On June 13, 1955, Jagannath Rao Joshi, a Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader along with the RSS volunteer of Karnataka, launched the Goa Satyagraha. Joshi was accompanied by a team of about 3,000 workers, including women. On reaching the Goa border, the Portuguese resorted to lathi charge and firing on the Satyagrahis.
On August 15, 1955, more than 5,000 Satyagrahis were fired upon by the Portuguese army deployed in Goa, killing about 51 people. Many such movements continued till 1961.Sudhir Phadke ‘Babuji’, a musician and volunteer famous for the Goa movement, helped on cultural grounds.
The Rashtra Sevika Samiti also participated in the Goa Liberation Movement led by Saraswati Apte ‘Tai’ and arranged for food, etc., of all satyagrahi groups gathered in Pune. The number of Satyagrahis of Jan Sangh was almost four times that of the combined protesters of all other parties.
United Front of Goans (UFG)
The United Front of Goans (UFG) organization came into existence in Mumbai. Dadar was liberated by United Front of Goans and Nagar Haveli was liberated by 40-50 Sangh volunteers led by Vinayak Rao Apte along with the activists from Daman and Goa of Azad Gomantak Dal led by Prabhakar Vitthal Senari and Prabhakar Vaidya. The pressure to liberate Goa was mounting while Prime Minister Nehru was looking for a diplomatic solution. Hewas of the opinion that since Portugal was a member of NATO at that time, and Kashmir issue is also at loggerheads, in such a situation, military action on the Part of Bharat is not appropriate. However, rejecting Prime Minister Nehru’s diplomatic path the Movement for the liberation of Goa started in 1955.
During the initial days of the movement, Raja Bhai Mahakal died of bullet injuries. After this tragic incident, the people appealed to the Government of Bharat to help the agitators, but contrary to taking a positive approach towards them, the Government decided to ban the activists.
Atrocities on Satyagrahis
Due the atrocities of Portuguese administration the condition of All India Jana Sangh Minister ‘Karnataka Kesari’ Jagannath Rao Joshi and Maharashtra Jansangh Vice President Anna Saheb Kavdi had become very alarming. In addition, two Satyagrahis of the Jansangh group which was led by Jagannath Rao Joshi, died as a result of the terrible tortures, one of which was Amirchand Gupta of Mathura. (Panchjanya, 1955)
Panchjanya report on sacrifice of Satyagrahis
On August 15, when the 9th anniversary of independence was being celebrated all over Bharat, the beloved, brave patriot sons of the Akhand Bharat were marching ahead facing the guns of the barbaric Portuguese and were constantly fired upon in a fierce manner. Not merely one or two but 51 brave heroes sacrificed their lives on the mother’s altar that day. The number of injured reached around 300. In a small area, such a large number of unarmed people have been killed in a day, hardly an example of this can be found in the history of the world.
On August 15, when the sun rose in the sky, a group of Satyagrahis entered into Goa with the slogan of “Portuguese Quit India”. Portuguese soldiers posted on the border continued to fire upon incessantly on unarmed Satyagrahis. Satyagrahi continued their march while laying down their life one after the other. There was a race to give the supreme sacrifice. Approximately, 5000 Satyagrahis entered the Goa border, out of which about 51 were martyred on the spot and more than 300 injured. Women displayed more valor than the men showed in this non-violent struggle. The bravery of 40-year-old Subhadra Bai reminded one of the Queen of Jhansi. She took the flag from the male Satyagrahi and presented a wonderful example by taking a bullet on her chest. (Panchjanya, August 22, 1955)
Jan Sangh Public Meeting and Deendayal Upadhyaya’s Speech
A huge public meeting was organized by Jan Sangh in Delhi at Rajendra Nagar where while paying homage to the sacrifices demand to the Government was made to take police action
Addressing the gathering, Deendayal Upadhyaya said, “The Portuguese regime wants to stop Indians from agitating in Goa by intimidating the people by barbaric atrocities, but the people of Bharat are not afraid. They will not bow down to Portuguese atrocities at all. The Jansangh will further strengthen the movement by sending a large number of Satyagrahis.”
JanSangh General Secretary Deendayal Upadhyaya had drawn attention to the death of Amir Chand and demanded the safety of Satyagrahis like Jagannath Rao Joshi etc. by sending a telegram to Home Minister Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant. (Panchjanya, 1955)
Shri Guruji demands Nehru Government to provide police assistance to Goa Liberation Movement
In a statement, RSS Sarsanghchalak Shri Madhavrao Sadashivrao Golwalkar (Guruji) said, “There will be no better opportunity to take police action in Goa and liberate Goa. This will enhance our international prestige and also give lessons to the nations around us who are always threatening us.
