On December 19, 1961, Goa was liberated from the Portuguese rule after a prolonged freedom struggle and military operation. The liberation helped the residents of Goa to relieve themselves from the exploitative rule of the Portuguese. While India attained independence from the British on 15 August, 1947, Goa was still languishing under four and a half century of Portuguese rule. It was granted statehood in 1987 and went ahead to become one of the richest and highest per capita income states of the country. One would be surprise to know that people were denied basic civil liberties; the right to speech, assembly and press were also taken away.
Even simple things like marriage invitation cards were censored. Armed guerrillas, satyagrahis, journalists and even legendary film artists fought for Goa’s independence. Goa remained isolated from the rest of the country because the Portuguese sought to insulate it from external influences by limiting educational opportunities. The Portuguese restricted education to the school stage and that too predominantly in their language. This effectively kept the Goans in the dark about the rest of the country,
Drawing a parallel with French possessions in India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had acknowledged history and given Pondicherry and Goa an identity different from the rest of India. Today, Goa is one of the most promising and progressive states in our country, making rapid strides in all spheres of life due to perseverance and determined efforts made by the people. It is to be appreciated that Goa residents continue to maintain peace and harmony and are making best efforts with renewed enthusiasm and spirit of co-operation to achieve a much higher rate of progress and prosperity. December is one of the busiest month in Goa, as Goa residents celebrate this momentous day with great excitement.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)