Saligao in the Fifties

by Fr Nascimento Mascarenhas

Just under 60 years ago, in the year 1952, when I was a lad growing up in Saligao, the North Goa taluka of Bardez, in which our village is located, was divided into 42 parishes and 39 Comunidades (communities). As I had completed the age of 12, I was admitted as a member of the Saligao Communidade as well as of the Confraria de Mãe de Deus Igreja de Saligao.

Let me record what things were like in the village back then, both from my memory as well as from miscellaneous documents in my possession.

There was a public library in the Instituto de Saligao located at Arrarim. It was known as “Grémio Literário e Recreativo de Saligao”.  There were a number of schools functional in the village during the years 1952-53. One was the Parochial School, which had been operational since 1873, although a separate building to house the school came up only in 1878. Then there was the Mater Dei Institution, founded in 1909. Lourdes Convent High School was opened in 1946 by the Society of the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King. Besides these, there was Portuguese Primary School (Aula) and a few Marathi shalas at Mudd’davaddi and Arrarim.

The Mãe de Deus Church was founded on 26 November 1873 and the feast of the Patroness has always been held on the first Sunday of May. Earlier, our Catholic ancestors belonged to the Nagoa de Bardez Church founded in 1560.  We had chapels affiliated to Nagoa Church of the Blessed Trinity which were detached and attached to the new Saligao Church.  They are: Chapel of Santo Caetano in Arrarim built around 1655 and rebuilt in 1907; Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary at Grande Morodd, inaugurated on 10 September 1793; Chapel of Anne at Mudd’davaddi, founded around 1843.  Besides, there were private chapels, namely, Chapel of St. Jerome at Dakhtti Mudd’davaddi (Sinvaddo), erected on  25 June 1729 by the Marques family;  Chapel of Our Lady of Victory, built before 1753 by Paulo de Menezes, behind where the church is now located – this chapel was demolished and its stones were used for the building of the new Church. There was also a Chapel of St. Anthony in the Hospital Clinic Ave Maria. This hospital was built in 1934 and the first mass was celebrated there on May 6, 1950. The Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes of the FMCK nuns was established in 1946. There were also capelinhas (small chapels) and crosses in various wards of the village.

In the year 1952, on the 6th of December, the Diocesan Minor Seminary of Saligao-Pilerne was blessed by Cardinal Manuel Gonsalves Cerejeira, Patriarch of Lisbon. The Chapel of N. Sra. Do Rosario da Fatima in the seminary was blessed in the same year.  Fr. Altino Ribeiro de Santana from Porvorim de Socorro was the first Rector of the seminary in 1953.  Fr. Alvaro Martis from Taleigao was the Chaplain of the FMCK Sisters at Saligao.

In 1952-53 we had Dr. Avelino dos Neves Carvalho of Cotula as the Regedor of the village. The escrivão of the Communidade of Saligao, located at Mudd’davaddi, was Hori Sinai Lotlekar. The Director of the aula was Alzira Maria do Carmo Souza. The head of the parish school and choir master was Mestre Eustaquio de Souza. Jacinto Travasso was the major sacristan and João José the meirinho (deputy sacristan) while the sextons were Menino, José and Pascoal, much loved by all.

  • Post and Telegraph Office of Saligao had the following employees: Adolfo Domingos Moniz e Menezes (operator) and two postmen with grades. The first grade postman was Vitoba Sacarama Xete Gauncar and the second grade postman was Narcinva Baburau Naique commonly known as Nossu.
  • The Rev. Parish Priest of Mãe de Deus Church, Saligao, was Fr. Antonio de Melo and his assistant (curate) was Fr. Roberto Vaz. The Dean was Fr. José Leandro de Abreu from Saligao, Parish Priest of Calangute.
  • Funeral Agency was run by José Ornelio Caetano Euclides de Souza.
  • Bicycles were given on hire by Benedito Assis Fernandes, Cantá Naraina Perneczar, Caxinata Vassudeva Chornancar, Dananjaia, Gavinha Saldanha, José Ormelio de Souza, Janardana Chornancar, José Quintiniano Mascarenhas, Panduranga Balcrisna Dondo and Pedro Caetano José Fernandes.

