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Inquisition of Goa: Atrocities on Hindus by missionaries in Goa-I

By: V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.
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"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world". - Voltaire (French Philosopher, 1694-1778)

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, find, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards humanity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support error and roguery all over the earth" - Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Inquisition of Goa: Atrocities on Hindus by missionaries in Goa - Part I
Inquisition of Goa: Atrocities on Hindus by missionaries in Goa - Part II
Inquisition of Goa: Atrocities on Hindus by missionaries in Goa - Part III

There has been a mass Hindu upsurge and rebellion against the savage killing of Hindu Leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples at his Ashram in Khandamal District in Orissa on the 23 August 2008. Pope Benedict XVI condemned what her termed as the anti-Christian "carnage" in India, where at least 11 people were killed in first three days of violence as Christians clashed with Hindu mobs attacking churches, shops and homes. During his weekly audience at the Vatican, Pope Benedict said that he was "profoundly saddened" by the news of the violence against Christian communities in eastern India. The Pope told a crowd of faithful and pilgrims "I firmly condemn any attack on human life. I express spiritual closeness and solidarity to the brothers and sisters in faith who are being so harshly tested".

In a very clever manner the Pope has totally avoided the issue of the reasons and factors that have caused this Hindu outrage and rebellion in Orissa. The Supreme Court of India has clearly held that forced or induced conversion is illegal. There is an anti-Conversion Law in Orissa. And yet the proselytizing and militant Christian agencies like World Vision, Seventh Day Adventist Groups and various other missionary organisations in Khandamal District in Orissa, fully backed by unrestricted flow of cash from America and Europe, are engaged in the nefarious enterprise of mass conversion of innocent and illiterate poverty-stricken tribals through force or inducement or fraud for the last several decades. Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati has been leading a mass movement of tribals against this ugly phenomenon of illegal conversions for the last forty years. Christian population in Khandamal District was 6% of the population in that District in 1971 and today it has grown to a level of 28%. Statistics apart, agencies like World Vision, by virtue of their financial might and fully supported by the anti-Hindu elements in the government agencies have come to believe that they can let loose violence against the Hindus of Orissa. The marauders, very much like the Talibans of Afganisthan, have been plotting to murder Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and in fact they have made several attempts to achieve this end. At last they succeeded in shooting him down on the 23 August 2008 at his own Ashram.

Recently I saw a CNN-IBN video presentation showing how the militant missionaries in a village in Bihar (very much like their comrades in Orissa!) beat a Hindu to death for his refusal to convert to Christianity. Residents of Parmanpur village in Buxar District in Orissa have complained to the local public authorities that Christian missionaries are luring them to convert and threatening them with violence if they don"t obey.

According to Anjoriya Devi, her husband was beaten to death some years ago in her village in Buxar District by goons hired by missionaries. She says "They beat up my husband when he refused to convert to Christianity. They have threatened me too". Mithilesh Kumar, another resident of the same village, has alleged that the missionaries tried to lure him by offering him a job. They told me "If I remain a Hindu, I will remain unemployed and poor. I would have money and a job only if I converted to Christianity". Police in the village say they have arrested two persons after investigating the complaints. "Investigations confirm there have been instances of conversion by intimidation. We have arrested two persons", said Koran Sahay, officer in charge of the local Kuran Sarai police station. There is a paramount and imperative need for an anti-Conversion Law in Bihar.

The government of Orissa will have to be congratulated for having told the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Sri Prakash Jaiswal that this is not the opportune time for him to visit Khandamal District when a curfew is in force in several towns of that District and "Shoot at Sight" Orders have been issued to deal with the lawless elements in that District. This disgraceful and ineffective Union Minister has chosen to criticise the government of Orissa while choosing to remain pseudo-secularly silent on what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir! He has also chosen to criticise the Hindu Groups just to placate the Islamic Terrorist Groups like SIMI. Many are questioning the timing of this statement. The BJP Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad has said "We condemn the allegation. The ministers in the UPA have gone on record to say that if SIMI is to be banned, the government should also look at banning groups like RSS and Bajrang Dal They (Congress) have turned the CBI into a political agency. Unable to come out with a clear answer on the Kashmir crisis, the Union government is doing political shadow boxing, turning the fight against terrorism into a fight against the opposition".

