By: V SUNDARAM
‘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)
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 on Wednesday has condemned the anti-Christian ‘carnage’ in India, where at least 11 people were killed in 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 Sonia directed UPA Government in New Delhi have come to believe that they can let loose violence against the Hindus of Orissa. These Christian 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.
MISSION SCARE IN BIHAR: Anjoriya Devi alleges missionaries are harassing her.
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 Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting and Hindu-hating 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 Islamically (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’. In these columns, I have gone on record several times that CBI does not mean Central Bureau of Investigation: it occasionally means Criminal Bureau of Intimidation or Criminal Bureau of Insinuation, and, of course, all the time Congress Bureau of Intimidation.
Dr K V Paliwal
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 Pseudo-secular 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.
Christian compassion (Holy Inquisition!) at work in Goa
‘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, dare to 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 Joƒo 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 Falcƒo 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 in1560 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’.
Benevolent Christian Wheel of Compassion
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.
Dr. Alfredo DeMello in his ‘Memoirs of Goa’ has given all the spine-chilling details relating to anti-pagan, anti-heathen, and anti-Hindu ‘Christian Compassion’ during the course of Holy Inquisition in Goa from 1560 to 1812. In the Court of Inquisition in Goa, there were two Inquisitors. The first was called Inquisidormor, who was always a secular priest, whilst the second
Forms, Types, Kinds, Profiles, Processes and Procedures of Organised Christian Torture of Hindus during Holy Inquisition in Goa.
belonged to the order of the Dominicans. They had a great number of officers, who were called Deputies of the Holy Office. They were obliged to be present in the judgement of the accused, in the examinations and tortures, but were never summoned to attend the Tribunal unless they were expressly called for by the Inquisitors. Other employees called Qualifiers of the Holy Office had to examine the books, and the suspicions regarding any heresy contrary to the PURITY OF THE FAITH. The Holy Office also had a promoter, a procurator and lawyers who were assigned to the prisoners who sought them. These lawyers, far from defending their assigned prisoners, served only to denounce their most recondite sentiments giving them false illusions. There were other officers who were called ‘familiares do santo oficio’, who were really Justice Officers of this tribunal. Persons of all conditions were anxious to be admitted to such posts; even the dukes and princes sought them, such was the esteem of the posts. Their job was to accuse the prisoner.
Each Hindu prisoner was given an earthen bowl with water for ablutions; another cleaner bowl with water for drinking, and a jug of earthenware to keep the water cool. He was given also a broom, in order to keep his cell clean (!?); a mat to put on the bench where he was supposed to sleep; a big basin, which was changed every four days, and another basin to cover the former, and served to keep the trash after cleaning the cell. Since the prisoners were separated from one another, and only rarely were two lodged in the same cell, four guards were enough to keep a watch on 200 Hindu prisoners. Those who died in the jail were buried inside the building, and as they were going to be judged, the bodies were exhumed, and the bones were kept to be burnt on the next auto da fe. The prisoners were not given any books to read. No light excepting the daylight filtered through the slits on the wall above. It was a horrid scene and atmosphere for every Hindu prisoner. As Dr.Alfredo DeMello has put it ‘There was an eerie, perpetual silence, and those who complained, or even prayed to God loudly, ran the risk of being whipped by the Guards’.
Seven witnesses were required to condemn a Hindu accused. But the witnesses were never brought face to face with the hapless accused. The Inquisition admitted the testimony of all kinds of people, even of those who were publicly known to be interested in the utter condemnation of the accused. Among the seven witnesses, was included the victim himself, who under torture had admitted the heresies that he had (NOT) committed! Many a time all the seven witnesses were worth nothing because they became ‘supposed accomplices’, who were really innocent of the crime which they purportedly had committed, because the Inquisition in a fiendish manner made them really criminal, obliging them with tortures of fire, to accuse an innocent victim, in order to save his own life. The whole aim was to punish a Hindu prisoner somehow or other at any cost and to put him to cruel death.