The Government of Bharat has backstabbed the Liberation Movement by announcing that it would not support the Goa Liberation Movement. The Government of Bharat should respond to this inhuman firing on Indian citizens and take measures to free the part of the motherland which is still languishing in the slavery of foreigners.” (Panchjanya, August 22, 1955)
Portugal Government announces some reforms but Jan Sangh stay firmson its stand
All India Jana Sangh General Secretary Deendayal Upadhyaya’s statement against Portugal Government’s announcement to reform colonies:
“The Portuguese Government has announced some reforms according to which an organization of a House of Representatives has been assured for the governance of Goa, Daman and Diu. This is nothing but a move to suppress the growing goodwill of the people of the world towards the liberation movement and to neutralize the whole issue. The problem faced by Goa and the People of Bharat is not to develop any particular kind governance but to build a national unity for a united Bharat. The people of Goa and other Portugal colonies are constantly struggling to reclaim their motherland. Therefore, any representative regime which is formed under the Foreign Governor General can never fulfil the above aspirations.
In any case, this declaration of reforms has proved the success of the liberation movement, because arbitrary Portuguese rule has been forced to initiate confidence building measures. This is an old and corrupt tactic of imperialist powers which cannot last long against the rising storm of nationality. The Portuguese will have to leave Bharat completely. It is in their interest to look at the cycle of events on the pages of history and leave the country following Britain and France, who left before they were forced to leave the country.
Therefore, it seems unnecessary to discuss the reforms. Freedom fighters will continue to struggle until these settlements are fully joined with Bharat.” (Panchjanya, July 18, 1955)
Congress resolution and Jan Sangh’s reply
The centre of the Goa-Mukti movement was the Capital of Bharat, Delhi also along with Poona, Belgaum and Panjim. Every day some public events on the subject were held in the capital. While various parties in Bharat are participating in the Goa Satyagraha, the Congressmen stayed away from the agitation as per the orders of the Congress President.
On July 23, 1955, the Congress Working Committee met to consider the question. In which the Congress passed a resolution which had four main points: (1) The Goan movement should mainly be run by the People of Goa, (2) A large number of Satyagrahis from Bharat should not participate (3) The problem of Goa should be solved peacefully, and (4) Goa will become the part of Bharat.
The Jan Sangh termed the above as contradictory to each other and all the points as baseless and erroneous. According to Jan Sangh, Goa being a part of India, Goa’s independence is part of Bharat’s independence and therefore it is primarily the duty of the people of Bharat who have become free to strive for the freedom of their brothers who are still bound by the trap of subjugation.
The Jana sangh stated, “Even six lakh people of Goa did not make any less sacrifices in the freedom movement. More than 3,000 Satyagrahis were arrested during the Satyagraha. By this ratio, nineteen million people should have been jailed for Bharat ‘s independence. The brothers of Goa have paid a price and are still continuing to pay. It is a gross injustice to them to repeatedly to run this movement on their own, we should also keep in mind that the people of Goa can make more sacrifices, if they are convinced that the Government and the public will extend help to them. But the history so far has been the opposite. The Government of India has always duped them.”
Jansangh said further, how can the urge to resolve the problem of Goa peacefully and stop a large number of Satyagraha go together. The truth is that Portugal does not understand the language of peace. It is a totalitarian regime that is working with terrorist measures not only in Goa but also in Portugal. Satyagraha is also going on as there is unilateral peace. Portuguese are only creating unrest by committing heinous atrocities. If the Government of India does not want to take police action, why is Jan satyagraha banned? The Congress cannot answer it.
The Congress claims that Goa will remain a part of Bharat is a representation of truth. Today, it does not need to be announced rather it is necessary to formulate a policy according to which Goa will become a part of Bharat. The Congress has betrayed the country in this regard at the moment and tried to stab the back of the movement in the words of a leader of the Goa movement. (Panchjanya, August 1, 1955)
First victory of Satyagrahis and pressure on Government to take police action, other parties supported Congress
After the Congress resolution, it becomes clear that the main responsibility of the movement was on the opposition parties. Though the Communist Party had demanded police action for the liberation of Goa, Mr. Gopalan welcomed the Congress Working Committee’s proposal in the public meeting. Ashok Mehta and Sucheta Kripalani also joined the Congress.
