What would India be like but for this Vasco da Gama voyage ?
It is really difficult to speculate what would have happened if ! but one can only   try ... !

If not for Vasco da Gama it may have been some other Portuguese navigator. It was Portugal after all which had the best maritime information at the time. So one can consider Magalhaes or as he is widely known Magellan would have found the route to India but via South America and the east. It is difficult to imagine that the British, French or Dutch would have attempted that route though the Spaniards may have ! and we may have had a Spanish settlement on the East Coast of India.

This would leave the West Coast and the Arabian Sea in the hands of the powerful Arab sealords. The Hindu rajas of South India would either have remained as their puppets or be replaced by the various Turkish and Moghal empires. It was after all the Portuguese who trounced the vast and strong Arab and Turkish naval forces in the sea battles and skirmishes off Calicut and Diu. It was also the Portuguese who defeated the mercenaries of the Arabs in the decisive 1539 Battle of Vedalai. This marked the end of the Arab domination of the Fishery Coast. These defeats effectively stretched, diluted and ultimately weakened the Arab, Turk and Moghal forces in India; a situation which helped the Hindu rulers to recapture their possessions and the mighty Peshwas to establish their regime. This in turn helped the formation of an united, independent, secular and largely peaceful India ( the British tour of duty having been noted ).

There would have been one major advantage for the region if Vasco da Gama were NOT to make that historic voyage. There would be no threat of nuclear war between Pakistan and India !  For  there would be no Pakistan and no India ! We would all  have been  part of an Arabian, Moghal or a Turkish kingdom ! There might have been inter Kingdom battles but at least NO India - Pakistan wars !!!

In effect, Vasco da Gama's historic voyage paved the way for the peaceful majority Hindu society in India . So, Vasco da Gama  if a nuclear war breaks out between India and Pakistan Remember that You will have been primarily responsible for it !

Post Script :
Goa is an unique position of being a place where East meets West...and has a lot to gain from it. Goans surely are a happy and tolerant people. We should learn to accept our multi-ethnic, multi-racial background and be proud of it. We also have to move forward, irrespective of religion, caste or political preferences... so that we can have a clean, peaceful and prosperous State for ourselves and for our children. The Portuguese were part of our lives for over 400 years and Portuguese genes run through many Goans. The Portuguese have also contributed significantly to our country and society. Not all of their contributions were good but many are.! We cannot change our past nor correct its misdeeds not selectively at least. Let us look to the future !

 June 1, 1998

comments to Dr. José Colaço at jcolaco@bahamas.net.bs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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