Sunday, 20 January 2013

A detailed account of horrors of GOA INQUISITION:

A detailed account of horrors of GOA INQUISITION:

1541: Francis Xavier landed in Goa - sent there by Ignatius Loyola of Jesuit
order under the direction of the King João III of Portugal.
1545: Francis Xavier comes to the
following conclusions that Hindus are an "unholy race" that they are "They
are liars and cheats to the very backbone.". that"the Indians being black themselves,
consider their own color the best" and also that "they
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."
writes to Rome to install inquisition in Goa immediately.
1560: Viceroy's building modified to become the palace of
inquisition with 200 cells with residence of the first inquisitor,
house of secret, house of doctrine, any number of cells, and other special
ones: of secret, of penitence; of perpetual confinement; of the tortures etc.
Inquisition installed with powers higher than those of viceroys.
Apr-2 1560: Viceroy D Constantine de
Braganca orders that all Brahmins should
be thrown out of Goa and other areas under
Portuguese control.
Feb-7 1575: Governor Antonio Morez
Barreto,issues orders that the properties
of those Hindus whose "presence was prejudicial to
Christianity" would be confiscated.
1585 : The Third Concilio Provincial
adopts a resolution asking the king of
Portugal to banish from Goa 'the Brahmins, physicians and other
infidels' who the Church finds as an obstacle to convert the 'the
heathens' to the 'only true faith'.
Jan-31, 1620: Portuguese government
orders that " Hindu,
of whatever nationality or status he may be, can or shall perform marriages in
this city of Goa,
nor in the islands or adjacent territories of His Majesty..."
1625: Governor Francisco Barreto, issues orders that 'bar Hindus from seeking employment' in
the Portuguese held Indian territory and
Portuguese officials were ordered not
to 'use the services of any infidel in matters of his office anyway'

Historian Alfredo DeMello describes the performers of Goan
inquisition as "nefarious, fiendish, lustful, corrupt religious orders
which pounced on Goa for the purpose of
destroying paganism and introducing the true religion of Christ"
The Goan inquisition is regarded by all
contemporary portrayals as the most violent inquisition ever executed by the
Portuguese Catholic Church. It lasted from 1560 to 1812 though in Europe it ended by 1774. (briefly restarted in 1778) Given below are some of the eye-witness accounts of this
genocidal Holy office:
Eye-witness accounts of Goan inquistion:
"...The inquisition of Goa, distinguished itself on account of the greater
rigors than those of the tribunals of the metropolis; thousands of victims died
at the stake in flames.
-Joao Felix Pereira(19th
century) in Historia de Portugal, 3rd edition, page 235
"..The inquisition, this tribunal
of fire, thrown on the surface of the globe for the scourge of humanity, this
horrible institution, which will eternally cover with shame its authors, fixed
its brutal domicile in the fertile plains of the Hindustan.
On seeing the monster everyone fled and disappeared, Moguls, Arabs, Persians,
Armenians, and Jews. The Indians even, more tolerant and pacific, were
astounded to see the God of Christianism
more cruel than that of Mohammed, deserted the territory of the
Portuguese..."-Memoirs of Judges Magalhães and Lousada: (Vol 2,Annaes
Marítimos e Coloniais,page 59)
"...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 a 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 !! -Alexandre Herculano Famous
writer of 19th century in his Fragment about the Inquisition
Mechanism of Inquisition as recorded by
Dellon a French Roman Catholic - 'a very mild account of inquisition':
The cells:a fetid cell, provided with a hole for relieving himself.
But it overflowed, and there were faeces all over, an abominable smell,
practically no light, save for slits on the wall, well above the reach of one's
No honour even in death: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 fé.
Condemning the accused:Seven witnesses were required to
condemn a person. 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 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.
Tortures:Three kinds of
torture were practiced: 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 movement dislocated the joints and made the prisoner emit
horrible cries of pain. This torture went on for an hour.
The torture by
waterwas 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.’’

