P09 – At the Margins of the Portuguese Empire: The Local in the Imperial

24.05.2017, Amphitheater III,  FLUL

P09.A – 14.30-15.50 | P09.B – 16.00-17.20

Remy Dias – Associate Professor in History, Government College of Arts, Commerce and Science, Quepem {Affiliated to Goa University}), Goa, India

Parag D. Parobo – Assistant Professor in History, Goa University, Goa, India

Alito Siqueira – Freelance Researcher; Former Associate Professor in Sociology, Goa University, Goa, India

Abstract: The late nineteenth century witnessed the loss of Portugal as the centre of the ‘first modern empire’ to outpost. The consolidation of other European colonialisms, changes in fortunes of the Portuguese empire reflected in colonial periodical press; reveal the complex local workings of colonial power. Moving away from historiographical positioning, whereby the emphasis is usually on colonial state, this panel seeks to examine the role of colonial periodical press in the making of local. The emphasis on local have been largely ignored in much of the recent writings on the Portuguese empire and we would like to welcome contributions from scholars that critically analyse the interests and anxieties in colonial periodical press that  drove colonial states, indigenous elites and subaltern in the Portuguese and other European empires. By employing archival, ethnographic and oral history sources, the focus must be to contextualise the colonial periodical press and understand diverse responses of locals to colonial states. We are interested in the colonial periodical press largely engaged on local, that opens the possibility to understand the making of the local in terms of colonial polices, relation between languages, languages, nationalist discourse, encounter between cultures, the workings of caste, migration, electoral politics, products and consumption, the formation of identities and absences that emerged or persisted during the opening out of the Portuguese Republican period. While, conceived in Goa, this panel will welcome papers thinking through other colonies and metropolis.

Keywords: Portuguese Empire, British India, Goa, Local

P09.A – 14.30-15.50

1. Joao-Manuel Neves – CREPAL, Univ. Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, France

The ‘Asiatics’ in colonial literature of the 1920s about Mozambique

As it happened with the Africans, although on a totally distinct level, colonial literature of the 1920s about Mozambique is abundant in reproductions of stereotypes articulated by the colonial discourse to mark simultaneously the recognition and the disavowal of the populations coming from the Indian subcontinent, as well as their descendants. Designated as “Asiatics” but more frequently by the pejorative term monhés, the construction of the identity of the Indians as members of another “race”, associated with the representations of another culture, implies that they are, at the same time, considered different and rejected. The Indians are stigmatized by allegations of “laziness” or of ‘filth’ but, above all, for their religion and “greed”. They are particularly accused of sending to India all the money earned through their commerce in Mozambique. The High-Commissioner Brito Camacho, for example, distinguishes their  “exceptional commercial aptitudes” and an “insatiable hunger for money” equivalent to that of the “Jews”.

We propose to analyse a set of excerpts from colonial narratives, selected amongst those which had wider circulation during this period, having in some cases been published as chapters in the home-country press. The authors are either liberal republicans, libertarians or favourable to fascism and their discourses present significant variations. They all agree, nevertheless, in an uncompromising scorn for the “Asiatics”, directed in particular to those of a Muslim persuasion.

Keywords: Portuguese Colonial literature, racist stereotypical discourse, India, Mozambique, Asiatic, Monhé

2. Parag Parobo – Goa University, Goa, India   

When the Catholic Gaudas Re–converted: The Marathi Periodical Press and the discourse on Shuddhi in Goa

In the late 1920s Catholics of tribal origin re–converted to Hinduism. The Maharashtra Shuddhi Sangathana and the Hindu Mahasabha became involved in the shuddhi movement with the assistance of prominent Goans and appealed to Hindus to lay the ground for Gaudas to ‘return’ to Hinduism. The entire episode of the shuddhi (literally, ‘purification’) movement, a movement of re–conversion from Catholicism to Hinduism, makes for interesting reading  as the event comes to be recognised at the local. The ‘construction’ of the shuddhi movement and the production of discourse in the Marathi periodical press narrativised the ontological primacy to Hinduism and produces a framework of passion for the religion, sought to be bolstered by a condemnation of the Portuguese in Goa. In doing so, however, the Marathi periodical press denies other possible frameworks and attempts to put out of sight the complexities involved in the process of re–conversion. The paper will discuss the issues on the ways in which the shuddhi movement gets translated and framed at the local, the formation of the identity of converts and the absences that emerged with regards to the caste.

