Goa and East Timor:
A comparison of the
history of two former Portuguese colonies
This paper was written
for the purpose of comparing and contrasting the respective histories of East
Timor and Goa in order to discover the reasons
behind the discrepancies of today. As both regions were subjects of the
Portuguese colonial empire, it was assumed that the histories of both regions
would have similarities and differences that would shed light on the factors
leading to the current situations in the respective regions.
After the Carnation
Revolution in Portugal, East
Timor declared independence and was subsequently invaded and occupied by Indonesia in
1975. After nearly 30 years of Indonesian military occupation, East Timor finally gained independence in 2002, becoming
the world¡¯s youngest democracy. Currently, it is the poorest country in the
world and politically unstable, the 2006 riots caused by disgruntled factions
of the army reflecting these problems. In the case of Goa, it was invaded and
occupied by India in 1961
and has been a part of India
ever since. Goa gained statehood in 1987 and has quickly grown to become one of
the richest states in India.
This paper will examine the respective backgrounds of both regions to find out
the factors that lead to such a stark difference today.
Prior to the 14th
century, there is little knowledge on the subject of East
Timor. What information we do have is based on the archaeological
findings of scholars such as Antonio de Almeida and Antonio Alberto Banha de Andrade.
East Timor¡¯s history
began with the three waves of migration which have shaped the Australasia
region in general. The first wave described by anthropologists consisted of
people of the Vedo-Australoid type, who arrived from the north and west around
40,000 to 20,000 BC. The second wave, largely made up of Melanesians, came
around 3000 BC. At this time it is assumed that the original Vedo-Australoid
people withdrew to the mountainous interior of the island. The last wave,
proto-Malays, arrived from south China
and northern Indochina around 2500 BC.
Due to the significance
of sandalwood as a trade good in the history of Timor, Timor Island
is mentioned by 14th century Chinese and Javanese documents. Also traded were
slaves, honey, and wax. Early European explorers reported a number of small
chiefdoms ruled by liurai (kings or chiefs) on the island. The most significant
of such kingdoms was the Wehale kingdom, to which many clans of the Tetum,
Bunaq, and Kemak ethnic groups were aligned.
Goa is mentioned in
early Indian texts such as the epic Mahabharata, in which Goa
is known as Goparashtra, ¡®a nation of cowherds or of nomadic tribes¡¯. This
suggests the idea that Goa was a prosperous
state in ancient times, as cattle was the criterion for wealth. The name Goman
also appears in the said text and sacred Hindu texts such as Harivansa and
Skanda. Goa is also referred to as Gomanchala
in Skanda, and Govapuri in Indian classics such as Suta Sanhita.
history stretches back to the 3rd century BC, when it formed part of
the Mauryan Empire. Around 0 AD the Satavahanas of Kolhapur took control of the
region and ruled it for around six centuries, eventually giving way to the
Chalukyans of Badami, who controlled Goa from
580 to 750. During next few centuries the claim for Goa
was passed on successively to the Silharas, the Kadambas, and the Chalukyans of
conquered by the Muslim Sultanate of Delhi in 1312, but Harihara I of the
Vijayanagar Empire conquered it in 1370. The Vijayanagars ruled Goa for nearly a century, when its harbors became an
important landing place for imported Arabian horses to strengthen the
Vijayanagar cavalry. However, Goa was reconquered by the Bahmani sultanate of Gulbarga in 1469. When
this dynasty split, the area was passed on to Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
arrived on Timor around 1515 in order to take
advantage of the island¡¯s lucrative sandalwood trade. Timorese leaders on the
coast would exchange sandalwood brought in from the mountainous interior for Portuguese
goods such as guns, cloth, and iron tools.
In 1556, Dominican
friars established the village of Lifau Not long after, the Topasses, or Black Portuguese-the
offspring of Portuguese sailors, soldiers, and traders and women from
neighboring islands-settled on Timor. The
Portuguese consolidated their control on the island through the Topasses, who
spread Portuguese culture and influence, eventually controlling the local trade
networks. With the help of newly Christianized chieftains of the coastal
regions, the Portuguese conquered the Wehale kingdom in 1642, allowing a
continuous and increased flow of Topasses. The territory was officially
proclaimed a Portuguese colony in 1702 under the name Portuguese Timor.