Thetorture by fire was definitely the worst: the victim was hung above a fire, which
warmed the soles of the feet, and the jailers rubbed bacon and other
combustible materials on the feet. The feet were burned until the victim
confessed. These last two tortures lasted for about an hour, and sometimes
more. The house of torments was a subterranean grotto, so that other might not
hear the cries of the wretched. Many a time, the 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.
Showing them mercy by burning at stake:By daylight, each convict was ordered to march alongside a
godfather, one of the officials assigned to each victim. It was a great honor
to be appointed godfather for these ceremonies. The procession was led through
the long streets of the city so that the multitudes could watch the ugly
pageant. 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 councilors, and
the left side for the viceroy and his court. The convicts and godfathers were
seated on benches.
Next, four man-sized statues were brought, accompanied by four men who carried boxes full of bones of
the victims who had died by tortures: these statues, wearing the Samarra and representing
the dead victims would be tried too. 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.
The condemned to be burnt at the stake were delivered to the
secular arm, to which the Inquisition begged to use clemency and mercy with
these wretched, and to impose the death penalty without effusion of blood - by
burning them at stake!
·                     Remarks of a historian:
·                     The words Auto da fé reverberated
throughout Goa, reminiscent of the furies of
Hell, which concept, incidentally does not exist in the Hindu pantheon. On
April 1st 1650 for instance, four people were burnt to death, the next auto da
fé was on December 14, 1653, when 18 were put to the flames, accused of the
crime of heresy. And from the 8th April 1666 until the end of 1679 - during
which period Dellon was tried - there were eight autos da fé, in which 1208
victims were sentenced. In November 22, 1711 another auto da fé took place
involving 41 persons. Another milestone was on December 20, 1736, when the
Inquisition burnt an entire family of Raaim, Salcete,
destroying their house, putting salt on their land, and placing a stone padrao,
which still existed in the place (at least in 1866)
·                     -Alfredo De
Mello ('Memoirs of Goa' Chapter 21)

