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Mainstream, VOL L, No 1, December 24, 2011 (Annual 2011)

Welcome Home, Goa!

Tuesday 27 December 2011, by P.C. Joshi


[(The following lead piece was written by that outstanding Communist leader P.C. Joshi, the first General Secretary of the CPI, in the party’s weekly organ, New Age, on December 24, 1961, five days after Goa’s liberation from Portuguese colonialism. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of that momentous event, we are reproducing, with due acknowledgement, this piece alongwith a reportage on Goa’s liberation by journalist-cum-academic Raza Ali, also published in New Age (January 7, 1962). Joshi’s lead story (on the cover of the December 24, 1961 issue) had several other striking headlines: ‘Shaabash, our brave jawans!’, ‘Hurrah, bold Goan patriots!’, ‘Salute, our motherland!’ The cover page also carried a photo of satyagrahis just before they marched into Goa on August 15, 1955. They were led by veteran Communist V.D. Chitale who was garlanded by S.A. Dange (also in the photo)—many of the Communist satyagrahis fell to Portguese bullets and were killed as they offered satyagraha on that day.)]

The shackles of Portuguese colonialism stand shattered. Goa, Daman, Diu are free and back into the arms of our ancient motherland. We share with all our heart the jubilation of our countrymen.

The Portugese were the first to invade India 450 years ago. They are the last to quit. They did not want to leave but had to surrender to our resurgent nation as the British and French colonialists had to earlier.

Fourteen years after the liquidation of British ination and the elimination of French colonial outposts, the Portuguese pockets on Indian soil have also been liberated. Now the whole country is rid of foreign rule. The entire Indian territory is free, India’s independence is complete.

Goa’s liberation is the culmination of Indian liberation, the last chapter in the grand saga of our struggle for emancipation.

On this historic auspicious occasion, we, Indian Communists, with joyous eyes, singing hearts and our extended arms, warmly embrace all our countrymen, irrespective of any political differences, who contributed their bit towards the liquidation of this last and foul remnant of colonialism and the reunification of our ancient beloved Motherland.

We greet Prime Minister Nehru, who ultimately made up his mind that the policy of peaceful persuasion makes no sense to the Portuguese fascists, that they mistake it as a sign of Indian weakness, that it only encourages them to indulge in aggression and in silent acts of provocation.

We recall the ringing words of appeals from the leaders of the various fighting fronts of Africa, made during the New Delhi and Bombay seminars. Their stirring call that Goan liberation would be the most effective Indian contribution to the great African liberation movement, had a deep and positive impact on the Prime Minister’s mind.

We are glad that after giving enough time, all the true facts, the unanswerable arguments about India’s just cause to the ”friends of Portugal” and overcoming his own long hesitation, he summoned the Chiefs of India’s Armed Forces and ordered them to get ready and go into action and sweep out the dirty Portuguese pockets from independent India’s fair soil.

With genuine pride, we hail our Jawans and their Commanders who virtually bloodlessly brought "Operation Vijay" to its victorious conclusion in record-quick time, a mere 24 hours. It is a tribute to their good training, fine discipline and fighting competence and a living warning to the enemies of Indian independence.

It has been a moving demonstration of their spirit of humanism that not one civilian was killed, not one house was destroyed, not one place of worship damaged and the Portuguese wounded are being looked after like our own.

We voice the nation’s esteem and trust in India’s airmen as defenders of the sovereignty of our air-space, in India’s navymen as defenders of our coastal waters, and in India’s soliders as defenders of our native soil. They have proved their worth anew as the irresistible liberators in Goa, Daman and Diu, Let India’s enemies beware!

We greet all Goan patriots on their great dreams coming true, on their D-Day having actually dawned. We take this occasion to express our admiration for their steadfastness and keeping their patriotic faith alive and active, when it was the fashion of the day to be cynical about Goa or when so many advised them to wait for the automaic collapse of Portuguese colonialism!

We recall the wisdom of the Goan fighters who, irrespective of political differences, united the various Goan parties and groups under the banner of the Goan Political Convention, kept the flame of patriotism alive within Goa and with dogged persistence activised it against the Portuguese occupationists. The Rashtrapati’s tribute to their role is the nation’s own tribute.

We earnestly hope that after the liberation of Goa, the governance of Goa will be trusted to Goa’s best leaders and on a united basis, that the sorry lessons of Pondicherry will be learnt, that the Portuguese puppets will not be appeased and trusted as was done with the French puppets in Pondicherry, that the ruling party will not once again demonstrate its narrow partisanship.

We greet the National Campaign Committee headed by Aruna Asaf Ali, which united not only the Goan but also various Indian national groups and parties to speed up the fight for Goan liberation, which tirelessly popularised the cause of Goa throughout the country, which constantly reminded the Parliament and the Government to give the nation and its armed forces marching orders against Portuguese colonialism.

