What do the Portuguese sources tell us about caste?

By the early twentieth century, the word ‘caste’  was comfortably entrenched in the social science discourse produced around the Indian subcontinent. It referred to the institution of chāturvarnā – the four fold varnā system propounded in the Manu Smrītī (Laws of Manu). The two illustrative cases for this entrenchment are texts produced by two Maharashtrian scholars studying in universities in North America. The first was a book titled ‘History of Castes In India’ (1908) by Dr Shridhar Vyankatesh Ketkar. Ketkar’s book was an elaborated version of his thesis submitted at Cornell University. Ketkar defined Caste in its relation to a system of castes and characterized it as an institution that prohibits intermarriage and its membership being autogenous.

The second text was a seminar paper titled ‘Castes In India – Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development’ delivered by a young B.R. Ambedkar in 1916, as a part of the Anthropology seminar taught by Prof A.A. Goldenweizer at Columbia University. In fact, Ambedkar was building off Ketkar’s thesis with a minor yet important correction. Ambedkar noted that Ketkar has perhaps confused two aspects of one and the same thing and that prohibition of intermarriage implied the limiting of membership.

It is important to note that both these texts were produced as an act of translating a concept of social organization to be understood by a non-Indian audience, as prefaced by both the writers and hence, I turned to them in an attempt to recover any etymological and conceptual history of the word caste. While Ketkar spends a few lines talking about the Iberian genesis of the term ‘casta’ and its eventual grafting onto the Indian social landscape, Ambedkar does not engage in any such exercise.

The process of mapping the word caste by British colonial officials and anthropologists onto the larger Indian subcontinent is fairly undertaken by modern scholars such as Susan Bayly, Nicholas Dirks, Barnard Cohn, among others. However, its existence and spread in the early modern colonial world (not limited to the Indian subcontinent) is seldom studied to gain a long duré view of the term caste. The two significant attempts in that direction are Prof Sumit Guha’s book Beyond Caste (2013), and Prof Angela Barreto Xavier’s essay titled ‘Languages of Difference in Portuguese Empire’ (2016).

Caste is said to have developed from the Portuguese word Casta. Guha defines it as an ethnic group within a larger society, one which tended to marry endogamous and be ranked relative to others. There’s a tacit assumption that caste is atemporal, immobile, rigid and is intrinsically linked with Hinduism, as propounded in the Laws of Manu. This is a belief that was largely popularized by and within the European scholarship where the long term and extensive nature of the caste system helped Europeans to think of India as its main other. Another strand in understanding caste questions its timelessness downplays the aspect of religion, and the manifestation of caste as significantly different from its classical form of textualization.

In his book, Sumit Guha argues that the Iberian idea of bounded, normatively endogamous groups based on biological descent was added to the ‘chaotic mix’ of social categories in southern Asia in the sixteenth century. He attributes this addition to the arrival of the Roman Catholic church as a governing institution on the southwestern Indian coast. The Roman Catholic Church itself was obsessed with the notions of pure blood, in the suspicion of feigned belief from the former Jews and Muslims who had recently converted to Catholicism. However, purity of blood, Guha says, was only one among many forms of social classification that existed in the Indian subcontinent prior to the Portuguese arrival.

However, Angela Xavier argues that Guha overplays the role of Portuguese in the characterization of Indian social order upon their arrival in the Indian subcontinent. She argues that Portuguese did not understand the word casta on the Indian terrains the same way they understood it back home. Xavier takes up an analysis of the term ‘casta’ through early modern treatises, dictionaries, official letters etc to see how a gradual consolidation of the meaning evolves between sixteenth to the end of the seventeenth century.

In the Glosario Luso-Asiatico compiled and published by Sebastiao Dalgado between 1919-1921, the word casta referred mainly to ‘race’ or ‘species’. Using this as a modern reference point, she draws a longer genealogy of the word. In Alvaro Velho’s Diario da Viagem da Vasco da Gama (1498), there is no reference to the word ‘casta’. It is a time when expelled Jewish and Muslims are being categorized as New Christians upon converting, and the early modern notion of purity of blood was taking its first steps.

In Duarte Barbosa’s Livro em que da relaçao do que vio e ouvio no Oriente Duarte Barbosa (1512-15), he used the word casta to specific groups he encountered on the Malabar coast that combined endogamy and practice of certain occupations, for example casta de Nayres (caste of Nairs). However, the broader category that Barbosa was working with was ‘type’, and that were marked by distinct racial colors ie “alvo”, “branco”, “quase branco”, “baço”, and “preto” (niveous, white, almost white, dim, and black). Even though Barbosa is known to be the earliest Iberian traveler to ascribe the word casta to denote Indian social groups, Xavier notes that its use was random since he also used the term to connote civility and color.

In his Summa Oriental, Tomé Pires used the word casta to describe Brahmans and Naires and other social groups, as well as used the same word to differentiate between several ‘nations’ within Asia. Similar uses of the word casta are found in letters sent to the Portuguese monarch from Asia. João de Barros – Décadas da Ásia (1550) and Fernão Lopes de Castanheda – Historia do descobrimento e conquista da India pelos Poruguezes (1550s) in contrast with the others, they also applied the word to differentiate “religions”, for example “casta dos mouros” (caste of Muslims). Xavier argues that the spread and use of the word ‘casta’ to other parts of the world was mainly through the ‘multinational’ networks of Jesuit missionaries. However, despite its popularity, it neither identified all Indian society nor identified only endogamic groups.

Xavier also argues that we should give special attention to legal and administrative use of the word ‘casta’ which may have resulted in organizing local societies into ‘castes’. She cites the case of Mateus de Castro, who invoked the caste nobility in the confrontation between Padroado and the Propaganda, two arms of the Roman Catholic church who oversaw proselytizing missions in the colonies, as a best illustration of this case. By the second half of the 17th century, Christian and non-christian appropriated the word completely. The use of casta in other Europeans to identify Indian social groups was due to the Jesuit mobility across Europe and the colonized world.

Xavier then goes on to investigate the meaning of the word caste native to the Iberian landscape. She considers two dictionaries, one edited by Ralph Bluteau (published between (1712-1728) titled Vocabularia portuguez & latino and Diccionario de Autoridades (1726-1739). In Diccionario de Autoridades, the word casta (or casto, castizo) identifies social groups, meaning the generation or lineage of well known parents. This meaning evokes a purity of blood. Secondly, casta refers to animal lineages. Castizo referred to people whose origins and caste were known, and were also pure. This excluded mixed blood people. Its latin root castus, or castanum meaning brown and chestnut. This could again refer to purity in the former, and the color of skin in the latter root word. In Bluteau’s dictionary, Casta refers to generation and lineage, and secondly to noble people, and thirdly to family. Bluteau too refers to the word in the realms of plants and animals.

In conclusion, Xavier argues that as compared to the eventual ossification of its meaning in India, the usage of the word casta in Portugal was random. It was applied as a category mainly to the realm of plants and animals and also as a qualifier of good behavior, for example being chaste, a central virtue in early modern Portugal. In early modern south Asia however, it was not used to the same effect. Xavier further argues that a deeper history of the word casta could be extracted through a comparative analysis between the usage in the Atlantic world focusing on Mexico, an immediate counterpart of the Indian case, keeping in mind several dissimilarities that mark these two geographies. For instance, in Mexico, mixed blood people could constitute singular caste groups, something that would have been a impossibility within the Indian subcontinent.


  • The History of Caste in India: Evidence of the Laws of Manu on the Social Conditions in India During the Third Century AD. Vol. 1. Taylor & Carpenter, 1909.
  • Ambedkar, Bhimrao Ramji. Castes in India: Their mechanism, genesis, and development. DigiCat, 2022.
  • Guha, Sumit. Beyond caste: Identity and power in South Asia, past and present. Brill, 2013.
  • Barreto Xavier, Ângela “Languages of Difference in the Portuguese Empire. The Spread of” Caste” in the Indian World.” Anuario Colombiano de Historia social y de la Cultura 43.2 (2016): 89-119.

‘Capitalism and Slavery’ by Eric Williams

In the seminal work “Capitalism and Slavery,” Eric Williams, a distinguished historian and political leader, meticulously unravels the intricate ties between the economic underpinnings of slavery and the rise of British capitalism. Born out of an Oxford thesis, this book has stirred ongoing debates about slavery’s economic versus moral dimensions. Williams posits that slavery, primarily an economic institution, was crucial for the large-scale production of New World commodities like sugar, tobacco, and cotton, which were indispensable for Europe’s economic development, particularly Britain’s.
He argues that the transition from slavery to free labor was not propelled by moral enlightenment but by economic necessity, as Britain shifted towards industrial capitalism. This transition was marked by the decline of the West Indian sugar monopoly and the rise of the cotton industry, highlighting the interconnectedness between colonial economies and Britain’s industrial growth.
Chapters 9 and 10 of the book delve into the opposition against West Indian slavery from various British industrial sectors, including cotton manufacturers, ironmasters, and the woolen industry, alongside humanitarians and abolitionists. This coalition, driven by the impact of the West Indian monopoly on essential raw material imports and the broader embrace of free trade principles, played a pivotal role in the abolition movement.
Williams’ analysis extends to the transformation of British ports like Liverpool and Glasgow, which moved from benefiting from the slave trade to advocating for free trade and industrial expansion. The narrative concludes by reflecting on the transformation of British capitalism, which, influenced by changing economic interests rather than moral considerations, gradually undermined West Indian slavery while continuing to rely on slave labor outside the West Indies.
“Capitalism and Slavery” thus offers a profound insight into the economic dynamics that fueled the abolition of slavery, challenging conventional narratives and underscoring the complex interplay between economic interests, industrial growth, and social justice movements.

विजूबाबांच्या निमित्ताने

This is a speech I wrote to be read at the memorial of my uncle Vijaykumar Naik, a theatre maker and mentor, who passed away on 18th January 2024.

कामानिमित्त सद्या पोर्तुगालला असल्याकारणाने मी माझ्या कुटुंबाच्या आणि हंस परिवाराच्या ह्या दुःखाच्या क्षणात प्रत्यक्ष सहभागी होऊ शकत नाही पण इथे सात समुद्रापलीकडे सुद्धा खूप एकाकी वाटतंय. गेल्या काही वर्षात हंस परिवाराने अनेक धक्के सहन केले. २०१७ साली माझे वडिल, सोमनाथ नाईक, ह्यांचं निधन झालं, त्यानंतर २०१९ मध्ये विष्णू मामा आणि आता विजू बाबा! आयुष्याला कलाटणी देणारी हि माणसं एकाएकी निघून गेल्यावर आता एक अनंत पोरकेपण आपल्या नशिबात आल्याची ठाम जाणीव बाळगून मीच नाही तर आम्ही सगळेच उभे आहोत. मी काही जास्त बोलू इच्छित नाही. फक्त काही आठवणी, ज्या माझ्या डोळ्यासमोर तरळल्या, त्याच इथे तुमच्यासोबत शेयर करणार आहे.

विश्वनाथ नाईकांच्या घरात वाढणं म्हणजे लिविंग रूम कुठे संपतो आणि तालमीची जागा कुठे सुरु होते ह्याचे काही ठोस निकष नव्हते. १९९३ साली जेव्हा विजू बाबांनी हंस थिएटर ट्रेनिंग सेंटरची स्थापना केली तेव्हा मी दोन वर्षांचा होतो. तेव्हा घरी हि सगळी मंडळी यायची आणि आमच्यासोबत खूप खेळायची, आम्हाला घेऊन फिरायची. अजय काका जेव्हा गाण्यांना चाली लावायचा तेव्हा मी तो वाजविणाऱ्या पेटीकडे एकटक बघत राहायचो. विजू बाबांच्या एक अधुरी कहाणी ह्या नाटकातली गाणी अजून आठवतात.

त्याकाळी फ्लेक्स प्रिंटिंग एवढे प्रसिद्ध नव्हते त्यामुळे प्रत्येक शिबिराचे, नाटकाचे पोस्टर्स बाबा स्वतः हातांनी बनवायचा. मी आणि माझी बहीण तो पोस्टर बनवून सुकेपर्यंत बाबाच्या बाजूलाच बसायचो. कारण पोस्टर बनवून संपल्यानंतर त्याच्या संग्रहातील पोस्टर कलर्स आम्हाला वापरायची मुभा होती. तसंच आता जसं व्हॉट्सऍपचं प्रस्थ आहे, तेव्हा काही नव्हतं. त्यामुळे प्रत्येक कार्यक्रमाचं निमंत्रण हे पोस्टकार्डावर स्वतः लिहून तो लोकांना पाठवायचा. कालांतराने आम्हीही त्याच्यासोबत पोस्टकार्डस लिहू लागलो. शाळेच्या सुट्टीत आमची रवानगी शास्त्री हॉलमधल्या नाट्यशिबिरात व्हायची. मधल्या सुट्टीत बाबा आमच्यासाठी सामोसे घेऊन यायचा. हळूहळू शिबिरार्थी म्हणून येणारे आम्ही शिबिरं घेण्यात बाबाला मदत करायला लागलो. मी, रोहन, वृषांक काणेकर हे आमचं समवयस्क त्रिकुट. आम्ही ह्याच शिबिरांतून घडलो. मोठ्या नाटकांत काम करू लागलो. बाबांबरोबर नाटक करता करता अक्खा गोवा पिंजून काढला.

