History for all

History for all

The Xavier Centre of Historical Research (XCHR), Porvorim is all set to release a book ‘Public History of Goa’ which is a collection of 20 selected ‘History Hour’ lectures conducted at the institute. NT BUZZ spoke to the director of XCHR and one of the editors of the book, Fr Anthony Da Silva


For many years, the Xavier Centre of Historical Research at Porvorim has actively been involved in promoting research and study in history and related disciplines. It has also been hosting lectures, seminars, publications, exhibitions, film screenings, and other activities. The latest offering by the centre is the launch of a new book ‘Public History of Goa’ which is a collection of 20 selected lectures hosted as part of their initiative ‘History Hour’.

“The book is an outcome of series of lectures which we had at XCHR. The lectures reflected upon different aspects of Goan society relating to history, heritage, politics, culture, economy, language and literature etc. Several speakers from varied academic and non-academic background shared their research, experience during the ‘History Hour’,” says director of the XCHR centre, Fr Anthony Da Silva. Fr Anthony has edited the book along with Fr Savio Abreu and Fr Rinald D’Souza.

By releasing this book, the centre also seeks to make history available to the general public, adds Fr Anthony. “We have crossed 100 lectures as part of the ‘History Hour’ series and therefore decided to release the book so that we could make history available to all,” he says. He further states that the book is not restricted to a particular period of rule but covers varied topics which are quite informative and give an insight into the past as well as present scenario.

The book does not delve into the technical and academic part of history but gives an idea about the evolving culture, politics and identity of Goa.

Researchers like Delio Mendonca, Prajal Sakhardande, Celsa Pinto, Edgar Ribeiro, Heta Pandit, Subodh Kerkar, Luis Dias, Alan Machado, Sushila Mendes, Savio Abreu, Carmo D’Souza, Themistocles D’Silva, Wendell Rodricks, Ramanth Naik, Tomazinho Cardozo, Rochell Pinto, Paul Melo E Castro, Andre Antonio Pereira, Maria De Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues have shared their research in the book.

“If you look at the topics they are all very light themes. You can learn about art of Goa from Heta Pandit and Subodh Kerkar. Heta has focused on Kaavi art which you can find rendered on temple walls and in sacred spaces of Hindu homes. Similarly, Subodh talks about visual art and his journey about MOG creation and more,” adds Fr Anthony.

Similarly, Alan Machado talks about migration of Goans to Mangalore and explores the political and religio-economic factors that led to the same while Savio Abreu has analysed the controversial film of 2004 on ‘Goa’s struggle for freedom’ which created a lot of havoc among people. Other themes include language, identity, and colonialism.

And according to Fr Anthony, history is relevant in today’s era.

“For us history is important not just in recalling past memories, events and dates, but it also helps us to look at who we are today. What we are today is an outcome of our past,” he says.

Understanding the history of Goa is also important, he says. “The state which was once called ‘Golden Goa’ and ‘Paradise’ has seen invasion of several dynasties. Many wanted to capture Goa like the Mughals and the Marathas, however it was the Portuguese who succeeded,” he says. “Today, it’s no longer the Portuguese but a lot of other cultures and people who are coming into the state. There is an impact and influence that can be seen. Thus the culture is evolving and over the years things will change.”

(The book will be released today at 5:30 p.m. at Xavier Centre of Historical Research, Porvorim at the hands of Vice Chancellor of Goa University, Varun Sahni.)