All you need to know about Goa Liberation Day

All you need to know about Goa Liberation Day

Representative image. (Photo/Pixabay)

Regarded as one of the most significant days in the history of Goa, also considered as the forgotten war for freedom, December 19 commemorates the freeing of Goa from Portuguese rule by the Indian Armed Forces and the complete independence of the Indian subcontinent. It is termed as 'Goa Liberation Day'. 

While India gained independence on August 15, 1947, Goa was still mouldering under 450 years of the Portuguese rule. The Portuguese were among the first ones to colonise parts of India and refused to give up their hold over Goa, Daman, and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli even post Indian independence. 

Although the liberation movement began early in the 20th century itself, it gained momentum in the 1940s, drawing inspiration from the Indian independence movement. 
Following an array of unsuccessful talks and diplomatic attempts with the Portuguese, military intervention was considered to be the only option by the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The military operation was set to be conducted from December 18, 1961. Taking the Portuguese by force, the 'armed action', code named 'Operation Vijay' (meaning 'Victory') involved strikes by Indian Navy, Airforce, and Army for over 36 hours. 

Indian troops reclaimed the Goan territory with little to no resistance and forced General Manuel Antonio Vassalo e Silva to sign the certificate of surrender, thus ending 451 years of the exploitative rule of the Portuguese over the territory on December 19, 1961. 

While Indians celebrated their victory, the move received a mixed response from the international communities. Though many praised the move and stood by India, many others including Portugal condemned the 'invasion' of Goa by the Indian troops. 

The day is celebrated with a plethora of festivities in Goa. It starts off with a torchlight procession from three different locations which ultimately culminate at the Azad Maidan. At this place, tribute and homage is paid to the martyrs. Apart from that, various cultural programmes like Sugam Sangeet are also conducted to honour the occasion. 

As the country's smallest state enters its 58th year of liberation, it remains a blend of the cultures of Portugal while retaining a distinctive position of his own. The state has made milestones in the tourism sector and also maintains its position as having the highest per capita income among all the states and union territories of India.