Teotonio R. de Souza, Goa to Me , New Delhi, Concept Publishing Company, 1994, pp. 176.This is a kind of farewell book that the author wrote to mark his departure from his home land and country to settle down in Portugal in 1995. It is a history of Goa, but written from an unusual perspective, yet very captivating. The author sees the past of Goa as an extension of his own past, and one may call this an autobiographical approach to history. In addition to an introductory essay in which the author narrates his personal reminiscences, the rest of the book is a collection of 10 essays published earlier by the author among many others, but selected here for their polemical nature. The author is not bothered about how others understood them, but sees them as representative of his personal outlook and as constitutive of his Goa to Me.The title of the book was inspired by a partial autobiography of Emily Hahn, entitled China to Me . It was a book that narrated the life-story of Prof. Charles Boxer, whom the author of Goa to Me
saw as his mentor. It is no surprise if the book carries a Foreword by Prof. Charles Boxer, presenting the book as a «profitable and stimulating reading and new insights even for those who are familiar with the topics which are treated”. The author acknowledges his debt to the Society of Jesus to which he belonged during more than a quarter century, occupying positions of great responsibility, including as Founder-Director of the Xavier Centre of Historical Research in Goa during 16 years.
True to his style, Teotonio R. de Souza does not hesitate to leave a piece of advice to his ex-fellow Jesuits: “While the Order has to go on exercising its charism, an individual member may need to respond to the calls of his conscience elsewhere. Perseverance in vocation is stressed in the culture of the Orders as an important grace, because it is necessary for the survival of the Orders. But it can also become for some of its members a virtuous cover for security of undisturbed life and professional success, or for shunning the embarrassment of being accused of insconsistency of character, it not something worse. I hold in high esteem some of the Jesuits known to me and who had the courage of conviction to opt out. Such decisions have helped these individuals to accept sincerely the need for change with changed circumstances in their lives, but they have also helped often to purify those who opted to continue their commitment in the Order” (p. 15).Among the essays included in this book, they cover some topics like the Church of Goa and Liberation, the Ranes as feudal lords, a Goan opium dealer who sought to liberate Goa, and such like that have explored fresh documentation and chartered a fresh path in analysing and presenting the history of Goa.