The ‘artificial’, ‘manufactured’ and ‘unnatural’ crimes criminally brought up against the Hindus were of different kinds: blasphemies, impiety, sodomy, necromancy and witchcraft. For example if any of the newly forcibly converted Hindus took part in the ‘superstitious assemblies’ (Jewish sabbaths) or former idolatries (Hindu gods) practised of yore, they were more than enough to cause a victim to be burnt at the stake. If the victim confessed at the last moment, and was truly sorry, he was condemned to the garrotte for capital punishment, and then burnt after his death. Otherwise he was burnt alive. This was indeed Vatican Directed Christian humanity towards Hindus at its noblest and purest in Goa!
Three kinds of torture were practised against the Hindus and other non-Christians: 1) the rope or the pulley 2) water and 3) fire. The torture by rope consisted of the arms being tied backwards and then raised by a pulley, leaving the victim hanging for some time, and then let the victim drop down to half a foot above the floor, then raised again. These continued up and down movements dislocated the joints and made the prisoner emit horrible cries of pain. This torture went on for an hour. The torture by water was as follows: the victim was made to lie across an iron bar, and was forced to imbibe water without stopping. The iron bar broke the vertebrae and caused horrible pains, whereas the water treatment provoked vomits and asphyxia. The torture by fire was definitely the worst: the victim was hung above a fire, which burnt the soles of the feet, and the jailers rubbed bacon and other combustible materials on the burning feet. The feet were burnt until the victim confessed. These last two tortures lasted for about an hour, and sometimes more. Holy catholic priests watched this scene with studious Christian thoroughness, consideration and compassion!
Maanoj Rakhit in his brilliant monograph titled ‘Christianity In a Different Light’ has sharply stated: ‘The name of St.Xavier happens to be well respected in our country. Like many others I had believed he must be a Saint as his name starts with that word, and there are so many educational institutions dedicated to his name all over the country where our Hindu children receive their education. We therefore need to know more about such a great person and his character a little better than we do today, for these schools never tell us the truth’.
I have gathered the following details relating to St. Francis Xavier. St. Francis Xavier landed in Goa on 6 May 1542, with a resolve of ‘uprooting paganism’ from the soil of India and planting Christianity in its place. And so all plans of persecution and oppression of the Hindus came along with him. All religious policies and procedures of forcible and fraudulent conversions and demolitions of the Hindu Temples and idols were undertaken under his guidance and missionary zeal. Thus it was St.Francis Xavier who laid the foundation for the ‘compassionate’ (barbarous!) for an organised system of Holy Inquisition against the Hindus in Goa.
St.Francis Xavier was a pioneer of anti-Brahmanism, which was adopted later as a major plan in the missionary propaganda during British Rule as evident below. Lord Minto, the Governor General of India from 1807 to 1812, sent some propaganda material used by the English missionaries in India to British Parliament and in particular referred to one Christian Tract about which he said ‘the remainder of this Tract seems to aim principally at a general massacre and extermination of the Brahmins’.
We can see what was St. Francis Xavier’s first priority in India through his own words ‘I want to free the poor Hindus from the stranglehold of the Brahmins and destroy the places where evil spirits are worshipped. The Brahmins are the most perverse people in the world…. They never tell the truth, but think of nothing but how to tell subtle lies and to receive the simple and ignorant people… They are as perverse and wicked a set as can anywhere be found, and to whom applies the Psalm, which says: ‘From an unholy race, and wicked and crafty men, deliver me, Lord’. The poor people do exactly what the Brahmins tell them…. If there were no Brahmins in the area, all Hindus would accept conversion to our faith’.
