hindus. For in a publication following
on the heels of the one quoted above, the author said, ...seeing as others
have institutions for their advancement, the youth of the bhandari (traders)
class in the Fontainhas wanted one for their coreligionary bhandaris.
The Dnyan Prasarak Mandali, like the institution of the Bhandaris, had
a long list of contributors.
The Marathi-Portuguese newspaper, Luz do
Oriente and its monthly supplement the Vidiaprassar regularly published
the accounts of the Dnyan Prasarak Mandli (Liga de Propaganda de
Educao) which relied on private contributions. Children in these schools
learnt the Geography and History of Maharashtra, and Hindustan, but
were taught the history of Gomantak, as Goa was called, only in the
seventh grade.
Many Portuguese-Marathi papers of the time championed the access
Hindus had to Portuguese educational institutions, particularly after the
formation of the Republic in 1910 in Portugal. The Escola Normal for
teachers, for instance, which once admitted only Catholic students, had
sixteen Hindu students, an issue of the Patria of 1913 tells us. The Lyceu
Nacional had 163 students, the Medical School seven, all due to the
efforts of the gentlemen of Ponda, Ramachandra P. Vaidya, Sitaram
Quercar, and P. R. Sardessai.
The form the debate took in the Marathi and Marathi-Portuguese press
had effects other than the determination of state educational policy. The
rapid simplification of the linguistically stratified and divided Goan
society into broad polarized groups of Catholic supporters of Konkani
and Marathi-speaking Hindus structured subsequent debates about
language. At this point in time in Goa, the Catholic elite almost exclusively
used Portuguese as a medium of writing and speech, while the Hindu
bourgeoisie wrote in two languages, but made a political claim only over
Marathi, and used Portuguese to address the state and their Catholic
counterparts within Goa. Both these groups spoke Konkani, though among
the most elite group of Goan Catholics, the language was said to have
been relegated to exchanges with domestic servants and labourers. The
characterization of elite Goans as supporters or even speakers of Konkani
112 Between Empires
therefore flatteringly magnifies their actual contribution to linguistic
debates of the time.
The divide constructed between the interests of Catholics and Hindus
grew more polarized. Hindus want separate instruction, was the headline
of one diatribe in 1920, which announced the formation of the Hindu
Parishad, an organization, it said, which was not against the Congresso
Provincial, a state-initiated public forum begun in 1915, but would function
parallel to it. Let us speak clearly, said Sitaram Quercar in 1920.
The Marathi language is the mother-tongue of Goan Hindus, both the
past and the present testify to this...since the government absolved itself
completely of its duty to its citizens... Hindus cultivate Marathi at their
own expense.
When Quercar wrote in Portuguese he was not as antagonistic and
would urge his Catholic fellowmen to support the promotion of Hindu
interests, since their own had been safeguarded in the past through the
Portuguese language and by the state. But his articles in Marathi were
sharply polemical: the two part series of Konkani-Marathi dispute was
followed by Anti-Marathi Christians, and then by the four part Adversaries
of the Mother-tongue.
The headline is strong, admitted Quercar,
but necessary since the westernised section of the population has long
despised the language, which for the progress of the motherland, must
not continue.
His stance was sharpened perhaps by the appearance in Portuguese of
articles by Christovam Pinto who like Mons. S. R. Dalgado, supplemented
his arguments with research on the linguistic legacy of Konkani. Quercar
responded by elaborating a familiar counter-history of the Marathi language,
and by ridiculing (in Portuguese) the efforts of those who advocated the
use of Konkani:
Concani, which was allowed to die of starvation to the point that scarcely
a book remains which merits the name, (now) has a defender, or rather
excavator of its dispersed bones. But it is pitiful that these valiant medieval
warriors appear after the solemn burial of their saint, to claim the glory
of resurrecting its relics.
Sitaram Quercar was secretary of the Prachiprabha or Luz do Oriente,
and its supplement, the Vidiaprassar, all of which were to be the organs
of the Dnyan Prasarak Mandli, (Liga de Propaganda de Educao).
Ramchandra P. Vaidya, a well-known ayurvedic doctor, played a pivotal
Education and its Languages 113
role in the Dnyan Prasarak Mandli, in various other associations to promote
interests of the Hindus, and was editor of the newspapers in which Quercar
had free rein. Dada Vaidya as he was known, supported the reconversion
of lower caste Christians to Hinduism in the late 1920s but more pertinently
and bewilderingly, he is renowned in popular lore for addressing the first
meeting of the Congresso Provincial in 1915 in Konkani, as an unparalleled
public gesture in support of the language.
Rivaras efforts had drawn a relatively enthusiastic if belated response
from the Catholic Goan and Portuguese elite. Thomas Mourao Garcez
Palha who espoused the cause of Konkani, had put together a Konkani
grammar and primers which he hoped would be used in schools to teach
Konkani in the late nineteenth century, but which were never published.
Other isolated efforts were made during the late nineteenth century. Pe.
Joaquim de Noronha had written a grammar of the language dedicated
to Rivara, Francisco Luis Gomes grammar for schools was ready to be
printed by 1859, Santana Pacheco who taught Marathi had written a
Konkani grammar based on Marathi grammars, and Pe. Miguel Filipe de
Quadros had compiled a primer and a grammatical treatise by the early
twentieth century. Few of these were publicly distributed.
Both Christovam Pinto and S. R. Dalgado, the most prominent Goan
linguist of this period, advocated that teachers use Konkani as a medium
of instruction. In this way there would be no change in the structure of
primary instruction, they urged the government. Maria E. dos Stuarts
Gomes, a schoolteacher who frequently published critiques of pedagogic
methods employed in Goa advocated that students learn Konkani to
surmount the difficulties they and their teachers encountered while
learning Portuguese.
Dalgados articles in the Herald from 1915 on provided a linguistic
defence for the distinctiveness of Konkani. This began a trend among
Portuguese papers in Goa as well as bi-lingual papers in Bombay, which
published linguistic commentaries on older Konkani texts, and on Dalgados
own substantial efforts in the field.
Some awareness of how the Marathi
lobby had worked in the preceding decades was evident in these articles,
particularly in Christovam Pintos O Marathi e O Concani which retraced
the mid-century conflict. Pinto provided a comprehensive assertion of
the fact that Konkani was the spoken language of most people in Goa.
Neither Sanskrit nor Marathi are really indispensable, he said,
114 Between Empires
as is Concani for the understanding of political economy and administrative
rights. No one here speaks Marathi usually, whether in judicial spheres or
in private conversation. The culcornis (Kulkarnis) maintain the records
and accounts in the books of the communidade in Portuguese. Formerly
in the Old Conquests, these were maintained not in Marathi, but in
Concani, with the difference that, south of Salcete, they were in the
Canarese (Kannada) alphabet, and at times in Nagarico (Nagari).
Proponents of Konkani in Goa did not, however, match the growth
in Marathi schools through private capital, nor could they draw on a
supply of teachers and texts from any other region, as supporters of
Marathi could. In addition, the Catholic elite had to address the growing
Goan diaspora, particularly since it was among these groups that Konkani
publications had begun to flourish. Since a majority of these were
Catholics who had been educated primarily in Portuguese or English,
they used the Roman script alone. But the Goan intelligentsia preferred
a purer reconstruction of the language. Pinto for instance advocated the
use of Devanagari as a script.
Though a large number of books and periodicals are emerging in Bombay
in the Roman script, this does not represent progress, nor the proper
development of the language, and will not provide a literature which
will endure.
Konkani written in the Roman script was restricted to the Catholic
Goans, who, as is well known, said Pinto, speak a corrupted Konkani.
The unmistakably patronizing tone of such articles did not go
unnoticed. While Goan migrants, especially those in Bombay, used
some of the basic primers, they often criticized and explicitly rejected
the pronouncements of the Goan elite.
Many generated Konkani texts
and demanded Konkani schools within a separate realm. Other sceptical
responses emphasized the ineffectiveness of the Konkani campaign:
Our pro-Concanists of Goa will no doubt be glad about the creation of
a Concani chair in the recent remodelling of the Escola Colonial (in
Portugal), since they did not expect any great changes to result...at least
this time the desideratum of many years has been realized, and the good
example of more perspicacious foreign colonial powers, who better
understand the art of governing and civilizing the people of the colonies,
has been followed.
Education and its Languages 115
Apart from the fact that Konkani speakers had been systematically
disempowered through developments in the sphere of education, the
shifting power of the three languages also raises questions about the kind
of hegemony enjoyed by their different proponents. Literacy rates had
increased over the century. By the mid-century, about 7.3 per cent of the
entire population was literate, and this increased to 10 per cent by 1900.
The New Conquests had far lower literacy rates than the Old, and literacy
rates among women in the New Conquests were especially low. To assess
the relative hegemonic hold of speakers of different languages over Goan
society, it is pertinent to know that among this small literate group, the
numbers of students attending English and Marathi schools outstripped
those in Portuguese schools. A report which appeared in 1925 mentions
twenty-three English schools, all but three of which were managed by
Catholics. By the end of the decade, however it appears that Hindus had
begun to invest in English schools. By 1929, there were sixty-three English
schools, twenty of which were administered by Hindus.
The Anurio
Estatstico for 1960, a year before liberation, listed 343 institutions which
taught in Portuguese as opposed to the 559 privately-run educational
institutions which taught in either English, Marathi, or Urdu. For 19,253
children learning in Portuguese in the primary schools, there were 45,684
learning in any of the three listed languages put together.
Evidently, English
had ousted Portuguese as a language that guaranteed access to economic
benefit, while Marathi schools had numerically outdone all the others.
Given that prominent Goan Hindu men had proved more effective
in reshaping legislation and channelling resources to suit their purposes,
and that the distant British government and its economy had succeeded
in making inroads into Goan schools, what kind of success can actually be
attributed to the Portuguese states efforts in education? To re-emphasize a
point made earlier, the determining forces within the sphere of culture
and language were often not the state. While in the case of British India,
schools and pedagogy were crucial to the reorganization of linguistic power,
in Goa, they proved to be similarly critical, but not necessarily to the
benefit of a nationalist Portuguese agenda.
Another development that can be attributed to the crystallization of
educational and linguistic policy through the century was the relationship
between elite and working-class Catholic Goans. Within the realm of print,
and across the divide of Portuguese and Konkani, these groups seemed
116 Between Empires
pitted against each other. The paternalism and criticism generated by the
elite were answered volubly by the emerging literate and mobile underclass.
While language and print may have set in place an indigenous domain
of communication, consolidation, and confrontation in other parts of India
and among other groups of Goans, among Catholic Goans, an almost
wholly antagonistic relationship had developed across class divides. The
following sections, which will examine the nature and politics of print in
Goa, will trace the disparate forms and genres of print generated through
this conflict.
1. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, An Historical Essay on the Konkani Language, in
The Printing Press in India, A. K. Priolkar, ed. (Bombay: Marathi Samshodhana
Mandala, 1958), p. 213.
2. Felipe Nery Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica
Primria, Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza (Nova Goa: Typographia
da Cruz, 1879), p. 114.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid., p. 139.
5. Ibid., p. 125.
6. Ibid., p. 130.
7. Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Between Prospero and Caliban: Colonialism,
Postcolonialism, and Inter-identity, Luso-Brazilian Review XXXIX, no. II
8. Ibid., p. 26.
9. Celsa Pinto, Goa under the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1878: A Phase in
Portuguese Colonialism, in GoaImages and Perceptions (Panjim: Prabhakar
Bhide, 1996).
10. Principaes Regulamentos, leis, e decretos vigentes estampados nos Boletims
do Governo indicando o seu numro e anno correspondentes, in A ndia
Portuguesa, No. 24 of 1869, mentions a course in English and French (Reg.
10 of 1843) and another of Marathi (Reg. 53 of 1843). Mappa da Instruco
Publica do Estado da ndia 184950, Mones do Reino (Panjim: DAAG),
reports 50 students for French, 17 for English, and 5 for Marathi at the
secondary level in Goa.
11. The dual impoverishment of Goa by the English and Portuguese colonial
states did not pass unnoticed. Scathing articles in the Ultramar monitored
the construction of the Indo-Portuguese railway line in accordance with
the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of 1878. This railway was constructed with
Education and its Languages 117
the forced unpaid labour of Goan peasants, in order to transport timber
and other produce to British India on terms that were beneficial to the
British. O Ultramar, 18861887. Capt. J. J. Cicilia Kol, Treaties, agreements
entered into between Great Britain and Portugal between 23rd June 1661
and 19th November 1850, in A General Statistical and Historical Report on
Portuguese India (Bombay: Bombay Education Societys Press, 1855). Pinto,
Goa under the Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1878: A Phase in Portuguese
12. Fundo Rivara, Arm. VIII, no. 6, # 77 and # 78 BPE. Pires wrote to da
Cunha Rivara in February 1856.
13. Aleixo Manuel da Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, vol. I-III (Macau:
Instituto Cultural de Macau e Fundao Oriente, 1999), p. 77.
14. Boletim Official, 14 October 1843.
15. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria,
Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza, p. 130.
16. da Cunha Rivara, An Historical Essay on the Konkani Language, p. 213.
17. Junta Geral do Distrito, Boletim do Governo, no. 100, 21 December 1869.
18. Physicians, Nadkarnis, Kulkarnis, and shopkeepers had often enjoyed
exemption from many discriminatory stipulations applied to other Hindus
and had developed strong political and economic links with the state. The
Dubaxis, or Lingoas (translators), and interpretes (interpreters), and Escrivos
or Kulkarnis (clerks or scriveners attached to village communidades, or
administrative bodies of temples) enjoyed a specific and unshaken position
of privilege from the time of Maratha dominance in Goa. See Panduranga
S. Pissurlencar, Agentes da Diplomacia Portuguesa na ndia (Bastora: Tip.
Rangel, 1952), Panduranga S. Pissurlencar, Colaboradores Hindus de
Afonso de Albuquerque, Boletim do Instituto Vasco da Gama de Nova Goa,
Tipografia Rangel, Bastora, no. 49 (1941), Tip. Rangel, 1952.
19. For a list of the duties which escrivos or Kulkarnis were required to perform,
which granted them considerable rights, see Servios que competiam do
escrivo do expediente e tomadias, lugar supprimido pelo decreto de 25 de novembro
de 1869 in the Boletim do Governo, no. 13 of 1871.
20. Of the many land-related disputes which occurred in the nineteenth century,
A. Lopes Mendes suggests that the disorders always originated in the frauds
and ambitions of the administrators or the intrigues fomented and ably
manoeuvred by their Dubaxis (translators) who sought to involve the
administrators and the administered in continuous controversies from which
only they derived advantages and considerable profits...the Dubaxis were
primarily interpreters...they were learned Brahmins. A. Lopez Mendes, A
India Portugueza, vol. I and II (Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, 1886), p. 1.
118 Between Empires
21. Boletim do Governo, # 67, 30 August 1870. In the May of 1870, the
government had circulated a questionnaire to ascertain how many functioning
schools there were in the New Conquests. The questionnaire and its results,
which reported seven functioning schools, three in Portuguese and four in
Marathi, were published in the Boletim no. 90, 22 November 1870.
22. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria,
Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza, p. 141.
23. da Cunha Rivara, An Historical Essay on the Konkani Language, p. 150.
24. Souza, Notcia Histrica e Legislao da Instruco Pblica Primria,
Secundria e Superior na ndia Portugueza, p. 151.
25. Ibid., p. 228.
26. Ibid.
27. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, ed., Grammtica da Lngua Concani composto pelo
Padre Thomaz Estevo (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1857).
28. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, ed., Grammtica da Lngua Concani no dialecto do
Norte (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1858).
29. J. H. da Cunha Rivara, ed., Grammtica da Lngua Concani (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1859).
30. Ibid., p. 145.
31. A Abelha de Bombaim, vol. X. no. 45, 7 November 1857.
32. da Cunha Rivara, An Historical Essay on the Konkani Language, p. 150.
33. Ibid., p. 220.
34. Jos Pereira, Konkani: A Language (Dharwar: Karnatak University, 1971).
Pereira for instance, traces the various linguists who recognized Konkani as
a language on specific grounds, and others who decided that it was a dialect
or lesser language. From John Leydens essay on Indian languages of 1807,
Pereira traces the lineage of influence among linguists that led them to
reproduce the view that Konkani was a dialect.
35. Christovam Pinto, O Marathi e O Concani, Herald, Nova Goa, 10
September 1915.
36. Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, p. 112.
37. Suriagy Ananda Rau, Grammtica da Lngua Maratha (Nova Goa: Imprensa
Nacional, 1875).
38. Ibid., p. 21.
39. Ibid., p. 22.
40. Ibid., p. 23.
41. Ibid.
42. Christovam Pinto, O Marathi e O Concani, Herald, Nova Goa, 10
September 1915.
43. Escolas da Marata, in Govatma, July 1888, and September 1887.
Education and its Languages 119
44. Nyaya Chacxu, 15 September 1890. Ramachandra Dattaji Azrencar who
had studied in British India was lauded for having set up sixteen schools
under various professors who had also been trained outside of Goa. O Goa
Panch, March 1891. In 1924, Neelkanth Vitthal Dalvi, headmaster of the
Navin Marathi Shala in Margao advertized his school in the Hindu, and
emphasized that he offered religious instruction to the boys and girls in his
school which until then had 200 students. Hindu, 27 May 1924, Margao,
Tipografia Hindu.
45. Boletim Official, 28 May 1896.
46. Govatma, September 1887.
47. Ibid, 24 August 1885.
48. Supplemento ao nmero 109 do Boletim Official do Governo do Estado da
ndia, October 1889, Nova Goa, Imprensa Nacional.
49. Ibid.
50. Boletim Official, June 1889.
51. Prabhat, May 23, 1912, Typografia Bharat, Nova Goa.
52. Anurio do Estado da ndia Portuguesa, (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional,
53. Shri Pandurang Prassadik Vidyabhavan, (Nova Goa: 1913)..
54. Shri Mahalaxmi Prasadik Hindu Vachan Mandir, (Minerva Central, 1921).
55. Ibid.
56. B. G. DSouza, Goan Society in Transition (Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1975).
57. Raghuvir Samarth, Mustifund Saunstha (Panjim: Hitachintak Press, 1912).
58. Shri Pandurang Prassadik Vidyabhavan, p. 1.
59. Dnyanprassarak Mandli, (Cumbarjua: Kalpataru Press, 1908).
60. Vidiaprassar, 1125 December 1920, Tipografia Atmarama, Ponda.
61. Patria, 6 August 1913, Nova Goa, Rau e Irmos, p. 1.
62. Sitaram Quercar, Sem rodeios, in Vidiaprassar, # 9, 23 August 1920.
63. Vidiaprassar, SeptemberNovember 1920.
64. Sitaram Quercar, Adversarios da lngua materna, in Vidiaprassar, # 18, 13
November 1920.
65. Vidiaprassar, AugustSeptember 1920. Tipografia Atmarama, Ponda.
66. Christovam Pinto, O Marathi e O Concani, Herald, Nova Goa, 10
September 1915.
67. Garcez Palha had also compiled a Marathi reader that he claimed would
assist students who were unfamiliar with its script. Toms Mouro Garcez
Palha, Methodo Marata de Leitura, (Nova Goa, 1878). Garcez Palha, Mthodo
de Leitura da Lngua Maratha, (Nova Goa: Typ. Oriental). Garcez Palhas
Konkani primer is said to have contained many errors that drew such a
scathing review published in the Anglo-Lusitano in Bombay, that he had to
120 Between Empires
withdraw it from circulation. See Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa,
pp. 258.
68. Mariano Saldanha, Questes de Concani, Herald, 24 March 1943.
69. Maria Ermelinda dos Stuarts Gomes, Assuntos Pedaggicos (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Gonalves, 1932).
70. Dalgado had produced studies on Indo-Portuguese dialects and other
dialects spoken in various Portuguese colonies in Asia, dictionaries of
Konkani and Portuguese, and translations from the Mahabharata by the
time he wrote these articles. Only one of these, the Diccionrio Komkani
was published at a private press in Bombay in 1893. The rest were published
largely from Portugal. A Pereira, S. J., Dalgado (New Delhi: Sahitya
Akademi, 1983).
71. Christovam Pinto, O Marathi e O Concani, Herald, 10 September 1915.
72. Christovam Pinto, O Concani e a sua romanizao, Herald, 7 October
73. J. O. Pires who studied in the Grant Medical College in Bombay and was
therefore among the more privileged Goans in the city, offered to sponsor a
Konkani primer. He himself published one of the earliest Konkani grammars
in Devanagri. J. O. Pires, Konkani bhaseche laghu vyakarana, (Bombay: Chard
Cridon, 1907). Also see O Luso-Concanim, 1830 August 1893, Bombay.
74. Uma grande novidade e um flagrante contraste, Herald, 18 July 1919.
75. Anurio do Estado da ndia Portuguesa.
76. Anurio Estatstico, (1960), pp. 1334.
The Unhappy Period of Revolution
Norms for Newsprint
If linguistic policy was constituted by default, design, and capitulation to
a dominant discourse of cultural difference, how did this shape the sphere
of print? Earlier sections suggested that while studies of print relations
in British India assume that the colonial state was a centered and decisive
entity that put in place norms and strictures concerning print which
were contested and transformed in their colonial context, there was a
fundamental difference in the way print was reintroduced into Goa.
Print was brought in as a defiant declaration of constitutionalism and
was seized on by liberal and monarchist factions. The phenomenon of
print was also shaped by the fact that the early decades of the nineteenth
century were the years when the indigenous elite were granted
representation in the Portuguese Cortes. The formal and political
implications of these print relations crucially shaped the print sphere.
An obvious reference for the discussion of print politics under
colonialism is Benedict Andersons Imagined Communities.
One of the
underlying assumptions to this textthat the mechanisms of the print
market could reproduce themselves under varying conditionsis not
borne out by the situation in Goa. While Andersons political thesis has
been contested within the field of Indian historiography, the case of Goa
also suggests that the existence of print as a commodity, its disseminative
potential, the assumption of a mass readership, all stand to be questioned
in different colonial situations. What may count as the most basic attributes
of print in Europe in fact cannot be assumed in colonial markets and
polities. If the empirical techniques of book history were to be employed
to filter the information available on print products in Goa, the emerging
picture of an exclusive, expensive, and linguistically alien product does not
allow for one to draw conclusions about mass dissemination and
mobilization. On the other hand, when print did become an accessible
122 Between Empires
product, its immediate politicization tended to consolidate oppositional
identities of language, class, and caste rather than forge unities across them.
The attention to form is particularly important in Goa where the anxiety
over the hegemonic and representative potential of newsprint was shared
by the colonial state in Goa as much as it was by its subjects. The long
uncertainty over the form and stability of the state in the metropole and
the colony determined the conventions of representation of newsprint.
The participation of colonial elites in governancein positions of
leadership, as in the case of Peres da Silva, nominated as the Prefect of
Goa in 1835, implied that government bulletins and newspapers were
not the assured and exclusive domain of the state and the Portuguese
population alone. Control over the means of representation, their form,
and the relations they would put in place between a public and a state,
were a site of struggle, which would eventually establish the dominance
of one faction of the state over another, and which involved both
Portuguese and Goans. There was in fact no normative form of newsprint
that the colonial state could easily reproduce in Goa. The form of bulletins,
pamphlets, and newsprint were as tentatively shaped by the state, and as
crucial to its own stability and dominance as it was for any other group.
The gap of nearly seventy years between 1754 and 1821, during which
no printing press was allowed to function in Goa, is often cited as a
reason why print was not a well-developed medium of communication
among Goans.
However, though the frequent withdrawal of press
privileges through the century retarded production and circulation, other
reports on the period suggest that the first encounters with newsprint
were far from sluggish. In 1923, the writer Antnio Maria da Cunha
regretted retrospectively that the Goan response to the introduction of
newsprint had been quite so tumultuous.
The Gazeta de Goa, a weekly
journal in Portuguese, was an official newsletter introduced in 1821, after
the Constitutional coup in Portugal had made such liberties possible in
the colony. It was an agitated period, said da Cunha, when old ideas were
violently thrust aside in favour of the new, and when the proclamations
of the French Revolution and the principle of popular sovereignty had
proved victorious.
A time when the works of the Encyclopaedists were
well known in Goa, and could be found in the private libraries of some
families in the land when he wrote.
In this clamour of new ideas, the Gazeta de Goa, intended only as an
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 123
official bulletin, was drawn into the factional fighting which plagued the
state and was transformed into a vehicle of dissent and animosity. In
1826 the government decided, that since the state had always functioned
without a press until the unhappy period of revolution, and since it only
did harm in the contemporary disastrous times, it would not be ill advised
to withdraw the Gazeta.
The Gazeta was almost exclusively the enterprise
of Portuguese officials in Goa, and as was often the case, they had not
conducted it with the sort of dignity and sobriety that their colonial subjects
could emulate. Though da Cunha was acerbic about the withdrawal of
the press five years after its reintroduction, he too was wary of the political
climate of the times. The struggle for liberty, he said, had created a
propitious atmosphere for disorder.
The Gazeta not only adopted the
personal invective, allusive tone, and partisanship of the pamphlet form,
but also carried pamphlets as supplements to the main body of the paper.
This practice was frequent in Goa among privately published papers as
well. Evidently, the first journal to be produced and distributed in Goa
was polemical and factional from the start despite the fact that it
functioned under strict censorship laws, was produced in the government
press, and was intended as the official state bulletin.
The next press that began functioning in Goa after the ban in 1826
was lifted was unsurprisingly also embroiled in political conflict. When
Bernardo Peres da Silva was nominated as the Prefect of Goa in 1835, had
pushed through a series of reforms that contributed to his quick removal.
One among these was the reopening of the press. This second official
weekly of Goa, the Chronica Constitucional, introduced as a sign of the
reassertion of democratic principles, initially heralded the reforms of the
new government.
Within weeks, however, it was used to combat that
same government, along with the Prefect, who was forced to flee Goa and
make his way to Daman, another Portuguese enclave further up the west
Peres da Silvas use of print and the trajectory of his flight from
Goa, however, further propelled news production on a route already lined
with journals that had arisen during the conflicts of the 1820s. The Chronica
Constitucional not only combated Peres da Silvas supporters in Goa, but also
had to respond to critical newspapers springing up in areas outside Goa
where the Prefect had made his mark. Peres da Silva himself, a government
report complained, had circulated a pamphlet addressing Goans in general,
which he had had printed in Rio de Janeiro.
The Bombay Gazette, and the
Investigador Portuguez, circulating among Goans and Portuguese in Bombay,
defended the Prefect, while O Portuguez em Damao was published by Peres
da Silva himself from Daman.
Eight papers were produced before 1850
124 Between Empires
from Bombay, at least two of them against the Prefect and his supporters,
the rest against the Portuguese government.
Privately owned presses in Bombay were the bane of the press in Goa
from the beginning of the century, for pamphlets were produced in
Bombay and distributed in Goa. Newspapers in Goa often responded to
rival publications, and, as frequently, to the appearance of critical pamphlets
issued by anti-governmental factions. Before the first non-official newspaper
could emerge from the government press in Goa, Peres da Silvas O Portuguez
em Damao drew reactions from those editing official bulletins in Goa.
An Advertisement was circulated in Goa in 1835 by the Portuguese editor
Jos Valrio Capella. He proposed,
to write a Weekly Paper, that is to be entitled The Bombay Portuguese
Examiner with the view of bringing to light the crimes of the iron-
government, established at Goa...which they try to disguise...by means
of a News-paper, which is published there, under the direction of the
notorious Jos Aniceto da Silva.
The efforts to censor and control the production of newsprint were
therefore thwarted in the nineteenth century by the existence of another
print market in Bombay.
Those using the alternative print market seemed
quite aware of this. Their publications were not offered solely as a direct
political counter to those of the colonial state. They also offered news that
linked Goans and Portuguese to British India and British colonies, as well
as to those parts of the world with which Goans had a closer association:
other Portuguese colonies whose political fortunes paralleled theirs, and
where many Goans were posted. A bifurcated and diverse political and
geographical space was therefore offered to readers of the earliest newsprint.
For the first half of the century, only a handful of people were involved
with the production of the twenty odd papers produced in Goa, Daman,
and Bombay, with most editors overseeing two or three publications.
The first two decades of the nineteenth century were remembered for the
plethora of slanderous anonymous pamphlets they produced, under titles
such as Cartas de Tlio, Xisto, and Prophecias de Madua Rau.
In his
assessment of the effect the political press had had on the Goan milieu,
Antnio Maria da Cunha said,
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 125
We have to confess that...it was profoundly hateful; for the simple reason
that, contrary to what happens in all places, where only later in time do
political, combative, party journals appear, among us it was these which
preceded all others, inciting rancour and fomenting it with virulent
language and insolent invective.
Given the choice for an ideal form for a newspaper, one that presented
political opinion as an objective report on eventsan ideal as yet invisible
in Goaand the partisan self-declaratory stance of papers as they appeared,
the intelligentsia and political elite had chosen the latter. Accounts of
nineteenth-century newsprint in France emphasize that the transformation
of political opinion into objective information, and the spatial distribution
of these items among commercial announcements signalled the growing
dominance of market determinants over newsprint.
It is doubtful
whether these forms of representation were ever achieved within the
period under study among newspapers in Goa.
Pro-establishment newspapers of the time were therefore anxious to
establish the newspaper as a form distinct from that of the pamphlet,
and would foreground this distinction. The Gazeta de Goa for instance,
refused to publish anonymous letters. It carried a punctilious defence of
its moral and aesthetic reasons for refusing to carry the letter: ...the letter
from Senhor Anonymo has not been published as it was vicious and in
barbarous language and had bad grammar and orthography.
A catalogue
of books printed from 1821 on at the Imprensa Nacional clearly indicates
that after the Gazeta de Goa, the next text issued by the Imprensa Nacional
was a pamphlet, A Conversation between a misanthrope and philanthrope
about the legitimacy of the Goa government.
At least eleven pamphlets
were issued by 1822, addressing ongoing debates within the military,
and among the clergy.
With the government press itself involved in
the production of pamphlets, the bluster, and protest within pro-
government journals against them cannot be read on their own terms.
The evocation of an ideal of objectivity and form for the newspaper
has to be seen at this stage, as an attempt by factions close to the state to
demarcate a privileged place for it, where it was not addressed as one
among other factions. By distancing itself from certain print forms, the
state tried to draw a mantle of dignity around itself and assert its widely
contested legitimacy and stability. The implicit distinction between
Portuguese writers and vituperative Goans that the Echo da Lusitania tried
to establish, like the one it tried to draw between the newspaper and the
126 Between Empires
pamphlet, have to be read as disingenuous. The voice of the state could be
heard through exclusive media such as the expensive government bulletins,
the Boletim Official. However it was also often within the sphere of pamphlets
that one faction of the state spoke to the other, and the Boletim was, at
these times, like the Gazeta, the preserve of the stronger faction.
The pamphlet, however, was a form that officials occupying the
highest political positions were willing to adopt, whether Portuguese or
Goan, as in the case of Peres da Silva. In 1872, as a military revolt drew to
a close, the ex-governor general, the Visconde de So Janurio published a
pamphlet from Bombay defending his handling of the situation.
the collection of twelve pamphlets which will be discussed later, all produced
on the heels of a rebellion which had begun in 1895 is one written by the
Governor General of Goa to defend his much-criticized handling of the
The persistence with which this form was used suggests that it was
never a genre of print that was seen to threaten the dignity of the state.
While page-long political leaflets were enclosed as newspaper supplements
all through the century, an advertisement of 1835 suggests how expensive
lengthier polemical texts were at this point in time. The Refutaam Analytica
do Manifesto do Governo Intruso de Goa sold at six rupees a copy, and was
advertized as a literary publication in a contemporary newspaper.
Pamphlets were therefore even less accessible than newspapers. Those of
1895, at the end of the century, when the costs of printing were lower,
were rarely less than forty pages long, and cost as much as a novel or
dictionary in the same period. Many pamphleteers remarked on how
they had procured these publications through friends.
The past and the future of Goan politics were retold through the
prism of each conflict. It was through pamphlets that writers bracketed
contemporary conflicts within histories of Goa, or within mythic tales,
reworked to accommodate new personae. A Prophecia de Madua Rau,
for instance, circulated between 1821 and 1822 after a constitutional
monarchy had been established through a political coup in Portugal,
and factions within the Goan government tried to achieve the same in
A description of the pamphlet by Miguel Vicente de Abreu conceded
that it admirably imitated the emphatic and grandiose style of the pagan
poets and was without doubt a great piece of literature.
The people
of Goa, according to Madua (the son of Rama, Vishnu, and Parashurama),
the narrator in A Prophecia, had approached the seer to consult him
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 127
about the evils that afflicted their land. To deal with the difficulties which
oppressed Goa, the land of the Franguis (foreigners), Madua invoked
Varuni, who predicted that the
Creatures who still adore servility...would be dispersed with the speed
with which the wind spread fire...and...the tree of liberty, which the Franguis
planted in Goa, would grow, and its roots spread around Bharata.... All
the aristocrats who did not desire freedom for their country, and who
protested against the new orders and laws of the Franguis of the west...would
become the slaves of the black slaves.
The literacy rates among Goans placed certain limits on the extent to
which the newspaper could be regarded as a popular form. In Goa, the
fact that there was no newspaper in Konkani until late into the nineteenth
century placed the additional burden of translation on spheres in which
the newspaper may have been read aloud. Newspapers themselves carried
indications of how they expected to be read and how the form itself may
have differed, or not, from other kinds of print forms to which readers
were exposed. A report on the government printing press published in
1876, over fifty years after the press had been reintroduced in Goa,
emphasized the absence of a lucrative print market. The lack of a market
here makes it convenient to procure books from Lisbon, said the director,
Francisco Joo Xavier.
Xavier regretted that on J. H. da Cunha Rivaras
advice, stocks of books had been ordered from Lisbon and lay unsold with
the press. Travelogues as well as what one would think would be popular
ephemera in Goa; pictures and emblems of St. Francis Xavier for instance,
burdened the shelves and budget of the printing press. The government
printing press did make a profit, but only on works that were of use in
official circles, or served a purely utilitarian purpose.
Though the government printing press was installed in 1821, it was
not until after the crisis of 1835 that a somewhat freer atmosphere existed
for the functioning of private presses. The fact that it took half a century
for the first privately published newspaper to emerge, suggests that it
was economically unviable for most Goans to own a press or to print. It
was cheaper to produce a text in Portuguese rather than Konkani or Marathi
on the government press. Though the government acquired Marathi
types by the 1850s, and by the 1870s was employing people specifically
for Marathi printed material, there was no sign of a privately published
128 Between Empires
Marathi paper until 1870.
The plethora of Goan newspapers were
characterized by their short life span.
The weekly Ultramar sold at five and a half rupees a year, when the
monthly Patriota published from Bombay was sold at a rupee.
print market in Goa was always more expensive than the one in Bombay.
The 1880s saw the gap between prices widening as print grew even
cheaper in Bombay. At the turn of the century, a primary school teacher in
Goa earned 120 rupees a year, and may have invested in a paper.
there were not too many of the salaried class to buy papers in Goa. Print
runs of Konkani publications in Bombay were often half or a third of
contemporary Marathi ones.
A number of editors owned the presses on which their papers were
printed and many of these were family concerns.
This was the pattern
with the first few papers that also ran with a very small staff.
Goa, it was largely newspapers owned by affluent families that survived
for any length of time. The Ultramar, the first privately published paper
was owned and edited by Bernardo Francisco da Costa and managed by
the politically prominent family through the century. Brahmins and
chardos were the first to own the means of print production. Among the
Catholics, these usually were landed, professionally employed upper-castes.