Heroic Commandos

ABOVE all, we most warmly greet the heroic Goan Commandos and their hitherto unknown leaders, who demonstrated in the darkest days that Goan arms will never rest as long as Portuguese colonialism continued to rule.

To them goes the biggest credit for not letting any Indian patriot forget Goa, for challenging with arms in hand the Portuguese usurpers at every chance they got. Very properly and at the right time the command order from the Indian Army High Command itself embodied a high tribute to the significant role of he Goan Commandos in the undying struggle of Goan liberation.

The Goan Commandos have proved through their acts and sacrifices that they are worthy and true heirs of the great Indian national revolutionary tradition that goes back to 1857. All glory to Goa’s Commandos!

Goan liberation is much more than the victory of Indian independence and defeat of Portuguese imperialism. It has set in motion a global chain reaction of anti-colonial upsurge.

The liberation of our tiny Goa, Daman and Diu is rightly and inevitably being followed by the intensification of the liberation of the much bigger Goas in the rest of the Asian, African and Latin American regions.

On the same day as Prime Minister Nehru congratulated the liberators of Goa for a job so well done, President Sukarno ordered general mobilisation for the final liberation of West Irian and closed all air-space above.

The newspapers of December 20 announced the official Portuguese surrender in Panjim, Daman and Diu and on the same day Holden Roberto, President of the Union of Population of Angola, the national party organising and leading the Angolan revolt, announced the plan to set up a Provisional Government on Angolan territory itself and summoned the regional rebel military commanders to a War Council to set up such a Free Angolan Government.

The above two examples are just the beginning of a new rise of the national revolutionary struggles in the three continents of Asia, Africa and Latin America, which were so far the reserves of colonialism and are becoming, one after another, boiling cauldrons against colonialism itself.

President Sukarno reiterated not only the justice of the Indonesian national demand but drew great strength from international solidarity, and stated that all Afro-Asian socialist countries were behind Indonesia. "We are not alone. We are backed by 2000 million people."

The newspapers are full of the support to India over Goa of the same 2000 million people. If NATO could not intervene in Goa to save their partner Fortugal, if the Suez was closed to Portuguese reinforcements, if the UN could not be used to characterise the Indian act of liberation as an act of aggression against Portugal, it was due to the warm-hearted and active solidarity of the same Afro-Asian and socialist countries, which made the Goan operation so easy, painless and quick.

Prestige Raised

INDIA is respected as a great civilised nation. We are not alien to the virtue of gratitude but it is not enough to formally thank the nations that supported us over Goa.

The honourable and worthy way to repay this debt is obviously to get into closer step and march shoulder to shoulder with these Afro-Asian and socialist countries, wehn they go into action again, as they must to help the liberation of other Goans in lands far and near, held in subjection under colonialism.

It is no secret that Indian prestige has been steadily declining in Afro-Asian countries, because the Nehru Government has been dragging its feet when active anti-colonial solidarity from India was badly needed and greatly expected. The liberation of Goa has undoubtedly, helped to repair the damage to Indian moral prestige.

The lesson of Goan liberation is that the most effective way to repay our international debt and heighten our international prestige, is to boldly and consistently throw hereafter India’s great weight in the cause of colonial liberation.

We earnestly hope the much needed lesson has been learnt in New Delhi. We have no doubt Indian national opinion will keep the Government of India still more loyal to the path that won us Goan liberation.

Goan liberation has won us not only the respect and support of Afro-Asian and socialist countries but also provoked the hatred and hostility of the countries of the Western camp, above all, the US and UK.

It is not only the cleaning-out of the decrepit Portuguese from tiny Goa that has upset the Western colonialists.

Armed liberation of Goa by non-violent India has become the symbol of something new and very terrifying to the leaders of the West, of the onrushing and irresistible end of colonialism in the rest of the world, in the background of African revolutionary happenings and the Latin American developments, following Cuba.

When the Western powers found that they failed to get the UN to denounce Indian action, the US delegate threatened the UN itself with death.

The Goan experience has helped to destroy the much-publicised mission of friendship with and for all and the illusions engendered by the undesirable and unhistoric honeymoon with the US and UK both.

When foes parade as friends, it is the living experience of events like Goa that reveal the truth and friends and foes stand apart and all can see who are with us and who against. Now it is not that others have to take sides. They are standing ranged already inside the UN and outside.

We have no doubt that Indian patriotic circles will, after Goa, see even more clearly that in the present world struggle, it is necessary to take sides, firmly and unambiguously, with India’s friends of the Afro-Asian and socialist countries and against India’s enemies of the Western camp, above all the rulers of the US and UK, the patrons and props of colonialism, not only as it was in Goa but as it exists in the rest of the world.

Peace at Stake

AS long as colonialism exists in the world, the freedom of no nation is safe. The peace of the world remains at stake.
Long Live the Liberation of Goa!
All Support to the Colonial Liberation Struggle in All Lands!
Death to Colonialism!
Glory to India!

[Courtesy: New Age (December 24, 1961)]

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