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Is GEM Culture The Victim Of Academic Baloney? – By Philomena & Gilbert Lawrence
Sunday - Jan 22, 2023
Indo-Portuguese legacy in the Overseas Territories (OT) is currently an educational hot topic for historians and sociologists. In their academic papers, the authors use terms such as lusophilia, lusotropicalism, lusofonia, lusotopia, lusosphere, lusocentrism, and Portugalidade. These Portuguese terms were coined by Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freyre. There are no exact English equivalents for these words. However, some close approximations include endearment, kinship, affinity, friendliness, and goodwill between Portugal and the ruled. When Freyre vacationed in Goa in 1951, he described the native society as being "the best expression of Lusotropicalism -- emotional attachment to the common Lusitanian heritage of feeling and culture." However, five years later, Orlando Ribeiro, who was deputized by Salazar in 1956, was shocked at the "near absence of Lusophile feelings" in Goan society. So much for foreign “experts” who visited Goa and whose work is so often quoted by current academics! Ribeiro failed to ask the Goan empregados (bureaucrats) the causes for the lack of lusophilia that he perceived. Neither Ribeiro nor the empregados fully explain the reasons for the lack of lusophilia.
 
Comparing the level of lusophilia in other colonies in Africa, Asia, and Brazil, where the colonizer was the same, Ribeiro claimed that the fault lay with the caste-sensitive Goans, who generally refused to marry the colonizers and be part of the empire’s miscegenation. Had he done his homework after arriving in Goa or prior to writing his report, he would have found his answer in Lisbon itself. Even today, academics like AB Xavier fail to seek an explanation for this disconnect, beyond reporting the near-absence of miscegenation in the prior two or three centuries. It appears, then as now, anything perceived to be wrong with GEM and Indian societies is blamed on “caste.”
 
Historians, sociologists, and students who read those textbooks traditionally credit the colonizer’s contributions to “Colonization and Conversion.”   In truth, it was:
•             Evangelization.
•             Art and Architecture.
•             Affluence.
•             Emigration.
•             Education. (Presented in Part lll)
•             Creation of a Remittance Economy
•             Development of roads, bridges, shipping, and railroads.
•             A broader outlook in life and opening the door to a wider world.
•             Western-style hospitals and medical schools built of brick and mortar.
•             Improved farming techniques and the introduction of new plant species.
•             Intermingling between people of different regions and various walks of life.  
 
Interestingly, when the royal palace in Lisbon weighed the pros and cons of colonization, it did not consider any of the above-mentioned items except perhaps for evangelization. An entire chapter could be dedicated to exploring in depth each contribution. Space limits us to concisely discuss only a few of the issues. Those interested in the healthcare field, including the Royal Hospital, an early institution, and Goa Medical School -- the first western medical school in Asia established in 1842 -- should read Doctors for the Empire: The Medical School of Goa and its Narratives by Cristina Bastos, as well as The Goa Medical School and its importance in the History of Portuguese Medicine by Dr. Jose Filipe Monteiro.
 
Evangelization
It is often claimed that da Gama sailed to India in 1497 in search of Spices and Souls. However, original documents suggest that the explorer’s purpose was to find Prester John (or his followers) and seek their help in evaluating Asian spices as a trading commodity. Da Gama and his successors were navigators, whose knowledge of spices or trading was minimal. Without assistance, the Iberians would have been at the mercy of the Moors/Arabs who dominated the spice trade out of Asia and were expelled from the Iberian territories in Europe after a prolonged war of independence.  
 
The priests who accompanied the explorers and subsequent Carreira da Índia were responsible for serving the Iberian sailors and residents at the feitorias. The colonizer’s claim of “saving souls” was a feel-good moral message to would-be sailors as a way to avoid providing them with information on the high risks involved in voyages to India during which a third of the sailors and boats perished. So, while some claimed (and historians report) the explorers came to India “in search of Spices and Souls,” the first recorded village baptism took place in 1558, six decades after the Portuguese arrived; while after 1498, the year da Gama first arrived in India, convoy of 20-25 caravels annually shipped boat loads of spices to Lisbon. 
 
Francis Xavier arrived in Goa in 1542 but left a mere four months later to carry out his mission work along the Fisheries coast at the southern tip of India. Francis’ own catechism book was published several years after he died; his major contribution was breaking the barriers wherever he preached, including in Goa, India, Malaysia, and Japan. His work -- from Africa to Japan – focused on caring for lepers, the sick, and the poor. He often performed menial tasks as acts of charity and without expecting any recompense. These humanitarian services were delivered and received without coercion or expectation of conversion to Christianity. In fact, Xavier’s writings do not mention any instances of conversion in Goa. Instead, his reports to the king provide information on the moral lapses and criminal irregularities of the colonizer, including their participation in land-grab programs, which forcefully displaced the natives. 
 
The king chose to ignore Francis’ messages as all of his recommendations would have deterred Lusitanian pioneers and settlers from coming to the east. The colonizer’s purported intention to “save souls” (which writers like to repeat) was merely an unachieved positive claim. The professed goal of conversion was aimed at presenting the explorers’ risky efforts as being noble in intent rather than mercenary. The religious new arrivals were academics and linguists, who introduced the first printing press in Asia and set to work putting Indian languages to script, developing native grammars, and translating works into and from Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathi, Konkani, and Persian.
 
It is worth repeating that the efforts of the colonizer’s soldiers to terrorize and displace natives, encourage eviction, and grab their land ran counter to the efforts of the priests and nuns whose purpose was to serve the natives, spread the message of the gospel, as well as encourage self-worth, equality, and dignity. It was the Pope and the Jesuits, led by Francis Xavier (who arrived in 1542, almost half a century after da Gama did), who made evangelization a priority for the priests and nuns. Francis was so frustrated with the disruptive activities of the colonizer that he left Goa to carry out his missionary work in southern India, far away from any Iberian rule.
       
The majority of priests and nuns who came to the east were talented but poor; their intention was to escape Europe’s Reformation and Counter-Reformation chaos. The meeting of the GEMs and the newly-arrived missionaries was life-enhancing for both groups. Soon, the Europeans’ new goal evolved into making the theological concepts of spiritual joy into a physical reality. Their enthusiasm in serving Christ was contagious, which made them the very best bearers of the gospel.
 
Some authors claim, “The colonizers were on a mission to convert.” However, the white and mestizos resented the conversion of the natives, who would have the same benefits as the colonizers, including the right to receive land-grants, government jobs, other perks, as well as join the police & military. By the end of the 17th century, the conquistadores (white and mestizo) lost their will to fight and became fidalgos. Goa was no longer a collection of fortified forts. Instead, the thriving Estado Português da Índia with 200,000 residents became the capital of the OT, which extended from Mozambique to Macau, and the metropolis with 75,000 was comparable to the leading cities of the world. The educated and articulate Bamons and Chardos now presented themselves as "the true resident, pure-blood nobles." With their own long family pedigree of civil servants for various rajas, they accused the mestizos of being "sons of niggers and fishermen" and therefore unfit to hold government jobs. Regardless of whether the various groups were desirable or undesirable, all had “Actual and Aspirations of Equality" in government offices, as well as political, socio-economic, and religious authority. The differences that existed between the colonized and the colonizer were not completely eliminated after the Assimilationist Policies were introduced, but the lines separating the two were constantly being successfully challenged.
 
Some academics and writers such as Dale Menezes conflate the terms religion, ethnicity, and nationality. Other scholars may also include race, tribal groups, caste and sub-caste, culture, and heritage, which will add to the confusion. Despite what some scholars claim, Indian heritage did not enter Goa as a counter to colonialism or conversion; it was part of the Goan way of life long before the Portuguese arrived, never left the overseas territories, and survived colonial rule. The priests and nuns provided education and health-care as a means to uplift the people, especially the marginalized. Those interested in learning more about Christian activity in the state of Maharashtra should read Ms. Kranti Farias’s excellent paper on the topic.
        
In the view of some writers, Christianity can be practiced only in a Western milieu and must be confined to Whites. Additionally, according to these authors, Hinduism can only exist within an Indian context and is therefore limited to Asian believers. The anomaly is that many of these authors make such claims while they themselves live in a disconnected world. For example, TB Cunha, a western-educated Goan physician and freedom fighter, stated that he was proud to be Catholic but denounced his religion as a tool of the foreigner, one that was aimed at depriving the natives of their ethnic culture.
 
Some right-wing Hindu extremists decry the presence of Christians and their institutions in India, while they or their relatives are educated in English and live comfortably in Europe, America, or Australia, where they practice their faith and culture.
 
Art and Architecture
Vestiges of colonial Art and Architecture form the foundation of 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the former colonial capital at Old Goa. The buildings and others were adorned with art and architecture typical of the Renaissance and Post-Renaissance era. Artists of that period were renowned for their ability to take inert canvas or stone and make them express the human emotions of joy and desire. Through the use of paint brushes or chisels, these artists succeeded in capturing sublime and imaginary concepts and presenting them with intricate physical details.                                                             
Native artisans were quick to pick up the Renaissance-era skills of the colonizers.Not all art was religious, and some was indigenized. The architectural styles were contagious and spread in the construction of other churches in Goa, as well as other churches in the OT (Cochin, Diu, Bombay, Mangalore, etc.) and in the Raj (Calcutta, Karachi, Delhi, etc.). The stained-glass windows in the Holy Name Cathedral (Mumbai) was Munich Glass imported from Bavaria, Germany depicting that Goa put Asia on the world’s international art and architectural scene.
 
Visitors who tour Old Goa ruins would be well advised to imagine traveling back in time to the 16th and 17th centuries, when the splendid buildings, served as government offices, civilian housing, churches and monasteries, were constructed and adorned with artistic facades. The small city of 75,000 near the port, buzzed with activity around theatres, casinos, gambling dens, clubs, bars, and bordellos – all rowdy, social places with an overwhelming male population. In fact, the city’s reputation as a “pleasure capital” was no secret in Europe and led the explorers to make Old Goa their first stop on their voyage eastwards. Goa became the playground of European Casanovas obsessed with the pursuit of pleasure and social climbing. While today’s carnivals last for a mere a day or two, in the heyday of colonialism, carnivals began in October – the end of the monsoon season – and continued until the onset of summer in April. The interim months were known for the wild society events, with masked balls etc.
 
Affluence and a broader outlook in life
International trade boosted agricultural productivity and consumption and contributed to the affluence of the residents in India, Portugal and rest of the world. From 1500 to 1700, Asia’s population doubled as per Sanjay Subrahmanyam – the fastest rise than in any period in time. For the natives, colonization opened the doors to a wider world. It was just a matter of time before every native or their descendants could walk through those doors. The natives voluntarily absorbed overt and covert cultural practices of the colonizer, and some became a part of the ruling political-economic circle, which contributed to their higher socio-economic status. There were White, Mestizo, and Brown fidalgos. Close associations with government agencies produced a need for a cultural shift. The self-serving native alliances among native Christians and Hindus put them in competition with the new populaces – White and Mestizo. This involved adapting to the colonizer’s language, attire, mannerisms, and religion. While local tradition and wider society restricted the native-born in what they could and could not do, the White and not-so-White (Mestizos, Jews, Muslims, and Conversios) did not feel any guilt not to live up to Lisbon’s norms, mores, and morals. As always, those with money, power, and access to power called the shots. The mostly male population of traders and soldiers owned slaves, concubines and was the “Wild West” in Goa.
 
“Mimicry” or learning-and-adapting to new ways was practiced more by the upper strata to preserve their privileged status and strengthen their relationships with the ruler. It was a process of “eager emulation,” which created an imitative culture.
 