Hindu editors and owners were likewise largely upper-caste professionals
and traders. Papers like the Ultramar and the ndia Portuguesa scarcely
carried any advertisements at all, though others were supported by
advertisements from shopkeepers in the major towns of Goa, most of who,
as chemists, goldsmiths, general merchants, and bookshop owners, were
brahmins or traders. The articles themselves indicate that a few people
wrote the entire paper. The earliest presses owned by Goans, from 1859
to 1870, printed largely in Portuguese.
A skeletal postal system in Goa retarded the distribution of newsprint
and this remained a complaint of newspaper owners into the twentieth
century. Readers living along the stretch of road that linked the land of
Gaspar Dias in Panjim to Old Goa would have their Gazeta delivered to
them. The paper announced, however, that it could not arrange to deliver
to Salsette, Bardez, or Ponda.
When the Ultramar, the first privately
published paper was launched nearly forty years later, the same conditions
seemed to prevail.
Papers were sometimes distributed through personal
friends and readers, and individually collected subscriptions.
The postal
system in Goa had evidently still not substituted these networks in 1873.
Consumers and retailers of newspapers therefore had none of the relative
anonymity that they may have had as consumers of other commodities.
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 129
Each paper had to hammer out a path of distribution in villages where
their readers were likely to be. This was the case with schoolbooks as
well, which could be purchased from the few city-based bookshops in
Goa, or at pharmacies, grocers shops, or merely prominent households
in each village.
Since the first daily in Goa emerged only in 1900, the newspaper was
never a disposable, easily acquired commodity. Weeklies or fortnightlies
may have reordered time among their readers, but could not have beguiled
them into the daily routines of consumerism. Instead, their arrival and
absorption may have been awaited and then extended across the week and
the community of readers around each paper, until the next made its way
into the hands of the purchaser. The arrival of the newspaper would perhaps
have re-emphasized rather than obfuscated the lines that separated those
who could buy and read and tell, from those who could not. However, it
is clear that the Goan elite did not find the possibility of an expanding
readership politically (and perhaps economically) promising. Despite early
access to printing presses in both Goa and Bombay, they never sought to
disrupt the linguistic divisions created by centuries of Portuguese rule
through the spread of Konkani newsprint. When the first privately owned
press began to function, it allowed for the circulation of an articulate and
knowledgeable critique of governance. This was bolstered by a rhetorical
emphasis on the possibility of popular mobilization that could result if
the ideologies of anti-colonialism or nationalism were disseminated. The
fact that newsprint continued to be exclusively in Portuguese indicated
that even the preliminary movements towards the realization of such a
possibility were not about to be made.
Studies of the significance of newsprint in colonial India that interrogate
the customarily subversive role accorded it by nationalist histories
emphasize, instead, its appropriation by the Indian bourgeoisie to fulfil
its hegemonic ambitions. Since print, and especially newsprint, is studied
as a site of negotiation between the colonial state and colonial elite, some
of these works dwelt on the applicability of Jrgen Habermas definition
of the public sphere as it emerged in modern Europe.
Veena Naregals
discussion of the formation of a public sphere in Western India, however,
consistently elaborates the inapplicability of various aspects of the term
as described by Habermas to the Indian context.
Naregal emphasizes,
for instance, the tension inherent in the processes of print dissemination
130 Between Empires
and its representative potential when deployed by the colonial elite. The
Indian upper-caste elite, realizing the potential political consequences of
the dissemination of print and of ideologies of liberalism, in fact, contained
these very possibilities with a return to orthodoxy and by propagating a
virulent anti-lower caste agenda through newsprint.
Such studies of the deployment of print in the context of nationalism
rely on the link between print and developments in other political spheres.
Naregal, for instance, suggests that an understanding of the limitations of
the 1857 rebellion was formative for the Indian bourgeoisie, as it turned
to other mechanisms (among them print) to oppose the colonial state,
with the realization that pre-colonial forms of leadership would not suffice.
In the aftermath of 1857, the threat posed by the conflicting interests of
those who had to be incorporated under the programme of nationalism
was contained in part by the able negotiation of print by a nationalist
elite, especially through their access to bilingualism. Bilingualism and the
framework of nationalism are therefore crucial to the study of the formation
of the print and literary sphere in studies of colonial India.
While both Hindu and Catholic elite in Goa were bilingual, this was
not an operative bilingualism which, when used in print, served as a means
for political containment and cohesion. In fact, earlier sections have
indicated that Marathi-Portuguese papers were used to secure gains made
in the sphere of educational policy and to demarcate the linguistic and
political divisions between Catholics and Hindus. Many elements of the
nationalist discourse evident in British India are, therefore, visible and
in fact dominant within some forms of print in Goa, but the implications
and uses of these elements, and of print itself, were not identical.
While caste identities were forged through it, class antagonism ensured
that no overarching solidarities could be effected. The yawning gap
between the claims of print and political realities of Goa did not allow it
to play its persuasive substitutive role, offering political and social benefits
to bind together disparate interest groups. Further, the assessment of the
place of newsprint can neither be contained within the political
boundaries of what constituted nineteenth-century Goa, nor within the
domain of one language. The eventual emergence of newspapers in four
languages and two print markets helped generate both, plurality of form
and lack of consensus.
A distinct editorial voice was not always apparent in privately run
newspapers whether in Goa or in Bombay, nor did they all have participative
readerships. The Gazeta de Bardez of 1874 for instance carried almost
no topical news, but carried news from Portugal, a serialized novel, and
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 131
published Joo de Barros history As Decadas Portuguezas in instalments.
The O Patriota in Bombay in its early years provided largely ecclesiastical
information, and carried announcements on civil appointments, epidemics,
and sometimes reproduced minute news items from other newspapers.
The Ultramar, the first privately owned paper in Goa, however, set
itself up decisively as a representative of the Goan people. In its coverage
of the elections in Bardez in 1861 during which people voted under the
glare of military bayonets, the Ultramar expressed its outrage that a people
who scarcely knew what sedition was, were being punished for it.
In its
comment on the governments stance, the writer addressed an anonymous
third party, neither Goan society nor the state. This was a departure
from the satirical pamphleteering style of Portuguese papers in Goa. The
Ultramar had to assume this position of responsibility on behalf of the
people of Bardez, since it had been charged by the government of having
incited revolt in the district.
The editor, Bernardo Francisco da Costa,
frequently contested elections during the century and the paper was seen
more as a front for his anti-establishment political campaign than as a
newspaper. Those who supported the ndia Portuguesa, another privately
published newspaper in Goa, however, emphasized that da Costa was a
brahmin, and that the real impetus behind his politics was to further the
cause of brahmins. While these inflect our reading of the Ultramar, its
construction of a reader is significant here as it set in place a political
relationship between newspaper, state, and reader, a relationship that state
officials who had opposed the introduction of the press dreaded. The
anticipation by the state and those close to it, of the role a newspaper
would play in Goa in fact endowed editors with a social and political
power we are unsure they possessed vis--vis the wider Goan public. When
the Ultramar protested against the punishment of the people of Bardez
on the grounds of sedition, however, it also contested the allegation that
its articles had incited revolts against the bureaucracy as the state had alleged.
The people of Bardez, according to the report, were not only ignorant of
the concept of sedition, but had suffered the attacks of the state with
resignation. How could such a people be accused of sedition, asked the
Ultramar, given that their newspapers had counselled them to be firm
in their opinions, but moderate in their actions?!
The register of more popular Konkani papers that appeared only
later in the twentieth century persuades us that when the early papers in
Portuguese produced by upper class Goans invoked a Goan mass, whether
among Hindus or Catholics, it was largely rhetorical. If the Ultramar, whose
editor was frequently elected to the Portuguese parliament, constructed its
132 Between Empires
readers as a constituency, the Aryabandhu, published later in the century,
bemoaned their plight as an under-represented electorate.
The paper
emphasized that among the elected representatives most of whom spent
their time in Lisbon, there was not one who knew the needs of his
constituency. There are other signs, however, that the editors of these
papers spoke to an inner circle of other editors. If the Ultramar for instance
had to assert its own view of the states actions, it pitted them against
those of the ndia Portuguesa. Its report on the fateful elections, in which
its editor was said to have influenced the actions of the people of Bardez,
drew on representations of the event in the Patriota of Bombay.
the Paiz represented the near continuous rebellion in the New Conquests
of Goa as instances of banditry that plagued the state. Its main concern
when covering the disturbances of the 1870s however was the contrary
representations of the problem in the Bombay-based Abelha de Bombaim.
Though the Paiz disagreed with the stance of the Abelha, it had encountered
these reports only through yet another paper, A ndia.
This was a legacy of the overlap between pamphlets and papers, where
each pamphlet directly responded to the one that preceded it, but the
extent to which this was reproduced by all papers suggests also, how
minuscule the sphere of political exchange was within this group. Each
newspaper drew on the other for news, and as a site of contestation. While
this was the cheapest way for skeletal editorial teams to produce news,
no response from outside this circle of writers and publishers appears to
have influenced their representation of the political place of Goans under
the Portuguese.
Articulations of nationalism and the retelling of recent political history
were drawn into the tense battles between chardos and brahmins among
Goan writers. Newspapers and pamphlets were the means by which
interpretations of each castes political actions could be countered or
recontextualized by the other. The predominant allegation that the Catholic
brahmins fought through this century, and the one most dangerous to
their immediate interests was that of harbouring nationalist ambitions.
From the revolt by native brahmin Catholic priests of 1787, the conflicts
of 1822, Peres da Silvas failed attempt to overthrow the government, and
the elections of 1861, a history could be constructed of brahmin conspiracies
to oust the Portuguese. In the 1870s therefore, Catholic brahmins like
da Costa assumed responsibility for the actions of those who were now
considered his predecessors. They addressed the task of protecting
themselves from the wrath of the Portuguese by retelling this history to
deny and reinterpret any nationalist articulation that accompanied these
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 133
disparate revolts. A reader is therefore confronted with articles that insisted
that though Peres da Silva fought the state, he could not possibly have
imagined that he could free Goa given that its people were unenlightened
and unprepared for self-rule; that the priests of 1787 had conspired, but
had not intended to overthrow the Portuguese.
The containment of the
discourse of nationalism within the terms of caste rivalries among upper-
caste Catholics itself signals the negligible breadth of the print sphere. The
circulation of inter-textual interpretations through exclusively Portuguese
pamphlets, books, and newspapers complemented imperviousness to
different discourses in tri-lingual Marathi and Konkani publications.
The appearance of Marathi newsprint followed rather than preceded
significant developments in the realm of linguistic policy.
From the end
of the 1860s, Marathi papers began to emerge, and though presses in Goa
had acquired Devanagari types, printing in Marathi continued to be
more expensive by the line than print in Roman.
The focus of Marathi
papers set up during this time tended to be the campaign for Marathi
schools, elaborated earlier. Marathi papers compared the avenues for
economic growth open to Hindus as a whole in Goa, with the considerably
wider ones open to more privileged Hindus in British India and to Catholics
within Goa. The Govatma disputed representations of contemporary
politics in Portuguese language papers to emphasize in particular the neglect
or active oppression of Hindus in Goa. It also covered political movements
in British India. Unlike upper class Catholics, upper-caste Hindus drew
from a larger movement in British India where the construction of a
Hindu identity around a set of interests and concerns provided material
and ideological support for similar developments among Hindus in the
relatively isolated political sphere of Goa. The task the Gomantak undertook
for itself was threefold: to instruct and morally educate all Hindus, to
defend the religion of their ancestors, and to reform Hindu customs.
This program, which derived from the reform movements in British
India, was directed predominantly to its readership as opposed to that of
the Govatma, which to a large extent directed its critiques against the state,
and replicated articles in Marathi in the Portuguese sections of the paper.
In a paper like the Govatma, Goan society and politics appeared quite
different from their representations in Portuguese papers. The paper
provided a social sphere for Hindus akin to the ones elite Catholics enjoyed
and carried various items of interest to a wide Hindu readership. Religious
134 Between Empires
texts printed in Bombay, changes in land laws, articles on the remarriage
of women, and assessments of individual administrators featured alongside
the regular campaign for Marathi schools.
In keeping with the promise
made by its masthead to defend Hindu interests, the paper scrutinized
the allocation of government jobs and noted when a Hindu had been
appointed. The claim to represent a broad Hindu interest was however
belied by the distinctively upper class and brahmanical bias to the Govatma.
Apart from the consistent demand for a larger space for Marathi, the
paper frequently published defences of brahmanism such as articles that
enquired what protection the brahmanic religion had in Goa, and asked
for the protection of brahmanism.
Conflicts between brahmins and other
castes were covered in some detail.
In addition, since peasant rebellions
remained instances of banditry to the Govatma as they were to the Ultramar,
the potential to expand the scope of the campaign over Marathi schools,
as well as the category of Hindu to include all classes and castes in common
programmes remained unfulfilled. The Govatma, like the Ultramar,
demanded more troops in Goa to suppress these rebellions.
Marathi papers on the whole showed a far greater consciousness of
the linguistic impact of their appearance. Legislation favouring Marathi
preceded the appearance of the first Marathi journal in Goa. Newsprint
in this language worked therefore to provide the appearance of a mass will
to back efforts made in other spheres. The paper made Marathi print
available to students learning the language, and created a basis for the
growth of a Marathi reading mass for the future, even if their presence
had to be simulated in the paper itself during these decades. A political
consequence of the linguistic fragmentation among Goans was that the
complete accommodation into nationalist movements in British India
through Marathi propaganda meant that the benefits of these associations
for Goans as a whole and the possibility of Catholics and Muslims being
involved was diminished. It also meant, significantly, that a situation where
Goan Hindus alone dominated a political movement in Goa did not
arise. Those supportive of the broader movement tended not to represent
the specificities of the political situation of Goa, as their regional identity
was submerged into a religious and linguistic one.
The Bharat, which was published in Portuguese and Marathi from
Quepem in Goa, was forthright about its support to the Indian national
The association of the Bharat with the Indian national
movement seems to mark a point when the discourse of Indian nationalism
began to be represented as a legitimate one at least among Hindus.
discourse around nationalism between both Hindu and Catholic brahmins
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 135
in Goa, however, functioned as a means to curtail the strengths of
competitors rather than as a site for the consolidation of common interests.
Goas indigenous elite found itself caught between various beguiling
discourses; those of nationalism, cultural authenticity, and identity, offered
by British India, and its own compulsions of caste and racial rivalry. Though,
like their counterparts in British India, they constantly sought to represent,
lead, and transform, their relation to print and its workings reflects the
contradictions and paradoxes outlined until now. The appearance of each
genre of print was an attempt to set in place a way of reading which
would legitimize a political relation between readers and writers. In the
case of Goa, however, each of the three print languages established quite
different relations among their readers, and sometimes explicitly rejected
the propositions inherent in other print languages.
Anonymity had a peculiar role in the production of news in Goa. There
was none of the anonymity of numbers which a thriving print market
would have provided. Perverse press laws forced writers to withhold their
signatures from their pieces. Newspapers and pamphlets of the time engaged
in a shadow play where everyone almost knew who wrote a piece, and the
response usually hinted at the identity of the writer. Editorials asserted
that despite challenging inquiries from opponents, they would protect
the identity of their authors. The most effective way to attack opponents,
therefore, was to name them, their political associations, and the printing
press where they had had their pamphlets published.
In British India, alongside political links with other groups, the
rhetoric of improvement and the development of a representative language
helped the Indian bourgeoisie to work itself into a position of dominance.
Without the print market and its close conjunction with educational
and language policies, the claims to represent Goan society made by the
Goan bourgeoisie had little resonance. While the inscription of the
indigenous elite into the ideologies of constitutionalism and liberalism
clearly had its uses, which they availed of disingenuously, they also generated
discourses of humanism, individual rights, and citizenship. The ease with
which they rapidly layered these ideologies with those of caste and race
indicate that these were never inhabited to the exclusion of other forms
of political stratification. If anything, print in the hands of the indigenous
elite seems to have equipped them with a series of ideological avatars,
proffered at different moments, contingent on the interests involved. While
136 Between Empires
in the realm of language politics, the Hindu elite entwined newsprint
and petitions with the setting up of popular institutions, within the realm
of electoral politics a different relationship was put in place. Print allowed
for the conjuring up of the appearance of popular participation and support
that the elite may never have enjoyed from the Goan polity. In fact, the
following sections indicate that when a range of non-elite groups in Goa
actually had access to print, they explicitly denied the roles offered to them
in elite publications, and put in place their own uses for these forms.
1. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities (London: Verso, 1983).
2. Vimala Devi and Manuel de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I
(Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971).
3. Antnio Maria da Cunha, A Evoluo do Jornalismo na ndia Portuguesa,
in A ndia Portuguesa (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1923), p. 507.
4. Ibid.
5. Francisco Joo Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa (Nova
Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1876).
6. Ibid., p. 508. It appears that the pardos, described in census reports as racially
mixed slaves, were among those who took advantage of the atmosphere of
the times. Contributors to the Gazeta, which carried letters from 1822 on,
complained about the demands being made by pardos for the dissolution
of discrimination based on caste and colour. There were reports of attempted
insurrections in the army by native pardos, which had caused tumult in
white families. Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa. Also see
the Boletim Official of 1822, no. 15, no. 18, and no. 22.
7. Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa. The Chronica
Constitucional was produced by the director of the recently installed press,
Jos Aniceto da Silva. An alternate reference for this, in Aleixo Manuel da
Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, vol. IIII (Macau: Instituto Cultural
de Macau e Fundao Oriente, 1999), p. 58., however, states that the
Chronica was produced from 1830 on.
8. Chronica Constitucional, Segundo suplemento no. IV, 1835 and 1836.
9. Officios do Governo Provizorio, Ofcio no. 2, Direco Geral do Ultramar,
Correspondncia GeralIndia 1833/ 36 (Arquivo Histrico Ultramarino
(AHU), Lisbon).
10. The Bombay Gazette, vol. XLVI, 30 May 1835, p. 253.
11. da Cunha, A Evoluo do Jornalismo na ndia Portuguesa, pp. 51112.
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 137
12. Between 1826 and 1835, when the press in Goa was yet again withdrawn, O
Mensageiro Bombayense was published for a few months from Bombay. Peres
da Silvas paper was followed by Lus Caetano de Menezes O Investigador
Portuguez. Menezes went on to edit three other papers from Bombay.
13. Officios de Bernardo Peres da Silva ex-Prefeito dos Estados da ndia de no. 1
to no. 20, Ofcio no. 18, Direco Geral do Ultramar, Correspondncia Geral
India 1833/ 36 (Arquivo Histrico Ultramarino (AHU), Lisbon).
14. Bernardo Peres da Silva had also published a pamphlet, Dilogo entre um
doutor em philosophia, e um portuguez da ndia na cidade de Lisboa, sobre a
Constituio poltica do reino de Portugal, e meios de mantel-a. Dedicado
mocidade da India, in defence of liberalism in Rio de Janeiro in 1832. See
Ensaio, Crtica. Literria Jornalismo, in Devi and de Seabra, A Literatura
Indo-Portuguesa, p. 238.
15. Antnio dos Martires Lopes, Imprensa de Goa, Commissariado do Governo
para os Assuntos do Estado da ndia (Lisboa: 1971).
16. Constancio Roque da Costa, one of the earliest Goans to be elected to the
Portuguese parliament as a representative of Goans, is said to have been
involved in the writing one of the pamphlets cited above, the Cartas de Tlio.
Echo da Lusitania, vol. I, no. 2, 19 January 1836, Nova Goa, Imprensa Nacional.
Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, p. 291, suggests the involvement of
Lus Caetano de Menezes.
17. da Cunha, A Evoluo do Jornalismo na ndia Portuguesa, pp. 51112.
18. Richard Terdiman, Discourse/Counter-Discourse (London: Cornell University
Press, 1985), p. 131.
19. Gazeta de Goa, 1822, no. 13.
20. Dilogo entre um misanthrope e um filanthropo sobre a legitimidade do governo
da Goa by Manuel da Cruz. Cited in Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional
de Goa.
21. Ibid.
22. Visconde de So Janurio, Duas Palavras cerca da ltima revolta do excrcito
do Estado da ndia (Bombaim: Economist Steam Press, 1872).
23. Visconde de Villa Nova dOurem, A Revolta dos Marathas em 1895 (Lisboa:
Mattos Moreira e Pinheiro, 1900).
24. Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa.
25. O Investigador Portuguez em Bombaim, 19 July 1835.
26. These defences were in the form of unbound small format books, the longest
of them running to over eighty pages, and costing up to eight annas. The
judge Ovdio de Alpoim commented in his own publication on how the
Visconde de Bardez had been parsimonious in his distribution of his work.
138 Between Empires
Ovidio de Alpoim, Analise de Algumas Affirmaes feitas no folheto do V. de
Bardez (1896).
27. Miguel Vicente de Abreu, Relao das Alteraes Polticas de Goa (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1862), pp. 2424.
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid.
30. Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa.
31. Ibid. A survey conducted in 1870 by the government revealed that the ordinary
workload of the press consisted of passports, official notices, economic reports,
and embarkation documents. Apart from government bulletins and army
orders, the highest demand during the first fifty years of the century, was
for theological compendia, editions of the Doutrina Christa, primers in
Portuguese, French, and Latin, funeral cards, baptismal books, and wedding
cards. While some among these would be used in schools or churches, the
others were ephemera for private circulation.
32. Xavier, Breve Notcia da Imprensa Nacional de Goa, p. 55.
33. By the end of the century, the number of papers launched only to shut down
within a few years began to increase. Twenty-three papers were set up in Goa
between 1880 and 1890. Right up to the 1930s, this remained a pattern,
where over twenty papers would open shop each decade, and a few among
these would survive the stretch of a decade. See for instance, dos Martires
Lopes, Imprensa de Goa.
34. O Ultramar, August 1861. See Catalogue of Books printed in the Bombay
Presidency, (London: Oriental and India Office Collections, 1867).
35. Ibid.
36. L. Roguvir Dolvy, Cuncolim, apontamentos para a sua histria (Bastora:
Typographia Rangel, 1908).
37. On the whole, print runs did not exceed the 550 mark though journals
published by religious societies were an exception to this, and equalled the
print runs of other language publications. Private presses in Goa seemed to
be better off than the government press. In 1928, the Patria claimed that
the official government publication, the bi-weekly Boletim Official, cost
twenty rupees a year, and was therefore more expensive than any private
paper. But the government is content to let things run this way, said the
contributor. Doutrinas Sensatas, Patria, 1 September 1928.
38. Antnio Menezes, The Dirio da Noite, in the Gomantak Times, 18
December 1993.
39. Ibid. Also see dos Martires Lopes, Imprensa de Goa.
40. Gazeta de Goa, no. 12, 1822.
The Unhappy Period of Revolution 139
41. O Ultramar, August 1861. Papers would only be delivered to Salsette, Ilhas,
and Bardez and to those districts where there were more than two subscribers.
42. O Paiz, which was produced in Goa, was read in Bombay, Diu, and Macau.
In Goa, however, the paper was distributed among the villages of Salsette
and subscriptions were collected from readers by individuals whom the
paper thanked. O Paiz, 23 February 1873.
43. Francesca Orsini, The Hindi Public Sphere (Delhi: Oxford University Press,
44. Veena Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere (Delhi:
Permanent Black, 2001).
45. Gazeta de Bardez, 12 December 1874.
46. O Patriota, July 1877.
47. Francisco Joo da Costa (Andre Paulo), O Europeismo e a RevoltaCarta ao
Dr Jos Incio de Loyola (1896).
48. Ibid.
49. O Ultramar, September 1861.
50. Deputado as Cortes, in Aryabandhu, 10 April 1886.
51. O Ultramar, September 1861.
52. O Paiz, 23 February 1873.
53. Ibid., 10 June 1873.
54. In 1866, an abortive attempt was made to bring out a journal in Portuguese
and Konkani in the Roman script to popularize songs and hymns in Konkani.
Miguel Vicente De Abreu, ed., Ramalhetinho de alguns hymnos e canes (Nova
Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1866). This journal shut down after the publication
of three issues. Four papers brought out in Bombay in the 1860s were all
Portuguese-English, and suggest the growing bi-lingualism among the
Portuguese and Goan elite who would have formed their readership.
55. One Marathi paper emerged at the end of the 1860s. Between 1870 and
1880 a Marathi paper and a Portuguese-English paper emerged. By the end
of the century, the proportion of Marathi papers had begun to increase, with
seven in circulation by 1890. At least one of the Marathi papers appeared
with the breaks and interruptions that beset all papers, over a period of
twenty years.
56. Govatma, 24 August 1885.
57. Gomantak, no. 1, 1890.
58. The education of women, particularly Hindu women in British India caught
the attention of these papers. Pandita Ramabais fund collection for a girls
school found mention as well as the fact that there were ten Indian women
studying at Universities in England. Govatma, 25 March 1888.
140 Between Empires
59. Ibid., 18859. See 7 September 1885 and 28 September 1885.
60. Through the century, attempts by goldsmiths to reclaim caste insignia they
believed were due to them as brahmins from the government, were opposed
by other groups of brahmins.
61. Govatma, 25 March 1888.
62. It reported that many Hindus and Catholics of Goa were part of the Indian
National Congress in Belgaum in 1925. Annie Besants writings were
reproduced in Marathi, as were a number of nationalist articles from Marathi
papers. Articles in 1923 declared an affiliation to Gandhis movement and
cited Brazil and the Philippines as models of free territories. Since the former
was once a colony of the Portuguese and the latter that of the Spanish, the
analogy with Goa was implicit. The paper also declared its support to the
cow-protection movement which had gained some support in British India.
63. In the specific context of Goan politics, however, the Bharat felt bound to
refute articles in the ndia Portugueza, O Ultramar, and A Terra which
insinuated that Hindus were anti-national as they had refused to participate
in the celebrations on the centenary of the arrival of Vasco da Gama in Goa,
as well as allegations that they had assisted rebels and seditious elements.
Ibid., 15 January 1925.
The Truth About Pamphlets 141
The Truth About Pamphlets
A reader of the volatile, indigenously-produced Portuguese papers of
nineteenth-century Goa cannot but be struck by the logic and emotion
with which the colonial state was addressed, to highlight the sufferings of
the common man, and the poor of Goa.
These moving polemics were
backed by statistics detailing land ownership, tax percentages, and minute
discussions of clauses from cases in the past. It is one of the contradictory
aspects of the Goan elite, that when these laws were questioned and
challenged through armed rebellions by the Desais and Ranes (titled revenue
chiefs in the New Conquests), they were reported in the same papers as
acts of criminal banditry. The relentless disapproval of these dreaded
salteadores suggests the lack of any political bridges, an unsurprising
consequence of the circumscribed situation of the Goan elite.
During two instances of conflict and revolt that marked the end of
the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century, the use of
print by elite groups most vividly illustrates how they used it to cloak
and extend their limited political reach, and to seize the opportunity for
interpretive control over these moments. Two separate sets of pamphlets
are examined here, to demonstrate the way in which print could reproduce
or double the closures and limits inherent to the politics of the Goan elite.
The pamphlets produced in the aftermath of a rebellion that occurred in
1895 indicate that the disseminating and representative properties of print
could be diminished through print production itself.
This retracing of pamphlets generated at different points, in conflicts
that engaged a single village and the entire region, has been influenced in
part by the works of Robert Darnton and Roger Chartier whose conclusions
about political consciousness, the stratification of political groups, and
patterns of print emerge from readings of empirical data about publishing
houses, censorship, reading practices, and print law.
In particular, the
142 Between Empires
uses of print during instances of political conflict are emphasized in these
texts as a means to analyse the use of representation by non-elite groups.
Within the context of colonial India, the study of pamphlets has largely
been the domain of historians. A focus on micro-history as a vantage
point from which otherwise unnoticed aspects of history become visible,
is most often found in the writing of the Subaltern Studies group. Studies
that instance the use of writing and print by subaltern groups, indicate
that print was a marker of the inversions and negations of dominant
meaning systems during peasant rebellions.
This study of pamphlets attempts to situate instances of conflict within
the larger context of a print culture and linguistic politics. One of the
reasons why what would count as print ephemera seem to demand a
closer look is that pamphlets afford an ironically privileged perspective,
a footnote view from which to examine the emergence of print culture.
Other arguments for the historical moment or the subalternist fragment
suggest that moments of intense conflict often generate decisive shifts in
political relations, or render the consequences of long-term tendencies
suddenly and frighteningly visible.
The formation of differently
empowered linguistic groups, and the relations between indigenous elite
and the state within the realm of print are most visible and were crucially
altered during these moments.
Situating these pamphlets is also an attempt to examine how they
fitted into the process of form and genre differentiation among other
print products. This relatively non-aestheticized forms could determine
the aesthetic place of other print products. Pierre Bourdieus delineation
of the formation of a literary field, as an all-inclusive terrain where the
value and reception of producers and products are mutually constituted,
provides a useful framework through which to situate the pamphlets
discussed below.
While the place of the pamphlet was shaped by its
immediate context, the relations that developed between product and
readers, altered by default, the place of other kinds of print. This study
traces the mechanics of reading and reception across situations and the
coding of print genres with particular values, to examine the nature of
reading publics that emerged and those aspects of political representation
that had begun to be routed through print.
This attempts to retain an emphasis on the pamphlet as a genre of
print whose limits and norms were established simultaneously and mutually
with those of other kinds of print in connected but distinct fields. However,
the use of print in a situation that engaged groups with varying degrees
The Truth About Pamphlets 143
of literacy forces us as well to trace the connectedness of print to writing,
orality, fiction, and truth. Ajay Skarias Orality and Power in the Dangs,
which demands a less mythologized theorization of the relation of subaltern
groups to writing offers a substantial glossary of differentiated uses of
Most pertinently for this study of pamphlets, these indicate
the interpenetration of the realms of writing and orality through which
writing inserted itself as a dominant form. In the context of arguments
made in earlier chapters to suggest that official print had no overarching
sanctity within Portuguese statecraft, the following study suggests that a
shifting burden of truth, evidence, and historical proof was borne by
print, writing, and oral forms during times of conflict in Goa.
The attempt in the following study, therefore, is not to trace the process
by which writing found its place as a dominant form of representation,
but to trace shifting norms for the textual representation of truth across
political representations generated by the colonial state, the indigenous
colonial elite, and rebel soldiers and peasants. The two conflicts have
been discussed to argue, in one instance, that an interpretive claim over
the significance of rebellion was usurped by elite representations of the
event. At another level, both instances of conflict demonstrate that the
relation of writing to truth, the weight of evidence in administrative
conflicts, the question of authenticity and fixity of documents, agreements,
and writing, were always being texted at quite fundamental levels, as much
through a range of non-elite representations, as by the colonial state and
the indigenous elite. A distinct anxiety over the status of the written
document, the government agreement, and the truth about an event is
startlingly visible among representatives of state and colonial elite. This
anxiety was generated in part by the mastery of the codes of bureaucracy
by non-elite petitioners and rebels, and allayed by repetitively re-inscribing
such groups as illiterate.
In September 1895, a section of Maratha soldiers in the military quarters
at Panjim escaped from their barracks and mutinied against the Portuguese
governments orders that they be sent to Mozambique. The rebelling soldiers
rode out of the city to join rebelling peasants from the neighbouring
districts in the New Conquests. The peasants were led by the Ranes, who
were revenue collectors in the New Conquests, before the Portuguese
acquired these territories in the late eighteenth century. The Ranes were
144 Between Empires
disaffected from the state because of the recent imposition of new taxes
and a reorganisation of land rights.
With a much-reduced army, the
Portuguese state was under considerable pressure, until the limitations
of the rebellion itself led to negotiations between them and rebel leaders
so as to secure a quick end to the disturbances. For months, however, the
state was preoccupied with containing the extent of rebellion, which
threatened to spread across all the New Conquests (and into the Old
Conquest of Bardez) where resentment against the prevalent land laws
had been brewing. The soldier-Rane combination meant that rebellion
threatened to spill into the most urbanized areas of Goa. It is against a
backdrop of months of near panic, negotiations with the British colonial
government, and the protracted trials of rebels in 1896, that the following
pamphlets emerged.
A few weeks before the outbreak of rebellion, the Administrador of
Ilhas, a Portuguese official, Gomes da Costa arrested and imprisoned the
Goan editors of two newspapers in Panjim, on the ground that their articles
had maligned him. When rebellion broke out a few weeks later, it was
clear that constitutional rights were about to be withdrawn. Newspapers
were soon banned from functioning in Goa, and this ban stayed for nearly
two years.
In Bombay and Lisbon, however, newspapers continued
to cover these events, while in Goa itself, many pamphlets emerged as
a mechanism to circumvent the ban.
In 1895 the Goan elite expectedly held a monopoly over the
representation of the rebellion. The urban intelligentsia used the moment
to produce pamphlets purportedly about the rebellion, but radically
diminished its scale and political potential by debating, instead, the
centrality of newsprint in fomenting it. The use of one kind of print to
discuss another at a time when the state was challenged by perhaps the
widest mass rebellion it would face in the century, dramatically illustrates
how, what are considered the innate properties of print could in fact be
inverted. The effect of the pamphlets of 1895 described below was
implosive, and diminished both, the breadth of rebellion and the domain
of newsprint. The immediate causes and contexts of rebellion are briefly
outlined in this section, because among all the pamphlets produced in
the context of this disturbance, only one would actually detail the reasons
why thousands of Goans were engaged in rebellion against the state. The
occasion of rebellion provided the state with an opportunity to implicate
the sharpest dissenters within the Goan intelligentsia in a conspiracy to
plot the revolt. Some were charged with having abetted it through their
The Truth About Pamphlets 145
nationalist and anti-colonial writings. The pamphlets that emerged to
counter these charges therefore undertook to discuss both rebellion and
Ignacio Caetano de Carvalho, the Visconde de Bardez (hereafter referred
to as Carvalho), wrote the first pamphlet in his defence, against charges
that he had conspired with the rebels, and had helped incite rebellion
through newsprint produced by his seditious colleagues. Carvalho was a
Goan employed in the judiciary, and owned and edited a number of
newspapers in Goa.
All of these were anti-establishment papers. In his
official capacity, Carvalho had acted as a negotiator during the rebellion
on behalf of the state. He had, by his own admission, disagreed with many
government decisions, tried unsuccessfully to persuade government against
them, but had communicated them to the rebels.
His newspapers were
among those curbed in 1895, and Carvalho himself came under suspicion
on two counts: he had allegedly abetted the rebels and had conspired with
Pe. Alvares, the editor of the Brado Indiano, the paper that was the focus of
state censorship during the revolt. In his capacity as an advocate, Carvalho
was accused of advising the rebels about the best course of action to
take, and of actually helping them negotiate relations with the government
and the legal system through their letters and depositions. Many among
the Catholic intelligentsia occupied similar conflicted positions through
the course of this century, being on the one hand, administrators and
bureaucrats, and on the other, editors of, or contributors to nationalist or
anti-Portuguese newspapers. Carvalho was amongst the few who actually
had supportive links with the rebellion.
Carvalhos pamphlet, which was published in Bombay, had certain
specific tasks to achieve. It sought to exonerate editors from the charge of
having moulded public opinion, since he himself was persecuted in this
The pamphlet was constrained therefore, to identify another figure
that had conspired with and masterminded the rebellion. Carvalho named
the Portuguese official who had taken charge of the campaign to quell
rebellion, Gomes da Costa, as a conspirator. In addition, the author tried
to establish that the conditions for rebellion had nothing to do with
newspapers, but had been prompted by bad governance and callousness.
His pamphlet, therefore, began with a defence of himself and his colleagues
within the Goan literati.