खूप जुनी गोष्ट आहे. तेव्हा कदाचित मी पाचवी-सहावीत असेन. शाळा दुपारी असल्याने सकाळी लवकर उठायची गरज नसायची पण त्या दिवशी कोण जाणे मी का उठलो होतो. आई चहा बनवत होती आणि विजू बाबा सकाळी लवकर उठून काणकोणला जाणार होता. त्याकाळी तो काणकोणमधल्या शाळांत नाटक शिकवीत असे. म्हणजे आत्ता जे थिएटर आर्ट टीचर्स गोव्यातल्या शाळांत आहेत त्या योजनेचा हा पायलट प्रोजेक्ट होता. त्यात बहुतेक प्रमोद महाडेश्वर सरही होते. मी किचनमध्ये शिरत होतो इतक्यात माझ्या कानावर पडलं कि विजूबाबा आईकडे पैसे मागत होता काणकोणला जायला. काणकोणला जाणे म्हणजे तेव्हा दोन अडीच तास बसप्रवास करून जावे लागे. त्यावेळी त्याला पगारही काही खास नव्हता. पण त्याची कधीच फिकीर त्याने केली नाही. त्याला नाटक करायचं होतं आणि तो नाटक करत राहिला, शिकवत राहिला. काही वर्षांनी जेव्हा आम्ही धमाल गोवा हे नाटक घेऊन राजस्थानला जाणार होतो तेव्हा त्याने स्वतःची अंगठी गहाण ठेऊन पैसे काढले होते. स्वतःच्या हौसेपायी पदरचे पैसे मोडून नाटक करणे गोव्यात नवीन नाही पण तरुण मुलांना नाटक शिकवायला, त्यांना गोव्याबाहेरील नाट्यचळवळीचं भान यावं म्हणून झटणारा बाबा विरळाच.

डिसेंबरच्या सुट्टीत बाबा लोकविश्वास प्रतिष्ठानमध्ये निवासी नाट्यकार्यशाळा घ्यायचा. तेव्हा माझी आई दहा दिवस तिथे राहून सहभागी मुलांसाठी जेवण बनवत असे. तिच्या मदतीला एकनाथ नाईक असायचा. बहुतेक राजदीप नाईक पण असायचा. आई उरल्या वेळेत विद्यार्थ्यांचे पेपर तपासायची. पुढे ती धुरा ज्योती काकींनी सांभाळली. पण आम्हाला हे कधीच ऑड वाटलं नाही. शिबिराला जाऊन तिथे मदत करणं हे घरचंच काम आहे असं आम्हाला वाटायचं. दर नाट्यकार्यशाळेमागे २०-२५ नवीन मुलं हंस परिवाराचा भाग बनायची.

बाबाचा सर्वात महत्वाकांक्षी उपक्रम म्हणजे रंगयात्रा. कमीत कमी खर्चात गोव्यातल्या विविध कॉलेजेसमध्ये जाऊन तिथल्या मुलांसाठी नाट्यविषयक, साहित्यविषयक उपक्रम राबवले जायचे. आज जश्या आम्हा सर्वांकडे गाड्या स्कुटर्स आहेत तेव्हा तसं काहीच नव्हतं. मी आणि नितेश त्याच्या छोट्याश्या सनीवर बसून तिथे मुलांना चहा पॅटिस घेऊन जायचो.  आज जेव्हा मागे वळून बघतो तेव्हा रंगयात्रेच्या मांडवाखालून गेलेले कित्येक लोक गोव्याच्या रंगभूमीवर कार्यरत आहे. अगदी पेडणे ते काणकोण आणि सत्तरी ते वास्को पर्यंत. हे कार्य बाबा नित्यनेमाने आणि निस्वार्थीपणाने करत राहिला. त्याने कित्येक नाटकं लिहिली, सादर केली ह्यापेक्षा त्याने घडवलेली कलाकारांची फळी आजही गोव्यात विविध क्षेत्रांत कार्यरत आहे. ते त्याचं खरं संचित आहे. दुर्गम भागातून, घराची परिस्थिती बेताची असलेली, आयुष्यात कधीही रंगमंचावर न चढलेली किंवा नाटक न पाहिलेली, अशी मुलं त्याने निवडून, त्यांच्यासोबत नाटक बसवून त्यांना गोव्यातच नाही तर महाराष्ट्र, राजस्थान, पश्चिम बंगाल सारख्या भागांत नेऊन त्या नाटकांचे प्रयोग सादर केले. एक राष्ट्रीय नाट्यप्रवाहाचं भान ह्या मुलांना दिलं. ह्या गोष्टी पुण्यामुंबईत करणं खरंतर सोपं आहे कारण तिथे नाटक करण्याला एक इमिजिएट ग्लॅमर आहे, त्याला सपोर्ट करणारी एक व्यवस्था आहे. पण हे सगळं गोव्यात राहून करणं, शहरी नाही तर गोव्यातल्या दुर्गम भागातील मुलांसोबत करणं हे अतुलनीय आहे. आणि त्याहूनही अधिक ते नित्यनेमाने करणं हेही तितकंच महत्वाचं आहे. हंस संगीत नाट्य मंडळात नवनवीन कलाकारांची फळी येत गेली ह्याचं मोठं कारण विजू बाबा आहे.

सांगताना उर भरून येतोय कि येत्या एप्रिलमध्ये हंस परिवार आपल्या वयाच्या ७५व्या वर्षात पदार्पण करेल. २०२५ साली हंसला ७५ वर्षे पूर्ण होतील. गेल्या इतक्या वर्षात रंगभूमी बदलली आणि आम्हीही बदललो. संस्थेने नवनवीन धाटणीची नाटकं लोकांसमोर सादर केली आणि आज तिसऱ्या पिढीपर्यंत हा प्रवास येऊन पोचलेला आहे. हंसच्या तिसऱ्या पिढीचा पाया हा विजू बाबांनी घालून दिलेल्या बुनियादीवर भक्कम उभा आहे. २००० साली जेव्हा संस्थेला ५० वर्षे झाली तेव्हा ७५ दूर भासत होतं. तेव्हाच्या पिढीने आजोबांना वाचन दिलं होतं कि एवढी वर्षे हुकलेलं अंतिम स्पर्धेतील पहिलं बक्षीस संस्थेला मिळवून देऊ. संस्थेचा नावलौकिक राष्ट्रीय पातळीवर नेऊ. २०१८ साली सादर केलेल्या अव्याहत ह्या नाटकातून ह्यातल्या बऱ्याच गोष्टी सिद्ध झाल्या. एवढी वर्ष एकमेकांचा हात धरून हा प्रवास सगळ्यांनी केला. त्यातला एक हात सुटला तरी मनात धाकधूक होते. हंस हि एक नाट्यसंस्था आहे त्याहीपेक्षा तो एक परिवार आहे आणि परिवार असण्याचे शाप आणि वरदान ह्यांच्या कक्षेबाहेर आम्हीही नाही. नाटक सुरु होण्यापूर्वी आणि नाटक संपल्यानंतर हा परिवार अविरत वावरत असतो.

काही वर्षांपूर्वी इब्राहिम अल्काझींची नात असलेल्या झुलेखा चौधरींनी मला फॅमिली थिएटर्सवर एक लेख लिहायला सांगितला होता. तो मी अजून लिहू शकलेलो नाही. कारण आमच्यासाठी हे समीकरण एवढं एकमेकांत गुंतलेलं आहे कि ते वेगळं काढून त्याची चिकित्सा करता येणं अवघड आहे. मी कदाचित हंसने सादर केलेल्या नाटकांची यादी देऊन त्यावर एक अभ्यासात्मक लेख लिहू शकतो पण कला अकादमीचा ७ वाजताचा प्रयोग असताना, पावणेसातला जेव्हा मंदार जोग हातात पंचारती घेऊन आरतीस स्वर लावतो तेव्हा संस्थेतल्या प्रत्येकाच्या डोळ्यात अश्रू का येतात ह्याचं विश्लेषण मी करू शकणार नाही. बाबा म्हणायचा थेटरच्या वास्तूत संस्थेच्या कलाकारांचे आत्मे वास करतात आणि प्रयोगाच्या आधी खाली येऊन ते आम्हाला आशीर्वाद देतात. विजू बाबा आता थेटरात वास करणाऱ्या आत्म्यामध्ये जाऊन बसलाय. आता प्रयोगाच्या आधी त्याच्या पाया पडताना डबडबलेल्या डोळ्याने आमच्या डोक्यावर तो कदाचित हात ठेवणार नाही, पण प्रयोगापूर्वीच्या सायलेन्समध्ये त्याचा हुंदका नक्की ऐकू येईल.

Hindutva and the Spread of Islam in South Asia

Soon after Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India, he made a statement in the Indian Parliament that Indians suffered from ‘a slave mentality due to 1200 years of oppression’ (Ghose 2014). By stretching the timeline of the alleged Indian slavery back by 1200 years, Modi fixed the defeat of the King of Sindh by the Ummayad Caliphate commander, Muhammad Bin Qasim, as its departure. However, there seems to be consensus on the historians (of both sides) that this moment in the seventh century did not necessarily start the Muslim rule in the subcontinent (Elst 2014, Suroor 2014). The statement re-emphasised the notion that Muslim rule in Medieval India was ‘foreign.’ It gained a renewed momentum since it was the country’s prime minister, saying it in the Indian parliament. This same notion continues to fuel the rendering of Indian muslims as foreign. It is safe to say that categorizing Indian Muslims as foreign also represents the official view of the Indian state through their steadfast way to institute the Citizenship Amendment Act. In this essay, I want to understand the genesis of framing Islam, and Muslims by extension, as foreign and how Islam spread through the Indian subcontinent in the medieval period. Additionally, I would also explore how modern Hinduism frames itself in reaction to Islam. This essay draws mostly from Richard Eaton’s work on the history of Islam in South Asia.

Islam in the Indian subcontinent, and especially in post-colonial India, is always seen with suspicion. Islam is characterized as incongruent with India’s civilizational ethos, which a nationalist interpretation of Indian history believes to be Hindu at its core. Thus, we see Hinduism and Islam are often read as the opposite, fixed, and monolithic categories that are at loggerheads with each other. A selective and often inaccurate representation of medieval history is used to bolster these nationalist claims. Irrespective of the availability of sources and literature that counter these claims, such narratives persist. This crisis also highlights that India’s medieval history has transformed into a site of contesting the past, and it continues to gain magnitude in the contemporary period.

In tune with these contestations, recent attempts of ‘rewriting history where chapters of the Mughal period are slated to be omitted out of school textbooks and replaced with histories of ‘Hindu’ rulers instead (Jaffrelot and Jairam 2019). Even in popular media, Muslim figures from medieval history are vilified and portrayed as savages or lusting after ‘Hindu’ women (Ayyub 2018). Social media spaces, which have become new platforms for broadcasting bigoted speech and content, terms from medieval Indian history such as Ghazwa-e-Hind, Jiziya, Shehzada etc are used to identify contemporary political processes and actors in an insulting way.

Islam and Conversion

Dr J D Woodberry, in his essay titled ‘Conversion in Islam (1992)’ gives a brief overview of conversion as imagined in Islamic theological texts. Woodberry notes that in Islamic thought, there has not been a general word for the concept of conversion. The act of conversion is rather described by terms such as islam (surrender to God), iman (faith in God), and ihtida (following the right guidance). Woodberry also adds that there is no rite of conversion in Islam either (except circumcision). The integral part of the act of conversion is the confession of faith, and that there is only one God and Muhammad is his apostle.

Woodberry makes an important distinction that conversion in Islam is a process, rather than a singular event. The process of becoming Muslim entails several phases. The first is to accept the ‘divine guidance’ where the supplicant prays to be led in the right path. This is followed by repentance, faith, submission, and vocal confession. These phases represent the change of allegiance from sin, self-centeredness, and Satan to God. Woodberry also notes that in this process, there is no terminal point since God retains the divine prerogative of forgiveness. Therefore, many Muslims identify themselves as such with a caveat that it is up to God’s will to consider them as Muslims.

Putting conversions to Islam in a historical context, Woodberry alerts us not to confuse conversion with conquest, as is often the case. He argues that the conversions took place considerably after the establishment of Muslim rule. He proposes two models of conversion to Islam, top to bottom (government to people) and bottom to top (people to government). Woodberry further states that the former model is largely observed in en-mass conversions while the latter is seen in individuals or families.

