Goa’s liberation day
“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” – Rosa Luxemburg
19th December is celebrated as Goa’s Liberation Day, each year. This day commemorates the freedom of Goa from Portuguese rule.
Goa was colonized by the Portuguese in the year 1510 and they ruled Goans for more than 450 years till 1961. The Portuguese were among the very first to colonize parts of India and were the last to leave.
Under their rule, the residents of Goa were refused their basic rights – the right to speech, assembly, and press were taken away.
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, an activist, and nationalist political leader was the one who played a crucial role in India’s independence, appeared in Goa on June 10, 1946, to recover from his ill-health. While he was there, he felt moved by the hardships of Goans about their inability to exercise the basic civil liberties.
He decided to initiate the first civil disobedience movement of Goa to oppose the ban on public meetings. The movement was launched on June 18, 1946, in Margao. While the movement was being carried on, Dr. Lohia was imprisoned and sent out of Goa.
Later, Tristão de Bragança Cunha, popularly known as the “Father of Goan nationalism” organized the first movement to end Portuguese regulation in Goa. He constructed and led the way of the “Goa Action Committee” , to help correspond to the numerous Goan groups that had emerged by this time. Not only this, he published a newspaper called “Free Goa” as well.
During this period, India took over Goa by carrying out an armed action ‘Operation Vijay’ which resulted in the independence of Goa. This undertaking amalgamated air, sea, and land strikes for over 36 hours, concluding in a strong victory for India.
On the injunctions of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the military seized Goa on December 17, 1961. A number of 30,000 Indian ground battalions, with the Indian air force and navy, devastated the 3,000 members of the ill-prepared Portuguese troops. The battle lingered two days and twenty-two Indians and thirty Portuguese lost their lives during this fight.
Three days later after the operations began, on December 19, 1961, Goa finally became a part of India. The day is henceforth, celebrated as liberation day in Goa.
The day is commemorated as Goa’s liberation day with an abundance of celebrations in Goa. Marking it’s beginning with a torchlight ceremony from three different locations which ultimately concludes at the Azad Maidan. Thereafter, reverence and homage are paid to the martyrs. Moreover, several artistic programs are also administered to honor the occasion and celebrate the culture. This day marks the sacrifices of the great leaders and celebrates independence of the Goans.
Books33 remembers and salutes all the brave-hearts who fought to achieve this liberation, keeping their lives at stake for Goa’s liberation day.