The main motivations of Carvalhos pamphlet were to prove that the
revolt was caused by the states indifference, to suggest that it was within
the rights and duties of the press to criticize the states actions, and to
146 Between Empires
establish that the two were unconnected. His narrative began with a
discussion of the case of the newspaper O Brado Indiano and its chief
contributor, the Goan priest, Pe. Alvares. It was to avenge the priests
criticisms of certain Portuguese officials, it claimed, that Gomes da Costa
had him stripped publicly of his vestments, and arrested with his associate
on grounds of sedition. He suggested how a modern state should conduct
itself in relation to the press. In all governments that are not absolutely
corrupt, the functionaries are obliged when questioned, to justify themselves
through legal organs and through the press. In Goa, things proceeded
directly to the contrary, he said.
Instead of replying to accusations made
in the press, the press was suppressed. Gomes da Costa, Carvalho claimed,
had destroyed the Brado, and thrown its writers into a dungeon without
air or light. The attitude of the administration in India will pull back
Indian society by more than 400 years, said Carvalho.
However, he also
disabused readers of the idea that his criticism implied that he harboured
nationalist sentiments. In a situation where sentiment could lead to
imprisonment, it was important to draw these lines. Carvalho therefore
claimed that even the accusation that the soldiers rebellion was an aspiration
to liberation from the Portuguese went against common sense. It would
require a spontaneous uprising by the sons of the soil or absorption into
the empire of a foreign power to wrest Goa from the Portuguese, said
Carvalho, and neither the few soldiers nor some disgruntled bandits of
the New Conquests would constitute these.
In defence of the imprisoned
Pe. Alvares, Carvalho stated that sedition required the soul of secrecy,
and could scarcely be proclaimed in newspaper articles. Four hundred
years of Portuguese rule had so assimilated the natives with the metropole,
he claimed, that the idea of disaffection against Europeans was the product
of an unbalanced imagination. The irony of this absolute disavowal would
have been evident to anyone who had actually read Pe. Alvares articles:
these diatribes were packed with vitriolic and personalized criticism of
the Portuguese.
Dismissing the idea that the revolt was momentous enough to threaten
the state, or that the priest had incited rebellion, Carvalho described the
exact sequence of events in September. The reader was led excruciatingly
through each movement made by da Costa and the soldiers over an entire
week. All so that the writer could suggest that it was the allegedly corrupt
Portuguese official who had an interest in provoking disturbances in the
territory to justify the use of authoritarian administrative measures.
Carvalho, therefore, had furnished a sympathetic account of the plight of
The Truth About Pamphlets 147
the soldiers, only to suggest that it was the machinations of an official that
had actually led to rebellion.
Carvalho had explained away both Pe. Alvares
criticism and the fact of rebellion, as a consequence of misgovernance.
Had the government heeded the many suggestions its indigenous
intelligentsia had made, none of this would have occurred. The sharpest
anti-colonial assertions made by the priest-editor and the rebels were
therefore partially negated in the first pamphlet just months after the
rebellion was suppressed.
It is necessary to detail the arguments in this pamphlet, as subsequent
responses were set within its framework even if only to refute it, particularly
its defence of the press. Carvalho dwelt at length on letters written by
rebels to the state asking for amnesty if they surrender and the documents
from a rebellion of 1870 that they brandished, to demonstrate that there
was a precedent for their demand. These acts signified levels of literacy
according to him, which soldiers and peasants did not ordinarily possess
and an ease with the trappings of a modern bureaucracy that they could
not have manifested without assistance from someone more likely to
possess it. The illiteracy and rusticity of the rebels was a constant theme
through all subsequent pamphlets as it was the question on which the
culpability of journalists had been premised.
Two days later (after the beginning of rebellion), when I was in the
capital, said Carvalho, the Conde de Mahem showed me a letter from
these soldiers, which asked me to solicit the government for an amnesty
for them...the letter was written in Portuguese.
Against the advice of
close associates like Carvalho, the government would not negotiate, and
instead issued instructions to send a detachment to counter attacks by
rebels in neighbouring districts. The author set off, with misgivings, on
behalf of the government to communicate this to the soldiers. At the
meeting, the rebels presented him with a printed sheet and another hand-
written letter in Portuguese. One of these was a copy of the Portarias
(orders of government), which had pardoned the mutineers of 1870.
The soldiers asked Carvalho why a government which had pardoned
one revolt, could not do so again. Who had given them these printed
sheets and these copies of government resolutions, offered at the time
of the previous revolt? asked Carvalho in his pamphlet.
He further
148 Between Empires
The readers can decide that...how could anyone explain why, when Gomes
da Costa knew about the revolt four days before it occurred and informed
the governor about it, nothing was done? Who let the soldiers in to sack
the arms of the palace guard? The guard did not know the language of the
land. There was someone who knew Portuguese among them.
The dominant elements of this pamphlet were reworked and
reinterpreted in all subsequent pamphlets, with the difference that the
causes for rebellion had disappeared. These texts seemed to be exercises in
elision, where the immediate impetus for their production receded within
the pamphlets themselves to the place of a background, so that other issues
could be discussed. Since Carvalho had furnished details, documents, and
newspaper articles within his pamphlet to prove the innocence of the
intelligentsia, it was this that emerged as the focus of subsequent pamphlets.
Within all the texts, whether Carvalhos or his opponents, a narrative
structure where news articles had incited rebellion was hard to sustain.
As with Carvalhos pamphlet, the detailing of the place of newspapers
and of the intelligentsia in the rebellion served to emphasize that the political
concerns of peasants, soldiers, and the Goan elite may not have found
common avenues of expression. Government documents, likewise, do not
suggest that either newspapers or many among the Goan elite had any
great involvement with rebellion.
Most pamphlets were unsympathetic to Carvalho and criticized the
press in Goa, particularly the most strident of the newspapers. These
pamphlets in fact insisted that the Goan intelligentsia were in a position
of ideological leadership over the rest of the population and that articles
in Portuguese-language papers had incited the rebellion, and the Goan
people at large. The founders of the paper O Brado Indiano, as listed by the
anonymous author of one pamphlet, seem to have been a substantial section
of the critical literati of the time: Bernardo Francisco da Costa, Carvalho
himself, Ismael Gracias, Sertrio Coelho, and Sertrio Mascarenhas, all
prominent members of the Goan intelligentsia.
The appearance of articles
in Portuguese print, which were said to be incendiary and the illiteracy of
the soldiers were both invoked repeatedly as the conditions for rebellion.
The soldiers, according to these arguments, were incapable of such an
act, without a conspiratorial leader to impel them.
It seemed as though,
when nothing else indicated it, both the Portuguese state, and a certain
section of pamphleteers, were determined to implicate the voluble Goan
elite. While Carvalhos movements indicate quite clearly that he had aided
The Truth About Pamphlets 149
the rebels, not many other members of the Goan elite seemed to be
associated with the rebellion.
With the editors of the Brado in prison,
and newspapers banned, and the growing rumours and accumulating proof
of his involvement with rebellion spreading around the capital, Carvalho
fled to Bombay. His pamphlet in fact emerged from a press in that city
and its detailed account of his movements would be part of the legal
proceedings around rebellion.
By the time the second pamphlet had emerged, the terms within
which rebellion was discussed had shrunk. The main protagonists of the
rebellion in the body of most pamphlets had already been limited to
newspaper editors, Gomes da Costa, and newspapers in themselves. There
were at least two camps among those who were opposed to the newspaper
editors. One consisted of representatives of the Portuguese state. The others,
who were more prolific, were often from the chardo caste among Catholic
Goans, who detected a bid for state power in the nationalist rhetoric of
Catholic brahmins. This struggle between the two, of which the brahmins
had the upper hand since they dominated the bureaucracy, inflected all
print forms. Within this set of pamphlets, it marked another level of the
gradual collapse of the terms within which rebellion was discussed, into
the metaphors of an old rivalry.
A pamphlet written by the reviled Portuguese Administrador Gomes
da Costa, and published posthumously by his son, had a succinct
description of the brahmin-chardo rivalry as a context for the rebellion.
It is noteworthy that even Gomes da Costa did not see reason to dwell
on any other possible cause for, or aspect of, the rebellion. His pamphlet
was preoccupied with his own defence, and with detailing his movements
and those of Carvalhos and Pe. Alvares. When the presence of the army was
reduced in Goa in 1871, said da Costa, an assured source of employment
was lost to the chardos, while the brahmins saw a clear monopoly left to
them over state positions in the bureaucracy. The subsequent formation of
two political parties, the nativistas (predominantly brahmin) and progressistas
(largely chardo), were only ways to strengthen the rivalry between both
sides, he said, and had little to do with political positions vis--vis the
According to da Costa, with the Portuguese presence much
reduced in Goa, only cowardliness stopped the brahmins from capturing
Goa from the Portuguese. They dominated the judiciary, the treasury,
and the administration, he said, but concerned themselves only with
their scurrilous newspapers, like the Evoluo, and with securing jobs in
the bureaucracy.
150 Between Empires
Another opponent of Carvalhos had issued a pamphlet anonymously.
Jos Incio de Loyola, was the Goan editor of the newspaper A ndia
Portuguesa, hailed as the mouthpiece of the Catholic chardos.
pamphlet intends to give the country the exact point of origin of the
revolt that ruined the powerless inhabitants...and created many problems
for the nation, said Loyola.
For Loyola, a chardo, the conditions for
rebellion were not just recent news articles by brahmins, but an entire
series of covertly nationalist conspiracies undertaken by brahmins almost
from the middle of the nineteenth century. According to him, the ground
had begun to be prepared as far back as 1859, with the opening of the
first privately published newspaper in Goa, the Ultramar.
This provided another chronological shift in the way the narrative of
rebellion was structured in all pamphlets. Carvalhos pamphlet, the first
to be discussed in this series, had begun with a description of a newspaper
and went on to detail the actual causes of rebellion. By the time Loyola
wrote, the narrative of incendiary newspapers extended back to the middle
of the century and any other motives for rebellion had disappeared.
Instead, the reproduction of apparently pivotal newspaper articles had
become the main event in the context of 1895. Newspaper articles that
had featured as long appendices in Carvalhos pamphlet and
correspondence between brahmin editors, which had been carried as
evidence began to constitute the main body of the text. The pamphlets
of 1896 had turned into full-fledged textual analyses of preceding
pamphlets and newspapers. Loyolas pamphlet, therefore, was set in
differing font sizes. This was to distinguish his brief commentaries from
the large quotes from other texts.
The disavowal of nationalism evident in the pamphlets marks the
end of the inward spiral followed by each publication. Loyola ridiculed all
the calls for independence given by misguided Goans over time. This was
a time that now began not merely in 1859, with the setting up of the
(brahmin) newspaper, the Ultramar, but with the revolt by indigenous
(brahmin) Catholic priests in 1787, followed by the crisis of 1835, when
the (brahmin) Prefect of Goa, Peres da Silva, was deposed. This was
followed, said the relentless Loyola, by the election by bayonets of 1861,
and in the dubious elections of 1892, which was manipulated by brahmins
in favour of their candidate. While all of these were also instances of
anti-colonial dissent by the Goan elite, Loyola emphasized that they
were all actually unsavoury nationalist conspiracies by usurping brahmins.
He urged that while all of their critiques were justified and demanded a
response from the Portuguese crown, it was foolishness to propagate a
The Truth About Pamphlets 151
separation of nations or peoples. Carvalho (a brahmin) himself had
qualified the tendency to nationalist rhetoric in his pamphlet of 1896.
By the time the last few pamphlets appeared, the existence of a popular
anti-Portuguese sentiment was itself being questioned by writers, a few
months after soldiers and revenue-collectors had tried to challenge the
state for a restitution of their rights.
The order of occurrence of rebellion, the arrests of editors, the ban on
newsprint, and the appearance of pamphlets indicates that when the
Portuguese state wanted to curb print, it did not think that mere legislation
would be sufficient. Instead, it engaged elaborately, at a time when its
resources were being consumed with keeping rebellion under check, in
implicating news editors, arresting them, threatening them, and eventually
banning papers. The period of the ban and of the appearance of pamphlets
was a time when the place of the Goan press was being tested and defined
by all who participated in producing pamphlets and newspapers. In
particular, among the Portuguese, and the brahmins and chardos among
Goan Catholics, these were attempts to fix the limits to critiques of
colonialism, articulations of disaffection, and nationalist ideas. If one
were to judge by the form and tenor of pamphlets produced by the elite
and by Gomes da Costa, relations between state officials and the Goan
elite appear to be almost non-hierarchized within the colony. An explicit
note of deference was only visible in addresses to the invisible Portuguese
Crown. While the punishment of Pe. Alvares indicates how hierarchies
were swiftly established if the colonial elite were seen to have transgressed
certain lines, the register in which state and elite communicated suggest
rivalry rather than subordination. The always-imminent possibility of a
change in the composition of the government had no doubt contributed
to this. With the possibility of a favourable faction seizing control of the
government, there was no reason to address the state through forms that
consensually recognized its existence.
The pamphlets of 1895 have been discussed largely to reveal the degree
to which they constituted a struggle for control over print between the
Portuguese state and the indigenous Catholic elite. These texts reveal the
extraordinary ability of this class of Goans to write itself into the centre of
an event when no other documents suggest they played such a role. In her
commentary on the hegemonic ambitions of the colonial elite in
Maharashtra, Veena Naregal states,
152 Between Empires
...it is evident that, despite the elitist limits of colonial reading audiences,
the intelligentsia was not only able to assert a representative status but
could do so even while declining the burden of cultivating a large readership.
This rather wrong-foots Habermas thesis about the exercise of modern
political power being intrinsically founded on rational and consensual
communicative norms. The colonial public sphere could yield a relatively
homogenous discourse with potentially hegemonic dimensions less through
the processes of discussion and accommodation, more through the virtual
exclusion of counter-discourses in the domain of cultural production.
The Goan elite asserted a representative status from the time print was
reintroduced into Goa in 1821, but though a mass readership or mass
politics were starkly absent in 1895, they were still being conjured up in
their writing. This irony was exacerbated by the fact that all these pamphlets
were written in Portuguese. The fact that there was little contact between
rebels and editors had forced the latter into a situation where they had
had to redefine their political position in print. Their isolation in fact led
to a shrinking of the social and political space they occupied, in a situation
when the state had turned hostile.
The pamphlets of 1896 manifest a
narrowing circularity in the relationship their presence effected between
politics and publications. In a perilous situation where there was little
contact between mass movements and a bourgeois intelligentsia, the latter
found that they could not quite defend themselves and their publications
against a violent state.
The negation of dissent against the state was therefore carried out through
a series of readings or misreading by both the state and the elite. This
misreading concerned the intent and scope of rebellion, political connections,
and causes, and more significantly for the purposes of this analysis, of the
access to writing, literacy, and print by the rebels. The captivation of the
elite with their own use of writing served to conceal the different, but
equally masterful strategic use of texts by rebels themselves. These uses
had so disturbed both anti-Portuguese editors and their opponents that
both groups had to attribute the use of writing by rebels to anonymous
supporters from within the Goan or Portuguese intelligentsia. There were
three instances, however, when both soldiers and Ranes had indicated
that they were adept at interpreting the political uses of specific documents
The Truth About Pamphlets 153
in the judicial process and in systems through which revenue was collected
and land records were maintained.
It is clear that the Ranes (who were revenue-collectors long before
the Portuguese took over the New Conquests), if not the soldiers, were
well versed in the ways of statecraft and its accompanying paperwork. The
attention in the pamphlets to the uses of documents by illiterate Marathas
and peasants, however, reveals how the intelligentsia, soldiers, and Ranes
used the representational value of writing and print quite differently. An
exchange between Gomes da Costa and the rebels was a point of great
interest for the initial pamphlets that appeared.
In the first instance, the
Portuguese official, Gomes da Costa, had attempted to negotiate a
conversation with the rebels, and they, reportedly, being illiterate Marathas,
replied in Konkani, which he did not understand.
This linguistic gap
featured in Gomes da Costas own defence of his actions during the
rebellion. He dwelt on his difficulty in determining the demands of the
rebels with the assistance of an interpreter who knew no Portuguese. The
rebels claimed that they would return to their posts the following day, if
given an assurance in writing, on stamped paper, that they would not be
sent forcibly to Africa.
Another instance was the brandishing of copies of the governments
amnesty of 1870 by the soldiers and Ranes, when Carvalho met them on
behalf of the government of Goa.
This showed a shrewd understanding
of the weight of the document in effecting negotiations when the rebellion
showed signs of wearing out. Having displayed the amnesty offered by
the state to mutinying soldiers, the mutineers of 1895 had proof of a
precedent that they wanted the state to follow. A third instance that drew
the attention of the intelligentsia was the letter to the colonial government
in which the rebels listed their demands as conditions for surrender. This
letter, the allegations declared, was too smoothly written to have been
produced by any soldier or peasant. Documents surrounding the case
provide an explanation. The Nadkarni whom the rebels had kidnapped
in the early days of the rebellion had probably composed the letter.
The list of demands was an attempt to ensure that the systems of writing
and record keeping, through which the Ranes had lost control over their
land, were adjusted to accommodate them. The Ranes had resorted to
rebellion because of their opposition to the Nadkarnis and Kulkarnis in
the legal and administrative offices of the state, who, through their
monopoly over these forms of writing, had usurped territories and revenue-
rights. The Ranes who led the rebellion demanded that revenues be declared
154 Between Empires
orally, accompanied by the beating of a drum, while no brahmin be employed
to collect revenues.
Therefore, within the relation between Nadkarnis
and Ranes, written documents in either Portuguese or Marathi were a
potential threat, and only oral communication could guarantee truth.
But what the soldiers wanted from the state was a written amnesty alone,
on stamped paper, with the approval of the King. This suggested that they
understood that when dealing with the state, orality held no guarantees
and that the word of the Portuguese state stood for nothing if unaccompanied
by a written document.
The demands by Ranes and soldiers reveal a
concern with the place of writing as a threat and as a means to secure
rights, which emerged directly from their experience of state rule.
In the course of rebellion, rebel leaders had employed other signs to
indicate the inversion of the prevailing order. These were not necessarily
consistent with the demands made to government at the moment of their
surrender. For instance, they were not unwilling to demonstrate their
reverence for brahmins in their proper place. As he distributed receipts for
revenue he had seized, and donned the garb of the chieftain of Sanquelim,
Dada Rane held a ceremonial feast in a temple of Sanquelim where he
was interrupted while feeding some brahmins by cannons let off by the
Clearly he had begun to invest himself publicly with the
traditional signs that would mark a change of government. He had begun
to sign letters as Shrimant SarDesai, the same appellations used by titled
revenue chieftains, while the leader of the rebel soldiers, Abdul Khan
had begun to wear an officers uniform with a sword by his side.
The anxiety about access to writing, to print, and to the ways of the
state, manifested by both the Goan elite and the state also suggests a
continuity between the circulation of print and the uses of writing and
representation by the rebels. While rebels displayed a relation to amnesties,
agreements, and land records that would be recognized by the colonial
state, they also negotiated a world of symbols and insignia that denoted
an older order of revenue rights and chieftainships that was threatened
by the existence of the state. Rebels therefore used writing strategically
to insert themselves into the order of the state, while simultaneously
symbolically demonstrating their adherence to other recognizable insignia
to capture, usurp, or retain revenue rights within their communities.
The relation of the state and the Goan elite to these usages however, was
not invulnerable. The anxiety demonstrated by Gomes da Costa and
Carvalho over the uses of writing in rebellion, were at one level, a dupe, or
a verbal trap used to try and implicate an opponent, to prove his complicity
The Truth About Pamphlets 155
with rebellion. Yet the repetition of these instances through each pamphlet
also repeated a widely held belief about non-elite groupsnot only that
the world of writing was alien to them, but also that the world of the
lettered was intact and impervious to the manipulations of writing by
those outside it. This suggests that among the many outcomes of the fluid
place of writing within Portuguese statecraft, was the susceptibility of the
realm of the lettered, to the supposedly non-lettered classes. With gossip,
personal invective, and the frequent manipulation of government machinery
as constitutive elements in the relation between state and indigenous
elite, the perfect mastery of the codes of a modern bureaucracy by the
non-elite constituted a challenge that had to be accounted for. This
generated the framework of anxiety that produced the long, defensive
pamphlets about rebellion.
The attention to the processes of record-keeping that were pivotal to
the rebellion was evident among groups of peasants and proprietors all
over Goa during this time. In fact, a spate of pamphlets linked to the
question of land rights, with a focus on the role of Kulkarnis and Nadkarnis,
had begun to emerge from groups, which until this period, had not used
the form. The second set of pamphlets to be discussed was produced by
rival castes in the Old Conquests, arguing over their rights in the
administration and division of village lands. The manipulation by lower
caste groups of the terms of signification within which these pamphlets
were produced, reveals degrees of proficiency with print that would compel
elite opponents to shift their own strategies.
The divisions between the elite and non-elite discussed in the following
sections, were not the same as those in the conflict just described. The
distinction between the urbanized, Portuguese-speaking elite and the
predominantly rural but traditionally powerful Ranes and their peasant
subordinates, cannot be mapped directly onto the caste groups battling
over land rights in the Old Conquests of Goa. The brahmins (Catholic)
fighting to retain monopolies on communidade land could be viewed as
a lesser social stratum by the urban elite. The educational institutions
and positions in the bureaucracy that were the domain of the urbanized
intelligentsia were inaccessible to many rural upper castes. While the
travails of the peasants and the doings of the Ranes remained a distant
administrative problem to the urban elite, the upper and lower castes
within each communidade lived in close proximity to each other, within
the same village. A shift in land laws impinged most directly and
immediately on their social and economic lives.
156 Between Empires
Just as the Nadkarnis and Kulkarnis were the immediate focus of the
rebellion of 1885, they were also the focus of suspicion among those
challenging land laws in the Old Conquests. The responses of those whose
land rights were threatened in the Old and New Conquests of Goa were
quite different from each other, a difference marked in part by the use of
print. While both Ranes and sudras filed cases to move the government
to recognize their claims, the Ranes were able to summon resources and
took recourse to rebellion when litigation had failed. Among the sudras
of the Old Conquests, litigation was accompanied by a public battle in
print, and never took the form of violent conflict with the state. This may
have been because the communidade system in the Old Conquests resulted
in conflict being concentrated within caste groups in each village, rather
than across larger districts or territories as a direct challenge to the state.
In the Old Conquests of Goa, the territories conquered from 1510 on, the
institution of the communidade was particularly strong. Rising literacy
levels among sudras had helped them stake a claim on lands from which
they claimed they had been dispossessed. In cases related to communidade
disputes in Goa, sudra litigants grew increasingly prominent. Salaried
employment outside Goa had enabled sudras to use print to supplement
litigation for land-rights. The history of the pamphlet form was considerably
altered when they adopted it to challenge the monopolies of Kulkarnis,
Nadkarnis, and their own village communidades.
Pamphlets that were generated around these individual cases often
reproduced the case histories of those who had moved the court. They
focused on the process by which land records were maintained,
manipulated, and interpreted by various contenders. While the appearance
of such documents allowed for a history of caste discrimination to be
constructed, the implicit call for class and caste alliances to be formed
created a public for pamphlets in individual villages in Goa. These were
simultaneous with, but isolated from, Portuguese publications centred
largely in the capital and produced by an urbanized elite. Though
arguments about caste rights and discrimination in these pamphlets were
addressed to the state, the primary focus of each publication was actually
an opposing caste group. The mobilization and polarization of public
opinion on these questions strengthened legal disputes and would have
consequences for an entire village. These may have been the first print
forms that were relevant to an entire village across distinctions of caste
The Truth About Pamphlets 157
and class. Caste was, however, the primary category through which a
rural mass public for print was solicited.
Through the duration of the nineteenth century, the communally
administered village communidades, or gaunkarias in the Old Conquests
were clearly in trouble.
While hereditary memberships ensured that a
few families held the administrative rights over the land, their inability
to sustain the lands economically had led them to farm out dividend rights
to others who were not original members. In many villages, impoverished
gaunkars held onto administrative rights over lands whose actual
economic value lay with the many dividend holders or culacharins.
through the century, conflicting treatises on land urged the government
to act either to preserve the communidade system, and therefore the rights
of the gaunkars, or to grant all title-holders equal rights in the administration
of the land.
Translated into the terms of caste politics, these two positions
represented opposed interests. If the dividend holders were given the same
administrative rights as the original gaunkars, it implied that inhabitants
of a village who belonged to different castes would be placed on an equal
footing with regard to the division of village incomes.
A government
order at the end of the century allowed for culacharins to be recognized as
members of the communidade. This threw open the possibility of litigation,
and where gaunkars were predominantly brahmins and culacharins were
sudras, the battle-lines were also drawn between caste groups.
These pamphlets not only signalled the formation of readerships within
village boundaries, but also the introduction of Konkani into the pamphlet
form. These were sometimes bi-lingual, in Konkani and Portuguese, or
when produced in Bombay, in Konkani, English, and Portuguese. The
early twentieth century may have seen the first appearance of pamphlets
by sudras. Prior to this, the Catholic elite had frequently challenged the
frequent state bans on newsprint, with pamphlets printed in Bombay or
covertly, in Goa. The many electoral disputes and parliamentary challenges
from 1821 on, when the indigenous elite demanded greater representation
and autonomy were accompanied by pamphlets that were entertainingly
rich in personal abuse, allegations, and slander. While this is an account
of the bitter caste dispute over the communidade of Aldona, a village in
north Goa, it draws attention to the vividly acrimonious and inventive
158 Between Empires
pamphlets that emerged from both sudras and brahmins, woven into
different stages of the legal dispute. It argues that print had a substantive
role to play by intervening in caste disputes and forging alliances and
histories that could be summoned for both violent attacks and litigation.
The advocate for the communidade of Aldona, Bento Sertorio
Mascarenhas, took the plunge when he published a defence of the
communidades position, addressed to the government. This publication
disputed the claims made by Custodio Caetano Fernandes, asking that
his rights to be registered as a sudra gaunkar at the age of twelve be
recognized. Mascarenhas pamphlet, representative of the brahmins, cited
legislation and case histories to argue, instead, the prior right of brahmins
to administer the communidade of Aldona.
In response to this, the prominent sudra lawyer, Jos Baptista Caetano
Vaz (who in 1930 launched a Konkani newspaper in Goa), appealed to
the Portuguese government to uphold his plea as a representative of the
sudras. He asked the government to provide a law that would protect
him and his caste from becoming victims of the brahmins of Aldona.
In contrast to earlier publications, this one specifically spelt out a caste
identity and asked for justice for Custodio Fernandes not just as a litigant,
but also as a member of a caste group.
Vazs story began with the thirteen-year-old Custodio Caetano
Fernandes who, along with his father, Roque Pascoal Fernandes, approached
the communidade of Aldona and asked for his right to be registered as a
recipient of dividends from the communally administered village land
as he had turned thirteen. The communidade refused, invoking a law which
allowed brahmins, chardos, and scribes to be registered when they were
twelve, but required sudras, goldsmiths, and other serving castes to be
admitted at nineteen. Custodio took his case to court. The communidade
defended its claim saying that since brahmin gaunkars were of the class
of masters, administrators, and governors, they had a prior right, while
the sudras were of the class of servants. In his defence, Custodio Fernandes
delegitimized all prior judgements and documents on which the
communidades case relied, by citing various omissions and duplicities by
brahmin clerks and litigants in the past that had helped skew the
This was much more than a legal defence. Citing disputes
from the past, his appeal stated:
the silence of the dispossessed castes who did not protest for decades
against this practice which was probably followed from 1826, can be
The Truth About Pamphlets 159
attributed to the power of the communidade members over the other
castes, who, only in recent times, have risen through their work,
intelligence, and strength, from the position of subordination in which
they were maintained.
Pamphlets in this form introduced readers in each village to the
intricacies of the legal system that were otherwise inaccessible. Fernandes
case for instance, revealed the process by which legal documents could
be undermined and made a distinction between what would count as an
official text on land rights, and what would not. This legal language was
scarcely available in Konkani prior to these kinds of publications. Conflicts
between sudras and brahmins intensified, and the communidade of
Aldona and its land were split into two. In 1925, a brahmin lawyer from
Aldona, Caetano Soares, was shot dead one evening as he returned home.
The murder was alleged to have been masterminded by the sudra lawyer,
Jose Baptista Caetano Vaz. This time round, pamphlets opposing the
murder evoked it as a tragedy not just for the brahmins, but for the
entire village of Aldona. Caetano Soares widow also published a
pamphlet, and his friends and relatives from Bombay put together a
contribution to construct a memorial, which still stands on the spot
where he was shot.
The eloquence of pamphlets by sudras spurred the brahmins into producing
texts which were more than a reproduction of legal cases. The need to
elaborate caste identities required the use of literary skills, as the
reproduction of legal documents alone were not sufficient to persuade
readers to identify with the past experience of other caste members. To
supplement their arguments, the litigants of Aldona, therefore, turned
to religious metaphors, etymologies of caste terms, and popular songs to
establish truths that had no legal basis.
An account of the bitter history of the Aldona communidade
recounted a history of sudra-brahmin relations in Aldona, which stretched
over four centuries and invoked divine justification for the existence of
class hierarchies.
This may have been one of the first pamphlets to be
produced by brahmin Catholics in Konkani, and marks a stage in print
production when the lines separating the print spheres of Portuguese
and Konkani began to be blurred. The fact that sudras had begun to
160 Between Empires
publish arguments about issues affecting local and hitherto enduring
power structures seems finally to have prompted print production which
could be read across these divides. With the sudra lawyer Baptista Vaz
publishing in Portuguese and Konkani, and defenders of the brahmins
of Aldona furnishing lengthy pamphlets in Konkani, the linguistic
repertoires both groups had acquired over half a century earlier were
finally deployed in print. A vigorous defence of the brahmins was
produced in Bombay by D. Menezes. Menezes was evidently concerned
about accommodating various readerships, and a Portuguese or an English
translation sometimes accompanied Konkani words. His text was a divine
history of the village of Aldona: The village of Aldona is a gift of God.
He developed it by creating people who were clever enough to administer
Aldona. When those elders died, the cleverness and honesty of Aldona
died with them.
With the coming of predators and traitors, Aldona
reached a state of madness, said Menezes. Though the devil had been
around for four centuries, the elders of Aldona had kept it at bay.
Menezes asked his readers to read, think, and reflect on the differences
between the class of gaunkars and culacharins, differences that were so
great that they could be compared to those between heaven and earth.
The gaunkars of yore gave the culacharins dividends as rights in exchange
for their duties. But just as the Old Testament tells us that the angels
fought in heaven, thinking they would become God and God turned
them into devils, so Dr Honorato (a brahmin supporter of the sudras)
made the culacharins gaocars.
In this new world, the new gaunkars
filled their pockets and those of their lawyers...with their purchased
orchards, made their sons doctors and lawyers, paid thousands for their
daughters weddings, and began to wear suits.
Menezes also emphasized that the word gaunkar in itself meant the
owner of a village, while culacharin meant domestic servant. To prove
the inherent unworthiness of culacharins, he cited instances from the
sixteenth century on to prove that they had always tried to oust brahmins,
but through the intervention of the archbishop, the old order was
maintained even after Portuguese rule was introduced.
Menezes history
is significant as it suggests that the first recording of land rights by the
Portuguese, which was made public as the Foral of 1526, was not an
unconflicted process. The reinscription of land rights in Portuguese,
though this must have been conducted with the help of brahmins, was
seized on by culacharins, according to him, as an attempt to reorganize
The Truth About Pamphlets 161
the distribution of rights in their favour. Christian lore was not yet
exhausted despite these historical forays. Menezes managed as well to
free Christianity from the burden of having to dispense social equality:
If Jesus had created us equal, why is it that we owe honour and respect
to the rich?
Just as the Jews had arranged for Judas to kill Jesus, so also
the sudras had found someone to shoot Caetano Soares.
The twelve
groups of (brahmin) families (vangodes) that originally, according to
him, comprized the communidade of Aldona, were likened to the twelve
apostles of Jesus. This pamphlet developed into a three-part history of
Aldona by 1926. The introduction in Portuguese to Part Three said that
the work had been written for the benefit of the members of both groups
so that future generations would learn about the past of the village. A
broadly moral and religious framework was set out at the beginning of
this text as well, but went on to detail the ambitions of culacharins. The
body of the text was in rhymed Konkani verse, lending itself to absorption
into the popular stock of songs through which political conflict was
recorded and recalled in the villages of Aldona. Many Konkani ballads
were composed through the century to record political events and were
modified, when sung, to accommodate the identities and involvement
of their singers. The history of Aldona was, however, a deliberate effort
to shape and fix a village history told from the point of view of brahmins
in print. The clamour of pamphlets (boball foletimcho) began to sound,
according to the song, as soon as the appeal of the sudras was thrown out
of court. Dr Honorato, the first to have permitted sudras into the
communidade at fourteen instead of twelve, was held responsible for the
growing hardship of the gaunkars. In particular, the widows and other
female dependents of the gaunkars, were portrayed as immediately
impoverished once sudras were allowed a share of the village returns:
Their daughters were married, and sons made doctors and lawyers, at
the cost of the womenfolk of the gaunkars.
The case of Aldona was just one among other land-related disputes that
triggered continuous strings of publications among various villages of
the Old Conquests. Pamphlet production had ceased to be centred in the
162 Between Empires
capital, about events concerning the state and the elite intelligentsia alone.
In a conflict where the audacity of subordinates was perennially a matter
of surprise, the assertions in these pamphlets must have been viewed
with much consternation. This was not however, the first encounter of
lower caste groups with print. Many lower class and -caste migrants to
Bombay found that print was cheaper than in Goa, and a range of print
had emerged from the city. These pamphlets are significant for the degree
to which they intervened in a legal process and for the wealth of legal
material reproduced within the pamphlet. To have specific legislation
from the seventeenth century on discussed in detail, with the names of
signatories, officials, their possible complicity and connivance, and their
economic and caste interests debated at length, is indicative of the level
of engagement of pamphlet writers with the retelling of history and with
the nature of the legal document.
Not only did the appearance of these pamphlets provide the first
suggestion that the cherished structures of the communidade may not
continue to have the sanctity they once enjoyed, but the sanctity of the
legal document was inherently held as suspect. Within the norms of logic
and rational argument inherent to the form of legal argument, therefore,
these pamphlets cast aspersions on the objectivity of the legal system
and other official posts, almost from their inception. To have these deep
legal histories of each village potentially available to any literate member
seems a significant moment in the print history of the region.
To revert to the earlier instance of conflict discussed, the demands
and statements made by soldiers and rebels in 1895 indicated their
perfect understanding of their place within the world of writing, print,
and orality, by which they were governed. Their surrender and cessation
of rebellion was followed by an attempt to alter their place within this
order, given that rebellion itself had failed to force a change. In contrast,
the use of print by sudra litigants in the Old Conquests demonstrates
a deeper saturation of this class with print and its place in colonial
politics. In both instances, however, print was used to substantively
intervene and transform their situation. The pamphlets circulating in
Aldona were punctuated after all by a court case, a murder, and appeals
to the court, decisive elections, and the splitting of the communidades
along caste lines. While the pamphlets did not individually cause the
events, they were knit into the processes convulsing the village of Aldona
in a way that the pamphlets concerning newspapers and rebellion were
The Truth About Pamphlets 163
Pamphlets produced in the context of litigation held tremendous
potential for a substantive transformation of the situation of caste groups
that conceded to adopt the identity offered in them. Whether these
were land documents, amnesties, or caste relations, the referent for
pamphlets issued by non-elite Goans lay outside the pamphlet itself.