St. Francis Xavier wrote a letter to the Society of Jesus in which he said, ‘Following the Baptisms, the new Christians return to their homes and come back with their wives and families to be in their turn also prepared for Baptism. After all have been baptised, I order that everywhere the temples of the false Gods be pulled down and idols broken. I KNOW NOT HOW TO DESCRIBE IN WORDS THE JOY THAT I FEEL BEFORE THE SPECTACLE OF PULLING DOWN AND DESTROYING THE IDOLS BY THE VERY PEOPLE WHO FORMERLY WORSHIPPED THEM’. St. Francis Xavier did this in Quilon after the Hindu Raja of Quilon had given him a munificently large grant of land and other resources to build Churches in his territory. After taking this grant, St. Xavier converted Hindus into Christianity. After doing that he said that he was in a state of ecstatic joy! The same kind of savage joy was expressed by another equally savage temple destroyer Mughal Emperor called Aurangazeb who ruled from 1658 to 1707. So much for terrorist Christianity and terrorist Islam! So much for peace-loving and compassionate Christianity and Islam! So much for Christian Brotherhood and Islamic Brotherhood!
No wonder the great German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche [1844 –1900], not belonging to the VHP or RSS or Sangh Pariwar(!) paid this legitimate tribute to ever-compassionate Christianity: ‘I call Christianity the one great curse of enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous, too underhand, too underground and too petty—I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind’. I am sure the Pope in Rome will take immediate action to ex-communicate Nietzsche, posthumously, for his above Paganish and Heathenish indiscretion, taking the ever-obliging Sonia-directed Pro-Catholic UPA Government into private confidence! Our Prime Minister has prepared the ground for this drama by his recent statement on the mass Hindu Rebellion in Orissa.
In these columns yesterday (30-8-08) I had written about the atrocities committed by St. Francis Xavier and his disciples against the Hindus of Goa in the 16th century. Aided by guided and frenzied mobs, he and his missionaries did not lag behind the Islamic iconoclastic zeal of Mohammad of Ghazni in the 11th century, Malik-a-fur and Timur in the 14th century. They destroyed thousands of Hindu temples and non-Christian places of worship in South India in general and Goa in particular.
Even before the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in Goa in 1542, two Portuguese Governors called Minguet Vaz and Diago Borba, inaugurated the State-sponsored movement for the demolition of the Hindu temples and other vestiges of Hindu religion. Most of the temples of Goa, Divar, Chorada and Jua region were destroyed in 1540. In 1541 a policy of ‘Regour of Mercy’ was announced as the main plank of anti-Hindu policy to be followed by the government in Goa. In this year, after the demolition of temples, various leaders of the Hindu community were terrorised into submission and made to agree of, ‘Their free volition that the income of the lands belonging to the ancient Hindu temples which had been destroyed might be applied to the upkeep of Christian Churches and Christian Missionaries…. It was also resolved that the income should, in future, be applied towards and donated to the Chapels built in this island and also to defray the expenses of the confraternity of the converts to the faith. As a result of this declared ‘Anti-Hindu and Hindu Extermination Policy’ (like that of the Catholic Sonia-directed UPA surrogate government of India today!!), the St. Paul’s College was established and maintained out of the income of the Hindu temples which had been destroyed’.
After the arrival of St. Francis Xavier in 1542, the movement for temple demolition in Goa was further accelerated, as he was an instigator and a role model for the demolition of the Hindu temples. From then on, the Jesuits did their worst under his cruel leadership, using every form of bribery, threat and torture against the Hindus to effect a conversion! He noticed that though some Hindus, baptised earlier through force and fraud, were still secretly worshipping these ‘evil spirits’. Enraged by this ‘paganish and heathenish barbarism’, St. Francis Xavier reacted strongly with Christian compassion and understanding marked by unsurpassed nobility. According to the ‘History of Christianity in India’, his reaction was: ‘When the boys informed him that some had made an idol, he went with them and had it broken into a thousand pieces. If in spite of all his Divine advice someone persisted in making idols, he would have them punished by the Patingatis (Heads of Parava Village) are banished to another village. One day when he heard that idols had been worshipped in the house of a Christian, he ordered the hut to be burnt down as a warning to others (Source-Silva Rego Vol.I Page 158)’.
