The Indian Invasion & Occupation of Goa:
Dr. A.A. Bruto da Costa vs. Nehru
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Although I had heard rumors of this letter, I had not been able to obtain a copy until the Goan Patriot, Agnelo Gomes, posted it on his List GoanCauses, of which I was then a member. The text was posted in two parts, messages # 11428 & 11429 in March 2003. Later, Agnelo Gomes also made this text into a webpage on his own site. I have made some minor grammatical corrections and reformatted the page. Where there is a substantial change, my words are in red.
Letter of advocate Dr. A.A. Bruto da Costa addressed to the Indian Federal
Prime Minister J. Nehru, dated 15th August 1962.
Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru
Prime Minister of the Union of India
Your Excellency, Sir,
Eight months have passed since the date when the Indian Union, without any prior notice, or a declaration of war, invaded the State of Portuguese India
and occupied its territory.
The press, now, announces that shortly you, Sir, would be visiting Goa. Surely you will not be entering riding a horse as did Atila when he entered Rome, nevertheless you will be entering Goa by plane just like a vulture, swooping down on its prey.
Permit me, Sir, to write to you with frankness and utmost sincerity, all what I feel about this aggression and what took place before it, placing in evidence certain outstanding facts.
And what are my credentials?
Goa is my "fatherland." It is here that I opened my eyes to the light of the day. In this patch of land my children were born. It is in this good and lovely "fatherland" lived my parents (fathers).
Everything here attracts me, charms me, fascinates me; the soil on which I took my first steps, the warm caressing sun of my early days, the whisper of its fountains, the murmur of its rivers, the freshness of its fields, the whiteness of its sandy shores, the bright colors of its scenery, the verdant hills, the fragrance of its flowers, the songs of its birds and above all the still warm footprints and tender guiding hands of my forefathers.
And yet I am not a "Nationalist." The eminent Brazilian writer, Gustavo Corção very well defines nationalism as "a celebration of an idea that is yet to be realized, of a thing that does not exist, the dream of some, nightmare of many". A little further he stresses, "Nationalism is therefore a harsh and unforgiving emotion destitute of all tenderness and
opposed to reverence. It is a more theatrical conception of life and of the world rather than a moral one. It is an appetite for deification rather than a desire for human happiness. The nationalist thinks that it is absolutely necessary that the object of his devotion ought to be showy and grand. If facts do not help him in his work, facts can go to the dogs. He will not hesitate to make use of the most coarse lies to make up for the lack of real facts. He will lie. He will lie efficiently. He will lie methodically. He will lie with enthusiasm in order to keep ever burning the flame of his ideal, as the integralists put it. And above all he will tell lies with an exquisite feeling of sincerity, for he is convinced that it is as legitimate to tell lies in politics as it is legitimate to use cardboard trees in the theatre" . Whilst "Patriotism," the same author stresses 'is a moral virtue attached to justice' and 'is a reverence to a permanent reality' (G. Corção, Fronteiras
As per Oliveira Martins "the virtue is both an outcome of a common descent or a consequence of history" (Historia de Portugal
In other words patriotism is the sincere love of one's own country or "patria" . As in the language of Shakespeare as also in eastern languages, the word "patria" does not exist, I will clarify that it is derived from the latin "pater" father. Patriotism therefore flows from natural law, which law, for me as a Catholic, is elevated to a divine commandment: "Honour thy father and thy mother."
It is in the bosom of the family that I did imbibe in patriotism. Never did I keep myself aloof from the fate of my "Fatherland". On no occasion at all did I haggle to give for it every sacrifice. I did fight for its sake, as I understood or could, for its dignity, progress and
honor. I will never fail to feel the sorrows and oppressions which I suffered across the ages and continues to suffer at this moment of time. Never did I seek the applause of the multitude, nor the benevolent protecting smile of those in power. Today, as yesterday my concern is to speak the truth. And it is this truth that I cry out to you, Sir, in
defense of my fatherland.
The horrors and the destructions of the 1914-18 war led to the creation of the League of Nations, meant to organize a system of international relations which might replace the system of balance of power and offer more surety of Peace.
But... with the Italian aggression against Ethiopia, the rearming of Rhineland by Germany and foreign intervention in Spain manifested the inefficiency of the League, culminating finally in the 1939-45 war.
Even in the most crucial days of the conflagration, the idea was brewing of forming an
organization of all States with the purpose of maintaining international peace and security, an
organization which was officially voted and included in the joint declaration of the Allies made on 14th August 1941 and known as the Atlantic Charter. On 1st January 1942 the Declaration of the United Nations was published by which declaration the 26 Nations which were on the side of the U.K. and the U.S.A., against Germany and those siding with her, proclaimed their adherence to the principles of the Charter.
In 1944, at Dumbarton Oaks, the big powers discussed and drew up the scheme of the United Nations Organization, later, on 26th June 1946 at the San Francisco Conference, participated by fifty nations, was approved the United Nations Charter wherein was outlined the constitution of this new Organization. (The words PEACE and SECURITY are found not less than 52 times).
These words, as so well stresses Gerhard Reintanz of the University of Hall, "contain in themselves the essence of international brotherhood. Peace life with exchange of material and spiritual benefits among States and people. Security life without fear of aggression. (VI Congress of Lawyers)
At this moment, I don't think, it would be too much to bring to mind the fundamental characteristics of the objectives and principles of the Charter.
