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Shvoong Home>Books>Dossier Goa - A Recusa do Sacrifício Inútil Review

Dossier Goa - A Recusa do Sacrifício Inútil

Article Review   by:Rosa Rio     Original Author: Manuel Antonio Vassalo e Silva
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This book was produced by a journalist of the Portuguese daily Diário de Noticias in Lisbon in 1979 after interviewing the last Portuguese Governor General of Goa. Manuel Antonio Vassalo e Silva took charge as Governor General in 1958 and was taken prisoner by the Indian armed forces when he surrendered on December 19, 1961, following the invasion of Goa by India a day earlier. The title of the book sums up the defiant attitude of the Governor who refused to obey the order sent to him by the Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. The Governor was instructed telegraphically to follow a scorched earth policy and to fight it our till the last man. The Governor regarded it as a futile policy faced with the massive mobilization of the the Indian armed forces. He could not comprehend also how Portugal could justify its propaganda of Civilizing Mission in its colonies, and more particularly in Goa. The book provides citations from official correspondence drawn from the Portuguese foreign office and extracts of international press to substantiate the statements and memories of the last Governor General. The fall of the Portuguese regime in Goa was witnessed by a dozen of representatives of the world press that were invited by the Portuguese authorities to Goa in order to win international attention and buttress their case against India in the United Nations. The Governor narrates vividly the last moments of the Portuguese regime faced with the invasion. He describes the heroic resistance of an old warship named Afonso de Albuquerque (named after the conqueror of Goa in 1510) which was silenced by the Indian air force and navy after four hours of resistance.
The Governor provides his estimates of the the numbers of troops involved on either side. He refers to 48,000 Indian troops, with another 25,000 in reserve. The Portuguese had 3,500 white Portuguese and 900 native soldiers. He admits that the Portuguese military equipment was outdated and no match to the Indian fire power. The Governor admits honestly that he and his men were treated with dignity while held captives by the Indian authorities. He is particularly grateful for the treatment he received when he was repatriated. He left last, but was flown in a separate plane and was given a personal assistant and a medical assistant. His big shock and sadness was when he met with a hostile reception from his home authorities in Lisbon. He was court-marshalled and forced into exile. He only returned and regained his military status in 1974 after the fall of the Salazar regime. Soon after that event India and Portuguese resume their diplomatic relations, and the last Governor was able to visit India as state guest. He was cheered by the people of Goa who remembered his benevolent rule and his efforts in developing the territory.
Published: November 29, 2006   
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