The first inquisitors, Aleixo Dias Falcão and Francisco
Marques, established themselves in what was formerly the raja of Goa's palace, forcing the Portuguese viceroy to relocate
to a smaller residence. The inquisitor's first act was forbidding Hindus from
publicly practice of their faith through fear of death. Sephardic Jews living in Goa, many of whom had fled the Iberian Peninsula to escape the excesses of the Spanish
Inquisition 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.
Seventy-one "autos da fe" were recorded. In the first few years
alone, over 4000 people were arrested, with 121 people burnt alive at the stake[2].
Persecution of Hindus
The Hindus of Goa were one of the
most affected by the inquisition. The
condemned Hindus were publicly burned at the stake in the square outside the Sé
Cathedral in batches during ceremonies known as auto da fé (Portuguese:
act of faith). Those who confessed to their accused heresy would be
strangled prior to the burning. In this case, heresy was to practice a faith
other than Christianity . Historian R.N. Sakshena writes ".. in the name
of the religion of peace and love, the tribunal(s) practiced cruelties to the
extent that every word of theirs was a sentence of death"[5].
Anti-Hindu laws and prohibitions
Laws were passed banning Christians from keeping Hindus in their employ, and the public
worship of Hindus were deemed unlawful[5].
A large number of restrictive
religious laws were enacted, including the banning
of Hindu musical instruments, dhoti, betel leaves and cholis. Many Hindu temples
were converted or destroyed, and Christian churches built in their place, often
from the materials of the temples they replaced. Throughout this period
several important Hindu texts were burned in an effort to saturate the area
with Christian religious texts. Most notably, the Kama Sutra increased in
infamy with its "lewd" alternatives to the endorsed Missionary
Orders were issued that Hindu children who were orphaned be
"taken immediately and handed over to the College of St. Paul of the society
of Jesus of the said city of Goa, for being baptized, educated and
indoctrinated by the Fathers of the said College and being directed by them and
placed in positions according to their respective aptitudes and abilities".[3]. The order was endorsed by the viceroy of Goa, Antao de Noronha and the Governor, Antonio Moniz
Barrette. While the original order applied only to orphans, there were frequent
complaints that Hindu children with
parents were kidnapped from their families and forcibly baptized[3]. Some Hindu families secretly smuggled their children
out of Goa. Other less fortunate Hindus paid
extortion money to Christian priests to keep their children from being
kidnapped and baptized[3].
Many Christian priests disagreed with
these draconian measures and sympathized with the Hindus, generating a brief
lull in the forced conversions. However, the "Father of the
Christians", upon hearing of this, complained to the Archbishop and
reinstated a new wave of forced conversions[3].
Several anti-Hindu laws were enacted
with the expressed intent to "humiliate Hindus" and encourage
conversions to Christianity. 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[3]. The inquisition guaranteed
"protection" to Hindus who converted to Christianity. Thus, they
initiated a new wave of baptisms to Hindus who were intimidated by their
brutality into converting[6].
The inquisition supplied the
ecclesiastic Jesuit priests with a strong state-sanctioned weapon to use
against the Hindu population of the region. Moderate Catholics who tried to
build bridges with Hindus were also persecuted. Even the governor of Goa from 1588-1591 was investigated when he consulted
Hindu clerics about the auspicious dates concerning the arrival of ships[7]. The adverse effects of the inquisition were tempered
somewhat by the fact that Hindus were able to escape Portuguese hegemony by
migrating to other parts of the subcontinent[8].
Use of torture
Hindus who were arrested for repeated
violations of the laws were taken in by the inquisition to the"Palace of
the Goa Inquisition" for "confessions". The confessions were
attained by various torture techniques. Techniques included Hindus being tied
up and having their feet burned slowly with sulphur, water torture techniques
and racks to which the victims were manacled and their joints slowly dislocated
by stretching.This "strappado" method was a particular favorite among
the inquisitors. Thumb-screws and leg-crushers called "Spanish boots"
were also employed. Often, boiling oil was poured on their legs and sulphur
dropped on their bodies with lighted candles held beneath their armpits.
Another technique involved fixing the victims to revolving tables and whirling
them round until they were nauseous. These techniques were applied to the victims
until they were weakened to the point of being persuaded to "convert"
to Christianity and "confess".[3]
Those who "confessed" were strangled
to death and their corpses burned. Those
who did not were burned alive at the stake. All the victims of the inquisition
eventually had their shirts steeped in sulphur. Those who did not confess
had their shirts painted with flames pointing upward. Those who did had their
shirts painted with flamed pointing downward. They were taken from the palace
to the Church during Sunday mass. Then, they were subjected to ridicule by the
Christian parishioners. Once that ritual was complete, the confessors were strangled and their corpses, together with the
living non-confessers, were "conducted to the Campo Sancto Lazaro"
and burned at the stake in the presence of onlookers.[3]
Persecution of Christians (non-Catholic- Syrian Christians)
In 1599 under Aleixo de Menezes the
Synod of Diamper converted the Syriac
Saint Thomas Christians (of the Orthodox faith) to the Roman Catholic Church
under the excuse that they allegedly practiced Nestorian heresy. The synod
enforced severe restrictions on their faith and the practice of using
Syriac/Aramaic. The Kerala Christians of Malabar were independent of Rome. What resulted in it
was the persecution of the Syrian
Christians of Malabar. They were first made politically insignificant and
their Metropolitanate status was discontinued by blocking bishops from the Middle 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. St. Thomas
Christians resentful over these acts later swore the Coonan Cross Oath,
severing relations with the Catholic Church. They swore that from that day they
nor their children would have any relations with the church of Rome thereby
raising the first freedom movement against the western powers in India.
In addition, non-Portuguese Christian
missionaries who were in competition with the inquisition were often persecuted
even though they were outside the sphere of influence of the inquisition. 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 Carnatica (Karnataka) interceded on his behalf, laid siege to St. Thome
and demanded the release of the priest[7].
Persecution of Jews
The Jews in the region were rounded up, together with the
Hindus. Both groups were charged with "paganism", but the Jews were
doubly charged with "Judaism".[9]
The anti-semitic aspect of the
inquisition ran parallel to the contemporaneous inquisitions in Spain and Portugal,
working its havoc in Goa, among other places
in the Iberian sphere of influence.[10] There was a large population of Jews in the Konkan
region. The inquisition mandated that celebrating the Jewish Sabbath in Goa was enough to get an Indian Jew burned at the stake.
The Indian Jews were shackled in irons and imprisoned in filthy prisons for
long periods of time before they were tried and executed.[9]
The Jewish presence in the South
Indian state of Kerala has been notable. Eventually, they sought refuge with
the Hindu King of Cochin.
In a letter written by the Portuguese to their king in 1513 permission is
sought for their extermination. They also destroyed the Jewish settlement in Cochin and damaged the
Jewish synagogue as well as their historical documents.
In 1662 CE the Dutch attacked Cochin but were driven out. The Jews were
severely punished by the Portuguese for allegedly aiding the Dutch. In 1663 CE the Dutch returned and defeated the
Portuguese. The Jews were treated more tolerantly by the Dutch rulers. The
Cochin Jews reestablished their links with European Jews. In 1687 a Jewish
delegation from Amsterdam arrived under the leadership of Mr. Thomas Perera. His report published in 1687
under the name "NOTSIAS DOS JUDEOS DE COCHIM " details the history of
Cochin Jews.[11]
End of the Inquisition
Though officially repressed in 1774,
it was reinstated by the Queen Maria I in 1778. The last vestiges of the Goa Inquisition
were finally swept away when the British occupied the city in 1812. The
inquisition has been viewed retrospectively as a failure by scholars of
Christian history, since it failed in its objective of eradicating non-Catholic
societies in India[12].

Details of the Goa Inquisition

Horrors of Inquistion were not only
in Europe, but India too had more than its share. Other lands Like Sri Lanka and SE Asia too
experienced it. Goa was the last territory of India under imperialism till
1961, when Portugese were forcibly evicted from that place.