Goa Inquisition
The Goa Inquisition was the office of the Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 acting in the India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n state of Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 and the rest of the Portuguese empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 in Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774–1778, and finally abolished in 1812. The Goan Inquisition is considered a blot on the history of Roman Catholic Christianity in India both by Christians and non-Christians alike. Based on the records that survive, H. P. Salomon and I. S. D. Sassoon state that between the Inquisition's beginning in 1561 and its temporary abolition in 1774, some 16,202 persons were brought to trial by the Inquisition. Of this number, it is known that 57 were sentenced to death and executed in person; another 64 were burned in effigy. Others were subjected to lesser punishments or penanced, but the fate of many of the Inquisition's victims is unknown.

The Inquisition was established to punish relapsed New Christian
New Christian
New Christian was a term used to refer to Iberian Jews and Muslims who converted to Roman Catholicism, and their known baptized descendants. The term was introduced by the Old Christians of Iberia who wanted to distinguish themselves from the conversos...

s—Jews and Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s who converted to Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, as well as their descendants—who were now suspected of practicing their ancestral religion in secret.

In Goa, the Inquisition also turned its attention to Indian converts from Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 or Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 who were thought to have returned to their original ways. In addition, the Inquisition prosecuted non-converts who broke prohibitions against the observance of Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 or Muslim rites or interfered with Portuguese attempts to convert non-Christians to Catholicism.

While its ostensible aim was to preserve the Catholic faith, the Inquisition was used against Indian Catholics and Hindus and also against Portuguese settlers from Europe (mostly New Christians and Jewish but also Old Christians) as an instrument of social control, as well as a method of confiscating victims' property and enriching the Inquisitors.

Most of the Goa Inquisition's records were destroyed
Book burning
Book burning, biblioclasm or libricide is the practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media. In modern times, other forms of media, such as phonograph records, video tapes, and CDs have also been ceremoniously burned, torched, or shredded...

 after its abolition in 1812, and it is thus impossible to know the exact number of the Inquisition's victims.

The Inquisition in Portugal

The Portuguese initially resisted the introduction of the Inquisition, despite pressure from the "Catholic Monarchs", Ferdinand and Isabella, whose marriage united the Iberian kingdoms of Aragon
Kingdom of Aragon
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day autonomous community of Aragon, in Spain...

 and Castile
Kingdom of Castile
Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. It emerged as a political autonomous entity in the 9th century. It was called County of Castile and was held in vassalage from the Kingdom of León. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region...

 into a unified Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 in 1469, and who by 1492 had expelled, forced the conversion of, or killed all the Moors and Jews in Spain.

In 1497, King Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 married their eldest daughter, Isabella of Aragon
Isabella of Aragon
Isabella of Aragon , infanta of Aragon, was, by marriage, Queen consort of France in the Middle Ages from 1270 to 1271.-Life:...

 (following her death he married her younger sister Maria), and the Spanish monarchs insisted that a clause be included in the marriage contract required his introduction of the Inquisition to Portugal, along with forcing the expulsion of conversion of all Jews (many of whom were refugees from Spain.

The King largely paid lip service to the clause for some years, as there was a relatively large and wealthy Jewish community well-integrated into Portuguese society as doctors, printers, financiers and artisans).

Under Spanish pressure through the commitment of marriage with Isabel of Aragon and Church pressure, he ordered that the Jews convert, but with the stipulation that the validity of their conversions would not be investigated for two decades.

That didn't stop there being a massacre of several hundred 'Conversos' or 'Marranos', as newly converted Jews were called, in Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 in 1506, instigated by the preaching of two Spanish Dominicans, as a result of which many left Portugal for England, France, and Amsterdam.

However, it is estimated that there were some 20,000 Marrano still in Portugal a century later, mostly in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country (Tras-as-Montes through Beira Baixa).

The actual Inquisition was not installed in Portugal into 1531, ten years after Manuel I's death, during the reign of King João III.

One of the most famous New Christians was professor Garcia de Orta
Garcia de Orta
Garcia de Orta was a Portuguese Renaissance Sephardi Jewish physician and naturalist. He was a pioneer of tropical medicine.- Life :...