The Objectives include
- "to save future generations from the scourge of war"
- "practicing tolerance and living in peace with one another like good neighbors"
- to strengthen faith in the fundamental rights of man, in the dignity and importance of the human being and the equality of rights of men and of women as also of big and small nations,"
- "unifying forces to secure international peace and security and to guarantee by the acceptance of the principles and by instituting methods so that military force will not be used except in the interest of all"
- to establish such conditions in which justice and respect may be maintained for the obligations flowing from treaties and other sources of international law"
- "taking collectively effective measures to prevent and remove threats to peace and to suppress acts of aggression" and
- promote social progress and better conditions of life in an ever wide liberty "using an international mechanism to promote economic and social progress of all the people" (Footnote: Preamble & Art I)
In the articles that follow other objectives which are in conformity and subordinate to the major objectives, earlier mentioned, of the Charter can be classified like "peace, human rights, self government by nations, international justice and social progress" (Various art.)
The principles which the Charter upholds and guarantees are:-
- Rights of the member States to "equality regards sovereignty" and the prohibition that the United Nations Organization "may not intervene in matters which lie in the domestic jurisdiction of any State."
- The duty of the member States "to fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the Charter" of "solving their international disputes through peaceful means" of "avoiding in their international relations the threat or the use of force against the
territorial integrity or the political independence of any state" of "giving to the U.N.O. all the assistance in any action that U.N.O. may take in accordance with the Charter" and "to abstain themselves from giving help to any State against which the U.N.O. may act in a preventive or in a coercive way".
- The duty of the United Nations to respect the rights of the member states and guarantee them that the non-members "act in accordance with these principles in everything that may be required for the maintenance of international peace and security" (Art. 2nd )
Articles, which come later, lay down other directives, as is clear, which are supposed to elaborate the general principles regarding sovereignty, mutual trust, peaceful solution, non-aggression and collective security (Various Art.)
Now, these principles and objectives, which are the pillars of the U.N. Organization
do so much impose on the conscience of peoples of the world that, your Excellency and Chou-en-lai after some days of fraternal togetherness brought to light a synthesis which you, Sir, named "Pansheel (Panchasila
Here it is:
- Mutual respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of another country
- Equality and mutual benefit
- Peaceful co-existence.
Later, in April 1955 at the Bandung Conference in order that Afro-Asiatic nations may act in a spirit of good faith and mutual trust and co-operation, which you, Sir, so vehemently propounded and along with the other participants the following norms were laid down:
- Respect for the basic human rights and for the objectives and principles of U.N. Charter.
- Respect for the sovereign rights of every nation and for its territorial integrity.
- Recognition of complete equality among all races and nations, big or small.
- Abstention from all interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
- Respect for the right of every nation to defend itself individually or collectively in conformity with the U.N. Charter.
- To renounce the establishment of collective regional organizations for the purpose of defense and which are meant to serve the particular interests of a super-power and the abolition of any form of pressure which a nation might bring to bear on another nation.
- Not to take recourse to threats and aggressive measures, as also the use of force to harm the political independence of a country or a group of countries.
- Solution of international disputes by peaceful means such as negotiation, arbitration, recourse to international courts or any other peaceful methods which the interested parties may choose in accordance with the U.N.'s Charter.
- Development of mutual interests and mutual help.
- Respect for justice and international commitments.
As we see, in today's world, war ought not to be, nor can be, as it was in the ancient east, or as in the Greco-Roman times, or even in the Christian medieval times, a normal state of relations between people, nor a state in which stronger nations used to integrate in themselves the weaker nations by subjugating them to their own jurisdiction. No; today there are
principles and norms which regulate the relations between states, norms and principles which condemn each and every aggression, norms which do not legitimize conquests. Rather, on the contrary, in harmony with the same norms, peace has become the normal condition of mankind.
From the day that the Indian Republic was proclaimed, Your Excellency has been showing, as one of the builders of the Republic as if haunted by the obsession of making pretty the face of the Republic by eradicating the ugly pimple by submitting to the Republic's sovereignty, the Portuguese enclaves in India. And as a proper remedy for it you have been promoting, without any respite, a war of nerves against Portugal, in order, simultaneously to stoke the holy flames of the Indian nationals and to fan the spirit of revolt in the Indo-Portuguese, although the Indian Union is a member of United Nations and in spite of Your Excellency having affirmed so many times donning the robe of an apostle of peace. You have often asserted that relations between Nations considered as "juridical persons" should be regulated by norms which constitute what is called International Public Laws.
Thus the Indian Union which as a member of the International society of Nations had failed to fulfil its pledge of enforcing and defending those principles has let loose a policy of bad neighborliness and open hostility against the State of Portuguese India
trying to create an atmosphere of agitation and an environment of tension.
Thus, according to the above, and as a means towards the goal, occurred the atrocious crime on Dadra on 21st
July 1954. Your Excellency tried to wash your hands off the same, declaring that you came to know of it only through the newspapers!
From the informations personally collected by me, mainly during my stay in Daman, I can say:
- that the plan of attack was hatched and organized in the territory of India and executed by a band of Indian nationals and a few Goans probably members of the terrorist organisation, Azad Gomantak Dal.
- that official and semiofficial bodies of the government of the Indian Union contributed for the said attack through their press and radio statements and campaigns, instigating and encouraging the invaders as is obvious by the appeals for volunteers made by the Congress, Hindu Mahasaba and the Communist Party.