While print was transformative in its form and its political power, its
ultimate referent lay beyond the articulation of dissent. For the Goan
elite, however, the relation to print was non-substantive. As an
intelligentsia that was adept at the uses of print from the sixteenth
century on, this class of Goans was invested in the autonomous value
of the printed word and the belief that the world of letters in itself
would resolve its dilemmas. It had met a moment of maximum conflict
in the region with a flurry of writing that in the last instance was about
itself, and that gestured to another realm of letters, the world of elite
newsprint. Its final stance was to prove that it did not politically
represent the interests of armed rebels.
The Goan elite had been long witness to the use of the pamphlet in
European and specifically Portuguese contexts. With the visible
disjunctures between northern European and Portuguese statecraft, the
Goan elite understood that the terminology of liberalism was not entirely
intended to alter political relations either in the metropole or in the colony,
but that it could be invoked as a remote ideal in all situations. Their use of
pamphlets in 1896 indicates that the rhetoric of liberal equality was
used to encode caste rivalries. The elite were not the only ones who used
the language of liberalism disingenuously. Lower caste and class Goans
were very aware of how the verbalization of liberal egalitarianism could
be the means for its subversion. A reading of other pamphlets produced
in the context of caste disputes reveals that in some cases, litigants would
berate the church and courts for upholding and recognizing caste
differences, even while they themselves furnished (sometimes false)
documents to prove their upper caste identity.
It seemed as though the
petitioners in this case knew that the terminology of equality had to be
furnished, even if it could not be fully inhabited or adopted as a subject
position. Once again, Ajay Skarias account of the uses of writing in the
Dangs is pertinent here, as he cites the example of the inconsistent text
that reproduced the terms of colonial legality while remaining indifferent
to the internal inconsistencies of arguments, or the nature of evidence.
The suspicion among lower caste pamphleteers that the terms of modern
political and judicial structures were a rhetorical strategy to be mastered
164 Between Empires
rather than a guarantee of rights, inflects all print representations dealing
with caste rights. For this reason, while the structure of a rhetorical appeal
for caste rights became commonplace, litigants were not always concerned
that the variety of arguments presented had to be formally consistent.
The fact that pamphlets in the Old Conquests were often in Konkani
implied that they were a bridge between an alien legal process, and a
population which had only just begun to find these structures of power
negotiated in printed texts produced by their own caste members. The
significance of these pamphlets therefore lay in the fact that they may
have expanded forms of literacy available to sudras while they
substantively fed into a legal process that required a demonstration of
public opinion and consensus.
The history of pamphlet production simultaneously suggests how
expectations of print, its place in the political ethos of the time, and its
responsibility to truth and knowledge production, generated certain styles
and modes of representation, through which both elite and non-elite spoke.
While continuities of style are evident between pamphlets, songs, and
with the thematic preoccupations of novels examined later in this book,
strategies of print were also employed quite differently in each context.
The audiences that were invoked, the rhetoric that was obviously intended
for the ear of the state, as opposed to that addressed to another caste,
defined representational choices made by all groups involved. The
pamphlets discussed above suggest how traditionally non-elite groups
like the sudras in fact set the terms on which representational norms
were fixed. The shift towards Konkani and bi-lingual publications, in
particular, was unprecedented. By casting doubt on the reliability of
writing and print in the form of government records or documents from
centuries earlier, lower-caste litigants had undermined that most primary
sign that distinguished the elite from the non-elitethe integrity of
writing, and of the lettered.
It is also obvious that the non-elite groups under discussion here
were not communities entirely alien to social and religious structures
inhabited by the elite. The construction of political collectivities among
peasants, soldiers, and sudras was not necessarily infused by religious
symbols and structures. In cases where lower-caste Catholics combated
The Truth About Pamphlets 165
the monopolies of upper castes, their access to education and the fact
that discrimination within the church was also being challenged,
hastened the upward mobility of lower-class and -caste groups. Further,
the actual task of crafting representations were assigned to those more
accustomed to ita kidnapped Nadkarni, or assistance from a
sympathetic Goan official, in the case of the rebellion of 1895, and in
the case of the communidade of Aldona, the few educated sudra
professionals like Jose Baptista Vaz. Among lower caste groups however,
it was almost exclusively the sudras who had access to print, and who
never made a claim for interests other than their own. The caste
collectivity formed was specific to the wide but defined stratum of
The display of a document within a pamphlet produced in the context
of the rebellion of 1895, seemed an infallible substantiation of the truth
of the arguments based on it. The marks of authenticity in the form of
government stamps, signatures of officials, and their circulation within
a public realm, formed an unbroken gloss over documents reproduced
in the pamphlets of 1895. However, the authority and inviolability of
such documents crumbled in the context of caste-coded land disputes,
when legal documents produced through centuries old legal systems
appeared to be fundamentally suspect, and manipulated by caste
In contrast to the encounter between the British colonial state
and the Dangis, as cited by Skaria, there was no aggressive visibility of the
archive as a tool to demonstrate the power of the state.
Instead, the
foundations of the system were being systematically questioned by
recently literate sudras.
When documents once regarded as unassailable fact were either
revealed as entirely fabricated, or at best, as open to interpretation, a
process of delegitimization unfolded with each pamphlet related to the
land dispute in Aldona. Caste alliances and the consolidation of public
opinion was achieved in these situations, by merging the discourse of
caste rights with metaphors through which village-based and religious
identities were already articulated over centuries. However, when a legal
dispute assumed wider proportions, and broad alliances had to be forged
based on village or caste memberships, pamphlet writers abandoned the
attempt to substantiate their claims through documents, but drew on
song traditions and popular Christian symbolism and myths to bolster
their arguments.
166 Between Empires
This examination of pamphlets has tried to establish the points at
which print became both affordable and a useful investment for lower
caste groups in colonial Goa. It has suggested the ways in which different
kinds of causality were established through print, or attributed to it during
moments of conflict. The differences in the way causality was claimed,
effected, or attributed, were determined by the interests of print producers
and the interpellation of print genres in political processes. The form of
the pamphlet as a genre, therefore, had its own history from the 1820s
on, when the first pamphlets began to be printed on the government
printing press in Goa, either by Portuguese officials of various ranks, or
by the Goan elite. It was characteristic of colonial print to be produced
always, with a metropolitan precedent in mind. However, the actual
political and material conditions for the production of pamphlets did
not allow for any direct or consistent use of the form. If, as Naregal and
Orsini elaborate, some of the fundamental markers of the European public
sphere cannot be traced in the context of colonial India, then it follows
that the relation between print and its readers, print and the state, and
the place of print within disciplines, institutions, and libraries, need to
be located.
If the nineteenth century is examined for the processes by which
print genres were mutually defined, then the place of the pamphlet is
significant for establishing how caste and the process of democratic
representation were translated into pamphlets, and the way in which
consensual norms were established for how truth would be represented
in print. The knowing intertextuality with which pamphlets mined other
print genres, combining them and drawing attention to various aspects
of their composition, whether newsprint, legal documents, or treatises
on land laws, disallows us from plotting a chronology of the use and
users of print that moves from the simple to the complex. Instead, the
decades between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the
twentieth century saw a clarification of domains of print. The indigenous
elite generated print that was politically if not formally distinct from
that of the state, the Hindu elite had a domain distinct from the Catholic
elite. The entry of the non-elite not only saw a shrewd mastery of form
and semantic differences, but the simultaneous development of an
enduring suspicion of elite print. While these pamphlets did not precede,
but in fact followed the entry of lower-class groups into the print sphere,
they provide a pivotal view of how non-elite print was embedded in the
The Truth About Pamphlets 167
formal structures of elite print, yet constructed an oppositional stance to
it. The fluidity of form that characterized every genre of print, and the
claim to representation that each denoted, resulted from the tweaking of
the representative potential of print in the hands of each group of users.
Norms for reading, reception, and labelling of not just pamphlets, but
newspapers and novels, emerged through the uncomfortable, contested,
and slow process of consensus formation that occurred by default through
the circulation of print.
1. See articles on the need for enlightenment through schools in the New
Conquests in A Sentinella da Liberdade, 19 May 1865, or on the penury of
primary school teachers in A ndia Portuguesa, 31 August 1864.
2. See articles in the O Paiz of February 1873.
3. Robert Darnton, The Kiss of LamouretteReflections in Cultural History
(London: Faber and Faber, 1990); Roger Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print
in Early Modern France, trans. Lydia G. Cochrane (New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, 1987).
4. Ranajit Guha, Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India
(Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1983).
5. Alexandra Halasz, The Marketplace of Print (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1997).
6. Chartier, The Cultural Uses of Print in Early Modern France.
7. (T)the development of the system of cultural production is accompanied
by a process of differentiation generated by the diversity of the publics at
which the different categories of producers aim their products, includes
print products not conventionally regarded as belonging within the realm
of culture. Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (UK: Polity
Press, 1993), p. 113.
8. Ajay Skaria, Writing, Orality and Power in the Dangs, Western India,
1800s-1920s, in Subaltern Studies IX, Shahid Amin and Dipesh
Chakravorty, eds, (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996).
9. Processos, referente aos Ranes de Sanquelim, 2759, DAAG. See also, Miguel
Vicente de Abreu, Relao das Alteraes Polticas de Goa (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1862), pp. 246.
10. Boletim do Governo do Estado da ndia, # 91, 24 August 1895. Portaria #
303 of 1895 forbade the publication of newsprint entirely.
168 Between Empires
11. See for instance, the Boletim Indiano, 20 September 1895.
12. Ignacio Caetano de Carvalho, Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta
em Goa dos Soldados, Ranes e Satarienses em o Anno de 1895 (Bombaim:
Nicols Printing Works, 1896). The Visconde contributed to publications
from the 1870s on. He was associated with O Mensageiro, A Ptria, O
Oriente, Evoluo, A Gazeta de Bardez, and O Brado Indiano as a writer,
owner, or editor.
13. Ibid., pp. 1518.
14. Carvalho claimed that it was under the inquisitorial torture to which the
new order subjected the councillors and their workers, that they declared
that he was the counsellor, the leader, and I dont know what else, of the
rebels! Ibid.
15. A separate set of conditions had led to uprisings among revenue-collectors
and peasants, which Carvalho explained. The state rented the lands of Satary
through auction, which kept the lands circulating from one to the other,
allowing the appraiser to extract the utmost from the cultivators who
competed with each other to give a larger share of their produce to the treasury.
For sixteen years, said Carvalho, the gaunkars and ryots had asked that
revenue (aforamento) be fixed for each village. When orders from Portugal
arrived agreeing to these demands, the first to ask that lands be leased to
them were the Nadkarnis who wanted the best and most extensive lands
that had been tended over years by the ryots. The Nadkarnis were brahmins
who usually worked in district courts and revenue offices, and were in a
position to actualize their demands themselves. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Ibid., pp. 4650.
19. Ibid., p. 14.
20. Ibid., p. 64.
21. Ibid., p. 15.
22. Ibid., p. 18.
23. Ibid., pp. 1821.
24. Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em Goa comeada em 1895, (Goa:
1896). Bernardo Francisco da Costa was the elected representative of Goa
at the Portuguese Cortes more than once. He also edited the Ultramar.
Ismael Gracias had held a range of prestigious posts in the bureaucracy in
Goa, beginning with that of official-maior in the secretariat. In 1894 he
was appointed professor of political economy and administrative law at the
The Truth About Pamphlets 169
Lyceu in Goa. He continued to be appointed to various positions of public
service, and was an archivist, historian, and quasi-lexicographer, and had
contributed prolifically to newspapers and journals. Sertrio Mascarenhas
likewise, had occupied official posts of a legal and administrative nature
and was an advocate. Sertrio Coelho was a public official of comparable
prominence, in addition to his active participation in electoral politics,
and journalistic ventures. Aleixo Manuel da Costa, Dicionrio de
Literatura Goesa, vol. IIII (Macau: Instituto Cultural de Macau e Fundao
Oriente, 1999).
25. Ibid., p. 3.
26. It did not help however, that during the trials held after the rebellion, some
of the accused requested to be defended by Sertrio Coelho and Francisco
Mouro Garcez Palha, among others. Both refused to accept the cases.
Processos Criminais, vol. Processo no. 171, no. 174, fls. 277, Conselho de
Guerra Territorial (DAAG, Panjim: 19012).
27. Gomes da Costa, A Revolta de Goa e a Campanha de 1895/1896 (Lisboa:
Carlos Gomes da Costa, 1938).
28. Ibid.
29. Ibid., p. 39.
30. O Visconde de Contrabando e a Revolta de 1895 em Goa (1896).
31. Ibid., p. 1.
32. Ibid., pp. 25.
33. Veena Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere (Delhi:
Permanent Black, 2001), p. 224.
34. The testimonies of two prisoners following the rebellion specifically mention
Carvalhos intervention. Apart from the fact that he is said to have advised
them to join the Ranes of Satary, and was promised loot procured during
raids as payment to secure a pardon from government, there is no mention
of either Carvalho or his associates in government records of the time. He
was however, declared guilty of having collaborated in the rebellion in the
course of proceedings conducted in his absence. Processo crime sobre a revolta
militar e desero, vol. 1446/1354, fl. 91, 99, 1224, Auto de interrogatrio,
Conselho de Guerra Permanente (Panjim: Directorate of Archaeology and
Archives of Goa, 1895).
35. Joao Crisstomo Egipsi de Souza, Veredictum da Opinio Pblica sobre os
Apontamentos para a Histria da Revolta em Goa dos Soldados, Ranes e
Satarienses (1896), pp. 1516.
36. da Costa, A Revolta de Goa e a Campanha de 1895/1896, pp. 357.
170 Between Empires
37. O Visconde de Contrabando e a Revolta de 1895 em Goa, p. 25.
38. Ibid., p. 27.
39. Letters from Col. H. L. Nutt to G. W. Vidal, Acting Chief Sec. to Govt., Political
Department, vol. 99, MSA, (Bombay, 1895).
40. Ibid.
41. A report, which circulated within the British administration that monitored
the border, shared with Goa drew on spy reports received by them to
comment: it appears, however, that on a former occasion, some years ago,
the government is said to have broken faith with the men then sent to
Mozambique, in the matter of duration of foreign service, pay and passage
money for the return journey. Letters from Col. H. L. Nutt to G. W. Vidal,
Acting Chief Sec. to Govt.
42. Ibid.
43. Letters from Col. H. L. Nutt to G. W. Vidal, Acting Chief Sec. to Govt.
44. See Skaria, Writing, Orality and Power in the Dangs, Western India, 1800s-
1920s for an analogy with the uses of writing among the Dangis.
45. A range of publications relating to communidade disputes emerged at the
turn of the century. Representao dos proprietarios das Novas Conquistas e
interessados de varias communidades contra algumas alteraes que se pretendem
no Regulamento das communidades, (Nova Goa: Imprensa Indiana, 1895),
Fernando Leal, Relatrio acerca a Administrao Geral dos Campos Naciones
de Assolna, Velim, Ambelim, Talvord, Num e Rajibaga, relativo a 1897 (Panjim:
Imprensa Nacional, 1898).
46. Irrespective of the recommendations for or against granting rights to the
culacharins, most of the pleas to government asked for a resolution to
the prevalent situation. See J. H. da Cunha Rivara, Brados a favor das
Communidades das aldes do Estado da India (Nova Goa: Imprensa
Nacional, 1870). Felippe Nery Xavier, Bosquejo Historico Das
Communidades (Bastora: Tipografia Rangel, 1903). Francisco Lus Gomes,
A Liberdade da Terra e a Economia Rural da ndia Portuguesa (Lisboa:
Typografia Universal, 1862).
47. Projeito do novo regimento das communidades agrcolas do Estado da ndia,
com as consultas, representaes e requerimentos que a Sua Magestade tem sido
dirigido acerca do mesmo projeito, (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1862).
48. Of the treatises published during the nineteenth century, Lus Gomes, A
Liberdade da Terra e a Economia Rural da ndia Portuguesa, was the only
one to suggest that all protection and controls on the village economy be
removed. Gomes work was seen as an anti-brahmin position. In contrast,
The Truth About Pamphlets 171
the appeals of various gaunkars to the state in the Projeito do novo regimento
das communidades agrcolas do Estado da ndia, com as consultas, representaes
e requerimentos que a Sua Magestade tem sido dirigido acerca do mesmo projeito,
da Cunha Rivara, Brados a favor das Communidades das aldes do Estado da
India, and all of Felipe Nery Xaviers publications during this century were
seen as pro-brahmin works, since they asked for the protection of the
gaunkaria as an institution.
49. Vazs book was written in Portuguese with an abbreviated account of the
proceedings in Konkani (Roman), and a note on the Composition of the
Society of Goa as an appendix to his account of the court case. Jose Baptista
Caetano Vaz, Luta das Castas entre os Sudras, Chardos e Bramanes (Bombay:
Lucio Jos Sequeira, 1911).
50. He asserted that not only were the facts of the 1824 ruling based on the
published text, Codigo das Communidades which was not law, but the
document of 1760 was fabricated, as twelve gaunkars were to have signed it,
only five of whom did so. The other signatures were of people other than the
remaining seven gaunkars. The communidade of Aldona, they emphasized,
had five sudras, one goldsmith, and six brahmins. Among these signatures,
is that of Roque Pascoal Fernandes. Custodio Fernandes had a clinching
argument. If Roque Pascoal Fernandes was not a gaunkar, the document
was false.
51. Vaz, Luta das Castas entre os Sudras, Chardos e Bramanes.
52. Domingos Batista de Menezes, Histria de Aldona, vol. III (Bombay: The
Murari Art P. Works, 1926).
53. Domingos Batista de Menezes, Histria de Aldona, vol. I (Bombay: Silvester
P. Press, 1925).
54. Prefacio, ibid.
55. Ibid.
56. Ibid., pp. 78
57. Ibid.
58. Ibid.
59. (Domingos Batista de Menezes), Histria de Aldona, vol. II (Bombay: The
New Art Press, 1926).
60. Ibid.
61. Menezes, Histria de Aldona, p. 15.
62. Antnio dAlmeida Cardoso, Apontamentos para a histria da Confraria
de Santissimo Sacramento da Igreja de Assolna (Nova Goa: Typographia
Arthur e Viegas, 1917). See for instance, the arguments of the appellant
172 Between Empires
claiming the right to enter the Confraria, by supposedly providing proof
of upper-caste origins, while chastising the church for recognizing such
63. Ibid.
64. Processos, referente aos Ranes de Sanquelim, 2759, DAAG.
65. Skaria, Writing, Orality and Power in the Dangs, Western India, 1800s
66. Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere; Francasca Orsini,
The Hindi Public Sphere (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Divergent Literary Histories 173
Divergent Literary Histories
Within the realm of literature, processes of linguistic hierarchization were
at once less direct and more absolute in their scope and potential. The
degree to which the domain of literature explicitly undertook the task of
defining a history and culture for colonial society indicates why the field
occupied a different place than it did in a European context vis--vis other
disciplines and institutions. This draws on Pierre Bourdieus definition
of a literary field as a semi-autonomous realm whose laws of functioning
are not only independent of any direct link with the political and economic
realm, but are mutually arrived at through the different positions occupied
by elements internal to the field.
Bourdieus insistence on the lack of a
causal or hierarchized links between political structures and the production
of literary texts is useful in many ways for a study of how a literary field
emerges under colonial conditions. It allows for a study of the necessary
articulation of the autonomy of the literary field and the notion of
literariness itself, while the nature of state and political practice under
colonialism as necessarily disallowed such a phenomenon. The
misrecrognition or collective belief in the claim to disinterestedness that
Bourdieu holds as constitutive of any aesthetic domain, has a doubled role
in the case of the colonial literary field. Not only is the disinterestedness of
literature incompletely claimed by members of the field, but the act of
misrecognizing the containment of the field as a whole within the project
of colonial knowledge production is more fundamentally constitutive of
colonial literary society.
Literary historians of colonial India have elaborated the ways in which
the field of literature was subordinated to the disciplinary imperatives of
the colonial state.
These studies emphasized the reshaping of the spheres
of education, linguistics, and literature under the colonial state, and
foregrounded the political and academic reconstitution of the literary
However, the definition of the domain of the aesthetic under
174 Between Empires
colonialism could not wholly be appropriated to the imperatives of empire
and for colonial imperatives to be effective, if was it was required that
they be routed through literary autonomy. There was a degree of
deliberation about the categorization, production, and criticism of new
forms that paralleled such processes in Europe that was evident in the
milieu of the colonial literati. Through their texts and institutions, the
colonial literati negotiated a space that was autonomous of their immediate
political and social circumstances. The literary field was therefore constituted
both by its inscription under colonial conditions and by the need to
combat its circumscription by the colonial state.
In a study of how the domain of the aesthetic was appropriated to
promote the ideals of colonial governmentality and self-regulation, Henry
Schwartz remarks on the transformations in the categories of fiction,
literature, beauty, and the accompanying implications for the shifts in
cognitive practices, desired by colonial policy. The following paragraph
presents exactly those aspects of the process by which the domain of
literature was given shape in British India, and which cannot be explained
through similar processes in colonial Goa:
Books fitting this category, what we will call the aesthetic, were determined
by the Bengal librarian, an official post created in this year by Act XXV of
Government to register and count the flood of printed materials. Why
count them? Because public opinion was important. The great Sepoy
rebellion had occurred just ten years earlier, and British ears were tuned to
any hint of aggression.... The job of the Bengal librarian was complicated,
since he not only counted all the printed materials issuing from the native
press but categorized them, too, according to a generic map devised by
Christian missionaries. Fiction was one category, and the librarian had
to decide when to drop a book into it. The generic markers of this enormous
mass of publications were, moreover, highly fluid...
The absence of a detailed instrumentalist framework for the reworking
of public opinion and literature, to further the project of modern
governmentality in colonial Goa could not be more starkly evident as
when compared to the domain of literature in British India. The field of
literature scarcely took shape through colonial injunctions alone. The
indecisiveness over the category of fiction or literature, which the Bengal
librarian had to resolve in Schwartzs essay, however, is crucial to tracing
the development of notions of literariness that did not follow immediately
from policy. In fact, it is through these moments of indecisiveness, that
Divergent Literary Histories 175
a departure from the imperatives of colonialism and pre-given ideas of
literariness can be traced. This attempt to identify those realms where
modes of writing and representation were being tested emphasizes the
tensions inherent to a colonial realm of writing, where establishing
distinctions between political and aesthetic representation was the task
of genre definition. This suggests that a shifting burden of defining the
domain of political and aesthetic representation along with the conditions
placed by the print market was shared between pamphlets, newsprint,
poems, songs, and novels.
Studies of colonial translation, libraries, and the circulation of popular
fiction have emphasized how notions of the literary travelled and were
transformed in ways that cannot be attributed to the individual or
institutional intent of readers, writers, distributors, or censors.
following elaboration of a literary field assumes that the genres of the
pamphlet, newsprint, and novel shared a range of codes and registers that
would eventually sift one genre from another. The insertion of each text
into this interstice of representational choices could not but be defined by
the fundamental denial of the autonomous definition of literariness that
the conditions of colonialism demanded. While there is no single line
that one can draw between censorship laws, pricing, and the contours of
a novel, there were sites of varying dominance and visibility through
which notions of literariness were distilled.
Within literary histories of colonial society, the elaboration of the processes
of literary innovation (in the form of the novel) or continuity (the
reappearance of epics and folk forms in print) do not identify how or
whether literary writing was received differently from other genres. Though
the colonial literati in other ways apparently effortlessly approximated
the structures of western literary spheres, it was literary journals, histories,
and societies that constructed an economic and generic space for modern
literary forms like the novel. A mutual public understanding of what
constituted the literary was therefore achieved at different levels. With
specific reference to the novel, this implies that different indicators were
generated, for example, by newspapers that serialized translations of
English novels, by the kind of novels made available to colonial societies
through the print market and by the way in which practitioners processed
what would be expected of them as novelists.
176 Between Empires
The eventual development of a specialized set of meanings and
assumptions about literary texts was a task achieved by literary histories
of Goa. This accompanied the division mentioned earlier, between the
literary histories of what had become distinct linguistic groups in Goa.
There were therefore different contexts through which the category of
fiction or that of the imaginary, the historical, or the scientific text emerged
in Konkani, English, and Portuguese. In situations where the reading of
literary forms like the novel were not a continuation of cultural practices
prior to print, a separate argument had to be made to readers for its purchase.
The circulation of print in itself, helped arrive at mutually recognized
categories through which texts were received. Poetry and song for instance,
required no inauguration as genres and were and appeared in all the
initial forms of print, whether pamphlets, newsprint or histories, or the
leaflets that marked public events in Goa.
Verses and songs in fact had a
prominent presence in print ephemera. The absorption of Portuguese
musical forms into predominantly upper-caste Catholic song forms is
evident from the nineteenth century on.
Some leaflets indicate the
incorporation of elite Goan students into the production of composite
Orientalist entertainment, which drew from access to a variety of music.
An advertisement for an entertainment programme put up to benefit
the Association of students of Medicine and Pharmacy promised several
tableux such as Well-spring of lovers, Sweethearts of Panjim, Oriental
dancers, Abyssinian Songs, and Sad fados.
Though the practice of
composing songs to mark political and social events along with religious
festivals was common in Goa, it was initially only a Portuguese-speaking
public that read these in print.
Along with songs were the many plays
advertised through bills and leaflets.
Many of these plays were renderings
of legends that had appeared in Marathi publications in Bombay.
Goa these were translated into Portuguese and had found a place among
the various forms of entertainment patronized by the Goan and
Portuguese elite.
Publicity was an important site for the naming and categorization of
a more specialized category of literature. Evidence of print in the first half
of the nineteenth century in Goa suggests that the sphere of newsprint,
pamphlets, medical and religious texts took shape alongside the appearance
of literary journals.
Histories of literary print therefore usually cite the
journals and almanacs that appeared from 1839 on, as the earliest
publications in which readers found both literary writing and literary
histories of Goa. However, neither within these, nor within the various
Divergent Literary Histories 177
forms of publicity around these texts, was a special place for literary fiction
that excluded other kinds of writing clearly demarcated. The first almanac
in Goa appeared in 1840.
Almanacs provided a range of information,
such as a detailed Christian religious calendar, and these specific uses
distinguished them from the many literary journals published after 1839.
Vimala Devis A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa suggests that the appearance
of literary writing through journals and almanacs alone, indicates that this
was the only economically viable medium available.
The demand for
print in Goa was otherwise met largely through imports from British India
and Lisbon.
In the late nineteenth century the Bombay and Pune print
markets exported Marathi texts to Goa, and school textbooks were imported
from Lisbon.
Books that had a specific use within state institutions
were almost the only ones with a print run higher than these.
At the end of the nineteenth century book selling as an independent
and specialized trade did exist, but there were few shops selling books
Instead, books could be bought at general shops, convents, hotels,
printing presses, hospitals, and pharmacies.
This was another space,
however incidental in the larger question of a literary field, where the kind
of genre differentiation through a common-sensical shelving of books into
categories that anticipated and directed customer choices, probably did
not occur. The proceedings of literary societies also indicate that until
the middle of the nineteenth century, when the first works approximating
the novel form began to emerge, various forms of writing were contained
within a broad category of literature.
The activity of reading itself was publicly assisted and moulded by
producers of each genre of print. Newspaper editors in particular addressed
their readers in ways that served to personalize their relationship with the
newspaper. The distributor for the newspaper Dirio de Notcias circulated
a leaflet in verse during the Christmas of 1876 thanking readers and
elaborating his own efforts for the journal and the ways in which he wanted
to serve his public. In many of these elegiac, laudatory verses, or through
doggerel, both, institutions and print genres, were anthropomorphized
and addressed as living beings.
If newsprint inaugurated its own appearance, it also seemed to be a site
where the gradual sifting of literary from non-literary writing took place.
Early papers advertised all manner of writing, save newsprint itself, and
178 Between Empires
pamphlets, under the term literature. In 1859, for instance,
advertisements for literary publications included grammars, dictionaries,
translations of the Manusmriti, and travelogues.
A section within
newspapers themselves, usually the anchor space at the bottom of the
page, began to carry excerpts from popular or well-known works. These
were often historical texts, but the space began to be devoted to
translations of English or Portuguese novels.
By devoting a fixed place
within the newspaper regularly to serialized novels, newsprint contributed
to demarcating a place for them as a distinct form of writing.
When novels began to emerge from among Goans themselves and
required a market, readers had to be given reasons to buy them, which
would differ from their uses for dictionaries and prayer books.
It appears
to have taken far more than just advertisements to cull an audience for
novels, and newsprint was used as a conduit to tap a potential body of
readers. Newspaper advertisements made direct appeals to readers to buy
novels, introduced their themes, and suggested reasons why the form
might be interesting. In 1868, the ndia Portugueza declared that the
author himself had requested publicity for the novel Os Mystrios De Goa.
The announcement, however, claimed that all literary publications were
deserving of patronage, especially original romances that are so rare in
this country.
Requests for the book could be received at the newspaper
office. This advertisement consciously urged a readership into existence.
While the newspaper made its way among readers through persuasive
techniques inscribed in the product itself, other genres, like the novel
had to be presented and insinuated into the lives of readers.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, literary works
seem to have been endowed with a distinct generic space. By 1905, official
bulletins demarcated a sphere of literature from that of other kinds of
writing. In 1906, statistics of the Biblioteca Nacional indicate that literary
works were the most popular among readers, as histories and books on
fine arts had an eighth of the readership for literature.
The many kinds
of writing that were once included under the category of literature had
been divided into distinct categories of annuals, bibliographies,
dictionaries, domestic economy, geography, history, philology, religion,
agricultural sciences, mathematics, medical texts, military works,
zootechnical works, et cetera. The journals had been stratified into the
scientific, official, informative, and literary, the last of which drew the
maximum number of readers again.
The following sections suggest that
the transformation in the use of the term literary among the intelligentsia
Divergent Literary Histories 179
in Goa occurred predominantly through literary histories rather than
any other elements in the literary field.
Through literary societies and literary histories, a defined intellectual
and cultural legacy was carved out for speakers of Portuguese and Marathi.
The writing of literary history was marked by the linguistic politics and
cultural narratives in which each language and the community of speakers
it was said to represent were embedded. The geographical maps and
histories for the Marathi language that had been publicized in Marathi
newspapers for instance, shaped the way writing in the language would
be historicized. It had come to be associated exclusively with Hindu Goans,
who had been drawn to the cultural identity offered by discourses of
language and nation prevalent in Maharashtra. Likewise, the incorporation
of Goas cultural history as an extension of Portugals constituted another
strand within literary histories that were concerned exclusively with writing
in Portuguese. In contrast, writing in Konkani was recovered through
another frameworkthat of the linguistic recovery of a dead language.
The emphasis in earlier chapters on demarcating the different models of
nationalism available to Goans, were directed towards making these
divergent histories intelligible. Within each of these histories, the
unspoken cultural categories and maps that accommodated writing in only
one language were naturalized for their readers and did not need to be
explained through any gloss or comment. As a consequence of such cultural
mapping, Konkani was recovered as an object of ethnographic study, a
language whose existence and nature had to be unearthed simultaneously
with that of the race, caste, and social organization of its people. The
question of its literature could only be raised through this framework.
There was no assumed cultural heritage which enabled contemporary
work to be discussed through mutually recognized categories of literature.
Aside from being historicized as an intellectual renaissance, the year
1821, when the printing press was reintroduced into Goa is also heralded
by literary histories as a moment of literary renewal.
The century
preceding the sudden productivity was recalled as a time of repression
by the Portuguese, a period of neglect and discouragement of the Konkani
language, and a hiatus or break in the intellectual life of Goans. In her
commentary on texts written by Goans prior to the nineteenth century,
Vimala Devi stated, one of the most singular characteristics of the literary
180 Between Empires
history of Goa is the fact that the contribution of its most important
works were insignificant for the formation of its cultural superstructure.
Devis comment referred to the perceived lack of influence of pre-
nineteenth century texts on those that emerged later. Another literary critic
characterized the gap preceding 1821 as a period of political lassitude,
since no underground literature had surfaced in 1821 to prove that
political repression had been resisted prior to the reintroduction of the
printing press.
The implicit disappointment with the unproductive and intellectually
disrupted eighteenth century in these histories derives from a retrospective
prism of nationalist expectations and the associated requirement of an
unbroken cultural tradition that would extend the history of the nation
into the past. Devis allusion to the discontinuity between the forms and
ideologies of texts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries refers
specifically to three texts in Portuguese prose that emerged at the end
of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century. Unlike most
works printed by Goans from the late sixteenth century on, these were
not directly intended for religious or linguistic use. According to Devi,
these defences of caste loyalties that constructed histories for brahmins
and chardos were the first three works of authentic Goan expression.
The fact that these were primarily concerned with caste, suggested that
the question of caste divisions would have to be resolved if, according to
Devi, the cultural rebirth of the nineteenth century was not to be
Apart from the three texts cited above, Devis comment also refers to
a range of verse forms and literary genres of the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries that derived from Hindu and Christian religious traditions.
Portuguese and Goan priests had used texts printed or written in Portuguese,
Konkani, or Marathi to assist their missions since the sixteenth century.
By the nineteenth century, however, there was little sign of the older,
predominantly religious textual influences, nor was any immediate
impetus to recover these as part of a national cultural legacy. This shift in
the impetus and idiom of print production of the nineteenth century,
however, is recalled differently in the linguistically split histories through
which Goan literary production is usually remembered.
When the literary production of the nineteenth century began to be
historicized, it was appended to a past produced through cultural and
nationalist chronologies. The reappearance of the printing press in 1821
and the fact of having had printed texts in Konkani and Portuguese
Divergent Literary Histories 181
prior to this date was neither common nor significant to all histories.
Moreover, these facts had very different connotations for the development
of literature and the literary imagination of those who represented these
languages. If one were to agree with the twentieth century concern that
the eighteenth century was predominantly a time of linguistic and literary
loss, the impact of this was scarcely the same for Portuguese and Konkani
speakers. Literary historians of Konkani like Jos Pereira, emphasize the
disappearance of a literary idiom in what may have been a standard form
of Konkani in the eighteenth century and the fragmentation of Konkani
into the variety of dialects spoken across the Konkan.
When Konkani
print emerged towards the end of the century, much after Portuguese
and Marathi, it appeared in the variety of dialects spoken in Goa.
The fact that the two literary histories cited above (Devi and Pereira)
were histories of literature in specific languages, and not the region as a
whole, was a result of the distribution of linguistic power and the
development of print in the nineteenth century. A different set of political
and cultural associations with each language also resulted in the production
of a different historicization of Marathi literature produced by Goans.
Since distinct efforts had been made in the nineteenth century to suggest
cultural and regional continuities between Goa and other areas where
Marathi was spoken, historians of Marathi literature in Goa did not
trace the same lapse or interruption in the literary development of the
Marathi language.
There is little sign of any common print production between Catholic
and Hindu Goans in Bombay. Early nineteenth-century works written in
Marathi by Hindu Goans were published from Bombay, where Hindu
Goans had migrated much before large numbers of Catholic Goans from
the Old Conquests also began to shift there in search of employment.
Literary production in Marathi by Goans is historicized usually as a
contribution to a corpus of Marathi literature without any suggestion of
the divisions that may have emerged based on region or caste between
Hindu Goans and Marathi-speakers based outside Goa. The fact that
the dominant sphere of Marathi print was also an important site for the
construction of regional, religious, and caste identities, meant that Goans
were sometimes absorbed within what was to emerge as a broader
Maharashtrian identity. This was often desirable, as facility in Marathi
182 Between Empires
secured employment for upper-caste Hindu Goans in Bombay.
century histories of Marathi literature produced by Goans, however, did
indicate some need for recognition of the fact that Goans produced many
pioneering modern Marathi works.
A. K. Priolkars The Printing Press
in India demonstrates another facet of the literary histories of Marathi
produced by Goans.
Priolkars text was written at the end of the 1950s,
on the brink of bitter conflict in Goa, over whether the status of official
language was to be granted to Konkani or to Marathi. His history of print
elaborated a list of the first printed texts to emerge in Goa to claim that
many of the earliest doctrinal works were in Marathi and not in Konkani.
These two alternating strands within literary histories of Marathi in Goa
therefore sought ascription in dominant literary histories of Marathi,
while securing a parallel literary legacy in sixteenth century Goa.
An overview of Marathi print produced by Goans indicates that the
earliest texts of the nineteenth century were produced in Bombay and
Pune (Marathi types were introduced into Goa only in the second half
of the century).
These were influenced by literary trends and forms
prevalent in Bombay and Pune rather than by the historical or cultural
specificity of Goa. However, unlike Portuguese print in Bombay, Marathi
print by Goans did not construct a specific identity for Hindu Goans,
nor did it look to Goa for literary metaphors. Among the earliest texts to
appear is Vyankoba Sadashiv Naiks translation of Aesops Fables, which
may have been used as a textbook and was published in 1828.
common genres were translations of critical commentaries from Sanskrit,
translations and commentaries from bhakti poets, treatises on Hindu
customs and purity, botanical texts, moral commentaries, and suggestions
for reform within the Hindu family. This selection of texts suggests that
the discourses of reform and assertions of tradition which were not
prevalent to the same extent in Goa, were absorbed as a cultural resurgence
into the early Marathi works of Goans.
While Marathi publishing by
Goans may not have matched production in Portuguese numerically,
the genres produced were diverse.
The first suspense novel in Marathi,
according to A. K. Priolkar, was written by a Goan.
Govind Narayan
Madgavnkars Mumbaichem Varnan, a description of Bombay, was used
as a source book for the Bombay Gazette, and was seen as an important
source for a social history of Bombay in the nineteenth century.
Yashwant Phondba Naik Danaits Gomantakacha Pracheen va
Arvacheen Itihas (An Ancient and Modern History of Gomantaka) 1873,
was one of the earlier works to focus specifically on Goa.
It was only in
Divergent Literary Histories 183
the last decades of the nineteenth century that the number of works
published in Goa increased, as did the number of texts concerning Goa.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, Goans writing in
Marathi were still printing largely from Bombay or Pune. The kind of
histories and biographies produced during this period drew on prominent
political figures in Maharashtra and on the Indian national movement
in general.
Histories specific to Goa often dwelt on political relations
with the Marathas, which paralleled Portuguese rule until the late eighteenth
century, rather than tracing the establishment of Portuguese rule in Goa.
The dominant themes of publications in the 1920s and 30s tended to be
prescriptive normative texts for women in Goa, an attempt to trace
Dravidian and non-Dravidian movements in Goa, and the elaboration
of the differences between Goans and foreigners. This was also a period
when temple histories began to be written, which would trace the
destruction of temples at their original site and plot their transfer to new
The cultural specificity of these studies indicates that a Hindu
cultural domain was being articulated alongside a nationalist one. The
nationalist stance veered between an Indian nationalist identity and
the formation of an oppositional identity within and specific to Goa.
The evidence of literary commentaries suggests that genre differentiation
in Marathi literature had occurred in Bombay before it did in Goa and
was quite removed from the process by which the literary field was shaped
in Goa itself.
By the mid-nineteenth century, literary histories that used the region
and not a particular language as an organizing point had emerged. The
earliest literary journal to appear in Goa, A Biblioteca de Goa, along with
Goa Socivel, and Estrea Goana, used the regional category, Goa, to
categorize the varied kinds of writing they carried.
These texts were
written in Portuguese and were almost exclusively about literature in
Portuguese. At this point in time however, the demarcation of a literary
identity around Portuguese implicitly included Goan literature as a subset
of Portuguese literature. The definition of literary history in national
(Goan) if not nationalist terms emerged much later, under a different
theoretical framework.
184 Between Empires
The intellectual and political preoccupations of the nineteenth century
were reproduced in literary histories, which presented the contemporary
literary imagination as impoverished. The incorporation of the literary
history of Goa as an extension of the encompassing history of Portugal
meant that the Goan literary imagination had to be depicted as suffering
the decline of the mother country, and as a participant in a cultural renewal.
Contemporary Portuguese and Goans alike were often urged to renew
themselves as a single cultural unit.
This represented Goa and Portugal
as a continuous cultural identity in a position of subordination to English
cultural dominance. An article on womens education therefore combined
prescriptive advice on the uses of reading with comments on the state of
womens education and the absence of national feeling in Goa:
With slow denationalisation, the family undergoes a slow disintegration.
Many women and children are being educated, but few families value
having educated daughters. The book is such a rare thing in individual
houses! The famed erudition of our people consists in reading gazettes
by various people, and of these, mostly personal polemics, and bulletins,
while international chronicles and the cultural critiques of Bergson pass
unnoticed. For these people, to buy a book is a heavy sacrifice.
Almost every genre of literary print was marked by a variation of this
position. Nearly a decade after a variety of journals and almanacs had
emerged in Goa and carried a range of articles, Miguel Vicente de Abreu
insisted that they in fact fell far short of those produced in Bombay:
For sure, there is no place in the civilised world where interesting
Calendars and Almanacs are not produced at the beginning of each year,
which, apart from carrying all the essentials which they should, are always
enriched by some useful and some entertaining national and foreign news.
Many of our Readers will have seen the annual Almanacs of Bombay; and
their volume, which is not negligible, is enough to indicate how much
they achieve, considering the characteristic brevity of the English. It is
therefore inexplicable why, with the good example set us by our neighbours,
the Press in Goa of 1840 and 1841...issues Calendars which contain almost
nothing apart from the Saints feast days!
De Abreus harangue elaborated how the Goan youth would merit if
the Goan literati would try and provide them with reading material through
these cheap almanacs. The one he had edited, he claimed, tried to do this
Divergent Literary Histories 185
with whatever limited resources he had, but of course fell far short.
troubled imagination was at work in these prescriptions for an ideal of
literary production absorbed from English models. These demanded the
appearance of similar forms and practices from Goa, a region now defined
in terms of a distinct and always deficient cultural nationalism. The source
for a cultural renewal however could be traced to the same fount of
tradition that had been suggested by the Indian nationalist elite. The critique
of contemporary Goan intellectual production therefore welcomed
writing that had visibly drawn from Indian mythological sources.
Literary historians of both Konkani and Portuguese literature had
acquired new sources of patronage by the end of the nineteenth century.
Like his history of Konkani literature, J. Gerson da Cunhas other historical
work was produced in Bombay, predominantly in English, and often
publicized through the Royal Asiatic Society.
Works like da Cunhas
were therefore directed to an audience outside Goa. Da Cunha for instance,
was a member of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, a new
addition to a list of memberships in the Royal Academy of Science in
Lisbon, the Oriental Society of Florence, and the Academy of Science,
Literature, and Arts of Lyons.
Similarly, Vicente de Bragana Cunha,
who wrote Literatura Indo-Portuguesafiguras e factos in 1926, had lectured
on Portuguese literature at the University of Bombay, and at the University
of London.
With their association with institutions and academic disciplines in
British India, the Goan intelligentsia began to see themselves as counterparts
of the Indian intelligentsia, and attached to an ancient Indian cultural
legacy that preceded the arrival of the Portuguese in India. The association
constructed by the Indian elite between an exclusive definition of Indian
culture and an Indian nationalist identity however, had to be synthesized
with the Goan incorporation into a Portuguese cultural identity.
de Bragana Cunhas work, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, which was an
implicit demand that Goan writers be incorporated into the emerging
literary histories of Portugal, supplemented this claim by drawing on
conceptions of Indian culture dominant among the Indian elite.
the strength of the political status of Goans as members of the Portuguese
republic, and Indias established cultural tradition which the Goan
intelligentsia now claimed as its legacy, Bragana Cunha asked that Goans
who wrote in Portuguese be given their due. The first line of his text asserted,
Never will Portuguese traditions be lost in India, and claimed that some
sons of India not only had substantial literary reputations, but were
186 Between Empires
also in contact with some of the prominent literary figures of Portugal.
The text itself dwelt alternately on prominent Goan writers, and on
genres of writing. Moniz Barreto held primary place in this history.
According to Bragana Cunha, Barreto was a son of India, where the most
profound philosophical doctrines had evolved, a country that had been
held in an unjust subalternity by political contingencies. Conscious of
his own worth, Barreto criticized Goans for their indifference to national
literature...equalled by their indifference to foreign literatures.
depiction of the Goan cultural imagination described its limited curiosity
with popular French literature, resulting in an inferior level of
philosophical thought, and a materialism from which the new generation
would have to extricate itself.
These were the terms within which all
the prominent writers situated Portuguese literature produced by Goans.
Tomas Ribeiro, for instance, a prominent Portuguese writer who helped
found the Instituto Vasco da Gama, an academic society, declared that
India was a land of letters where epics such as the Ramayana and
Mahabharata had anticipated those of Homer.
Ribeiro, significantly,
commented that the land of India had inspired reminiscent verses in two
poets who, by the time he wrote, had come to represent Portugals national
literary tradition: Cames and Bocage.
Goan writers therefore represented themselves at the crossroads of Indian
and Portuguese civilization. In the person of Fernando Leal, born and
bred in Goa, but of Portuguese parentage, Bragana Cunha found an ideal
combination of what had come to constitute Indian and Portuguese
traditions. Leal drew frequently on epics and legends being republished in
the late nineteenth century. Contemporary critics were happy to comment
on his blindingly lush imagery, the delicacy of Indian sentiment, and
the vigour of sensual but not sexual imagery in his poems.
Cunha and other critics were in agreement that it was the resurgence of
the oriental ideal that had stimulated literary production, and hereditary
forces from the vedic age, the brahmanic age, the buddhist age, and the
muslim epoch, worked on the poets without their being conscious of the
influence. This was a more generous heritage than was usually traced in
literary histories produced in early twentieth-century British India, where
the influences of the muslim epoch may have been more reluctantly
admitted as a contributory part of Indias cultural tradition.
Through this process, various strands of writing in Goa were
rehistoricized. Goan languages and culture had to be linked to an ancient
language like Sanskrit, and unbroken cultural continuity had to be
Divergent Literary Histories 187
established with identities that had become coterminous with Sanskrit
being Hindu, and being Indian. This was probably the motivating impulse
behind the frequent appearance of Portuguese renderings of ancient legends
and myths, which were being simultaneously translated into modern Indian
languages. The hymn to Ganz (Ganesh) which appeared in the poetry
journal, Harpa do Mandovi was a free translation into Portuguese.
Hindus and Catholics both participated in the recuperation of an ancient
cultural tradition to contemporary Goa, but through different frameworks.
In 1912, the Luz do Oriente edited by R. P. Vaidya carried articles on Sr.
Nivedita, on the enigma of the Ramayana, and on the place of Hinduism
in modern civilization.
Writers, particularly the Catholic elite, also
had to render an ancient tradition into a lived one. These may have been
the influences at work on the Catholic poet Paulino Dias, who wrote a
poem in the Luz do Oriente under the pseudonym of Pritidassa.
wrote VishnulalA Hindu Poem in Portuguese and French, as well as a
collection of poems, In the land of Surya, which contained poems with
titles like Indra, Pracriti, and The Death of Raugi.
The Orientalist or mythological texts available to Portuguese-speaking
populations were not always encountered through modern Indian languages
or English, but often through translations into European languages. Gerson
da Cunhas Savitri; an Indian dramatic idyll, indicates the rapid switch to
English which a small section of the Goan intelligentsia were able to make
after their migration to Bombay.
da Cunha had encountered the text
through Angelo de Gubernatis Italian translation.
In the preface to
his own dramatized translation of the legend, da Cunha reproduced a
translation history of Savitri as an Italian text. da Cunhas encounter of
the text had occurred through its appearance and performance in Italian
cultural institutions, and through Schlegels critiques in French. The
Goan intelligentsia were usually influenced by frameworks of European
Orientalists rather than those of Indian translators, which demarcated a
different cultural space for the texts they translated.
Despite its decisive pronouncements on literature, Bragana Cunhas
study of Indo-Portuguese literature embraced print production in general,
and was not directed at poetry or drama alone. Other sections of the book
examined tendencies in history-writing, critiques of caste discrimination,
the development of the press in India, as well as questions of linguistic
development. This does not suggest that the way in which this literary
history incorporated a range of writing within the category of literature,
was the same as the listing that can be found in the early nineteenth-
188 Between Empires
century almanacs that also listed discrete writings as literature. Instead,
Bragana Cunhas alignment of literature with history writing and critiques
of casteism indicates a representation of literature as the intellectual
articulation of sub-nationalism within the Portuguese nation. This proved
to be a dominant form of historicization, which examined intellectual
production as a whole for symptoms of decay, or renewal. The discussion
of Goan literature in Portuguese incorporated the anxiety for, and claims
to cultural antiquity as the distinguishing ground for incorporation into
Portuguese literary history. Literature in Portuguese would not be discussed
outside this framework until decades after the liberation of Goa in 1961.
The end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century saw
the emergence of different possibilities for the literary historicization of
Goa, with proponents of Marathi constructing counter histories, and the
Catholic bourgeoisie awakening to the need (created through borrowed
models of literary history) to promote the use of Konkani, and to rediscover
it as the site of a vibrant indigenous linguistic tradition. Though histories
of Konkani print alone emphasized that the literary sphere in Goa was
linguistically split, they did not indicate how this was legitimized to the
point where it was scarcely remarked on in literary histories.
One of the linguistic theories deriving from Orientalist scholarship
in India, which da Cunha Rivara, Bragana Cunha, and other writers on
language and literature felt compelled to address in the Goan context, was
the association of indigenous languages with the recovery and development
of indigenous cultural identities. Literary histories of Goa were altered
with the emergence of this trend. The Portuguese and Marathi languages
in Goa had a literary history; the former bound the intellectual history
of Goa and Portugal together, while the latter was tied to Marathi print
in British India. It was around Konkani alone that a distinct identity
could be constructed that linked a people to a territory within Goan
boundaries. However, the neglect or discouragement of Konkani over
the centuries resulted in it being recovered from a past that was seen as
devoid of any literature.
By 1881, when J. Gerson da Cunha published The Konkani Language
and Literature, any history of Konkani literature was subordinated to a
history of the language, and separated from production in any other
language in use in Goa.
Jerome A. Saldanhas Origin and Growth of
Divergent Literary Histories 189
Konkani or Goan Communities and Language, of 1904 provided a context
of race and caste before citing the earliest written traces of the language and
its early print history.
The interests of literary historians, lexicographers
and linguists were therefore divided between acquiring what would
implicitly be a high cultural (Indian) tradition that would endow their
inclusion within a broader Portuguese identity with a distinct national
culture, and with restoring a domain of indigenous cultural authenticity
that was distinctly Goan. This was the dilemma generated by the transfer
of the discourse of cultural authenticity from Indian nationalism, where
the association of a vernacular language with a particular high culture
could be said to represent a people and a tradition as a whole, once the
less desirable elements of it (usually sexuality, womens writing, and lower
class usages) had been purged. Within the context of Goa however, Konkani,
which according to this rationale, should have been the vernacular
repository of tradition as the spoken and popular language, was not seen
as the medium through which a high culture was transmitted. Moreover,
it was no longer the language with which either the Catholic or the Hindu
elite would claim any supposedly intrinsic identification. The ideal that
was represented by the discourse of cultural nationalism in British India,
therefore, had to be dismantled in Goa, and this was achieved by the
production of separate literary histories for writing in each language. To
revert to Bourdieus lexicon, the act of literary consecration through which
certain texts and practices were canonized in literary histories could
only take place alongside the consecration of linguistic, historical and
ethnographic frameworks. It was only by affiliating itself to and declaring
its independence from such frameworks that texts, languages, and
linguistic communities in Goa could be coherently hierarchized in relation
to each other.
1. Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (UK: Polity Press, 1993).
2. Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest (New York: Columbia University
Press, 1989); Kumkum Sangari, Relating Histories: Definitions of Literacy,
Literature, Gender in Early Nineteenth Century Calcutta and England,
in Rethinking English, Svati Joshi, ed. (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1994).
3. Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest.
4. Henry Schwartz, Aesthetic Imperialism: Literature and the Conquest of
India, Modern Language Quarterly 61, no. 4, 2000.
190 Between Empires
5. Priya Joshi, In Another Country (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002);
Tejaswini Niranjana, Siting Translation (Berkeley: University of California
Press, 1992).
6. A. Pereira, Several Selected Remedies against Plague and suggestions for its
treatment, trans. Dr Helvecio (Bombay: Tatavivechaka press, 1897).
7. See Jos Pereira, Types of Konkani Songs, Indica 17 (1980); and Victor A.
Coelho, Connecting Histories: Portuguese Music in Renaissance Goa, in
Goa and PortugalTheir Cultural Links, Charles J. Borges and Helmut
Feldmann, eds (New Delhi: Concept Publishing Co., 1997).
8. Cpias da Revuette em 2 Actos, (Nova Goa: Voz. de S. F. Xavier, 1836. Private
Papers of Jos Antnio Ismael Gracias, Xavier Centre for Historical Research).
9. The Conselheiro of Bardez, Jos de S Coutinho was despatched at the end
of his term in 1887 with a leaflet entitled Bota Fora, or, A Parting Kick.
Bota Fora, Private collection of Jos Antnio Ismael Gracias (Porvorim: Xavier
Centre for Historical Research, 1887). In 1881 the newspaper A Cruz also
carried satirical songs in Konkani and Portuguese criticizing the Portuguese
for entering into a treaty with Britain on terms that clearly placed Goa at
an economic disadvantage. Leo Lawrence, Nehru Seizes Goa (New York:
Pageant Press, 1963).
10. To mark the second anniversary of the Portuguese Republic, a performance
of the story of Sakhubai was organized. The proceeds of this were to go to
the Mahalaxmi Prasadik Hindu Vachan Mandir, a library set up in 1907
for disprivileged Hindus. Sanguit Santa Sakhuba (Xry Mahalacximy
Prassadik Hind Vachan Mandir, 1912).
11. Vicalpa Vimochan, a translation of Winters Tale, however, was performed
by the Xry Corunesh-Prassadic Nateacola-Provortoc in honour of Bimagi
Mucunda Rau in 1897. The playbill specifically stated that the performance
was offered to our illustrious Catholic gentlemen. Vicalpa Vimochan, (Xry
Corunesh-Prassadic Nateacola-Provortoc, 1897, private collection of Jos
Antnio Ismael Gracias, Xavier Centre for Historical Research).
12. Ethnographic and botanical reports, textbooks, travelogues, and poems
also figure within the first half of the century. Statistics suggest that the
average printrun for publications that did not have a fixed market, unlike
the assured demand for official documents and text-books, was between
450 and 700. The Gabinete Litterrio das Fontainhas for instance, had a
print run of 400 in 1850, as did a collection of Konkani hymns in 1855.
13. A Bibliotheca de Goa appeared in 1839, and was followed by another literary
journal, O Encyclopdico in 1842. Francisco Joo Xavier, Breve Notcia da
Imprensa Nacional de Goa (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1876). Thomaz
Divergent Literary Histories 191
DAquino Mouro Garcez Palha, ed., Almanach de Lembranas (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1858).
14. Vimala Devi and Manuel e Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I
(Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971).
15. Print runs of novels or short story collections in Goa were similar to those in
Bombay, until the 1870s. The earliest books seem to have been educational,
moral, and religious texts. Some of the earliest texts to be printed in Portuguese
in Bombay were probably Conselhos amigveis aos Pais sobre O Governo e
Educao de seus Filhos (Bombay, 1835); Carta Para Meus Filhos (Bombay,
n.d.); Dezeis Pequenos Sermes (Bombay, 1835); Erros Communs (Bombay,
n.d.); and As Flores do Bosque (Bombay, 1835). A Catalogue of the library of
the Hon. East India Co., (London: Printed by J. & H. Cox, 1845).
16. Goatma, June 1888. An advertisement for Marathi books from Pune on
sale in Goa lists books such as, Sangeet Radhavilas Natak and Marathi Mhani.
O Observador, January 1847, carries a list of books received from Lisbon.
These included textbooks on Geography, Rhetoric, Physics, Arithmetic,
Elocution, as well as dictionaries, and grammars.
17. The Bosquejo Histrico de Goa (Short history of Goa) of 1858, for instance,
had a print run of 750 and went into many editions, which suggests that it
may have been used as a text-book. A translation into Portuguese of the
Manusmriti (Publicao litterria da legislao de Manu), however, was
printed in numbers that suggest that it was widely used within government
and private circles. At least eight print runs of 1600 each emerged in 1859.
18. V. E. Singbal in Panjim, for instance, sold maps, licences for taverns as well
as almanacs. Gomantoc a Goa, no. 3, March 1890. Novidade litterria in
the Boletim Official of 27 December 1898 for instance, announces the sale
of Doutor Olimpio at three individual homes in Panjim, Mapusa, and
Mormugao, and at a chemists in Margao.
19. See A Convico, June 30, 1888. An article lists places permitted by the
government to sell schoolbooks. These included the Imprensa Nacional, as
well as the shop of Baboia Quenim in Panjim, pharmacies, convents, hotels,
and printing presses in other parts of Goa. The Almanach Illustrado could
be bought at a hospital in 1891, an advertisement for it announced. See
Candido Jos M. Garcez Palha, ed., Almanach do Co de Goa, vol. no. 398,
no. 399, no. 401 ( Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1866-1867).
20. Ibid. See the report on the proceedings of the Society of the Friends of
Literature (Sociedade dos Amigos das Lettras), held in 1866 reproduced in
India Portuguesa, 12 August 1866, no. 398.
21. A typical example is the Hymno for the Commercio on the first anniversary
192 Between Empires
of the newspaper, which declared that the paper was a courageous knight
among the press, defender of the country and of the law, and hoped that
the paper and its editor would have a long life
22. Boletim do Governo do Estado da ndia, no. 7, 25 January 1859, and no. 16,
25 February 1859, Nova Goa, Imprensa Nacional. An advertisement by
the bookseller Julio Augusto D. Dias listed dictionaries, religious texts, and
the Quadros Histricos de Goa as literary texts. See O Portuguez em Bombaim,
3 June 1863.
23. The Gazeta de Bardez in 1874 serialized Joo de Barros As Decadas
Portuguesas. See A Vingana de Feringhea in A Sentinella da Liberdade, no.
197, 10 July 1868, and Visconde Ponson du Terrail, O Diamante do
Commendador in A Gazeta de Goa, Vol II, no. 55, 2 August 1873. Astucias de
Bertoldo, 1875, and Dorothea e Theophilo, 1879, were also published. See A
Catalogue of Native Publications in the Bombay Presidency, 1864-9, Bombay:
Education Societys Press, India Office Library, London.
24. Some early novels and stories to be written by Goans were by Barahono e
Costa, Carloz Pedro, Os dois seductores logrados, Goa, 1865. This was
probably a play, and was advertised as an original comedy in two acts.
Another text which precedes Francisco Luis Gomes Os Brahmanes of 1866,
is J. L. Coelho, Os 2 irmos doidez, e as 2 meninas visinhas, Margao, 1865.
This was advertised as a farce. Both books are mentioned in Charles J.
Borges, scar G. Pereira, and Hannes Stube, eds, Goa and PortugalHistory
and Development, XCHR Studies Series No. 10 (New Delhi: Concept
Publishing Company, 2000). The anchor space in the ndia Portuguesa
carried a serialized story by a Maria Valeriana Pereira in 1868. Several women
short story writers emerged by the 1880s as in the Almanach Indo-Portuguez,
and the Almanach de Recreio. Other early novels published in Bombay are
Tentativa de Romance, 1869 and S.M.Fernandes, Os Miserveis de ndia,
1869. See A Catalogue of Native Publications in the Bombay Presidency.
25. Os Mystrios De GoaRomance original LusoIndiano em tres volumes por
Lus Correa da Silva. Publicando o seguinte prospect, cuja insero nos pede o sr.
L us Correa da Silva, pedimos para elle a proteco dos nossos leitores. Merecem
favor todas as publicaes litterarias, e especialmente os romances originaes que
neste paz so rarissimos. In ndia Portugueza, Anno VIII, no. 374, 28 February
1868, p. 2.
26. An advertisement for a Portuguese-Konkani vocabulary in the ndia
Portuguesa anticipated that it would appeal to heads of families who wanted
their sons to learn Portuguese through the mother tongue. It also made an
open request to anyone who had old vocabularies to hand them in so that
they could contribute to the work at hand. Ibid
Divergent Literary Histories 193
27. Boletim Official do Governo, December 1906.
28. Ibid.
29. Pe. Filinto Cristo Dias, Esboo da Histria da literatura Indo-Portuguesa
(Bastora: Typografia Rangel, 1963), Vicente de Bragana Cunha, Literatura
Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos (Bombay: Vicente de Bragana Cunha, 1926).
30. Vimala Devi and Manuel de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I,
31. Peter Nazareth, Alienation, Nostalgia, and Homecoming: Editing an
Anthology of Goan Literature, in World Literature Today, vol. 59, no. 3,
32. Pe. Francisco de Rego, Tratado Apologtico contra vrias calumnias
impostas pela malevolncia contra a sua Nao Bracmana, (1686); Pe.
Antnio Joo de Frias, Aurela dos ndios & nobiliarchia bracmana. Tratado
histrico, genealgico, panegyrico political, & moral (Lisboa: Officina de
Miguel Deslandes, impressor de Sua Magestade, 1702); and Leonardo
Pais, O Prompturio das Diffinioens Indicas deduzidas de vrios chronistas
da ndia, graves authores, & das histrias gentlicas (Lisboa: Officina de
Antnio Pedrozo Galram, 1713). Rego is said to have produced Comedias
Varias, which to date remains unpublished. See Diogo Barbosa Machado,
ed., Bibliotheca Lusitana histrica, crtica e cronolgica, Na oficina de
Ignacio Rodrigues (174352) (Lisboa: 1741-59).
33. Devi mentions Mateus Lacerda who in the late seventeenth to early
eighteenth century wrote poetry in Konkani, Portuguese, and Castilian.
See Devi and de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, p. 231.
34. Jos Pereira, Literary Konkani (Dharwar: Konkani Sahitya Prakashan, 1973).
35. Veena Naregal, Language Politics, Elites, and the Public Sphere (Delhi:
Permanent Black, 2001), pp. 168-75.
36. Ravindra Dhavi, ed., Gomantakiya Granthkaranchya Marathi Granthanchi
Suchi (Goa: Gomantak Marathi Academy Prakashan, 1996).
37. A. K. Priolkar, ed., The Printing Press in India, (Bombay, Marathi Samshodhana
Mandal, 1958).
38. The American Mission Press, and the Thomas Graham press often published
Marathi texts in Bombay.
39. Dhavi, ed., Gomantakiya Granthkaranchya Marathi Granthachi Suchi, p.
120. Dhavi derives this from A. K. Priolkars conclusions based on a letter
written by G. R. Jervis, the first European Secretary of the Native Education
Society established in 1822. Prior to this, the translation was attributed to
Sadashiv Kashinath Chhatre. See A. K. Priolkar, Goan Pioneers in Bombay,
in Goa Re-discovered (Bombay: Bhatkal Books International, 1967).
40. Dhavi, ed., Gomantakiya Granthkaranchya Marathi Granthachi Suchi. See
194 Between Empires
the entry on Govind Narayan Madganvkar for example, p. 175. Goan
writers seem to have been completely incorporated into the sphere of
Marathi literature, as a substantial number from the corpus of works
produced in the first half of the century were commentaries on various
strands of Marathi literature and poetry. These included commentaries on
bhakti poets as well as on the Ramayana and Mahabharata. A Sanskrit-
Prakrit dictionary also features among Madganvkars works.
41. One of the literary works in Marathi to be published relatively early in Goa
seems to have been a play of Dattatray Tukaram Panshikar that was printed
in Pernem in 1868.
42. In 1872, Suryaji Sadashiv Mahatmes Veshadhari Punjabi (The Disguised
Punjabi), was published from Bombay. Suryaji Sadashiv Mahatme, Veshadhari
Punjabi (Mumbai: Balaji and Co., 1886). See Priolkar, Goan Pioneers in
43. Dhavi, ed., Gomantakiya Granthkaranchya Marathi Granthachi Suchi.
44. Yashwant Phondba Naik Danait, Gomantakacha Pracheen va Arvacheen
Itihas (Mumbai: Y. P. N. Danait, 1876).
45. Damodar Fatba Bhandari, Raubahadur Mahadev Govind Ranade yanche
padhyathmak charitra (Mumbai: D. F. Bhandari, 1902). Justice Telang who,
it is claimed, was of Goan origin, was also a popular figure. See Bhandaris
biography of Justice Telang and Dattaram Jagannath Vardes poem on him.
In the early years of the twentieth century, a writer like Sitaram Shivram
Lotlikar not only published a range of suspense novels and romances, but
biographies of Sarojini Naidu, Gandhi, Lala Lajpat Rai and accounts of
the non-cooperation movement. Sitaram Shivram Lotlikar, Khooni
Shrimanth (Mumbai: Vishwanath Narayan Lele, 1924). See by the same
author, Jalo te Prem, Dadapshahi, Shantaram, Mahatma Gandhi, Lala Lajpat
Rai, Sarojini Naidu, etc., all published in Bombay from 1917 on.
46. Shripad Venkatesh Wagle, Konkanakhyan Urf Dakshinathy Saraswat
Brahmanakhyan (Mapusa: Shripad Venkatesh Wagle, 1907).
47. D. F. Bhandari elaborated the difference between the Pope and a Saraswat
priest based in Cortalim in his Pope ani Kushasthali Gomantak
Gaudpadacharya yanthil Mahadantar (Mumbai: D. F. Bhandari, 1923).
48. Filinto Cristo Dias and Vimala Devi mention that the first histories of
literary production in Goa occurred in the almanacs. Devi cites J. Gonalves,
Os Contos da minha terra, in the journal Ilustrao Goana, 1864. A later
study, not published in Goa, is Jacinto Caetano Barreto Mirandas Duas
Palavras sobre o Progresso Literrio de Goa in the Revista Contempornea de
Lisboa. See Filinto Cristo Dias, Esboo da Histria da Literatura Indo-portuguesa
Divergent Literary Histories 195
(Bastora: Typografia Rangel, 1963); and Vimala Devi, A Literatura Indo-
Portuguesa (Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971).
49. de Bragana Cunha, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos.
50. Liberio Pereira, O Culto da familiaa educao femininao amor de
leitura, Herald, 23 September 1915.
51. Miguel Vicente de Abreu, ed., Folhinha Civil e Ecclesistica de Goa para o
anno de 1850 (Nova Goa: Imprensa Nacional, 1850).
52. Ibid.
53. See for instance, J. Gerson da Cunha, The Origin of Bombay (Education
Society Press, 1900).
54. J. Gerson da Cunha, The Konkani Language and Literature (Bombay: The
Government Central Press, 1881).
55. De Bragana Cunha includes Joaquim Mouro Garcez e Palha, Jos Pestana,
Silva Campos and Toms de Aquino Mouro as writers who continued
the fidalgo sentiment of the Portuguese race in India. See de Bragana
Cunha, Literatura Indo-Portuguesa. Figuras e factos, p. 4.
56. Ibid.
57. Ibid., p. 1.
58. Ibid.
59. Ibid.
60. Ibid., p. 4.
61. Ibid.
62. O Aroto ou o Hymno do Ganz, in Harpa do Mandovi (Nova Goa:
Imprensa Nacional, 1865).
63. R. P. Vaidya, ed., Luz do Oriente, vol. XII (Ponda: Typ. Sri Atmaram, 1906-
64. Ibid.
65. Aleixo Manuel da Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, vol. IIII (Macau:
Instituto Cultural de Macau e Fundao Oriente, 1999).
66. Angelo de Gubernatis, Savitri: An Indian dramatic idyl, trans. J.Gerson da
Cunha (Bombay: Raninas Union Press, 1882).
67. Ibid.
68. da Cunha, The Konkani Language and Literature.
69. Jerome A. Saldanha, Origin and Growth of Konkani or Goan Communities
and Language (Bombay: Anglo-Lusitano Press, 1904).
196 Between Empires
The Province of the Novel
The earliest novels in Goa emerged in the 1860s, before the appearance
of the literary histories discussed in the previous section. These novels
had synthesized the disparities in cultural ideologies generated by a range
of contemporary concerns. The actual practice of novel-writing, however,
was not resolved only by addressing the cultural and political preoccupations
of the time, but through a simultaneous and apparently secondary quandary
over what would constitute novelistic form. Goan writers were exposed
to a wide range of European literature, and the precepts that regulated
form, and separated good literature from bad, had travelled intact.
actual examination of the kind of novels produced suggests, however,
that the workings of literary influence cannot be gauged from explicit
acknowledgements of influence by writers alone, or from the availability
of European literature and evidence of its consumption.
Novelists did not draw from other novels alone for stylistic norms,
because novels did not occupy a space of aesthetic autonomy that would
ensure that borrowing remained within the boundaries of the genre.
Though individual novelists would name specific influences and stylistic
aspirations, the contradictory and relatively new location of colonial
literary aesthetics also determined how the question of form was decided.
If borrowed cultural maps were the condition for the emergence of
linguistic theories about Goa and had reshaped literary institutions, then
literary production itself, and particularly the novel, was not immune to
this. Novels were not however, concealed workshops for theories of
cultural nationalism. Instead, the novels discussed below suggest that it
was in the transformation of norms of literary representation rather than
thematic choices that the Putervention of a colonial discourse of aesthetics
is actually significant.
In his discussion of the novelistic representations of lower caste lives,
Dilip M. Menon says,
The Province of the Novel 197
(t)he late nineteenth century in India saw the fortuitous coincidence of
the first stirrings of nationalist sentiment as well as the emergence of a
new artifact of the imaginationthe novel. This has had the unfortunate
consequence, within literary studies, of an assumption of kinship and
even of causality between the two events. Being born at the same time,
even in the same place, does not make for labeling as twins.
Menons discussion of nineteenth century Malayalam novels alerts
us to the use of novelistic space for lower-caste narratives. The
conventional geographical and affective narrativization of family, home,
and filial love, he indicates were in fact the new terrain on which splintered
lower-caste lives could enact wholeness and selfhood that were denied
elsewhere. A significant portion of this essay, however, is devoted to detailing
a historical context to these narratives. This historical detail on the
conditions that determined the life of lower-caste groups is provided as
an alternative to the context of the nation.
While Menons illuminating analysis of lower-caste transformations
of elements of the novel gestures to important formal innovations in the
colonial novel, there are other aspects to these texts that he relegates to
the realm of non-narrative:
The novel was a do-it-yourself form that came from the West without
any instructions. This probably accounts for the baggy structure of most
social novels of the nineteenth century, which are essays, journalism,
travelogue and didactic sermonising woven into the fabric of a plot.
It is these aspects of the colonial novel, seen as extraneous, and attributed
to the novelty of the form, that this study of novels in Goa attempts to
situate. The apparent movement from flawed to skilled novels, or
interrupted to tight narratives that is implied, suggests a movement on
the part of Indian or colonial writers, from being amateurs to being masters
of novel writing. There were perhaps other reasons for the appearance of
matter extraneous to a realistic conception of a plota common feature
of nineteenth century novels.
The contents of the novel Os Mystrios de Goa advertized in the ndia
Portuguesa of 1868 revealed the degree to which it had derived its structure
from historical, religious, and ethnographic writing as well as political
The initial chapters of the novel, much like the initial
chapters of contemporary historical books and essays were titled, The
Topography of Goa, or The Remains of the Great Ancient Portuguese.
