Back | Next

PHILOSOPHY > THE MIND OF MAHATMA GANDHI > Foreign Settlements in India

 

Foreign Settlements In India

(a) GOA

Time For Change
THE LITTLE Portuguese Settlement which merely exists on the sufferance of the British Government can ill afford to ape its bad manners. In free India, Goa cannot be allowed to exist as a separate entity in opposition to the laws of the free State. Without a shot being fired, the people of Goa will be able to claim and receive the rights of citizenship of the free State. The present Portuguese Government will no longer be able to rely upon the protection of British arms to isolate and keep under subjection the inhabitants of Goa against their will. I would venture to advise the Portuguese Government of Goa to recognize the signs of the times and come to honourable terms with the inhabitants, rather than function on any treaty that might exist between them and the British Government. (H, 30-6-1946, p. 208)

Rule Of Terror
… I have visited Mozambique, Delagoa and Inhambane. I did not notice there any government for philanthropic purposes. Indeed, I was astonished to see the distinction that the Government made between Indians and the Portuguese and between the Africans and themselves. Nor does the history of the Portuguese settlement in India prove the claim [of benevolent rule]. Indeed, what I see and know of the conditions of things in Goa is hardly edifying. That the Indians in Goa have been speechless is proof, not of the innocence or the philanthropic nature of the Portuguese Government, but of the rule of terror. (H, 11-8-1946, p. 260)


… It is ridiculous ….To write of Portugal as the Motherland of the Indians of Goa. Their mother country is as much India as mine. Goa is outside British India, but it is within geographical India as a whole. And there is very little, if anything, in common between the Portuguese and the Indians in Goa.
(H, 8-9-1946, p. 305)

Civil Liberty
To the inhabitants of Goa I will say that they should shed fear of the Portuguese Government, as the people of other parts of India have shed fear of the mighty British Government, and assert their fundamental right of civil liberty and all it means. (H, 30-6-1946, p. 208)


It is ….most essential for the success of the movement that it should be conducted by the Gomantakas on the clearest possible issue, i.e., civil liberty. The larger question of Swaraj should await the attainment by the whole of India unless, of course, the Portuguese Government wisely come to terms with the inhabitants of the Settlement through friendly negotiations. It cannot be attained by any direct action of the citizens, whether violent or non-violent. In non-violent action success is assured where every inhabitant is a hero ready to lay down his or her life. It is less to be thought of in Goa than in the more numerous and better seasoned and awakened British India. Therefore, the clearest possible issue of civil liberty must be kept steadily in view.
The second condition of success is that the fight must be through non-violent and, therefore, also entirely open means.
Thirdly, there should be no parties struggling for power and position. Where the goal is common, different parties have no meaning. (H, 28-7-1946, p. 235)


Every account received by me personally and seen in the papers here in this part of India confirms the contrary view [that there is no civil liberty in Goa]. I suppose, the report of the sentence by ….. Court Martial of eight years on Dr. Braganza and his contemplated exile to a far off Portuguese Settlement is by itself a striking corroboration of the fact that civil liberty is a rare article in Goa. Why should a law-abiding citizen like Dr. Braganza be considered so dangerous as to be singled out for exile?……
Inhabitants of Goa can afford to wait for independence, until much greater India has regained it. But no person or group can thus remain without civil liberty without losing self-respect. (H, 11-8-1946, p. 260)


….. The game of hunting lovers of civil liberty is going on merrily in Goa. A small power, because of its smallness, often acts with impunity where a great power cannot….. What of the Portuguese power which boasts of Philanthropy and alliance with the Roman Catholic Church? That power will have to justify itself before man and God. The blood of the innocents… will cry out from their tombs or their ashes. It is more potent than the voice of the living, however powerful and eloquent. (H, 1-9-1946, p. 286)

(b) FRENCH INDIA

…. The hands of imperialism are always dyed red. The sooner imperialistic powers shed their imperialism like Ashoka the good, the better it will be for the groaning world. One may be pardoned for giving credit to France, where credit is deserved as it is in the case of French India…. (H, 8-9-1946, p. 305)


I undoubtedly hold the view that the Indians in these possessions are bound to merge in independent India in good time. Only, the Indians in these territories should not take the law in their own hands. They have constitutional means open to them and then, there is our Chief Minister [Jawaharlal Nehru] who has vindicated the freedom of Indonesia. Surely, he is not gong to neglect his own kith and kin in the two possessions. (H, 24-8-1947, p. 295)


…. After all the French are a great people, lovers of liberty. They must not be subjected to any stain by India which has come in possession of liberty. (H, 31-8-1947, p. 298)


…… My opinion is quite emphatic. It is not possible that the inhabitants of these small Foreign Settlement would be forced to remain under servility in the face of the million of their countrymen who have become free from British rule. I could [never] countenance an inferior status in the little Foreign Settlement in India. I hope… that the great French nation would never identify itself with the suppression of people whether black or brown in India or elsewhere. (H, 16-11-1947, p. 416)