Bharatiya Jana Sangh President Prem Nath Dogra wrote several letters to leaders of all parties. Most parties distanced themselves from supporting the Jan Sangh for the liberation of Goa. The Jan Sangh demanded that an all-India committee should be formed. Congress members were also trying to create confusion in the minds of the people that the Government’s policy was fine but there was nothing left after the Congress Working Committee passed the resolution.
Respecting the sentiments of the Satyagrahis, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru also made some changes in his Goa policy. He has announced that the Portuguese Embassy in India will be closed from August 8, 1955.Prime Minister Nehru had also admitted that Portugal was not ready to negotiate.
According to Jan Sangh “Police action or peaceful Jan satyagraha are the only two routes left after the agreement is not reached and the Government of India decides to close the Portugal embassy. Surprisingly, Prime Minister Nehru is not ready for both of them. In such a situation, a deadlock occurs. If the people of India put more pressure on the Nehru Government, it can be forced to take active steps. (Panchjanya, August 1, 1955)
International Situation and India
JanSangh’s stand on the International situation:
The first question is-when the Government of Bharat says that the problem of Goa will be solved by international pressure, the countrymen would like to know how many more countries are there in the International arena at the moment which seem to be ready to put pressure on Portugal in favor of India? We know that even when non-violent and unarmed Indian Satyagrahis were massacred in Goa in broad daylight, no so called giant nation of the world said any word against them.
The Goa movement has been going on for so long, but none of the ‘four elders’ have said anything in favor of Bharat. Burma, Hindesia, Peking have reacted a little in favor of Bharat, but it is unlikely to have any impact on Portugal.
The second question related to this is that India is called the ‘honorable’ member of the Commonwealth, but on the other hand, we see that the British response to the Question of Goa has appeared against India instead of in the favor. Some British letters have stabbed Bharat in the back instead of doing justice to Bharat on the Goa question, and otherwise it seems that the response to these anti-India letters reflects the British Government’s unrevealed response.
That is to say, the British press has spitted poison against India on the question of Goa more than the US, and the funny part is what India is getting it against remaining in the British Commonwealth. Not only that, even when it’s just rights are hijacked in Goa, the British Government remains mischievously silent and its newspapers venomously continue to speak against India and advocate the mischievous acts of Bharat’s enemies.
Shouldn’t we learn some lesson in this situation? Does India not need to seriously reconsider the question of not having relations with the British Commonwealth?
Suhrawardy, a prominent Pakistani politician, has advised Prime Minister Nehru to stop the Goa Satyagraha because he argues that colonialism cannot be ‘eradicated from external aggression.’ Not only that, he even said that ‘if the Nehru government considers the entry of Bharatiya Satyagrahis in to Goa appropriate for the liberation of Goa, will it allow Pakistanis to enter Kashmir for Kashmir liberation? Here, considering Suhrawardy’s above suggestions completely baseless and unnatural, we want to state that the Nehru Government should not ignore the mischief of the Pak press and politicians and the anti-India talk and give them the befitting reply. (Panchjanya, August 29, 1955)
Prime Minister Nehru’s laxity: Jan Sangh’s stand
Another aspect to the problem which needs to be considered is what the Government of India is doing for the comprehensive and stormy propaganda that is essential to create world opinion in favor of Bharat quickly and accurately. We think our propaganda system is, in this sense, very relaxed, disorganized and unorganized.
Even after the Portuguese resorted to arbitrary firing and many other atrocities on unarmed and peaceful Satyagrahis who participated in the Goa liberation movement, the attitude of the Government of Bharat to continue rattling the song of peace and non-violence is indicative of what? Readers should think themselves. Either it has to be said that the Nehru Government does not consider it a national insult and therefore does not take any action to avenge it or say that it does not accept its duty and responsibility at all.
On the other hand, it can be said that the Government is taking undue advantage of the generosity and tolerance of the Bharatiya people. We can confidently say that if a problem like Goa had been faced by the British nation today and the Government there, had a lax faith and weak attitude like the Nehru Government, Government could not last even two days. It must have collapsed, but it is only as a result of the generosity of the Indian people or lack of political consciousness that the Nehru Government is stable despite its weak policy on Goa. (Panchjanya, August 29, 1955)
Impact of Jan Sangh’s Satyagraha
On December 19, 1961, the Indian Army unfurled the tricolour in Goa, Daman and Diu. It was named Operation Vijay which lasted for 36 hours. Portugal’s Governor General Vasalo E. Silva surrendered before Indian Army Chief PN Thapar. Thus Goa became the part of the Republic of India through Jan Sangh, RSS and Indian Army. Goa was granted statehood on May 30, 1987 while Daman and Diu remained Union Territories.
Goa Liberation Day is celebrated on December 19.