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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

The Lusitanian In Hind

Francisco Luis Gomes, Goan polymath, was one of our earliest patriots. He can’t lie forgotten.

The Lusitanian In Hind
Illustration by Sorit
The Lusitanian In Hind
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

“I was born in India, cradle of poetry, philosophy and history, today its tomb,” wrote the young Indian. “I belong to that race which wrote the Mahabharata and invented Chess—two conceptions that bear in them the eternal and the infinite.” Yes, his homeland’s weakness had allowed it to be ruled by colonial powers—“India is imprisoned”—but the young visionary believed in its resurgence: “I pray for India, liberty and light.”

Given that these sentences were written in 1861, it would be natural enough to assume that their author was a Bengali Hindu, writing either in Calcutta or in London. In fact, it was a young Goan Catholic in Lisbon who composed these stirring phrases. The Goan, Francisco Luis Gomes, also published a novel in Portuguese, Os Brahmanes (The Brahmins), that can claim to be one of the earliest Indian novels. Many Goans regard Gomes, who died in 1869, as their land’s greatest son—a homegrown version of Vivekananda, Tilak and Gokhale. Not only have most Indians not...

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