However, the Dutch soon
became interested in the sandalwood trade of Timor, and had already taken over
the Kupang (West Timor) region in 1656. The
next two centuries can be seen as a power struggle between the indigenous
Timorese and the Topasses, and the colonial powers. The official division of
the island into West (Dutch) Timor and East (Portuguese) Timor,
a discussion that had been held since the Treaty of Lisbon in 1559, was not
finalized until 1913.
over the colony was minimal, with the exception of a few missions stationed
near the coast. Portuguese Timor served as a place to exile political prisoners
and missionaries unfit to serve in Goa. In the
1860s, Alfred R. Wallace, a British explorer, described the situation like
Portuguese government in Timor is a most
miserable one. Nobody seems to care the least about the improvement of the
country. And at this time, after three hundred years of occupation, there has not
been a mile of road made beyond the town [Dili], and there is not a solitary
European residence in the interior. (Wallace 307)
The Portuguese influence
was felt greatest in mission efforts. The Catholic Church served to provide
education to the native population, building a total of 20 schools by 1900.
Through education, the Church would cultivate a town-based elite of native
Timorese to serve in the colonial administration. Unlike the Portuguese
officials, the Church would often support the natives¡¯ resistance at direct
rule, even going so far as to support some attempted uprisings in 1719, 1895,
However, East Timor was largely neglected, despite some
half-hearted efforts by the Portuguese government to improve its colonies
during the age of high imperialism. This quote from a historian shows the
situation in East Timor before World War II
On the eve of World War
II the capital, Dili, had no electricity and no town water supply; there were
no paved roads, no telephone services (other than to the houses and offices of
senior officials), and not even a wharf for cargo handling. (Dunn 18)
2) Japanese Occupation
Despite the fact that Portugal was neutral, the Western Allies decided
to use Timor as a line of defense against
Japanese advances into the south. By mid-December 1941, around 400 Dutch Indies
and Australian troops landed on the island. Two months later, Japanese forces
invaded Timor, quickly driving out the Dutch forces and taking over control of West Timor. Resistance in the east was stronger, as a few
hundred Australian troops helped by Timorese managed to keep 20,000 Japanese
troops at bay until 1943, when the Japanese finally took over the entire
The Japanese occupation
was a dark time for the Timorese as the Japanese military imposed forced labor
and numerous brutalities, as can be seen in this quote by Iwamura Shouachi, who
commanded a platoon in East Timor for over two years.
It is painful
to speak today of the sacrifices and burdens we forced upon the East Timorese¡¦We
ordered chiefs to mobilize people en masse for road construction¡¦to work
without receiving food or compensation. Because of food shortage people died of
starvation every day. Food for Japanese soldiers and horses to transport
ammunition were confiscated from the people, and some of the troops under my
command raped Timorese women. (qtd. in Turner 52)
Had the Allied forces
left the island alone, it is quite possible that the Japanese would ignore the
island, which was neutral territory, or at least send a token force. Instead,
over 60,000 Timorese lost their lives during World War II as a result of the
brutal Japanese occupation and the subsequent Allied bombings that aimed to
dislodge it. The war badly damaged Dili and partially destroyed many villages,
yet no war reparations were made to Portuguese by the Japanese or the Allies.
3) Post World War II
After the war, East Timor was quickly returned to Portuguese control. However,
the colony was still largely neglected, with no significant improvements made
from its pre-war status. International criticism against the backward status of
Portuguese colonies forced Portugal to make some improvements such in
education, where schooling was made compulsory and the number of schools was
increased, and in health services. With the exception of an uprising in 1959,
relations between East Timor and Portugal remained stable.