- that the government of the Indian Union itself prepared the ground about a month earlier by sending reinforcements to the small local garrisons, by further surrounding Daman with numerous regulars of the army and even digging up trenches.
- that some of the assailants were armed with weapons which surely did not fall from the sky, and in the fight which resulted in deaths and wounded, the assailants were helped by regulars of the Indian police so much so that among the wounded was one of their officials.
And all this, including the movement of troops to the borders of Daman, Your Excellency, the Prime Minister, did not know at all!
But nothing did prevent the Indian Government to rush in immediately to take over the administration of the Portuguese territories of Dadra and Nagar-Aveli through its own agencies.
There was no further possibility to carry on with the deception. And the mask was fully down when the case was submitted to the Tribunal at the Hague.
I am of the belief that had it not been for the strong and resolute intervention of the American Secretary of the State, Foster Dulles, and of the British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, the same fate would soon have been of the territories of Goa, Daman and Diu, that very year.
In spite of these acts of aggression, Your Excellency sought to escape from the accusations which arose in different quarters, by declaring categorically in the Lok Sabha on 25th Aug. 1954 the following: "The policies we have adopted have been, even under the British regime, one of 'non-violence,' and we have shaped our conduct in harmony with it. This adherence to non-violence implies:
- that we should not abandon or permit any watering down of our principles in the cause of our fellow compatriots under the Portuguese rule.
- Equally, we should not adopt, advocate or deliberately provoke a situation of violence."
Your Excellency, in spite of this solemn declaration viz. that the movement of liberation ought to be spontaneous and Goan; the Indian Union, in order that the Indo-Portuguese should be thrown into despair and, indirectly to galvanize the people to revolt against the local administration making impossible the functioning of public administration in the said territories , was using the most inhuman and cruel methods:
- establishing a blockade and prohibiting the exercise of trade between the Indian Union and State of Portuguese India: Goa, Daman and Diu,
- freezing the assets or money deposited in the Indian banks by the Indo-Portuguese,
- Not allowing the transfer of the earnings of the Indo-Portuguese, who were working in the Indian Union, to their families residing in the Portuguese territories
- Violating the postal correspondence coming from or in transit through the Indian Union
- Supporting the decisions of the labor syndicates of the ports, so that the blockade should spread in relation to third countries, refusing services to the ships of foreign companies which might visit the harbor of Goa
- Subjecting the Goan immigrants to great hardship and to the payment of heavy and arbitrary duties at the Majali border even on articles of personal use, and
- Finally, by organizing, arming and subsidizing in the territory of India, bands of individuals such as called Azad Gomantak Dal and others of similar nature; groups that were aimed to promote and practice acts of sabotage and terrorism and to carry on campaign or subversive propaganda and to incite revolt.
Those acts are of such nature that I need not comment upon them.
However I cannot omit to refer to the caustic remarks of Minister of Defense of India, Mr. Krishna Menon, which he made on 4th
May last at the session of the Security Council, regarding activities of similar nature which he attributed to Pakistan:
- "We live with these threats and violations of the international law on the part of this country (Pakistan) for the last 15 years".
- "It is a strange interpretation of International law... to say that nations are not responsible for the acts of its citizens."
- "Even when volunteers come from a country to take part in external wars, these countries are to be considered responsible for them".
- "All this" he concluded "is international crime."
One must remember whilst India was happily busy with the Case of Goa
, China, forgetting the hug of Your Excellency and of the sermon you preached at Peking that, "peace is not just the absence of war" and that it is "something positive and that it only truly exists in an atmosphere of co-operation among nations" in a surprise move established itself in various
parts of Northern India. China when asked to move out, turned deaf ears. In spite
of this the Indian Union did not dare to re-establish its frontiers taking recourse to force though India was the invaded party. Why was it?
Yes, everyone knows it why. (Dicant Paduani
Let us turn to the topic of the invasion of Goa. India started spreading all around lies that were indeed baffling: That in Goa prevailed regime of terror, that the local authorities carried on imprisonments, that the people were subjected to torture, to assassinations, executions by military squads... And this was the very thing that India itself was trying to do through her agents, paid by her in order to establish in the place an atmosphere of terror. Indeed an example of doing the offence and blaming the victim for it.
On their turn, the Indian press was repeatedly shouting that hundreds of Indo-
Portuguese had fled the territory from Daman due to oppression on the part of the authorities; that the Portuguese troops had been authorized to shoot anyone who might violate the curfew (curfew was imposed in Goa only after the invasion by the Indian authorities); that the Portuguese soldiers had violated the borders of India and opened fire on unarmed population (when actually it was the agents coming from India, who after crossing the border were shooting back); that the churches were being used as military garrisons, and many other
rumors of similar nature.
In this way spreading around lies one sought to justify to the world the amassing of Indian troops and of armored vehicles near the borders of the Portuguese territory, and of stationing of warships on the limits of the territorial waters.
When the intentions were denounced, you were stating, Sir, in Calcutta, "there has been dislocation of rail services, partly due to the movement of troops to the borders of Goa as a measure of precaution because of the concentration of Portuguese troops on their frontiers, but that you would not take any military action and also that it was partly due to the military exercises of the Indian army."
The All India Radio
on the other hand was announcing "that official sources from Delhi, deny that the Indian Union was preparing to take any military measures against Goa" adding that, the Press Trust Of India
was informing, "that the concentration of troops at the borders of Goa were measures of precaution against the intense Portuguese military preparations on the borders of India."