Regarding St.Francis Xavier’s way of ‘violent evangelism’, Hector has written: ‘In the matter of conversion, Xavier held exceedingly crude ideas. His great aim was to get hold of the younger portion of the population… Xavier is said to have baptised seven hundred thousand natives, whom he left as ignorant as he found them. His motto seems to have been quantity and not quality’.
P.B.Cunha, a Goan freedom fighter and eminent writer has been very critical of Xavier’s method of evangelism. To quote his words: ‘That Saint (Xavier) came as a missionary with the patronage and protection of the Portuguese King and used his power of proselytisation to further the Portuguese Imperial designs’.
Chain glove – heated red hot with Hindu victim’s hand inside
In order to promote conversions and create an atmosphere of mental terror, St. Francis Xavier and his missionaries saw to it that the Hindus were tortured by all possible means, particularly where the evidence against the accused (foisted cases for Inquisition and Conversion through fraud, force and inducement!) was incomplete, defective or conflicting. I have presented above the pictures/photographs of the tools, implements and other appliances carefully designed by St. Francis Xavier and his missionaries for the human and humane conversion of the Hindus of Goa through organized torture, fully backed by the might of the Portuguese State in the 16th century. We can see that there were specially designed sharp instruments with spikes for cutting the ears of Hindus, for breaking their legs and shin, for disembowelling them over the rack, for breaking their jaws, for tearing their tongues and finally there was a specially designed Christian equipment (designed with Christian compassion of rigorous mercy!) for tearing apart the female breasts! I acknowledge my debt to Shri Maanoj Rakhit, a great Hindutva scholar from Bombay for helping me with the above rare photographs of the implements and tools of Christian torture in Goa during the days of the Holy Inquisition!
Very unfortunately thousands of Hindus who were tortured and killed by St. Francis Xavier and his missionaries have not left behind contemporary records relating to their sufferings, trials and tribulations. One of the most authentic records relating to the Holy Inquisition in Goa was left behind by a French Jewish Doctor called Dellon. About him, the savant Ferdinand Denis wrote: ‘Many voyagers painted with great energy the torments which the inquisition of Goa inflicted on its prisoners, but the most minute report, without contradiction and the most moderate in all respects was that of a French doctor called Dellon, who wrote a special treatise on this tribunal, of which he was one of the victims’.
Indeed a young French Doctor by the name of Dellon, ten years after he escaped from his punishment in the galleys in Lisbon in 1677, wrote the famous book ‘RELATION DE L’INQUISITION DE GOA’, printed in Holland in 1687. The acquisition of Dellon’s book was most difficult for more than two hundred years, because not only it was antique but prohibited. Only Mr.Cunha Rivara, in the late 19th century, on the way to serve as Secretary to the Governor in Goa, was able to get a copy from the curator of the Public Library in Lisbon, Joƒo Jos, Barbosa.
Iron mask with unnel – for pouring boiling oil into Hindu ictim’s mouth.
From Dr.Dellon’s classic book referred to above, we get the following details relating to the Holy Inquisition in Goa. The House of Inquisition (Divine Torments!) of Hindus was a subterranean grotto, so that others might not hear the cries of the wretched. Many a time, the Hindu victims died under torture; their bodies were interred within the compound, and the bones were exhumed for the auto da fe, and burnt in public. Those Hindus who were branded as convicts, and persisted in denying the facts of which they were accused, or who were relapsed, were obliged to wear another scapulary which was called Samarra, a brown cloth, on which the portrait of the victim was painted above flames, and surrounded by demons. Below this portrait were written down the name of the condemned and the crimes. But for those who accused themselves, after the sentence was pronounced, and who were not relapsed, a different Samarra was given: in these brown vests the flames were facing downwards, which was called ‘fogo revolto’.