, who emigrated to Goa in 1534 and was posthumously convicted of Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...


Introduction of The Inquisition to India

In the 15th century, the Portuguese explored the sea route to India and Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V
Pope Nicholas V , born Tommaso Parentucelli, was Pope from March 6, 1447 to his death in 1455.-Biography:He was born at Sarzana, Liguria, where his father was a physician...

 enacted the Papal bull
Papal bull
A Papal bull is a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the bulla that was appended to the end in order to authenticate it....

 Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex
Romanus Pontifex is a papal bull written January 8, 1455 by Pope Nicholas V to King Afonso V of Portugal. As a follow-up to the Dum Diversas, it confirmed to the Crown of Portugal dominion over all lands discovered or conquered during the Age of Discovery. Along with encouraging the seizure of the...

. This granted the patronage of the propagation of the Christian faith in Asia to the Portuguese and rewarded them with a trade monopoly for newly discovered areas.

After Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

 arrived in India in 1498, the trade became prosperous, but the Portuguese were not interested in proselytization
Proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert people to another opinion and, particularly, another religion. The word proselytize is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix προσ- and the verb ἔρχομαι in the form of προσήλυτος...

. After four decades, the Catholic Church threatened to open Asia for all Catholics.

Now missionaries of the newly founded Society of Jesus
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 were sent to Goa and the Portuguese colonial government supported the mission with incentives for baptized Christians. They offered rice donations for the poor, good positions in the Portuguese colonies for the middle class and military support for local rulers.

Many newly converted Indians were opportunistic
-General definition:Opportunism is the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives. The term can be applied to individuals, groups,...

 Rice Christian
Rice Christian
Rice Christian is a term used, usually pejoratively, to describe someone who has formally declared himself/herself a Christian for material benefits rather than for religious reasons....

, who still practised their old religion. This was seen as a threat to the purity of Christian belief. St. Francis Xavier, in a 1545 letter to John III of Portugal
John III of Portugal
John III , nicknamed o Piedoso , was the fifteenth King of Portugal and the Algarves. He was the son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon, the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile...

, requested an Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 to be installed in Goa.


The first inquisitors, Aleixo Dias Falcão and Francisco Marques, established themselves in the palace once occupied by Goa's Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

, forcing the Portuguese viceroy to relocate to a smaller residence.

The inquisitor's first act was to forbid any open practice of the Hindu faith on pain of death. Sephardic Jews living in Goa, many of whom had fled the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 to escape the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

 to begin with, were also persecuted.
The narrative of Da Fonseca describes the violence and brutality of the inquisition. The records speak of the necessity for hundreds of prison cells to accommodate fresh victims.

From 1560 to 1774, a total of 16,172 persons were tried and condemned or acquitted by the tribunals of the Inquisition. While it also included individuals of different nationalities, the overwhelming majority—nearly three fourths were natives, almost equally represented by Christians and non-Christians. Many of these were hauled up merely for crossing the border and cultivating lands there.

Seventy-one autos da fe were recorded. In the first few years alone, over 4000 people were arrested. In the first hundred years, the Inquisition burnt at stake 57 alive and 64 in effigy, 105 of them being men and 16 women. Others sentenced to various punishments totalled 4,046, out of whom 3,034 were men and 1,012 were women. According to the Chronista de Tissuary (Chronicles of Tiswadi
Tiswadi is a taluka of North Goa district of the state of Goa, India.The word Tiswadi itself means thirty settlements. It refers to the thirty settlements in which the Goud Saraswat Brahmins settled when they migrated to Goa. It is geographically an Island with the Mandovi river forming its...

), the last auto da fe was held in Goa on 7 February 1773.

Historical background

The Portuguese colonial administration enacted anti-Hindu
Anti-Hindu prejudice is a negative perception or religious intolerance against the practice and practitioners of Hinduism. Anti-Hindu sentiments have been expressed by Muslims in Pakistan, Bangladesh, leading to significant persecution of Hindus in those regions, such as the 1971 Bangladesh...

 laws with the expressed intent to "humiliate Hindus" and encourage conversions to Christianity. Laws were passed banning Christians from keeping Hindus in their employ, and the public worship of Hindus was deemed unlawful. Hindus were forced to assemble periodically in churches to listen to preaching or to refutation of their religion.

