GRANDMA’S KONKANI LULLABY AND A TRAGIC GOAN STORY
This is the first stanza of a melodious lullaby in Konkani that I heard during my childhood. My grand mother heard it sung by an old women while caring and feeding her grandchild.
There is a hope in this lullaby. Even at this old age, she expects her Grandpa to come to see her – for, she came down to Kerala coast along with her father and remaining family members at very young tender age after a long tough, horrible journey through ocean from Konkan Goa.
There is deep disturbing sadness in this lullaby. She consciously know that her Grandpa will never come. If alive her grandpa would have been 200 years old. She understands that her Grandpa along with her relatives was brutally tortured and murdered by religious lunatics. But her heart is not capable of accepting the bitter truth. She still aspire to see him once before her death! She loved her Grandpa so much.
She remembers her small beautiful thatched house house that was built in tandem with the nature, the vegetable and fruits organic farm, the nice village and serene temple were brutally ransacked and destroyed by foreign barbarians. The head of those barbarians was a venom spewing missionary.
And her Grandpa was one among 40,000-odd Goans who were murdered, massacred and tortured by them. She still remembers those nightmarish and deadly escape from Goa with her parents and few other family members. She was deeply wounded by the distressing and disturbing experience- the sightings of suffering that she saw in her childhood. The frightening torture she saw included:
– Her forefathers eyelids were sliced off and extremities were amputated carefully so a person could remain conscious
Who did commit such brutal slaughter? Who were those inhuman butchers ? Who was the cold-blooded leader of the massacre that happened in the name of religion?
Well, before asking such questions, we should know the background of her ancestor.
Goan Hindus were a peaceful, lovable and graceful community whose prayer was “Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu”(May eternal peace and goodwill prevail in the whole world). They believed in non-violence and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family). Among them was a Brahmin community – Goud Saraswat Brahmins (GSBs) – pure vegetarians and propagators of Sanatan Dharma. They have developed a sophisticated culture based on a profound spiritual connection to the cosmos. Her Grandpa was from that community.
They believed in “Manava seva Madhava seva” (Service to man is service to God) – their duty was to serve society and it was considered as the greatest virtue…They upheld the unique traditions that has universal base and lived their life in accordance with the “Shodasha Samskaras” (sixteen sacraments).
They organized dwellings (known as “Keri” in Konkani = settlements or agraharas) and helped the Sanatan Dharma society to preserve its unique culture and customs.
In the Keris they learned in all branches of learning, and these were also specialized in Ayurveda, Pashuvaidya, Gajashastra, Ashwashastra, Astronomy, Astrology, Metallurgy, Botany etc in those days. The GSBs guided men of all professions in all areas.
They followed a simple, down-to-earth life-style and saved all the material wealth for the future generations to sustain the culture. They have converted wealth of generations into idols and precious gems and built temples around Goa. There were nearly 4,000 such temples in Goa. Everything about them was environmental friendly.
It was a peaceful and joyous heaven in the earth – till the messengers of death came in the form of Portugese in the sixteenth century.
They followed the tradition of Atithi Devo Bhavah (The guest is God’) and heartily welcomed Portuguese. Instead of god, they were welcoming the most devilish exploitators and non-involved human beings.
The world history says, the Goa Inquisition by the Portuguese was most merciless and cruel in the world. The notorious, murderous chieftain was Francis Xavier, a mercenary of death. The Goan inquisition is regarded by all contemporary portrayals as the most violent inquisition ever executed by the Catholic Church.
Francis Xavier was a Portuguese Christian fanatic who exported the Inquisition to Goa The inquisitors came and started installing their barbaric law to dissuade Hindus from their faith. Many Hindus were tortured and burnt at the stake for continuing to practice their religion by his team.
The first act was to forbid any open practice of Hindu faith like marriage, worship. 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 sacred thread, greeting people with ‘Namaste’, wearing sandals and growing of the sacred basil or Tulsi plant in front of the house. Bathing before cooking ,forcibly stopped and wearing Dhoti by men and Choli by women was not possible. Women were put into jail and burnt alive as heretics after raping them in jail.
The idols and other valuables from temples were looted and then converted to churches leaving the hapless Hindus in dire straits. More than 2000 temples were destroyed!
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. He was not just a religious lunatic, but derived pleasure from torturing and killing.
In his own words: ” 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 WORSHIPED THEM.”
He celebrated and enjoyed the killing of innocent GSBs and other Hindus in Goa. His racial hatred was evident from his words: “Hindus believe that their gods are black. On this account the great majority of their idols are as black as black can be, and moreover are generally so rubbed over with oil as to smell detestably, and seem to be as dirty as they are ugly and horrible to look at.”
Francis could not live to see the fruits of his request to King for “Goa Inquisition”. In order to increase the converts count, his followers and the bishops used force to feed beef to the Hindus which would leave the person with the only option to convert into Christianity.
But Sanatan Dharma was deep-rooted. Some of the descendants of the Vedic Indian civilization that flourished on the banks of river Saraswati from 9000 BC to 4000 BC ran away from Portuguese tyranny. They ran away from Goa, leaving their rich land behind. Some of them unwillingly converted into Christianity. They lost everything they saved for centuries and migrated to Mangalore and Kerala coast.
What happened to Francis? If you thought that Vatican had rendered apology like it did to Galileo for the agony inflicted on him, you are mistaken.
Instead, they anointed him as “Saint”. Now he is known as St. Francis Xavier. Some people consider Francis as “Vatican Poster boy”!
The descendants of GSBs lived in reduced circumstances in the coastal areas. A huge section of them inter-mingled with fishermen community and started eating dead animals and fish. GSB was the only community in the world whose food-culture itself was healthy natural medicines. If their food-habit was preserved the entire world would have been lived a healthy life.
The Goan GSBs spread all over India – the Indian government has done nothing to reclaim their homeland. Slowly the community lost their rich heritage, tradition and culture. However, a small section in the community still continue the tradition that is 5000 years old – few of GSBs are still vegetarians and follow great Brahminical traditions.
The great writer Voltaire said:”Goa is sadly famous for its inquisition, equally contrary to humanity and commerce. The Portuguese missionaries made us believe that the people worshiped the devil, and it is they who have served him