Dr.Alvaro de Loyola Furtado

IN MEMORIAM By Eduardo Faleiro We commemorate this year the twentyfifth death anniversary of an illustrious son of Goa, Dr. Alvaro de Loyola Furtado. He passed away on August 21, 1982. Dr. Loyola Furtado was a leader of the United Goans Party and a senior member of the first Legislative Assembly of Goa Daman and Diu. He was an outstanding parliamentarian. His learned interventions and impeccable dignity and decorum are recalled to this day. I met him barely two months before his demise. He had then spoken to me on the need to introduce some amendments to certain pieces of Central legislation which, he felt, were defectively drafted and I had to admit that there was much substance in his studied arguments. He asked me to take up the matter in Parliament. This was typical of the man. His concern was the concerns of the people. Not once, in the decade and half of our acquaintance, did I ever find him seeking personal advancement. His integrity and total involvement in the welfare of the community could never be questioned. He was the epithome of the gentleman – politician. Dr. Loyola Furtado left behind a plethora of scholarly writtings. His two major publications relate to issues that continue to besiege us. In ” O Direito na Propriedade Rustica das Comunidades Aldeanas” he dealt with the status and problems of our Comunidades. The Report of the Goa Land Reforms Commission (1963) states that some centuries ago, long before Goa came successively under the domination of Hindu, Muslim and Portuguese rule, a large number of families from across the Western Ghats abandoned their original homesteads on account of war, epidemic or famine and settled in Goa. They formed themselves into cooperative associations governed by heads of family who were known as gaunkars. These gaunkars reclaimed and brought under cultivation marshy and other village waste lands. The foundation of the Comunidade (or gaunkari, its original name) is based on collective ownership of land by a group of villagers. From the total produce a certain portion was earmarked for village welfare. The Government share in the produce was kept aside. The balance was distributed among the members as dividend (“jono” in Portuguese). Over a period of time, the Comunidades lost their original characteristics and declined into mere societies of rights holders (gaunkars) who are members only by accident of birth. The non-gaunkars who came subsequently and also contributed to the development of the village have no say in the Comunidade. The “jono” is paid to the descendants of the gaunkar even when they no longer reside in the village, are not concerned with the working of the Comunidade, nor render any service to it or to the village. It is estimated that at present over fifty percent gaunkars reside outside the jurisdiction of the Comunidade from which they take “jono”. Furthermore, the right of membership does not extend to the women in the family. The Comunidades have ceased to be collective farming societies. The village development activities once the preserve of gaunkaris, are now entrusted to the gram panchayat. The opinion as to how our Communidades should be reformed differs. Dr. Alvaro de Loyola Furtado wanted the autonomy of the Communidades to be fully restored and that Government should cease to interfere in their administration. Dr. H. D. Halarnakar, who has done extensive research on the subject, recommends that the Comunidades should be reorganized as agricultural cooperative societies. Whilst experts might differ as to the solution, there is agreement as to the need to review the Comunidades system so that they may truly fulfill the objectives that justify their existence. In “Os primordios do jornalism em Goa e no resto da India”, Dr. Loyola Furtado recalls the saga of the Konkani language. The offensive of the maratha troops led by Sambhaji on Santo Estevao, Salcete and Bardez almost put an end to the Portuguese rule in Goa. But for the sudden arrival of the mogul army which attacked the maratha territories elsewhere and impelled Sambhaji to return and abandon Goa, the history of this land would have been quite different, says Dr. Loyola Furtado. To prevent further challenge to the Portuguese “Estado da India”, the Viceroy D. Francisco de Tavora, conceived a two pronged strategy – transfer the capital to Marmagoa and lusitanise Goa completely, suppressing the local languages so that a linguistic barrier was created to separate Goa from the rest of India. In this frame of mind the Viceroy issued the decree (alvara) of June 27, 1684. The purpose of the decree was to eliminate the local languages from Goa and to replace them with Portuguese. The decree required that within three years Goans should abandon the use of local languages and take to the use of Portuguese. The decree was ratified by a royal decree dated March 17, 1687. The statement of its objects and reasons reads, “for reasons of political expediency including the preservation of Portuguese India, the decree (of the Viceroy) is approved”. Eminent Portuguese orientalist Cunha Rivara asserts that the religious order of the Franciscans had suggested the ban of the local languages. Jesuit historian Delio de Mendonca in his erudite book “Conversions and Citizenry” remarks that “the missionaries are often held responsible for the decadence of Konkani in the sixteenth century…The knowledge of the local language had became necessary to assume ecclesiastical posts, such as those of the parish priest during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. This exigency proved to be too serious an obstacle to the ambitious plans of the missionaries who, for too long, had assumed the reins of power without the knowledge of the local language. The missionary solution to this new and unpleasant situation was nothing short of demanding the suppression of the local languages. Then, in 1684, a decree issued by the Viceroy D. Francisco de Tavora, and soon after ratified by a royal decree suppressed Konkani in Goa and the local languages in other territories under Portuguese control. Later, some blamed only the Franciscans for the decree on suppression of local languages. This accusation, however, is questionable since the reading of events and context appears to be vitiated. But going by facts, all the religious orders seemed to have profited from this obnoxious decree”. The error of the Catholic Church in foisting an alien culture on the peoples of Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas is sought to be atoned in our time. Several Asian Episcopal Conferences have decried the foreigness of Christianity and urged a systematic inculturation of the Christian faith in all its aspects, from worship to theology, to priestly formation. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India seeks to find ways and means “so that the Church becomes truly Indian and Asian”. At the Asian Synod of 1998 some participating bishops asserted that “the Asian bishops are not branch secretaries waiting for instructions of the Vatican. We are a communion of the local churches”. Shortly after the Asian Synod, Joseph Ratzinger suggested as “the task for the future,” the decentralization of the power of the papacy and of the Roman curia so that the Asian Churches discover their own identity. In this scenario, it is surprising that in Goa, even in our villages with hundred percent Konkani speaking population, there are masses and other religious services in English. At the time of his death, Dr. Loyola Furtado was working on a treatise on the “Loyola Revolt” of September 21, 1890. On that fateful day, thirteen supporters of the “Partido Indiano” were killed by the Police forces of the then Government. The celebrated Jose Inacio de Loiola, the founder of the “Partido Indiano” and many others sought exile in India outside Goa. Dr. Alvaro de Loyola Furtado is no more. Yet, his memory lives and should endure to light up the path of the generations ahead. (The writer is a former Union Minister. He is presently Commissioner for NRI Affairs with a cabinet minister rank in the Government of Goa.)

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Uma resposta to “Dr.Alvaro de Loyola Furtado”

  1. Deepak D'Souza Says:

    Dev boro dees deum,
    I am currently writing an article on Alvaro de Loyola Furtado on Wikipedia. I have some doubts about his name. My understanding is that in Lusitanic names the child’s surname contains both the father’s and mothers’ paternal surnames(in that order). So when writing the only one surname the mothers name is ommited. So Should Alvaro’s short name be Alvaro de Loyola or Alvaro Furtado?

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