Some writers confuse progress and adaptation to a better way of life with denationalization or loss of culture, and/or conversion. This is like claiming that today’s Goans have lost their heritage because they no longer walk the dusty roads barefooted like their great-grandparents did, but travel by bus. As another example, just because a busy home-maker uses ready-made spice blends rather than grinds the spices by hand in preparing the curry indicates a loss of heritage. Clearly, there is confusion between colonialism, loss of nationalism, education, progress, and adaptation to a better way of life. The change in native attire and outlook on life are not related to religion or the colonizer’s coercion but rather to education, socioeconomic progress, broadening of horizons through contact with other foreign nationalities, the families’ diaspora – in short it is affluence. Elite Goans and Indians of all faiths looked upon themselves as a link between India and Europe THEN AS THEY DO NOW.
 
Effects of Emigration on Native Population
The 70-year-old writings of Freyre and Ribeiro, as well as of contemporary writers such as AB Xavier, TR de Souza, and other Portuguese and Indian literati (pundits, magazine editors, and writers) do not acknowledge the contributions that GEMs living in Iberian and British colonies made towards expanding the horizons and aspirations of the natives, who were restricted to the confines of the OTs. Since the 1800s, (especially with British occupation 1799-1815), the GEMs recognized the lucrative job-market lay in the British colonies, and their lingua franca should be English. As a result, only three percent spoke Portuguese in the 20th century despite compulsory primary education in Goa. Additionally, GEMs were aware of the chaos in and out of Lisbon’s royal palace as well as Iberia’s change in priorities, which shifted from Asia to Brazil to Africa. The European market for Asian spices became increasingly dominated by Dutch and British merchants, who also ruled the sea routes in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. 
 
From the 19th century onwards, the increasing numbers of Konkan and Canara diaspora, which regularly and faithfully returned to their roots, made many subtle contributions never before witnessed in diaspora history -- no thanks to the colonizer. To their families and community, the diaspora brought skills, affluence, knowledge, and success. The colony, in turn, thrived in the resulting stability, peace, and contentment of the people. They practiced religious tolerance and were spared any outbursts of communal hatred. Yet subtly, society changed. The nouveaux riche replaced the old bourgeoisie of bhatcars (landowners) and empregados (bureaucrats) a.k.a brown fidalgos (who previously replaced the white fidalgos) with lusophilic inclinations. The Anglosphere slowly distorted the Lusosphere in Goa and completely replaced it in Mangalore, Bassein, and Bombay. In doing so, the returning diaspora shaped the narrative of upward mobility as well as became part of the landed gentry in economic power, learning, skills, and social status. Internally there were less barriers and at times migration across caste strata CDS (Centre for Development Studies) report on Goa’s emigration in 1961 stated that 80% of emigration occurred from Old Conquest territories, and 75% of the émigrés were Catholic (despite representing only 33% of the population). The “Emigration rate” was pegged at 42 per 100 among Christians and five per hundred for the Hindus. 
 
The spread was along imperial (Lusitania and Anglo-Saxon) highways of human migration. However, within India, Hindus accounted for 71% of out-migration and rest were Christians. This disparity may be related to Hindu decrees forbidding “travel by sea.” According to some scholars, these religious sanctions were imposed in the 10th century because faith leaders did not want natives to travel to South-East Asia in case, they brought Buddhism back to India. Others believe the reason for forbidding travel across oceans was to make it easier for Indians to faithfully adhere to their vegetarian diets and practice religious rituals at home.        
 
The GEM Diasporas and their monetary contributions to their families created a middle class both in the diaspora and in the native villages. These émigrés knew how to appear poised in their double-breasted suits and neckties, as well as speak with English accents. They exuded charm and old-world courtesy the way royals do, and learned the art of casual name-dropping in the course of conversations. However, GEM diasporas were too busy to join the café society. After work, they often extended the courtesy of joining their co-workers for a drink and engaged in enthusiastic small talk in their own clubs. They cooked non-vegetarian meals, including pork and beef, served liquor, baked bread, and played western musical instruments. They worked as professionals as well as support staff -- tailors, waiters, barmen, musicians, bakers, and cooks – in European households and businesses. Many set up their own small businesses in the service sectors. By 1961, the diaspora   accounted for 20 percent of the population per Goa Migration Study (GMS). Unfortunately, post-1961, (a period free from colonization and conversion), a slow, relentless social change took place. The previous cooperative spirit within the community gradually diminished as did the mutual respect natives had for each other. Sadly, modernity, rhetoric, democracy, political instability, and extremism have contributed to making harmony an endangered commodity.    
 
Creation of a Remittance Economy
In 1933, Lisbon imposed an immigration tax to generate revenue for its coffers.  Of course, Goans had been immigrating to Bombay for nearly a century prior to that. According to Valmiki Faleiro, by the early 20th century, expat transfers accounted for a third of the colony’s revenue receipts and contributed to the village economy. This injection of large amount of funds created a demand for goods and services, which led to a positive ripple effect throughout the local economy. 
              
The remittances continue to date. Yet, because of its diversified economy, Goa and its residents are not solely dependent on transmittals as they were in the past. In the 1950s, there were approximately 50,000 Goans in Kuwait and in the UAE. By 1987, Gulf Goans accounted for more than 150,000 residents in these countries. At the peak of the Gulf Fever, the population in Goan villages dramatically dropped by 15%-50%. As per the Goa Migration Survey (GMS) in 2008, about 15% of households had a direct link to an emigrant abroad. For example, the Salcete taluka, where progenitor inheritance was common, 50% of its residents immigrated to the Middle East, and Christians comprised 74% of that group. About 60% who left Goa were between the ages of 20-40 and the same percentage had finished high school. Of these, 36% and 26% were female and male college degree holders, respectively. In 2008, the Goan diaspora transferred approximately Rs. 700 crores to their families in their villages, which accounted for 6.3% of the state’s GDP and 30% of tax revenues. Past figures report that India earns 25 billion dollars annually in remittances from NRIs, of which 100 million dollars came from Goans living abroad. That amount accounts for 4% of the state’s GDP (D.H. Panadikar – Indian Economist). 
               
