History, Memory and Harmony

There is a difference between Memory and History. Memory is weak somewhat wage , fluid and can be manipulated. History on the other hand is more robust and cannot be easily manipulated. There is a strong relationship between social memory and history. Today we we seem to been haunted by traumatic memory that is disturbing our present. Goa is also not free from this troubled raising of the past. The promise of building of the temples brought down by the Portuguese and allotment of the 20 crores to built them has led several right thinking Goans to question the need of such a move in out days. It has not deterred some fanatics as we can see today there is an attempt to say that old Church in Saocoale as the Vijaydurga temple brought down by the Portuguese. It is surprising that what stands as a clear Church facade with western architectural motifs is claimed to be the remains of Hindu temple by Hindutva hot heads.

We all have painful memories but this does not mean that we can use th to wound each other. Our past is full of distruptions but this does not mean that we have the right to hurt and wound sentiments of innocent people. What is sought to do to be done is this case is to present manipulated memory as history in Sancoale. As far as it is the memory of some painful loss we do sympathize and stand with today’s Hindu community but the facts of History in the instant case are not linked with the site where the facade of the old Church of Sa0caole once stood. The facade of this Church still stands in front of us and in no way reassemble any temple architecture. Besides, the existence of the Church is established and recorded by historians. Hence, it is distrortion of history to say that the it is site of a temple of godess Vijai Durga.

The Church under our discussion existed from 1566 AD. It begun as a chapel build by the Jesuits and dedicated to our Lady of Good Health. It was later expanded into a Church by goakars of Saocaole who found It difficult to go to the then parish Church in Cortalim. The new Church was established in 16 06. This is manifested by the tome stone of prominent ganvkar brahmins like the Cunha, Menezes and Cardozo. This can be still discerned with the Church precincts. The Church was built on the community land. later due to plagues most of the upper caste Catholics shifted base to Benaulim, Loutolim and Varca. In 1834 the Church was destroyed by fire and a Chapel un Anaulim was raised to be the Church of Sacoale in 1839.

The site of the old Church acquired importance with Joseph Vaz, the son of the soil being declared saint. It is established that St. Joseph Vas wrote a letter of bondage to Mary, the mother of Jesus with the ink of his blood in the same Church on 5th August 1677. It is because of this spiritual importance that the feast of St. Joseph Vaz was shifted at the site of thd old Church. The sifting did disturb some of the local Catholics. This discontent was preyed upon by some opportunists neibouring dweller who saw it as an opportunity to grab land. When this was not possible new theory of it being a site of the ruins of Godess Vijai Durga temple was floated . The entire controversy seem to be a land grab issue. It is simply projected as a religious site by some local Chalatan. We do have a challenge to fight the fire ff Hindutva in these days

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao