The East Indian Community

Original Inhabitants of Bombay, Salsette & Thana.

 

HISTORICAL SKETCH    

By John De Mello L.S.O. J.P.

 





The Bombay East Indian Association was established on 26th May 1887, and it completes fifty years of its existence on the same date this year. This account is intended to commemorate the happy event of the Golden Jubilee in a written record.  As explained in the foreword, the insufficiency of material necessarily makes the sketch lacking in fullness of detail. It will be a distinct gain if the inadequacy leads to the systematic preservation by the Association of all East Indian records at a central position as the Bandra Gymkhana and the cultivation of an enlightened historical sense.  As in the case of other contributors, I hold myself responsible for this narrative.

 

NUMBER

The Association represents the East Indian Community which consists of about a hundred thousand souls. This estimate was made by the Editor of the East Indian Standard and was calculated as follows:-

Cavel and Umarkhadi                                                          -                               3,500

Mazagon and Byculla                                                         -                               1,000

Mahim, Dadar, Worli and Sion                                          -                               6,000

Bandra                                                                                   -                            15,000

Kurla                                                                                      -                               3,500

Salsette Rural                                                                        -                            35,000

Juhu                                                                                       -                               1,000

Santa Cruz                                                                             -                               2,000

Vile Parle                                                                                -                               3,000

Thana                                                                                     -                               3,500

Bassein and Virar                                                                 -                            25,000

Kolaba District                                                                     -                               2,000

                                                                                                                           -----------

                                                                                                Total                 1,00,500                       

In 1891 the population was estimated by the Bombay East Indian at about 60,000 and this figure was adopted by our people. The list of parishes with population, given in Appendix A, may throw further light on our number as also the census figures. It is an intriguing subject and calls for all the research that can be devoted to it.

 

ORIGIN & HOMELANDS

The East Indian homelands, of which a map is given in Appendix C, are in what were the three islands of Bombay, Salsette and Bassein, which form the environs of the City of Bombay and they make the largest aggregation of Indian Christian in or near an Indian city and also include Uran and Korlai (Chaul) in the Kolaba District. The East Indians were converted to Christianity four centuries ago by  ‘Portuguese Missionaries’ who according to the custom of the time gave them Portuguese names, and they are Roman Catholic in religion. According to the Government Gazetteer of the Thana District they are descendants of the converts first made by the Franciscans, and notably Antonio do Porto (1535-1548), who, principally in Bandra converted 5000 persons and afterwards by the Jesuits under St.Francis Xavier (1506-1552) and his successors. To bring the information up to date, it may be stated that the higher castes, Brahmin, Prabhu and others have been so merged that they cannot be distinguished. The other sections, largely maintain their individuality. But the rigid Hindu caste system is not insistent. There is commensality. All freely eat together. As there is a rise in the social scale, inter-marriages take place. There is no religious prohibition to bar the intermingling. Indications are not wanting that at no distant date there will be a homogeneous people. To this end the existence of a common corporate body as the Association will contribute in no small measure. The East Indians are truly children of the soils and as such have a predominant stake in the land.

 

LANGUAGE, CUSTOMS & DRESS

The language of the bulk of the people is the local Marathi dialect. Among the educated classes English is the home speech. These too, though Indians in essentials have taken to Europeanized manners and the men like other Indians with English education dress in the European fashion. Some East Indian women, who adopted European costumes are reverting to t he more graceful sari. The customs of the bulk of the people can be gathered from some of the contributions attached. The drink habit has almost disappeared, not only through economic reasons but from a saner conception.  Inordinate expenditure on baptisms, marriages and funerals has much diminished, although there is room for reform. There is at present a welcome movement in Bassein in this direction.

 

LOYALTY BY MILITARY SERVICE

The East Indians are the earliest subjects of the British Crown in this country in as much as Bombay by its cession in 1661 was the first foothold the British acquired in India. In the past the Community was in the forefront in the manifestation of its loyalty. This was notably evidenced by the formation, as its own cost, of a militia of a thousand strong, composed of the youth and flower of the Community in connection with the threatened invasion of this country by Napolean Bonaparte from Egypt. For these services the special acknowledgements for the Bombay Government were received in the following Order of Council of 8th April 1806:-

“The Governor in Council cannot announce to the Portuguese (East Indian) Militia the period of their being relieved of their present avocations without making public acknowledgment of the great utility derived from their having for several years past discharged a considerable portion of the duty, of this Corps during the long course of fatiguing service they have thus had to perform their individual and collective duties in respect  to which will accordingly be favourably represented to the Hon’ble the Court of Directors in addition to the creditable notice taken of them to the Governor General.”

At that time, as stated by the O Patriota, to which reference is made further on, Sir, Miguel de Lima, a British Knight, and his brother Thomas de Souza, and other Native Christians, now East Indians from the highest to the lowest, the very cultivators and toddy drawers included, identified their interest with those of Government by voluntary lenders of money, while other classes remained in the back ground. A document in the reign of King George III is extant granting the rank of Captain in the Mahim Division of the Militia to Mr. Pascoal DeMello of Dadar.

This loyalty has been maintained to t he present time. The following account of recent military services in the Great War, the Afghan War and the Waziristan Campaign from 1914 to 1922 is taken from correspondence in the local Press.

Dr. (Captain) W.M.D’Souza who worked as an Indian Medical Service Officer on active service, wrote that nearly 60 percent of the then medical men of our Community – Civil and Military Assistant Surgeons, Sub-Assistant  Surgeons and Private Practitioners – volunteered for military services and served as Officers in the Indian Medical Service and other medical services at various fronts, one of whom, Dr. Ben Athaide, obtained the Military Cross for  service at the Waziristan front. A fair percentage of our engineers also served on the Royal Naval Transports and other engineering sections in danger zones, and here an engineer, Mr. C. Rodricks, in a transport lost his life at sea due to enemy action. The Community can also count many others, in numbers running into a few thousands, who volunteered into other branches of services connected with t he late wars, such as the Defence Force, Railways Railways, Erabarkation, Postal, Labour Corps and so on and who were admitted as officers, non-commissioned officers, combatants and non-combatants and who have seen active service on various fronts in and out India, Dr. D’Souza came across a batch of about 200 East Indians from Bassein in the Labour Corps in Waziristan on the front and others were on other fields of activity on the frontiers during the last Afghan War. There is no regiment in India where East Indians are allowed solely as combatants and many who volunteered could not be admitted.

The following is a list of East Indian Medical Men who rendered active service on the field or other service in connection with the Great War, the Afghan War and the Waziristan  Campaign:-

In the I.M.S. (Indian Medical Service) – Drs. Almeida, R.A.M.C.; Ben Athaide. M.B.B.S, I.M.S., M.C.(War Casualty); Lionel Bocarro, F.R.C.S.; Fidelis Concessio, L.M.&S.; William M. D’souza. L.M.&S. (War Casualty); Philip D’Mello, M.R.C.P.&S.;  F. Gonsalves, L.M.&S. (War Casualty); J.F. Henriques, L.M.&S.; Manoel Miranda, L.M.&S.; Joseph Augustine Pereira, L.M.&S.; Victor Rozario, M.B.B.S.; Wilfred Valladares, M.B.B.S.

In the I.M.D. (Indian Medical Department) – Drs. Lawrie D’Cruz, Edward D’Silva, Arthur  Gomes, Valentine Gomes, Valentine Fernandes (killed in the battle of Ctesiphon, 1915; mentioned in Despatches) Lewis Rodrigues.

With reference to this list Mr. F.D. Melton, a Sergeant in the Auxiliary Force, India stated that the names of those who had served in one or the other units of the Indian Defence Force should be added. This Force, a war time  measure constituted in April 1917from the then existing Volunteer Corps and disbanded in September 1920, received a first rate military training as it was intended for garrison duty in India. There were several men of our Community in the 35th Poona Battalion of the Force in which Mr. Melton served and also some from the Bombay Battalion of the Force who did three to six months garrison duty at the Ghorpuri Barracks in Poona. Many others served in the G.I.P and B.B. & C.I. Railway Battalions of this Force in Bombay and its neighbourhood and were employed in manufacturing munitions in the Workshops of the two Railways.

Mr. Alexius Manuel Pereira of Bandra who had served during the Boxer Rebellion in China as Post Master was in Mesopotamia during the Great War in the same capacity. He had also served as Postal Clerk to the British Legation in Abyssinia. Mr. John Rodrigues, now Personal Assistant (Engineering) to the Post Master General, Punjab served in the last Afghan War in charge of telegraphic communications.

Besides, several men of influence including the present President of the Association. Dr.D.A. De Monte and Mr. Caesar D’Mello now President of the Vile Parle Municipality Dr. Edmund Almeida of Thana and their wives and not a  few other ladies were engaged in the War Charities Organizations. Dr. Peter Rodrigues was employed in the War Hospital Dadar. Some, and among them Mr. John De Mello, received the commemorative medal issued by the Government of India for “valuable services in connection with the War.” A good number of our men continue to work in the Auxiliary Force, India and have at certain times assisted to quell the riots in the City of Bombay. In the second Great War Loan the then President of our Association, Mr. P.A. Baptista collected a sum of Rs.1,30,000 to help the Allies to win the War. For this Bombay cordially thanked the Association, Dr. Peter Rodrigues during his membership of the War Loan Committee collected three lakhs. I recall these facts to show our sustained fealty to the State.

 

THE RAISON D’ETRE

The objects of the Association are to advance the political, social, educational and economic and in short, in all conceivable manner, the welfare of our people. At the Silver Jubilee in 1912 these motives were presented in a amplified form and are now summarized immediately below as applicable not only on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, but forevermore.

What is needed is an organized body, which can bring our scattered and isolated units together and show to every thoughtful member of the Community that he is a responsible compatriot and ought therefore to be a helpful one; that he is bound to work not only for his individual good, but for the good of the whole Community; and that if he neglected these duties, not only he, but all his people must sink into insignificance. What is required also is an organized body, which can ascertain and find out the defects and the drawbacks of our people and devise proper remedial measures; constantly impress upon them the necessity of forging ahead; point out the various pursuits to which its energies and its intelligence ought to be directed; and to represent to constituted authorities its needs, its rights, its privileges and its grievances.  In the Association there is an organized body for this purpose which can watch the interests of the Community can be its guiding spirit and can be ever ready to consider proposal relating to its welfare and to take the initiative in measures calculated to ameliorate its political, social and other status. Under its fostering care a spirit of camaraderie and a desire to be helpful in adopting suitable measures for educating our people and ameliorating their condition can be stimulated. It can bring together and enlist the sympathies of its enlightened and influential members, afford opportunities by means of social gatherings and general meetings of exchanging ideas and secure their active co-operation in many proposals tending to the advancement of our people.

We may conclude that all this has been done and can continue to be achieved.

 

THE FOUNDATION

From an account by Mr. Joseph Baptista in his East Indian written on the proceedings before him it is stated that there were 27 persons present at the inaugural meeting held on 26th May 1887 and that of these Dr. D.A. De Monte and Messrs. Joseph Bocarro and John De Mello are the survivors.  It has since been claimed that Messrs. G.A. D’Aguiar and A.A. Periera are also “founder” members.  The point is not important, but its may be mentioned that in the address presented to Dr. P.F.Gomes in 1888 on his appointment as a Knight of St. Gregory the Great which is before me, the signatories are Vice-Presidents Messrs. D.F.D’Almeida, M.C.Pereira, S.J.D’Awbreo, L.M.Valledares, John Bocarro, N.D’Almeida and A.F.Baptista, Secretary J.L.Britto, Vice-Secretary John DeMello, Treasurer Joseph Bocarro, Vice-Treasurer J.A.Pereira. They evidently were amongst the personnel of the Managing Committee selected at the inaugural meeting.  Among the pioneers of the Association, whose memory should be cherished are Dr. P.F.Gomes,  Messrs. John Bocarro, Joseph Bocarro, J.D.D’Almeida, D.F.D’Almeida, P.A.Chaves, J.L.Britto, D.I.De Monte, M.A. De Monte, L.M.D’Almeida, M.F. Esperance, N.F.D’Almeida, Braz D’Almeida, M.F.De Silva, S.J. D’Abreo, G.R.D’Aguiar and J.M.Gracias, Dr. D. Cardoz and Rev. D. G. D’Almeida. These names and other given hereafter, we recall memories of auld lang syne to many relatives and friends.

The initial measure of fundamental necessity was to change the designation of the Community from “Bombay Portuguese” to “Bombay East Indian”. The former appellation confounded our people with other intermingled, and it was desirable that we should have a distinct entity and work out our own salvation. The altered designation, “East Indian” has been accepted by Government and the public.

There was much powerful opposition. A well financed journal the Portuguez Brittanico, was founded and it was intended to establish a “Bomaby Portuguese Association” This was successfully countered by three public meetings of the Community at Andheri on 8th March 1891. The names of some who took a prominent part may be recalled. They are:-

Andheri Meeting – Chairman Mr. D.I. DeMonte, Chairman of the Bandra Municipality, Secreatry mr. P.C.Gonsalves, B.A.., Speakers Dr. D. Cardez, Messrs Braize Pereira, M.C.Pereira, P.I.D’Almeida, E.G.Coelho, J.F.De Cunha, H.A.Pereira, A.F.X.De Mello, Robert Conceicao, D.E.Pereira and F.D’Souza.

Papdi, Bassein Meeting – Chairman Mr.Simon Ignatius D’Almeida,  Secretary Mr. Anthony Gracias, J.M.Pereira, B.Baptista, F.Pereira, M.F.Fernandes, John D’Silva and C.I.Athaide.

Bombay Meeting – Chairman Mr. J.F.Vaz, J.P. Secretary Mr. L.B.D’Abreo, Speakers Messrs. A.B.Fonseca, Paul Miranda, G.H.Misquitta, B.A.J.A. Dias, D.D’Lima and J.J.D’Abreo and Dr. A.Bocarro. The effect of the meetings was proudly summed up in the   Second Report of the Association as follows:-

“No sooner was the proposed establishment of a rival Association made public than the whole Community spontaneously rose en masse and they expressed their most unqualified adherence to the Bombay East Indian Association and their equally unqualified and emphatic disapproval of the proposed Bombay Portuguese Association.  Thus Bombay, Salsette and Bassein have declared with unequivocal voice for the Bombay East Indian Association, which is now the legal, natural and sole representative of the Community.”

 

The foundation of the Association was well and truly laid. The membership rose to the peak figure of 1,200.

 

THE SILVER JUBILEE OF THE ASSOCIATION

There will be a singular appropriateness in giving an account of the Silver Jubilee.  It was celebrated in April 1912. A social gathering of the members of the Association and their families was organized in the Town Hall on that day. The occasion was brilliant one, bringing together about 700 persons from various parts of Bombay and Salsette. Great enthusiasm prevailed. The hall was neatly decorated and before the organ there was a large board with the motto “Union is Strength” Dr. Jurgens, S.J.Archbishop of Bombay was received by the President and the Honorary Secretary of the Association and conducted to the platform, where the East Indian Clergy, namely the Very Rev. Placidus H. Henriques, Vara of Thana, the Very Rev. Dr. B. De Monte, and Reverend Fathers P.A. Fernandes and D. Remedios were seated with those who were to deliver speeches, and among the latter, Rev D.Remedios, Messrs Thomas Baptista, D.J.Ferreira, Frank Oliveira and Joseph Bocarro. His Grace was accompanied by his Vicar-General, the Very Rev Fr. Boese, S.J. and the Very Rev. Hutmacher, S.J.Chaplain of St. Anne’s Byculla. His Grace the Archbishop of Daman was prevented by illness from attending but in a letter he expressed his sympathy with the movement and offered his heartiest congratulations to the Association whose work he fully appreciated. Mr. D.F.Leao, President of the Association was in the chair. The proceedings began by the Honorary Secretary reading a report of the work accomplished by the Association during the previous 25 years. The occasion was availed of to congratulate Mr. Frank Oliveria on his being appointed Presidency Magistrate and Mr.Joseph Bocarro on his having had the distinction of Companion of the Imperial Service Order conferred on him by the King-Emperor. Speeches were then delivered. The celebration of the Jubilee was marked by a dance which was kept up with great sprightliness till after mid-night.

Among the speeches delivered the following extract from one by Rev. (now Monsignor) Remedios may well be reproduced. The ideal presented holds good:-

“In one of the issues of the Bombay East Indian I came across the following passage:- ‘No one need hope to rise above his present situation who suffers small things to pass by unimproved or who neglects metaphorically speaking to pick up a farthing because it is not a shilling. Every East Indian should give these words due thought and reflection. The East Indian Association has existed for 25 years and has thrown open its doors freely to every Christian of the soil. Assuming for arguments sake that its work is not extraordinarily great, there is no denying that it is satisfactory and reasonably sufficient. Whatever it may be it should be appreciated and recognized. The objects of the Association are know to you – the promotion of the political, social and educational interests of our people, laudable objects which require strenuous and united efforts but strenuous and united efforts can only be obtained by increase of membership of the Association and harmonious action.  Therefore, it is to the advantage of the individual East Indian to be a member of the Association. One man alone cannot further the political interest. Neither can a few hundred serve the purpose of several thousands. The number of members should be in proportion to the existing population of the East Indian Community and thus the political welfare of the whole Community as well as of the individual can be brought within reaching distance. We are all Christians and we have a noble destiny before us and consequently a noble work before us. But we are also men and as such we have each of us a work to do in God’s great world and there is a special work for each East Indian and that work is to help in a united body the community and to make it more important and more respected in the eyes of the public. Though the social interests of the Association require a large number of members, it is not numbers only that work for the social interests of the people – it is the right understanding of each one’s duty, it is the toleration of defects and the submission or even the total sacrifice of our opinion for th e sake of peace and concord. The true end of social life says a famous author is the promotion of good-will among the members – a due balance and just equilibrium. All therefore that need aid, have a right to ask it from their fellow mortals. No one who holds the power of granting can refuse it without guilt. The East Indian Association as well as the Community would perish if the members ceased to help each other. Be united in order to work for the common good. Difficulties there will be but they will be overcome by perseverance, courage and concerted and united action.

 

EDUCATIONAL STANDING

Next to the change of name and the consequent institution of a distinct entity for our people the educational policy of the Association justified its foundation and continuation. Education, specially primary in Salsette and Bassein was in a deplorable condition. An illuminating account of the remedial measures adopted is given in the Report of the Association published in 1905. The Primary Schools of the Association, then existing, were eight in number located at Papdi, Bandra, Andher, Marol, Malwani and Olnai and a Girls School at Thana. In the  Boys School at Papdi, Sanskrit was taught in addition to English and Marathi, the Girls School was an English Teaching School. The Schools at Papdi and Thana received grants-in-aid from Government. In January 1903 the edifice in front of the Papdi Church raised by the patriotic munificence of Mr. Thomas Baptista was formally handed over to the Association for the use of its school. In commemoration of the event the Association received three Government Promissory Notes for Rs. 100 each from the Revd. Braz D.De Monte and Messrs Thomas Baptista and Joseph Augustine De Chaves for the endowment of prizes to be awarded to the pupils of the School. A magnificent episode, but may it not be matched by the previous encouraging, exemplication of self help mentioned in the Report for 1898 in which it is mentioned that the Members of the Papdi School Board deserve much praise for their zeal in endeavouring to erect a school house for which they succeeded in obtaining Rs. 1,700. These though very important are isolated instances culled from the meager records. The Schools were supported by subsidies from the public which taking an average of a dozen years from 1898 to 1913 gives an amount of Rs,1,000 and more. Besides be it noted that patriotic members of our Community made the sacrifice of giving subscriptions month by month. The same Report proudly proclaims that as it was represented that no schools for girls existed in Bassein neither the Government not the Municipality having directed  their attention to this important measure the Association sanctioned the establishment in 1903 of a Girls School in the building presented by Mr. Thomas Baptista to the School at Papdi. Influenced by the endeavours of the Association Government established in 1910 two Special Schools for East Indians, one at Manori in Salsette and the other at Manikpur in Bassein which continue to function.

 

As measures for the extension of education were in course of time more seriously considered by Local Residents by Government, by Municipal and Local Boards and the Ecclesiastical Authorities, the Association Schools were gradually closed down. The latest instances are the transfer in 1932 to the Archdiocese of the Papdi School, which is the Catholic High School for Basssein and more recently the Girls School at Thana was discontinued in order to allow of the improvement of the Parochial School at that place in the interest of the local Catholics.

 

What is of everlasting credit to our giants of old is that they endowed a large number of prizes for the promotion of education in the Community. A list is furnished in Appendix B.  Several of the endowments are for Schools established by the Association. As these no longer exist an appropriate diversion of funds will soon be undertaken by the Association.