Though the nearby Dutch
East Indies gained independence in 1949, post-war nationalism did not come to East Timor until the late 1950s. At this time, public
radio began broadcasting in Portuguese, Tetum (the lingua franca used by people
who used different native languages), and Chinese (business was largely
conducted by Chinese immigrants and Timorese of Chinese descent). A government
newspaper was first published in 1960, but these publications were often
subject to censorship. Nationalist ideas mainly came from the Church, even though
the majority of the clergy were Portuguese. This was because the Jesuits were
often critical of colonialism. Jesuit teachers would often foster a Timorese
identity in students, and a Church-published newspaper, the Seara, taught Tetum
to its readers and sometimes served as a forum for progressive ideas. Though
the Seara was forced to close down in 1973, by that time Timorese nationalists
were already meeting in secret. By the end of Portuguese rule, a small educated
elite had emerged to lead the area into the next stage of its history.
1) Golden Goa
The first Portuguese
encounter with India was in
1498, when Vasco da Gama landed in Calicut.
The Portuguese were desperate to control the spice trade in India, which at
the time was under the control of the Arabs. Thus they sought an appropriate
port, which happened to be Goa. In 1510, the
Bijapurs who were ruling Goa were defeated by
the Portuguese admiral Afonso de Albuquerque, who proceeded to make a permanent
settlement in the area. As Portugal¡¯s
first territorial possession in Asia, Goa
became the base for further conquests in Malacca (1511) and Hormuz (1515). It
later became the capital of the Portuguese
Vice-Kingdom in Asia, and granted the
same civic privileges as Lisbon.
Portuguese men were encouraged to marry local women and settle down, resulting
in a large Eurasian population.
Goa reached its
golden age around 1575, though St. Francis Xavier mentioned its architectural
splendors as early as 1542. Travelers marveled at Goa Dourado, or Golden Goa,
and there was a Portuguese proverb, ¡°He who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon.¡± Merchandise from
all parts of the Portuguese empire gathered in Goa, and separate streets were
set aside for the sale of different classes of goods–Bahrain pearls and coral,
Chinese porcelain and silk, Portuguese velvet and piece-goods, drugs and spices
from the Malay Archipelago.
control was not without its flaws. When Albuquerque
conquered the Bijapurs in 1510, he massacred the Muslim inhabitants, partly in
retribution for a former loss of Goa a few
months earlier. Although Albuquerque initially
adopted a policy of religious toleration, in 1540 the Inquisition reached Goa, and Hindu temples were destroyed and churches were
rebuilt on top of them and Hindus and Muslims were forced to convert to
Christianity, adopting the names of the priests who baptized them. This legacy
can be seen even today, as there are a large number of Goans with typical
Portuguese names. The Inquisition was finally stopped in 1812 when the British
occupied the city of Goa.
2) Decline of Goa
Goa¡¯s golden age
ended with the advent of the Dutch in Indian waters. Goa
was subject to Dutch blockades in 1603 and from 1636 to 1639, and the city was
ravaged by an epidemic in 1635. Goa¡¯s economic
declined mirrored the decline in strength of the Portuguese empire in the East
due to several military losses to the Dutch and the British. By the mid 17th
century, the Dutch had taken over the spice trade, the initial reason for the
Portuguese empire in Asia, and Brazil
had supplanted Goa as the commercial center of Portugal¡¯s colonial empire. Jean de
Thévenot in 1666, Baldaeus in 1672, and Fryer in 1675 described its
ever-increasing poverty and decay.
In 1683, Goa was almost overrun by the Marathas but was saved by a
strong Mughal force. Goa was threatened again
by the Marathas, but a new viceroy, the Marquis of Lourical, arrived with
substantial reinforcements and defeated the Marathas. Peace with the Marathas
was concluded in 1759. A second phase of Portuguese expansion occurred in this
period, though these ¡°New Conquests¡± were allowed a Hindu majority, which is why
the area does not share some characteristics with Goa
today. The capture of Satari during this period provided a source of constant
trouble for the Portuguese, as the natives continuously fought against the
Portuguese for the next 150 years. The Marquis of Lourical moved his residence
from the city of Goa
to Nova Goa, today¡¯s Panaji, which became the seat of government in 1843.
