Landmarks in My Time


Author: Bertha Menezes Bragança

TBD00181 | PB | pp. 112 | 1992 | Bertha Menezes Bragança

Landmarks in My Time is a contains selected writings covering a wide range of topics from biographies and the freedom struggle to women and world peace.

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Landmarks In My Time is a book of essays written by a woman who was first and foremost a freedom fighter.

Berta Menezes Bragança was only 17 years old when the Goa Congress Committee was formed in 1928. Those were the very first stirrings of the nationalist movement in the Portuguese colony, and they struck an immediate chord in the young girl’s heart.

Those feelings remained the raison d’etre of her very existence from then till Goa was liberated by the Indian Army through Operation Vijay on 18 December 1961.

The first eight essays in this book provide an insiders view on the Goan freedom struggle and post-liberation politics in Goa. Tristao Bragança Cunha — father of Goan nationalism — has also been profiled.

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Bertha Menezes Bragança





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About the Author

Berta Menezes Bragança was born in Cuelim, Goa, on 17 December 1911. Daughter of the renowned writer and social thinker Luis de Menezes Bragança, she never underwent any formal education. But under the able tutelage of her patents she educated herself and acquired a fluent working knowledge of English, Konkani and Portuguese.

The humiliation her people were subjected to sowed in her a resentment for the Portuguese rulers. But it was her close association with her uncle, Tristao Bragança de Cunha that gave a direction to her discontent.

In 1929 she became a member of the Goa Congress Committee, an organisation set up to fight for Goa’s freedom from Portuguese colonialism.

In 1935 she joined the Adarsh High School in Margao, as a teacher for ten years, infusing her young pupils with patriotic spirit. However in 1946 her services were terminated because of her involvement in the freedom movement.

With this development she plunged whole-heartedly into the resistance movement by becoming a full timer and helping T B Cunha with his work. She subsequently became secretary of the Goa Youth League.

In 1947 she married Dr Antonio Furtado, after they had been friends for three years. But the couple soon had to flee Goa in 1950 as her husband refused to collaborate with the Portuguese rulers in denouncing Jawaharlal Nehru.

They left for Belgaum, where their house became refuge and meeting centre for all freedom fighters.

In 1953, she along with others started Free Goa, a bulletin giving news of the freedom struggle in Goa. Except for a brief period when the journal was edited by T B Cunha, it was Bertha who practically brought out the journal, although initially her husband’s name appeared in print as the editor. Free Goa became a rallying point for different forces opposing Portuguese colonial rule and was closed down in 1962, a year after Goa’s Liberation.

In 1961, Berta undertook an intensive tour in India to build up national support for the Goan freedom movement.

In the same year she attended the Afro-Asian Women’s Conference in Cairo and later went off to the USSR at the invitation of the Soviet women at the conference. She was able to build international solidarity with Goa’s liberation movement.

After Goa’s Liberation from colonial bondage in 1961, she settled down in Chandor where she undertook extensive developmental activities.

In 1980 she and her husband moved to a rented house in Margao. Seven years later her husband expired.

Today 81-year-old Berta lives a quiet, low-profile existence. Despite her deteriorating health and failing eyesight, she keeps track of current events and reacts to them through the newspapers.

To date she has published two books: one a biography of her father and the other a collection of short stories she wrote in the 1930s.

This third book contains selected writings by her, covering a wide range of topics from biographies and the freedom struggle, to women and world peace.


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