Conversion, Woodberry writes further, involves military conquest, then political control, followed by the creation of ‘Islamic ambience’ through the institutionalization of Islam which eventually leads to conversion. He further breaks the last step of conversion into two parts, accommodation and reform, which are neither inevitable nor reversible. Islam, he says, has repeatedly been accommodated to the religious beliefs and practices of the indigenous populations. This is a crucial point because often Islam has been portrayed as a monolithic set of practices and piety and the manner in which conversion to Islam occurred in medieval India would testify to the aspect of accommodation and reform in Islam. These aspects relate to what Clifford Geertz has called the ‘model of’ and ‘model for’ aspects of religious understanding. In the accommodation phase, people’s previous beliefs and practices remain a ‘model of’ the real world while in the reform phase, formal Islam is a ‘model for’ the real world. This also highlights the gradual nature of submission and evolution of faith of an Islamic subject. Richard Eaton has called this process accretion where newly converts add new forms of worship on the existing ones.

However, Woodberry also records that force as a means of conversion was rarely used. In India, there were fewer conversions in the areas where Muslim rule was strongest. Traders, Woodberry notes, were one of the important agents of peaceful expansion as Islam became a transregional religion operating in a network that the traders could benefit from. It was difficult to get loans for non-muslims and itinerant traders could find people who they could trust on the basis of shared values. Apart from the traders, Woodberry mentions that saints and Sufis were important agents of peaceful conversion to Islam. They founded centres for teaching and social services in conquered regions and played an important role in attracting the masses towards Islam (Woodberry 1992).

Islamic Conversion In the Indian Subcontinent

The conversion to Islam that happened in the Indian subcontinent from the medieval period could be broadly categorized into the ‘top to bottom’ model proposed by Woodberry. The military conquest of India led to the creation of an Islamic ambience by the immigrant Muslim population and the development of Islamic institutions, often with governmental support. Richard Eaton outlines four popular notions about Islam’s spread in India that have held sway in popular retellings of India’s Islamization and argue that all four of them are inadequate in explaining the growth of Islam in India. They are the immigration theory, the religion of sword theory, the religion of patronate theory, and lastly, the religion of social liberation theory (Eaton 1993).

The Immigration Theory, Eaton outlines, views that the bulk of India’s Muslims are descendants of other Muslims who had migrated overland from the Iranian plateau or sailed across the Arabian Sea. Eaton does not entirely discount the contribution of this theory towards the growth of Islam in India, however, he feels it does not explain the mass adoption of Islam in Bengal for instance.

The second theory, i.e. the Religion of Sword thesis, emphasizes on the role of military force in the diffusion of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. This is perhaps the oldest theory of Islam’s growth in India and elsewhere. Several orientalists accounts from the early modern period have written in synchronization with this theory. The colonial historiography has rested on similar tropes in explaining Islam’s spread in India. However, scholars have argued that such interpretations often fail to define what they mean by force or conversion. They rather uncritically presume that society will change its religious identity due to force. There is no detailed analysis of how ‘force’ operates in theoretical and practical terms in this formulation. Scholars attribute this confusion to the narrow reading of Persian sources where the term Islamic conquest is taken rather literally. The submission to Islam meant not to the Islamic faith but to the military arm of the Indo-Muslim state.

Another reason Eaton provides to highlight the inadequacy of this theory is its incongruence with the religious geography of South Asia. If Islamization had been a function of military or political force, it would have been safe to assume that a higher density of the Muslim population would’ve been in areas exposed intensively and for a longer period to the rule by Muslim dynasties. Instead, a higher number of conversions happened in areas where rule by Muslim rulers was the weakest, and where force couldn’t have exerted any significant influence, Eastern Bengal for instance. Alternatively, the Muslim population was significantly low in the Northern Indian part of Delhi and Agra where Muslim rule was present strongly and for the longest time. Scholars have even suggested that, in some cases, the proximity of Muslim political power actually hindered the cause of Islamic conversions rather than promoting it.

The third theory that is popularly used to explain the Islamization of India is what Eaton calls the Religion of Patronage theory. It rests on a notion that Indians in the premodern period converted to Islam in order to receive extra-religious favors from the ruling class, such as tax reliefs, promotions in the bureaucracy etc. This theory has been favored by secular social scientists that emphasize religion as a dependent variable on some other non-religious agency. There have been several instances where the upper castes have declared themselves Muslims to escape imprisonment for non-payment of revenue, or to retain control over ancestral land. There have also been groups that assimilated much Islamic culture but did not necessarily convert. Even this theory does not necessarily explain the popular acceptance of Islam away from the centers of Muslim patronage, in areas such as Bengal and Punjab, and among the peasant cultivators, not among urban elites.

The fourth theory advanced to explain the rise of Islam in India is what Eaton terms interpreting Islam as the Religion of Social Liberation. This theory frames Islam as a religion that the oppressed castes in the Hindu social order converted in order to escape from the tyranny of Brahmanism. Eaton notes that there is, however, no evidence to support this theory. Premodern Muslim intellectuals did not propagate Islam as the religion of social equality in contrast with Hindu inequality. The differentiation was rather based on Islam being a monotheistic religion as opposed to Hinduism, which was a polytheistic religion. That Islam fosters social equality, Eaton argues, is a notion from the post-enlightenment period and the legacy of the French revolution among nineteenth-century Muslim reformers. Moreover, conversion to Islam did not necessarily improve the rank of the new converts and hierarchies determined by birth continued as they were in their previous Hindu life. Also, the initial communities that converted to Islam were either dominant communities such as Jats, or indigenous communities in Eastern Bengal, who had little exposure to the Brahminic culture. Departing from these popular notions of the spread of Islam in India, Eaton has charted out three distinct processes to explain the same in Punjab province, Eastern Bengal, and Deccan.

Baba Farid and spread of Islam in Punjab

In his essay “The Political and Religious Authority of the Shrine of Baba Farid” (2003), Eaton delves deeper into the spread of Islam in the northwestern provinces of the Indian subcontinent. Islam proclaims its moral authority on being the ‘word of God’ as the God revealed Himself in a book. This facet, Eaton notes, is in contrast to the ethical dispositions of Hindu-Buddhist doctrines which are based on the principles of karma. Since it was a religion with the word of God at its core, Eaton asks, how did the non-lettered, non-Arabic speaking masses get familiar with ideas inscribed in Islamic theology? Eaton emphasizes that the shrines and tombs of Islamic saints were responsible for conveying the message of Islam to the masses. These shrines, Eaton argues, displayed theatre-styled and in microcosm, the moral order of the Islamic macrocosm. These shrines have had economic, political, and social significance with the masses who frequented them but at its core, they were religious. Through their rituals, these shrines made Islam accessible to non-lettered masses which allowed them to participate in the visible manifestation of the divine order. The spirit of the saint was considered to be closer to God in comparison to an ordinary devotee and hence they had acquired a higher status.

The shrine of Shaikh Farid al-Don Ganj-i Shakar (d. AD 1265), popularly known as Baba Farid, is located in Pakpattan, known in the ancient period as Ajodhan. Located on the banks of the Sutlej river, Ajodhan was an important trading port. Eaton writes that Ajodhan was exposed to the brunt of Turkish migration and the invasion of India from the tenth century. Baba Farid established himself in Ajodhan amidst the transformation of Punjab’s cities from Hindu to Turkish-Islamic orientation. Baba Farid’s devotional practice rested on two forms of praxis. He had initiated men into the Chisti order, who lived an ascetic life and were committed to trading the Sufi path to God. The other, and more popular form of his praxis was handing out amulets (tawidh) to common masses, who considered these amulets as protection against evil, a blessing for good fortune etc. This attracted huge crowds at the Baba Farid’s convent to receive the amulets.

After Baba Farid’s death, he was succeeded by his son, who set a pattern of religious leadership at the shrine, which included institutionalizing certain rituals at the shrine to mark the passing of diwan, or the spiritual successorship of the shrine. These included the tying of the turban (dastar bandi) that indicated formal inheritance of Baba Farid’s spiritual authority, the singing of qawwali, the establishing of a public kitchen, and the opening of southern doors for common people to pass through the shrine’s sanctum sanctorum.

By the fourteenth century, smaller memorial shrines for Baba Farid were being instituted throughout the countryside of central Punjab. Eaton argues that this signified that the spiritual authority of Baba Farid had been established over the land, similar to the establishment of political authority. The shrine had received patronage from Tughalq’s court and later by Mughals. The shrine and the Mughal state formed a symbiotic relationship with the shrine playing an important role in bringing pastoralist communities into farming. These pastoralists were primarily Jats who were moving up from Sindh to Multan. They were not yet integrated into the Hindu society and were considered lowly by successive rulers in the premodern period. However, by the end of the sixteenth century, Jats had risen in status as the dominant zamindar castes. Many of the Jats had converted to Islam and claimed that they have been converted by Baba Farid and his contemporaries. The shrine patronized them and integrated them into a wider ambit of socio political influence, including their participation in the Sultanate and Mughal courts without necessarily being subservient to the authorities in Delhi.

Eaton concludes by saying that the Chishti brotherhood of Sufis was historically the first great order of Sufis in India. The shrines of Baba Farid in Pakpattan, Nizam al-Din Auliya in Delhi, Muin al-Din Chishti in Ajmer became the first Muslim holy places within India. The founding and rise of Baba Farid’s shrine rendered a local manifestation of a larger cultural world of Islam and made it available for local groups, thereby enabling them to transcend their local microcosm. These forms have later been criticized as contemptible by nineteenth and twentieth-century Muslim reformers. For instance, Maulana Thanwi’s Bihishti Zewar vigorously opposed the entire culture of shrines and saints and more importantly, the claims of being the intermediate between Man and God. The reformists have since sought to replace the moral authority of Islam from the shrine to the Book as the only legitimate source.

Sufi Folk Literature and Islam in Deccan

If the Islamic spiritual world was made available in Punjab through Sufi shrines, it was through folk literature that, Eaton argues, Islamic ideas became popular in Deccan. Deploying indigenous themes and imagery, these short poems written in Dakhani helped to popularise Sufi and Islamic precepts (Eaton 2000). This poetry was associated with household chores performed by women. The corpus of such folk poetry has been classified into chakki-nama (songs sung while grinding grains), charaka-nama (songs sung while spinning the thread), lun-nama (lullabies), shadi-nama (songs sung during marriage), suhaga-nama (married woman’s songs). The Sufi saints used the structure and form of pre-existing traditions of such songs and infused them with elements of Sufi doctrine. These poetic repertoires were popular among women not only due to their reliance on chores but also because it contained imagery central to them, such as female love and its manifestations.

The role of Sufi folk literature in the growth of Islam in Deccan is related to the phenomenon of Pir worship and devotionalism at the Pir tombs. In addition to popularizing the teachings of Islam, the Sufi Saints also inscribed themselves as the mediators between God and the people. Eaton records that a sizable non-elite constituency clustered around famous Pirs, believing in their miraculous powers and their ability to interact with God. Eaton notes that the initial women devotees that were attracted towards the Sufis in the seventeenth century could probably be those living on the fringes of Hindu society. These could include widows as well as women who sought to be blessed with children since dargahs have been quite strongly linked with fertility.

However, Eaton indicates that the spread of Islamic ideas through folk literature and the central role that women played in this phenomenon should neither be confused with the conversion to Islam, nor the Sufis should be considered as missionaries, citing the origin of these categories in modern Christian movements in India. The Bijapur Sufis made no attempts to gain non-Muslim followers though they did attract members of oppressed caste communities. The Sufi folk literature is primarily concerned with committing its readers to a Pir, the diffusion of Islamic ideas is rather incidental. In tune with Woodberry’s formulation of conversion as a process and not as an event, Eaton argues that the popular understanding of the term conversion may be inadequate to capture the gradual process of Islamic acculturation or the becoming in Islam.

Growth of Peasantry and Islam in Bengal

If Sufi shrines in Punjab and Sufi folk literature in Deccan that were responsible for the growth of Islam in these respective regions, Eaton attributes the growth of peasantry as a phenomenon that catalysed the same in Bengal. Eaton refers to this process, in his book ‘Rise of Islam in East Bengal’ (1993) as a holistic transformation of Bengali society, economy, culture, and land. The gradual eastward movement of Bengal’s river system and the deposition of rich silt made possible the cultivation of wet rice, which catalysed the prosperity of East Bengal. This process intensified after the late sixteenth century and the availability of wider fields for agriculture that were made available after clearing virgin forests.

The eastward movement of the river delta led to diminishing levels of fresh water and silt in the western region and gradually became moribund. Cities and habitations were abandoned on the banks of rivers in the Western portion of Bengal and stagnant water caused diseases that severely affected the local population. However, in the east, the silt from the Ganges was deposited over a greater area during annual flooding. This was also the time when Bengal was politically integrated with the Mughal empire. These two factors not only intensified the cultivation along larger rivers but also an extension of cultivation into interior parts of East Bengal that were previously not cultivated. This resulted in Eastern Bengal attaining levels of agricultural and demographic growth. Eaton provides sources from the Mughal administrative apparatus that signify this change where the revenue demand from the eastern provinces almost doubled while a decline was observed in the western provinces. The main crop that was cultivated here was wet rice, which is a labour-intensive crop, and thus entailed the migration of people into the eastern province. Eaton notes that during this period in Eastern Bengal, the land fertility, rice cultivation and population density grew at a faster rate than in the west. This was also the time where Bengal’s growth as a major maritime trade port put it in the circuit of global trade networks more prominently.

This time of prosperity in East Bengal coincided with the earliest appearance of a Bengali Muslim peasantry. Eaton cites two reasons for the same. Firstly, prior to the advent of the Mughals, the masses in eastern Bengal were not yet firmly integrated into a Hindu social order. Thus, when the growth of Islam did occur in this region, its population did not move from a Hindu to Muslim identity. Instead, the communities of eastern Bengal were saturated with local forest cults that worshipped female deities. Secondly, the clearing for forests and land reclamation in the eastern delta was linked with the activities of Muslim holy men (pir). Some of these men entered into popular memory as mythico-historical figures and their lives came to be cited as metaphors for the expansion of both religion and agriculture. Eaton writes that they have endured because their careers captured a complex historical process whereby a land originally forested and habited by non-Muslims became cultivable and predominantly Muslim. Eaton cites examples of epic poems and biographies written in the early modern period such as the biography of Shah Jalal Mujarrad and the epic Candi Mangala where these references of East Bengal’s transformation from pre-Islam and pre-agrarian society to an Islamic and an agrarian economy.

Eaton is cautious of not resting entirely on the depictions in popular memory and literature but also examines corresponding administrative records dating to the seventeenth centuries. These records also provide evidence of Muslim pirs opening up the cleared forest for rice cultivation. As a condition for sustaining the Mughal support, these men were also required to build a mosque of bamboo and thatching, thus establishing the earliest Muslim institutions in these forested areas. Eaton writes about a late sixteenth century Bengali biography of Prophet Muhammad and other prophets of Islam, Nabi-Bangsa, where the patriarch Abraham is characterized as somebody born and raised in a forest and traveled to Palestine where he attracted tribes from nearby lands, mobilised local labour to cut down the forest and built a holy place for offering prayers to God. This juxtaposing of Abraham’s life on the careers of the holy men who mobilized labor to cultivate the agriculturally rich eastern delta regions indicates how Islam was intrinsically imagined and linked to their lives.

Having traced an overview of the spread of Islam in the Indian subcontinent over three distinct regions through Eaton’s scholarship, few things can be noted. Not only do they dispel the popular notions of the ‘invasion’ of Islam but also hint towards a localised form of Islam mediated by figures such as Sufi saints and holy men. Secondly, drawing from both Woodberry and Eaton, one can safely conclude that the ‘conversion’ is a continuing process and as stated earlier by Eaton, cannot be understood in the same ways that we understand it in the context of the nineteenth-century Christian missionary movements.

Hindus as victims and the genesis of Hindutva

Through Eaton’s work, we have traced the demographic shift in the Indian subcontinent that happened through a steady process of Islamization. The region constituted one-fourth of the world’s Muslim population. The findings of the population census of the 1870s gave a statistical sense of the demographic distribution in British India. Hindus in regions of Punjab and Bengal realized that they are in a minority, contrary to their commonly held assumption of a majority. The sense of Hindus as a minority, and hence can be a possible victim of a majoritarian Muslim rule, can be located in the colonial period.

The Bengali intellectuals were among the first to complain about humiliations under both Muslim and British governments. The Bengali men were portrayed as effeminate who could not resist the British conquest of Bengal. In United Provinces (UP), the Hindu-Muslim rivalry for government employment and over the use of choice of the script for administrative purposes triggered communal identity formation between Hindus and Muslims. The stereotyping of Muslims as rapists, killer of cows, and destructors of temples also began in the literary discourse. In the Bombay province, Brahmin leaders like Tilak started the vernacular press in the late nineteenth century. Tilak also began public celebrations of Hindu gods to counter as well as discourage Hindu participation in Islamic festivals such Muharram. He also started a festival celebrating the medieval Maratha King Shivaji and rendered him into a Hindu icon who rebelled against Muslim oppression. Another figure from the Bombay Province, crucial in constructing the modern Hindu identity is Vinayak Sawarkar. Sawarkar was critical of preoccupation among Indian Muslims with contemporary events in the Middle East. He also questioned the patriotism of Muslims who looked towards the Arab world for their spiritual history and guidance. His book, ‘Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?’ (1923) is one of the key influential texts in the Hindutva movement. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was started by Savarkar’s admirers in 1925 and since then has been the locus of the Hindutva movement in India. The RSS began mobilising Hindu youth and engaged them in body-strengthening and paramilitary activities. They viewed Muslims as a threat to Hindu society. One of its underlying aims was to consolidate Hindus into a singular, homogenous identity by suturing together its many castes and sects (McLane 2010).

The construction of modern Hindu identity through the arms of RSS and its consolidation has repeatedly emphasized the Indian Muslims as ‘foreign’. This notion was initially articulated in the writings of Savarkar where he defines a Hindu as a political category. Savarkar argued that a Hindu is one who considers India to be his motherland, the land of his ancestors, and his holy land. Therefore, in Savarkar’s terms, the Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs can be clubbed under the Hindu political identity but that space is not afforded to the Christians and Muslims of India (Tharoor 2018). But as Eaton’s work has demonstrated, the history of Islamization in India is complex and cannot be reduced to a singular explanation of ‘foreign’ invasion. Moreover, the myth of a homogeneous Hindu community is sustained predominantly by creating the Muslims as the bigger enemy, where Muslims cannot be situated into the Hindutva imagination of India.

Historically, there has been a steady fabrication of a Muslim demographic takeover in India, despite Hindus being a demographic majority. Arjun Appadurai, in his essay ‘Fear of Small Numbers’ (2006), calls this phenomenon the ‘anxiety of incompleteness’, wherein the majority is concerned in closing the rather small gap between its majority status and total national ethnic purity. In Appadurai’s terms, such identities become a ‘predatory identity’ that defines itself only by the extinction of the ‘other’ i.e. in this case, the Muslim.

This persistent othering and repeated attempts of ascribing foreignness to Indian Muslims have had a multidimensional effect on the post-independent society. India currently is witnessing a renewed vigour towards anti-Muslim politics with the RSS backed government in power. The anti-Muslim sentiment is at the brink of getting institutionalised through the dangerous provisions of the CAA where Muslims have been singularly targeted. What is concerning is that the consensus-building towards limiting the sovereign rights of Indian Muslims draws its pedigree from medieval history where the present times are seen as an opportunity to settle past hurts and defeats, the veracity and scale of which is dubious and far from any methodological inquiry into the period’s history.

Reflections on learning Portuguese (Reflexões Sobre Aprender Portuguese)

I am now at the fag end of my stay in Lisbon. I arrived here towards the end of July, after much running around for a visa. I began my intensive Portuguese courses from August. The original idea was to finish three intensive courses up to B1 and then continue the semester-long B2 course. Unfortunately, due to the delay in procuring a visa, I had to miss the first intensive course in July. So I did A1 and A2 as intensives and started with B1 in the semester format. I must say that this was one of the best things to have happened, and the trip here has been a success indeed, barring the visa delay and missing the classes in July (and $$$ I paid for it).

I have been wanting to write about my experience, and today, as I was sitting in my class, it suddenly occurred to me that I don’t find myself translating from Portuguese to English  anymore. I was listening to my professor speak in Portuguese. Not until recently would I listen to the professor (who compulsorily speaks in Portuguese) and do a mental translation into English. Even at B1 levels, we are not expected to follow through the entire conversation but have a basic sense of what is being spoken. I still find it difficult to make sense of native Portuguese speakers who speak rapidly and often swallow their vowels. Perhaps the pronunciation of this specific professor is easier (for my standards) to understand because he has taught Portuguese for thirty years in Macau. I still find it extremely difficult to answer listening exercises where they play recordings by native speakers.

Whatever may be the reason, it felt like I had progressed in my understanding of the language, not having to translate in my head. I hope the streak continues. I think the other reason why this has helped is that I am immersed in a Portuguese-speaking milieu. Not that I speak with my Portuguese friends in Portuguese (even though Luís Cabral insisted on texting in Portuguese so that I could improve). My apprehension stems from the lack of vocabulary and gasping for words (‘como se diz?’ is the greatest hack I have at my disposal).

The other thing is that I often think in Portuguese these days when I sit to write. If I have to write “I don’t know many Portuguese words”, my mind actually produces something like ‘I não sei many Portuguese palavras,’. As I said, I don’t speak Portuguese outside class, and I am not even listening to Portuguese radio as much as I should at this stage. But, I live by myself most of the time so there’s no other language overriding whatever Portuguese I retain in my brain. The only exercise I do is that I have followed several Portuguese news accounts on Twitter, and I try to decipher the noticias (news) and then check  if I am correct.

Another thing is the existence of Portuguese words in Konkani that I am already familiar with. It doesn’t surprise me as much, but coming across these words is like remembering my grandparents. My grandfather would often use Portuguese phrases to express his frustration with us. He would use this one phrase particularly, ‘assi não posser’, which we too picked up later as an expression of disagreement. Now I realize it was ‘assim não pode ser’ (it can’t be like this). Another one was vassimbor (वाशिंबोर/वासीम्मोर), when either of grandparents wanted to shoo us off. It was also heard during the Konkani Marathi conflict in the famous slogan ‘घरचे भेदी भायलें चोर, सांगात तेंका वासीम्मोर,’ which I’ve come to realize as vais embora (go away).

None of this means I can interpret a 18th century primary source fully. Far from it. But they don’t seem unfamiliar now. I can make out in few glances if the source is important or not. I remember tweeting about this and a native Portuguese speaker responded that even they find it difficult to read. Moreover, the difficulty lies in deciphering the cursive hand writing where the scribes wrote as if their handwriting was a mating display.

So overall, it has been fun to learn Portuguese. Moreover, it it always great to be in Lisbon. To be honest though, I didn’t follow my plans of discovering Lisbon all over again. I went out when Ameen and then Amritha visited. But since October, I have mostly been going to the university and back. Since the semester course was from the afternoon, my visits to Bibliotheca Nacional and Torre do Tombo were also reduced. My lone visit to Arquivo Historico Ultramarino has traumatized me for life, and I know that my next stint here would involve more regular visits to that place. I think the visits and adventures at the archives require a separate entry.

The other reason this has been fun is that I am not in the murderous routine of a coursework semester and I am already counting my days before I get back to Philly to do that routine (and more thanks to comprehensive exams) one last time. Probably when I am back to Portugal next, I will finish the remaining courses so that I could finally begin to read Pessoa the way he was meant to be.

Country with anger issues

Often, I tweet random thoughts and they get shared and liked on twitter in the most unexpected ways. Initially, I used to further engage and clarify my positions and argue with people who would disagree but now, I don’t care so much either way. Today was one such day that one of my random tweets got surprising traction. The tweet read

India is slowly becoming a country where people do not know where to direct their anger. It used to be the government a decade ago. Now it’s everyone but the government.

What I was referring to were some observations from Goa. Some of you might know that since the last assembly elections in 2022, a new political force has arisen in Goa called the Revolutionary Goans Party (RGP). It is led by young Goans and one of its co-founders is a childhood friend of mine. RGP’s entire schtick is based on framing the working class migrant as the fundamental reason for all existing Goan problems. Some of their strategies included getting names of migrants from Karnataka deleted from electoral rolls.

Since the last few years, things are changing in Goa. Its economy was conventionally dependent on two industries – mining and tourism. Mining had reached a peak of extraction in Goa, following the demand from China for the low grade ore in the late 2000s. The level of extraction was crazy and environmental laws were conveniently sidestepped. Goa’s mining belt lies in its eastern zone, mainly in Ponda, Dharbandora, Quepem, Sanguem and Sattari – talukas that fall under the western ghats and also have the protected forests of the state. The mining boom also trickled down to the people of this region who invested in auxiliary services, bought trucks that would ferry the ore from the mining site to the ports, auto-garages that would service these trucks etc. The amount of wealth generated during this boom was immense. It also brought a host of problems including deteriorating health conditions, fatal accidents along highways, traffic, dust etc. And suddenly came the ban on mining as ordered by the Supreme court, following irregularities at the higher offices that oversaw the process of extraction. While the companies that owned the mines could escape on the basis of their generational wealth, the locals who were trapped in this mining economy suffered grave losses. Their disposable income dried up, their trucks had to be sold, incurring losses, and the premium lifestyle they were getting used to living had to be abandoned. Slowly, even mining companies started lay-offs within their permanent workforces. Overnight, it created an army of young men with no income. This anger, however, did not translate into a people’s movement. The demonstrations to start mining that went up to Delhi were mostly sponsored by the mining barons themselves and people did not dare to confront the then incumbent Parrikar government.

On the other hand, the western region of Goa, which is situated along the Arabian sea coastline, has been predominantly dependent on the tourism economy. When I was growing up in Goa, tourism was seasonal. Monsoon hardly saw any tourist footfalls. September-May was the tourist season. Slowly, as cities like Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc grew into full fledged metro cities, the idea of tourist season started fading away. Since these cities are on a drivable distance, people would often drive to Goa over weekends and eventually, Goa now has become a tourist destination that is occupied 365 days a year. I think one of the earlier campaigns of Goa Tourism Corporation was in fact “Go Goa – 365 days on a holiday”. The face of Goan tourism changed further as people started to view Goa as an investment for their second home. People from the metros who easily earn 20-40 lakhs a year couldn’t afford to buy a let’s say in Delhi or Bombay but could easily purchase a sprawling villa in Goa. These purchases started to drive the real estate prices in Goa where it has become impossible for average Goans to purchase property in Goa because of the disparity in purchasing power. Goa’s takeover by the real estate market is near completion. Goans are falling behind in the rat race to own an apartment in Goa. The non-Goan buys a house here as a second home (which remains unoccupied for most part of the year) but Goans are struggling to create their primary accommodation. What this disparity has produced is an extreme sense of alienation.