The Government of India whilst rejecting the pleas made by the Portuguese Government in their note sent to the President of the Security Council and brushing them off as "malicious" and "baseless," was alleging that the Portuguese were trying in this way to cover up their own "aggressive maneuvers" in Goa.
And Mr. Krishna Menon on his part was trying a way out for himself stating that "the Indian troops would invade Goa only if the lives of the Goan workers were in danger and that the Portuguese territories would form part of India only either by the initiative of the Portuguese Government or if the people of this territory should express such a wish."
Earlier on 26th July 1955 you, Sir, had given a curt reply in the Lok Sabha, "we have always been clear and we base our policies on this: "that we will not use force except for
defense, that we will not provoke or wage war or adopt any aggressive tactics leading to a war."
Hardly a month had lapsed, on 15th August, celebrating the day of Indian Independence you, Sir, on the ramparts of the Red Fort of Delhi made the following statement: "Some foreign nations are saying that India is concentrating tanks and troops on the borders of Goa. This is totally false. India will not let itself be provoked by any such act. India has decided not to use force."
On 31st May 1956, in a press conference at New Delhi as if to put the finishing touch to your earlier assertion you did say, Sir, "We give great importance to the basic principles which rule our policies, and in special way our foreign policy. We have won some good reputation internationally for having adhered to those principles and we do not desire to throw out, forget or despise the same."
Sir, you shouldn't suppose that I, in any way, intend to absolve Salazar of his machiavellian and tyrannical policies nor do I intend to absolve him of the great and grave responsibilities that lie on his head. No. I wish only to highlight that neither the declarations of the Secretary General of the British Commonwealth
, Duncan Sandys, nor the fears shown by the Governments of England and America nor the request made by Kennedy, and not even the obligations inherent in the United Nations Charter nor the agreements and promises made, did hinder you, Sir, and the Government of India from sending your troops to attack the Portuguese territories of Goa, Daman and Diu with machine guns, cannons and tanks, with your warships and planes, violating all norms of morality.
Condemning this treacherous aggression, the oldest of the Indian statesman, the prestigious Mr. Raja Gopalachari accuses you, Sir, in the magazine Swarajya
, that you were trying to justify the aggression alleging that it was a fight against colonialism and that you contradicted yourself when you sought the veto by Russia when cease-fire was sought at the United Nations Security Council though "a number of countries do consider the Soviet empire as the greatest colonial power in the world today."
Besides, the plan for the "conquest" of Goa was devised much earlier, specially when it was observed that all efforts and impositions to force the Goans to revolt against the Portuguese sovereignty had proved fruitless, so much so that already in September 1955 whilst opening the debate on foreign policy of your Government you had said "We are not disposed to tolerate the
presence of Portuguese in Goa even if the Goans want them there."
The question, therefore, was of having an opportune occasion. And this did happen when it became very certain:
- "that the morally ailing Portuguese dictator, specially after the Santa Maria incident, was sufficiently discredited in world opinion;"
- "that the role of U.S.A. with Chester Bowles, in power, as the right hand man of Kennedy, would just be like fire crackers, which make much noise, a bit of smoke and... nothing else;"
- that England, saying "my heart sways this way and that" would decide to fold its arms forgetting all treaties of friendship;"
- and that, in any case, India would have the unconditional support of Russia.
Surely there is no doubt at all from what I have so far narrated that India:
- Broke, not only, all the moral norms of good neighborliness, but committed the most cowardly act of aggression.
- Violated the Charter of United Nations, the principle of Pansheel (Panchasila) and agreement of Bandung.
- Trod down on the very Constitution of India which in its art.51 legislates "The State will work for
- Promotion of International peace and security;
- Maintenance of relations of just and mutual respect;
- Fostering of respect to international law and to the obligation of the treaties between nations in their relations with one another;
- To encourage the solution of disputes between nations by arbitration.
- Tore into pieces the testament of Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, testament in which he recommends peace, non-violence and self sacrifice
And, last but not the least
- You conspired against the ideal of universal brotherhood. An ideal which you, Sir, had vigorously defended in the following words: "The only objective, achievable and real, that we can have in common with other nations, is the objective of co-operation in setting up of a kind of a world structure, you may call it ONE WORLD, or whatever you like."
Nevertheless a few days after the military occupation of Goa when asked at a press conference if you, Sir, had any New Year message for the world you replied "I might sound a bit of a hypocrite, but my message is 'Work for peace.'"
The picture would indeed be complete were Salazar to shout in his turn "I might sound like a tyrant, but my message is 'Work for liberty.'"
You, Sir, did go yet further. When a mere academic suggestion was made that India might perhaps be obliged to leave Goa you reacted saying "The whole world will be ablaze if such a thing comes to pass." (Time
Oh, how the times have changed and with them the morals of men!
But I wonder: what is Goa's present juridical position?
Goa was conquered by the Portuguese in 1510. It was at that date a part of the kingdom (Sultanate)
of Bijapur. The Portuguese had maintained themselves here, immune almost to all the political ups and downs till the date of invasion by the Indian forces on December 19th
During these former periods of history war gave rise to nobility, and conquest was an absolutely legitimate act. It was from the conquests that new nations were born.
