still dividing and conquering

February 7, 2010

The Portuguese conquered parts of Goa in 1510. Unlike the British, who were primarily interested in economic benefit, the Portuguese colonized their territories using forcible culture change. The most common conversion was religious – meat (especially beef) was introduced to their diet and Catholic services were given in the native language.

They pitted people against each other by giving higher-paying jobs and authoritative positions to the newly converted as an incentive for conversion and further culture change. This led the Catholics of Goa to act superior to the Hindus and the Hindus to react similarly. Although Goa won independence in 1961, the Portuguese legacy of divisiveness is still alive and well here. They are still able to divide and conquer the Goans without even having to occupy the state – superiority between the Catholics and Hindus is still a dominant structure here.

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