Goa inquisition, India - native Christians and treacherous Portuguese evangelists

        Inquisition in Goa, India.www.maayboli.com
Fr.Francis Xavier, Inquisition in Goa, India.lobomarco.wordpress.com

 Above image: Francis Xavier was responsible for Goa inquisition, all in the name of Jesus Christ.......

In the annals of world history, the period of ''The Inquisition'' introduced by Portuguese rulers of Goa, India was  the worst and scary chapter no body can ever think of, all in the  name of Christ, an embodiment of love and compassion. In 1542, Fr. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus, arrived in Goa to take the message of Christ among the natives. He observed that the newly converted Christians were still practicing their old customs and traditions and were not serious about  following the true Christian faith. Indian Christians, having turned  a deaf ear to the European missionaries' clarion call and subsequent warning, kept joyfully following their traditional Indian customs of previous faith.Terribly disappointed, Fr. Francis Xavier took the only recourse available and he, at last, asked the Portuguese government in Portugal to introduce the most dreaded Inquisition in Goa, now a citadel of Portuguese power in India. More than 20000 people were brought under trial by this Inquisition. He urged King John the III of Portugal to set up the Inquisition in Goa  also to repress Judaism  because Jews refused to reconvert to Roman Catholicism. There was also Jewish population present in the other colonies in the east like Cochin and Goa.
Roughly 20,000 people were brought under trial by this Inquisition and the punishments totaled 4,046, out of whom 3,034 were men and 1,012 were women. Brutal methods used were used for punishment. A sharp iron fork was used to mangle breasts. Red hot pincers were used to tear off flesh. Red hot irons were inserted up vagina and rectum.

 Goa Inquisition. torture. ajitvadakayil.blogspot.com

Above image:  Goa Inquisition, torture galore: A sharp  iron fork was used to mangle breasts. Red hot pincers were used to tear off flesh. Red hot irons were inserted up vagina and rectum. Terror tactics were used for forced conversion. Indian Christians suffered because, the could not give up certain Hindu tradition ...........

According to the Chronista de Tissuary (Chronicles of Tiswadi), the last auto de fé was held in Goa on 7 February 1773. Many of the newly converted Goan Catholic ancestors of the present Mangalorean Catholic community fled Goa because of the Goa Inquisition introduced by the Portuguese in 1560. King Sebastian of Portugal decreed that every trace of Indian customs be eradicated through the Inquisition. But many Christians of Goa were ethnically attached to some of their ancient Indian customs and refused to abandon them. Those, who adamantly refused to comply with the rules laid down by the Inquisition, were forced to leave Goa and to settle outside the Portuguese dominion. About 7,000 of them (mostly Saraswat Brahmins) fled Goa. Most migrated to South Canara in what is called the "First Wave of Migration".

Orthodox Hindus never wear  slippers while praying before the deity on the temple premises or any other places of worship. They leave them at the entrance of the temple. At weddings, even to day, indigenous practises such as  use of a variety of flowers, betel leaves and are ca nuts, playing Indian instruments and drums, typical wedding costumes, jewelry for both brides and grooms etc are ceremoniously and strictly followed.Likewise many Christians even today do follow many of these customs. Brides they do  wear typical Indian Saree at the  solemnization of wedding in the Church.

At catholic churches both Christians and Hindus bring in flower garlands to be offered to Holy Mother Mary and do prayers by holding two hands in supplication. Many prostrate before the alter - a sort of complete surrender to the lotus feet of the Almighty for His grace, guidance and  blessing during the turbulent period. Another Hindu custom is tonsuring of head, a typical Hindu custom as a token of gratitude or an expression of thanks  to the deity for having fulfilled their prayer; example: fixing of marriage, property disputes, business deals, severe ailments, etc. On completion one year, young parents take their babies to their family deity for tonsure so that the baby will have a healthy, peaceful and prosperous life. Christians  do follow this custom with religious fervor without fail . Many reverentially keep the statue of Christ or Mary at  home and do daily prayer.  Lots of staunch Indian Christians undertake  annual long ''pada yatra'' - walking barefoot covering  100 km plus to well-known churches  under scorching sun to attend important, holy annual events to express their thanks for fulfilling their prayer. Thus here in India Christians do follow lots of typical indigenous customs without compromising on the true Christian spirit.. The moral behind the Indian ceremonial customs associated with temples and prayers is  ''steadfast faith, commitment and  ''vairagia''- firm determination  are essential for man's success in his arduous life long journey.