 

The encouragement of higher education was vigorously championed by the Association through persistent propaganda in the Bombay East Indian. A striking illustration of the efforts made is demonstrated in the Report of the Association for the years 1899, 1900 and 1901. It was stated that the attention of the Association was drawn towards the close of the year 1900 to a paragraph in the Annual Report of St.Xavier’s College, Bombay.  The authorities deplored the apathy of the Catholic Community of Bombay in regard to higher education and the paucity of Catholic students in the College Division. The Association accordingly at its meeting of 20th December 1900 carefully considered this matter and devised some practical measures for including our people to avail themselves of the education imparted in the College. The Association also invited the co-operation of the East Indian Clergy to impress upon their flocks the advisability of extending higher education as their co-operation and influence would be valuable. It was added that the Association while gratefully acknowledging the efforts made by the Jesuit Fathers of Bombay to improve the status of the Catholic Community, trusted that the East Indian Community would endeavour to march with the times and to keep pace with non-Christian communities by their endeavour to benefit by University education.

 

At present there is a sufficiency of higher education amongst our men and women. A significant example is that we have six lady M.A.’s namely, Miss Violet Baptista, Mrs. Bridget Rodrigues, Miss Rita Misquitta, Miss Marjorie Ferreira, Miss Josephine Lima and Miss Gladys De Monte.

We have a good number of graduates – Appendix D – amongst us in the different classes, of medical men and women - Appendix E – of those who have passed in law – Apendix F – and of priest – Appendix G. Dr. D.A. De Monte has been a Fellow of the University of Bombay for two score years and more and is now the only East Indian representative. At one time he was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. His brother the late Monsignor Brax De Monte was also on the Senate of the university. Considering their numerical strength our people can hold their own vis-a-vis other communities in the highest post for which intellectual attainment are needed.

 

What is more required now is the extension of technical education. As regards this it is gratifying to note that the Antonio Da Silva School at Dadar has established a class in typography and printing and steps are being taken to open classes in carpentry and tailoring, forerunners of what is to come in the near future.

“Safety First” is education and it will be of interest to note that the first School Safety Patrol was inaugurated not long ago at the Anotnio Da Silava High School, Dadar, Bombay, by Mr. C.H.Reynolds. Deputy Commissioner of Police. The patrol trained by Mr. A.S. Trollip of the Safety First Association of  India can be seen on duty any school day at the School. It has been adopted by the Principal , Mr. J. S. Pereira the Secretatry of our Association as a permanent feature of the School’s activities. The precision in which the patrols work makes one wonder why other schools have not adopted this enjoyable method of instruction. In leaving and approaching the School the students are directed by the patrol selected from the older boys. Eight hundred and fifty students cross the three-way junction outside the School every day, morning and evening. According to the Joint General Secretary of the Safety First Association of India the School has become a model for other schools to follow.

 

LOCAL HABITATION

With the change in the appellation of the Community it was from the very beginning rightly considered that there should be a Hall as a permanent memorial of the Association and a constant reminder for the furtherance of its objects. Mr. Joseph Bocarro was in charge of the project. He worked with all earnestness. At almost every East Indian gathering he pleaded for funds for the Hall and in every Annual Report a paragraph was devoted to judicate the outcome. In the last published Report in 1920 it was stated that the amount collected was Rs. 4466. With the accruing interest the sum now available will probably be Rs.6000.  Further delay would mean increased accumulation, but it is felt that the time for the fruition of the project should not exceed half a century.  Through the munificence of Dr.D.A.De Monte an Est Indian Hall has been established in conjunction with the  Bandra Gymkhana.  Nevertheless the Association will consider the disposal of its undertaking without further procrastination.

 

MONEY POWER

Financial stringency is an eternal lament.  More often than not in human undertakings, money forms the sinew of action.  What our forbears in the preceding generation did to equip themselves with pecuniary protection may hearten us to walk in their footsteps, though out imprint may not be so deep.  The Annual Reports up tot the last published in 1920 record balances of Rs.1000 to Rs.2000. The Association depended on the “proverbial philantrophy of Indian Princes.”  This avenue is now closed but bypaths do remain open.  A remarkable instance of generosity may be related. Mr. C.G.Whitworth, I.C.S. who was at one time Sessions Judge of Thana was a regular donor for several years.  When he retired he continued to send remittance and when he died in 1918 a bequest of Rs.1000 was received for the furtherance of the education policy of the Association.  The annual subscription to the Association is one rupee and from the number of members sufficient funds can through systematic collection be obtained for the ordinary expenditure including that of printing the Annual Report and Balance Sheet as required by Rule.

 

REPRESENTATIONS ON PUBLIC COMMISIONS

At the beginning at about the very first meeting of a Managing Committee of the Bombay East Indian Association, held on 17th July 1887 it was decided to depute Mr. Joseph Bocarro I.S.O. to give evidence before a Public Service Commission that was then holding its investigations in Bombay.  A comprehensive memorandum showing the claims of our Community for admission to different branches of public service was drawn up. Under “Education” in Salsette and Bassein Mr. Bocarro represented the necessity of increasing primary English and Marathi Schools and that the maintenance of Portuguese teaching schools to which State aid was given was for practical purposes useless. Mr. Bocarrow also personally gave evidence before a  Sub-Committee of the Comission consisting of Sir Charles Turner as President and Khan Kazi Shahabudin, Mr. Nulkar and Mr.J.F.Fernandez, as Members, Mr. Chatfield, Director of Public Instruction, being present. The claims of our people to admission to the classes of the public service into which they could be fitted such as the Customs, Salt, Opium, Excise, Telegraph and Police Departments were presented with much enlightened detail and the answers to the questions put elucidated a well reasoned plan with all the aspects of practicability, Mr. P.A.Baptista at the time the President represented the Association at the Excise Committee in 1923.

 

SOME NOTANDA

The real golden age of the Association was in the first half of the half century which we are reviewing.  In the first year of its institution when plague had started in Bombay the Association evidenced its fundamental value for collective security by attempting to obtain a Special Plague Hospital and Segregation Camp.  It did not succeed but it gave a fine example of what could and should be accomplished.

Government were addressed on 1902 on the establishment of a Civil Court at Bandra which it was stated is the most populated of the principal towns in the Thana District, namely Thana Town, Kurla, Kalyan, Bassein and Bhivandi each of which possessed a Civil Court.  Though the matter did not commend itself at that time to Government, it is now reported that a Civil court will shortly be established at Bandra.

In 1892 the Association started a Deposit and Loan Society to prevent members of our Community from foaling into the clutches of usurious money lenders.  The Society still flourishes as will be seen from an account printed elsewhere.

A Death Benefit Fund was established but as it was not based on actuarial principles it had to be closed in 1901.   There was also a Literary Society where lectures were delivered and debates held, but it worked only for a few years. The last item leads to the suggestion whether a Literary Society should not be instituted at the Bandra Gymkhana where in addition a Library worthy of our people might be formed for the use of the member of our Association.

A matter which merits imitation is that the Association organized social gatherings with a view to foster fellow feeing among the different elements of the Community, the first of which was held in 1892 at Matunga when 800 members assembled, the second at Bombay in 1902, the third at Bandra and the fourth in the Town Hall Bombay in 1909. There were also musical concerts and other entertainments.

