Goa Inquisition – Portuguese - Non-Christians - 03

Map of Goa,India. credit:www.travelersjournal.co.uk
After 1540, the Portuguese govt. in India markedly came to be dominated by priests – a sort of pseudo theocratic administration. Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits – had  a lot of political clout and openly and vehemently  displayed an intolerant bigotry. In order to make the natives meekly submit to their faith as a last resort, they introduced  the intolerable horrors of the inquisition into India apparently in the name of God. 

In 1538, Goa Christians were headed by a Bishop and a few decades later in 1557 it became a seat of Christian power headed by an Archbishop - highest religious authority.

Inquisition introduced in 1560 not only aimed at non Christians, but also at apostate new Christians, Jews and  descendants of Christian converts. They did not even spare the ancient Syrian Christians of the Malabar coast who had been true Christians for centuries in the true sense of the term. Fortunately some of their age old churches there escaped from Portuguese rulers' fury. Jews in Malabar, to avoid persecution, started moving into safer places in the interior regions. .

In 1567 and later in Goa, the rulers destroyed 300 Hindu temples as they were against idolatry. Listening to Christian preaching - the gospel of Christ was made compulsory.

In 1620 Hindu related rituals - including marriage,sacred thread ceremony and funeral rites were banned. The Hindu custom of growing the sacred Tulasi plant in the house, Brahminical shendi (poly tail or kudumi in Tamil ), sacred thread, chewing betel leaf and areca nuts were outlawed in 1736.

Christian converts from other religions were forced to follow western diet. Alcohol was liberally introduced. Food items that were once taboo such as beef, pork,became part of the diet.Western music was encouraged. The Ros-anointing Ceremony, a part of wedding ceremony of the Mangalorean Catholics was  banned  during the inquisition. To cap it all, the government in 1761 punished and expelled 'Jesuits' who had been using Konkani language  for preaching to communicate with the natives.
Inquisition.burning at stakes. credit: wikipedia.org
Goa inquisition credit: fbreternal-a-akamaihd.net
Fr. Francis Xavier who introduced inquisition in Goa. credit: lobomorarco.files.wordpress.com

 In 1552 itself a complaint was made that the 'Portuguese terms in India were largely depopulated owning to the forced conversion of Hindus from all exercise of their religion. They destroyed their temples, and so harassed and interfered with the people that they abandoned the city in large numbers, refusing to remain any longer in a place where they had no liberty, and were liable to imprisonment, torture and death, if they worshiped after their own fashion the gods of their fathers." wrote Filippo Sassetti, who was in India from 1578 to 1588.

Yet another order was issued in June, 1684 for suppressing the Konkani language and making it compulsory to speak the Portuguese language. All non-Christian cultural symbols and the books written in local languages were sought to be destroyed. Charles Dellon experienced first hand the cruelty of the Inquisition's agents. He published a book in 1687 describing his experiences in Goa. L'Inquisition de Goa (The Inquisition of Goa).
...''A large number of Hindus were first converted and then persecuted from 1560 all the way to 1812!.....
Indian Hindus were tortured and burnt at the stake for continuing to practice their religion. Muslim Indians were generally murdered right away or made to flee Goan territory.....
...Over that period of 252 years, any man, woman, or child living in Goa could be arrested and tortured for simply whispering a prayer or keeping a small idol at home. Many Hindus -- and some former Jews, as well -- languished in special Inquisitional prisons, some for four, five, or six years at a time.....
...historians consider the Goa Inquisition the most merciless and cruel ever developed. It was a machinery of death. A large number of Hindus were first converted and then persecuted from 1560 all the way to 1812!''......
                              .......from Richard  Zimler.
                              Goa inquisition... 14, Sept.2005.

The Portuguese of the present generation may be or may not be aware of their forefathers' misadventure abroad in so peaceful a country like India. Their nauseating and dirty religious persecution of innocent Indians and horrific inquisition in Goa was the most heinous crime ever committed long before Nazi attrocities on innocent Jews. It is a blot in the Portuguese history in India. The persecution of friendly native Indians can never be mended. 

My simple feeling is ...''If religion and state are interwoven with each other, it is quite obvious, there will be intolerance and tragedy. They ought to be kept separately for ever.''


"Goa Inquisition was most merciless and cruel". Rediff. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2009.

Alfredo DeMello. "The Portuguese Inquisition in Goa". DightonRock. Retrieved 1 November 2012.