The historical commentary developed into comments on contemporary
198 Between Empires
politics, and subsequent chapters were titled, The Greatness of Portugal
and the Reason for Decadence, Absolute Despotism and Constitutional
Absolutism. Interspersed with these were chapters on How Times Have
Changed or, the Love of an Adult Woman, The Farewell, and the Visit,
The Amorous Declaration, The Absence and Return, and other sections
suggestive of a romance. The only explicit element that distinguished
the novel from other kinds of writing was the category of romance, as
advertisements in contemporary newspapers suggest. In a discussion of
a better known romance of the time, Leopoldo Dias Os Maharatas of
1894, literary historians posed a question: But does this book really deal
with a romance?
As a response to their own question, they cited various
chapter headings that indicated in fact that the book was a collection of
narratives and characters, constructed around the theme of various
rebellions of the Marathas against the Portuguese.
Two novels written by Goans suggests that novelistic representation
under colonial conditions did not merely replace one set of themes or
objects prevalent in European novels, with those more familiar to Indian
audiences. The form of the novel was more fundamentally defined by
norms that defined how colonial cultures and societies could be represented.
The positioning of colonial culture as an explicatory and utilitarian
category that would facilitate governance disallowed the development
of a formal unity of biographical time and individuated subjectivity.
Udaya Kumars Seeing and Reading: The Early Malayalam Novel and
Some Questions of Visibility, reads the novels of Chandu Menon and
C. V. Raman Pillai, for processes of making the unreliable world of
appearances visible and legible.
The accommodation of traditional
subjects in incompatible modern spaces, Kumar suggests, generates
novelistic modes of rendering visible, translatable, and coherent, otherwise
incompatible systems of seeing and comprehending. These questions of
incoherence, unstable readings, and untranslatability are significantly not
located centrally within the spaces of plot or theme, but are the work of
the novel as a whole.
It is in the unavailability of a single schema of vision, and in the constant
task of negotiation that C. V. sets up...that we need to locate his
contribution to the emergence of the novelistic imagination in Kerala.
says Kumar. This essay shifts the inquiry into the colonial novel from
questions of their correspondence with historical fact, or with traditional
markers of novelistic form, to examining the central negotiations that
are, in fact, the creative procedure of the novel: This new space marked
The Province of the Novel 199
by a productive incoherence is that of the novel.
Rather than the analogous
link with historical conditions that Menon constructs to draw attention
to an interesting analysis of how the novelistic form was inhabited,
Kumars identification of the particular creative procedure of the novel
he discusses, more aptly locates the domain of literary representation.
The discussion of the novels below tries to locate the coloniality of
the colonial novel in similar textual spaces. As a continuation of the attempt
to trace how genres and styles are mutually constituted within the colonial
literary field, this study also suggests that these spaces were inevitably
intruded on by dominant modes of writing and representation, particularly
the ethnographic. Texts such as Johannes Fabians Time and the Other
indicate how ethnography inserts the other through naturalized narrative
techniques that confer temporality and subjectivity on their objects of
Within a colonial situation, where the autonomy of literary
representation is moot, colonial ethnography may have provided the
dominant narrative form that informed narrative practice in various realms.
It would be difficult to understand the various elements of Francisco
Luis Gomes novel, Os Brahamanes, without an explanation of the range
of influences on the Goan intelligentsia outlined in the previous chapter.
Aside from statements within the novel itself of the arguments it hoped to
work through, Luis Gomes Preface indicated both his entirely doctrinaire
approach to the form, as well as a consciousness that novelistic writing
could not easily be bent to be political doctrine in disguise. He had,
according to his own admission, an insufficient grasp of the Portuguese
language, which comes with difficulty to one who did not speak it in
childhood, nor practised it late with masters.
His novel was dull, he
claimed, his characters did not satisfy him, and it was only by controlling
his homicidal instincts, that they survived to be published. In 1866, when
Os Brahamanes was first published, he stated, The novel, I must say
here in secret, is only the form, the disguise in which I hope to recommend
it to the bookshelves.
Gomes had two reasons for preferring the form of
the novel. Newspapers, he claimed, were swept away with each mornings
rubbish, while the novel had a longer life. The other reason was that the
novel had its own province, wide and peculiar to itself and journalism
cannot hope to enter it in disguise, as the Christian missionaries used to
enter heathen lands.
Gomes regretted that he lacked the facility which
Shakespeare as well as a host of contemporary Portuguese writers had.
200 Between Empires
Contemporary reviews and later translations of Gomes novel emphasize
its indebtedness to Hugo and to Lamartine. Pe. Filinto Cristo Dias, in
his Esboo da Histria da Literatura ndo-Portuguesa emphasized that Os
Brahamanes was a romance that had emerged at a point when realism
had begun to dislodge romanticism within various spheres of Portuguese
and European intellectual production. Luis Gomes had, according to
him, tended instinctively to adopt a romantic sentimentalism when
writing a novel about India. He described it, however, as a book influenced
by liberalism, by the principles of the French Revolution, and by critiques
of caste discrimination.
Vimala Devi and Manuel e Seabras A Literatura
Indo-Portuguesa detail contemporary comments on the novel that trace
its reliance on high Romanticism, Goan petit-bourgeois sentimentality,
and Christianity.
A letter from Gomes to Lamartine, appended to the
translation, is also a direct acknowledgement of literary influence.
Luis Gomes preface, and the novel itself, need to be seen as two distinct
sites through which we may locate the emergence of a notion of literariness.
For instance, in keeping with critiques of the novel cited earlier, one can
see how the substance of the novel derived from the many strands to the
mid-century political challenges confronting Luis Gomes, as well as the
prescriptions of literary histories. These suggest why the novel that was
published in Portuguese in Lisbon and written by the prominent Goan
economist in 1866, was located in Fyzabad of the 1850s, and had as its
principal protagonists, an Irish plantation owner, a Bengali brahmin, and
a Portuguese priest.
Pinheiro Chagas, another critic cited by Devi and
Seabra, explained that the novel had to be located in British India because,
In the Portuguese colonies, between the conquerors and the conquered,
there is not that deep gulf which the unbearable pride of the British has
maintained with great prejudice not only to civilization but also to the
British domination.
While this comment mirrored a view voiced frequently within
Portuguese nationalist histories, it is also likely that, to avoid what would
have been a confrontationist engagement with Goan politics, British
India offered a territory where European racism, Hindu brahmanism
and Christian charity could be represented in a political climate which
also offered, in the form of the Rebellion of 1857, sharp opposition to
colonial rule. In the terms of the novel the colonial situation of India
and Goa presented a challenge to the political ideal of liberalism. For Luis
Gomes, this was constituted by the similar and politically opposed forms
of dominance represented by colonial racism and brahminism. In India,
The Province of the Novel 201
according to him colonial racism had the upper hand, and the position of
servitude offended brahmin pride. Anti-colonial violence was represented,
therefore, as the unsavoury outcome of the clashing of two equally
repugnant forms of oppression. Liberalism required two levels of change
in colonial India, according to the novel. Colonisers had to surrender their
unfair privileges over the colony and brahmins their oppressive pride.
Within the novel, Luis Gomes offered a theorization of colonial power
and casteism across Africa and India, and across two colonial powers,
Britain and Portugal. He suggested a parallel between casteism and racism:
It is said that the law of Christ governs European civilization. That is
a lie. It shines on its surface, but does not penetrate to the entrails.
Europe tramples upon Asia and America, and all trample upon poor
Africa.... The black races of Africa are the Pariahs of the Brahmins of
Europe and America.
Luis Gomes also elaborated on the significance of the rebellion of 1857.
The fakirs who were behind it, he claimed, had given it a national
dimension, which he approved of: The country of Manu, after having
passed like a coin through the hands of Alexander, Tamerlane, Albuquerque,
Dupleix and Clive, must revert to its ancient possessors.
The insurrection
had, however, degenerated into a raid of thugs, according to him, and
what might have been a revolution was no more than a revolt. Luis Gomes
attributed this to the divisive force of caste. To men of liberal principles
and to mankind it is perfectly indifferent whether India is called English
or Brahminical; what they cannot consent to is, that the domination be
exploitation instead of paternal tutelage, said Luis Gomes.
Though a
decade after its defeat, Luis Gomes depicted the 1857 rebellion as an
inevitable failure, he also saw in it a sign of the inevitable defeat of the
English: In 1857 the English rule must expire, as in another 57 it had
been mainly consolidated. There must be an Indian Plassey, as there had
been a European.
Through this elaborately detailed political commentary, the novel
rendered casteism, racism, and anti-colonial violence as abstract forces
propelled into existence by flawed human action. These worked to thwart
the union of two heterosexual couples belonging to different races, Indian
and English. The eventual tragic resolution of these conflicts was effected
indirectly through the outbreak of the Rebellion of 1857. The fundamental
structure of a realist novel is apparent in Os Brahamanes through the
interweaving of socio-political and historical conflicts routed through
individuated desires and biographical time. The following analysis of
202 Between Empires
this novel tries to argue, however, that though Luis Gomes explicitly
indicated the aesthetic and political influences on his work, and though
the imperious demands of emergent literary histories had also shaped his
novel, the structure and form of the novel drew from the dominant
print genres of historical and ethnographic writing validated by the
Goan dite.
The personae of Os Brahamanes for instance, were caught within the
frameworks of ethnographic description, and historical explanation,
through which Luis Gomes worked his attempts at a political analysis of
caste, colonialism, racism, and other phenomena that had come to represent
the ills of Indian society. The brahmin Magnod and his actions, for instance,
were constituted not by an individuated perception of surroundings and
situations, but by a socially determined response. Magnod was a name
put to a prototypical brahminical worldview. The persona of a Bengali
brahmin in this text provided the means to typify not just his social
behaviour, but to elaborate a set of psychological traits which were said
to derive from a brahmins place in the social structure, and from the
scriptural and philosophical traditions which supported it. Magnod was
represented, therefore, as no more than the manifestation of a caste type.
This in itself need not have precluded the construction of an individuated
persona. The prototypical brahmin however, was withheld both from
absorption into the norms of realist representation, and from being an
agent of casteist ideology, by explanatory structures within the novel.
These worked to fix the brahmins individual traits into a broader systemic
explanation for Indian society as a whole.
Luis Gomes use of this method may also be seen as ironical. This could
be read as a text which employed the strategies of ethnographic writing to
construct a critical anti-brahmanical ethnography of India, addressed
to an inner circle of Goans. The second chapter of the novel for instance,
was titled The Purity of the Brahmans.
This chapter depicted the
purity of the brahmins as a ceaseless struggle against defilement by pariahs.
While much of the chapter proceeded as a statement and description
of the dimensions and nature of brahmanical purity as an observable
phenomenon, explained in part through analogies with Christian suffering
and redemption, Gomes interrupted this disquisition at a certain point.
This was an address to the reader:
Behold here the Brahman as he is painted by superstition, pride and
fanaticism, but not by the Vedas; for the Brahman of the Vedas is less pure
and more human. Magnod was a Brahman as required by superstition.
The Province of the Novel 203
The Fall, the next chapter, was made explicable by the preceding treatise
on brahmanism, as a disobedient Magnod was dragged into the presence
of his employer, the Irish planter, Robert Davis, by low born hamals.
The insult and defilement (resulting from being handled by members of
the lower castes) compelled Magnod to devote his life to avenging the
slurs, and formed the pivot of the rest of the novel. This episode was
received differently by the planter and his European dinner guests. Davis
himself was ignorant of the source of Magnods anger, while the chief
Magistrate being perfectly acquainted with the customs of India,
remarked disparagingly on the arrogance of Indians.
Luis Gomes use of
the term customs of India is here not ironical, and suggests the overarching
containment of his critique of caste practices within explicatory schema.
Consequent to his humiliation, Magnod abandons his job and wife
and disappears from the town. His wife hangs herself, and their two
orphaned children are sent by a repentant Davis to London to be brought
up at his expense, with his daughter Helen, and are christened Thomas
and Emily. The next part of the novel is preceded by a similar disquisition
on another aspect of Indian life. The colonial invention of the cult of
Thuggee with its deity Bhavani and its pan-Indian dimensions were
recuperated in this novel by Luis Gomes as the sore of Brahman civilization,
born out of the decomposition of Brahmanism.
As a result, the Indian,
soured by misery and ground down by despotism, becomes a Thug,
according to Luis Gomes. The full social impact of Thuggee derived,
however, according to this novel, from the disappearance of the sense of
crime from the tribes of savages. Instead, a doctrine, a morality, and a
philosophy were constructed around the practice. As with brahmanism,
the description of Thuggee was not restricted either to empirical detail
or to elaborating the organizational structure of the cult of thugs and
their belief systems. The emergence of the thug in India was an extended
metaphor for the decay of the nation, and could be identified with
pestilence. Cholera and the thug were born in the same country and in
the same year. India is their native land, claimed Luis Gomes.
Similar botanical, medical, and ethnographic metaphors extended
through the novel. Johannes Fabians emphasis on the significance of the
use of temporal structures for the narrativization of culture is of particular
relevance in the study of this novel.
The progression of the plot of the
novel rested heavily on chapters that discussed characteristics of culture in
the present tense. The Indian sun produced both laziness in Indians, and
the areca nut tree, as equally natural phenomena. This form of ethnographic
writing when combined with an anti-colonial critique also allowed, however,
204 Between Empires
for a comparative representation of the life of Indians and the life of the
English in India. The mores and practices of Europe which were enumerated
as fixed systems, in fact provided a point from which to develop a
comparative ethnography, as Luis Gomes did between the Indian nautch
girl and the social construction of her morality as compared to that of the
prostitute in Europe. For Luis Gomes, the European prostitute symbolizes
a fall from virtue and is marked by shame, while the Indian dancing-
girl who is born into the profession loses nothing, because she has
received nothing....
The comparison between the prostitute and the dancing-girl preceded
an account a nautch performance at a Nawabs house, to which Davis
and his family, which comprized his own daughter and nephew and the
children of Magnod, are invited. There are two social gatherings that the
family attends. One is the nautch performance, which they attend on
their long journey to the Brigadier-Generals ball in Kanpur, and the
other is the ball itself. Both bring home the fact that Magnods children
are racially distinct from their foster-father and cannot be treated equally.
Luis Gomes depicts both social gatherings quite distinctly.
The Nawabs nautch performance was depicted through a moral
ethnography of the norms that ruled the lives of temple dancers. This
introduced the evening at the Nawabs, through an empirical account
of costumes and performance, the offering of areca nut, the Indian
masticatory, and a description of the Nawabs son.
A simulated tiger-
fight, the Nawabs sister in purdah, and a large resplendent banyan tree,
comprised the treats an indigenous evening entertainment offered to an
implicitly ethnographic eye. The personae not pinned into this objectifying
template were the Davis family whose entry triggered the only social
reaction that suggested they inhabited a dynamic society. Thomas and
Emily, Magnods children, were the focus of attention, and were received
by Indians with disdain, and (by) the Englishmen with surprise.
The Brigadier-Generals ball, however, which emerged from a European
context was endowed with meaning from the start, and required neither
an ethnographic nor an anthropological introduction of the mores by which
it was ruled. These divergences in Luis Gomes novel clearly demarcate the
differing burden of the novelist. The burden of knowing any element of
European society lay with the reader, while all that comprised Indian society
was covered by a permanently opaque film of incomprehension, lifted
only when made explicable through systematized representation. With
the onus of knowing the ground rules cast onto the reader, the Brigadier-
The Province of the Novel 205
Generals ball could be discussed within the norms of a social satire, a
critical technique that assumed prior knowledge in its readership.
The Brigadier Generals ball was the site, as it was in contemporary
European novels, of sexual and racial conflict. Magnods children, Thomas
and Emily, found that they were undesirable as dancing partners and
discovered the degree to which their existence, their quasi-membership
in a European family, was unacceptable in India. The fact that they were
raised in London allowed for an elaboration of a parallel system of
discrimination within the novel. Thomas and Emily find when they come
of age that their racial origins constitute a social ceiling beyond which
they cannot reach. Both find obstacles preventing their marriage to the
English partners they choose to love.
During the couples long journey home from the ball, the Indian siblings
and Helen are invited by their companion Richard to observe the sepoys
supper as an evening diversion. This anthropological entertainment had
gained renown, the narrator suggested, because there were few people
anywhere in the world who eat less and bear hunger better than the sepoys
of India.
The description of the sepoys staple was meticulous, and
recorded its composition, the botanical name of the pulse used, the size,
number and thickness (that of a Carlisle biscuit), and the fact that it was
accompanied by a copper-pot full of water. The sepoys eating did not
constitute the only spectator sport available. Their entertainment was
recorded as a sub-narrative inserted as a temporal break in the main
narrative. The story that the sepoys and their observers heard was a moral
tale from the Sanskrit text, the Hitopadesa a collection of maxims and
tales read aloud by a brahmin, which warned against squandering of
wealth, and discriminating against those who lacked it. While this
established the kind of narratives apparently available to Indian sepoys, it
also suggested the moral value of a tradition potentially available to Indians
and English of varying classes, even if the tradition was still the repository
of brahmins who read aloud. This spectacle was offered as a device for
Indians educated within European systems, for the self-conscious
recuperation of a potentially lost or unrecognized tradition. Through the
brahmins children gazing at the sepoys supper, Luis Gomes seemed to
define a position for a certain class of Indians for whom tale-telling and
sepoy suppers were no longer part of lived experience. Ethnographic
description was employed here as an inevitable recessionnot as a departure
from an ideal of what nineteenth-century realist novels should bebut a
recession into the customary orientalist representations of Indian society.
206 Between Empires
The normalization of Indian life through realism, this particular treatment
seems to argue, is impossible under colonial conditions. It is, instead,
ethnography that enables narrative.
The absence of any mention of Portugal in this novel, which was written
in Portuguese and published in Lisbon, resonates through the work. By
not naming Goa, Luis Gomes enacted the violence of 1857, along with
its inevitable containment, as a sign of things to come. Os Brahamanes
addressed both colonizers and colonized. The former were urged to fulfill
the agenda of enlightenment which they had begun, the latter were warned
of the consequences of disunity. This portentous literary inauguration of
the Indian nation implicitly held out hope for the incorporation of Goa
through a redeemed colonizer, and a reformed colonial politics. If the
Rebellion of 1857 represented the semi-articulated notion of nationality,
the replacement of realist techniques within the novel by ethnographic
ones however, precluded the formation of individuated national subjectivity.
In contrast to Luis Gomes, Francisco Joo da Costa, who used the
pseudonym Gip, seemed to have written his work Jacob e Dulce by using
the same representational strategies, but transformed them by
repositioning the authorial voice and the subject of ethnography.
e Dulce was published in 1896, thirty years after Os Brahmanes.
The authors first statement to the reader declared that the work at
hand was not a romance. Both Luis Gomes and Gip were certain that they
were not novelists. Their works were not offered as attempts at the form,
but as devices through which they would publicly conceal their real
intention: to produce a social commentary. If Luis Gomes hoped to make
political doctrine palatable and memorable, Gip set out to perform the
function of a social satirist. Both began from a consciously articulated
position outside the society they belonged to and were about to describe.
Gip, like Luis Gomes, re-entered the social space of Goa through
administrative and ethnographic categories.
In his preface to the reader, he claimed that the work was, ...a simple
and unpretentious narrative, which served me as a pretext to describe those
of our uses and customs, which are supposed to be ridiculous.
For a
novelist, he said, the text would offer neither scholarliness nor penmanship.
Gip used the preface to assert the greater value of truth-telling over attention
to form. I never struggled to be a writer, claimed Gip, because I know
The Province of the Novel 207
that in my blessed country, where graphomaniacs whom the government
stifles, abound, the most secure means for bankruptcy is writing.
Along with Luis Gomes, Gip claimed dissociation from the question
of form, as well as hesitancy over writing fiction in Portuguese: Though
an assiduous reader of books written in foreign languages, I cant scrawl
intelligibly in Portuguese, he claimed.
A greater good than linguistic
proficiency was offered to the reader:
In this book, I care more about telling the naked and raw truth, than
about form. I confess to my defects with sincerity... In this malnourished
and badly tended country, where four hundred thousand prodigies of
talent flourish alongside innumerable countrymen without a shirt, there
is no place for fools.
In contrast to Luis Gomes insertion of objectified categories for the
analysis of social practices into a fictional text, Gips analysis of uses and
customs did not produce flattened descriptions of what had come to be
recognized as generic images and practices associated with India. Instead
he used these categories as a position from which to construct a satire of
upper-class Catholic Goans. The difference between Luis Gomes and
Gips work indicates that satire worked as a critique internal to society,
while ethnographic novels discussed social practices as difference from a
norm represented by western societies. In Jacob e Dulce however, the
sanctity of realist representation is disrupted twice over. By using both
satire and ethnographic categories, Gip forced ethnography into an
internal critique. The social world of the village of Breda was constructed
conventionally enough around a central male protagonist and his family,
only to have it dismantled and slotted into authoritative disciplinary
classifications of objects, rituals, and practices. However, unlike Luis
Gomess production of a disruptive and self-negating novelistic form, Gips
use of ethnography was further formalized as a narrative strategy through
satire. Satire forced a consciousness of the use of ethnography, or
foregrounded ethnography as form within the novel itself. How can we
take this society seriously, the novel seems to ask, if, its life can be so
easily and so ridiculously laid out in repetitive patterns?
For ethnography to be employed in this way, where one could rely
without any explicit statement on its function and codes being recognized
merely through their use, a further and prior knowledge association with
its codes on the part of the reader was assumed. A satirical use of
ethnography drew on the readers experience of being habituated to an
208 Between Empires
external mapping, a schematizing according to norms that are shaped by
conditions (usually European) other than those to which they are applied.
When Gip used these on an elite section of Goan society, however, it
created another layer of irony, demeaning and robbing readers of the
dignity that they ordinarily enjoyed in their ability to represent themselves
authoritatively. The social world of the novel was not only re-presented
according to the measure of colonial cultural categories, but this
representation caricatured the elite Catholic Goan society.
Given the lack of anonymity within the class Gip satirized, he was
perhaps inevitably accused of ridiculing specific families within Margao.
He protested, however, to say:
I simply described the ridiculous customs which are dominant in Indo-
Portuguese society, and to do so, created some types with vices and
customs more in evidence in these families, types which are encountered
in all of Goa, among all castes.
It was Ismael Gracias who wrote a preface to Jacob e Dulce who hoped
to trace possibilities for a prescriptive cultural regeneration, through the
fictional form of realism. Realism, according to him, replaced the
deficiencies of earlier forms of description. Goan readers had already
encountered Jacob e Dulce through its serialization in the newspaper, O
Ultramar, as well as through a Konkani translation in the newspapers of
Gracias suggested that Jacob e Dulce was one of the rare books
to be read across linguistic and class divides in Goa. No publication of
the indigenous press since Filippe Nerys Resumo da Vida do Apstolo das
ndias, a biography of St. Francis Xavier, had been as popular as Gips
book, claimed Gracias. Gracias was keen to establish the utilitarian value
of realist satire and Gips book in particular. Each country has its
peculiarities of intimate life, he claimed, those of Goa do not dishonour
us, having, by and large, various similarities with those of different
countries of the West.
The apparent proximity to the West reduced the
need for reform according to Gracias, but there remained some practices
that had to be extracted since they had taken hold and would rot society
like gangrene. By performing this function, Gip had taken his place among
European and American novelists like
Tolstoy, Zola, Flaubert, Daudet, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Beecher-
Stowe, Longfellow, Escragnolle Taunay and others whose works represent
the product of a passionate contact with Nature, of a patient investigation
The Province of the Novel 209
of all the phases and changes of lifeprofound observers who have
enriched their spirit with the spirit of the time, as Goethe would say....
Gips text, like his own preface, however, did not radiate such good
intent or seriousness of purpose as Gracias introduction would suggest.
The novel was a laconic and often merciless commentary on the structure
of the Goan bourgeoisie, its foibles and anxieties over maintaining social
prestige, most evident when a marriage had to be arranged between two
families. While Gip himself asserted the value of truth over form, this did
not imply that he had assumed the burden of regenerating Goan or Indian
society by tracing its central contradictions, as Luis Gomes had done.
Jacob e Dulce worked as a dispassionate if subversive sociology of Goan
life, engaging its readers in the structures of time and of power of which
each village was constituted. The first line of the novel states, He was
called, briefly and commonly, JacobJacob Avelino Dantas.
The word
used for commonly, in Portuguese, plebeamente, however, seemed to
satirize both the use of long-winded family names by the Goan aristocracy,
as well as the protagonists pretensions to belonging to that class by
mimicking its foibles. Jacob Avelino Dantas, the first line of the novel
suggested, may have belonged to the class of economically reduced village
gentry. The subsequent lines confirm this. We learn that Jacob belonged
to the village of Breda, and was a twenty-five year old gaunkar, of royal
blood. Without doubt, the narrator continues, his was one of the principal
and noble families, which enjoyed the platonic glories, without any benefits
worthy of mention, of belonging to the first vangor.
This sets the tone
for much of the novel, which detailed the many ways in which honour
was secured, lost, maintained or accumulated by Goan families, without
any corresponding educational, economic, or political developments.
The Dantas family had all the necessary attributes required of respectable
families. Among those it had reared in the seat of the family, were a number
of canons, vicars, missionaries, and one of their ancestors was even at the
point of being nominated professor of the Royal seminary of Rachol...all
of which is revealed in the documents, said Jacobs uncle, the reverend
Antonio Dantas. The reader is meant to deduce, therefore, that the Dantas
family had engaged in the much-savoured occupation of tracing its own
history through parish or land records. This mark of respectability was
undercut immediately, by a thumbnail sketch of the authoritative male
relative, the priest Antonio Dantas. The priest, the narrator claimed,
pronounced these words about the illustriousness of the family, as he
210 Between Empires
made himself at ease, a little before eating, having, however served himself
a peg of the native spirit, destined to begin a rebellion with his sexagenarian
stomach, and engage it in contentious battle with plenty of food.
But the documents see nothing of this, concluded the narrator. The
portrait of the Dantas family required an elaboration from a better-
informed source than documents. It was public knowledge, continued
the narrator that one of the illustrious missionaries from the family had
returned with plenty of money from the mission in the north. Another,
he claimed, was employed as an accountant in the treasury, and no clever
accountant had ever left the treasury with empty hands, while another
missionary priest in Madras had returned, having plunged his hands deep
into the mission coffers. The house of Dantas, this first section concluded,
was known to be rich and miserly. The first few pages of the novel refused
the possibilities of individuation through the use of an omniscient narrator
or through the self-representations of the family. Information about the
family was received and deliberated as it appeared from documents and
from public knowledge, or gossip.
The plot therefore, was the least significant element in this work. While
Luis Gomes juxtaposed narrative elements in his novel with explanatory
theses to try and fix the narrative into a meaningful framework, Jacob e
Dulce worked by offering the reader conventional plot elements, and
subverting them instantly. The introduction of the male protagonist,
the description of his physical and mental attributes, his family, the female
protagonist, and the obstacles to the union, all relied on pre-existing
narrative norms. Satire was produced by evoking these norms and
readers expectations of them, and meeting these expectations by
elaborating the unseen and unspoken basis to the everyday upper caste
Goan Catholic marriage.
Though Goan society was presented through institutional and ritual
categories, the modes of description used by Gip worked to destabilize
the dignity and sanctity of these practices. Chapters entitled Before the
Marriage, or The Marriage, described ritual practices only to ridicule the
caste pride, class interests, and mercenary greed which each custom made
evident. The brides family, the Pereiras for instance, celebrated the feast
of their patron saint, St. Anne, from time immemorial, with much pomp
and little expenditure, because originally this feast served some old
advocates in the family as an occasion to collect their delayed honorariums
in the form of presents.... The narrator elaborated: Happily this family
The Province of the Novel 211
could count on the goodwill of the saint for many years; goodwill which
was unconditional and partial, since it favoured their nominations for
public office with prejudice to other candidates, and elevated the price
of coconuts when the family sold, and lowered the price of rice when
they bought...
The satirical comments were designed to induce alarm and laughter,
as a society found its shared secrets confronting it in the novel. For instance,
Jacobs mother, D. Especiosa, we are told, looked entirely the bereaved
widow. The next line stated, she took on a tutor for her children who
played many roles, some of them secret, which I will not investigate here.
The identification and study of objects, institutions, and the organization
of domestic life, which formed part of the novel, was not determined by
their exotic value, or difference from a normative civilization. Instead, the
novel traced the practices that furthered the economic and social interests
of certain groups, but would not usually be mentioned in legitimized self-
representations. The narrative traced the concentration of meaning around
significant objects and rituals, to emphasize the degree to which they were
embedded as unspoken but highly structured measures of social value. It
was these concerns which produced the calibrated representations of
pianos, gossip, and romantic novels as some of the central underpinnings
of Goan marriages.
Substantial sections of the novel were devoted to the structured location
of the piano in Goan society. The sense of displacement and unfamiliarity
generated by this choice of an object not only ridiculed the importance
attached to it by families which could scarcely afford to buy one, but
foregrounded the mechanisms of representation within the novel as well.
The statement, the head of the family thinks of a son-in-law and a piano
on the same day, indicated its point of entry into the family, where it
functioned as a sign of the accomplishment and talent of its marriageable
Rendering Verdis A la Vita at evening salons was a universal
gauge of talent. From the hiring of the piano teacher, to the moment in
the ballroom, when a young girls father advanced with trepidation, bearing
the manuscript of a song his daughter had to sing, the piano occupied a
central place in the family home, and structured social time and familial
relations. One of the more visible signs of its function, stated the narrator,
was the production of very many single female pianists, and very few
married ones. Since the instrument was a sign of impending marriage, the
narrator stated, Catholic marriage in Breda is the prelude to the divorce
between a woman and the piano. Having performed its primary function,
212 Between Empires
the piano was either sold to assist other girls through their youth, or endeared
itself to the family. For this reason, the narrator stated, In India, the
pianoforte, like the juridical subject, never dies. It is immortal!
The location of the piano formed part of a general critique of the
education of women, directed as it was exclusively to furnishing a suitable
bride. The life of Goan women, the novel suggested, involved a continuous
tailoring of the mind and person. Many Indian mamas hate the laughter
of girls, stated the narrator, as a preliminary descriptive statement of the
suffocation of female laughter. Society seemed to like girls with a defeated
and lugubrious air, he claimed, who speak in monosyllables and answer
yes-senhor or no-senhor. A result of this monitoring is, that
as a rule, the single Bredense girl is a mystery. She can be painted as a
demon or as an angel, without there being anyone to confirm or contest
these qualities with certainty, except her parents and intimates.
Familial control is so complete, that the omniscient narrator cannot
penetrate it. Women remain inaccessible to fiction, as well as to social
analysis, the narrator implied, as information about them can only be
gleaned from their social enemies, through gossip, or through the tailored
representations of their parents. When I knew the daughter of Salvador,
everyone who knew her gave her 15 years to live, said the narrator, in a
rare admission of his own inscription in the village he scrutinized.
revelation emphasized the difficulty inherent in producing an authoritative
account of the principal female persona. The narrator was not only obliged
to assure the reader of his access to the village but to reveal his sources
of information, and emphasize his own distance from them, and,
consequently, the unverifiability of its accuracy since it was under the
hold of paternal power.
The socially produced opacity of womens characters required the observer
to use other methodologies. Reading skills and print preferences emerged
as telling evidence of Dulces actual capacity, rather than her grades in
school which were manipulated by the school authorities according to
the class and social standing of the student. So that when she was actually
nineteen, though fifteen for purposes of marriage, she wrote faa with ss,
and Bernardo, as Bernado, and couldnt understand very much of the
The Province of the Novel 213
printed service for communion or the manual for mass, which everyone
carried to church because it was pretty and fashionable. But she liked to
read the Rocambole, revealed the narrator.
The last referred to a series
of tales about a young man, Rocambole, which were published in the
mid-nineteenth century in Paris by the French writer, Ponson du Terrail.
Bibliographies and other references within the novel and by Ismael Gracias
in the preface, suggest that du Terrail was one of the authors whose
popularity among the Goan youth was disapproved of. The fact that it
featured on Dulces reading list suggested that if it brought enjoyment,
it did not enhance her reading skills.
The frequent appearance of various kinds of print as a gauge of character
and taste suggest that it had become a publicly displayed personal attribute
within this class. The novel suggested that the activity of reading within
the social groups described was prolific and eclectic enough for a finely
calibrated evaluation of reading preferences to be offered through the
text. Gips social portrait of reading practices was prescriptive and punitive.
It used the internal space of the novel to determine how it and other
kinds of books ought to be received by readers, and offered corrective
suggestions for the right place and time for the right kind of book.
Dulces forced assimilation into stereotyped gendered practices had
gendered her reading. Her father wrote her letters for her if she needed
to write to someone, and her parents simulated admiration for her talent,
and her ability, when it was necessary to speak in Portuguese.
At the
beginning of a catechism-like series of questions on how books are procured
in Breda, the narrator asked rhetorically, Why does a girl from Breda need
English? and replied, to read fashion magazines. Who (in the village)
buys these? Senhor Antonio Falleiro, of Carambolim. When does she get
the journals? When papa sells coconuts and has money.
Jacobs tastes, the novel suggested, had to be made more eclectic by
his aunt, while Ramiros, his rival in love, had to be curbed. When Jacobs
aunt searched his room for romances, in the hope of finding evidence of
interest in his impending marriage, she only retrieved a copy of the Flos-
Sanctorum, a religious text reprinted from its translation into Konkani
by Franciscans in the seventeenth century. To improve the prospects of
the marriage, D. Dorothea lent him Portuguese editions of The History of
Bertholdo, The History of Charlemagne, and a devotional text for confession
and communion. It is uncertain why such texts would catch the fancy of
a Goan youth, but the shift from religious to dramatized historical fiction
may have been intended to assist the development of a dull personality.
214 Between Empires
Paradoxically, it was Ramiro who tried to train as a priest but was found
reading romances, specifically a pornographic romance, O Saturnino,
which his priest uncle initially mistook for the biography of a saint. The
more sophisticated and pretentious youth at Jacobs wedding, however,
were anxious to be heard discussing the fashionable writers Camillo
Castello and Julio Diniz. The older men discussed the role of the press,
and disgruntledly praised the papers that criticized the Portuguese
government, while Sr. Manoel Jorge, an employee in the treasury, was a
pessimist, and appropriately enough, only read the government bulletin,
the Boletim Official.
The consumption of print also provided a metaphor through which
to describe the workings of gossip. The narrator endowed gossip with
the shape and weight of a formally structured institution. Jacobs
marriage was achieved through careful planning by his priest-uncle.
The bride and the amount of dowry which could be demanded were
carefully assessed. These plans set off waves of gossip in the village,
which both supported and threatened the fragile transaction until the
day of the wedding. While Jacobs propensity to idiocy and alcoholism
and Dulces ugliness and tendency to tuberculosis formerly occupied
the two families alone, they subsequently became the subjects of every
social gathering.
In the streets, in the churchyard, on Sundays, in the balconies, the dowry
and dates were discussedwhich some found too much, others too little;
...what she atetwo paisas of fish for dinner, half a tanga of meat for
lunch, how only Jacob and the priest Antonio lunched, while the rest
drank canja, without serviettes at the table....
all these formed part of the circuit of gossip.
The transmitters and locales
for gossip were presented in the novel as a regulated formal system. The
act of gossiping itself, the narrator insists, was undertaken as a sacred
duty, and was sustained through certain special conduits. One of these
was the piano teacher who moved from house to house where there were
marriageable daughters, and,
With the tacit collaboration of the servants...publishes, not infrequently,
a verbal journal, which deals with the private life of families, which has
as many subscribers as the teacher has students.... I would never suggest,
however, that the mestre be cautioned, because, without his journal, how
would families entertain themselves, in a society, where there are no
The Province of the Novel 215
libraries, nor clubs, nor theatres, nor any other diversions? It is necessary,
I find, that we adjust to the circumstances of things, and that we make
our peace with institutionsSenhor mestre is an institution.