It is pleasing to record that a brilliant indication of the revival of the idea of social gathering was given at the Social of the Association at the East Indian Hall Bandra Gymkhana on 7th May 1936.  About 800 persons were present from different parts of Bombay, Salsette, Thana and Bassein.  The success of the undertaking was principally due to Dr.D.A. De Monte and Dr. Mrs. Cecilia De Monte and the Joint Secretaries Messrs. Louis Rodricks and Diogo Ferreira.

At the beginning of this book there is a description of the wonderful Nine Days Fete in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of our Association which thrilled thousands of our people.

 

THE EAST INDIAN FEDERATION

The East Indian Federation, according to an account furnished by Mr. A.V.Misquitta the Editor of the East Indian Standard was inaugurated in February 1929 at a time when owing to various causes the affairs of the Bombay East Indian Association were not in a  very satisfactory condition.

The main object of the Federation was to infuse a new spirit into the Community by drawing attention to urgent communal problems of the day. The Community had no journal of its own for some years, and the first undertaking of the Federation was to start a monthly journal called The Standard which, it was hoped, would be the rallying point for the scattered forces of the Community.

Mr. Leo Rodrigues, B.A. L.L.B was elected President, Mr. A.V.Misquitta B.A., M.Jour I.(London) Hon. Secretary and Managing Editor of the journal and Mr. J. Michael Pereira, Hon. Treasurer. Within a month the first issue of The Standard saw the light of day and it has since been  published regularly, first as a monthly and subsequently as a fortnightly.

 

Thanks to the kind offices of Mr. P. T. Pereira, Proprietor of the Bowen Press, Bombay, The Standard was first printed and published there. In September 1929, the Federation raised loans and purchased its own printing press, which was housed free of charge at the residence of Mr. A. V. Misquitta in Bandra. In 1930 it was transferred to rented rooms near the Railway Station, Bandra and in May 1936 on its becoming the property of Dr. D. A. De Monte to the Antonio Da Silva High School, Dadar as part of a scheme for industrial training. The Press has trained a large number of our boys who are at present holding responsible posts in leading Bombay presses.

 

The Journal has a meritorious record of service. Besides urging the Community to realize its responsibility and the need for unity and action, it ventilated various social, educational, religious, political, agricultural and municipal grievances. An indirect result of the journal’s urge to action was tat the Bombay East Indian Association was much influenced. Pour parlers for an amalgamation with the Federation ensued, but some legal point or other was an obstacle in the way. Eventually in 1933 Dr. D. A. De Monte offered to pay the purchase price of the Printing Press provided he Federation Dissolved. A prominent part in effecting the desired end was taken by Mr. Remegius Dias and Mr. A.V. Misquitta, while the highest praise due to Professor J. F. R. D’Almeida, the President. The Journal is since styled the East Indian Standard and acts as the organ of the Bombay East Indian Association.

 

After Mr. Leo Rodrigues, Mr. J. F. Pereira was elected President and during the last three years, Professor D’Almeida was President. As the work of managing and editing the Journal became heavier, Mr. Misquitta retired from the Secretaryship and was succeeded by Mr. Paul Pereira, B.A. LL.B. During its last year Mr. M. F. Pimenta was the Secretary, Mr. J. Michael Perreira was succeeded as Treasurer by Mr. Venas D’Monte and during the concluding year Mr. Eugene Pereira was Treasurer. Among its Vice President were Miss C. C. Ferreira, B.A., LL.B., Mr. John De Mello, I.S.O., J.P., Mr. J. R. Athaide, B.A., LL.B., Dr. J. H. Pereira, Mr. Paul D’Souza M.A., LL.B., Mr. J. G. Pereira, B.A., LL.B., Solicitor and Mr. P. C. Gonsalves, B.A., LL.B, Solicitor and Mr. P. C. Gonsalves, B.A., Mr. Remegius Dias rendered excellent service as Manager of the Journal and Mr. Mathew Rodrigues gave valuable help in carrying on the Press.

 

No efforts were made to increase the membership which was about a hundred strong as it was understood that he Federation should not do anything that would jeopardize the life of the Bombay East Indian Association.

When finally the Association did make a move, it was felt that no useful purpose would be served by two communal organizations and the Federation members sacrificed themselves at the altar of unity. We may say with a just appreciation that in its brief life of seven years the Federation succeeded in its object of rousing the Association and the Community.

 

THE CO-OPERATION OF THE CLERGY

In the Tenth Report of the Association for the years 1899, 1900 and 1901 it was truly said that among the Members there was a goodly number of the clergy belonging t the Community and that the Association hailed with great pleasure the active support which it was receiving from them.  It was stressed that it was undeniable that the clergy are the guides of the people in temporal no less than in religious matters that by their influence example and teaching they could improve and advance the social, intellectual and moral status of their flocks, that the English, Irish and American clergy took the lead in every lay movement and their example, The Association trusted, would be followed by our clergy would be anunated by the same spirit which is revealed in the speech delivered by the then Archbishop of Simla on his arrival there, namely “to take an active part in the moral development, the intellectual enlightenment, the social happiness, in a word, the temporal and everlasting welfare of the people”.

The event has fully justified this lay ideal. As described elsewhere the priest took a prominent part in the celebration of the Silver Jubilee and their useful collaboration has been continued to the present time as evidenced by their participation in the great re-union meeting, also mentioned in another place.

 

MARKS OF HONOUR

The services of Mr. Joseph Bocarro were so highly appreciated that his name appeared in 1911 in the first batch of Companions of the Imperial Service Order published in this country.  About a decade afterwards the same distinction was conferred on Mr. J.B. De Silva and Mr. John De Mello.  The former was given an addition the Membership of the Order of the British Empire which was also lately conferred on Mr. A.F.D’Abreo of J.J. Hospital, Bombay.

During the first year covered by the Golden Jubilee of the Association Dr. P.F.Gomes the first President was honoured by His Holiness the Pope with the Kinghthood of St. Gregory the Great. Compartively recently, Dr. D.A.De Monte was created a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great and Mr. D.J. Ferreira a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester, Miss Lily Baptista ws awarded the papal decoration of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice.

We have a fair proportion of Justices of the Pope in Bombay City as will be found from Appendix H. The Association in the beginning made repeated and determined representations and successfully too to secure this distinction for members of our Community as it tended to raise its social status.

East Indians have also been represented on the Benches of Magistrates as will be seen from Appendix I.

Three of our most respected Priests were made Domestic Chamberlains to the Pope namely, Monsignors Braz De Monte, J.C. D’Mello and D. Remedios.  There were great rejoicings and addresses were presented to them by the Association on 4th January 193. Monsignor Remedios is the solitary survivor.