Keywords: Shuddhi, caste, Catholicism, Hinduism

 3. Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa – Goa University, Ph.D. Student, Goa, Índia

Negotiating Economic Blockade Consumption of Goan classes and masses as portrayed in Local press of the 1950s

The paper attempts to analyse the debilitating effects of Indian economic blockade, on Goans through content analysis of local press supplementing it with ethnographic and archival records. After independence, the Indian Government demanded that Portugal handover the Portuguese territories. However, Dr. Salazar refused to oblige or budge from his stated policy. Since, India did not want to use military action and diplomatic maneuverings ended in a deadlock, India resorted to enforce economic embargo. Goa depended heavily on import of food as there was not enough production for sustenance. Nevertheless the move of the Indian Union was thwarted partly by the Portuguese by increasing the imports of food stuff from overseas.

The business houses in Goa helped the colonial powers to restore normalcy in making available the day to day goods for consumption by using the local press to publicise the products that were imported and enticing the buyers, thereby creating an image that there was nothing lacking for the local community, when the opposite was the scene. The food that was imported was out of bound of the common people who had no money to buy.  To make matters worse, India also stopped Goan emigrant’s remittances to relatives in Goa. The embargo from 1953 continued till the Indian Army used military force and took over the Portuguese territories in 1961 and the story needs to be re-written with new data for a clear understanding of international politics.

Keywords: Economic blockade, consumption, press

4. Remy Dias – Research Centre in History, Govt. College of Arts, Science & Commerce, Quepem-Goa (Affiliated to Goa University, Goa, Índia

‘Deprivation’, Migration and Socio-Cultural changes in twentieth century Goa (Study of Konkani-Portuguese Periodicals)

Paper shows how Goa negotiates migration induced fluidity in socio-cultural and economic spheres through discourse analysis of ‘above the fold’ news, feature articles, scoops, etc. in Konkani (Amchó Gão) and bi/multi-lingual (O amigo do povo, O Bombaense, etc.) periodicals. Goans looked at migration to escape cagey grinding poverty, deprivation and hunger. Elites controlled production and wealth distribution through structured dominance of various institutions. With rice (staple diet perennially ‘kept’ in short supply and taxed ‘heavily’) producing areas controlled by significant minority sections (gãocars); cash crops owned by semi-feudal bhatkars; ‘bloated’ administration in vice-like grip of local elites, insensitive to needs and aspirations of have-nots, impassioned calls for socio-economic reforms hardly materialized. With new transport and communication networks between British and Portuguese Indias, subalterns from un-industrialised Goa reacted to their pitiable condition by moving to British controlled territories in large hordes to take advantage of employment/commercial opportunities. Substantial remittances helped families make ends meet and Goa to bridge budgetary deficits at the state level. In villages, the Indo-Portuguese migrants (largely literates) to British India soaked in liberal ideas of intelligentsia in Bombay, Karachi, etc. and were catalysts in Goa’s transformation to a consumption-based society as outlined in post-republican Goa press. Poems, short stories, letter to editors, and particularly hitherto untapped village banter in periodicals provide a vast resource to understand how Goa villages negotiated with migration induced change.

Keywords: deprivation, hunger, migration, liberal ideas, consumption, vernacular press

 5. Varsha Kamat – Department of History, P.E.S’s R.S.Naik College of Arts & Science (affiliated to Goa University), Ponda, Goa, India         

Bharat’kar’s attempt through his publications to lusitanise Goan Saraswats

Believing that his forefathers had made a historic blunder by either not learning Portuguese or establishing credibility of Hindu community in Portugal or working alongside other native elite Christians, Bharat’kar wrote in early twentieth century that Hindus were paying for their acts of commission and omission cocooned as they were in a time-wrap. By steadfastly holding on to retrograde customs community lost means of interactive communication and opportunity of establishing their intellectual dominance in colonial narrative. Through his publication ‘Bharat’kar interprets Goan Hindu society in light of Hegelian dialectics in which Hindu society progresses, the Saraswats becoming instrument of change, by opposing meaningless rituals, through liberalism introduced into colonial State with advent of the Republic. Synthesis aimed at, is a modern Hindu ‘westernised / lusitanised’ society firmly grounded in progressive culture and nationalism. He also forewarns agents of social change to be firmly ingrained in Indian ethos while dressing in Lusitanian couture. His firebrand journalism clearly manifested this dichotomy.