Dr. K V Paliwal, President, Hindu Writers" Forum New Delhi, has written a brilliant monograph titled "ATROCITIES ON HINDUS BY CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES IN GOA". The Pope is talking about carnage in Orissa today. I would like to invite his kind attention to the Inquisition that was conducted by the Roman Catholic Church in Goa from 1510 to 1812. The mafia of global media in India and outside cannot erase this criminal record of Inquisition and Carnage in Goa from the pages of history. We can clearly see from Dr. Paliwal"s book that most of the Churches in Goa today were built on top of Hindu temples that were razed during the Inquisition of Goa in the 16th century. Few artifacts remain from those ancient temples, the most famous being the headless "Nandi" bull of the preexisting Shiva temple, located in Chandor.

According to Christian historian, Dr. T. R. De Souza at least from 1540 onwards, "All the Hindu idols disappeared because all the temples were destroyed and their sites and building materials were fully utilised to erect new Christian Churches and chapels. Various viceregal and Church council decrees banished the Hindu priests from the Portuguese territories; the public practices of Hindu rites including marriage rites, were banned; the State took upon itself the task of bringing up Hindu orphan children; the Hindus were denied many types of employment, while the Christians were preferred; it was ensured that the Hindus would not harass those who became Christians, and on the contrary, the Hindus were obliged to assemble periodically in Churches to listen to preaching or to the refutation of their religion".

We can see from Dr. Paliwal"s book that a particularly grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of "mass baptism" from 1510. This practice was begun by the Jesuits and was later followed by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism every year on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25), and in order to secure as many neophytes as possible, a few days before the ceremony, the Jesuits would go through the streets of the Hindu quarter in pairs, accompanied by their Negro slaves, whom they would urge to seize the Hindus. When the blacks caught up a Hindu fugitive, they would smear his lips with a piece of beef, making him an "untouchable" among his people. Conversion to Christianity was then his only option. This kind of barbarous treatment was specially reserved for the Brahmins!

The Goan inquisition is regarded by all contemporary portrayals as the most violent inquisition ever executed by the Portuguese Catholic Church. Its most virulent phase lasted from 1560 to 1812. The inquisition was set as a tribunal, headed by a judge, sent to Goa from Portugal and was assisted by two judicial henchmen. The judge was answerable to no one except to Lisbon and handed down punishments as he saw fit. The Inquisition Laws filled 230 pages and the palace where the Inquisition was conducted was known as the Big House and the Inquisition proceedings were always conducted behind closed shutters and closed doors. The screams of agony of the culprits (men, women, and children) could be heard in the streets, in the stillness of the night, as they were brutally interrogated, flogged, and slowly dismembered in front of their relatives. Eyelids were sliced off and extremities were amputated so carefully that a person could remain conscious, even though the only thing that remained was his torso and a head.

James Madison (American Statesman, 1751-1836, Co-Author Declaration of Independence) declared in 1810 "during almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution".

Thomas Paine (1737-1809), the American Statesman wrote: "What is it the Bible teaches us? - Rapine, cruelty, and murder". Dr. Paliwal has documented the glorious Church record of rapine, cruelty and murder in Goa from 1510 to 1960.
"The Christian God is cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust." - President Thomas Jefferson "Missionaries are perfect nuisances and leave every place worse than they found it". - Charles Dickens.
"His Majesty the King has ordered that there shall be no Brahmins in his land and that they should be banished."

"In the name of his Majesty I order that no Hindu can or shall perform marriages." "The marriages of the supplicants are superstitious acts or functions which include Hindu rites and ceremonies as well as cult, adoration and prayers of Hindu temples."