In the year 1907 the Association represented that the East Indian Community had u to then no representative in the Judiciary of the is Presidency. Again in October 1909, when there was a temporary vacancy the Association suggested the appointment of Mr. Frank Oliveira. It was with much gratification that the Association and the Community learnt that Mr. Oliveira was appointed Acting Presidency Magistrate.  Having filled this post with great credit temporarily four or five times, Mr. Oliveira was eventually raised permanently to the Magisterial Bench.  The expectations then formed were happily realized to the full.  As is well known he went up to the top-most rung and retired as Chief Presidency Magistrate with unqualified commendation from Government, the Judiciary and the Public. Mr. E.C.Henriques was appointed Consulting Architect to Government.

Coming down to recent times it will be remembered with gratitude that Government appointed Mr. Edwin Baptista to be Registrar of the Small Causes Court, Mr. Leo Rodrigues, Administrator General, Mr. J.F.Pereira, Chief Accountant, Bombay Port Trust, and Mr. J.B.Fernandes, successively as Under Secretary Oriental Translator and Secretary to the Public Services Commission. These appointments tend to enhance the prestige of our Community.

 

JOURNALISM IN THE COMMUNITY

The first journal amongst us was the O Patriota. It was edited by Mr.V.L.Da Silva. Intended to be published monthly, it had to be issued intermittently during the year from 1860 to 1882. Mr. Da Silva was employed in the Bombay High Court and retired with a pension before his time to take up the responsible position of a journalist. He was an able and vigorous exponent of the cause of his people and wrote in fluent English, three quarters of a century ago, hardly excelled by the writers of our succeeding generations. He fully upheld his aim as stated in his first issue:-

“This class (Native Christians, now East Indians) undoubtedly as a far superior claim on the consideration of Government having in bygone days been the real source of security and strength to Government, and we are not aware of any other class equally entitled to consideration for equally substantial service rendered by their ancestors.”

Mr. Da Silva died in 1882 at the age of 68 years. The Times of India of 24th November 1882 contained the following obituary notice:-

“The Native Portuguese Community (now East Indian) has sustained a great loss in the death of Mr. Vincent Da Silva the editor of a Portuguese and English periodical, known as the O Patriota. The deceased was a warm supporter of the cause of his fellow countrymen, both in the columns of his paper and in various other ways and his death wil be greatly felt by those who received the benefit of his warm advocacy.”

The inscription on his tomb stone in the church yard of Our Lady of Salvation, Lower Mahim reads:

“A benefactor and patriot by character, he fought for the good of his countrymen even at the sacrifice of his own interest.  This parish in loving recognition of his services dedicates this grave and tombstone to his memory.”

Five years later in 1887, following the establishment of the Goan journal, the Anglo-Lusitano, Mr. M.F.Azavedo of Matharpacady started an East Indian Weekly Paper and in imitation of the the O Patriota named it the Indian Patriot.  This was edited by Dr. Montgomery. In the following year it was taken over by the Association and called the Bombay East Indian as significant of the change in the designation of the Community. It was edited for fourteen years by Mr. John De Mello. In the beginning there was a Revisionary Committee consisting of Dr. L.P.Gomes and Messrs L.M.Valladares, Felix Leao, J.D.D’Almeida, J.L.Britto, Joseph Bocarro and the Editor.  The leaders of the Community were so enthusiastic as to form an East Indian joint stock company to carry on the Paper.  Among the Directors were Messrs. Gaspar Gonsalves, M.C.Pereira, L.M.Valladares, Francis Valladares, D.F. D’Almeida and Felix Leaom, all now deceased.  The last three attended the Press almost daily and rendered honorary service for about ten years. The venture did not prove a financial success. During the two final years the Association made large subsidies to the Press.  On the winding up of the joint stock company the Association in 1901 took up the management of the Press. This it was enabled to do by most of the shareholders patriotically surrendering their shares to it. This plan could not be worked up and at the end of the year the Press was handed over to Mr.J.J.D’Abreo who magnanimously undertook to conduct it on his responsibility as the organ of the Association. Mr. J.L.Britto, the Secretary of the Association was the Editor from 1902 for about a score of years. Then came Mr. Jos Alex dias, B.A. B.Sc, L.L.B., Solicitor, at that time Secretary of the Association for about two years.  The last issue of the Paper was on 28th March 1923.  The able advocacy by the Bombay East Indian of measures for the amelioration of our people was from time to time acknowledged by the Association as in truth the journal deserved.  Without it the Association would not have had the remarkable success it had during the first half of its existence.

During the currency of the Bombay East Indian a monthly journal styled the Bombay Watchman, was printed and published from May 1911 to April 1916 by Mr. J.B.Fernanades son-in-law OF Mr. Hermenegild Ferreira.  It was practically edited by the son of the latter, Mr. Thomas Ferreira, Messrs Caesar D’Mello, Anselm Crasto and Braz D. D’Mello (all three from Andheri), Augustine Baptista, Stephen M. Pereira and his nephew Clement Pereira B.A. (all three from Bassein), M.F.D’Souza (Dadar), J.F.Pereira, B.A., Stephen D’Mello, Rev Paul Fernandes and Rev. Hermenegild F. Mendes, B.A. helped by literary or financial contributions or both. The object of the journal was mainly to advocate the abolition of the Portuguese Padroado.

Mr.A.V.Misquitta B.A. the first Indian to be elected a Member of the Journalists Institute, London, published for some months in 1923 the Thana District Gazette where the grievances of the East Indians of North Salsette and Bassein and the Thana District generally were ventilated.

After this the Community had no journal till January 1925 when the East Indian Herald was published monthly. It was edited by Mr. Jos Alex Dias, and the role of its predecessor, the Bombay East Indian, was ably maintained. The Publisher was Mr. H.R.J.Athaide, B.A. The journal which continued for about two years, owed much to Mr. P.A.Baptista.

Two years after the East Indian Herald ceased publication the Standard came into existence in April 1929.  It is now the only East Indian journal.  It is edited by Mr. A.V.Misquitta and published fortnightly under the style of the East Indian Standard and it continues to be the exponent of the Association.  Full particulars will be found in the paragraph relating to the East Indian Federation.

The Sentinel, an independent paper, was edited by Messrs. Jos Alex Dias, Solicitor and J.W. Gomes Bar-at-Law, from September 1929 to December 1931 and then singly by Mr.Dias up to December 1931.  It provided for the expression of the other side of the question.

Immediately after the Sentinel in September 1930 came the weekly East Indian, which may be well described as the Thunderer of the great leader, Mr. Joseph Baptista. It had to close in September 1930 on Mr. Baptista’s premature death.  The last issue was a fitting memorial of the departed Editor.  Messrs. Caesar D’Mello of  Andheri and Messrs Hermenegild Ferreira, Thomas Ferreira and Remy Crasto were the principal helpers of this journal.

The Rally from May 1930 to November 1931 was another independent monthly venture started by Mr. P.A.Baptista with the assistance of Mr. John De Mello as Editor and Mr. C.C.M. Mendes as Manager.

The recently started Shodh and Bodh in Marathi at a subscription of annas twelve a year is devoted to the cultural and spiritual advancement of East Indians and is supported by the East Indian clergy.  There are 350 East Indian subscribers.