After the distribution of the Sambenitos, five pointed bonnets or mitres of cardboard, all painted with demons and flames, and the word ‘feiticeiro’ (sorcerer) were brought and placed on the heads of the persons accused of necromancy. Standing up all night, at last at 5.30 a.m. the sun rose, and the bell of the cathedral started tolling. This was the signal for the population of Goa to wake up, and come to witness the august ceremony of the auto da fe, which was considered as a triumph of the Holy Office.
By daylight, each convict was ordered to march alongside a godfather, one of the officials assigned to each victim. It was a great honour to be appointed godfather for these ceremonies. Finally, covered with shame and confusion, tired of the long march, the condemned reached the church of St. Francis, which was decked with great pomp and circumstance. The altar was covered with black cloth on which stood six silver candleholders. On both sides of the altar there were two kinds of thrones: the right side for the inquisitor and his councillors, and the left side for the viceroy and his court. The convicts and godfathers were seated on benches. Once the sermon was concluded, two officials went up to the pulpit, to read publicly the proceedings of all the guilty, and to declare the sentences upon them. Generally all the Hindu victims were either put to death in all kinds of barbarous ways.
Mr. Alfred Demersay, French commissioner in Portugal and Spain in 1862, on examining the archives of Lisbon where past processes of inquisition were kept, wrote: ‘Only the Inquisition has furnished 40,000 proceedings of lawsuits, which are the most precious elements to write the history of this nefarious institution, and an inexhaustible mine for the novelists and authors of melodramas. The inquisition was the greatest terror of our ancestors in Goa because of its incredible tyranny; it was an independent terrorist Republic, which did not recognise even the Viceroys as their superiors’.
How immoral and barbarous were the Holy Inquisitors in Goa (who took hourly instructions from St. Francis Xavier from 1542 to 1551) in the 16th century can be seen by the oration given by Archbishop of Evora at the Cathedral Church of Lisbon in June 1897: ‘The Inquisition was an infamous TRIBUNAL at all places. But the infamy never reached greater depths, nor was more vile, more black, and more completely determined by mundane interests than at the TRIBUNAL OF GOA, by irony called the HOLY OFFICE. Here the Inquisitors went to the length of imprisoning in its jails women who resisted their advances, and after having satisfied their bestial instincts there, ordering that they be burnt as heretics’. (Source The Hindus and the Portuguese Republic, Priolkar Page 174 – 175).
‘When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it’
— Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish author:
In order to accelerate the process of Christianising of the Hindus and the demolition of Hindu temples, one of the associates of St. Francis Xavier, Minguel Vaz, the then Vicar General of India appointed by the Pope in Rome, requested the King of Portugal as part of his 41 Point Programme to destroy all Hindu Temples in October 1546 as follows: ‘Since idolatry is so great and offence against God, as is manifest to all, it is just that Your Majesty should not permit it within your territories, and an order should be promulgated in Goa to the effect that in the whole island there should not be any temple public or secret. Contravention thereof should entail grave penalties that no Hindu should make idols in any form, neither of stone, nor of wood, nor of copper, nor of any other metal…. and that persons who are in charge of St. Paul’s should have the power to search the houses of the Brahmins and other Hindus, in case there exists a presumption or suspicion of the idols there’.