The remittance economy implies that Portugal was doing well exporting GEM brain power. Clearly from the 19th century, Mideast and Europe was increasingly profiting from importing Goan and Indian brain power – a complete transition from importing spices and other commodities. The World Bank estimated in 2022, India earned 100 billion US dollars in annual remittances.
 
Changing Goan Attitudes
Rochelle Pinto et al report that the 19th century reforms related to Education and Transportation (by rail and sea) “in essence turned the Overseas Territories into economically profitable enclaves for the British.” Jason Keith Fernandes considers the colonial culture to be a form of orientalism peculiar to Goa -- a mix of strains of Goa-Indica, Goa-Portuguesa, and British-Indian orientalism. Goa, however, continued to progress due to education, democratization, distant employment, travel, communication with the outside world, affluence and colonization. In addition, economic self-sufficiency, industrialization, technology, and the influence of outsiders on the residents also played a role in Goa’s economic progress. GEMs (Christians and Hindus) deserve credit for continuing to preserve their core ethos while assimilating Iberian customs and lifestyle devoid of any feeling of colonial patriotism. In our view, the GEM culture is a combination of the Traditional with the Modern. It is worth noting that there are variations in GEM traditions -- attire, diet, music, and language -- in each diaspora group, both in India and abroad. The variations are not an indication that one group is superior to another, but rather they reflect the inventiveness of the groups in finding their own niche within the environment in which they live.
        
Portugal ruled Goa for 451 years and 23 days – a chapter in history which began two and a half centuries before the British owned any territory in Asia.   Goans’ Iberian-style, mentality, religion, language, food, and attire, are the result of colonialism and its resultant intermingling of two cultures. In addition, GEMs were influenced by the western education they received from Renaissance-era priests and nuns, who brought with them a broad spectrum of innovative ideas and outlook on life. When Portuguese culture and Latin Christianity were introduced to the west coast of India, they added to the many other cultures and religions that influenced the coast over more than 5,000 years of history. As Valmiki Faleiro points out in his extensive writings about waves of in-migration into Goa since antiquity, “Every successive people that descended on Goa subjugated the older settlers” to form the current composite layered society.
 
Improved Farming Techniques and Introduction of New Plant Species.
Prior to Lusitania’s arrival, Indians practiced subsistence farming – planting just enough crops to feed their families. To keep the cost of farming low, the poor farmers did not engage in intense farming, which involved the use of fertilizers, better seeds, improved irrigation methods, crop rotation, and allowing the land to lay fallow at regular intervals to permit soil rejuvenation. Over time, the soil deteriorated, and the yield decreased. The Konkan region grew rice (staple crop) but not in sufficient quantities to feed its people, which led to frequent famines and starvation. Droughts or flooding compounded the crises and encouraged out-migration of the population. 
 
The European / Renaissance monks established horticultural farms, where they introduced above farming techniques. In addition, the colonizer’s control over the Canara region (Mangalore), the rice basket of the west coast, assured the Konkan people of adequate rice supplies, eliminating starvation. When the Iberian navy was not fending off the Dutch, they escorted rice-laden vessels from Canara to Old Goa, protecting them from coastal pirates. 
 
The monks introduced 50 new species of plants -- vegetables, spices, and fruits - from Africa and South America, including corn (maize) and potatoes. The latter crops eliminated mass starvation in Goa and other parts of Asia as these plants could thrive in poor soil conditions and the harvests were plentiful. The farming techniques were so successful that the Ikkeri and Keladi rulers specifically recruited Goan farmers to tend the fields in Canara and even gave them land grants. It is interesting to note that the monks also transported Asian plants to Africa and Brazil.
 
Missed Opportunities
In addition to discussing the colonizers’ contributions, it is also important to enumerate some of their missed opportunities. For example, Goa’s valuable asset -- its deep harbour at Mormugão -- could have turned the port into the Hong Kong or Singapore of India had Lisbon accepted Britain’s offer in 1815 to purchase Goa for half a million pounds. In today’s economic jargon, the British had the advantages of “the economies of scale” of world commerce and the thriving Industrial Revolution; and their focused colonial approach extended all the way from the throne in London to the “white sahib” in the field. Lisbon declined the offer and held on to Goa for sentimental reasons. In doing so, Lisbon retained the goose-that-was-laying-the-golden-eggs in terms of Diasporas’ remittances of British-Indian rupees, East African florins, and later, of shillings.
        
A single word, PARALYSIS best describes the post-World War II governments both in Panjim and Lisbon. In fact, many would use the term to portray the conditions since the beginning of the 20th century, when many development “projects” lay stagnant on the drawing board ad infinitum. Lisbon focused on Africa, Brazil, and its own internal chaos in the 19th century. In addition, Pombal, who came to power in 1750, eliminated Goa as the administrative centre for Africa in 1752 even though professional GEMs served in those colonies’ bureaucracy until the 20th century. Tensions between indigenous Goans and reinois (whites born in Portugal), descedentes or castios (whites born in the colonies), casados (whites married to natives), and mestizos, as well as rebellions led by natives and their tax collectors paralyzed the OT.
 
In 1843, Lisbon expelled several religious orders, which were closely involved in sustaining the otherwise stagnant economy. The absence of these dedicated individuals caused turmoil in the field of education and in the economy. Lisbon’s string of royal dynasties, which began in 1139, experienced displacements, upheavals, royal assassinations, and finally ended in 1910 with the monarchy replaced by the first republic. It is understandable that GEMs did not want to hitch their wagons to Portugal’s fading star! That country was destined to discover its own shortcomings in the 20th century, when it joined the EU. We will leave it to the Lusitanos to analyze how much Portugal benefited from its dark colonial history and the effects of the internal collapse and external pressures. Yet, now as part of EU, Lusitania is seeing its star shine.
Is Newitt and others blaming the dilution of Old Culture
due to Affluence (universally seen) on Religion or Colonization?
 