 

THE PADROADO QUESTION

A reference to this episode is necessary as it is an essential part of East Indian history in the last half a century and indeed the Association made vigorous efforts in the beginning to obtain a single ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

Already before the advent of the Association a representation was made by the leaders of the Community in April 1885 for the removal of the double jurisdiction by the abolition of the Padroado. The Association itself addressed representations to the same purpose to the Delegate Apostolic in India in December 1888 and November 1889. Briefly the arguments used were that a unified jurisdiction as suggested would be in the interest of our Church and beneficial to all people, politically, socially and educationally.

After an interval of the thirty years the Catholics of Bassein rose up against the Padroado in 1921 and 1922.  They held eight meetings in different parishes at which the inhabitants attended en masse.  The Basseinites, who gave unstinted help merit reverent remembrance. They are Messrs Michael C. D’Souza from Colaba, Ventur Domingo D’Almeida from Nirmal, Gabriel D’Mello, Ignatius Julian Pereira, Augustine Baptista, S.M. Pereira and Phillip J. Noronha from Papdi and Sylvester Dinda (Luis) Correa from Nandakal. The last four with Mr. Hermenegild Ferreira went in a deputation to make a representation t the Delegate Apostolic at Kandy his then headquarters and the expenses of the journey were borne by Messrs Sylvester Dinda Correa and Phillip J. Noronha. The late Monsignor J.C.M. D’Mello, Rev. Paul Fernandes and Rev. Hermenegild Mendes also rendered useful assistance. It may be noted that already in 1916 the East Indian secular priests had petitioned the Holy See against “the Evils of a Double Jurisdiction”.

As some persons of the Community thought it advisable that the status quo should in the prevailing circumstances be maintained, action, inspired by the movement in Bassein, was thereafter taken independently of the initiative of the Association in order to preserve the unity of that body in other respects. On the 21st May 1922 a meeting unusually large and representative of the East Indian Catholics of Bombay , Salsette and Bassein was held at Andheri. Mr.Jos Alex Dias who was then the Secretary of the Association made his mark I a comprehensive exposition of the different aspects of the case, historical, political, ecclesiastical and topical. The meeting unequivocally declared for the withdrawal of the Portuguese Patronage.

A Standing Committee of 125 persons from different districts of the East Indian homelands was formed with Dr. Edmund D’Almeida of Thana as Chairman and Messrs Caesar D’Mello of Andheri, Jos Alex Dias, Joseph M. Almeida and J.B.C. Noronha as Honorary Secretaries. The proceedings of the meeting are fully described in a pamphlet “East Indian Catholics of Bombay, Salsette and Bassein, 1922” and details of another important gathering in September 1925 at Papdi, Bassein in “Padroado Agitation, Past  and Present” published  in that year. Besides those already enumerated Messrs. Anselm F.Crasto (Andheri) C.C.M. Mendes and Louis Rodricks and Dr.Valentine M. Pereira (Bassein) rendered valuable assistance.

With a singleness of purpose the protagonists for seven years did everything that was possible. There was an untiring propaganda. Meetings of the East Indian Catholics were held in different parts of Salsette and Bassein. Speeches eloquent with earnestness, were delivered.  The powerful aid of the Press was invoked. The Catholic Members of Parliament both in the Commons and Lords. English prelates and eminent English Catholics as Mr.G.K.Chesterton and Mr. Hilaire Belloc were approached. The assistance of an English Catholic millionaire Sir. S.A.Coats, who could approach the Minister in the Imperial Government was sought and cordially given. Representations were sent to the Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs and for India, the British Minister at the Vatican, the Governor of Bombay, the Viceroy, the Roman Congregations and in fact to all authorities concerned. In addition to this unceasing work, which fell on the devoted band of workers, they gave from their pockets and with much sacrifice the financial assistance that was required, one gentleman Mr. Basil Francis Gomes, contributing a munificent donation of Rs.2000.

The sympathy of the Bombay Government was also enlisted.  This is evidenced by thefact that a communiqué was issued through the Director of Information on 14th May 1928 officially announcing the abolition of the Padroado.

Of course rejoicings at public gatherings of East Indians followed.  The most notable was at Papdi in Bassein when Mr. Heremenegild Ferreira who presided at the meeting received an enthusiastic ovation. The honour well deserved for he with the scholarly assistance of his son Mr. Thomas Ferreira was the mainspring of the movement and his unfailing endeavours sustained the struggle till victory was won.

 

POLITICS

Loyal addresses were unfailingly sent by the Association to the Sovereign, the Viceroy, the Governor of Bombay and important personages on what may be termed “political occasions” Dr. D.A. De Monte was nominated by Government to the old Bombay Legislative Council. He was the first East Indian Member and served from 1911 to 1916. Subsequently Messrs Frank Oliveira and D.J.Ferreira were appointed. Mr. Joseph Baptista also entered the Council and the Central Legislative Assembly. In the new political reforms there are two Indian Christian constituencies with which East Indians are concerned. One is for Bombay City and other for Bombay Suburban District, Salsette, Thana and Bassein. The latter provides an easy seat for East Indians as it is within the area of their homelands and they form the majority of the electors. In the first election held last year a distinguished East Indian, Mr. D.J.Ferreira was returned unopposed. He was the nominee of the Association and his case is a pointed illustration of the collective security afforded by a corporate body.

 

CIVICS

East Indians have pulled their full weight in the Municipal and Local Board Councils within their territorial limits. These local governing bodies are the Municipalities of Bombay, Bandra, Vile Parle, Juhu, Thana, Kurla, Bassein, Uran and Korlai and the Notified Area of Kandivli, the now dissolved Notified Areas of Andheri and Santa Cruz, the Taluka Local Boards, North Salsette and Bassein and the District Local Boards of Thana and Bombay Suburban Districts.

The names of the present East Indian Municipal and Local Board Councils are given in Appendix J. It may here be noted that Dr. D.A.De Monte was for many years a Member of the Municipal Corporation of Bombay, first by election and then by nomination of Government. Messrs D.F.Leao and J.L.Britto were also nominated and Dr.A.F.Henriques for two terms continuously. Mr. Joseph Baptista was elected President of the Bombay Municipal Corporation and it was made an occasion for a grand East Indian demonstration of jubilation. Mr. Caesar D’Mello of Andheri was Chairman there, President of the District Local Board, Bombay Suburban Area, and is now President of the Vile Parle municipality. Dr. P.A.Dias was thePresident of the Bandra Municipal Board and is now holding that honourable position for the third time in succession. Mr. Ignatius De Monte, Mr. Leo Rodrigues, Dr. D.A. De Monte and Professor J.F.R. D’Almeida were previously the Presidents . Mr. J.B.C.Noronha was the first East Indian Vice President of the Taluka Local Board, North Salsette and is now the President. And it may be noted that in Bassein the late Mr. Phillip Noronha was Member of the Municipality, the Taluka Local Board and the District Local Board, Dr. Valentine. A.M.Pereira a Vice President of our Association, was Member of the Municipality, the Very Rev.P.J.D’Lima has also been a Member and is now Chairman of the Dispensary Committee. Rev Paul Fernandes has also been in the Sukkur Municipality for six years. Mr. David Daniel Rodrigues has been a Member of the Kurla Municipality for seventeen years and Chairman and Vice-President for six years. Mr. J.S.Pereira was President and a Member for many years.