"In the primitive society" wrote a great and important Portuguese historian "all were both farmers and fighters, later division of labor separates these two functions; there is no longer any changing between the sword and the plough, because it is for some to fight and for others to labor. Conquest follows: wealth and glory is the reward for the victor, labor and slavery the sorry lot of the vanquished. The earlier division of functions becomes a deeply rooted division of classes to such an extent as to be sanctified as castes. The warrior, noble man and victor with the pride of power and blood extends his own self, heightened by victory, over the land that he grabs and over the natives whom he enslaves. Man puts the very essence of his active personality in the concept of war. Thus war becomes the expression of his sovereignty: and at the same time conquest which becomes his natural expression and victory becomes the natural social selection. Further on come into being typical formulation of family units and social units, of clans and cities and into more bigger collective bodies, which we can call nations" (Oliveira Martins, Q. das Inst.Prim.
With the rise of modern states or nations the people and the government felt the need of uniform dispensation and action, a need resulting from the existence of common interests. According to eminent historians, it was the Thirty Years' War, that was responsible for the origin of the system called modern states. It was at that time that one witnessed the publication of the first treatises on International Law.
Thus, it was with the Treaty of Westphalia signed on 24th
October 1648 that we entered the period of organizing International Law, also called as Rights of People, with the purpose of regulating the rights, duties and interests of Nations and the norms to be followed in mutual relations among the Nations.
In conformity with these norms and according to what was established in 1933 at the Montevideo Conference, a State or Nation which as a juridical person subject to International Law has the following characteristics:
- A definite territory;
- A permanent population;
- A government;
- Capability to enter into relations with other states.
The right to existence is the first and the most important of the rights. Every State historically formed has the right to exist and the right to preserve its own existence and it is the duty of other States or Nations to respect this right of existence.
One can divide the States into Unitary and Composite.
A Unitary State is one that has only one political organization which fully exercises internal sovereignty and has liberty to exercise external action.
To be such a State it does not demand that there should be continuity of territory nor that it has homogeneous social elements.
The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic states in its art.4 that the Portuguese State consists of an independent State. And in the art.5th
defines the Portuguese State as unitary republic. From this it follows that regarding the classification of States, Portugal has a Unitary form.
In art.1 it lays down what is the territory over which the Portuguese Government exercises its sovereignty. As one finds in art.4 in Asia it comprises of the Estado da India
and Macau and its corresponding dependant territories.
O Estado da India
in its turn comprises of the territories of Goa, with the island of Anjediva, the island of St. George and Bat Island on the Malabar Coast; Daman with the territories of Dadra and Nagar-Aveli on the coast of Gulf of Cambay and the island of Diu with the continental territory of Gogola on the coast of Gujarat.
So, call it an overseas province or a colony, and as such, not an autonomous territory, the Estado da India
on the date of invasion, was a Portuguese territory.
However grave may have been the sins of the Portuguese administration in Goa (and many cried to the heavens on the matter) yet no one, in good faith can deny the legitimacy of sovereignty of Portugal over Goa, Daman and Diu.
In the presence of facts, arguments haven't any value and much less are worth gross subterfuges.
Your Excellency is surely aware that it was due to India that in the very heart of the U.N.O. a violent strife did occur ... I mean, a strife of words, regarding the fulfillment of the obligation binding the member States "that they have or assumed the responsibilities for the administration of territories whose people have not yet attained a complete form of self rule"
as per the U.N. Charter, art.73 line e.
Because of this an ad-hoc Committee of six members U.S.A., India, Morocco, Mexico, Netherland and U.K. with N. Ireland to define and enumerate the principles that ought to guide the members of the U.N.O. in order to determine if the obligations of supplying information, as envisaged in the above mentioned article and line, were applicable or not.
This ad hoc Committee
gave its view and established that, in Principle 1, that "as per the framers of the Charter of the U.N.O. the chapter 11 should apply to the territories which were at that time to be of colonial type" (Julio Evangelista, Portugal & UNO
In principle VI it (the ad-hoc committee) added that these territories achieve full sovereignty:
- on being established as a Sovereign Independent State;
- on its own free association with another independent State;
- or on its being integrated in an independent State.
Whilst dealing about clause b), "free association" it based on the VII the Principle, the rule, that this should be the result of free and voluntary choice of the people of the territory in question. This choice must be, on due information and by democratic methods and that "this free choice should respect the individual cultural characteristics of the territory and its
people and, to the people of the associating territory with an independent state, retain to them the freedom to modify or change their status by expressing their choice by democratic and constitutional processes."
In the IInd
Principle whilst dealing the topic of integration the committee fixed the following conditions:
1st "The territory which is integrated should have attained an advanced stage of autonomy having free political institutions so as the people should have capacity to make the right choice, made with due democratic procedures and with complete knowledge of the matter".
2nd That "the integration should be the result of a freely expressed choice made by the people with due knowledge about the changes in their status and this assessment of people's wishes should be done by democratic procedures and after wide publicity and in an impartial manner and on the basis of universal adult franchise."
These and other principles laid down by the ad hoc Committee of Six were approved by the General Assembly of the U.N.O.
Later, whilst dealing about Portuguese Overseas territories approving the motion presented in the Trusteeship Council by India, along with other nations, and in which it states that it recognizes "that the desire of Independence is a legitimate aspiration of people under the colonial yoke and that the refusal to recognize their right to self determination constitutes a
threat to the well-being of humanity at large and a threat to international peace," It was established that the same, namely "Goa and its dependencies called Estado da India
are in the light of dispositions of Chapter II of the UNO Charter, and of the resolution 742 (VII) and of the Principles mentioned by the Special Commission of Six and approved by the General
Assembly, that they are territories without a government of its own as per the definition of Chapter II of the Charter.