The viceroy ordered that Hindu pandits and physicians be disallowed from entering the capital city on horseback or palanquins, the violation of which entailed a fine. Successive violations resulted in imprisonment.

Christian palaquin-bearers were forbidden from carrying Hindus as passengers. Christian agricultural laborers were forbidden to work in the lands owned by Hindus and Hindus forbidden to employ Christian laborers.

The Inquisition guaranteed "protection" to Hindus who converted to Christianity. Thus, they initiated a new wave of baptisms to Hindus who were motivated by social coercion into converting.

The adverse effects of the inquisition were tempered somewhat by the fact that Hindus were able to escape Portuguese hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

 by migrating to other parts of the subcontinent including to Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...


Ironically, the Inquisition also had an adverse unintended consequence, in that it was a compelling factor for the emigration of a large number of Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 from the Portuguese colonies, who although Roman Catholic by faith, had now acculturated into Hindu culture. These people went on to seek their fortunes in the courts of different Indian kings, where their services were employed, usually as gunners or cavalrymen.

Persecution of Hindus

According to Indo-Portuguese historian Teotonio R. de Souza, grave abuse was practiced in Goa in the form of 'mass baptism' and what went before it. The practice was begun by the Jesuits and was later initiated by the Franciscans also. The Jesuits staged an annual mass baptism on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul (25 January), 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 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.

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.

According to the historian, "the screams of agony of the victims (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 carefully, a person could remain conscious even though the only thing that remained was his torso and head.

Fr. Diago de Boarda and his advisor Vicar General, Miguel Vaz had made a 41 point plan for torturing Hindus. Under this plan Viceroy António 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 4 December 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. In 1583 Hindu temples at Assolna
Assolna is a town to the south of Chinchinim.The river Sal flows through this town.-Geography:Assolna is located at . It has an average elevation of ....

 and Cuncolim
Cuncolim is a city and a municipal council in South Goa district in the state of Goa, India.-Etymology:The name Cuncolim is derived from the fact that the village was known as Kumkumahalli .-Geography:Cuncolim is located at...

 were destroyed through army action.

"The fathers of the Church forbade the Hindus under terrible penalties the use of their own sacred books, and prevented them 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 worshipped after their own fashion the gods of their fathers." wrote Filippo Sassetti
Filippo Sassetti
Filippo Sassetti was a Florentine merchant who was born in Florence, Italy in 1540. Sassetti travelled to the Indian subcontinent and was among the first European observers to study the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. Writing in 1585, he noted some word similarities between Sanskrit and Italian...

, who was in India from 1578 to 1588.

An order was issued in June 1684 eliminating the Konkani language
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

 and making it compulsory to speak the Portuguese language
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

. The law provided for dealing toughly with anyone using the local language. Following that law all the symbols of non-Christian sects were destroyed and the books written in local languages were burnt.

The victims of such inhuman laws of the Inquiry Commission included a French traveller named Charles Delone. He was an eye witness to the atrocities, cruelty and reign of terror unleashed by priests. He published a book in 1687 describing the lot of helpless victims. While he was in jail, he had heard the cries of tortured people beaten with instruments having sharp teeth. All these details are noted in Delone's book, L'Inquisition de Goa (The Inquisition of Goa).

Persecution of Goan Catholics

The main object of the Inquisition was the eradication of heresy. Consequently, the authorities of the Inquisition also dealt severely with the converted Catholics who observed their former Hindu customs, than with the Hindus and Muslims. They declared that observance of former customs after conversion was un-Christian and heretical.

Inquisitions were used by the Portuguese to prevent defection back to other faiths and had far reaching implications. In the laws and prohibitions of the inquisition in 1736, over 42 Hindu practices were prohibited, including the wearing of the Brahminical shendi (ponytail), wearing of caste thread, greeting people with Namaste, wearing sandals, removing of the slippers while entering the church and growing of the sacred basil or Tulsi
Ocimum tenuiflorum Ocimum tenuiflorum Ocimum tenuiflorum (also tulsi, tulasī, or Holy Basil is an aromatic plant in the family Lamiaceae which is native throughout the Old World tropics and widespread as a cultivated plant and an escaped weed. It is an erect, much branched subshrub 30–60 cm...

 plant in front of the house, in order to ward off the evil eye
Evil eye
The evil eye is a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed for reasons of envy or dislike...