Although the Portuguese
faced few outward threats from the late 17th century onward (except for a short
period of occupation by the British from 1797 to 1813), they had to deal with
dissatisfaction from within, as in the Pinto Rebellion of 1787.
One consequence of the
British presence in Goa was the beginning of Goan emigration to Bombay, Poona, Karachi, Calcutta and
various other parts of British India. Later,
considerable numbers would migrate as far as British East
Africa in search of better economic opportunities. The opening in
1878 of the port of Marmagoa as well as the establishment of rail links
in 1881 with India served to
lessen Goa's isolation, but at the same time facilitated the Goan diaspora to
British India and Africa.
in the 1900s
The turn of the century
brought increased dissatisfaction with Portuguese colonialism. In 1900, Luis
Menezes Braganza founded the ¡°O Heraldo,¡± the first Goan Portuguese-language
newspaper, in which he criticized Portuguese rule in Goa.
In 1926, the Salazar regime rose to power in Portugal, causing the suppression
of Portuguese (and subsequently Goan) civil liberties. In 1928, Dr. Cunha
founded the Goa National Congress, which was linked to the Indian National
Congress. However, it must be said that many Portuguese-speaking Goans, though
dissatisfied with the Salazar dictatorship, were politically inactive. During
World War II, Goa, like most other Portuguese
colonies, stayed neutral. Goa even benefited from
the post-war economic boom by providing a cheap source of iron ore for the
growing Japanese economy. This in turn brought a change in the Goan economy,
providing an opportunity for the mechanization of agriculture and an improved
Although Goa and Portuguese Timor were both subject to Portuguese
rule, it is clear that there were major differences in how the Portuguese ruled
these two areas. The first point that can be made is the significance that the
regions had in the Portuguese colonial empire. Goa
was essentially the capital of the eastern Portuguese Empire, both economically
and administratively. Products from all over Asia flowed into the port of Goa,
and the city of Goa was in fact equal to the
Portuguese capital of Lisbon
in terms of civic privileges. However, Portuguese Timor was never considered
anything more than a trading outpost among several others in the region. In
fact, Timor was under the rule of Goa, and often served as a place to exile
political prisoners as in the case of Dadaji Rauji Rane Sardesai, who led an
unsuccessful uprising in Goa in 1895. It can
also be seen in the quotes that Portugal
effectively neglected the colony of Timor, not
even investing in basic infrastructure such as roads. This difference in the
perception of the importance of the two colonies led to a subsequent difference
in interest and investing in the colonies, which resulted in the difference in
the prosperity of the regions.
The second point is the
fact that although Goa¡¯s rise and fall reflected the change in the degree of
Portuguese influence over Asia, Timor showed
no such fluctuations. Although in most cases the economies of colonies are
closely related to the economies of their respective colonial powers (as in the
case of Goa), Portuguese Timor was never
significantly connected to the Portuguese colonial economy enough to show such
correlation. Though it may seem like a sign of relative freedom from Portuguese
control, in fact it is only a reflection of the lack of Portuguese interest in
The third point that can
be made is the visible difference in the consequences of the Second World War.
It is a common fact that Portugal
was a neutral state in World War II, and in most cases colonies followed the
example of their respective imperial powers. Goa was located in a region that
was not near the Atlantic or Pacific Theater, so it could follow Portugal¡¯s
policy of neutrality with relative ease, even benefiting from the post-war
situation by exporting much-needed iron ore. However, Portuguese Timor lay in a
strategic defensive position between Australia and the Japanese advances
to the south. Due to the Allied forces positioned on the island, Japanese occupation
was much more brutal than what it could have been, and combined with Allied
bombings of the region, resulted in the death of more than 60,000 Timorese out
of a total population of approximately 500,000.
