Hindu Genocide in Goa Inquisition
And yet he groaned. Indignantly I summed The massacres and miseries which his name
Had sanctioned in my country, and I cried
“Go! Go!” in mockery.
Francis Xavier landed in Goa – sent there by Ignatius Loyola of Jesuit order
under the direction of the King João III of Portugal.
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.”
He writes to Rome to install inquisition in
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
propeties of those Hindus whose “presence was prejudicial to Christianity” would
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’.
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
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.
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)
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 volluptuous 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 hands.
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:
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.
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
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. 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
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)