"I order that no Hindu temples be erected in any of the territories of my king and that Hindu temples which already have been erected be not repaired."

No one should mistake that the above extracts-savagely anti-Hindu and anti-pagan-have been taken from the Royal Decrees of Balban or Allaudin Khilji or Aurangazeb. Anyone familiar with the brutalisation of Hindu customs and practices, indeed Hindu faith and belief for nearly 10 centuries, can easily be misled to take this view. The wickedness with which suppression is prescribed in these decrees, the callous disregard that is advocated for the other"s feelings and sentiments, the cruelty that is so palpable in both thought and action, suggest that these firmans could have been issued by one of the "shadows of God" who stalked this land, laying to waste Hindu lives and property during 10 centuries of Muslim rule in India. But these are not extracts taken from firmans issued by the known anti-Hindu Muslim rulers.

They have been taken from firmans issued by the Portuguese who ruled Goa from 1510 till 1960 and recognised no religion other than Christianity as the legitimate means of communion with God. It was no secular rule that they imposed, but a ruthless system of pillage disguised as trade and a cruel administration for whom the heathens, especially Brahmins, unless they embraced Christianity, were nothing more than "supplicants" to be crushed into submission or exiled into oblivion.

In this context Kanchan Gupta has rightly stated: "The horrors inflicted on Galileo Galilei by the Inquisition - the Vatican has only recently admitted that the Church was wrong and Galileo was right - are well known. Not that well-known, and tragically so, are the horrors inflicted by the Goa Inquisition. Every child reads about Galileo"s trial and how it is symbolic of the triumph of science over blind faith. But there is no reference - indeed, all reference is scrupulously avoided - to the brutal attempts of the Church to triumph over Hinduism by seeking to destroy all that was Hindu in territories conquered by the Portuguese in India".

Will Pope Benedict XVI, who talks so eloquently about the "carnage" in Orissa today, come forward to apologise for the Portuguese Inquisition against the Hindus in Goa from 1510 to 1812? And this silence is not because there exist no evidence: There exist, in full text, orders issued by a succession of Portuguese Viceroys and the Governors from time to time. There exist, in written records and travelogues, penned not by the persecuted but by the persecutors, full details of the horrors perpetrated in the name of Christ.

Governor of Goa D Constantine de Braganca issued an order on April 2, 1560, instructing that Brahmins should be thrown out of Goa and other areas under Portuguese control. They had a month"s time to sell their property - it is obvious who gained from such distress sale. Those found violating the Viceregal order, it was declared, would have their properties seized. Another order was issued, this time by Governor Antonio Morez Barreto, on February 7, 1575, decreeing that the estates of Brahmins whose "presence was prejudicial to Christianity" would be confiscated and used for "providing clothes to the New Christians".

Hindus, who dared to oppose the religious persecution by the Portuguese administration or the Christian clergy, were punished, swiftly and mercilessly. Those who were fortunate got away with being banished from Portuguese territory. The less fortunate had their property seized and auctioned - the money was used, in large measures, for furthering proselytisation. The least fortunate were forced to serve as slave labour on the galleys that transported loot from Indian shores to Portuguese coffers.

Dr. Alfredo DeMello (born in Goa in 1924) is a famous historian who today lives in Uruguay in Latin America. In his brilliant book titled "MEMOIRS OF GOA" he has given a detailed and graphic account of the horrors of the Inquisition in Goa from 1510 to 1812.