  • A carpentry shop was run by Diago João Dias.

  • Tea shops were run by Balcrisna Atmarama Bicholcar, Govinda Dagi Asgaocar, Purxotoma Esvonta Quercar, Sazu Naique Sangodcar, Sitarama Custam Quercar and Vassudev Xencora Xete Mapari.

  • Distilleries were owned by Caetano Fernandes, Francisco Xavier Dias, Gonpota Ancusso Goencar, João Fernandes, Joaquim Remedios Gomes, Manuel Pereira, Pedro Xavier Fernandes, Piedade Andrade, Xavier Dias, Gonpota Ancusso Naique and Miguel Francisco Afonso de Ataide.

  • Windmills for husking rice and cereal-crushing factories were owned by Filipe Feliciano Reis Magos de Sa and Lourenço Sabino Pereira.

  • Grocery shops were run by Balcrisna Porob Padgãocar, Custam Esvonta Quercar, Damum Ramanata Naique, Esvonta R. Camotim, Gambert Fernandes, Gonexa Rogunata Poi,Gunam Crisna Tuencar, José Avelino Piedade Sequeira, José Ormelio Euclides de Souza, Mistrilal Boia, Panduronga Balcrisna Dondo, Panduronga Punaji Achrencar, Patricio Antonio Caridade de Barros, Podmanaba Camotim, Roguvira Raiu Naique and Vassudeva Porob Mambro.

  • Goldsmiths were Gopinata Janardana Bandorcar, Janardana Ananta Chodnancar, Ramanata Xete Sangodcar and Roguvira S. Chatim.

  • Owners of Bakeries: Agostinho Noronha, Caetano Rosario da Silva, José Placido Barreto and Tomas Pereira.

  • In the village there were four doctors: Dr. Vaglo, Dr. Menino Machado, Dr. Avelino Carvalho and Dr. Florencio de Souza.

The Saligao cemetery was built in 1838 and blessed on 15 May 1839. In the 1950s, the Hindu community cremated the bodies of their dead on the hill above Mater Dei Institution. There were no Hindu temples at the time in the village, although Nouso Bikaji Salgaokar along with some others conducted religious services in a hut at Salmona in 1942. The Hindus were also active in nataks at Mudd’davaddi, Arrarim and Tabravaddo. In 1952-53, cultivation of fields was done more by Catholics than Hindus in Saligao.

Transportation  in Saligao was mostly by caminhão, gaddi (matchbox) and gaddé. A few affluent Saligaokars had cars. Many Saligaokars, especially those from the Catholic community, were based in other parts of the world such as Africa, Qatar, Abadan, Indian cities, Kuwait, and a few in Burma and UK.  Most of the Saligaokars returned home in April-May.  The village tinto, the salves of the church, and Calangute beach were the favorite meeting places of the villagers. Konkani and English were widely spoken, and a few conversed in Portuguese too.

Tiatr was a popular form of entertainment and these traditional plays were staged often in the village. Inter-ward football tournaments also fostered community spirit and brought people together. The villagers planted rice during the monsoons, and at other times sweet potatoes, beans chilies and other vegetables. Fish was available in plenty and the yield of mango, jackfruit,, papaya and other fruit was more than adequate.

We had ladainhas at the village crosses in May (followed by laudavinho – hail to wine!!) and also motets sung in homes during Lent. All the seven passos were held in the church, except the sixth one, which was held at St. Anne’s on Sunday and repeated at the Arrarim chapel the following Tuesday. For the processions that made their way from the church through parts of the village and back, with the confrades – members of various associations in their respective uniforms. The most colourful character of the village at the time, Sacro (Sacrula), depicting himself as a follower of St. Anthony, stood statuesquely at the 3rd Descenso (3rd Station).  No one dared to disturb him.  Little kids would stand at a distance and giggle to draw his attention. He remained motionless.

Those were the days my friends…

1 comment on Saligao in the Fifties

  • Mark Francis Lobo

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