This paper aims at analysing how ‘east is east and west is west and the twain shall meet’ in various publications (1912-1949) of ‘Bharat’kar attempting to reform Saraswat community bordering on actual lusitanisation, to achieve the wider goal of progress of the Hindu community, winning neither friends amongst the Portuguese nor his co-brethren.

Keywords: Bharatkar, Saraswat, Hindu, retrograde, rituals, Lusitanised, nationalism, India

P09.B – 16.00-17.20

6. José Ferreira –  ICS, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

The forest and the tree: environmental debates in Goan periodical press in the 19th century

The richness of Goa’s printing press in the 19th and early 20th century has been highlighted by several scholars in the last few decades. In the pages of the dozens of newspapers that were published in the colony we can find traces of a myriad of debates that intersected local and imperial issues. Among these we can find several arguments about the modernization of the colony, the transformation of its landscape, and the management of its natural resources. These concerns were pervasive in colonial Goa and tie in with the recent scholarship that has been directed at the Environmental History of British colonialism in India. In this paper, I seek to survey the local dimension of environmental debates by looking at the response of the Goan printing press to the colonial initiatives of forest management and conservation, which became particularly relevant after the creation of a Goan Forestry Administration after 1851. One such example is the debate about the results of the forestry commission of 1871, which took place in the pages of newspapers like O Ultramar, A India Portuguesa, and A Gazeta de Goa. In analyzing these controversies, I argue that the Goan printing press played a key role in shaping the debates about forest policy in the 19th and 20th century, transcending the boundaries of the local/imperial dichotomy by engaging with international and intercolonial ideas and practices.

Keywords: Goa, Forests, Press, 19th century

 7. Denis Everett Fernandes – Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Quepem (affiliated to Goa University), Goa, India and Remy Dias – Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, (affiliated to Goa University), Goa, India                

Church feasts – donning capes of red, blue, yellow     Caste, confrarias, proselytization – discourse analysis of periodicals O Heraldo, Vauraddeancho Ixtt…  

Paper attempts to discuss the caste-polemics (hitherto considered taboo for discussion) affecting Catholics of Portuguese Goa during late nineteenth and early twentieth CE, faced with incessant migration to British India for spurring family economies and returning to villages with neo liberal ideas from metropolitan cities, as drawn in the editorials of local periodicals like O Heraldo, Vauraddeancho Ixtt. Expanding the frontiers of Catholicism required ‘egalitarian’ church to compromise and accept local customs and traditions like hierarchical Indian caste system. Brahmin-Chardo rivalry for dominance reflected in monopoly of posts and privileges whether ecclesiastical, civil, etc. ensured a subservient status to the vast majority of subalterns categorized as Sudros. The dominant castes usually donned red capes in church on festive occasion indicating their primacy in society. Sudros were considered as chattel and their subalternity reflected in colonial periodical press, as they break the shackles of feudalized local economy to make a living in British India.

As emigree remittances help to tide over deficit cerealifero of average families, a slow realization dawns on church that reform need to be initiated in confrarias on lines of liberty, equality, fraternity. Gradually confrarias get restructured (not without bloodshed) to give space and voice to Sudros and others. The paper attempts to analyse changes reflected in numerous articles and editorials in colonial press.

Keywords: Castes, Catholics, Confrarias, Change

 8. Cristina Portella – Programa de Pós-Graduação em História Social (PPGHIS), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

Race hatred

The opinions about the racial questions published in Republican newspapers directed by Portuguese in Luanda between 1880 and 1910 – A Verdade, of Alfredo Mântua, A Província, directed by Manuel Maria Coelho, and Voz de Angola, directed by Júlio Lobato – reflected the different nuances of the same ideological matrix that pointed the physical differences – in particular the colour of skin – and cultural as indicative of inferiority or superiority of the people. At the top of the human scale’s pyramid would be the white Europeans and at the base, the African blacks. These theories offered the philosophical and scientific foundation to justify colonization in Africa, Asia and America as a humanist project that viewed to remove from the darkness of barbarity its original people. Portuguese republicanism, involved as it was in its country’s colonial project, has absorbed and disseminated these convenient theories about the human hierarchy. The same didn’t happen with the ‘sons of the soil’, blacks and mestizos born in Angola. Although they considered European culture superior to that of the African people and defended the need to ‘civilize’ them, they rejected any binding of this cultural inferiority to a race inferiority. For that reason, they combated in the newspapers edited in Luanda – O Futuro d’Angola and O Pharol do Povo – amongst others – the racist visions of the colonizer in articles reunited under the title ‘race hatred’.