Sharing Cultural Opportunities
In our view, there are great opportunities for the strengthening of lusofonia in the 21st century. For starters, we suggest that GEM diaspora groups worldwide should foster cultural exchanges and network with each other. Another step would be to encourage interactions with those who lived through the struggle for independence in 1961. These individuals are part of the last living generation with a wealth of first-hand information on Iberian colonialism in the East and in Africa. It would benefit present and future generations to have access to the documented recollections of those who lived during that period. Such oral discourses and printed reminisces should include input from the then young military recruits who completed tours of duty through the East in the 1950s. Such exchanges could even help the participants re-live their youth. A sister-to-sister relationship between municipalities and institutions across the Lusosphere would be a boon to those sharing in the exchange. 
 
In addition to esoteric academic papers on Lusophilia, sports can also play an important role in fostering lusofonia. For example, Portugal’s cultural goal could be to organize a world-class competitive soccer program for all its former colonies, similar to the one Britain established with the game of cricket. As world powerhouses in football, Portugal and Brazil could organize soccer camps in various parts of the Lusosphere to promote the next Edson Pele or Cristiano Ronaldo. The camps can also serve to train GEMs and Indians in professional and competitive soccer. A football league across the Lusosphere would be great for the economies of the countries, individual players, cities and clubs in addition to enhancing tourism and goodwill. Within lusotropicalism, GEMs could volunteer to become badminton, table-tennis, and field hockey coaches. GEMs would also be excellent English and Hindi teachers in the Lusosphere. Looking ahead to the future, India is expected to become the third largest world economy within the next decade. For Lusitanos, the GEMs could be the entrepôt to India’s economy. And for Indians, the key to Lusosphere economies and markets in Europe, Africa, and South America could lie in Goa.   
 
Goa is just one of the many places Lusitanos should be encouraged to visit. Lisbon had 50 fortalezas all along the Asian coast, the most famous of these being Bon Bahia, located 250 miles north of Goa. Lisbon bestowed the desolate islands to England as a dowry for their queen Catherine de Braganza (q 1662-1685). Over time, the English, along with Bomoicars and others, transformed the seven islands of Bombay into a major metropolis. After independence, the city’s prosperity, referred to as the ‘Bombay Boom’ -- Brash, Messy and Racy – captured India’s dreams and ambitions. The entrepreneurial energy and the ingenuity of 21 million Mumbaikars, all privately hustling, make Mumbai a 24/7 supercharged city. The young and entrepreneurial GEM, Indian and Lusitano have long since moved beyond colonialism and its history. They are likely to encounter each other in their diaspora groups, colleagues in universities, and peers in international high-tech industries. They eagerly look to the future rather than to the past.
 
Post-colonial nationalism presents an opportunity for change, leading to syncretism with intermingling between religious and ethnic groups, social strata, and caste. Being proactive is preferable to having external forces stir the pot. Clearly, the challenge for young and old is to adopt the new as well as adhere to the old values that have worked well in the past. The younger generation is literate, educated, and lives in a fast-paced world. Life in the fast lane is not necessarily incompatible with old cultural values. It does require a conscious effort to maintain the "old customs," which, of course, can only be done if we know the “old traditions.” Nuclear families and children in nuclear families have a more difficult time being aware of these traditions because the cultural education processes are achieved through frequent observation and participation in age-old practices. This transmission of ways of behaviour is more difficult for an integrated society living on foreign soil. Hence the educated and intelligent generations of the future will have to determine ways that permit adapting to the new without discarding the useful traits that have endured over 3,000 years of experience, practice, and rehearsals.
 
Self-employed small-businesses create the most jobs in any region and are consequently the backbone of a free-market economy. The lack of job creation has been a blemish on the records of the colonial government as well as elected governments. Unfortunately, due to negative attitudes towards establishing small businesses, GEMs have relied on the government (pre- and post- colonial) for job creation. But what can the government do other than pass some tax-favourable legislation? In the past, the lack of small businesses in Goa was compensated for by the massive emigration, especially of Catholics. The émigrés found lucrative employment outside Goa and sustained the native economy. That door of opportunity is slowly closing. It is imperative that establishing and running small businesses should be encouraged and made respectable, which would break down caste barriers and eliminate false perceptions and pretences. The challenge for the current diaspora, then as now, is to hold on to the good and shed the bad. (GEM Diaspora Culture is discussed later). The GEMs of past generations have achieved great successes despite access only to minimal education and technology. 
 
Recap of Lusitania’s history in India
In the 16th century, Portugal acquired Goa in 1510, Mangalore in 1526, and Bassein in 1534. These were the most important among the more than 40 fortalezas in India. There was a hectic period of wars, displacements and settlement of soldiers, to defend the territory from the Sultans attempting to regain their territory. Each of these toeholds experienced a marked increase in trading activities, which benefitted both the local population and the colonizer. The decades were marred by intimidation of the natives and land-grab efforts of the ruler, actions which resulted in the increase in the number of white and mestizos (mostly male) settlements. Former rulers, mainly the Sultan of Bijapur, made numerous attempts to regain their lost land and control over the spice trade by ejecting the Lusitanos from their Overseas Territories. The wars and famines created a diaspora of Goans aiming to escape the chaos. The OTs reflected a mix of prosperity for some and a nightmare for others. Lisbon went on to create a Maritime Silk Lane in the Indian Ocean (the busiest sea-lane) which was their trade cartel and a de facto military hegemony from Angola on Africa’s west coast to Japan. The world was witnessing Lusitanian Globalization; which removed trade barriers and created opportunities by triangulation of shipping and trade; made a handsome profit in the process; which paid for the commodities shipped. This was a New Age of Commerce (Mercantilism) without conquest or exchange of territory.
 