I wish to point out above all:
1stThat India was a member of the Commission of Six and the President of the same Commission was C.S. Jha, the Indian delegate.
2ndthat this Commission worked having for its basis a framework drawn up by the Indian delegation.
3rdthat India voted not only at the Commission of Six but also at the General Assembly relating to the points mentioned above, and
4ththat India recognized expressly that Goa, Daman and Diu were territories non-autonomous or without a government of its own under the Portuguese administration.
At this juncture before proceeding any further it would be opportune to remember some more of the many showy statements and pompous promises made by Your Excellency regarding Goa. Thus, addressing the Congress Committee of Uttar Pradesh at Sitapur on 21st August 1955 you said "It is not true that we covet Goa. That small bit of territory does not make any difference to this great country". "We do not desire to impose ourselves on the people of Goa against their wishes. It is definitely their responsibility to choose for themselves." "We have assured the Goans that it is for them to establish their own future and I further assured them on matters such as religion, languages and customs."
In the following month, i.e. on 6th Sept. Your Excellency in your speech to the Rajya Sabha repeated the same idea in more precise words: "I wish to remove from the mind of each and every person the idea that we have decided to compel or force the people of Goa to join the Union of India."
Thus, to fulfill all these repeated statements it was the bounden duty of the Union of India, once it had interrupted the Portuguese Sovereignty in Goa, to hand over the exercise of political power to the Goans. So that they (Goans) could outline their own future by democratic methods on matters of free association with or integration with another State (country). But, far from doing this, after taking possession of Goa, by the use of force you have imposed on us Military Rule under some pretext or the other and a few months later on 12th
of March perhaps to make a lasting impression of the visit of the wife of the President of the USA Your Excellency was presenting in the Lok Sabha an Amendment to the Constitution, which stated that Goa, Daman and Diu to be integrated as 'Union Territories' (i.e. dependent territories) in the Union of India. And yet another bill was introduced which was giving the Government of India the power to maintain or change the legislation in force at one's discretion and to make the jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court extend to Goa.
And this without being restrained by all the assurances and promises referred to above and of solemn statements given:
- in 1928 during the Indian National Congress session at Calcutta "that Goa has a culture distinct from the rest of India and will be treated as a separate entity" and
- in 1954 in the Lok Sabha that "the special circumstances pertaining to the cultural, social and linguistic relations and that the sense and aspect of a separate territorial group that had been the outcome of history would be respected" and further that "the laws and customs that form part of the social pattern will be respected and changes will be done only through
negotiations or consent."
In short, all that were mere words which the wind just blew them off...
In Part I under the heading "Of the Union and its territories" of the Indian Constitution it lays down in Art. 1st number 3 clause c) that "the territory of India will comprise of," besides others "the territories which might be acquired."
In the preamble for the proposal of the 12th amendment to the Constitution of India it says that Goa, Daman and Diu have become territories of the Indian Union by virtue of acquisition.
Durga Das Basu, member of "Law Commission of India" clarifies that "acquisition" which the Constitution refers to has to be by way of purchase, treaty, surrender or conquest. (Introduction to the Constitution of India
Indeed, the means of acquisition of territorial sovereignty recognized by International Law are: occupation, annexation, accession and legal prescription.
By which of these means does the Indian Union claim to have "acquired" sovereignty over the State of Portuguese India? According to experts in International Law none of the above applies to this your desire of acquisition.
It is not the first, for occupation consists in establishing sovereignty on a territory which is not under the authority of any other State, either recently discovered or quite improbable abandoned by a State which earlier exercised authority over it. And The Estado da India
was at that time under Portuguese State.
It cannot be the second case, for to have annexation it was needed that a war should have taken place, followed by conquest and a peace treaty. The Indian Union denies that any war took place and consequently no conquest. Portugal in her turn assures us that the fight is not over and even went further and constituted a government in exile of their "State of India".
And, in any case, there exists no convention between the two nations regarding the territories in question, and much less about Portugal ceding them to the Indian Union.
It cannot be the third case, because the decisive factor is that an accession takes place when the new territory incorporates itself solely due to such nature where the acquiring State was already exercising sovereignty in the territory. No such thing did occur in this case.
It cannot be the fourth because as already stressed there was no ceding of the territory and Portugal continues still to claim its rights and was never even willing to discuss about its Sovereignty over Goa.
Finally not even the fifth case, seeing that for an acquisitive legal prescription to operate, it is indispensible the existence of a peaceful exercise of sovereignty for a long period of time. Besides, in order to build up a right by legal prescription it is needed that the ownership does not have for its basis an act of violence.
From this one can infer that the argument of acquisition does not hold water at all. Therefore the State in which the territories of Goa, Daman and Diu find themselves is of plain military occupation on the part of Indian Union.
According to the norms of International Law, an occupation resulting from an invasion does not transfer to the occupying State the sovereignty of the occupied territory.
It involves only, that the occupying Power in exercising military authority should do it in consonance with International Law and transfers on the occupant the power to re-establish and ensure as much as possible order and public security with due consideration to the laws earlier in force.
Equally, from this occupation, no change in the nationality of the local citizens follows nor does it imply complete transfer of obedience due to the deprived government.