They were implemented through the eradication of indigenous cultural practices such as ceremonies, fasts, growing of the Tulsi plant in front of the house, flowers and leaves for ceremony or ornament and the exchange of betel and areca nuts for occasions such as marriage (Robinson, 2000). Methods such as repressive laws, demolition of temples and mosques, destruction of holy books, fines and the forcible conversion of orphans were used.

There were other far reaching changes that took place during the occupation by the Portuguese, these included the prohibition of traditional musical instruments and singing of celebratory verses, which were replaced by Western music.

People were renamed when they converted and not permitted to use their original Hindu names. Alcohol was introduced and dietary habits changed dramatically so that foods that were once taboo, such as pork and beef, became part of the Goan diet.

Architecture changed with the Baroque style that was in vogue in Portugal becoming popular. 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”.

However, many Goan Catholics
Goan Catholics
The Goan Catholics are an ethno-religious community of Roman Catholics and their descendants from the state of Goa, located on the west coast of India. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language...

 were tenaciously attached to some of their old Hindu customs. Those who refused to give up their ancient Hindu practices were declared apostates and heretics and condemned to death. Such circumstances forced many to leave Goa and settle in the neighboring kingdoms, of which a minority went to the Deccan and the vast majority went to Canara
The Kanara or Canara region comprises three coastal districts of Karnataka, namely Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada and Kasaragod district of Kerala in southwestern India. Kanara forms the southern part of the Konkan coast...


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

These migrations laid the foundations for two distinct Konkani Catholic communities in Canara—the Karwari Catholics
Karwari Catholics
Karwari Catholics are Roman Catholics from Karwar and the Uttara Kannada district on the western coast of India, and their descendants. They are Konkani people and speak the Konkani language....

 of North Canara and the Mangalorean Catholics of South Canara
South Canara
South Canara was a district under the British empire, located at . It was bifurcated in 1859 from Canara district. It was the undivided Dakshina Kannada district...

, respectively.

It is interesting and instructive, in this light, to view the rituals and practices of Mangalorean Catholics. These Catholics of South fled from Goa (mainly from its northern districts) in successive waves. A large number fled to escape the scrutiny of the inquistion. Among them the ritual substances banned by the inquistion such as betel leaves, areca nuts, rice and flowers, continue to be employed in domestic celebrations and the pattern of ritual practices appears much more resemble forms described in the Inquisitorial edict.

— A.P.L. D'Souza, Popular Christianity: A Case Study among the Catholics of Mangalore

Suppression of Konkani

In stark contrast to the earlier intense study of the Konkani language
Konkani language
KonkaniKonkani is a name given to a group of several cognate dialects spoken along the narrow strip of land called Konkan, on the west coast of India. This is, however, somewhat an over-generalisation. Geographically, Konkan is defined roughly as the area between the river Damanganga to the north...

 and its cultivation undertaken by the Portuguese priests as a communication medium in their quest for converts during the earlier century, the Inquisition brought about xenophobic measures intended at isolating new converts from the non-Christian populations. This suppression of Konkani was in face of the repeated Maratha onslaughts of the late 17th and earlier 18th centuries, which for the first time posed a serious threat to Goa, and by extension, the Portuguese presence in India itself. The Maratha
Maratha Empire
The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of South Asia, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km²....

 threat, compounded by their religious zeal, led the Portuguese authorities to initiate a positive programme for the suppression of Konkani in Goa. As a result, the ancient language of Konkani was suppressed and rendered unprivileged by the enforcement of Portuguese.