1) Rise of Suharto
After independence in
1949, the Communist Party of Indonesia(PKI) became one of the most popular
parties in the country. Sukarno, the president of Indonesia, worked closely with the
PKI in his policies. However, these polices would alienate Western powers and
their allies in the Indonesian military. The policy of Konfrontasi (confrontation)
against newly-formed Malaysia
only helped exacerbate the problem. By late 1965, the Indonesian Army had clearly
divided into the PKI-supported left-wing camp and the US-supported right-wing
On September 30, 1965,
six senior generals within the military and several other officers were
murdered by palace guards alleged to be loyal to the PKI. Panic about a
potential communist coup attempt spread throughout Indonesia, at which time Major
General Suharto, the commander of the Army Strategic Reserve (Kostrad), organized
an offensive against the alleged rebellion. By 1966, the army had killed over
500,000 alleged communists in rural areas. This conflict between the pro-PKI forces
and the anti-communist forces led by Major General Sukarno
Sukarno attempted to restore his political position and return the status quo
in March 1966, Sukarno was forced to transfer key political and military powers
to General Suharto, who had become the head of the armed forces by that time.
In March 1967, the Provisional People¡¯s Consultative Assembly (MPRS) named
General Suharto acting president. In 1968, the People¡¯s Consultative Assembly (MPR)
formally elected Suharto to a full 5-year term as president.
2) Indonesia Raya (Great Indonesia)
proclaimed a ¡°New Order¡± in Indonesian politics and drastically changed the
direction of policies from Sukarno¡¯s period. Under the New Order, surviving
members of the PKI were branded tapol (political detainees) and sentenced to
harsh prison sentences without trial. Another policy would be anti-Chinese
laws, as anti-Chinese sentiment had been widespread as far back as the time of
the Dutch East Indies era. The purge of the
secularist Communists had the effect of expanding Islamism in Indonesia and
improved ties with the West. However, the most notable of the New Order
policies would be military rule and Indonesia Raya(Great Indonesia), a
continuation of Sukarno¡¯s policy of expansion.
Through the purges of
loyalists from parliament and the civil war, civilian government became
ineffective in Indonesia.
In the place of civilian rule, a new system of military rule was created, based
on set-aside seats in the Parliament as well as the dwi fungsi (dual function)
doctrine of the military in taking the role of both soldiers and
followed a policy of the territorial gain of Indonesia Raya to stake and
enforce its territorial claims over the region through both diplomacy and
military action. Indonesia
would settle the question of West Irian, the
former Dutch New Guinea in their favor by passing an ¡°Act of Free Choice¡± in
1969. 1,025 representatives of local councils were picked by Indonesia and
warned to vote in favor of Indonesian integration, resulting in a unanimous
vote. A subsequent UN General Assembly resolution would confirm this transfer
of sovereignty to Indonesia.
3) Portuguese Carnation
By February 1974,
divisions among the powerful elite that ruled Portugal became visible, at which
point the Movimento das Forças Armadas (MFA, ¡°Movement of Armed Forces¡±), a
group of army officers headed by Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and joined by
Salgueiro Maia, chose to lead a revolution. On April 25, 1974, the MFA took
over strategic points of power in the country and announced that the revolution
had started and nothing would stop it except the possibility of the regime¡¯s
A few hours later, the
Salazar regime caved in and political prisoners were released and in the
following weeks exiled political leaders such as Álvaro Cunhal and Mário Soares
returned to Portugal.
