Goa’s Inquisition: Facts-Fiction-Factoids


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Author: Alan Machado

9788195632930 | PB | pp. 329 | 2022 | Goa 1556, ATC Publishers

The book, Goa’s Inquisition: Facts-Fiction-Factoids, is an attempt to understand how and why the Inquisition came to Goa, the way it functioned, and its influence on the population at large.

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The Inquisition was an institution, one of many, entrusted by the king of Portugal to consolidate Portugal’s cultural and economic expansion into new worlds. Apart from being a guardian of religious orthodoxy, it attempted to mould diverse and widespread subject populations into one nation by imposing a uniform social and cultural code modelled after that in Portugal. The justifications notwithstanding, the Inquisition soon developed a reputation of being uniquely unrelenting and sadistic, a reputation that is belied by archival sources.

A careful reading of documents still preserved in the archives portray the Goa Inquisition as an emerging modern judicial system often fairer than other contemporary courts. A system that was governed by well-drafted regulations and implemented by qualified officials appointed after due diligence.

Nonetheless, a book on the Goan Inquisition must explain how it acquired its reputation as an engine of relentless persecution while simultaneously explaining the conditions under which it came to Goa, the norms followed by it, and its influence on the local population. This book attempts to do just that.


Alan Machado







Year of Publication:



Goa 1556, ATC Publishers





Country of Origin:


About the Author

Alan Joseph Machado (Prabhu) belongs to the Macedo (Machado) Prabhu family, originally ganvkars of Aldona, in Bardez, Goa. The Prabhu family was converted to Christianity sometime after 1605, and emigrated to Mermajal, near Mangalore circa 1680, along with a significant part of Bardez s population. The family was taken captive by Tipu Sultan to Srirangapatna in 1784; only João survived. Alan s interest in the traumatic history of his family, most of it forgotten, has led him onward through a long journey of which Slaves of Sultans is the latest and most comprehensive. Alan is an engineer by profession and has worked in Australia and the UK. Sarasvati’s Children is Alan’s first serious attempt to explore the history of Mangalore’s Catholic community of Brahman origin. It takes us through the traditions of the migrations of the Sarasvat Brahmans to Goa, the conversion of sections of their community to Christianity, their further migration to Kanara, and their deportation to Srirangapatna by Tipu. The Captivity of 1784: Re-appraising Causes and Conclusions is a booklet that examines the Tipu s motives in ordering the Captivity. Shades within Shadows, a novel, uses simple and elegant language, with a rhyme and rhythm that adds a lilting touch to its prose, to tell a very human story of human foibles and quirks, weakness and inner strength, adversity and survival, exuberant youth and the loneliness of the ageing, and death. Set in the period from Tipu s arrival in Mangalore to the Captivity, it delves into the Mangalorean Catholic community s life in Tulunadu s rich cultural world. It is, in the words of Mangalorean.com, a blend of raw history and mature narrative.


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