Consequently on March 8, 1547, the King of Portugal ordered his Viceroy at Goa that all the Hindu temples should be destroyed forthwith. Minguel Vaz even before the receipt of this formal order had commenced the operation of destruction of Hindu temples. Consequently there was a Hindu uprising and the Hindus succeeded in poisoning him to death. Following the example of Minguel Vaz, similar orders for destruction of Hindu temples were issued by Viceroy D. Antao de Noronha on 29 August 1556. In March 1569, an order was promulgated by which, the income of the Hindu temples of Bardez and Salsete, which had been destroyed by the Jesuits, was transferred to Christian Churches. The Hindu inhabitants of that region were called and asked to disclose under Oath ‘information’ about the properties attached to the temples and upon their due compliance with this order, the entire temple properties were transferred to the Churches (Source: A K Priolkar – The Goa Inquisition, page no.85). At many places the temples were destroyed and the Churches were built in those places. Thus we can see that the Jesuit Inquisitors in Goa were only following the path of Muslim marauders like Mohammed of Ghori, Allaudin Khilji, Babur and Aurangazeb. Babur built his Babri Masjid at the site that became available after his planned destruction of the Sri Ram Temple at Ayodhya in 1528. Likewise, the Jesuits of Goa also erected Churches on destroyed temple sites in hundreds of places throughout Goa from 1560 to 1812. For example according to the Imperial Gazetteer of British India ‘The Church of Cortalim is erected on the same site where formerly the idol of Mangesh was worshipped by the Hindus. Some missionary records refer to many famous Hindu temples being converted into Churches at these places’. According to Sitaram Goel ‘A magnificent Hindu temple in the Elephanta Caves was turned into a Chapel’.
Throughout Portuguese Rule in Goa, various Viceregal and Church Council decrees banished the Hindu priests from the Portuguese territories. The public practice of Hindu rites including marriage rites was banned. Only Christians were preferred in public employment. The Government ensured that the Hindus would not harass those who became Christians; yet at the same time and to the contrary, the Hindus were forced to assemble periodically in Churches to listen to Christian preaching or to the refutation of the Hindu religion. Perhaps because of all these anti-Hindu acts, Mahatma Gandhi wrote very clearly in his autobiography ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’: ‘I had started disliking Christianity. This was not without any reason. Those days Christian missionaries used to stand in a corner near the High School in Rajkot and used disgraceful words against Hindus and their Gods/Goddesses. I could not bear this’. In fact not only Gandhiji, no self-respecting Hindu can bear this.
Immediately after the establishment of Portuguese Rule in Goa, a number of ANTI-HINDU LAWS were enacted, and most of them, during the period of Holy Inquisition in Goa from 1560 to 1812. What is worse, all of them were strictly and often ruthlessly implemented to punish the Hindus and more particularly the
Brahmins. What is surprising and even shocking to note is that, some of those inhuman laws were very much in force till the Portuguese territories were liberated by the Government of India on 19 December 1961. I would like to present a summary of all such Anti-Hindu Laws under different heads.
I.Banishment of the Hindus:
a.The Brahmins and the Goldsmiths were the most tortured lot. On April 2, 1560, the Viceroy ordered that the Brahmins should be thrown out of the island of Goa and the lands and fortresses of the King of Portugal.
b.On November 27, 1563, a Law was passed to the effect that all Hindu physicians, carpenters, blacksmiths, shop keepers were asked to sell the property and leave the Portuguese territory.
c. The III Concillo Provincial held in 1585 passed the resolution to the effect that the Archbishop should obtain information annually regarding Brahmins and other infidels who might be prejudicial to the conversion to Christianity so that they may be punished.
II.Ban against the performance of Hindu rites and ceremonies like marriages
a.On March 13, 1613 and again on January 31, 1620 Laws were enacted imposing a blanket ban on Hindu Rites and Ceremonies.
b.In 1585, III Concillo Provincial recommended to the King that those Hindus who wore sacred threads should be forbidden to do so. They should also be forbidden to initiate their sons in wearing sacred threads. The same ban orders were re-issued by the Jesuits in Goa in 1640 and 1680.
III.Ban on the Hindu Priests.
This was achieved through a Law enacted on 1 December 1567.
IV.Compelling the Hindus to listen to Christian Doctrines
On December 4, 1567, and also again on January 1, 1715, it was ordered that ‘All Hindus should come with their families to places assigned for the purpose to listen to the preachings of the Holy Gospel’. (Source: J H Cunha Rivara, A Inquisico de Goa, Vol. 1, Lisbon, Page 69 and Priolkar Page 123)
V.Depriving the Hindus of their Rights and Privileges.
