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Goa’s Liberation Struggle

Goa's Liberation

In 1962, the liberation of Goa stirred up controversy during the political campaign for the Goa elections. Despite India gaining independence in 1947, Goa remained under Portuguese rule for 15 more years. The delay in Goa’s independence was due to a mix of complicated reasons. However, on the 19th of December 1961, which is now celebrated as the Statehood Day of Goa, India took swift military action to liberate Goa. The operation lasted less than two days, marking the end of Portuguese rule in the region.

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  • In 1962, Goa gained freedom from Portuguese rule, a significant event that occurred 15 years after India achieved independence in 1947.
  • Despite India becoming independent in 1947, Goa did not gain immediate independence due to a range of complex factors.
  • The liberation of Goa took place on the 19th of December 1961, coinciding with the Statehood Day of Goa. This liberation was achieved through a swift and decisive military action by India, lasting less than two days.

Timeline of Integration of Goa into the Indian Union

  • Relations between India and Portugal began amicably in 1947 after India’s independence and diplomatic relations were established in 1949.
  • Bilateral relations however went into decline after 1950 over Portugal’s refusal to surrender its enclaves of Goa, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli on India’s west coast.
  • Daman & Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli were integrated into India in 1961.
  • Portugal had changed its constitution in 1951 to claim Goa not as a colonial possession, but as an overseas province.
  • The move was apparently aimed at making Goa a part of the newly formed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance.
  • It was intended to invoke the collective security clause of the treaty, in the event of an attack by India.
  • By 1955, the two nations had cut off diplomatic relations, triggering a crisis which precipitated the liberation of Goa by Indian military forces, ending Portuguese rule over Indian enclaves in 1961.
  • In 1961, after the failure of diplomatic efforts with the Portuguese, the Indian Government launched Operation Vijay and annexed Daman and Diu and Goa with the Indian mainland on 19th December.
  • It brought an end to 451 years of Portuguese overseas provincial governance in Goa.

History of Goa’s Freedom Movement

  • The Portuguese took control of Goa in 1510 after Admiral Afonso de Albuquerque defeated the Sultan of Bijapur, Yusuf Adil Shah.
  • By the early 1900s, Goa saw a rise in nationalist sentiments against Portuguese rule, aligning with the anti-British movement in the rest of India.
  • Tristão de Bragança Cunha, known as the father of Goan nationalism, established the Goa National Congress during the Calcutta session of the Indian National Congress in 1928.
  • Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia led a significant rally in Goa in 1946, advocating for civil liberties, freedom, and integration with India. This marked a crucial moment in Goa’s freedom struggle.
  • Some, like the Azad Gomantak Dal (AGD), believed that peaceful methods wouldn’t secure civil liberties and that a more aggressive armed struggle was necessary.
  • Despite India’s move towards independence, Goa faced delays due to factors like the trauma of partition, experiences of war with Pakistan, India’s desire to portray itself as a peace-abiding nation, and Portugal’s NATO membership.
  • Mahatma Gandhi believed that groundwork was essential in Goa to raise public consciousness. He also emphasized the need to unite diverse political voices under a common umbrella before pursuing liberation.
  • Internal divisions, particularly between those advocating Satyagraha (nonviolent resistance) and Military Action, further contributed to the delay in liberating Goa.

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