RGP’s support base is mostly the population that became the collateral damages in these processes of undoing of mining and scaling of tourism to unsustainable extent. It also has an additional support base from the neo-emigrant Goans, who are now settled in the UK and other European countries, by availing Portuguese passports. RGP surprised everyone in 2022 assembly polls by gaining 10% of vote share across the state, and one MLA in the assembly – a stupendous performance for a first time political party. While I am sure the honchos who run the party precisely know what bureaucratic processes are responsible for these changes in Goa, they are, rather suspiciously, focussed on targeting working class migrants who are either street vendors or daily wage laborers. They are not the ones lining up in Assagao or Aldona to buy properties and gentrify these quaint villages, but RGP thinks the root cause of Goa’s misdirected development is the working class migrants from Karnataka and elsewhere. Just recently, I was watching local news from Goa where the report was about a local minister trying to establish a new route for a palanquin that would be carrying a local goddess because the traditional route will be soon engulfed into some project that the minister may bring. Now, this is a serious concern, especially for locals. It is also surprising that a minister from a party that claims to put religious sentiments of the Hindus on a pedestal was doing this. But the locals, while rightly angered by this change of route, were heard saying that this change of route is meant for the benefit of migrants who will come there in future. The pointed critique of the local minister was absent while the government’s alleged commitment to Hinduism was nowhere being questioned. It baffles me where people, while smart enough to realize micro level politics that impact their lives, want to choose and deride an abstract notion of a migrant rather than asking questions to the concerned authorities.

The second example is more recent, and the one which prompted the aforementioned tweet, was regarding Harindra Singh. He is the man who organized Sunburn – one of the biggest EDM festivals in Goa. Sunburn becomes the center of controversy every year where the organizers start selling tickets before they’ve been granted permissions, or for days where they don’t have permissions. Needless to say, there have been cases of drug overdose at the venue in the past editions, and locals have complained about loud music, traffic congestion and a dozen of other problems. This script repeats every year like a well rehearsed show. After the 2023 edition, Singh announced on his instagram that he would be quitting from his position as the organizer of Sunburn. Great. Several Goan news portals flashed this news on their social media platforms which quickly became a space for people to troll Singh. I am all for venting out and ranting and Sunburn isn’t some humanitarian cause that needs to be sustained. But, what baffled me again was that people were comfortably directing their anger towards Singh while no Goans actually demanded explanation or accountability from the government, who was reprimanded even by the High court for illegally giving permissions to the festival in previous editions.

In the tweet, I did not provide any context but it still has garnered over 2500 likes and the retweets are nearing 400 as we speak. Ignore the flex but that implies that it is resonating with people and I am sure they’ve observed something similar in their contexts too. There’s a lot of anger in the streets in India. And I don’t even want to get started on how new Bollywood films are fanning this anger, trying to profit from it. My moot question is –  where is this anger being channeled? I remember as we were approaching the 2014 elections, the entire country was convinced that corruption should be eradicated and rapists should be hanged. Two elections have happened in MP since Vyapam while those accused in the gang rape of a IIT-BHU student in Benares where moving scot-free. And none of it seems to trigger people anymore.

The genius of authoritarianism at work is to simultaneously keep fanning people’s anger while ensuring it doesn’t get directed towards the state.

ख्रिस्तपुराण आणि सतराव्या शतकातील भक्तिभावाचा इतिहास

इतिहासलेखन राजे राजवाडे, युध्द, सन सनावळ्या ह्यांची नोंद करणे ह्यापुरतेच मर्यादित नसून भूतकाळाचा विविधांगी धांडोळा घेण्याचा उत्तरोत्तर प्रयत्न जगभरातील इतिहासकार करत असतात. ह्यातूनच इतिहासाच्या विविध उपशाखा निर्माण होत असतात. ज्ञान/संकल्पनांचा इतिहास (इंटलेक्च्युल हिस्ट्री), विज्ञानाचा इतिहास (हिस्ट्री ऑफ सायन्स) अश्या काही इतिहासाच्या विशेष उपशाखा गेल्या काही दशकांत तयार झाल्या आहेत. त्यापैकीच एक म्हणजे हिस्ट्री ऑफ इमोशन्स – भावनांचा इतिहास. मुळात मूलभूत मानवी भावना ह्या वैश्र्विक असतात का नाही आणि असल्या तरी विविध संस्कृतीत त्यांचे काय आयाम असतात, त्या भावना व्यक्त करण्याचे मार्ग कोणते, ऐतिहासिक काळात समाज कश्या तऱ्हेनं भावनिक पातळीवर व्यक्त होत होता ह्याचा आढावा ह्या उपशाखेत घेतला जातो. आजच्या सदरासाठी डॉ अनन्या चक्रवर्ती ह्यांनी हिस्ट्री ऑफ इमोशन्स ह्या उपशाखेतील संकल्पना वापरून लिहिलेल्या ‘बिटवीन भक्ती अँड पिएटा (२०१७)’ ह्या निबंधाविषयी आपण जाणून घेणार आहोत. डॉ अनन्या चक्रवर्ती ह्यांनी शिकागो विद्यापीठातून इतिहासात पीएचडी मिळवली असून त्या सद्या वॉशिंग्टन डीसी येथील जॉर्जटाऊन विद्यापीठात दक्षिण आशियाई इतिहास शिकवतात. त्यांचे गोवा आणि ब्राझील ह्या प्रदेशातील पोर्तुगीज साम्राज्यवादाच्या इतिहासावरचे ‘एम्पायर ऑफ अपोस्टल्स’ हे पुस्तक काही वर्षांपूर्वी प्रकाशित झाले आहे.

अभिलेख आणि दफ्तारांतील साधनांमध्ये मर्यादित राहिलेल्या इतिहासलेखनाला छेद देत फ्रेंच इतिहासकार ल्युसियन फेब्रने भावनांचा इतिहास लिहायची संकल्पना आणि त्याचे शास्त्र एका निबंधात मांडले. त्यानंतर बरेचसे स्थित्यंतर विसाव्या शतकातील इतिहासलेखनात झालेले आहे. डॉ चक्रवर्तींचा सदर निबंध हा त्याच परंपरेतला आहे. मुख्यतः धर्माचे अध्ययन करणाऱ्या संशोधकांनी हिस्ट्री ऑफ इमोशन्स ह्या उपशाखेकडे हवे तसे लक्ष अजून दिले नाही असेही त्या म्हणतात. ख्रिस्तपुराणाचे विवेचन करून धर्म/धार्मिक जाणीव आणि भावनांमध्ये असलेले नाते त्या समजण्याचा प्रयत्न ह्या निबंधातून करतात.

सर्वप्रथम ख्रिस्तपुराणसारखे काव्य ज्या काळात निर्माण झाले त्याविषयीची सामाजिक परिस्थतीती त्या उद्घृत करतात. पोर्तुगीज राजवटीच्या सुरुवातीपासूनच सासष्टीमध्ये बरीच राजकीय उलथापालथ चालली होती. हा भाग पोर्तुगीजांच्या ताब्यात आल्यानंतर तिथे मोठ्या प्रमाणात धर्मांतरण झाले. नदीपलीकडे बिजापुरी सत्ता असल्याने त्यांच्यात आणि पोर्तुगीजांमध्ये वारंवार छोट्या लढाया होत असत. धर्मांतर आणि ह्या वेळोवेळी होणाऱ्या लढायांमध्ये हिंदू देवस्थळांची बरीच हानी होत असल्याने तेथील नागरिकांनी नदी ओलांडून बिजापुरी सुलतानाचा आसरा घेत. तसेच काहीं हिंदूंनी पोर्तुगीजांविरुद्ध लढण्यात बिजापूर सुलतानाची मदतदेखील केली.धर्मांतरणासाठी सासष्टी हा सोपा प्रदेश नव्हता असे थॉमस स्टीफन्स ह्यांनी आपल्या भावाला लिहिलेल्या एका पत्रात नमूद केलंय.

कदाचित ह्या सगळ्या पेचातून मार्ग काढण्यासाठी स्टीफन्स ह्यांनी ‘अकोमोडाशियो’ ह्या प्रक्रियेचा वापर केला. अकोमोडाशियो हि जेजुइट पद्धत आहे ज्यात ख्रिस्ती होण्यासाठी लागणारे आवश्यक ज्ञान आणि प्रथा ह्या स्थानिक प्रथांशी एकनिष्ठ राहून केल्या जातात. स्टिफन्स ह्यांच्या आधीही काही व्यक्तींनी हे काम केले आहे. मुळात ख्रिस्ती धर्माचे ज्ञान आणि प्रथा नवीनच बाटलेल्या ब्राह्मणांना स्थानिक भाषेत उपलब्ध करून देणे तसे कठीण काम नव्हते. सगळ्यात महत्वाचे म्हणजे देवाचा संदेश त्या भाषेत अनुवादित व्हावा अशी त्या भाषेची लायकी आहे का असा प्रश्न जेजुइट पाद्र्यांना पडला होता. ते ठरवण्याचे प्रमाण म्हणजे त्या भाषेचे व्याकरण लॅटिनच्या ढाच्यावर बसते का नाही हे पाहणे. तामिळ, मराठी, कोंकणी ह्यांची काही व्याकरणे लॅटिन भाषेच्या धर्तीवर जेजुइट पाद्र्यांनी तयार करविली.

एक अवांतर मुद्दा नमूद करू इच्छितो कि ढोबळमानाने धर्मातरणाचा इतिहास हा हिंसा आणि अत्याचारानेच व्यापलेला आहे असे काहीसे चित्र प्रचलित इतिहासात पाहायला मिळते. पण हे एक मर्यादित चित्र आहे. गोव्यात ख्रिस्ती धर्माची स्थापना हि एकतर्फी नव्हती आणि नवीन धर्मांतर केलेल्या ख्रिस्ती अनुयायांमध्ये, खासकरून ब्राह्मण अनुयायांमध्ये, ह्या नवीन धर्माविषयी कमालीची आस्था आणि उत्सुकता होती. हल्लीच डॉ अदिती शिरोडकर ह्यांनी शिकागो विद्यापीठात सादर केलेल्या आपल्या प्रबंधात गोव्यातील सुरुवातीच्या काळात ख्रिस्ती धर्माचा प्रसार व स्थानिकांनी दिलेला प्रतिसाद ह्याविषयी सविस्तर लिहिले आहे. तो प्रबंध अजून प्रकाशित झाला नसल्याने त्यातील मुद्दे इथे उपस्थित करणे उचित नाही पण एवढे लक्षात येते कि सत्ता आणि वर्चस्वाच्या खेळात धर्माचे प्रमुख स्थान होते. धर्मांतरणाचे विविधांगी पैलू ह्या संशोधनातून आपल्याला आढळून येतात. ख्रिस्तपुराणाची निर्मिती हेदेखील त्याचेच द्योतक आहे. मुळात नवीन धर्मांतरण केलेल्या अनुयायांना त्यांच्या भाषेत नवीन धर्माविषयी माहिती हवी होती जेणेकरून त्यांच्या सरावाच्या पद्धतीने ते त्या धर्माचे आचरण करू शकतील. ह्याच मागणीमुळे ख्रिस्तपुराणाची निर्मिती झाली. ख्रिस्तपुराणाचे स्वरूप हे प्रश्नोत्तरी आहे जिथे नवीनच धर्मांतरित झालेले ब्राम्हण अनुयायी विविध प्रश्न विचारतात आणि त्या प्रश्नांचे केलेले निरसन म्हणजेच ख्रिस्तपुराणातील ओवीसदृश काव्य होय.

१६१४ साली ख्रिस्तपुराण लिहून तयार झाले आणि १६१७ साली प्रकाशित झाले. इन्क्विजीशनतर्फे त्याची छाननी करण्यात आली आणि त्यासाठी फादर स्टिफन्स ह्यांनी मराठीबरोबरच ख्रिस्तपुराणाची पोर्तुगीज भाषेत एक प्रत बनवून पाठवली. तिथल्या अधिकाऱ्यांनी दोघींचा अभ्यास करून मराठीच्या मर्यादेत जेवढे शक्य आहे तेवढ्यात देवाचा संदेश अंकित केल्याचे निरीक्षण पेद्रु मास्कारेन्ह्यश ह्या जेजुइट पाद्र्याने केल्याचे नमूद आहे. ह्यावरूनच सतराव्या शतकात अलंकारिक मराठीचे ज्ञान गोव्यातील स्थानिक तसेच पोर्तुगीज अधिकाऱ्यांना होते असे चक्रवर्ती सूचित करतात.