The 17th century was marked by Dutch dominance on land (in Europe) and sea, including several periods of naval blockade of Goa. Lusitania’s sails were clipped and its ambitions thwarted, first by Spain and later by the Dutch. Lusitania lost several OTs in southern India and Southeast Asia, and Goa was attacked by the Marathas. Lisbon and Madrid had to reconcile themselves to the limits of their declining Maritime power and influence. Through the 17th century there were attacks by sultans from the Deccan and the rajas of Canara and Kerala; And larger attacks of Safavids, Mughals, Tokugawa shoguns, competition from European naval and trading rivals – Dutch, English and French, and restoration of the monarch in Lisbon in 1640; compounded by internal private interlopers of various ethnic groups hollowing-out the empire while expecting to be protected by it.
 
The 17th/18th centuries have been referred to as the Period of Enlightenment, and the natives were primed for it. The colonizers, with help from the Renaissance-oriented priests and nuns, enhanced native education, raised it to a more structured level and introduced the Latin alphabet. They educated Goans despite their diversity in terms of caste, class, religion, languages spoken at home, socioeconomic status, occupation, ownership of property, the education level of the parents, and the neighbourhoods in which the students lived. The legacies of Renaissance-Europe typically include architecture, paintings, and sculpture. But to the OT of the Iberian empire, the Renaissance bequeathed an even more valuable asset -- a village-wide education system, which was originally introduced in the 16th century. Teaching and learning were purely a voluntary two-way endeavour and not brought about as the result of forcible colonial indoctrination as some historians claim. In making such erroneous statements, these authors sell our ancestors short on their own wisdom and survival skills. It is interesting to note that the lasting and generational benefit of Christianization was the education of the natives, something which the colonizer never envisaged. Contrary to what some believe, the education of the local residents was not the result of pre-planned Colonization, Evangelization, or Europeanization.
 
The 18th century saw the consolidation of Dutch power in the Indian Ocean and the ascendency of the English in Asia. The Raj was born! Lisbon’s maritime power and influence crumpled from external pressure and internal decay. In the Canara region, Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu Sultan, inhumanly displaced the Mangloreans creating a near holocaust; in the Konkan region, the GEMs met a less brutal but similar fate at the hands of the Marathas in Goa and Bassein. These violent military interventions produced waves of GEM migration within India. In addition, Lisbon lost interest in its Eastern Empire and concentrated instead on Brazil and Africa for the lucrative trade in sugar, gold, and slaves. As a result, the whites, mestizos, mulatos, and African slaves left Asia. This was an opportunity for Indians to migrate into coastal territories, and they took advantage of it. The governor kept up his frequent appeals for money, men, shipping, and attention. Globally, this was the “Golden Age” of colonialism and slavery.
 
The 19th century was featured by a stagnant economy in Portugal and its colonies. The century started with the British occupation of Goa which started in 1799 and extended to 1815. (See later for an impact of the occupation). Goa witnessed the increase in out-migration and growth in the number of GEM diaspora in Iberian and British colonies. In the Estado da India Portuguesa (Provincia Ultramarina), the balance of political power between the ruler and various sectors of the ruled, together with the outside remittances floating the colonial economy created a ‘benign bon vivant’ which survived, till it was toppled over a century later by the shadow of a larger neighbour. Malyn Newitt’s description in his history book has been termed by a Lusitano as an outline of the “contrast between creative forces in Portugal’s scattered overseas empire vs. stagnation and decadence in continental Portugal” and its royal palaces. These geopolitics and economics were the raison d’être that Ribeiro missed.
 
During the 20th century, the GEM diaspora blossomed both internally within India, and externally in Africa and Mideast both in the Lusosphere and Anglosphere. On October 5, 1910 there was a revolution in Lisbon, where the monarchy was finally replaced by the first republic. The world changed with two World Wars, and in 1947 Britain saw the unwinding of its Era of Colonialism. This was the turning point, which Lisbon’s junta did not see; yet time and history marches on! The beginning of the end of Portuguese colonialism was not far behind. Goa was the first European colony in Asia and its independence from Portugal on December 19th, 1961, would be the forerunner of the end of Lusitania’s colonial rule worldwide. India’s independence from the Raj; and Goa from Lusitania’s grip heralded the beginning of the end of the London’s and Lisbon’s colonial rule in other parts of the world. These events are vividly described by Newitt as, “A great iceberg that had broken up into fragments, that each sailed its own way.” Since then, elections results and societal changes suggest a transformation which involved elimination of both the Hindu/Brahmin domination and the Catholic colonial influence in post-colonial Goa; and resulted in the emergence of a mercantile bourgeoisie (both Hindu and Christian & Goan and non-Goan) rooted in myriad aspects of tourism and commerce. While Portugal has moved on with the Carnation Revolution in 1974 and joined the EU, a few in Goa likely have still not woken up to or accepted the changes in 1961 or 1974. Six decades later, many Goan intelligentsias are still stuck on the colonial demographic landscape, while some politicians have moved with times.
 
In Summary:
The external pressures and internal decay in Portugal - at the palace and in the economy, together with the financial boon and the expansion of the native mindset contributed to what Ribeiro observed in 1956: “Goa was the least Portuguese in its cultural expression among all African and South American colonies.” GEMs who received their formal education in English realized that lucrative present and future job markets would be located in the English-speaking world. The Anglosphere was replacing the Lusosphere in OT. Truth be told, the Lusitanos themselves probably lost faith in their ruling junta and its ability to foster prosperity. For example, in 1942, the colonial government’s response was to make British India’s rupee illegal tender in Goa. Ironically, that currency had supplemented the Goan colonial rupee, which was in-short-supply, and remittances of Indian rupees had eased the economics of a trade deficit.
 
