The Goa Inquisition

The Goa Inquisition, Being a Quatercentenary Commemoration Study of the Inquisition in India is a book published by Bombay University Press and authored by Anant Priolkar. It is a narrative of the Goan Inquisition organised by the Portuguese rulers of Goa.

The Goa Inquisition
AuthorAnant Kakba Priolkar
SubjectGoa Inquisition
PublisherBombay University Press
Publication date


The book is divided into two parts. Part I, titled "The Goa Inquisition", is divided into ten chapters. The first two chapters detail the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition in Europe providing background material and context that would lead to the inquisition in India. A fictional story of unrequited love is used as the basis for the anti-Semitism of Tomas de Torquemada . The book also makes the origin of the Portuguese Inquisition based on the love of King Manuel I of Portugal for Princess Isabella of Aragon, instead of politics. (The arrival of Jews to Portugal after their expulsion from Spain was a security threat to the Kingdom of Portugal, because Sephardic Jews had an established reputation in Iberia for joining forces with Moors to overthrow Christian rulers.[1])

Chapter 3 begins with the advent of the Inquisition in India, with a discussion of the French spy Dellon's account of the inquisition in Chapter 4. The successive chapters describe the wars that led to the establishment of Portuguese rule in Goa, and the fictional massacre of Hindus during the Portuguese conquest of Goa in 1510. (Only the Bijapur Muslims were killed during the conquest, by both the Portuguese led by Afonso de Albuquerque and the local Hindus led by Timoji.[2])

Successive chapters in Part I also describe the forced conversion of Hindus to Christianity by the Goa Inquisition. Thus the book completely contradicts contemporary historical accounts of voluntary conversions of entire villages in Goa by the various religious orders (Dominicans, Jesuits and Franciscans),[3] but the book doesn't provide any contemporary basis for its version of history. The book details the organization and procedures of the Inquisition and the anti-Hindu laws that were passed in Goa during the inquisition banning Hindu religious ceremonies and customs from being continued by converted Hindus, as well as reducing the status of Hindus to second-class citizens by banning them from public gatherings and so on.

The book also discusses the various methods of torture used by the Inquisition, such as burning by sulphur, water-torture, rape, the use of pulleys to stretch victims and the "strappado" method of torture. The investigation of Agostino Borromeo from the University of La Sapienza in Roma into the Vatican archives and the subsequent 783-page report[4] has revealed that this part of Priolkar's book is completely baseless.

Part II discusses the accounts of the Inquisition given by Dellon[5] and Buchanan[6] in two separate chapters. Priolkar cites Buchanan as an authoritative source, although Buchanan's work was a Protestant polemic written in the 19th century that denounced Catholicism in Goa and it did not use any historical records.



  1. ^ Roth, Norman (1994), Jews, Visigoths and Muslims in medieval Spain : cooperation and conflict, pp.79–90, Leiden: Brill, ISBN 978-90-04-09971-5
  2. ^ Roger Crowley (2015). Conquerors: How Portugal Forged the First Global Empire. Faber and Faber.
  3. ^ Délio de Mendonça (1958). Conversions and Citizenry : Goa under Portugal, 1510-1610.
  4. ^ Agostino Borromeo (2003). L' inquisizione : atti del simposio internazionale: Città del Vaticano, 29-31 ottobre 1998. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.
  5. ^ Dellon, G.; Amiel, C.; Lima, A. (1997). L'Inquisition de Goa: la relation de Charles Dellon (1687). Editions Chandeigne.
  6. ^ Claudius Buchanan (1811). Christian Researches in Asia. Cambridge.