ख्रिस्तपुराण पाच भागांत विभागले आहे – आदिपुराण (जुना करार), सर्ग, प्रतीसर्ग, वंश, मन्वतराणी, आणि वंशनुचरिता. ख्रिस्तपुराणात नवीनच धर्मांतरण झालेल्या ब्राम्हण ख्रिस्ती लोकांना बायबल समजून त्याचे आकलन सोप्या पद्धतीने व्हावे ह्यासाठी स्टिफन्स वैष्णव पंथातील प्रतीकांचा वापर करून बायबलमधले विश्व सोप्या मराठी भाषेत आणि ओवी छंदात अनुसर्जित करतात. उदाहरणार्थ स्टिफन्स हेवन ह्या संकल्पनेला वैकुंठ असे अनुवादित करतात. ह्यातील लिखाणावर मराठी भक्ती साहित्याचा प्रभाव ठळकपणे दिसून येतो. बायबल तसेच भक्तीसाहित्यातील साम्यस्थळांचा नेमका वापर स्टिफन्स ह्या काव्यात करताना दिसतात. ख्रिस्तपुराणातील भावनांच्या मांडणीबद्दल बोलताना डॉ. चक्रवर्ती ह्या मातृत्वभावाविषयी बोलतात. देव हा लीला दर्शवणारा छोटा बालक आहे अशी प्रतिमा कॅथॉलिक साहित्य तसेच भक्ती साहित्य ह्या दोन्ही परंपरांमध्ये आपल्याला पाहायला मिळतात. दोन्ही परंपरांमध्ये कधी भक्त देवाकडे मातृत्वभावाने पाहतो तर कधी भक्त स्वतःला बाळ समजून देवाला मातृत्वरूपात पाहतो. ह्या दोन्ही परंपरांमध्ये असलेले मातृत्वभावाचे अनन्यसाधारण महत्व हेच ख्रिस्तपुराणसारख्या काव्याची निर्मिती प्रक्रिया सोपी करतात असे मत डॉ चक्रवर्ती मांडतात.

हिंदू कॅथॉलिक एनकॉउंटर्स – गोव्यातल्या संकीर्ण धार्मिक जाणीवेचा शोध

२०१३ साली तत्कालीन मुख्यमंत्री स्व मनोहर पर्रीकर ह्यांनी एका मुलाखतीत ‘गोव्यातील कॅथॉलिक समाज हा सांस्कृतिकरीत्या हिंदू आहे’ अश्या स्वरूपाचे काहीसे वादग्रस्त विधान केले होते. आजही अशाप्रकारची विधाने, खासकरून निवडणुकीच्या तोंडावर आपण ऐकत असतो. गोव्यातल्या मुस्लिम समाज इतर मुस्लिम समाजापेक्षा वेगळे आहे असेही म्हटले जाते. मुळात सत्ताधिष्ठीत समाजातील एका नेत्याने अल्पसंख्यांक समाजाविषयी असे विधान करणे बरोबर नाही. पर्रीकरांना गोव्यातले कॅथॉलिक सांस्कृतिकरीत्या हिंदू वाटतात ह्यापेक्षा गोव्यातल्या कॅथॉलिक समाजाला तसे वाटते का हे महत्वाचे आहे. ते मांडण्याची मुभा आणि साधने प्रत्येक अल्पसंख्यांक समाजाकडे असतीलच असे नाही. आणि तसेही गोव्यातील कॅथॉलिक समाज हा काही एकगठ्ठा समाज नाही. त्यातही वर्गवार आणि जातवार विभागणी आहे त्यामुळे त्यातली विविधता नाकारून सरसकट सगळ्या कॅथॉलिक समूहाला एकाच माळेत तोलणे हेही बरोबर नाही.

अशी विधाने वरवर ठीक वाटत असली तरी ती काही मूलभूत प्रश्न निर्माण करतात. मुळात हिंदू असणे म्हणजे काय, ख्रिश्चन (त्यातही कॅथॉलिक) असणे म्हणजे काय ह्याची व्याख्या कोणती? त्या व्याख्येची ऐतिहासिक प्रक्रिया काय? गोव्यात हिंदू किंवा कॅथॉलिक असण्याची ठळक वैशिष्ट्ये कोणती? ह्यातल्या सीमारेषा अगदीच स्पष्ट आहेत का पुसट आहेत? गोव्यातले कॅथॉलिक जसे सांस्कृतीकरित्या हिंदू भासतात तसेच गोव्यातल्या हिंदूंना सांस्कृतीकरित्या कॅथॉलिक म्हणू शकतो का? अश्या सर्व प्रश्नांची उत्तरे देण्याचा प्रयत्न डॉ. अलेक्झांडर हेन ह्यांनी आपल्या ‘हिंदू कॅथॉलिक एन्काऊंटर’ ह्या पुस्तकात केला आहे. जर्मनीतील हायडेलबर्ग विद्यापीठात रिलिजियस स्टडीज मध्ये डॉक्ट्रेट मिळवून ते सद्या अमेरिकेतील ऍरिझोना स्टेट युनिव्हर्सिटीमध्ये भारतीय धर्माचे अध्यापन करतात.

समाजात कुठलाही समज आपसूकच अस्तित्वात नसतो तर तो समज रूढ होण्याची एक निरंतर प्रक्रिया असते. त्या प्रक्रियेचे मापन समाजशास्त्रात विविध पद्धतीने केले जाते. इतिहास आणि मानवशास्त्र (अँथ्रोपॉलॉजी) ह्या त्या प्रक्रियेचे मापन करण्याच्या दोन प्रमुख ज्ञानशाखा आहेत. डॉ हेन ह्यांचे पुस्तक ह्या दोन्ही ज्ञानशाखांचा आधार घेऊन गोव्यातील समाजात धार्मिकतेची व्याख्या आणि जागा, त्याच्या जडणघडणीची प्रक्रिया ह्याविषयी धांडोळा घेतात. पोर्तुगीज शासनामुळे एक नवीन धार्मिक जाणीव आणि आधुनिकतेशी सामना करत असलेल्या सोळाव्या शतकातील गोमंतकीय समाजात आलेली स्थित्यंतरं आणि त्याचे आजही आढळून येणारे प्रभाव ह्यांची साखळी हेन बांधतात. गोमंतकीय समाजात हिंदू आणि कॅथॉलिक संस्कृतींची सरमिसळ होऊन एक संकीर्ण (सिंक्रेटीक) धार्मिक जाणीव उदयास आली असल्याचे मत हेन आपल्या संशोधनातून मांडतात.

पहिल्या प्रकरणात ते पूर्वेकडील ख्रिस्ती अनुयायांच्या शोधात निघालेल्या पोर्तुगीज प्रवाश्यांविषयी लिहितात. वास्को द गामासाठी पूर्वेकडे जाणे हा नवीन विश्वाचा, ज्ञानाचा किंवा अनुभवाचा शोध घेणे नसून आधीच असलेले ज्ञान आणि अनुभव दृढ करण्याचा प्रकल्प होता असे ते म्हणतात. त्यामुळे ‘डिस्कव्हरी’ ह्या संज्ञेला एक वेगळा आयाम प्राप्त होतो. दुसऱ्या प्रकरणात पोर्तुगीज राजवटीने आरंभलेल्या मूर्तिपूजेविरुद्धच्या मोहिमेबद्दल ते लिहितात. ह्या मोहिमेंतर्गत देवळे, घुमट्या इत्यादी तोडून तिथे ख्रिस्ती धार्मिकस्थळे बांधण्यात आली ह्या प्रक्रियेचा सारांश ते देतात. तिसऱ्या प्रकरणात जेजुइट मिशनरींद्वारा स्थानिक संस्कृतीशी संवादी राहून ख्रिस्ती धर्माची एक दक्षिण आशियाई व्याख्या निर्माण झाली ह्याविषयी हेन सविस्तर लिहितात. स्थानिक संस्कृती, समाजव्यवस्था सामावून घेऊन ख्रिस्ती धर्मानुभव निर्माण करणे हि जेजुइट पंथाची खासियत होती. जेजुइट इतिहासात ह्या प्रक्रियेला ‘ऍकोमोडाशियो’ असेही म्हटले जाते. फादर थॉमस स्टीफन ह्यांनी वैष्णव पंथातील प्रतीकांचा वापर करून ‘ख्रिस्तपुराण’ हा बायबलच्या मराठी अविष्कार ह्याच प्रक्रियेत मोडतो. जेजुइटपंथीयांनी`निर्माण केलेली मराठी व्याकरणे, शब्दावली इत्यादी विषयी हेन ह्या प्रकरणात लिहितात.

गोव्यातल्या ख्रिस्ती धर्माच्या प्रसारप्रक्रिया उद्घृत केल्यावर हेन सरळ विसाव्या शतकात येतात. नव्वदीच्या दशकापासून हेन गोव्यात फिल्डवर्क करत आहेत आणि ह्यापुढील प्रकरणे ह्याच फिल्डवर्कवर आधारित आहेत. चौथ्या प्रकरणापासून गोव्यातले हिंदू आणि कॅथॉलिक समाज एकत्ररित्या कसे राहतात ह्याविषयी ते सविस्तर मांडणी करतात. त्यासाठीचा मूलभूत आधार गोमंतकीय गाव आहे. हेन ह्यांच्या मते गावाची संकल्पना हि केवळ आर्थिक आणि सामाजिक निकषांवर नाही तर धार्मिक निकषांवरही (उदा. ग्रामदेवता, जत्रा किंवा फेस्त ह्यासारखे ग्रामदेवतांचे उत्सव, व त्याला जोडून असलेले मानसन्मान इ.) आधारलेली आहे.

हेन ह्यांच्या मते गावातल्या धार्मिक तसेच दैनंदिन जीवनात आढळून येणारा हिंदू कॅथॉलिक समन्वय ढोबळमानाने तीन प्रकारात मोडतो. पहिला प्रकार म्हणजे गावच्या सीमा व ग्रामदेवतांच्या अधिष्ठानाखाली येणारा गावाचा परीघ. ह्यात विविध ग्रामदेवतांचे असलेले स्थानिक महत्व उदा. खुरीस आणि घुमटयांकडे असलेली गावपणाची आणि रक्षणाची जबाबदारी ह्यासारख्या रूढीपरंपरा मोडतात. दुसरा प्रकार म्हणजे ग्रामदेवतांमधील एकमेकांत असलेल्या नात्यातून हा समन्वय अधोरेखित होतो असे हेन मांडतात. उदा. लईराई, महामाई, मोरजाई, केळबाय, आदिपाय ह्या पाच बहिणींची सहावी बहीण मीराबाई म्हणजे फिरंग्यांनी धर्मांतरित केलेली मिलाग्रीस, आणि सातवी बहीण सीता जी पाताळात गडप झाली. ह्या सर्व बहिणी गोव्यातल्या नव्या आणि जुन्या काबिजादींमधील गावांमध्ये पुजल्या जातात. तिसरा प्रकार म्हणजे ग्रामस्थ आणि पांथस्थांच्या आरोग्य आणि खुशालीमध्ये ग्रामदेवतांचे असलेले महत्व. उदा. बांबोळी येथे असलेला फुलांचा खुरीस किंवा म्हापश्यातील बोडगेश्वर हे तिथल्या गावच्या लोकांचे तसेच तिथून प्रवास करणाऱ्याच्या आरोग्यावर अंकुश ठेवतात आणि ह्या भावनेत धर्माचे बंधन ना देवाला ना भक्ताला आड येते. ह्यातूनच एक प्रगल्भ आणि संकीर्ण धार्मिक जाणीव गोव्यातील समाजमनात रूढ झाली आहे असे मत हेन मांडतात.  हाच मुद्दा अधिक ठळकपणे समजविण्यासाठी पाचव्या प्रकरणात हेन शिवोली गावातील जागर उत्सवाचे उदाहरण घेऊन हिंदू-ख्रिस्ती धार्मिक संवादाची वैशिष्ट्ये स्पष्ट करतात.

सरतेशेवटी गोव्यातील हिंदू ख्रिस्ती समन्वयाद्वारे धार्मिक संकिर्णतेच्या संकल्पनेवर एकूणच पुनर्विचार करणे गरजेचे आहे असे हेन म्हणतात. धर्माच्या अध्यापनात किंवा एकूणच मानव्यशास्त्रांमध्ये संकिर्णतेला काहीश्या संशयास्पदरित्या पाहिले जाते आणि ह्याला ठोस कारणे आहेत. हेन ह्यांच्याच पुस्तकाचे उदाहरण घ्यायचे झाले तर जे कॅथॉलिक नाही ते हिंदू असा समाज दृढ मानून हेन आपली मांडणी करतात. पण सोळाव्या शतकात आपण हिंदू आहोत हि जाणीव बिगर कॅथॉलिक समाजात होती का? आणि असलीच तर ती समान पातळीवर होती का ह्याविषयी प्रश्न निर्माण केले जाऊ शकतात. बेताळ, जाग्यावयलो, भूतनाथ किंवा सांतेरी इ. ह्या ग्रामदेवता प्रामुख्याने ब्राह्मणेतर समूहांमध्ये लोकप्रिय आहेत पण हेन ह्यांच्या विवेचनात जातिव्यवस्थेचा समावेश फारसा नसल्याने त्यांच्या संकिर्णतेची व्याख्या हि सरसकट संपूर्ण गोमंतकीय समाजाला लागू होते कि नाही ह्याबद्दल प्रश्न आहे. ह्या तार्किक मर्यादा असल्या तरीही गोव्यातील धार्मिक जाणिवांची जडणघडण समजायची असेल तर हे पुस्तक नक्कीच उपयुक्त ठरेल.