The novel suggested that romantic love in the village had begun to be
refashioned by the norms of the fictional romance. The narrator detailed
how the norms of individual romantic love were accommodated to
the rigours of the social economy of arranged marriages. This counter-
sociology laid bare, not only the structures of an arranged marriage, but
the ways in which the appearance of disinterested love was managed
alongside the pragmatic and social considerations which more explicitly
produced arranged marriages. A comment on the prevalent desirability
of marriages made for love elaborated the difference in generations: the
brides mother was married in the pre-amorous days, when youth only
knew they had been betrothed by public knowledge.
The marriage of
Jacob and Dulce could not be as sanguinely effected. Negotiations over
dowry broke down, and the marriage hung in balance.
During this lapse, a respectable but poor suitor Ramiro, reputedly
more intelligent and accomplished than Jacob, seemed attracted to Dulce.
The need to conceal the contractual aspects of marriage derived from the
needs to live up to the norms of European humanism, which seem to have
been drawn largely from popular novels of the time. The narrator
regretted, however, the weak hold of these models over the sensibilities
and economies of Goan youth. The love of Ramiro, the narrator regretted,
is domesticated, a Bredense love, with nothing romantic...a methodical
love, and Dulces expressions were likewise lukewarm. The youth of
Breda, according to the narrator, rarely embarked on romances that would
incur the wrath of their parents, and were more inclined to declare
themselves in love after their parents died. The reason is the following,
in my view, he said.
Indian love is essentially prudent, farsighted and chary. The lover, before
resolving to swim in the Ocean of love, first tries to provide himself with
victuals, like a good sea-wolf. He puts the stomach before the heart. It is
because of this, that with the mother and father dead, as master of an
undivided inheritance, the boy has repeated attacks of love, like colic of
the liver.
216 Between Empires
The tepid overtures of Ramiro are here doubly satirized not only
through the contingencies of real estate and wills and inheritances, but
through the formulaic Portuguese romances which found favour among
Goan youth, and which the narrator also satirized.
The love of the Bredense youth requires to be nourished with the reading
of romances and verses, just as it is necessary for the buffalo to raise itself
to graze in the hills of the city. For this reason, the Bredense lover makes
himself literate, and distinguishes himself as a poet.
The formulaic prescriptions for love in contemporary fiction,
according to the narrator, constricted expressions of love in their already
prosaic readers:
...none of these writings is complete without the enamoured author
speaking of the hill of the city and of its chapel. All the enamoured writers,
who raise the buffalo of their love to graze in the mount of Breda, agree
that the view is superb. But with respect to the chapel, there are among
them, divided opinions.
commented the narrator sardonically. The object of this sarcasm was the
apparently popular romance writer Oscar Moreno, whose protagonist
Norbertos expressions of ardour did not win the approval of the narrator.
Passages from the novel were reproduced within the text of Jacob e Dulce:
Oscar Moreno says of his protagonist, Norberto, that he was seated on a
rock, when, spurred by faith, hope and resignation; he had climbed the
mount of Margao.
He chose a bad place to seat Norberto.
The rocks get hot, and produce uncomfortable haemorrhoids in
those who rest their resigned behinds on them.
Now without wishing it, Oscar risked that Norberto passed his days
grievously injured with faith, hope, resignation and warts.
Ramiro knew this and did not despise the precepts of hygiene; for this
reason, when he went to the mount, he sat on grass. And it was here that
he was taken by surprise by the news of the marriage of his loved one.
Critiques of colonialism, and its impact on Goa are only too explicitly
articulated through the novel. Following a satirical sketch of an employee
who was said to typify all the personnel at the treasury, the narrator
The Province of the Novel 217
claimed, The accounting department was the image of Portuguese
domination in India; chaos, poverty and serenity. The image preceding
this statement, however, caricatures the practised and petrified
cosmopolitanism of the Goan elite. The employee from the accounting
department displayed
his capacity to distinguish himself wherever he wasin the cedars of
Libano, at the bottom of a well, on the banks of the Nile, in the church
of the Penha da Frana, in the Vatican palace, in the wharf of Vitongem,
on the Brooklyn bridge, in the bazaar of Breda.
The representation of print within the novel tended to perform the
same function as this sketch of a respected employee. It suggested the
ineffectuality of a bourgeoisie even as it was exposed to cultural and
specifically literary influences from the world over.
In Jacob e Dulce, Konkani proverbs and bawdy wedding songs were
reproduced within the text to gesture to the earthier traditions that
survived and in which Dulce participated. This inclusion demonstrated
the inability of the elite to wholly escape from a language they pretended
to have forgotten. The devaluing of what was Goan and the legitimizing
of European determinants of high culture by the Goan elite was a frequent
motif through the novel. The relation of Goa to Portugal as a political or
cultural entity, however, was not always oppositional or hierarchized,
though Ismael Gracias introduction brackets the novel within such a
hierarchization. Gracias argued, for instance, in his preface to the novel, that
Gips satire was an effort to purge Goan society, despite its approximation
of an Europeanized lifestyle, of practices that were still shameful. The
relation of Goan to European tradition in the novel, however, could not
have been further from this conception of culture. It also did not invest
very much in the identification or construction of a Goan tradition.
Catholic Goans were mocked for their desire to ape European clothes,
and to acquire the Portuguese language, only to mock their imperfectly
executed aspirations for status markers. This critique was less concerned
with the hierarchy between the two traditions or with restoring authenticity,
or with registering the betrayal of an earlier culture, than with ridiculing
the slippages that occurred with the suppression of all that constituted
non-European practices.
The lapses into Goan practices through the novel were represented
through the inadvertent use of Konkani words by the protagonists. The
satire was not invested in transforming this into an analogy for cultural
dispossession. The piano teacher who instructed Dulce, for instance, was
218 Between Empires
imperfectly trained in Portuguese, like his student. The frequent lapse
into Konkani by both, and the misspelling and unusual combinations of
Portuguese and Konkani words were intended to generate amusement
in the reader. The use of Konkani here did not represent a realm of
authenticity; nor did Portuguese constitute for this class in this novel, an
imposition or an unchangeably alien language. Such a representation would
rest uneasily on a class of Goans which was often quite at home with
Portuguese and were accustomed to its prevalence within the circles of
the bureaucracy, church, and law courts to which they had access.
A familiar opposition was posited, however, between norms of dressing
in India, which permitted the slightest clothing at home, but enforced
propriety out of doors. There are such contrasts in this country of which
Europeans should take stock, so as not to be shocked and then speak ill of
India, asserted the narrator in the most overtly nationalist statement in
the novel.
Cultural difference is here asserted as a peculiarity which Indians
or Goans were not urged to erase, as Gracias would suggest, but which
Europeans were warned to represent with some regard for the existence of
difference. These are the few instances through which the narrator conceded
the existence of an audience outside the social class represented.
This split in the readership disrupted the novel, with a sudden
assertion of Indian culture as a category of absolute difference from
European culture: Undoubtedly...India Portugueza is the country of the
langotim; western clothes are with difficulty adopted here.... The Indian
uses them for convention, and secretly hates them.
Given that most of
the novel was devoted to ridiculing the conflicts of Goan elite society,
the construction of an Indian who secretly hated western clothing
introduced an entirely different register into the novel. The minimal
langotim was represented as the most practical and comfortable form of
clothing. Indians who had adopted other forms of clothing had to strive
to prevent themselves from reverting to it. It was in fear of its allurements,
the narrator claimed, that Portuguese soldiers were circulated around
the colonies, and governors-general sent home in three years instead of
five. The narrator claimed for instance, that he had cast off European
clothing while he occupied an administrative post in a village of Goa,
only to find himself hailed familiarly (in Konkani) by the peasant whose
districts he administered. From being absolute markers of difference
The Province of the Novel 219
between Europeans and Indians, therefore, indigenous clothing marked
class differences, and it was to maintain these, the narrator claimed, that
he reverted to European wear when in office.
This declamatory stance, which typified Luis Gomes novel and is a
rarity in this one, seemed to suggest the difficulty of maintaining the codes
of a satire. Unspecified cultural boundaries inhabited by the Goan elite
allowed for the development of a satire which drew from social ironies
internal to society and with which readers might be complicit. These
unspoken limits did not gesture to a nation, but to a class. Lower-caste
and lower-class Goans often appeared in the novel as a contrast to the
dominant personae. They existed outside the complex and ludicrous social
processes that each member of the elite had to negotiate. This realm was
indelibly marked by the colonial experience, since so many of the social
norms drew from Portuguese culture, should a checklist be drawn up, but
the investment of the novel was predominantly in detailing how these
were transformed into signs of social power within a certain class.
Visiting ethnography upon this class of Goans worked as a
punishment for their sophistication, which in the light of the dwindling
Goan economy, was increasingly seen as a failure of vision and of action.
The author in turn seemed to have been punished for this critique, as
bibliographic entries indicate that the novel drew wide criticism and the
author was ostracized despite Ismael Gracias laudatory preface.
The discourses of nation, culture, caste, and colonialism with which
the Goan elite grappled, evidently constituted a quandary for novelists.
Lus Gomes resolved this by locating his novel entirely in British India,
where the dilemmas of culture and nation that had been articulated within
the context of British India, could also be comfortably resolved within
it. In the case of Jacob e Dulce, the inversion of the ethnographic object
ensured that the novel was in every way internal to the representation
and articulation of cultural and social conflict in Goa.
1. As director of the public library, Ismael Gracias had a definitive list of
preferred European novelists and writers (among others, Dumas filho,
Michelet, Flaubert, Zola, Marnier, Judith Gauthier, Tolstoy, and Ea de
Queiroz) whose works he tried to procure, as well as a preference for the
historical romance over the realist novel. J. A. Ismael Gracias, Biblioteca Pblica
de Nova GoaRelatrio do ano econmico de 1892 a 1893 (Nova Goa:
220 Between Empires
Imprensa da Universidade, 1893). See the previous chapter for Bragana
Cunhas strictures against readers interest in popular French novels.
2. Dilip M. Menon, No. Not the Nation: Lower Caste Malayalam Novels of
the Nineteenth Century, in Early Novels in India, Meenakshi Mukherjee,
ed. (Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2002), p. 483.
3. Ibid., p. 484.
4. India Portugueza, Anno VIII, no. 3, 3 April 1868, p. 3.
5. Vimala Devi and Manuel de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, vol. I
(Lisboa: Junta de Investigaes do Ultramar, 1971), p. 200.
6. Leopoldo Dias, Os Maharatas (Betalbatim: Typografia Luso-Oriental, 1894).
Ferno de Goas Beatriz ou Os Mystrios da ltima revolta em Goa (Lisboa:
Tip Popular, 1885), likewise combines elements of a romance with the
events of nineteenth century revolts. Aside from the novels mentioned
within this chapter, there are few indications of other Portuguese novels
produced at the turn of the century. See for instance, Taumaturgo Furtado,
Doutor Olimpio, Porto 1906, and T. Furtado, A Renovao da Irenia, Porto
1906, as well as Lus da Providncia (Constantino Jos de Brito), A Neta do
Cozinheiro, Lisboa, 1908. See O Romance, Ibid. Aside from these, Devi
mentions no other novels until 1933.
7. Udaya Kumar, Seeing and Reading: The Early Malayalam Novel and Some
Questions of Visibility, in Early Novels in India, ed. Meenakshi Mukherjee
(Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 2002), p. 200.
8. Ibid., pp. 1912.
9. Ibid., p. 169.
10. Johannes Fabian, Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes its Object
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1983).
11. Francisco Lus Gomes is better known as an economist, who published
substantial treatises during his lifetime. Biographies of Gomes that were
published following his unexpected death were on sale in Bombay even before
the late nineteenth-century translation of his novel. See Goatma, June 1888.
The following notice in the Estado da ndia of 9 November 1929, indicates
the continuing interest in the novel: the important cinematographic firm
Kohinoor United Artists of Bombay are going to film the most important
episodes of the well known romance Os Bramanes by our eminent
countryman, F. L. Gomes, three representatives of the same company having
visited this city for this purpose.
12. Francisco Luis Gomes, The Brahmans, p. 3.
13. Ibid.
14. Francisco Luis Gomes, The Brahmans, p. 2.
The Province of the Novel 221
15. See Pe. Filinto Cristo Dias, Esboo da Histria da Literatura Indo-Portuguesa
(Bastora: Typografia Rangel, 1963), p. 11.
16. Devi and de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa.
17. Gomes, The Brahmans, pp. 1835.
18. The novel was translated into English within the nineteenth century.
Francisco Luis Gomes, The Brahmans, trans. Joseph de Silva (Bombay: P.
A. Fialho, 1889).
19. Quoted in Devi and de Seabra, A Literatura Indo-Portuguesa, p. 208n45.
20. Luis Gomes, The Brahmans, p. 131.
21. Ibid., p. 174.
22. Ibid., p. 175.
23. Ibid., p. 174.
24. Ibid., p. 20.
25. Gomes, The Brahmans, p. 21.
26. Ibid., p. 26.
27. Ibid., p. 35.
28. Ibid., p. 36.
29. Fabian, Time and the Other.
30. Gomes, The Brahmans, p. 112
31. Ibid., pp. 11115.
32. Ibid., p. 113.
33. Ibid., p. 138.
34. Francisco Joo da Costa, Jacob e DulceScenas da vida indiana (Margao:
Typografia do Ultramar, 1896).
35. Ibid., p. III.
36. Ibid., Ao Leitor, p. xv.
37. Ibid.
38. Ibid., pp. xvxvi.
39. Ibid., p. IV.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid., Palavras Prefacias, p. xx.
42. Ibid., p. VII.
43. Gips preface ended with gratitude for Ismael Gracias encouragement and
eulogies: If I had the pen of Mark Twain, as he says, I would not continue
to live philosophically in this cess-pit called Goa, among lawyers, to a large
degree distinguished only because their coats have tails. Ibid., p. IV.
44. Ibid., p. 1.
45. Ibid., p. 1. Vangors were the groups of families who comprised the gaunkaria
which administered village lands and to whom surplus revenues would
222 Between Empires
accrue. About the time the novel appeared, the economic benefits of being
a gaunkar were increasingly uncertain.
46. Ibid., p. 5.
47. Ibid., p. 17.
48. Ibid., pp. 227
49. Ibid., p. 18.
50. Ibid., p. 20.
51. Ibid., p. 20.
52. Ibid., p. 21.
53. See for example, Ponson du Terrail, Les Exploits de Rocambole, Paris, 1862,
or Le Derneir Mot de Rocambole, Paris, 1866, or Rocambole en prison, Paris,
1869, all by the same author.
54. da Costa, Jacob e DulceScenas da vida indiana., p. 12.
55. Ibid., p. 36.
56. Ibid., pp. 826.
57. Ibid., pp. 4851
58. Ibid., p. 21.
59. Ibid., p. 54.
60. Ibid., pp. 548.
61. Ibid., p. 55.
62. Ibid., p. 86.
63. Ibid., p. 38.
64. Ibid., pp. 406.
65. Aleixo Manuel da Costa, Dicionrio de Literatura Goesa, vol. IIII (Macau:
Instituto Cultural de Macau e Fundao Oriente, 1999).
The Domain of Konkani
Within the realm of literary history, J. H. da Cunha Rivara, the Secretary
to the Governor General, and elite Goans have customarily been credited
for their efforts to systematize and advocate a wider use of the Konkani
language, even though they did not use it themselves as a literary medium.
A continuity of influence is assumed between the publications of this
section of Goans and Portuguese and the subsequent growth in Konkani
print in the early years of the twentieth century.
However, the divisive
effect of linguistic politics and print, the relatively depressed print economy
in Goa, and the absence of intellectual links between various classes of
Goans, diminished the potential for literary or cultural influence of elite
Goans over other groups.
When da Cunha Rivaras preliminary essay on the Konkani language
was published in 1858, it already had to combat arguments that relegated
Konkani to a dialect undeserving of a grammar or history.
Among the
few printed texts produced by the Goan elite in Konkani were dictionaries,
grammars, and re-published texts from the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. These were a conscious contribution to philology and lexicography,
and combated the increasing legitimacy of linguistic theories produced
through the English colonial administration in India, which relegated
Konkani to the status of a dialect. Others, like songs, proverbs, and
hymnbooks were intended for wider consumption.
Though the battle to have Konkani recognized as a language was
taken into British territory by those who published outside Goa, the
pronouncements of Goan linguists and historians were not effective in
altering decisions that were based on the elaborate superstructure of surveys
and linguistic studies and eventually incorporated as British colonial policy.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, for instance, George Grierson
224 Between Empires
conducted a series of surveys and commissioned translations, which were
returned to him from various parts of what would become Maharashtra
and Karnataka, with the verdict that Konkani was only a dialect of
The numerous forms of this dialect were listed in his Linguistic
Survey of India and bolstered claims for official recognition of the Marathi
language in Goa with administrative and academic legitimacy; Griersons
correspondence indicates that Dalgado had sent him a copy of his
Dalgados work discussed Konkani as a language, without signs
of an anxiety to prove or substantiate such a stand. Cunha Rivaras work
in the 1850s, and Vicente Bragana da Cunhas thirty years on suggested
a distinct place for Konkani as a language, although Cunha Rivaras essay
was not translated until the mid-twentieth century. But whereas Bragana
da Cunhas history and Dalgados studies preceded Griersons, and both
were recognized as scholars, their discussion of Konkani as a separate
language did not affect the latters study.
Attempts to include and initiate literary production in Konkani by
elite Goans continued to be sporadic, and to sound somewhat conscientious.
Alongside dictionaries and grammars, and compilations of proverbs, they
began to print Konkani songs in predominantly Portuguese anthologies
as the only available forms of Konkani literature.
The editorial in the
Almanach literrio ndo-Portuguese of 1911, decades after the first almanac
had appeared in Goa, seemed suddenly conscious that the form was a
means to develop linguistic skills among Goans. In view of the pleas which
I made to various fellow-countrymen resident in the British territory,
the collaboration on English and Concanim was not as plentiful as I had
hoped, said Alberto Figueiredo.
It is a mystery that all of us who love our
country, have to labour for the resurgence of our mother tongue which
we learn in childhood, especially in view of the efforts of our brothers in
British India, who have done much in this respect, he stated.
In 1929,
when Luis de Menezes published the first Konkani newspaper to appear
in Goa, decades after Konkani newsprint had emerged in Bombay, it was
with a similar sense of duty towards a language he no longer used in print.
Eduardo Jos Bruno de Souzas efforts however, were more sustained.
Bruno de Souzas Udtech Salok, the first Konkani journal in Bombay
(whose popularity is however doubtful) had a comprehensive project for
the development of Konkani. His urge for linguistic improvement ensured
that most of his works included prefaces that tried to persuade writers
that his adaptation of a seventeenth century form of orthography was a
viable form for Konkani prose and poetry.
Only one other person employed
this form, as the Marian alphabet and the intricacies of the alphabet did
The Domain of Konkani 225
not find a wide audience.
Bruno de Souzas epic poem, Eva ani Mori
was something of a landmark for modern Konkani. It combined the
verse forms of Cames and Dante with Konkani hymns.
It attempted,
therefore, to draw on the various literary legacies that were available to
Goans from the sixteenth century on. He followed this with compilations
of hymns, articles on the need to revive Konkani, and a primer on the
Marian alphabet. In the early twentieth century, Bruno de Souza wrote
three fictional texts in the Marian alphabet, Khuxalponnacho Ghorabo
ani Ponchtis Kunvor, Kristav Ghorabo and Sorgacho Thovo.
All three
were predominantly religious and moral texts. The rarefied religiosity of
his work perhaps limited its reach, apart from the fact that an alphabet
with several unfamiliar diacritical marks and accents was not likely to be
adopted by writers who until very recently had limited writing skills.
The overall discomfort with the Roman alphabet expressed by the Goan
elite drew in part from the legitimacy of linguistic discourses that could
only see the phenomenon of an Indian language in a non-Indian script
as a distressing anomaly.
Nevertheless, since most of the Goan elite
apart from Bruno de Souza restricted their engagement with the language
to prescriptions for its use, they were quite easily ignored.
This indicates that texts that were shaped by bourgeois conceptualizations
of linguistic and cultural improvement did not have as formative an impact
as others, though they, like Bruno de Souzas works, are recalled over other
popular material in most literary histories. For this reason, the real story
of Konkani print is one that unfolded at the end of the nineteenth century,
at exactly the same time as the elite interest in Konkani outlined earlier
began to find an audience that was restricted to the sphere of linguists
and orientalists. The realm of popular print was one in which dictionaries,
cookbooks, hymnals. and romances were held together by the relationships
which bound those who had written and read them, into an economic,
religious, and ethnic community. Bi- and trilingual Konkani dictionaries
of the second half of the nineteenth century for instance, did not signify
the development of an academic interest in the language, but the entry,
finally, of its speakers, into economies that required a rapid formalization
of their linguistic and literary skills.
By the beginning of the 1860s Konkani publications produced by
and directed at a readership quite distinct from the Goan elite emerged.
These were not, however, produced as a response to Rivaras injunctions
to revive Konkani, which usually earn him pride of place within histories
of the Konkani language. The print market of Bombay allowed a class
other than the Goan elite access to print. Of the large numbers of working-
226 Between Empires
class migrants who had begun to shift out of Goa, substantial numbers
began to secure white-collar jobs as they had a rudimentary education in
parish schools in Goa. If the Goan elite had secured a foothold in the
academic and professional circles of Bombay, they were outnumbered by
the massive migration of Goans largely from the Old Conquests of Goa.
The distinct and separate forms of print generated by the Goan elite
and the Goan working class in Bombay were shaped by the institutional
structures of British colonial governance in that city. Some of these, such
as commissioned reports and linguistic texts produced under the aegis
of the Bombay branch of the Asiatic society, have already been mentioned.
Relations were also determined by and filtered through police reports,
community associations, the medical establishment and the Catholic
Church. The structures of both the Portuguese and the British colonial
state and set the conditions under which Konkani print would emerge.
The uncertain political status of this otherwise privileged group of Goans
within British India and their representation in the gazettes and census of
the British government were areas of concern for them. The categorization
of Goans as a whole as Native Portuguese or Indo-Portuguese may
have secured them political security within British India, but may also
have, in the eyes of the British, conveyed a blurring of racial identity,
which could as easily undermine their political status.
The British state
itself had long abandoned attempts at a military take-over of Goa, though
relations at the border were always edgy. They converted their sufferance
of the Portuguese presence in India to a more economic and efficient use
through treaties that tended to turn Goa into a feeder economy for British
India. This effort was backed by the systematic collection of information
about Goa. The Rev. Cottineau de Kloguens An Historical Sketch of Goa,
for instance, was printed in Madras in 1831.
Kloguens work was not
commissioned by the colonial government there, but began to be treated
as an authoritative account. J. J. Cicilia Kols A General, Statistical and
Historical Report on Portuguese India, however, did enjoy official status as
he was the Chief Secretary to the Government of Portuguese India.
Later in the century, Jos Nicolau de Fonseca, a Goan, was commissioned
by the government in Bombay to write his An Historical and Archaeological
Sketch of the City of Goa in 1878. This was a comprehensive statistical
account of the economy and the population, provided a history of land
The Domain of Konkani 227
relations, listed newspapers, and other kinds of information.
association with the British government along with publications produced
by Gerson da Cunha and J. Saldanha reveal a growing interlacing of the
Goan intelligentsia with colonial institutions of British India. While the
few institutions of higher education in Goa would suffice most middle-
class Goans until the mid-century, those who shifted to Bombay frequently
refurbished their skills there. Jos Nicolau de Fonseca for instance, learnt
English at the Robert Money Institution while he worked at the Jamsetjee
Hospital. He set up practice in Dhobi Talao (allegedly without a formal
qualification), in an area that housed many working-class Goans, and
was involved in setting up some of the key institutions such as the Dabul
church, the Temperance Society and the Sociedade dos Amigos das
Lettras, which spanned the sphere of working- and middle-class Goans.
Aside from these mid-century developments, the presence of Goans of
various classes in Bombay had already generated lines of communication
between both colonial states. The notoriously more systematic British
colonial state provided a socio-political grid that formed the ground for
a hostile encounter between both classes. Elite Goans began to accept
and contribute to the criminalized representations of non-elite, especially
working class Goans, in reports of the police, medical, and municipal
establishments under the British colonial state.
Correspondence between the British and Portuguese police was one
site for the production of criminalized representations of migrant Goans.
Apart from this correspondence, the report of a commission to inquire
into the situation of Indo-Portuguese migrants, which was published
in 1931, indicates how the criminalized representation of migrant Goans
had been normalized by groups other than the police. The report indicates
two distinct trends among migrants: it foregrounded their propensity to
poverty, and subsequently, crime, as well as the prevalence of formal
associations such as unions, co-operative societies and artisan guilds set
up to protect community interests.
Newsprint in Portuguese and
Konkani was the site for the solicitous authoritarianism of the efforts of
the Goan elite that expanded the production of Konkani print outside
their own circle.
In 1865 the Bombay Calendar and Almanac listed 14,199 migrants
who had originated from Goa, Daman and Diu.
By the end of the
nineteenth century, it was estimated that at least ten per cent of the
population of the Old Conquests had migrated to various parts of British
India and various British colonies.
Waiters who may have earned eighteen
228 Between Empires
rupees a month, and clerks who earned more, all sent money home to
families in Goa through unofficial and exploitative channels.
and Gazettes produced in Bombay and Karachi, another city to which
Goans migrated, list Goans as Native Residents.
Among all the towns
across British India such as Calcutta, Poona, and Karachi, however, none
seemed to offer the kind of host print market that Bombay did.
By the late nineteenth century newsprint that had emerged through
Bombays cheaper print economy had become the ground for the
articulation of the experience of urban non-elite Goan migration. The
linguistic and political concerns of these newspapers were quite distinct
from those that emerged in Goa, and from the pamphlets circulating
among non-elite Goans. The place and consciousness of the Konkani
language as a marker of class and social identity was given a definite shape
through the pages of these newspapers, which were as attuned to life in
Goa as they were to the goings-on of Goans in the city. The elaboration in
preceding chapters, of the stance of the elite and the colonial state over
the question of language and culture was intended as an explanation for
the emergence of a print sphere among Goans that was characterized by
sharp linguistic divides. The readerships for Portuguese and Konkani would
have remained quite sealed off from each other, were it not for the
percolation of lower castes into the domain of print.
The financial concerns voiced in these papers all emanated from
working-class or lower middle class Goans.
In contrast to Goa, which
could be characterized by the relative lack of a network of societies and
interest groups between elite and non-elite, in Bombay, a number of small
unions sprang up among tradespeople. Konkani papers were knit into
disputes over these associations as the papers served sometimes to voice
the discontent of those disillusioned with their unions.
The Goa Mail
(1919), which advertised itself as the organ of the Goan community,
ruthlessly revealed lies and misrepresentations of rival organizations among
seamen and other newspapers.
The Concanim publicized itself as the
representative of the Goan people in Bombay in 1891. It satirized the
composition of the Instituto Luso-Indiano set up in 1883 to represent
the interests of Goan migrants. It characterized the two groups into which
the Goan community in Bombay was to remain divided for the first half
of the centuryas those who had alphabets after their names (BA, LLB...)
and those who didntthe cooks, butlers, and manual workers.
contrast to the relationship of democratic representation, which the editor
of the Ultramar in Goa had constructed between editor and reader, no
singular position of leadership was assumed, nor were demands for political
The Domain of Konkani 229
recognition made through editorial intervention. A report on Goan
migrants undertaken by the government in Goa stated that not even ten
per cent of those who arrived in the city were literate.
Most of these
earned less than 100 rupees a month, and the report claimed that there
were few signs of co-operation and solidarity between classes. By 1910,
the Goan Union, which had held its first meeting in 1903, had branches
in forty-six towns and cities of British India. Other associations whose
concerns were not directly economic had also emerged.
Newspapers and unions were not the only cohesive force among
Catholic Goans. A new arrival in search of a job in Bombay would head
to the clubs set up in south Bombay for newcomers from his own village.
These village-specific institutions were buildings that had been bought
and divided into minuscule rooms with common kitchens and provided
cheap accommodation and board for new-comers. Despite the caste
rivalries and corruption charges which plagued these from the start, they
eased entry into the city. Some clubs were established as early as 1857, and
are said to have been set up by early migrants on a co-operative basis.
The relatively fewer women (though their numbers were considerable)
were not housed in village-specific clubs but in general womens clubs.
While migrants from various parts of India formed similar networks in
Bombay, it is doubtful whether these were undertaken with the same
degree of prescriptive formality.
Konkani print was one of the mechanisms through which migrant Goans
made their acquaintance with elements of urban modernity in Bombay.
The assimilation of migrants from scarcely monetized villages in Goa was
eased through structures which accommodated them within familiar village
identities, religious norms, and caste structures, and prepared them to appear
as salaried and wage labour in Bombays offices, restaurants, and dockyards.
Print preserved and represented elements of life in Goa without which
they could not easily survive the city, and simultaneously articulated their
ironic, humorous, and apparently easy assimilation into urban structures
that might otherwise have appeared as insurmountably alien and difficult.
For instance, a book of rules regulated life in the Bombay clubs.
Club-dwellers were bound to
promote unity and mutual assistance among members, to maintain
the premises, to participate in provident schemes for the families of
230 Between Empires
deceased members, as well as mutual benefit schemes, to co-operate
with other Goan clubs, and to participate in devotion to the patron
saint of the village.
The rules specified divisions of time and space which determined when
and how the club was cleaned, meals prepared, rent collected, the patron
saints feast day celebrated annually, and the club members met for a daily
rosary. By listing individual and community rights and duties within the
club, the book of rules had become a new quasi-legal mechanism that
defined relations between members, and effectively introduced a new
foundation for their interaction. It reflected both, the need to fit the routines
of an urban workday, and to replicate the rhythms of life in a rural parish.
The adoption of mutual benefit and provident schemes suggests the ability
of migrants to turn their accelerated literacy to immediate use. If the
club reproduced structures of casteist and religious control to regulate
the experience of anonymity and loss of moral accountability in the city,
it also used these to introduce wholly modern mechanisms of evaluating
labour and the life-span of workers, through the members themselves.
Advertisements for the Karachi-based Indian Life Insurance Company,
which dot several Konkani publications, explained the terms on which an
insurance company was run in Konkani and Portuguese.
The formalized
limits on what constituted a mans working years, the accountability of
companies towards the depletion of an individuals resources, the idea of
a formal investment in ones own mortality, may all have been quite new
ways of quantifying human years and the worth of labour to those who were
tenant farmers or small cultivators. These individualized quantifications
were offered, however, in the form of club-based schemes and in the
form of advertisements, within the structures of communal living, and
to communities rather than to individuals.
The tone of advertisements in Konkani newspapers, but especially of
those on the covers of books, probably written by editors and publishers,
was usually intimate and familiar. Readers and consumers were constructed
through intimate and filial modes of address. Advertisements hailed them
as our brothers, or our people to whom shopkeepers offered medals of
St. Francis Xavier that had been touched to the saints body during the
last exposition, to compensate for their absence from the pilgrim site in
Old Goa. Insurance agencies claimed to protect them, restaurants offered
to gratify desires for confectionery, and a range of medical practices and
products supported Konkani print and the health of its readers. These
advertisements were garrulous, and were written in the same colloquial
The Domain of Konkani 231
Konkani as were prefaces to novels. There was no difference in the tone
used to address the reader of advertisements, or that of novels, pamphlets,
dictionaries, or prayer books.
The eighteen books produced by one popular writer, Jose Manuel Pinto,
included prayer books or religious histories, a history of Goa, translations
of Romeo and Juliet and Robinson Crusoe, a Konkani-English dictionary, a
Konkani-English letter writing and conversational guide, a grammar, two
primers, and a romance. As with the club-book of rules, and advertisements
for insurance, the letter-writing guide also suggests how print rearticulated
certain basic social relations. The guide suggested fixed formats for reshaping
and replacing familial communication and relationships through letters.
Fathers advised sons at school to stay away from temptation. Replies may
have been intended to reassure, and described the school librarys many
biographies and adventures as well as spiritual readings.
The details of
letters hinted at the attractions and deficiencies of the big city. Sons asked
their mothers for tobacco from Goa, and mothers asked for tea and sugar
from Bombay. Business letters taught potential clerks how to place orders
and readers how to subscribe to newspapers. Tenants were instructed how
to complain to landlords and butlers, cooks and nurses taught how to
apply for an increase in pay. Model letters suggested how a writer could
propose marriage, could ask a friend to be the witness at a wedding or a
godfather to a baby, and a brief format was provided for anyone who
had to raise a toast at someones wedding. With Pintos output alone, a
new migrant was equipped to take on life outside Goa.
The book Duddvancho sambal provided advice on the management
of money to migrants who were unaccustomed to the ways of their new
J. C. F. de Souzas Sucollacheo Vatteo, (Pathway to Success) was a
veritable portmanteau of advice.
It held forth on spirituality, truth,
positive thinking (for adults and children), fatalism, suffering, education,
self-improvement, alcoholism, the corrupting effects of political power,
the dangers of franchise, and the evils of casteism, and it quoted Swami
Vivekananda. What was of greater interest however, was its criticism of
the lack of entrepreneurship among Goans. This was to feature as an
incidental comment in many novels located in Bombay. The author
If one of our Goans accumulates some money, what does he do? He will
celebrate the saints feasts to gain honour and to go to heaven. Perhaps he
might tie up his savings in a knot; because you know, my Goan brothers,
he has been taught that the World is a devil....
232 Between Empires
In contrast, he asked, What does a Parsi do with his savings? The
Parsi will start some successful business, and will gain himself a name by
using his earnings to protect his religion.
Catholics were offered ways
in which to resolve the dichotomy between capitalist entrepreneurship
and accumulation, and the Catholic distrust of worldly wealth.
Useful books offered linguistic, economic, and moral assistance, and
also offered help on affairs of the heart sensitive to the specificity of
Bombay. Readers represented to themselves the constraints of conducting
a romance across the balconies of a boarding house or in Bombays
minuscule houses. The book Nachachi Chavi, a guide to dancing, said
its author, had been kept to a small size so it could be slipped into the
pocket and be consulted in case one forgets while dancing. The same
text included a key to secret signs to be used while conducting a romance.
These included advice about writing invisible letters in dried coconut
juice and soap, and codes to arrange a rendezvous, through the judicious
placement of an orange on the dining table, or the waving of a handkerchief
from one window to another.
Through the 1860s and 1870s, dictionaries, vocabularies, and
devotional texts began to be printed.
These dictionaries and vocabularies
of the late nineteenth century preceded and paralleled those of the Goan
elite, but were of a substantially different order.
They offered readers
the equivalents of commonly used words in languages in which they had
to be proficient quickly, and fulfilled the promise held out in most
advertisements, of being useful to those who had to hold down jobs and
do well in school.
These did not propagate heightened literacy as a means
to cultural improvement and linguistic status, which were the concerns
motivating the production of dictionaries by the Goan elite.
The preface
to the Manual de Tres Mil Vocabulos of 1892, which carried words in
Portuguese, Konkani, English, and French, claimed that many people had
requested such a vocabulary, since so many of our compatriots have
emigrated in such large numbers to British India, where the principal
languages are English and Hindustani, and since many who wanted to
study Portuguese and Konkani...could not find a book which could guide
them in these languages.