Among others, Mr. Krishna Menon, in his eagerness perhaps, to deceive the naïve or possibly to lull sister Afro-Asiatic nations in their contented blind error, has sought to defend the Indian aggression alleging that "Goa is India" and that therefore "one cannot conquer one's own territory" if it is for a legitimate redressal.
No one, surely, disputes that geographically Goa, Daman and Diu form part of the Indian penninsula. But, it is one thing to be a geographical part of the Indian peninsula and quite another to be politically part of the Indian Nation.
India was never a political connotation and as such never a nation. It is a mere geographic expression or as Tagore used to say "is constituted of various nations enclosed in a geographical receptacle". (Nationalism
The same Mr. Krishna Menon confesses that whilst India as a country or region has a history of 7000 years, as a nation it came to birth 15 years ago (Times of India
Mr. Jayaprakash Narayan stresses "We were never a nation in the modern sense of the term till the experience of the British rule."
Your Excellency, too, would not be of a different opinion as in other times you proclaimed this very truth: "The English gave political unity to India" (Union of India
Let us hear, now, the impartial Karl Marx: "The Indian society does not have any history or at least, no known history. What we call its history is nothing but the story of succession of intruders who established their empires on the passive base of this restless and unchanging society."
"The political unity of India, which was consolidated and broadened more than ever before during the rule of the Great Moghuls was the first condition of its regeneration. That unity imposed by the British sword will now be strengthened and perpetuated by the telegraph." (Footnote Marx & Engels
Sir Jogendra Singh writes that: "those who gradually built up the British empire in India discovered instinctively the secret of how to unify India" and then he points out the way how they themselves set her (India) on the path to nationhood."
Almost identical is the verdict of S.R. Seeley, professor at the University of Cambridge. "The name 'India' he says should not be classified with France or England which indicate nations but rather as the word Europe designating a group of nations which acquired by chance a common name for having been a common land physically separated from the rest of the continent. The word 'India' as a word is only a geographic expression and even as such was not so often used than this last one."
And after studious analysis of India's diverse phases concludes that
1st 'India' is not a political expression but simply a geographic expression like Europe or Africa.
2nd that India was not ever really united in a manner as to form one State except under British rule (S.R. Seeley, The Greatness of England
From this it follows, evidently that Goa could not ever form part of a nation which itself did not exist as such.
And the truth is, that though it might have been geographically a part of the Indian
peninsula, politically Goa is part of the Portuguese State for more than 450 years.
No one, therefore, I repeat, can honestly deny that Goa was, on the date of the invasion a Portuguese territory. The very Indian Union on more than one occasion recognized it as such, namely, when India appointed a consular representative in Goa.
As if to put a suitable final touch to all these series of mean tricks, one is organizing
(village governments; the communidades are the legal village governments
), bodies under the control of contractors hailing from India for the purpose of taking for granted the integration of this Golden Goa
dear land of mine which I love so fondly in one of their States of Mysore or Maharasthra always proclaiming, by all means of propaganda, that this is the will of the people of Goa.
But, this type of 'referendum' has no moral value if we take into cognizance how in some democracies, as it happens in India, the vote can be bought 'at the price of a meal' as you, Sir, have put it. This exercise has far less value in this concrete case of Goa because it is against International Law.
As I have said earlier, this is because, besides territory, the most important characteristic of a State, and, therefore the constituting element of its being, is the right to exercise administrative powers in the place through its agencies or organs. "Sovereignty" means the right to exercise public administration on the people and properties without the interference of other States.
Max Haber, the arbitrator in the case of Las Palmas Island defined territorial sovereignty in the following terms : "Sovereignty in relation to other States, means independence. Independence, relating to a parcel of territory of the globe, is the right to exercise there, with the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State."
There are no two opinions on the matter. Territorial sovereignty of a State, therefore, implies necessarily the inviolability and the integrity of its frontiers and its soil.
Now, since territorial sovereignty bestows only on the State the right to decide regarding its territory through its government organs, and this, even if you deal about a colonial territory, and whatever might be the outcome of the Panchayats
their value is nothing but a big zero.
Thus, as there is no legitimate title of acquisition, the bill concerning the integration of
Goa, Daman and Diu in the Indian Union is null and void, as also are the directives of S.K. Singh, the under secretary of the External Affairs Ministry of the Indian Government. The said directives dated 17th
March extending to the territories of Goa, Daman and Diu the Citizenship Act of 1955 as also the order of the Military Governor dated 5th
April are likewise null and void. This is the stark reality.
It is not my intention to say not at all that Goa may not attain full sovereignty. This is our right, a right that does not lapse, a right that cannot be assumed by others, right which is inherent to people who are non-autonomous. In this case, the right belongs to the Goans and has to be exercised consciously and freely as per the framework established by the U.N.O. As a Goan, which I am proud of, I come to defend this right of ours.
Even at the very end in 1961 the Government of India itself, through the Minister of External Affairs, guided and directed by Your Excellency, in dealing with the Goa problem had suggested independence to Goa in the following clear and unequivocal terms:
"There exists no justification for discriminating between the aspirations and rights of one colonial people from the other. Mankind is one and the same in its aspiration for liberty and independence. If the old colonies of England and of USA achieved independence what basis is there to dispute the right of Goa, Angola and Mozambique or any other dependent territory? Can
they not aspire to a destiny like that of Ghana or Nigeria, but have to be content only being integral parts of a so called 'metropole'?"
