Sunday, 20 March 2016

Goa Inquisition and Indian christians' ordeal - Portuguese colonial period.

.Banniere de l'Inquisition de Goa.. tvaraj.com
limits of religion and patriotism. www.cagle.com
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. Based on strong recommendations given by  Fr. Francis Xavier, King Sebastian of Portugal decreed that every trace of Indian customs be eradicated through the Inquisition. Fr. Xavier came to the Portuguese colonies in India in the 16th century mainly to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ among the native whom he considered unrefined humans and lacked proper standard religion and divinity. 

 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 practices such as  use of a variety of flowers, betel leaves and are-ca nuts, playing Indian instruments and drums,  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 do  wear typical Indian Saree at the  solemnization of wedding in the Church.
Hindu Genocide in Goa Inquisitionagniveerfan.wordpress.com
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 be it Krishna or Christ, the messenger of God, 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. For centuries this tradition has been in practice.  

Many Orthodox Indian Christians 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 and tradition as prescribed by the religious authorities. 

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 Maratha 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.

Historian Severine Silva reasons that the fact that these Catholics who fled the Inquisition did not abandon their Christian  faith because they simply wanted to observe their traditional Hindu customs along with their  new-found Catholic practices.

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,  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. 
Inquisition. tackk.com
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. They were compelled to use Portuguese as their main tongue and follow their customs like western music, diet, drinks, etc. Indian Jesuits who violate the restrictions were given severe punishment. Thus, many customs were suppressed and Goans were forced to become  became
Test of patience, Christian inquisitionbiasedbbc.org
"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. 

The Goa Inquisition impacted  the  local Jews and Syrian Christians in Kerala during that period. The Syrian Christians were  representatives of an early Christian tradition older than Roman Catholicism, that survives today as the " Jacobite Christianity". In 1599 the Synod of Diamper authorized the forceful conversion of the "Syriac Saint Thomas Christians." St. Thomas established the first seven and half churches in the coastal Kerala way back in 52 AD. The St. Thomas Christians were also haunted by the Portuguese religious fanatics because Syriac Christians later swore the "Coonan Cross Oath," severing relations with the Catholic Church.

There is a small community of Gowda saraswath Brahmins settled in the Kochi area. They came to this place during ethnic cleansing in Goa. They establishe a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the families now live near the temple.

Ref: 
Historian Alfredo de Mello describes the performers religion of Christ.l". Rediff. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 14 April 2009.    
http://pt.scribd.com/doc/28411503/Goa-Inquisition-for-Colonial-Disciplining

 "Recall the Goa Inquisition to stop the Church from crying foul". Rediff (India). 16 March 1999.