The Idea of Constitutional Liberalism in Goa (HB)


Author: Celsa Pinto

9789395795005 | HB | pp. 184 | 2022 | Goa 1556

The Idea of Constitutional Liberalism in Goa helps us to under Bernando Peres da Silva, the first and only governor of Portuguese India’s Diálogo shedding light on his political ideology.

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This monograph is an attempt to understand Bernardo Peres da Silva’s text Diálogo entre um doutor em philosofia e um Portuguez da India na cidade de Lisboa sobre a Constituição Política do Reino de Portugal, suas vantagens e meios de mantel-a published in 1832 at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For some reason, Peres da Silva is an ignored and forgotten entity, despite being Goa’s first and five-time elected Parliamentarian (1822-1844) and the first Indigenous Governor of Portuguese India (1835), an honour no native had received in the European imperialist worid.

Written against a backdrop of crises, revolution and war within Portugal and its empire, Diálogo offers Peres da Silva’s political ideology in a reforming framework, with a two-pronged strategy, namely to uproot the evils that afflicted Goa at that time — political despotism, absence of education and prevailing prejudices of race, caste and creed – and to make the people of Goa embrace constitutional liberalism for their betterment and prosperity.

Diálogo throws up ideas of ‘constitution’, ‘rule of law’, ‘separation of powers’, ‘separation of State and Church’, ‘independent judiciary and jury system’, ‘freedom of expression’, ‘free press’ – concepts which are part and parcel of most modern democracies. The renowned scholar C.A. Bayly in his book Recovering Liberties. indian Thought in the Age of Liberalism and Empire ranks Diálogo alongside the works of Rammohan Roy, as an Asian statement on constitutional liberalism.

This work that translates and decodes Diálogo, makes an important contribution to literary and politico-legal colonial history of Goa. It would be valuable to scholars of History, Literature, Political Science and Sociology.

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Celsa Pinto







Year of Publication:



Goa 1556





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About the Author

Celsa Pinto is an author, historian and the former Director of Education, Government of Goa. She spent almost 40 years in education (1972-2011) and more than 35 years in Indo-Portuguese historical research (1987 till date).


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