What might have led you Sir, and your Government, to change in so short a time, of just few months, your well considered and publicly expressed opinion? Could it be, Sir, that you aren't able to practice what you preach? These are questions to which only you can give an answer.
The UNO is a voluntary association of States (Nations) having for its main objective, as I have been stressing from the start, the maintenance of international peace and security and making force subordinate to justice and to law.
Despite being a member of this organization and it needs to be repeated the Indian Union in order to finish off foreign possessions in India: "Systematically violated the principles and norms of international law, namely the Charter of the U.N." and tore to pieces the basic principles of the Indian Constitution:
- "Promoted through the Press and the Radio an abominable campaign in order to misguide world opinion and to cover up one's own failings."
- "Perverted the very function of language such that even the most beautiful words, and most solemn declarations have no meaning at all."
- "Substituted the rule of law by the rule of the jungle."
And more than anything else, India trod upon the political legacy of two of its greatest nation builders Gandhi and Tagore. "I did try", said Gandhi, "to put forth before India the ancient law of voluntary sacrifice, law of suffering. The Rishis
, who discovered the law of non-violence, were geniuses taller than Newton. They were greater commanders than Wellington. Having known the use of weapons they had recognized their uselessness. The religion of non-violence is not meant only for the Rishis
. It is meant for the common man too. It is the law of the human species, as violence is the law of brute animals. The spirit has remained dormant in the brute.
"Human dignity demands obedience to a higher law to the power of the spirit... I want that India should practice this law of Non-violence. I want that India acquire full knowledge of the strength and power of this law.
"India has a soul which cannot perish. This soul can challenge all the material forces of the world... Should India someday not know the value or understand this law, I shall retire to the solitude of the Himalayas ". (R. Rolland, Mahatma Gandhi
"I hope" said Tagore "that this spirit of sacrifice and suffering will gain in strength, for, to achieve this, is an end in itself. This is true liberty. The selfless faith in the moral greatness of man is of far greater value than national wealth or independence. The West has its unshakeable faith in the power of material prosperity, and, therefore however loud maybe the cry for peace and disarmament, the monster of the West yells more fiercely gnashing its teeth and whipping impatiently its tail. The West is like a fish, which when hurt by the rush of the current, makes plans to fly. The idea is brilliant indeed but surely not realizable for a fish. We, in India have to show to the world what that Truth is, that which not only makes possible
disarmament, but transforms it into a force. People without weapon will prove to all that moral power is a power stronger than brute force. (Romain Roland)
"We have to strive towards the same ideal and in the same way," (I can hardly believe, but these words are yours, Sir!) "Only then will we be worthy to utter, Mahatma Gandhi ki jai!
"What kind of victory does Gandhiji desire for us? Not a victory that most of the people and nations try to achieve, using fraud, treachery and foul ways. This type of victory is not a stable one. For the foundation of a durable victory can only be laid on the solid rock of truth. Gandhiji offered us a new method of struggle and of political warfare and a new type of
diplomacy." (R. Roland)
The procedure of India in relation to Goa has thrown open a way of every sort of violence, fraud, treachery and foul methods.
As the saying goes "He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind."
China and Pakistan already threatened to use the same methods to solve their disputes with India. And the worst can happen may God forbid if the whole lot of factors jointly conspire against the very unity "imposed by the British sword", in order to re-establish the former princely States of India.
This letter, unwittingly, turned out longer than I had expected and it is time to conclude.
Considering the facts in their legitimate juridical sense, one can conclude:
- st that the Estado da India (Goa and its dependencies) was, on the date of Indian invasion a territory of Portugal;
- nd that, as the sovereignty of the occupied territory did not pass on to the invading State by the mere fact of occupation, and the fact that the Portuguese government has not signed any treaty ceding the same territory, the Estado da India continues to be Portuguese territory;
- rd that its inhabitants while they may owe to the occupying government exterior submission they still maintain their dependence on the government of Portugal.
In short, the military victory did not bestow on the Indian Union any rights.
Portugal, as per International moral code, can at all times make use of its rights.
And the worst and it is to this I object most in that the lot of the people of Goa continues to be what it has been across the centuries, the lot of a subjugated people...
I know perfectly well that all over the world the intervention in Goa by the Indian Union has been understood as a flagrant aggression. I know too, that inspite of this, each and every shout of protest against this 'alarming military action' as noted by Adlai Stevenson, will die away without an echo on the threshold of the doors of UNO.
But I still hope. Anyone who is truly just and upright, has sufficient courage and strength, freeing oneself from one's emotions, will respect one's commitments and make up for one's mistakes.
This is the reason for my decision to come forward to tell Your Excellency, that it is up to the Goans and it behooves only to the Goans to decide their own future.
Therefore, as per moral and international laws, it is the duty of the two parties under the aegies of the UNO, to sign a treaty by which they compromise:
- The Indian Union to restore and respect the sovereignty of Portugal in Goa, Daman and Diu;
- and Portugal to grant to these territories full administrative and financial autonomy so that they evolve through democratic means and ways and come to achieve full sovereignty.
This is what I am crying for. It is also the echo of two voices from beyond the tomb: Gandhi and Tagore.
At your service, Sir,
A.A. Bruto da Costa, Margao, Goa. 15th
See my Commentary on Dr. Bruto da Costa's
Letter to Nehru.
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