Urged by the Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

s, the Portuguese viceroy forbade the use of Konkani on 27 June 1684 and further decreed that within three years, the local people in general would speak the Portuguese tongue
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 and use it in all their contacts and contracts made in Portuguese territories. The penalties for violation would be imprisonment. The decree was confirmed by the king on 17 March 1687. However, according to the Inquisitor António Amaral Coutinho's letter to the Portuguese monarch João V in 1731, these draconian measures did not meet with success. With the fall of the "Province of the North" (which included Bassein, Chaul
Chaul is a former city of Portuguese India, now in ruins. It is located 60 km south of Mumbai, in Raigad District of Maharashtra state in western India....

 and Salsette) in 1739, the assault on Konkani gained new momentum. On 21 November 1745, Archbishop Lourenzo de Santa Maria decreed that in order to qualify for priesthood, the knowledge of, and the ability to speak only in Portuguese, not only for the pretendentes, but also for all the close relations, men as well as women, confirmed by rigorous examinations by reverend persons was an essential prerequisite. Furthermore, the Bamonns
Roman Catholic Brahmin
The Roman Catholic Brahmin, also referred to asBamonn in Konkani, is a caste among the Goan and Mangalorean Catholics, of modern-day descendants of Konkani Brahmin converts to Roman Catholicism.-Origins:In Goa, the Brahmins were originally engaged in the priestly occupation, but had taken up...

and Chardos
Roman Catholic Kshatriya
The Roman Catholic Kshatriya is a caste among the Goan and Mangalorean Catholics, of modern-day descendants of Goan Kshatriya and a few Vaishya converts to Roman Catholicism. They are respectively known as Chardo in the Goan Catholic dialects of Konkani The Roman Catholic Kshatriya is a caste among...

were required to learn Portuguese within six months, failing which they would be denied the right to marriage. The Jesuits, who had historically been the greatest advocates of Konkani, were expelled in 1761. In 1812, the Archbishop decreed that children should be prohibited from speaking Konkani in schools and in 1847, this was extended to seminaries. In 1869, Konkani was completely banned in schools.

The result of this linguistic displacement was that Goans did not develop a literature in Konkani, nor could the language unite the population as several scripts (including Roman, Devanagari and Kannada) were used to write it. Konkani became the lingua de criados (language of the servants) as Hindu and Catholic elites turned to Marathi and Portuguese respectively. Ironically, Konkani is at present the ‘cement’ that binds all Goan Catholics across caste, religion and class and is affectionately termed Konkani Mai (Mother Konkani). The language only received official recognition in 1987, when on the February of that year, the Indian government recognized Konkani as the official language of Goa.

Persecution of Syrian Christians

In 1599 under Aleixo de Menezes
Aleixo de Menezes
Aleixo de Menezes was Archbishop of Goa, Archbishop of Braga, Portugal, and Viceroy of Portugal during the Iberian Union.-Biographical sketch:Aleixo was born in 1559. It is known that he joined the Augustinians...

 the Synod of Diamper
Synod of Diamper
The Synod of Diamper, held at Udayamperoor/Diamper, is a diocesan synod by which Latin usages were formally adopted by the Christians of Saint Thomas. It was convened on June 20, 1599, under the leadership of Aleixo de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa. Archdeacon George was forced to comply with the...

 converted the Syriac
Syriac Christianity
Syriac or Syrian Christianity , the Syriac-speaking Christians of Mesopotamia, comprises multiple Christian traditions of Eastern Christianity. With a history going back to the 1st Century AD, in modern times it is represented by denominations primarily in the Middle East and in Kerala, India....

 Saint Thomas Christians
Saint Thomas Christians
The Saint Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelical activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are also known as "Nasranis" because they are followers of "Jesus of Nazareth". The term "Nasrani" is still used by St...

 (of the Eastern
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 faith) to the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 under the excuse that they allegedly practiced Nestorian heresy.

The synod enforced severe restrictions on their faith and the practice of using Syriac/Aramaic. They were first made politically insignificant and their Metropolitanate status was discontinued by blocking bishops from the East.

There were assassination attempts against Archdeacon George, so as to subjugate the entire Church under Rome. Even the common prayer book was not spared. Every known item of literature was burnt and any priest professing independence was imprisoned. Some altars were pulled down to make way for altars conforming to Catholic criteria.