Evidence that a community can have multiple religions yet share a similar culture is seen in several Indian states like Punjab and Kerala, as well as in Europe, the Americas, and Australia. Andalucía is a well-defined geographical region with eight provinces in southern Spain. The area has a 700-year history of Moorish North African colonialism and the influx of Jewish migrants, who subjugated the Catholic peasants. This well-studied community of Andalucía has succeeded in fostering unity in the midst of diversity. Despite colonialism, conversions, and the inquisition, Andalusia is the most popular tourist destination in Southern Iberia partly because of its conflict-filled history. The residents have cherished and promoted architectural, dietary, cultural, and religious diversity along with their unique music, attire, and dance. The co-existence of three religions within one community in Southern Portugal and Spain is not merely external; their footprints are also reflected in gene studies indicating the joint ancestry of a significant segment of the population. 
 
It is very likely that future generations of GEMs of all faiths will show the same exemplary pattern of behaviour in India and among the diaspora, notwithstanding what current pundits tell us, some who are clearly trying to sow divisions. Today’s Goans in India and abroad would be well advised to ignore the negative, destructive, and distorted anecdotal stories about the colonizers. The secret of success is for the native and diaspora communities to get together, ignore these pundits, and build on each other’s skills and centuries-old traditions as a way to strengthen pathways for the decades ahead.
 
We would like the readers to visualize being part of the crowd at the royal palace in Lisbon when Vasco da Gama returned to the capital after successfully completing his “Voyage of Exploration” to India. Amidst all the euphoria, the court jester surely had a difficult time getting the attention of the king and royal guests, who keenly heeded every word of da Gama’s stories of the perils he faced as well as the heroism of his crew. The jester might have suggested that the king display a banner with the following announcement: “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! People of Asia! Wanted: a bride, whose family owns land loaded with Spice Trees. Send details on Spice Trees!” Such a proclamation would surely elicit loud laughter from the courtiers.
 
The king received ship loads of spices after the first voyage to India returned to Portugal as well as with each subsequent annual Carreira da Índia convoy comprising 20 to 25 ships. For the next 50 years, the king conveniently forgot about the “Saving Souls” item included in his initial goals for exploration. Instead, the approximately 50 feitorias Portugal established along the coast of the Indian Ocean became what was described as a “pearl necklace.” Portugal, its king, and the colonies were at the peak of their socio-economic glory for two centuries. But European colonization of Asia and Africa ended Iberian monopoly of the spice trade to Europe. 
 
Even after Lisbon’s decline in the 18th century, the residents in the Overseas Territories (OT) continued to receive a Renaissance-type education in their own villages – the first of its kind in Asia. In addition, the colonized developed an international perspective to life and had doors of opportunities opened, allowing them to become a worldwide diaspora in Lusitania and its colonies as well as in English-speaking colonies.
 
Over time, the GEM diaspora was firmly established all across the globe. Prominent members of the Indian diaspora have succeeded in becoming Prime Ministers in Portugal, Ireland, and more recently, the UK. The GEMs (Goans, East-Indians and Mangaloreans) and Asians smiled all the way to the bank as a result of the sale of their spices, other commodities and products, as well as their exceptional services and skills, now appreciated worldwide. Yet as the saying goes, “Before an upsurge there is always a depression” and so it was for the GEMs.
 
We hope this essay provides the readers with a vital framework of the Goan diaspora’s historical journey. As Shashi Tharoor wisely stated, “If you do not know where you have been, how do you know where you seek to go? History belongs in the past, but understanding it is the duty of the present.”
 
We hope you enjoyed reading this aspect of history, which includes a lot of “food for thought.” Please forward these articles to your relatives, friends, peers, as well as include the essays on your Indian and Iberian chat sites. Sharing history is sharing our cultural heritage. Thank you for allowing us to share this with you.

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Comments (2)
MdG
Monday - Jan 23, 2023
V interesting, even if all may not be true, but that's what debates and knowledge is all about.
Can't stop adding my 2 paisa worth of feedback.

As Anno Reader mentioned- The collapse of Jesuits and rise of secular chaps such as Marquis de Pombal or whatever dhol. Basically in life you don't do things by half or you simply don't mix two different people, it never works out. Such as the British brought in Tamils as cheap labour into Sri Lanka, centuries later kaboom..LTTe and all that shit with the local Sinhalese.

Similarly, the Portuguese did a great job in spreading Christianity and education and most importantly civilising the local population in the Old Conquest regions. The effects of which can be seen even today, such that ghattis come flocking to it and never leave. When time came to do the same to the New Conquesta regions they turned secular and basically lost their mojo. They were more interested in cutting their own noses, to spite their faces rather than dealing with the long term consequences. Whatever people say about Goan HINDU- Catholics unity and fraanship and peace, MdG says BULLOCKS OR BS. Scratch the surface and all major disoutes have been based on Hindu- Catholic or New vs Old Conquest regions, like a subtle civil war. Be it MGP vs UGDP or Opinion Poll or Konkani Vs Marathi or MOI or even the Konkan railway agitation in 1990s. Only difference, unlike Gujarat there have been no serious rioting, but again there are reasons for the same, as large areas of old conquista have hindu minorities. So they have been quiet,..until now

The Portuguese should have actively converted the new conquest regions or any new settlers. Goa today would be number 1 in Asia and even had a chance to be an indepedent country.

Another point is to compare British Raj to Portuguese rule. You can see it in South America Vs North America. The British went in as conquerors, subjugated the local population and used their resources and trade to the max. What the local benefitted was from 'Trumps trickle down' economy theory, with jobs such as coolies and clerks and such. Across the empire the British simply HATED the locals and kept them out of their social circle. Except for waiters, servants and the local petty Kings who used to wipe their bums. Hence there is hardly any Indo British or british arabic or Britsh african culture!!

So thanks to Portuguese, we had a vibrant Portuguese culture but not as strong and widespread such as Brazil.