As an example from the past it may be noted that the Report for the years 1902, 1903 and 1904 states that the Managing Committee took special interest in the municipal elections in some East Indians and also addressed a representation to the Collector of Thana submitting the names of some persons as well qualified to serve on Local Boards. These efforts met with a certain measure of success.

 

PERSONNEL

The first President was Dr. P.F.Gomes. He died on the 25th December 1888.  The next was Mr. L.M.Vallandares, J.P. Assistant Secretary, Public Works Department in 1890-96. Then came Mr. D.I.De Monte the famous Dinoo Patel of Bandra, in 1896-99, Rev M.F.Pereira in 1899-1909 followed Mr. D.J.Ferreira in 1902-08. D.F.Leao and in 1908-14 Dr. D.A.De Mone in 1914-20 and Mr. P.A. Baptista in 1920-30 came in succession. The last named died in April 1930 and Mr. Joseph Baptisa was elected President for the unexpired period ending 31st December 1930. He died on 18th September 1930. A sketch of his life appears in another place. Dr. D.A.De Monte became President in 1931 and was re-elected in 1935. His varied career of usefulness to the public including his own people is depicted further on in this book. Here it may be said that he is now the indispensable cement to bind the various constituents in the Community which compose the Association. To him the recent renaissance of the Association is principally due.

Mr. J.L.Britto with his tireless industry was the first Secretary up to 1920 as unprecedented period of 33 years. It will denote a well merited recognition of his work to record that on completion of 25 years of his Secretaryship he was presented with an address and a purse of Rs.400. The money he handed over for the endowment of prizes to the Association Schools. Mr. Britto died in March 1921. His successor from 1920 to 1932 was Mr. Jos Alex Dias, B.A., B.Sc., L.L.B., Solicitor J.P. He worked with courage in the storm and stress of the Anti-Padroado campaign in which he was a foremost combatant. Mr. Thomas Ferreira of whom a memoir is given is another section was Secretary from April 1932 to his death in April 1935. The best compliment that can be given to him is that he was a God-fearing kindly gentleman. Mr. F.X.D’Silva then officiated as Secretary for about 8 months. The present Secretary from 1st December 1935 is Mr. J.S.Pereira., B.Sc. Principal Antonio Da Silva High School Dadar. He has shown his mettle by his wise guidance and able administration of the Golden Jubilee Fete.

Among the Treasurers were Messrs Joseph Bocarro, Felix Leao, F.X.Piedade, Edward Bocarro and P.A.Baptista. The present Treasurer is Mr. J.W.Gomes. B.A., Bar-at-Law, a scion of a family much honoured amongst us.

The numerical strength of the Association consisting of about 800 Members is satisfactory and it is effectively representative, as will be seen from the list of the present Managing Committee, published in Appendix K. The real issue is that almost all East Indians of education, position and influence are in the Association and this undoubtedly makes it a true corporate union of the Community.

 

REUNION IS REDOUBLED STRENGTH

The final stage in the Union of the East Indian Federation with the Association is described in the paragraph relating to the East Indian Federation. The principal factor that led to this culmination and also to a confederation of all parties was a great “Unity Meeting” convoked on the initiative of Dr.D.A.De Monte the President of the Association and held at the East Indian Hall at the Bandra Gymkhana on 12th October 1935. Monsignor D. Remedios presided and he was supported by the Very Rev.D.De Sa, Rev. J.J.Dias, Rev. P.A.Fernandes and Rev. P. Edward Fernandes. They made a fervent appeal for unity. Mr. D.J.Ferreira struck a keynote when he exclaimed: “Let us return to our Mother Association”. Mr. Jos Alex Dias assured his hearty co-operation to all who were out to labour for unity in the Community. Mr. J.F.Pereira ex-President of the East Indian Federation stated that the Federation was started to put life into the Association and that this being done the former must merge into the latter. Mr. John De Mello one of the few surviving original members of the Association, Mr. Michael M.Colaco from Bassein and Mr. F.X.D’Silva stressed the need for a harmonious homogeneous body. All shades of opinion were represented. Complete unanimity prevailed and the spirit remains and promises to endure.

 

ETERNAL HOPE

Up to this I have written in retrospect. What about the prospect before us. A step that is apparent is the employment of East Indians in the Government Service. As regards the recruitment of members of the minority communities in the Services the Government of India have in their Resolution with reference to their previous Resolution of 4th July 1934 definitely laid down that the term “other minority communities” covers the following namely, Anglo-Indians, including Domiciled Europeans, Indian Christians, Sikhs and Parsis. It is further stated that:-

“If in any area a sufficient number of qualified candidates for a particular service or post are not forthcoming from the minority communities to fill the reserved percentages of vacancies, the local Head of the Department should communicate the deficiency of qualified candidates to the Societies, if any, recognized by the Local Government concerned as representative of the minority communities in the locality and should invite the co-operation of he Societies in bringing the existence of vacancies to the notice of suitable candidates.”

This recognition our Association may claim from its representative character. With regard to the fore going attention may be invited to the following extract from a letter Finance Department, No. 261016219-B dated 29th November 1935 received in reply to his representation by a Member of our Association Mr. C.C.M.Mendes:-

“With regard to his request that preferences should be given to persons of local and suburban areas for employment in Government and quasi-Government services, such as Municipalities and Railways, Government have issued orders in 1925 so far as recruitment to Government service is concerned, that for all appointments made by the Local Government or authorities subordinate to it preference should be given as between qualified candidates to persons who are inhabitants of the Bombay Presidency or of the Indian States in political relations with the Government of Bombay. These orders have been subsequently modified to the extent that this preference should be given to the Indian States who were in political relations with the Government of Bombay on 1st January 1925. In view of these orders Government do not consider any further action necessary in the matter”

What we may plead for is some reasonable discrimination within the regulations between children of the soil as the East Indians are and others.

More important still is the promotion of self help for the bulk of our people in Salsette and Bassein. That they have a capability for it is shown by the descriptions of certain institutions amongst us with their successful self determination which are published in this book. It is lawful to learn from the enemy and we may adopt the Russian method and have a one-year plan for our rural uplift. An intensive campaign can be undertaken. Special Committees may be formed, one for Salsette and the other for Bassein to make a comprehensive survey of the schools and state of education for the extension of the co-operative system, which it may be stated incidentally is advocated in Papal encyclicals and in which we have made fair advance as will be seen from subsequent pages and in this connection attention may be specially drawn to the suggestive article by Mr.D.E.Pereira, for the advancement of trades and industries in fact for all theat make or mar the educational and economic welfare of the people. This without delay tabooing as uch as possible mere spectacular shows, as procrastination may lead to fissiparous tendencies in Salsette and Bassein. The Nine Days Fete has been the acme of a feat. Inspired by this confidence. I will say that my memento for the Golden Jubilee is –Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

 






 

 

 





 

 

 

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