To add to the rich history of Portuguese Goa and their connection with the Mughals, the sixth book by Assis Correia titled ‘Portuguese India and Mughal Relations 1510-1735’ was recently released in Panaji. Present was the consul general of Portugal Rui Alberto Carvalho Baceira, fashion designer Wendell Rodricks, English and history teacher, Sushila Mendes and Celsa Pinto.
There was a panel discussion to mark the function surrounding the topic of the book in relation to history in the modern era. The function began with the panelist expressing their views about the book. Speaking about the book as a new addition to the academic field Sushila said: “There is very little information available on the topic. The interesting part about the part the book deals with women empowerment.”
She also highlighted the role played by the three Christian women – Dona Maria Mascarenhas, Emperor Akbar’s second wife; her sister Dona Juliana Mascarenhas and Dona Juliana Dias da Costa of Indo-Portuguese lineage in the Mughal harem, who pleaded with Emperor Aurangzeb to save Goa when Sambhaji and Sahu attacked Goa.
Adding to this Celsa said: “Goan archives do not have material to prove the fact that Akbar had a catholic wife and the fact that Dona Juliana Dias da Costa played an important role in saving Portuguese Goa against the Maratha attacks lead by Sambhaji.”
Wendell on the other viewed the book with a different approach: “I look at history from an international perspective; what is happening in the other parts of the world. It is fascinating to see how Christian women played an important role in the Mughal court to curb what they could control.”
Rui Alberto Carvalho Baceira while speaking stressed that history cannot be changed, however it can be interpreted differently. “The Portuguese had a positive and negative presence in Goa and India,” he said.