Keywords: Press, Angola, Racism

 9. Daniel Pires – Centro de Estudos Bocageanos, Portugal

British newspapers in Macao in the first half of the 19th Century

In the 18th century, foreign traders had only access to one Chinese port: Canton. However, their crews and ships were allowed to stay in that metropolis just six months. They would then return to their home countries. Yet, the British took refuge in Macao, a city situated 150 km from that metropolis, giving continuity to their businesses there. To run them better, they published newspapers and magazines which presented also a relevant cultural part, with the collaboration of, among other sinologists, Robert Morrison, Andrew Ljungstedt, S. Wells Williams and John Robert Morrison. They were the following: The Canton Register, The Canton Miscellany, The Chinese Courier, The Chinese Repository, The Evangelist and Miscellanea Sinica and The Canton Press.

None of these periodical publications are available in the Portuguese libraries and archives. We can only access to incomplete collections at SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies – in London. My paper views to contextualize and analyse the above mentioned periodicals.

Keywords: British press, Macao

10. Maria Bertolina Costa – Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal

The streets and the printed speeches: public format of the nation, political power and press in post-independent Maranhão/Brazil

Instrumently restricted during the process of Independence, only four years after its existence the press was already insured by the Brazilian constitution of 1824 that consecrated the principle of liberty of public expression. In 1821 the first typography in Maranhão was installed. The journalistic activity started in the capital São Luís, with the newspaper O Conciliador do Maranhão in 1821. The discussions and polemics that involved this and other newspapers and ‘pasquins’ (tabloids), expressed the opposed visions of the ‘Brazilians’ and the ‘Portuguese’ and the idea of public shape of the nation. Grão-Pará was the first province to manifest its adherence to the Portuguese liberal mouvement, in 1821, followed by Bahia, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco. In Maranhão, 6 April 1821, Bernardo da Silveira Pinto da Fonseca, governor of the province, declared the ‘adherence’of the province to the Revolution of Oporto, with the support of some sectors of the troups and members of the Corp of Commerce and Agriculture. The worries about the consequences of the Oporto’s Revolution in Maranhão were clearly debated amongst those that supported Pinto da Fonseca and the opposition to this mouvement, and were frozen in the discussion between old ‘absolutism’ and the new ideas of liberty, in which suffrage and political representation were limited to the most prosper and well-breath citizens of Maranhão. The noteworthy presence of Portuguese in the main administrative offices and the ostensive growth of claims of the non-Portuguese for participation in the political life of the province offered the tune for the disputes between the political groups during the first decades of the 19th century. There could be found illustrious reformists, also named conservative, who fiered the paths of revolutionary France’s political process, simpatizing with a classic liberalism, that kept the figure of the king as representative of the nation and rejected popular sovereignity. This liberalism gained form in the newspapers and pasquins, with an instrument that made effective, in practical terms, such political aspirations: the Constitution, symbol of the 1820 Regeneration, the word that expressed the anxieties of the political and intellectual elites from Maranhão.

Keywords: Newspapers, Pasquins, Empire, Nation, Brazil, Maranhão


Alito Siqueira has worked with concerns of culture and development in Goa, Tourism and more recently with pedagogic practices of assertion and resistance. He retired as a teacher of Sociology Goa University in 2015.

Cristina Portella is Master in African History, University of Lisbon; researcher at Centre for African, Asian and Latin American Studies; PhD student in Social History at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, she was awarded with a scholarship by the National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq). She researches the identity convergences between Brazil and Angola in the formation of an Angolan nationalist thinking in the final 18th century and the early 19th.

Daniel Pires graduated in Germanic Studies and has a Ph. D. in Portuguese Culture. He was a volunteer worker teaching in the Republic of S. Tomé e Príncipe and in Mozambique. He lectured Portuguese language in the universities of Glasgow, Macao, Canton (Jinan) and Goa. He wrote, among others, the following books: Dicionário de Imprensa Literária Portuguesa do Século XX, Dicionário da Imprensa Macaense do Século XIX, Bocage a Imagem e o Verbo, Fotobiografia de Camilo Pessanha, Wenceslau de Moraes: Permanências e Errâncias no Japão, Correspondência de Camilo Pessanha, O Marquês de Pombal, o Padre Malagrida e o Terramoto de 1755 e Padre Malagrida, o Último Condenado ao Fogo da Inquisição. He edited the complete works, in five volumes, of the Portuguese poet Bocage, and Clepsidra by Camilo Pessanha. He commissioned several exhibitions and was a member of the scientific commission for the commemoration of the 250th Birth Anniversary of Bocage. He directs Bocage’s Centre of Studies since its foundation in 1999.