In 1538, King Jofo III, the King of Portugal pleaded to the General Ignatius de Loyola in Rome, that he should send missionaries for the Orient. Promptly Francis Xavier was sent to Portugal in 1541. It was Francis Xavier who established the Inquisition in Goa like that established earlier in Spain and Portugal of which he had sufficient first hand experience of persecuting thousands of Jews and Muslims. And so on May 16, 1545, he requested the King of Portugal to establish Inquisition in Goa in these words: "The second necessity for the Christians is that Your Majesty establish the Holy Inquisition in Goa because there are many who live according to the Jewish Law and according to the Mohammedan Sect, without any fear of God or Shame of the World. And since there are many Hindus who are spread all over the fortresses, there is the need of the Holy Inquisition, and of many preaches, Your Majesty should provide such necessary things for your loyal and faithful subjects in India".

St. Xavier did not see his wish fulfilled, but in the year 1560 the King of Portugal sent the first Official inquisitors Aleixo Dias Falcfo and Francisco Marques, to India and they established the Inquisition in Goa. This Inquisition was finally abolished only in 1812, and the connected files relating to several crimes were kept first in Goa, and later sent to Lisbon.

The "Holy Office" (Inquisition), as it called itself, officially started its work in 1560 in a palace, which had been the residence of the Portugese Governors of Goa till 1554. The palace was suitably modified with a chapel, with suitable arrangements for confinement and all forms of torture of the heathens and infidels. Dr. Alfredo DeMello has described the cruelties and the bestialities that went on in this building as "the nefarious, fiendish, lustful, corrupt religious orders which pounced on Goa for the purpose of destroying paganism and introducing the true religion of Christ (poor Jesus, if He only knew what was done in His name!), I have dwelt briefly on the Inquisition, which was introduced in 1560 and lasted until the year 1812, that is a span of 252 years, during which period it held its sway with a power that Stalin and other tyrants would have liked to hold. Stalin was a tyrant, murderer, but at least he was not a hypocrite. The Palace of the Inquisition was pointed out in awe by Goans, who called it ORLEM GORO, or Big House, with two hundred cells. The Inquisition in Goa, on account of its rigours, was reputed to be the worst of the existing inquisitions in the catholic orb of the five parts of the world, as felt unanimously by national and foreign writers".

Alexandre Herculano, a famous writer of the 19th Century, mentioned in his "Fragment about the Inquisition": "..The terrors inflicted on pregnant women made them abort...Neither the beauty or decorousness of the flower of youth, nor the old age, so worthy of compassion in a woman, exempted the weaker sex from the brutal ferocity of the supposed defenders of the religion...There were days when seven or eight were submitted to torture. These scenes were reserved for the Inquisitors after dinner. It was post-prandial entertainment. Many a time during those acts, the inquisitors compared notes in the appreciation of the beauty of the human form. While the unlucky damsel twisted in the intolerable pains of torture, or fainted in the intensity of the agony, one Inquisitor applauded the angelic touches of her face, another the brightness of her eyes, another, the voluptuous contours of her breast, another the shape of her hands. In this conjuncture, men of blood transformed themselves into real artists!"

Diago de Boarda, a priest and his advisor Vicar General, Miguel Vazz had made a 41-point plan for torturing Hindus in Goa. Under this plan Viceroy Antano de Noronha issued in 1566, an order applicable to the entire area under Portuguese rule: "I hereby order that in any area owned by my master, the king, nobody should construct a Hindu temple and such temples already constructed should not be repaired without my permission. If this order is transgressed, such temples shall be, destroyed and the goods in them shall be used to meet expenses of holy deeds, as punishment of such transgression".

In 1567 the campaign of destroying temples in Bardez met with success. At the end of it 300 Hindu temples were destroyed. Enacting laws, prohibition was laid from December 4, 1567 on rituals of Hindu marriages, sacred thread wearing and cremation. All the persons above 15 years of age were compelled to listen to Christian preaching, failing which they were punished.

The Hindus in Goa were shocked to see the God of Christianity being more cruel than that of Mohammed and therefore, deserted the territory of the Portuguese and went to the lands of the Muslims, in spite of the fact they (Indians) had earlier received from them nothing but enormous and incalculable evils.

(To be Continued...)

V Sundaram, IAS, Retd.

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