Francis Buchanan, a Scottish physician, when he visited Canara in 1801, in his book, A Journey from Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar (1807),  stated that " Goan Christians - roughly 8000 left Goa,came and settled in South Canara at the invitation of the King of Bednore." In 1664 and later, the Maratha rulers invasions also one of the causes of exodus of Indian Christians.

The "Second Wave of Migration"1571 took place  because of attacks by the Sultan of Bijapur and the  third wave of migration took place in the 1600s to escape from horrors of inquisition. In 1664 and later the Marata rulers's invasions also one of the causes of exodus of Indian Christians. From the Bardez district of Goa, Jesuit priests estimated that 12,000 Christians migrated to the South of Goa between 1710–1712. A Goa Government report of 1747 recorded that around 5,000 Christians fled to South Canara from the Bardez and Tiswadi districts of Goa during the invasion of the Marathas. It was estimated that during the Maratha raids on Goa, about 60,000 Christians migrated to South Canara. In the later years, the migration slowed because of the Maratha-Mogul wars, which kept Sambhaji busy, and some 10,000 Christians returned to Goa. Some of the Hindu rulers were against the missionaries because of their attitude towards locals and their approach to conversion under force and inducements to entice the natives.

In 1787, encouraged and inspired  by the French Revolution, several Goan Catholic priests, unhappy with the methods  of promotion within the Church and other open discriminatory practices of the Portuguese,  revolted against  them. The ''Pinto Revolt,''though  unsuccessful  and failed to get the attention of the Portuguese, it was the first ever open revolt against the theocratic Portuguese rulers from within Goa. Subsequently Britain gained control of Goa - first  in 1797–1798 and the second time from 1802–1813. In 1843, the capital was moved to Panjim and later Portuguese influence was on the decline.

Inquisitions were used by the Portuguese  as a deterrent  to prevent defection back to other faiths and the result was counter productive and had  far reaching implications. Though the Christian converts followed the Hindu customs in the privacy of their home such as greeting people with nameste, growing Tulsi plant or sacred basil, dress, wedding music, method of prayer, etc they were more loyal to the Christian faiths than the Europeans themselves who threw to the winds the true Christian spirit of compassion, love and brotherhood.

During Goan Inquisition in 1784 Indian Jesuits were not allowed to carry out their preaching activities in local language  - Konkani. They were punished severely for using the local language in church prayers and services . They wanted Indian natives to become westernized  following Portuguese way of life in every aspect. Thus, many customs were suppressed and Goans  became "Westernized" to some degree as a Catholic elite who came to see themselves as a "cultivated branch of a global Portuguese civilization. People, renamed after conversion were not permitted to use their original Hindu names.

 In Kerala state where they first landed first in 1498 they did not leave the local Christian community - Catholic and orthodox Syrian Christians undisturbed. As a matter of fact, Christians had been living there since 52AD when Thomas the Apostle, who had arrived from Europe, established seven churches in various places after receiving generous grants including lands from the local Hindu kings.


Historian Alfredo de Mello describes the performers religion of Christ.l". Rediff. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2009.

Salomon, H. P. and Sassoon, I. S. D., in Saraiva, Antonio Jose. The Marrano Factory. The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians, 1536–1765 (Brill, 2001), pp. 345–7.

Benton, Lauren. Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400–1900 (Cambridge, 2002), p. 122.

T. R. de Souza. "The Goa Inquisition". VG Web. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
"Recall the Goa Inquisition to stop the Church from crying foul". Rediff (India). 16 March 1999.

Priolkar, A. K. The Goa Inquisition (Bombay, 1961).