– कौस्तुभ सोमनाथ नाईक

Hello from Lisbon

Hello from Lisbon!

I have been camping here since August sharpening my Portuguese skills. My arrival here was due towards end of June. However, my visa got delayed and I reached here a month later. I have already finished my beginner’s level Portuguese and currently finishing my intermediate level course (B1) before I return to Philadelphia for the last semester of my coursework in January 2024. Barring some specific cases of past continuous tense, I can effectively read and write in Portuguese now and the last essay I wrote was one and a half page worth rant on how social media platforms impact our self-esteem and identity

I also made a weeklong trip to Porto when Amu came visiting from India during a semester break. Porto is beautiful to say the least. It was also fun to revisit some places in Lisbon again with her. Ever since she has left, I have barely made a trip to the downtown, except to attend protest demonstrations. I have to make a trip to Coimbra too. Will save Braga, Evora for the subsequent visits where I will be more in control of my schedule.

I have also been making visits to various archives here in Lisbon, most regularly to the Biblioteca Nacional. I spent some time at Torre do Tombo too, which just next to the FLUL building where I show up daily for my Portuguese classes. I also mustered strength and made a trip to Arquivo Historico Ultramarino (AHU) and I need to write a separate post to address that trauma. However, I am pretty sure that I would have to return to that place and make more regular appearances there. Filhaal, I have gathered some basic material from BNP to think through some immediate research questions.

Not sure if people tried to visit this space but it was shut for almost entire year due to some technical issues which seem to have resolved now. I have updated the existing sections and will be adding few more, one page certainly for my plays (now that there are three of them out in the world). Like in all the updates of return, I hope to post here more regularly and some focused content on Goa, History, Historiography etc.

PS: Amu and I got engaged. Technically we got married too but more about that later.

पोर्तुगीज आफ्रिका आणि आफ्रिकेतील गोमंतकीय समाज

सुएला ब्रेव्हरमन महिन्याकाठी किती खळबळजनक विधानं करते त्याचा हिशेब ठेवणं आता अशक्य झालं आहे. हा लेख लिहिण्यापर्यंत ‘होमलेसनेस हा एक लाइफस्टाइल चॉईस आहे’ अशा आशयाचे विधान तिनं केलं होतं. स्वतः स्थलांतरित परिवारातून येऊनही स्थलांतरितांबद्दलचा तिला कमालीचा तिटकारा असावा असं वाटतं. ब्रिटनसारख्या, वसाहतींच्या जोरावर धनाढ्य बनलेल्या देशाची होम सेक्रेटरी (केंद्रीय गृहमंत्री) बनणं हे एका अर्थी प्रातिनिधिक स्वरूपात ऐतिहासिक म्हणावं लागेल. पण स्थलांतरितांविषयीची तिची किंवा सुनकशासित सरकारची जी भूमिका आहे ती एकविसाव्या शतकातील मोठ्या विरोधाभासांपैकी एक म्हणावी लागेल.

ब्रेव्हरमनचा उल्लेख सुरुवातीलाच करण्याचं कारण की परवा माझी एक लंडनस्थित गोमंतकीय मैत्रीण ‘काय लाजिरवाणी आहेत तिची वक्तव्यं आम्हां गोवेकरांसाठी’ असं म्हणून गेली असता मला कळलं कि ब्रेव्हरमन गोमंतकीय वंशाची आहे. नंतर कळलं की तिचे वडील गोमंतकीय कॅथलिक होते; ते केनियामध्ये स्थायिक होते आणि साठच्या दशकात ब्रिटनमध्ये दाखल झाले. केनिया, झांझिबार, युगांडामार्गे बरेचसे गोमंतकीय ब्रिटन, तसंच इतर देशांत पोचले. ह्या देशांमध्ये वसाहतवाद संपून स्वायत्त राष्ट्र निर्माण करण्याची प्रक्रिया सुरू झाल्यावर ब्रिटिश सरकारमार्फत नोकरशहा म्हणून आलेल्या बऱ्याच भारतीय लोकांना तिथून काढता पाय घ्यावा लागला. मीरा नायर ह्यांच्या ‘मिसिसिपी मसाला’ ह्या फिल्मची सुरुवात ह्याच इतिहासापासून होते.

मुळात गोवेकर आफ्रिकेत कसे पोचले? गोवेकरांसाठी आफ्रिकेचा मार्ग पोर्तुगीज आणि ब्रिटिश अशा दोन्ही वसाहती साम्राज्यांमुळे खुला झाला. हा इतिहास एकमेकांत जरी गुंतला असला तरी त्या स्थलांतरणाची प्रक्रिया किंवा तिथे गेलेल्यांचं पुढे काय झालं, ह्या भिन्न गोष्टी आहेत. म्हणून त्या प्रक्रिया दोन वेगळ्या भागांत मी मांडणार आहे. खरं तर हा माझा अभ्यासाचा विषय नाही, पण जी त्रोटक माहिती माझ्याजवळ आहे ती इथे जरा सुटसुटीत करून लिहिण्याचा प्रयत्न मी करणार आहे.

आफ्रिकेमध्ये पोर्तुगीज

आयबेरियन द्वीपकल्पात पोर्तुगीज आणि स्पॅनिश अशी दोन साम्राज्यं उदयास येत होती आणि साहजिकच त्यांच्यात आपलं साम्राज्य वाढवण्याची चुरस निर्माण झाली होती. ह्याचा धर्तीवर कॅथलिक धर्मगुरू पोप अलेक्झांडर (सहावे) ह्यांच्या एका फर्मानाने (पेपल बुल) जगाच्या नकाशाचे दोन भाग करून एक भाग स्पेन तर दुसरा भाग पोर्तुगाल साम्राज्याला देण्यात आला. पण ह्यात पोर्तुगालला कमी भूभाग मिळाला असं वाटून १४९४मध्ये ह्या फेरविचार होऊन नकाशा विभागणारी रेषा अजून पश्चिमेकडे हलवली. आणि ह्यामुळेच ब्राझील ते आशियाखंड हा भूभाग पोर्तुगीजांच्या ताब्यात आला आणि तेव्हापासून त्यांची नजर आफ्रिकेकडे वळली.

पोर्तुगाल साम्राज्याच्या वाढीत सर्वांत मोठा वाटा हेनरी द नेव्हिगेटरचा मानला जातो. हेनरी हा पोर्तुगालचे तत्कालीन सम्राट राजा जॉन आणि राणी फिलिपा ह्यांचा तिसरा पुत्र होता. त्याचे इतर दोघे भाऊ राजा बनले पण हेनरीने त्याबाबतीत जास्त रस दाखवला नाही असं मानतात. पण त्यानं बऱ्याचशा सागरी मोहिमा आखल्या आणि त्यासाठी लागेल ती मदत उपलब्ध करून दिली. भारतीय उपखंडाकडे जायचा सागरी मार्ग शोधणं, ह्या विचारानं तो झपाटला होता आणि त्याच अट्टहासामुळे तो आफ्रिकी समुद्रतटावर मोहिमा पाठवू लागला. वास्को द गामा केप ऑफ गुड होपला वळसा घालून कालिकतला पोचेपर्यंत बरेचसे पोर्तुगीज खलाशी क्रमाक्रमानं आफ्रिकेचा तट चाचपडत पुढे पुढे जात होते. ह्या सर्व मोहिमा हेनरीच्या आशीर्वादाने होत होत्या.

त्याकाळी दीपस्तंभ नसत त्यामुळे पोर्तुगालहून निघणारे नाविक जिथे जमेल तिथे मोठाले क्रूस बसवत, ज्यांना पाद्रांव म्हणत. परतीच्या वाटेवर किंवा मागाहून येणाऱ्या मोहिमांना त्याची मदत व्हावी हा त्यामागचा हेतू होता. ह्याच विस्तारवादी मोहिमांतून पोर्तुगीज साम्राज्यानं आफ्रिकेत आपलं बस्तान बसवायला सुरुवात केली. १४८२ साली डायगो कांव नावाचा पोर्तुगीज खलाशी काँगो नदीच्या मुखापाशी पोचला आणि आफ्रिका खंडातल्या पोर्तुगीजांच्या वास्तव्याची एका अर्थी सुरुवात झाली. गिनी-बिसाउ, मोझांबिक, मदगास्कर, अंगोला, सांव टोम, प्रिन्सेप येथे पोर्तुगीज वसाहती स्थापन झाल्या.

पूर्व आफ्रिकेत मोझांबिक आणि पश्चिम आफ्रिकेत अंगोला ह्या पोर्तुगालच्या आफ्रिकेमधल्या दोन प्रमुख वसाहती होत्या. सोळाव्या शतकापासून सुरू झालेल्या इथल्या वसाहती १९७४ साली सालाझारच्या राजकीय अस्तानंतर संपुष्टात आल्या. आफ्रिकेत प्रामुख्यानं सोनं, हस्तिदंत, मसाले ह्यांच्या निर्यातीवर आपली पकड कायम केली. साखर, कापूस, तंबाखू ह्यांसारख्या श्रम अधिक लागणाऱ्या पिकांच्या लागवडीसाठी आफ्रिकेतून गुलाम म्हणून राबवण्यासाठी माणसांची निर्यात व्हायची. ह्या विक्रीत इतर पोर्तुगीज वसाहतींमधल्या स्थानिक व्यापाऱ्यांनीही चांगला जम बसवला होता. गोव्यामधलं त्याकाळचं म्हामाय कामत हे मोठं व्यापारी घराणं गुलामांच्या विक्रीत सामील होतं हे त्यांच्या दफ्तरातल्या नोंदीतून स्पष्ट होतं.

प्रशासकीय सेवेत जसजसा स्थानिकांचा सहभाग वाढत गेला तशा त्यांच्या बदल्या इतर वसाहतींमध्ये होऊ लागल्या. अंगोला, मोझांबिकसारख्या ठिकाणी गोवेकर प्रशासकीय सेवेमार्फत आले. काही हंगामी होते तर काहीजण तिथेच स्थायिक झाले. अंगोलाच्या कम्युनिस्ट नेत्या सीता वालेस ह्यांचे आईवडील सरकारी कर्मचारी ह्या नात्याने गोव्यातून तिथे स्थायिक झाले होते. वालेस ह्यांचा जन्म १९५१ साली अंगोलात झाला. विद्यार्थी चळवळीतून वर आलेल्या वालेस ह्यांनी वैद्यकीय शिक्षण घेतले होते व त्या पीपल्स मूव्हमेंट फॉर लिबरेशन ऑफ अंगोला (पीएमएलए) ह्या डाव्या राजकीय पक्षासाठी काम करत होत्या. १९७४ साली जेव्हा पोर्तुगालमध्ये कार्नेशन क्रांती होऊन इश्तादो नोवो (नवं राज्य) ह्या हुकूमशाही सरकारचा अंत झाला तेव्हा त्या क्रांतीचे पडसाद अंगोलातही उमटले. त्यावेळी मॉस्कोत असलेल्या सिता वालेस १९७५मध्ये अंगोलाला परतल्या व तोपर्यंत सत्तेत आलेल्या पीएमएलएच्या सरकारचा भाग बनल्या. पण डाव्या राजकारणातल्या संघटनामध्येही अंतर्गत कलह होते. वालेस ज्या गटाशी संलग्न होत्या तो गट सोव्हियतधार्जिणा मानला जाई. हळूहळू ह्या कलहाचं रूपांतर एका चळवळीत होत गेलं आणि अंगोलाचे त्याकाळचे प्रधानमंत्री अगुस्तिन नेतो ह्यांच्याशी त्यांनी फारकत घेतली. पुढे ह्या गटानं सत्तापालट करण्यासाठी बंडही केलं; ते बंड रोखायला सत्ताधाऱ्यांनी क्युबन सैन्याची मदत मिळवून यश मिळवलं. ह्याच बंडात सहभागी होण्याच्या संशयावरून १९७७ साली सिता वालेस ह्यांची हत्या करण्यात आली. त्यावेळी त्या केवळ २५ वर्षांच्या होत्या. त्यांनतर त्यांचे बंधू आल्दमार वालेस ह्यांचीही (ते केवळ त्यांचे भाऊ आहेत म्हणून) हत्या करण्यात आली. ‘सिता वालेस – अ रेव्होल्यूशनरी अनटील डेथ’ हे लिओनोर फिगरेदो ह्यांनी लिहिलेलं त्यांच्यावरचं पुस्तक २०१८ साली प्रकाशित झालं.