The St. Thomas Christians resentful over these acts later swore the Coonan Cross Oath
Coonan Cross Oath
The Coonan Cross Oath , taken on January 3, 1653, was a public avowal by members of the Saint Thomas Christian community of Kerala, India that they would not submit to Portuguese dominance in ecclesiastical and secular life...

, severing relations with the Catholic Church, and later came to be known as Jacobites.

In addition, non-Portuguese Christian missionaries who were in competition with the inquisition were often persecuted, even though they were outside of the inquisition's sphere of influence.

When the local clergy became jealous of a French priest operating in Madras, they lured him to Goa, then had him arrested and sent to the inquisition. He was saved when the Hindu King of Carnatic (Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

) interceded on his behalf, laid siege to St. Thome and demanded the release of the priest.

Persecution of Knanaya people

During the Portuguese occupation, the Knanaya
The Knanaya also known as Q'nanaya, Q'nai, Kanai, or Thekkumbagar, are endogamous Jews who settled in Kerala, India. Their origins are unclear and are hotly disputed by academic scholars...

 people were discriminated against due to their Jewish roots. The Nasranis, lost their very defining ethnicity by marrying peoples of local tradition . The only Nasranis who managed to preserve some elements of their Jewish origin were the Knanaya people, because of their tradition of being endogamous
Endogamy is the practice of marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group, rejecting others on such basis as being unsuitable for marriage or other close personal relationships. A Greek Orthodox Christian endogamist, for example, would require that a marriage be only with another...

 within their own community and therefore preserving their Jewish tradition. An Imperial Order was passed to confiscate and sell under public auction
Public auction
A public auction is an auction held on behalf of a government in which the property to be auctioned is either property owned by the government, or property which is sold under the authority of a court of law or a government agency with similar authority....

 the properties of those who celebrated Passover
Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt...

. It was perhaps because of this Order that the Knanaites celebrate Passover in a very private manner without inviting any Christian friend to share the Holy Meal.

A few quotes on the Inquistion

  • Voltaire
    François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

     quotes about Goan Inquisition

Goa est malheureusement célèbre par son inquisition , également contraire à l'humanité et au commerce. Les moines portugais firent accroire que le peuple adorait le diable , et ce sont eux qui l'ont servi. (Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, equally contrary to humanity and commerce. The Portuguese monks made us believe that the people worshiped the devil, and it is they who have served him.)

  • Historian Alfredo de Mello describes the performers of Goan inquisition as,

nefarious, fiendish, lustful, corrupt religious orders which pounced on Goa for the purpose of destroying paganism (ie Hinduism) and introducing the true religion of Christ.

See also

  • Auto da fe
    Auto Da Fe
    Auto Da Fe were an Irish new wave musical group formed in Holland in 1980 by former Steeleye Span singer Gay Woods and Trevor Knight. The band's sound incorporated keyboards and electronics. Woods stated "It was the happiest musical time I ever had so far. I learned so much. I was ridding myself...

  • Spanish Inquisition
    Spanish Inquisition
    The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

  • Portuguese Inquisition
    Portuguese Inquisition
    The Portuguese Inquisition was formally established in Portugal in 1536 at the request of the King of Portugal, João III. Manuel I had asked for the installation of the Inquisition in 1515 to fulfill the commitment of marriage with Maria of Aragon, but it was only after his death that the Pope...

  • Marranos
  • History of Goa
    History of Goa
    Goa is a small state on the western coast of India. Though the smallest Indian state, Goa has played an influential role in Indian history. Goa was one of the major trade centers in India, thus it had always been attracting the influential dynasties, seafarers, merchants, traders, monks and...

  • History of the Jews in India
  • Christianity in India
    Christianity in India
    Christianity is India's third-largest religion, with approximately 24 million followers, constituting 2.3% of India's population. The works of scholars and Eastern Christian writings and 14th century Portuguese missionaries created an illusion to convert Indians that Christianity was introduced to...

  • Christianity in Goa
    Christianity in Goa
    Christianity is the second largest religious grouping in Goa, India. According to the 2001 census, 27% of the population are Christian, while 66% are Hindu...

  • Christianisation of Goa
  • Moira, Goa#Mass haul of Moidekars by the Goa Inquisition (1664)

External links

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