Denis Everett Fernandes  (Goa, Índia). Master of Arts in History (2012) having cleared SET (eligibility for Lectureship, 2016). Currently, working as Assistant Professor, Dept. of History, Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce (GCQ) Quepem, Goa, India (NAAC accredited). Pursuing, doctoral research studies at History Research Center at GCQ on, ‘Konkani/Marathi Popular Theatre and societal and ‘green’ concerns & Cultural History in colonial and post-colonial period’. Also working on the project, ‘Exploring and understanding the Caste Dynamics of the Catholic Community in the Novas Conquistas and its impact on tribal community’. Languages known include English, Hindi, Marathi and Konkani. Currently learning Portuguese.

João-Manuel Neves holds a Ph.D. in Lusophone Studies, University Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. Dissertation on colonial literature related to Mozambique. M.A. in Lusophone Studies, University Paris-Sorbonne – Paris 4. Master’s thesis on the literary work of Luís Bernardo Honwana. Research interests: Portuguese literature and Empire; Portuguese colonial literature; Portuguese Africanist discourse; Portuguese race-thinking; Literature and history of Mozambique. Publications: Encontro com Dori e Pancho Guedes (Porto, Afrontamento, 2013). Articles in: Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Les Cahiers du CREPAL (Paris), Avanços em Literatura (Associação Internacional de Lusitanistas), Publications de l’École Doctorale 122 (Paris), Mulemba (Luanda).

José Miguel Moura Ferreira holds a BA and a MA in History at the New University of Lisbon (FCSH-NOVA) and is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute for Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL), with a project on the environmental history of Portuguese colonialism in Goa during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Maria Bertolina Costa is a PhD student in History, at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Coimbra. She holds a Master in Public Politics; she is specialist in Imperial Brazilian History; Professor of History and a member of the Balaiada Memorial, in Caxias-Maranhão. She is part of the Sapientia: Studies in Middle and Modern Age group, of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico- CNPq. She is also recipient of a grant from the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil.

Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues retired as Asst. State Librarian from the State Central Library, Goa. She is an author, writer and has written seven books. She has participated in various international, national and local history seminars through the years held in India and abroad. The latter includes Portugal, France and Brazil. Many of her papers have been published in the proceedings of the seminars. A regular columnist in local newspapers and periodicals her articles are on the socio-cultural history of Goa. At present she is a doctoral student in History at the Goa University.

Parag D. Parobo is Assistant Professor of History at the Goa University, Goa. His research engages with a post–colonial project of writing history, searching for the voices and agency of the people at margins of society. He is the author of India’s First Democratic Revolution: Dayanand Bandodkar and the Rise of Bahujan in Goa (2015), published by Orient BlackSwan, under a series New Perspectives in South Asian History 2 –University of York, United Kingdom.

Remy Dias carried out Ph.D studies at Goa University, from 2000-04, on the topic “Socio-Economic History of Goa with special reference to the Communidade System: 1750-1910”, under the supervision of Dr. Pius Malekandathil  & Prof. Dr. Teotonio R. de Souza (Portugal). Recipient of the prestigious Fundação Oriente Long Term Scholarship for doctoral studies in Portugal in 2002, and of the Instituto Camoes Scholarship. Edited Two books (a) Goa in the 20th Century: Its History and Culture, published by Institute Menezes Braganza, Panjim and (b) Changing Scenario of Higher Education – Enhancement and Sustenance of Quality Assurance. Has participated and presented numerous research papers in a number of International, National and State Level Seminars, Conferences & Workshops. About 20-24 research papers have been published in International and National Books & Journals. Has also been invited as resource person / subject expert at various National and State Level academic & research events. Head of the History Research Centre for Doctoral Studies, Govt. College of Arts, science & Commerce, Quepem-Goa (Affiliated to Goa University, Goa). Special areas of research include: Agrarian History of Portuguese Goa; Cultural history of indigenous people; and Consumption history.

Varsha Vijayendra Kamat is associate Professor in History at the College of Arts & Science, Ponda, Goa, India. Ph.D Fom Goa University. M.A. and B.A. in History, University of Bombay. Her professional interests include: Indo-Portuguese History, Comparative Study of Portuguese and British Colonialism, Demographic Study of Goa, Goa and Konkan.

%d bloggers like this: