Goa is wedged today between Maharashtra and Karnataka at 15-4-59″ and 14-53′-57″ north latitude and 73-40-54″ and 74-20-11″ longitude east of Greenwich. It consists of 443 villages and has an area of 3611.1 sq. kilometres. It is a land interspersed with plains, hills, valleys and rivers. The vast stretch of green fields, wooded forests, skirting palm groves, gurgling rivers, yawning creeks, blue skies above and surf laden waves below, the murky fisher folks and the sturdy Kunbis, all reflect a Kaleidoscopic but unfading charm and the bounteous gifts of nature.
The three Talukas of the Old Conquests of the Portuguese, namely Tiswadi, Bardez and Salcette are very popular parts of this multi-cultural state. And they are separated from each other by rivers. Bardez lies north of Tiswadi, bordered by the Chapora river in the north and Mandovi river in the south.
It has an area of 264 sq. kilometres. The chief town of Bardez is Mapusa (Mapuça), a word derived from ‘Map’ and ‘sa’ (ça). ‘Map’ means a measure and ‘sa’ means to fill up. Hence Mapusa is a place to measure or to sell goods. And true to its name even today Mapusa is a busy marketing centre on every Friday. Farm products and cottage industrial products are brought to the sprawling market square of Mapusa on Fridays by the farmers and artisans of Bardez.
Tiswadi lies between the river Mandovi in the north and the river Zuari in the south. Its area is about 166 sq. kilometres. Panaji (Panjim) is the chief town of this taluka and is the capital of Goa today. The word Tiswadi is a compound word consisting of the two primary words, ‘Tis’ and ‘Vadi’ which means thirty settlements or thirty villages.
Salcette lies south of Tiswadi and is separated from it by the Zuari river in the north. The Sal river skirts it in the South. It has an area of 365 sq. kilometres. It has three important trading centres, namely, Margão, Murmugão and Vasco-da-Gama. Today, the region is well connected with the main arteries of India by means of roads, railways, waterways and airways and is in the process of rejuvenation and assimilation.
Goa is a small but beautiful and fertile land. It is a hilly terrain especially on its eastern side, where lies the southern tip of the Sahyadri range. It also has a total surface area of 361.1 thousand hectares of cultivable land of which only 326.6 thousand hectares are under actual cultivation. The terrain is dotted with numerous springs and intersected by a number of rivers flowing westwards which provide a network of internal waterways with barges carrying iron ore down the rivers, launches sailing up the rivers with eagerly returning villagers and ferries plying across the rivers laden with people and vehicles alike. The hundred kilometre long coast, which forms a segment of the western coastline of India, is full of creeks and estuaries formed by these rivers and some of them have turned into excellent tourist spots.
And tourism as an industry has come to stay in Goa in the recent years.
History:The unfolding of Goa in ancient Sanskrit texts
Goa was known as ‘Govarashtra’, the land of cows. It was considered one of the seven political divisions of Parasuramkshetra, Gopakapuri or Gopakapattana was its capital. Some are of the opinion that the name might have been derived from Gohaladeva (Guhalla Deva), the first ruler of the Kadamba dynasty of Goa. The Mahabharata refers to Goa with its adjoining territories as Gomanta, indicating a territory of cows and cow-herds. A major part of the early history of the state is in obscurity. It is so entwined and confusing that a proper anatomy of the past cannot be carried out. We are handicapped by the lack of historical documents to paint a vivid picture of political scneria of those days. It is because the land was always ruled as an integral part of a kingdom or as a vassal of a superior power. With some fragments of historical sources, we find traces as a part of the great Mauryan empire, when Ashoka(272 BC) extended his jurisdiction into the Deccan. After the Mauryas, this soil then passed into the hands of the Bhojas. The latter made Chandrapur (present Chandor) their headquarters. But they did not rule for long. They were supplanted by the Chalukyas of Kalyana.
Nonetheless, in the ever changing political scenario with a Kaleidoscope rapidity, the Chalukyas were substituted by the Silaharas who were the lords of the Konkan. The Kadambas with their superior navy, defeated the Silaharas and brought the state under their sway. Guhalla Deva, the founder of the Goa Kadamba, was a descendant of the Banavasi Kadambas of Kamataka. His son, Sashta Deva I, routed the Silaharas. The land remained the den of the Kadambas from the 11th century A. D. to the 13th century.
Under them Chandor remained as the capital of state for sometime and later Gopakapattana or Voddlem Goem on the north bank of the river Zuari became the capital. The Kadambas, being Kannadigas, patronized the Kannada language. Some of the well preserved folk songs and dances documented in history show a strong influence of Kannada. Even the names of some villages especially in Salcette bear Kannada terminology. The villages of Benaulim, Bambolim, Carambolim, Chicalim, Cortalim, Panelim, Talaulim, Navelim, Zambaulim, etc. have the Portuguese corruption of the Kannada word Halli as their suffix in the form of ‘alim’ or ‘olim’ or ‘elim’. ‘Halli’ in Kannada means a village. ‘Kadu’ (forest) ‘Kona’ (bison), a ‘Kannada’ word which means a forest abounds with bisons, became Canacona.
The long and unperturbed reign of the Kadambas was cut short by the Yadavas of Devagiri. But the latter were not to enjoy the fruits of victory for long as the Muhammedans under Malik Kafur, an ambitious general of Sultan Alauddin Khilji, attacked the Deccan. On his triumphal March across the Deccan and along the Konkan, he uprooted the Yadavas, the Kakatiyas, the Hoysalas, the Ballalas and a host of others who had holed up in different burrows on the western coast. When the dust and din political confusion subsided, the land fell to the Bahmanis, who became a force to reckon with from 1347.
In the struggle for supremacy, the fortunes of the soil oscillated between the two strong contenders and the Hindu Vijayanagara. By the end of the 15th century, the state came under the jurisdiction of Yusuf Adil Shah of Bijapur when Ain-ul-Mulkders: The Muslim Bahmanis an’ani, then administrator was asked to surrender the land to the Bijapur Crown in 1498. Yusuf was destined to rule the whole the land only for twelve years. The fact remains but often scoffed at that the land absorbed several races and creeds in that long span of its struggle for identity.
The West coast of India had been a significant sea coast from the day of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It played an important role in the annals of our history. The multifaceted events of our land would not have been as colourful as they were, if the west coast had remained only a trading centre of India. But in modern times it was the scene of bitter battles waged by a handful of Europeans who appeared on the coast as meek traders but with imperialistic designs. Their superior navy and artillery, their methodical warfare and above all the Hindu-Muslim rivalry among the Indian princes made the Europeans almost invincible. The insignificant foreign merchants were transfigured into majestic and significant King makers. Yusuf lost his reign over the soil when Afonso-de-Albuquerque firmly established the Portuguese rule there on 25 November, 1510 which lasted four centuries and a half.
The Bahmanis had transferred the capital of Goa from Gopakapattana to Old Goa or Velha Goa. Under them, Old Goa was transformed into an international entrepot. Several ships belonging to the Arabs, Jews, Persians, Baniyas, Malabarees and others called at Old Goa. These ships were laden with horses and carpets from Arabia and Persia; diamonds rubies, pearls, opium, tobacco, textiles, rose water, silver, gold, spices, slaves etc. from Bengal, the Deccan, Gujarat, Malabar, China, Ceylon, East Africa and Central Asia. The city was adorned with magnificent palaces, mosques temples, orchards, mansions, and shops. Several foreign merchants also settled down in the city. It was a centre of Haj pilgrimage and was famous for ship building industry. It was indeed a prosperous city rightly to be the capital of the region.
Advent of the Portuguese
Strangely enough the coming of the Portuguese or Lusitanians to India and the establishment of the Adil Shahi power in Goa coincided. Both events took place in 1498. Both developed direct as well as indirect rule from 1498, though the Portuguese conquered a part of the province of the state only in 1510. Malabar de Albuquerque was appointed governor in 1509. He being a sagacious and tried statesman, set his imperialistic eyes on the fringed island of the region, which according to him controlled the Arabian Sea.
After collecting the relevant data pertaining to the geographical area and studying its strategic position, its natural harbour which could protect a number of ships from the fury of the monsoon, and its topography, he decided to expand by building infrastructure. The Portuguese had built a fort at Anjediva in 1505. Though it was destroyed by them within a year, they always called at Anjediva for water, to repair, rest, etc. Their frequent visits to Anjediva resulted in an historical friendship with Timmayya or Timoja, an admiral of the Vijayanagara fleet on coastal Karnataka.
Albuquerque had therefore no difficulty in mounting a campaign to conquer the region on 1 March, 1510. But Yusuf Adil Shah was not ready to submit meekly. He did not want to lose 5000 pardaos which he was receiving annually from the Goa city alone. He, therefore collected an army of 60,000 and retook the land in May. It was an unexpected defeat and a great set back to the machinations of Albuquerque. He returned to the fray with 28 ships and 1700 men. Meanwhile, Yusuf Adil Shah had died and his son Ismail Adil Shah, an inexperienced youth, had succeeded to the Bijapur throne. Albuquerque re-conquered Goa with a vengeance on 25 November and ruthlessly put to death a large number of Muslims including women and children.