As for Portuguese failing to handover deep port Murmugao to British, I differ. If British left Hong Kong in 1997, Portuguese left Macau in 1999 which had a better standard of living than HK! So eventually Portugal would have fully developed Goa too, if not for the Indian invasion.
Plus for centuries they had to rely on the local bhatkar system, who acted as their agents While the Portuguese had feelings for the masses and tried to improve standards, all that the Bhatkars wanted was control and cheap labour. Which was enforced through brutality and selfishness and rubber stamped by the local church padres. The caste system being still dominant was used to the hilt to subjugate and fuel hatred towards the masses. On the other side the Portuguese tried to help the poor and masses but at the end were too weak to ignore the bhatkar lobby.
That was the real reason people left enmasse or 42/100 which the bhatkar promptly replaced by GOMO. Who were basically losers or parasites, unable to work in their own land and came down here to have free meals. You can see that in their attitude even in 2023. Ask any GOMO youth if he wants to go to the Gulf and earn or make Portuguese passport and work hard in Europe. Answer will be NOOOOO. He's only interested in getting a cosy Govt job, like Pramod Sawant, where he can sit on his bonk and fart all day long. Parasites

Ps - we should also NOT be in awe of the Portuguese paklo or meisteis or any european type light skinned looking native. They were not exaclty Portuguese royalty but generally riff raff in their own country. Plagued by scurvy and poverty, men involved in heavy drinking or petty crimes and women in immoral activities, their escape was to board a ship to the colonies and on arrival to be treated like Fidalgos. Just like Sonia Gandhi ruled India, a daughter of a small time farmer. You can still see it in present families with Portuguese blood, who seem to have very high rates of gambling, heavy drinking and even use of hard drugs like heroin, compared to non( just my observation) . So all that glitters aint gold...
AnonReader
Monday - Jan 23, 2023
Once again we have self-proclaimed "elites" in Goa and the Diaspora trying to rewrite history in their favour, without any references or footnotes. Ribeiro's problem in 1956 (same problem with other researchers studying Goan society from the 20th century onwards) was his failure to observe that the majority of residents of Goa in 1956 were what commenter MdG calls GOMO (ghanttis of Marathi origin) due to the unrestrained greed of bhatkars for cheap manual labour. Marathi "gratitude" towards these short-sighted "elites" would be demonstrated after 1961 by the Mundkar Act and other landgrabbing aided by the MGP. Demographics is Destiny.

As for the "secular" authors' take on evangelization, they once again resort to unsourced nonsense. The evangelization process in Goa was taking place continuously with baptisms on an individual and family basis from 1510 (starting with the converted Goan women who married Portuguese men, and the Hindu birth families of these women). In Afonso de Albuquerque's Commentaries (Vol. III, Chapter IX), you read about one of the reasons behind his encouragement of Portuguese men marrying converted Hindu women being that when the Hindu families observed how well their women were treated "they might with better willingness turn Christian". Then refer to the chapter "Labours in Goa" in Volume 1 of Coleridge's "Life and Letters of St. Francis Xavier". Diego Borba had already started a college (Santa Fe) some years before Xavier's arrival to train native Catholics as priests, the Royal Hospital (started by Afonso de Albuquerque) and the Misericordia (the Goa branch of a Catholic charity in Lisbon) had been in operation for decades. To quote Coleridge, "we read of no opposition offered to St. Francis when he began the work of reform". By January 1563, the Jesuits boasted that Tiswadi had been completely Christianized with a population of 70,000, the great majority of which had converted in the last six years ("Saraswati's Children" by Alan Machado). By the early 1700s, over 90% of the Velhas Conquistas population was Catholic according to the census records. The foundation of the parish schools were also due to State-sponsored evangelisation, João III had ordered his Viceroy João de Castro in 1545 to establish schools for Catholic doctrine (escolas de doutrina) in the villages for teaching the local Catholics both religious and secular subjects.

The article also completely ignores the collapse of the Catholic Portuguese Renaissance educational and economic systems in Goa following the dismissal of the Jesuits in the 1700s (and the resulting closure of their many institutions in Goa) by a pro-British Freemason PM (Marquis of Pombal) in Lisbon. This educational and economic destruction was further compounded by the dissolution of the monasteries and convents in the 1800s by the anti-Catholic Liberal government in Lisbon. ("Poskem" system for orphans is not as old as Goans think it is. Catholic orphans without relatives were usually cared for by religious institutions but now these children became free child labour for bhatkars. The dissolution of these Catholic orders is also why there are no Oratorians in Goa, in spite of the Goa branch being started by St. José Vaz himself.) The Goans who already had the education and means to start small businesses (i.e., the self-proclaimed "elites") to help in economic recovery weren't bothered - they just extracted rents from mundkars and lived decadent social lives. Hence the need for regular Catholic Goans to learn English and emigrate further afield, becoming cheap labour for Britishers in the British colonies (who didn't want to pay more to import British working-class servants, and didn't want to fund missionaries to create a native pool of Indian Protestant labour in the British Raj).

T B Cunha's claims about being "Catholic" are also deeply suspicious. Cunha's mentor at the Sorbonne, Romain Rolland, was a lifelong Stalinist and everyone in Cunha's social circle at the University followed some variation or another of Communism. Cunha's stupid beliefs about ghantti "integrity" were rewarded recently with government plans for a double tracking railway line through his native village. Cunha would have been better off using his electrical engineering degree from the Sorbonne to electrify Goan villages, but instead did a Manohar Parrikar (another waste of an engineering seat) and took up full-time politics instead. Keep in mind that all these delusional "educated Catholic" Goans of the 20th century (T B Cunha, Lambert Mascarenhas, M A Couto, Libia Lobo, etc.) were aware of Article 19 (including the Right to Freedom to live in any part of India) of the Indian Constitution (took effect in 1950). While fawning over big talkers like Lohia and JP Narayan, none of these "elite" Goan morons ever bothered to visit the Third World villages in UP those ghantti activists came from. The combination of Third World peoples (median IQ 85, same as American Blacks) from states with lower living standards with Article 19 would automatically mean Goa's flooding by ghanttis and the subsequent degradation of Goa (crime, corruption, squalor, environmental pollution, etc.).
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