On December 11, 1573, the Governor enacted a Law, which deprived the Hindus of their traditional rights, and privileges, including their right to receive Jonoa i.e. share in the income of the village community.
VI. Cultural Discrimination against the Hindus.
On December 15, 1572, the Viceroy ordered that the Hindu Pundits and Physicians should not move in the city on horse back or in ‘andores’ – a kind of sedan chair or ‘palki’. Any Hindu who violated this provision was punished ruthlessly. In short Hindus were converted into slaves.
VII. Hindus Prohibited to Employ Christian labourers
a.In 1731, the Viceroy ordered that the Christian Bolas (Bearers of Palki) should not carry the Hindus. The Archbishop actually excommunicated Christian Bolas who carried two famous Hindu businessmen (Priolkar 141).
b.The Christian agricultural labourers were forbidden to work in the fields owned by the Hindus. Parallely the Hindu landowners were prohibited to employ Christian labourers.
VIII. Hindus Deprived of the Employment
a.In June 1557, the King D.Joao ordered that no Government Official should utilise the services of the Brahmins or other infidels and contrary to this, the Official will lose his job and the Brahmin will become captive and lose all property.
b.All jobs were given to the Christians and not to the Hindus.
c.On April 3, 1582, a Royal Decree was re-issued that no Hindu whatever be his status or condition, should hold any public office.
d.All Christian officials were forbidden from utilising the services of Brahmins or other Hindus.
IX. Social Discrimination Against the Hindus
Francois Pyrard has stated that the Hindus and the converted Indian Christians were not admitted into the Royal Hospital of Goa.
X. Racial Discrimination against the Hindus.
All kinds of racial discrimination against the Hindus were officially authorised by the King of Portugal.
XI.Burning and Censorship of Indigenous Hindu Literature:
In order to suppress the knowledge of Dharma and Culture of the Hindus and exterminate the indigenous literature in Marathi, Konkani or any local dialect, various repressive measures were adopted.
a.Special Officers known as Qualificadores were appointed to examine the books published by the Hindus before printing and care was taken to see that they contained nothing against the Catholic Faith.
b.A list of prohibited Hindu books was maintained. According to the Holy Inquisition Manual, it was a crime to possess and read the prohibited books.
c.The boxes containing prohibited books were carried in procession during the Auto da Fe and burnt.
d.All Sanskrit and Marathi books, whatever may be their subject matter, were seized and burnt on the suspicion that they might deal with idolatry.
e.To promote the Portuguese language, at the expense of local languages, the Portuguese established Colleges at Angamali and Cochin for educating Malabar Christians in the Roman Faith and also the knowledge of Portuguese and Latin Languages.
In Short, the Jesuits and the Inquisitors of the Holy Inquisition against the Hindus in Goa wanted to exterminate all the indigenous languages and replace them with Portuguese language. Cunha Rivara, in his brilliant ‘Historical Essay on Konkani Language’ has rightly given this verdict: ‘The Holy Inquisition cannot be absolved from a large share in the persecution of the Vernacular languages…. The Whole system of the Inquisition aimed not only at the extirpation of superstitious or idolatrous beliefs, but also of innocent usages and customs retaining even a trace of the Asiatic Society, which existed prior to the conquest by the Portuguese. Consequently, the LANGUAGE was also involved in this prescription’.
To sum up, undoubtedly the Goa Inquisition was marked by an unparalleled barbarism, inhumanism and fanaticism, which the Hindus suffered for two hundred and fifty two years under the tyrannical Portuguese Rule from 1560 to 1812. It is shameless dishonesty and downright criminal knavery to say that the Christian Doctrine had nothing to do with the atrocities practiced in Goa, Bengal and elsewhere under Portuguese dispensation.
(To be contd…)
(The writer is a retired IAS officer)