The subject of the liberation of Goa in 1961 and its integration into the Indian Union in 1962 is sparsely understood at best and misunderstood at worst. Faleiro lucidly outlines the prevailing political atmosphere and its changing character, the part played by indigenous independence movements and freedom fighters leading to the liberation of Goa, and the impact of its consequent assimilation into India. Extensively researched and extremely well-written, Goa, 1961 is a seminal book on an important subject and a must-read for anyone interested in Indian history.
This book starts with the background of occupation of Goa by the Portuguese in the year 1510 – the first foreign occupier in India, older than the Mughals. It deals with history of the resistance put up by natives of Salcete against the colonial occupier barely fifteen years from the time Salcete came under Portuguese rule. It provides a backdrop of life and politics in Goa, in the face of changing political and economic vicissitudes in Portugal, and the birth of local nationalism. From the time Portugal came under a dictatorship in 1928 to after India attained Independence in 1947, it deals with the local aspiration for freedom and India’s diverse non-violent steps for fourteen years (1947-1961), ending finally with a detailed account of India’s military operation that relieved the colonial yoke and its aftermath – locally, in India and across the world (Portugal was an European country, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO). It is the first book to shed light on all aspects of a story little understood at best or misunderstood at worst.
I had the privilege of going through the text of GOA 1961. Of the several books I have read on the subject, this is the first that treats the issue from every conceivable angle—a brief history of Goa to that of revolts against the colonial power, to the many nonviolent steps taken by India, including diplomacy, an economic blockade, satyagraha, third party intervention, backstage diplomacy and finally Op. Vijay. Every aspect has been deftly handled in the fewest of words. Being of Goan origin, I learnt much about Goa and its rich history. This is a book that every Goan—whether in Goa or in the diaspora—must read.
–Air Marshal Yeshwant Rao Rane, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC (V, fighter pilot), retired as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Air Command
This book is highly recommended to all those who take serious interest in the business of war-making, covering strategies and tactics involved at diplomatic, political, social and military levels leading to a successful military operation and its aftermath, in its entirety.
–Vice Admiral Sunil K. Damle, PVSM, AVSM, NM (G), VSM, (V, carrier borne naval aviator), retired as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command
Valmiki Faleiro’s book ‘Goa, 1961’ is a unique compilation of what really happened during India’s ‘Operation Vijay’. The author through diligent research has skillfully put together a gripping account of how the Indian armed forces took Goa back from the Portuguese. Written in an easy and lucid style, this book provides a valuable historical account of the war and is a must read for every Indian citizen.
-Major General Ian Cardozo, AVSM, SM (V, Gorkha Regiment), author
This book is an eye opener. It has revealed details of not only the military action in 1961 but the entire history of Goa since the Portuguese arrived in the sub-continent more than 600 years ago. The freedom movement in Goa started well before it did in India, a fact unknown to most of us. A well researched book that should be read by every Indian, especially those living or having roots in Goa.
Major General V.K. Singh (V, Signals), author
This is a most comprehensive, no holds barred and accurate account of the Indian political and military action against Portugal in 1961. It has highlighted the overwhelming Indian military action against Portuguese forces, due to poor Intelligence inputs.
–Commodore Gilbert Menezes, VSM (V, pioneer submariner)
About the book
Goa, 1961 begins with a background of the conquest of Goa by the Portuguese who held it the longest (451 years) and what they did – good and bad – while they were here. It traces the rise of Dr. Antonio Oliveira Salazar, his assuming dictatorial powers in 1928, his Colonial Act of 1930 that made Goans ‘objects of possession’ of Portugal, the genesis of the nationalistic movement, the non-violent steps taken by India for 14 long years – diplomacy, an economic blockade (including two innovative ways of smuggling gold across the border by resourceful Goans!), satyagraha, United Nations and third party intervention, backstage diplomacy, sabotage, and finally the brief military action. Some little-known details of Operation Vijay are being published for the first time in India. CIA reports of 1961, declassified and approved for release on 26 March 2014, are also cited for the first time. The book deals with the aftermath of the invasion, what India and the world said, Nehru’s volte-face regards the future of Goa (annexation instead of self-determination), the rewards the Congress party harvested at Goa’s first free elections (‘Goa ke log ajeeb hain!’), the nexus with the China aggression ten months later, and most of all, exposes the myths and fallacies that gained currency in Goa post 1961 including that Goan Catholics were un-Indian, pro-Portuguese, anti-national … ‘fit to be deported to Portugal’. Several forgotten facts of Goa’s past, particularly of the revolts that began barely seventeen years after the colonial master possessed Salcete, have been recalled.
VALMIKI FALEIRO, one of Goa’s home-grown prolific writers, was a staff reporter with the West Coast Times. He also covered Goa for national publications like the Current Weekly, the Free Press Journal group of publications and the Indian Express. As a freelancer before that, he contributed articles and features to various journals, including the Navhind Times, Goa Today, Sun Weekly, Newstrek, Detective Digest, Mirror and Newsmag. Faleiro was among the dozen-odd Indians selected for the ‘Workshop for Asian Writers’ held in March 1977 at the India International Centre, New Delhi.