मोझांबिकमध्येही बरेचसे गोमंतकीय स्थायिक झाले. काही नोकरी शोधण्यासाठी तर काही सरकारी किंवा सैन्यातल्या नोकऱ्यांमार्फत तिथे पोचले. ह्यापैकींच एक महत्त्वाची व्यक्ती म्हणजे अकिनो दे ब्रागांझा; जे मोझाम्बिक सरकारचे राजदूत होते आणि तत्कालीन राज्यप्रमुख सामोरा माशेल ह्यांचे निकटवर्तीय सल्लागार होते. मोझांबिकमध्ये स्थायिक होण्याआधी ब्रागांझा पोर्तुगाल, फ्रान्स, मोरोक्को आदी देशांमध्ये वास्तव्यास होते. तिथे त्यांनी विज्ञानाचं शिक्षण घेता घेता पत्रकारिताही केली. १९८६ साली सामोरा माशेल ह्यांच्याबरोबर एका दौऱ्यावर असताना विमान अपघातात त्यांचं निधन झालं. २०११ साली त्यांच्या पत्नी सिल्विया ब्रागांझा ह्यांनी ‘बॅटल्स वेज्ड, लास्टिंग ड्रीम्स’ हे त्यांच्या जीवनावर आधारित पुस्तक लिहून प्रकाशित केलं.

आफ्रिकेत गोमंतकीय मराठे

एकोणिसाव्या शतकात पोर्तुगालला आफ्रिकेत आपल्या अखत्यारीखाली असलेला भूभाग वाढविण्याची इच्छा झाली व त्यासाठी त्यांनी तसे प्रयत्नही सुरू केले. पण ह्या प्रयत्नांना स्थानिकांतर्फे बऱ्यापैकी विरोध झाला. ह्या प्रतिकाराला तोंड देण्यासाठी पोर्तुगीज नौदलाच्या प्रमुख फेरेरा दे आल्मेदा ह्यानं पोर्तुगीज गोव्याच्या गव्हर्नर जनरलला टेलिग्राफ पाठवून सुमारे चारशे ‘सच्चे मराठे’ सैनिक पाठविण्याची विनंती केली. हे मराठे म्हणजे सत्तरी, डिचोली ह्या नव्यानंच पोर्तुगीज अखत्यारीत आलेल्या नव्या काबिजादी भागांतले सैनिक होते. त्यात प्रामुख्याने सत्तरी तालुक्यातल्या राणेंचा समावेश होत. राणेंकडे सत्तरीची मोकासदारी होती (आणि आजही आहे).

ह्या काळात मराठा सैनिकांविषयी जे काही प्रचलित समज होते, त्यांच्या बळावरच त्यांना सरकार दरबारी सैन्यात नोकरी वगैरे मिळत असे. आणि ह्या नोकरीचा भाग म्हणून त्यांना इतर वसाहतीत जावं लागणं हेही काही नवं नव्हतं. ह्या आधी मराठा सैनिकांच्या तुकड्या आफ्रिका, तिमोर, मकाऊ इथे पाठवण्यात आल्या होत्या. पण ह्यावेळी परिस्थिती बदलली होती. एकोणिसाव्या शतकात पोर्तुगीज साम्राज्याचं वैभव कमी होत चाललं होतं. त्यामुळे जे बदल आले त्यांत सैन्यावरच्या खर्चात कपात करण्यात आली होती. सैनिकांमध्ये असंतोष वाढला होता. ह्याला बरीच कारणं होती. सैनिकांचे कमी झालेले पगार आणि हक्क हे ह्या असंतोषामागचं मुख्य कारण होतं. तसंच, सत्तरीच्या जमिनीच्या कारभारात स्थानिक सारस्वत कारकुनांचा वाढत जाणारा प्रभाव हेही एक कारण होतं. नुकत्याच आफ्रिकेतून परतलेल्या एका मराठा तुकडीनं आपले तिथले अनुभव व्यक्त केल्यावर तर तिथं जाणं शक्यच नाही असा पावित्रा सैनिकांनी घेतला. आफ्रिकेत पाठविलेल्या सैनिकांची सर्वांत मोठी समस्या होती की हिंदू सैनिकांसाठी वेगळं स्वयंपाकघर नव्हतं आणि इतर लोकांबरोबर बसूनच त्यांना जेवावं लागत असे. ह्यामुळे त्यांच्या जातीशुचितेचा प्रश्न निर्माण झाला. समुद्र पार करणं हेही वर्ज्य होतं. ह्या धर्तीवर जेव्हा सैनिकांना आफ्रिकेत पाठवायची वेळ आली तेव्हा त्याचं रूपांतर बंडात झालं. १८९५ साली दादा राणेंनी सुमारे ९०० सैनिक घेऊन पोर्तुगीज सरकारविरुद्ध बंड पुकारलं. ते लगेच शमवण्यात पोर्तुगीज सरकारला यश आलं. पण ह्या बंडाचा धसका त्यांनी घेतला. १८९७ साली जेव्हा परत मराठा सैनिकांना आफ्रिकेत पाठविण्याचं आदेश मंजूर झाला तेव्हा त्यांना पगार वाढवून मिळाला; आणि हिंदू सैनिकांच्या चालीरीतींत पोर्तुगीज फेरफार करणार नाहीत असं आश्वासनही दिलं. त्यानंतरही गोव्यातून पोर्तुगीज आफ्रिकेत गोमंतकीय सैनिक पाठवले गेले पण तिथे गोमंतकीय हिंदू स्थायिक झाल्याचं ऐकण्यात नाही.

पूर्व आफ्रिकेतले गोमंतकीय समाज

वर नमूद केल्याप्रमाणे एकोणिसाव्या शतकात पोर्तुगीज साम्राज्याचं आर्थिक पतन सुरू झालं होतं. त्यामुळे बरेचसे गोमंतकीय तेव्हा भरभराटीला येत असलेल्या मुंबईकडे नोकरीधंद्यांच्या शोधात निघाले. ह्याच काळात इंपिरियल ब्रिटिश ईस्ट आफ्रिका कंपनी आफ्रिकन वसाहतीत रेल्वे प्रशासनासाठी नोकरभरती करत होती. ह्या नोकरभरतीतून गोमंतकीय लोक पूर्व आफ्रिकेत दाखल झाले. केनिया, युगांडा, झांझिबार ह्यांसारख्या देशांत त्यांनी आपलं बस्तान बसवलं आणि एक नोकरशहा वर्ग म्हणून ते आफ्रिकेत उदयास आले. तिथे त्यांची पत इतर भारतीयांपेक्षा जरा वरचढ होती. त्यांच्या इंग्रजीवरच्या प्रभुत्वामुळे आणि इमानदारीमुळे त्यांना सरकारी नोकरीत प्राधान्य दिलं जाई, असं एका ब्रिटिश ऑफिसरने लिहून ठेवले आहे. पूर्व आफ्रिकेत गोवेकरांना चांगल्या हुद्द्याच्या जागा मिळाल्या. त्या बळावर त्यांनी स्वतःसाठी सामाजिक संस्था उभारल्या; क्लब्स, शाळा, वाचनालयं वगैरे सुरू केली. तिथले गोमंतकीय जरी भारतीय आणि स्थानिक आफ्रिकन समाजांत मिसळत असले तरी ते स्वतःला भारतीयांपेक्षा वेगळे समजत होते.

जेव्हा पूर्व आफ्रिकेमध्ये स्वातंत्र्यवादी चळवळी सुरू झाल्या तेव्हा ब्रिटिशांनी स्थापन केलेल्या भारतीय नोकरशाहीलाही त्याची झळ बसली. तोपर्यंत स्थानिक आफ्रिकी लोकांना मोठ्या हुद्द्याच्या नोकऱ्या सहसा दिल्या जात नसत; त्यामुळे भारतीयांविषयीही त्यांच्यात बराच राग होता. झांझिबारमध्ये प्रजासत्ताक राज्य स्थापन झाल्यानंतर चर्चमधून परतणाऱ्या काही गोमंतकीय लोकांवर गोळीबार करून त्यांना ठार मारण्यात आलं. ह्या घटनेचा धसका स्थानिक गोवेकरांनी घेतला होता. त्यानंतर जेव्हा सरकारनं संसाधनांच्या राष्ट्रीयीकरणाची मोहीम राबवली त्यात बऱ्याच नोकऱ्या गोमंतकीयांकडून काढून घेतल्या गेल्या. ह्या सगळ्यानंतर बरेच गोमंतकी (आणि इस्माइली व्यापारी) झांझिबार सोडून गेले. केनियामध्येही अशाच प्रकारच्या प्रक्रियेअंतर्गत गोवेकरांना केनिया सोडून जावे लागले. पियो गामा पिंटोसारखे गोवेकर तर राष्ट्रवादी चळवळीचा भाग होते, पण स्वातंत्र्यानंतर काही वर्षांनी त्यांचीही राजकीय हत्या करण्यात आली. युगांडामध्ये ईदी अमीनचे सरकार येईपर्यंत तिथल्या भारतीयांच्या रोजच्या आयुष्यावर काही परिणाम झाला नव्हता पण अमीनच्या उदयानंतर त्याने फर्मान काढून, ज्यांनी कोणी युगांडाचे नागरिकत्व घेतले नाही त्यांनी तीन महिन्यात देश सोडून चालते व्हावे असा इशारा दिला.

जेव्हा १९१० साली पोर्तुगालमध्ये राजेशाहीच्या अंत होऊन प्रजासत्ताक राज्य स्थापन झालं तेव्हा पोर्तुगालचं सार्वभौमत्व वसाहतींनाही लागू झालं. त्यामुळे पोर्तुगीज वसाहतींमध्ये राहणारे सगळे लोक पोर्तुगालचे नागरिक मानले जात होते आणि हा नियम पूर्व आफ्रिकेत असलेल्या गोमंतकीयांनाही लागू होता. जेव्हा १९६१मध्ये गोवा भारतात विलीन करण्यात आला तेव्हा पूर्व आफ्रिकास्थित गोवेकरांनी आपले पोर्तुगीज पासपोर्ट भारतीय दूतावासात जमा करावे असा आदेश दिला. ह्यावेळी त्यांनी भारतीय नागरिकत्व घ्यावं का ब्रिटिश प्रोटेक्टड स्टेटस, ह्याविषयी द्विधा मनस्थिती होती. त्यांनी आपला आणि आपल्या मुलांच्या भविष्याचा विचार करता ब्रिटिश प्रोटेक्टेड पासपोर्ट घेतला. पण जेव्हा पूर्व आफ्रिकेतले देश ब्रिटिशांपासून मुक्त झाले तेव्हा त्यांच्या नागरिकत्वाचा पेच पुन्हा उभा राहिला. राहत्या देशात आयुष्यभर कमावलेलं सगळं सोडून इंग्लंडला जावं, का आहे त्या देशाचं नागरिकत्व घेऊन तिथंच राहावं हा मोठा प्रश्न होता. आणि त्यावेळी ब्रिटिशांनी आपल्या इमिग्रेशन कायद्यात बरेच बदल केले होते. त्यानुसार वसाहतींमध्ये ज्यांना ब्रिटिश नागरिकत्वाचा दर्जा मिळाला आहे त्यांना मर्यादित हक्क देण्यात आले होते; आणि त्यांनी ब्रिटनमध्ये येण्यातही बरेच निर्बंध घातले होते. (ह्या बाबतीत सविस्तर माहिती याच अंकात महमूद ममदानींच्या लेखात आहे). आफ्रिका सोडणं भाग होतं, आणि ब्रिटिश पासपोर्ट असूनही इंग्लंडमध्ये शिरणं अवघड असल्यानं त्यांनी कॅनडा, अमेरिका, ऑस्ट्रेलिया, न्यूझीलंड, पोर्तुगाल व ब्राझील यांसारख्या देशांत स्थलांतर केलं.

पोर्तुगीज आणि ब्रिटिश ह्या दोन साम्राज्यांच्या वसाहतवादी प्रक्रियेमुळे जी मानवी फरफट निर्माण झाली त्यात गोमंतकीय जगभर विखुरले गेले. त्या प्रक्रियेचं विश्लेषण किंवा त्यात सापडलेल्या लोकांचे अनुभव इतिहासाच्या पटावर फार झळकले नाहीत, कारण वसाहतवाद विरुद्ध राष्ट्रवाद अशा पारंपरिक बायनरीत ते कधीच सामावले जाऊ शकत नाहीत. जागतिकीकरणाचा पाया हा वसाहतवादी इतिहासानं गिरवलेल्या मार्गानंच जातो. आजही गोव्यात परदेशी नोकरीला जाणाऱ्यांचं प्रमाण बऱ्यापैकी आहे. कैकदा हा पर्याय नसतो, हतबलताही असते. हल्लीच पोर्तुगीज व्हिजा मिळविण्याच्या निमित्तानं मला महिनाभर पणजीतल्या दूतावासात खेपा माराव्या लागल्या, तेव्हा तिथे पोर्तुगीज पासपोर्ट मिळवण्यासाठी येणाऱ्या गोवेकरांना बघून ह्याची पक्की जाणीव झाली. हेही एकप्रकारचे बेघर होणंच आहे.

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