The Mhamai’s and Goa’s Neighbours: Commercial Links and Allied Interests


Author: S K Mhamai

PB | pp. 192 | 2007 | S K Mhamai

The Mhamai’s and Goa’s Neighbours takes a look at the Kamat Mhamai’s intense trade and other activities with the help of correspondence.

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The trading family of Kamat Mhamais of Goa have been an important role player in the economic, maritime and cultural history of Goa under the Portuguese colonial rule. I Shankar Hari Kamat Mhamai is confident that from A.D. 1775-1925, it was one of the most well known country trading house between China to Lisbon and Bengal to Brazil. The rich treasure trove of Mhamai Kamat house papers preserved at Porvorim’s Xavier Centre of Histoncal research (XCHR) offer ample proof of the family’s intercontinental, trans-oceanic trade network and their regional diplomatic influence. The family name is derived from the Goddess Mahamaya. The worship of the fearful Tantric goddess Mahamaya (along with goddesses Bhagawati and Mahalaxmi) began in Goa during the period of the Imperial Rashtrakutas and their feudatories ruling from ancient Chandrapur – the south Konkan Shilaharas in the 10th century. The Kamats of Guirdolim could have been settled during the Shilhara regime itself. At least for six centuries they were engaged in the management of the local Khazan lands and probably in small agro-horticultural commodity trade. Perhaps during this period they were exposed to the modi script which permits one to write at a faster speed without lifting the hand. The foundation of agriculture, mainly rice farming in Goa, dates back to 3500 years ago.

This book takes a look at the Kamat family intense trade activities and the diplomatic space they enjoyed in the 18’th and early 19’th centuries with the help of documentary evidence.

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S K Mhamai


S K Mhamai





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About the Author

Shankar Hari Kamat Mhamai was born in Verem, Reis Magos, Bardez, Goa. After his initial studies in Marathi, he obtained M.A. and Ph.D in History from the University of Bombay.

In his long and distinguished career in the Directorate of Archives & Archaeology, he wrote and edited a number of books including the Sawants of Wadi and the Portuguese (Concept, New Delhi 1984) and Mahamaya ” Devasthan : Its Past & Present, Goa 1994. He has many published articles to his credit and was awarded a Research Grant by the Indian Council of Historical Research (Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, New Delhi). He was the Vice President of Mahalakshmi Temple, Panaji. Dr. Mhamai was the Director of Archives & Archaeology, Govt. of Goa, and also Executive Editor of the Goa Gazetteer Department (October 1999 – April 2002).


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