Lists of table service, drinks, and food included distinctively European
and Anglo-American preferences and practices, and were intended to help
the many Goans employed as cooks, waiters, butlers, domestic servants,
and barmen in Bombay, to negotiate the unfamiliar intricacies of their
work. The differences between Bruno de Souzas comparatively difficult
Konkani texts and those which had more direct uses among the Goan
The Domain of Konkani 233
community also distinguish cookbooks produced for elite homes from
those which would help hone the skills of restaurant cooks. In the 1890s,
therefore, Portuguese, English and Konkani texts continued to have
largely divided readerships. The Portuguese cookbook, Recipes for
Confectionery and Household Dishes prepared by the Portuguese Community
in the Bombay Presidency, was intended for elite Goans, while The Goan
Cooks Guide was explicitly intended for another audience.
The Goan
Cooks Guide must have been invaluable to cooks as it had interest tables,
salary charts, glossaries, menus, and a vocabulary in English, French,
Hindustani and Konkani, apart from recipes in Konkani for, among other
things, the Half-pay Pudding, Conservative Pudding, Nurse Hannahs
Pudding and Mysterious Pudding.
Similarly, the recipes in Joo Manuel
de Souzas The Goan Barmans Guide for the Byculla Cocktail, Cholera
Cocktail, Corpse Reviver, India Cocktail, Stars and Stripes, and American
lemonade, suggest that among barmen employed on ships, in clubs, and in
restaurants, cosmopolitanism had to be swiftly and competently acquired.
The apparent self-sufficiency of the lives of Goan migrants and their print
production did not take shape in complete isolation from the aesthetic
and political injunctions of the Goan elite. The authority of the Goan
elite in their professional capacity and as a class was challenged in every
form of print migrant communities faced under their policing eye and
programmes for improvement and charity. One of these attempts was in
the form of a report on Bombays Goan clubs by Dr Socrates Noronha,
following the Seventh Congresso Provincial, a forum that was set up to
discuss the needs of the community in general. Noronha drew up a
programme for their amelioration that would be carried out under the
supervision of the Goan government and village-level committees. In
keeping with Noronhas professional interests, the report drew on the
context of the Bombay plagues, and distinctly characterized the clubs as
the sites of disease. His suggestions for their improvement, however,
sounded ominously authoritarian, and called on the combination of state
and civil forces to police the inhabitants of clubs. By the early twentieth
century, such a report could not pass without drawing comment from
the proposed recipients of his programme.
The replies to Noronha implicated every organization and trade with
which the Goan elite were associated: the legal, medical, and religious
Point by point, and with systematic detail, every allegation
234 Between Empires
and insult was hurled back in both Konkani and Portuguese, and modified
to suit the tastes of the audience for each. D. Menezes, a Bombay-based
Goan had written prior defences of migrants in Bombay which were
not circulated widely, but 500 copies were distributed to the important
men of the community, since by the word club, these men understood
a place that was like a pig-sty or stable, inhabited by uneducated men.
Dr Noronha evidently did not receive this, said the author, since in his
report to the Seventh Goan Congress, Noronha had described the clubs
as though their inhabitants had no norms or principles according to
which they conducted their life. Menezes claimed that he had undertaken
an independent study of 200 clubs that he visited over and over again,
before penning his retort.
To combat Noronhas description of the club population as comprising
predominantly the uneducated proletariat of Goa, Menezes retorted that
the Goan elite ensured that their medical and legal practices in Bombay
were profitable by being parasitic on the impoverished Goan clientele
they despised.
Against allegations about the lack of hygiene, he
brandished the rulebook with its clear guidelines for club maintenance,
and asked, How could we report to work everyday if were ill? Does
Noronha know who takes us to the hospital if we are ill, and to which
hospital we are sent?
At some point through this, Menezes switched
to an active definition of what the club stood for and represented, and
the terms within which it was conceptualized by those who lived in it.
This kind of articulation not only emphasized class antagonisms, but
explicitly posited the institutional structures within Bombay that they
had constructed and which supported their existence outside Goa:
The club was a society of God set up by poorer people under the protection
of their village patron saints, in memory of their motherland. This society
doesnt have philosophers like Espinosa, Renan, Conte, Taine, Darwin,
and Hegel...etc. but it has S. Augustinho, S. Tomas de Aquino, S. Hilario,
S. Ambrozio, and S. Francisco Xavier.... The clubs are the houses of our
fellowmen, and their founders were our poor and rich fellowmen of
yore, both educated and uneducated. And they are no worse than the
huts in which Goan landlords usually maintain their tenants.
Those who were actually in need of reformation, claimed Menezes,
were the vicars, teachers, landlords, and Regedores, or magistrates of Goa
who arraigned themselves against the poor. Instead, the poor of Goa draw
support from their parents, the parish priest, and the parish schoolteacher,
he declared, since none of these had been legitimized by any official
The Domain of Konkani 235
government body.
The terms of this opposition had drawn from
Noronhas report which advocated that a Public League of Health and
Morality be formed in each district of Goa, under a vicar, landlord, doctor
or primary school teacher. The purpose of the League was to initiate
intensive educative action in the villages from where the emigrants
emerge, with the end of training them, and avoiding the great moral and
physical ills which afflict the great cities abroad.
The exchange of print
between the city and the Goan village could be harnessed, according to
Noronha, to publish the names of those who brought glory to their village,
as well as those who, by their involvement in crime, disgraced it. Noronhas
project signalled, therefore, not just the easy collaboration between the
state and the Goan elite, and the manner in which spiritual, pedagogical,
and medical professions could be used as means of control, but the potential
use of Konkani print for the surveillance and humiliation of lower middle-
class Goans.
The Portuguese government had, however, received another missive
from a Goan migrant, which announced his hope that its contents would
be discussed at the Congress. Joo Luis Carvalho, the author of the missive,
was to be disappointed. The Seventh Congresso Provincial had ignored his
Dha Mandament or Ten Commandments. His Icravo Mandament or Eleven
Commandments was published in 1929, two years after the first publication
on which he and Menezes had collaborated. Both publications were satires
on the Goan elite and elaborated lists of suggestions of ways in which to
improve the lot of the thousands of emigrants whose earnings contributed
so much to the Goan economy. Carvalho launched a broad critique of
the Congresso Provincial. Though seven congresses had been held:
...nothing had been done for the people of the land. The sons [sic] of Goa
dedicated their intelligence and life force to strange lands, and returned
home extinguished and exhausted without the strength to employ their
talents for their motherland, which they could if the government would
provide them the means to.
Carvalhos growing list of demands and complaints eventually blended
into a long scathing critique in Konkani. He demanded a tax on Goan
landlords and priests that should be used for the betterment of emigrants.
He recommended shutting the medical schools and Lyceu, the domain
of the upper class, since they did no good. He denounced landlords and
their ilk as two-legged tigers who roamed the jungles of Goa feeding on
the poor.
The government, he said, had made a mistake in allowing
those occupying government posts to enter the Congresso Provincial, which
236 Between Empires
ought to have been a peoples parliament. With the denunciation of the
Congresso Provincial, nearly every realm of the elite had been delegitimized
as a sphere that strengthened their monopoly, and threatened the
wellbeing of the poor. From the club book of rules, to the commandments
presented to the Congresso Provincial, the hold of religion and the
structures of the church are highly visible, with the local parish priest
preferred to the higher ranks of priests within the church, still the preserve
of upper caste Catholics.
The range of texts suggests the centrality of print to endowing the
village, the landlord, the club, and the city with symbolic value. One can
trace an indissociable correspondence between forms of print used, and
the way social relations were structured in the city, while those of the
village were reinterpreted. These forms of print had either substantively
replaced village structures or put in place relations that had no existence
outside of print. The texts described above did not limit the repertoire of
print production in Konkani. Normative accounts of history and culture
also emerged in Konkani among a non-elite readership. While the formal
structures of these texts were reproduced, they were rewritten to
accommodate the non-elite into dominant narratives that otherwise
excluded them. The first volume of Jose Manuel Pintos political history
of Goa, Gomanta, claimed to be a short sketch of the history of Goa from
the earliest times to the establishment of Portuguese rule. Since the earliest
known mention of Goa referred to it as Gomanta, the author declared in
his preface that he had laid claim to the legacy. Apart from the effort, which,
he impressed on his readers, he had put into the work by consulting a range
of English, Portuguese, and Marathi books to construct his own, Pinto
had also made choices about the kind of history he had decided to compile.
While in neighbouring territories the focus on antiquity was frequently
a means to construct a narrative of brahmanical and Hindu supremacy,
in Pintos history the emphasis on establishing who the earliest inhabitants
were had a direct bearing on land relations in the region. Contemporary
Konkani pamphlets also cited histories of land or of the Goan people
that emphasized the lower-caste identities of the earliest inhabitants to
justify claims for land rights.
Pintos first chapter asserted that:
the old histories say that the first king was Kadamba, and that the people
were of the Cunbi caste. Clever and knowledgeable historians dont dispute
this. The first gauncars were Cunbis and subsequently there were Dravidian
and Sudra vangodds. The readers will realise later when it was that the
Chardos and Brahmins arrived in Goa.
The Domain of Konkani 237
These assertions bolstered demands by sudras in ongoing land disputes
to have land rights not just granted, but in the light of these claims, restored
to them. They also endowed agricultural communities with written
histories and proof of a civilization:
one can see that the earliest Cunbi people did not have an inferior set of
practices and civilisation. They had made images of stone that astonish
those who see them today. The early gauncars were Cunbis and bhandaris,
now dispersed across the New Conquests.
In the words of a Doctor Marchesetti, quoted in Pintos text, the servants
of today were the gentlefolk of yore.
A narrative of decline, along with nostalgia that had begun to tinge
the works of most migrants, also coloured this political history. Despite
the evident poverty and inequalities that they themselves dwelt on, life in
Goa prior to the migration to Bombay was also seen as a period of pre-
lapsarian perfection. Pinto claimed:
Great differences have come up between the communidades of today and
those of yore. Earlier everyone used to cultivate their land, but now Goans
are dispersed around the world. In the earlier days, each would cultivate
their own fields and those of their neighbours, they had one language,
and people were always with their children. These days, we do not find
such things, for reasons which do not need to be reproduced here.
The second part of Pintos history reproduced the details of the Revolt
of Cuncolim, in which the villagers of Cuncolim had hacked Jesuit priests
to death in 1583, and the story of Peres da Silva. The revolt of Cuncolim
had begun to be assimilated into nationalist histories of anti-colonial
movements, and the inclusion of the event in Pintos history probably had
a similar motivation. If the revolt of Cuncolim was reproduced as a narrative
of the suffering of villagers and their resistance to forcible rule and
conversion, the account of Peres da Silva was a hagiographic sketch of
his career. Peres da Silva was evidently a historical figure that had found
popularity among non-elite Goans, since he was reputed to have hastened
through reforms in their favour in his few days in power. This was perhaps
the first time that Peres da Silvas famous charters of demands, which were
circulated in government bulletins in Portuguese while he was Prefect,
had appeared in Konkani. Pintos history, Gomanta, like others produced
in this milieu, touched on themes, names, and historical events that were
by this time familiar features of political and economic histories of Goa.
238 Between Empires
They reappeared in non-elite texts however, to signal the inauguration
of a new subject of history, the non-elite, within histories of Goa.
Few of those who wrote in Konkani, if any, could live by their writing
Where those who read Portuguese novels had their reading
channelled through newsprint into a range of genres, Konkani writers
had to contend with much smaller incomes, and sometimes-shaky literacy
skills. Readers had to be convinced, therefore, of the potential value of
reading in itself, as well as be given reasons why it might be worthwhile to
invest in a novel. Our dear readers may ask, of what use it is to us to buy
such books? said a reviewer, and urged that it would help readers learn
the language.
The novel Eliza, which was advertised as a romance in
Konkani by I. X. de Souza, may have been the first Konkani novel, though
no known copy of it exists.
The review of this in both Portuguese and
Konkani emphasized the dexterity of language use in the book, because
of which it could never be despised by those who study the language.
For decades after the appearance of the first novel, writers continued
to produce books to fill a vacuum in Konkani print, which they articulated
over and over. Publishers urged both church and state that the evidence
of the interest in the language ought to be taken as a sign that Konkani
needed to be taught in parish schools, which reached sections of the
population that state schools did not.
By the early decades of the twentieth
century, Konkani writers could refer to predecessors and mentors whose
books had inspired them. The lack of Konkani literature could be referred
to as a phenomenon of the past even as it was evoked each time another
book appeared.
Almost all Konkani texts foregrounded the conditions for their
production, as well as the function of each text to increase the possibility
that another would appear. An introduction to an adaptation of Shakespeares
Winters Tale did not acknowledge the source of the adaptation, but dwelt,
instead, on the need to stoke an interest in cultivating the language among
The translation of a text that was considered a part of the
linguistic capital of another people endowed the recipient language with
some of its legitimacy. The translator of Romeo and Juliet, for instance,
claimed that he wanted to decorate Konkani literature with its splendour.
With reference perhaps to the twenty-four advertisements that supported
the publication of his book, the popular playwright, B. F. Cabral claimed
that those who wrote and published Konkani books usually incurred a
The Domain of Konkani 239
loss. He claimed that this was because they had few readers, and these
readers often borrowed books from each other so that there were at least
five or six people to a book. Readers were therefore never expected to
purchase a novel or translation in Konkani for pleasure alone.
Until the twentieth century, newspaper advertisements that listed
available books rarely mentioned their authors. The language, genre, and
content of books were, instead, offered as reasons for purchase rather than
the accomplishments of the author, which presumed a perception of novel
writing and reading as an individuated activity. This was not the case
with advertisements for Portuguese books where the identification of
the author was an important part of the publicity for his or her work.
However, when Portuguese books were advertised in Konkani papers,
the authors name was frequently excluded.
Most Konkani texts were
published by their authors and occasionally, by acquaintances of the
author, and by the early twentieth century, bookshops and printing presses
undertook to publish books. When authorship was foregrounded, it was
to emphasize the caste origins of writers and to remark on their sudden
access to print. With some vehemence against the obsession with identifying
caste, a letter to the editor of a newspaper decided to have done with the
furtive nature of the inquiry, and elaborated the caste, village and land
titles of each popular writer of the time: Let us see, who these writers are,
their caste and village, gaunkar or tenant....
At least five of the popular
writers of the time were Sudras, some of whom were of cross-caste parentage,
and five others were either brahmin or chardo. Despite the fact that the
Konkani print market was fairly small and somewhat expensive, with access
to print, sudra writers simultaneously produced a diverse range of genres.
The near complete linguistic bifurcation between elite and non-elite meant
that the value associated with works that were supposed to have literary
merit was invested in a language entirely different from the one in which
popular literature was produced. There was, then, no one literary language
through which Goan readers and writers could be placed in a measure of
increasing or decreasing literary merit. With a high tradition in Portuguese
or Marathi and a low tradition in Konkani, the influence of elite tastes
and criticism was diminished. If literary production among the Goan elite
invoked European literary practices, Indian cultural antiquity, and
sometimes took the form of ethnographic nationalist romances, writing
in Konkani staked a claim on a different literary universe. Novels and
240 Between Empires
plays in Konkani narrated, instead, the social reordering of Goans in
Bombay within the workings of colonial capital, and fictionalized the
structures of Goan village life as a primary space of social authenticity or
as a past to which they had developed a distanced relation.
Tiatr, a combination of narrative sketches and dramatized songs, which
was strictly censored in Goa, had a more moneyed audience in Bombay
and a freer space for the usually topical and politicized farces that were
regular features of the form. Playwrights were also novelists and many
novels were elaborated plays, interspersed with songs. The Tiatr form in
fact is said to have originated among Bombays migrant Goans, and drew
from developments in contemporary theatre, particularly Parsi and
Gujarati plays.
Its structure was frequently adapted to furnish Konkani
novels. For between two and five rupees, theatregoers could watch plays
performed at a south Bombay neighbourhood, Cavel, which housed many
migrant Goans through the century.
Much later in the century, Goan
theatre companies produced plays that drew names and historical references
from popular literature, and situated these squarely in the neighbourhoods
of Bombay and Goa.
The earliest plays to be staged in the New Alfred
Theatre or neighbouring theatres, by the Goa Portuguese Dramatic
Company, were dramatized Konkani translations of books that had
appeared in English.
Tickets for a single performance were the price of
a novelfour to eight annas.
When Joo Agostinho Fernandes The Belle of Cavel or Sundori Cavelchi
opened in 1895, residents of Cavel and the surrounding south and central
Bombay areas inhabited by Goans found their recent history dramatised
through plays. Fernandes next play, Bhattkar, has drawn more attention
as it depicted the oppressive treatment of lower caste tenants by upper
caste landlords.
It was in the Gaiety, Empire, and New Alfred Theatres
that an increasing number of plays were performed which drew less from
exotic locales and themes (such as Hispano American War Minstrels) than
from the lives of lower caste protagonists. Charni Road Baugh, based on
another area of Bombay to house the earliest migrants, Sotorichi Bondday
(The Revolt of Satary), Bebdo, and Kunbi Jaki placed drunks and peasants
before Goan audiences, who encountered familiar situations in familiar
theatrical forms in their new city space.
Translations from popular European novels and plays were common
to a Portuguese and Konkani readership. For instance, the rags-to-riches
story of Bertholdo, who overcame his plebeian origins and rose in the
Italian court because of his cunning, was originally a seventeenth-century
The Domain of Konkani 241
Italian opera and subsequently a novel based in Verona. A Portuguese
translation was printed in Bombay and sold 1000 copies in 1875. It was
translated into Konkani and serialized in the first Konkani journal, the
Udtech Salok in 1890, and in 1889, was translated into English in Bombay,
and sold simultaneously in Goa.
A dramatized performance Berthold
anim Albion Patxai Verona Xaracho was advertised as a comic opera and
was performed at the Empire theatre in 1916.
The popularity of this
text was perhaps because it was (as the advertisement for it stated) a tale
of the success of a simple peasant who rose to eminence at the court of
Verona through his own sagacity.
A study on translations of English novels circulating in India suggests
that melodramatic English novels that traced a change in the fortunes of
their protagonists found a wide audience as they offered fantasies...not
just...of personal grandeur and wealth but larger cultural and political
fantasies of freedom....
Other literary preferences were stories about
the demise of monarchies and aristocracies, which enacted and legitimized
the rise of people through individual effort that was not linked to
circumstances of birth. J. L. Lobos Mysteries of Bombay probably drew
its title from G. W. Reynolds series, Mysteries of London that were available
in Bombay.
This otherwise ridiculous tale allowed for a fantastic
construction of the criminal world of Bombay, with its Pathan, Goan,
Italian, Muslim, Hindu, and Parsi criminals, who were stereotypically
costumed and depicted on the front cover of the book.
The romance
Lulu opened with a description of the beauty of the view from Malabar
Hill of the whole of south Bombay, especially the Backbay road, where
one would see Parsis wearing hats like foreigners atop their heads, Parsi
girls wearing coloured silks like beautiful Spanish women. Hindus in
splendid turbans, Mussulmans in their robes, all classes of Goans, Goan
women who were maids to the Parsis.
C. M. Pintos detective novel Gupit Pulisechi Cannim, ani Bomboichi
gupit sociedade choram-crimidoranchi (Stories of the Secret Police and
Bombays Secret Society of Thieves and Criminals), seems almost a record
of the roads of south Bombay and the milieu of the growing middle class.
The characters in the novel would have one believe that Bombay was
almost entirely inhabited by Goans with somewhat romanticized names.
The main protagonists of the novel were the clever policeman, Justin
Ferrando, and his friend, Timothy Braga, determined to reveal the truth
about the unjustly convicted Juvenal Cortez. Ferrandos taxi rides through
Girgaum Road to Charni Road junction, his walk to Foras Road to shake
242 Between Empires
criminals off his track, and his second taxi ride to Queens Road to Princess
Street, took in a large part of south Bombay. Deals were struck in Irani
restaurants, inquiries made in banks on Bank Street, and a faulty letter
e on a typewritten letter lead the detectives to a furniture shop in
Crawford Market. While the plot is derivative of detective novels in
English, the particularities of this story rejoice in the buzz of a growing
city and the sheer plausibility with which these mechanisms could be
transferred to their Bombay setting. The use of the press as a decoy in
the course of discovering the whereabouts of a criminal gang and the
suavity of conversations with opium dealers suggest a cosmopolitanism
and street-smartness acquired by second-generation migrants, at home
in the urbanization of neighbourhood newsboys, typewriters, telephones,
and taxis.
Living among the Goan elite seemed to pose a greater problem within
Konkani fiction than living among people from other parts of India.
While the Goan elite suggested that the plague had in part been caused
by the conditions in which the Goan working-class lived, the time of the
epidemic was recalled quite differently in the Konkani novels of the time.
In the novel Lulu for instance, the plague allowed for a description of
the life of plenitude of the Goan migrant, and its depletion by the disease:
Since these places happen to be important rendezvous to Goans in that
city and since I am presenting this account for the benefit of Goans, I
undoubtedly have to recall that areas such as Cavel, Mazagaon, and the
outskirts of Girgaum were deserted because of that deadly plague
especially Cavel, which I would have nicknamed the Goan Village. The
Glass House of Cavel, or what the poor among us call the Glass Castle,
looked like a vacated factory. One would ordinarily be delighted while
passing the houses in which the true Goans lived to hear music emanating
from pianos, organs, violins, and the sound of melodious singing. These
houses told a strange story that year and were evidence of the sudden
severe attack of the plague.
Any mention of illness in the city was occasion to criticize the alleged
rapaciousness of the elite Goan doctors in the city. The medical profession
in Bombay had a number of Goans, and resistance to them was articulated
through the rejection of modern medicine and the valourization of older
medical traditions followed in Goa.
Much Konkani print was supported
by advertisements for a series of quick-fix medical remedies from chemists
based in Bombay and Goa.
The Domain of Konkani 243
Scarcely any play or novel, however, was located in Bombay alone. Most
literature represented the dual space of the migrant imagination: the city
of Bombay, and the villages of Goa. Novels and plays straddled the
oppositions that constituted the life of a nineteenth century Goan: the
present city and the absent village. The urban economy was the present
reality of the migrant, and the rural landlord-tenant relationship was the
past that they had escaped. It was through novels that the system of
landlordism was criticized, and its demise caused partly through the
migration of tenants to Bombay, enacted. Romances between the landlords
daughter and the tenants migrant son, the revenge of the tenant and the
dependency of the landlord, were common fictive devices which chipped
at social hierarchies as they made a claim for the dignity and social equality
of the migrant tenant to be recognized. Rags to riches stories enabled by
a foothold in the city not only affected, therefore, the immediate marital
prospects and life of a protagonist, but implicitly strengthened the process
by which rural social relations were transformed. The most meagre salary
in Bombay was probably still more than could be earned in Goa. The
inevitable erosion of monopolies on social prestige with the visible and
growing stability of thousands of migrants who visited their homes in Goa,
was viewed with some resentment and trepidation by affluent landlords.
While the Catholic Church had structured itself around the hierarchies
of class and caste in Goa, it was within the metaphors of Christian equality
that most critiques of these structures were offered in plays and novels.
The discrepancies of land distribution were discussed in a variety of print
forms in Konkani. Apart from essays in newsprint, it had shaped political
histories in Konkani.
This preoccupation also determined which stories
were selected for translation into Konkani. Adaptations and translations
were used as a flexible canvas, not just to plot the escape of Goan landless
labour to richer economies, but also to refigure a history for Goa. Many
adaptations would not have been recognizable from original texts were
it not for the title of the texts and the names of protagonists. If Dumas
Chateau dif was mapped onto and thereby glamourized the Goan
landscape, a story of Julius Caesar and his son Constantin allowed for the
construction of an ancient past for Goa, for an imagination of the rituals
and practices and landscape of the time, and for a commentary on both
the imagined past and contemporary reality. Constantins visit to Goa (at
that time not on the map, we are told) provided an occasion for festivals,
244 Between Empires
weddings and medical practices to be described, and ended with an
exhortation to Goans to use their money wisely and learn how to invest
it, and to Goan landlords and rulers, to rule better.
In 1900, an advertisement for the Konkani novel Battcara stated, This
novel shows the life of a Goan landlord from birth to death...it traces the
enmity between brother and sister-in-law, and shows how the Goan
landlord mires the Bombayite in litigation and debt.
The following is
a discussion of one of the earliest available Konkani novels that was
advertised as a criticism of Goan landlords. A. C. J. Franciscos Battcara
adopted the norms of a realist biographical novel, and traced the life of a
Goan landlord from birth to middle age.
The situation depicted in the
novel, we are told, was one that could be found in about 1845, nearly
half a century before the time it was written. The way in which the form
of realist fiction is employed in Battcara suggests that the norms of realist
novels were absorbed and reproduced as a marker of elite and therefore
normalized fictional writing. These were, however, subsumed by extra-
realist techniques that suggested their inadequacy to contain the
problematic of non-elite narratives.
The previous chapter has suggested two ways (ethnography and
ethnographic satire) in which the norms of realist representation were
thwarted in novels that claimed to employ them. If non-elite fiction had
to approximate the status of elite fiction, it did so by reproducing it and
foregrounding the signs of its dominance. Non-elite narratives could not,
as the novel discussed below suggests, be accommodated comfortably
within dominant forms. Realism could not be emptied of its themes
that usually involved dominant social groups and reworked with new
ones. Instead, non-elite writers used distancing techniques to implicitly
inscribe a place outside dominant realist narratives while reproducing
them in their entirety.
The figure of the landlord in Battcara was almost always preceded by
an explanatory gloss, which demarcated the class of landlords as one apart
from that of the narrator or of most readers. The repeated reintroduction
of the landlord through the novel as though he had not been mentioned
earlier suggested an inability to normalize the techniques of realist
representation. The narrator stated for instance, In those days many of
The Domain of Konkani 245
those, whom the tenants, labourers, and coconut tree climbers called batcar,
had begun to educate their children.
While the statement ostensibly
constructed a record of the spread of education in Goa, it defamiliarized
the term batcar, as though it required to be explained to readers. The
gloss on the word batcar, the use of the past tense, and the reference to a
particular point in the past, suggests that the term and therefore the social
conditions which produced it had disappeared so far back in time that
the word batcar in print demanded an explanation.
Each object or event depicted in this novel about the life of a Goan
landlord appeared either as a signifier of the distance between the life of
a Goan peasant and a Goan landlord, or its distance from the contemporary
situation and time in which the author set them down. While many of the
plot elements and situations depicted in this novel are similar to those
in Gips Jacob e Dulce discussed in the previous chapter, the forms of
representation indicate that the narrator of Battcara was situated quite
outside the class he described. While the narrator in Jacob e Dulce rhetorically
constructed an audience external to his protagonists, as an ironical
expository technique, the intended readership for the novel was the class
depicted in it. The relation to objects and events depicted in Battcara,
however, implicitly suggested that its readership did not share the
experiences of the protagonist. The sense of shared humour evident in
Jacob e Dulce is not evident here. Instead, the narrator of Battcara informed
his readership of the minute details that comprized the life of the affluent
Goan landlord as he criticized it.
The novel detailed the movements, objects, and modes of reasoning
of the class of landlords as a fulfilment of the curiosity of a readership
located well outside the realm depicted. The narrators repeated comments
that some of the things he described were typical of half a century earlier,
persuaded readers to view contemporary Goa and contemporary land
relations as somewhat changed. He commented, for instance, on the
landlords house:
...strangers would be astonished to see the house that was bigger than
the palaces of all of Goas governors and bishops. There were many good
things which were expensive by the standards of the time when we didnt
usually see things like that, as well as by todays standards.
There were three aspects to these descriptions of furniture: their precise
physical state and the material of which they were made, the location in
which they appeared in the house, and the familial use of furniture in
246 Between Empires
the house. At that time it wasnt customary to keep a round table in the
middle of the room as is done now, said the narrator:
and around it there werent chairs and a sofa as we see now when we
walk into a good room. But there were a few chairs of black wood that had
high seats and four shingles in the middle and there was no handiwork on
them. The coir and cane of the seat having been torn out before, it was
covered with a counterpane.
The intricacy of detail, and the elaboration of the absence of an entire
set of furniture conveyed many meanings; it emphasized the narrators
familiarity with the ways of the rich, the fact that the family in question
may have fallen on hard days since it had not repaired its chairs, and that
affluence was accompanied by greater plenitude of objects around the
house, from the early to the late nineteenth century. The reader learned
as well how the daily life of the landlords household could be mapped
according to their use of furniture. Four large benches of good wood,
were used by the mother, daughter and daughter-in-law to sew during
the day, and to sit on after singing the Ave Maria.
The changes that occurred in the years between 1845, the time of
the novel, and 1897, the time it was written, had brought more furniture
to the rich, and a detailed knowledge of furniture and its meanings, to the
upwardly mobile poor. The changes brought by the passage of time did
not, however, necessarily signify a change between tradition and modernity,
or between indigenous and western ways. Black wood chairs in the homes
of the rural bourgeoisie in Goa by the early nineteenth century were not
a novelty, and were remarked on only in comparison to the abundance
brought by later years.
The absorption of Portuguese influences was interpreted as a sign of
the acquisition of western cultural norms, but this was not the
predominant or most significant connotation to the demarcating of older
domestic arrangements from new ones. When the narrator stated, for
instance, that, These days rich people have cabinets and large cupboards
which in English are called wardrobes, or that the daughter-in-law
and daughter would keep their clothes in these; the daughter-in-law
wearing bazu-toddpin and the daughter a dress, a refined knowledge of
a variety of modern social norms is being displayed.
The bazu-toddpin
was a form of dress adapted by Goan women subsequent to the entry of
the Portuguese, and its gradual replacement with the dress signified the
upper class origins of its wearer, as well as the process of modernization.
The shift to the dress undoubtedly devalued indigenous clothing that
The Domain of Konkani 247
had become a sign of lower class norms, but this shift did not symbolize
the loss of cultural authenticity within the novel.
The unfolding of the stages and nature of the life of the landlord had
a doubled meaning, just as that which informed the representation of
objects. The description of each aspect of the landlords life evoked its
difference from a norm implicit and consistent in the novelthe standard
of life of the Goan peasant. As with the Portuguese novel Jacob e Dulce
published a year before, the institutions into which the landlord class was
born were introduced through the signs of their corruption and fraudulence,
as well as, in the case of this novel, the contrast with the unprotected
fortunes of Goan peasants.
The protagonist, Espectao blundered
through school, but his mark of twelve is transformed to twenty-one,
and he is declared to have cleared an examination before appearing for
it. This satire on the education system is common to Jacob e Dulce as
well, but in Battcara some of the consequences of such corruption are
given further space. The doctor called in to attend to Espectaos father
who is ill because of excessive drinking, is unable to diagnose the problem.
Dr Bento, claimed the narrator:
had not studied medicine the way it is studied now but was a compounder
with Dr Ferreira Mouro...he spoke good Portuguese but couldnt write
a letter straight. But just as we say Esperimentado metado letrado, thats
how he ran his profession.
The three rhyming Portuguese words implied that semi-educated
doctors learnt their profession as they attended to various patients. Once
he left home to train as a lawyer, Espectaos education follows a similar
pattern of informal irregularity.
A description of the birth and baptismal ceremony of the heir of the
family provided an occasion for the establishment of class difference.
Celebration wine is red, said the narrator. However, The toddy tapper
said that the landlord had distributed wine for the celebration, but it
wasnt real wine. After filling the wine in bottles from the barrel, ordinary
coconut liquor was mixed with it and burnt sugar added to make it
The narrator described the growing interest in the village about
Espectaos character: some said he was good, others that he wasnt,
whatever it was that they said, all stood up when he entered church, and
the vicar then rang the bell.
Time, space and structures of everyday
life in Goa emerge in the novel as a critique of the life of the elite, in order
to insert, in a place of narrative subordination, the different structure of
the life of the Goan peasantry.
248 Between Empires
The landlords family was evidently important enough for the local
government official, the Administrador to be invited to the baptismal feast.
As he toasted the newborn, he prayed that he would become a good
person of good qualities in keeping with the Carta Constitucional of our
country, which our beloved queen gave us a few years ago.
While, in
terms of narrative structure, the landlords son has political citizenship
personally and seamlessly conferred on him, the incorporation of other
classes into history is not as smooth. The snippets of Goas colonial history,
the criticism of the Portuguese state, the postal system, and the practice
of dowry, which stand apart from the main narrative and are rendered as
prose and information, appear to be spheres newly inhabited by readers
of such novels. In a narrative about a landlords heir, aspects of history
that do not impinge on his life stand apart as elements that are seemingly
extraneous to the rest of the novel.
The information included in this novel, as though it were a set of
novel statements, worked to bestow readers with their own recent history
and to make them subjects of it, just as the narrative of the life of the
landlord repositioned the reader in a position of critical distance instead
of subordination. Readers were informed for instance that the Portuguese
assumed control in 1510. The power of the Portuguese had declined,
stated the narrator, and it was in part a result of this, and trade treaties
with the English, that Goans found themselves migrating in search of
jobs. The broad political histories that customarily excluded the lives of
peasants are forced, within the space of the novel, to accommodate the
experience of the reader. Mention of the English allowed for the
comparative assessment of colonial rule, which had been evident for half
a century in the writings of the elite. The narrator provided a description
of Bombay and what the British had done for it:
they dug through hills and mountains, put in a railway, and there was
water in peoples houses and for all this, people paid a tax of a rupee
every two years. But though its been almost 400 years since the foreigners
came to Goa, they have done nothing for the peasants and instead extract
four rupees and ten annas as tax.
Several instances within the novel, which would seem like evidence
of the flawed mastery of novelistic techniques, or the incorporation of
forms like the essay or journalism into that of realist fiction, can be read
as mechanisms for the reordering of time and events, to acknowledge
the lives of migrant lower middle-class Goans.
The Domain of Konkani 249
For instance, when Espectaos unskilled tutor sends him a letter to
say he would be delayed in his village, the letter is reproduced to emphasize
his flawed Portuguese. Within the novel, this is a technique to comment
on the inadequacies of most tutors and the flimsiness of the elite educational
systems. However, the narrator commented that the letter which was sent
from Salsette to Bardez, took nine days to arrive: It isnt very surprising
that in those days it took nine days for a letter to reach Bardez from
Salsette, because these days as well, it takes five days for a letter to reach
from Aden to Bombay or from Delhi to Cape Comorin.
The places
named in this satire on the postal system not only indicate the scope of
migrant travel, but also a knowledge of the history of the postal system,
produced by the experience of migrants for whom letters and the postal
system were crucially important.
Details of social history punctuated the main narrative to introduce
patterns of time and spheres of knowledge that extended beyond the time
of the main narrative. As the doctor entered Espectaos house to attend
to his dying father, he asked Espectaos mother the time. In those days,
said the narrator, you wouldnt find twenty-five clocks in all the government
offices in Goa and scarcely anyone had seen a pocket watch. Even in the
territories of the English, watches were quite rare.
Likewise, the novel
tells us at different points that sewing machines were still unknown at the
time when the narrative begins, and steam ships were affordable to all only
after 1878. The abundance of such bracketing within the novel in fact
disallows one from analysing the novel for its conventional plot structure.
Instead, the migrants departure from Goa and upward mobility outside
its still defining world, were implied by framing the dominant narrative
within the overarching structures of hidden time. The time between
when sewing machines and watches were almost unheard of, and when
they had become familiar objects, both known and potentially possessed,
is continuously mapped through the novel. The affordability of a steam-
ship fare for instance, can only be gauged by the time of migrant departures,
and by the distance between Bombay and Goa. Far more detail than is
available in any other kind of text about the conditions of Goa as they
appeared to those who had left it, and about life in Bombay were included
in the margins of the narrative.
The near obsessive enumeration of the details of daily life, ritual and
customary practices as if they belonged to the past, suggests that novels
like Battcara may have also compensated migrants for