The territory conquered by Albuquerque in November consisted of the island of Goa and four adjacent islands, namely, Chorão (Chudama as it was known earlier), Divar (Dipavati), Vamsim, a small island east of Divar, and Jua. But the Adil Shah’s was a bigger territory extending from Sadashivagad on the north bank of the river Kali to Banda beyond Tirakhol. The Lusitanians were contented for the time being with the islands they had captured. Bardez and Salcette, which were dependent territories of the city) of the soil, were occupied by the Portuguese in 1543. All these territories of the Portuguese became the ‘Old Conquests’ as against the ‘New Conquests’ which they effected in the latter half of the 18th century, consisting of Ponda taken from the Marathas in 1763; Sanguem, Kepem and Canacona acquired from the rulers of Sonda in 1764; and Pernem, Sattari and Bicholim conquered from the Bhonsles of Sawantwadi in 1781-8. The old conquests and the new conquests together were known the Estado da India Portuguesa (Portuguese State of India) and not Estado da Goa Portuguesa (Portuguese State of Goa).
Originally the name Goa a was only applied to a small island at the foot of the Western Ghats lying between the Mandovi river to the north, known to the Aryans as the Gomati, and the Zuari River, which the Arvans called the Aghanashini, to the south. The modern names are from Konkani words, ‘mand’ is a tax or toll, and therefore ‘mandovi’ means a toll check post on the river, while ‘zuar’ is Konkani for an island. On the landward side the two rivers are joined by a series of creeks, while to the west the apex of the triangular island divides the estuaries of the two rivers.
At first the harbour was on the inner reaches- of the Zuari, but it was subsequently moved to the north on the Mandovi which connects the present capital Panjim with Old Goa. Modern requirements, however, are somewhat different, and the southern anchorage at the mouth of the Zuari, sheltered by the promontory of Salcete, is once again more important, and the new deep water harbour of Marmagao has a vital role to play in today’s Indian economy.
Over a period of centuries the area of this region has been considerably extended and its present 120 km coastline extends from the Teracol river in the north to the south. This coastline is broken by a number of navigable rivers which drain the mountain ranges to the east, and whose harbours have help make it a flourishing trade centre. Its now has an area of just over 3,500 sq kms and to 11 talukas or districts; three of these were conquered by the Portuguese early in the sixteenth century known as the old conquests, while the remaining ones were acquired much later by conquest or by treaty, and are known as the New Conquests.
Inland from the coastal area the territory is hilly, particularly in the ‘New Conquests’, and includes a portion of the Western Ghats rising to over 1,000 metres. Generally, however, the land is relatively flat and well-watered so that it is possible to grow a wide variety of products. The climate is pleasantly warm, ranging from a low of 20°C, to a high of 33°C, with rainfall restricted to the monsoon period from June to September.
In recent years large quantities of manganese and iron ore have been discovered, and while the open-cast mining which is being used to extract the ore is aesthetically displeasing and has a bad effect on neighbouring agriculture, income from the export of these products has certainly helped to boost foreign exchange reserves of the state. Apart from manganese and iron ores, the state exports only coconuts, fruit and fish, the last mainly salted. Rice is the staple product, and the brilliant green of the paddy fields, fringed with a line of coconut palms among which gleams a white-painted church, is one of the unforgettable sights of this beautiful region. Groves of palms also edge the miles of beaches which are another of the territory’s natural beauties, and which form the basis for the current major industry which is tourism.
Tourism is now bringing people to arrive here in considerable numbers and has already had an important effect on the general economy. More hotels are being built well as the basic infrastructure of roads and bridges to link the various parts of the territory; although it is doubtful that events will be allowed to develop to such an extent as to alter radically the character of the state itself. This is inalienably tied to the character of the people themselves which has evolved gradually over the centuries, tempered by the crosscurrents of history and considerable quantities of palm toddy.
Ethnically the Goans are of mixed descent, which probably helps to account for their charm and attractiveness today. The first inhabitants were probably members of an aboriginal tribe of Dravidian stock who may well have helped to reclaim some of the land from the sea, thus bearing out the Parasurama legend. The fact that the area is mentioned in the Mahabarata indicates that it was known to the Aryans certainly by 600 BC and probably much earlier. One of the Aryan tribal states was the Konkan, of which the land forms a part, so that this was another area in which the two races would have met.
The word Konkan is still one which has considerable importance of the regions history since the area has given its name to the language which is most generally spoken here. Recently, in 1976, this has been recognised by the Central Institute of India Languages as an independent Indian language. Konkani seems to have derived from an offshoot of Sanskrit which was spoken during the Mauryan period, although there seems to have been no Konkani literature prior to the seventeenth century.
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