During the following year Portugal
entered a turbulent period of political change, commonly known as the PREC (Processo
Revolucionário em Curso, or Ongoing Revolutionary Process). The first free
elections were held on April 25, 1975, in order to write a constitution to
replace the Constitution of 1933, and a new Constitutional government led by
Mário Soares entered office in 1976. During the PREC, the colonial war for Portugal ended, paving the way for the
independence of several Portuguese colonies such as Angola
and Mozambique and leading
to more liberal policies in other colonies, such as East
1) Indian Independence and
On August 15, 1947, India gained its independence from Britain, effectively ending the British Raj in India. India became an independent Dominion within the British Commonwealth, with Jawaharlal Nehru becoming the
first Prime Minister and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel the Minister for Home and
State Affairs. Patel was in charge of the political unification of India, a
process that had begun with the attempt to annex the 565 princely states in
1947. In order to ensure the primacy of the central government, Patel employed
political negotiations backed with the option and use of military force. Thus
by the August 15, 1947, all of the Indian princely states with the exception of
Junagadh, Kashmir, and Hyderabad
became part of the Indian Union. These three states would later join India at later
However, this part of
Indian integration involved independent states that had been under the
influence of British India. In the 1950s, the
regions of Pondicherry, Karikal, Yanaon, Mahe,
and Chandernagore were still colonies of France,
and Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Goa
were still Portuguese colonies. An agreement between France
and India led to an election
colonies regarding their political future. As a result, Chandernagore was ceded
to India on May 2, 1950, and
was merged with West Bengal on October 2,
1955. On November 1, 1954, the four enclaves of Pondicherry,
Yanaon, Mahe, and Karikal were transferred to the Indian Union as the Union territory of Pondicherry. Dadra and Nagar Haveli were
integrated into India after
bands of Indian irregulars occupied the lands in 1953, but Goa, Daman and Diu
remained under Portuguese influence until 1961 as Portugal
refused to turn them over to India.
Largely, it can be seen
that the annexations of Goa and East Timor into India
respectively were all parts of greater policies of expansion. However, closer
examination shows that the fundamental difference in backgrounds of the two
policies may serve to explain the drastic difference in treatment the two
regions dealt in this paper.
Raya was part of Suharto¡¯s New Order, in which the Indonesian military played a
central role in determining the policies of the government. Suharto had gained
power through a military coup, so the large part of his support was from the
Indonesian military. In Suharto¡¯s New Order, military rule replaced civilian
rule. Therefore, it is only natural that Indonesia¡¯s
territorial expansion would use methods that included coercion and force, as
seen in the West Irian case. Thus Indonesia
Raya can be said to be more of a claim of military power over the region than a
political policy to organize different states.
However, India strove for a more peaceful integration
process, successfully negotiating with most of the 565 different princely
states and France
to integrate several regions into the Indian Union. This may be attributed to
the fact that India¡¯s
government was a democracy, more sensitive to the needs of its people than
Suharto¡¯s military regime was. Thus, India avoided needless conflict
whenever possible, choosing to negotiate until negotiations where not an
option. Also, India¡¯s policy
of state integration was supported with the intent of unifying India
politically, not annexing unnecessary territory. Therefore, India would avoid incensing or
brutally suppressing the voice of the population of an area, as such an act
would have an negative impact on Indian political stability.
Though the greatest difference
between the backgrounds of the annexation of East Timor and the annexation of
Goa is the fact that Indonesia¡¯s
government was based on the military and India¡¯s based on the masses, some other
discrepancies are visible. While Goa¡¯s separation from Portugal was solely
based on the state integration policy of the nearby Indian Union, East Timor¡¯s
was connected to a number of factors, starting from the fall of Sukarno and the
rise of Suharto in Indonesia to the Carnation Revolution in Portugal. This convolution
of factors spanning nearly two decades will serve to show why East Timor¡¯s more
recent history is much more complex than Goa¡¯s
V. Events Leading to Integration/Occupation
1) Rise of Political
Parties in East Timor
After the Carnation
Revolution, the Portuguese government took steps to encourage the independence
of Portuguese Timor. In June 1974, Portugal
laid out three possible options for Portuguese Timor: continued association
with Portugal, independence,
or integration with Indonesia.
However, the government took no immediate action on any of these options.
However, the response to the Carnation Revolution was not as sluggish in Timor. In a matter of months, 3 major political parties
emerged in Portuguese Timor.
The first party founded
was UDT (União Democrática Timorense or Timorese Democratic Union). Supported
by the traditional elites, the UDT initially supported continued association
but as opposition to colonialism mounted, it adopted the idea of eventual total
independence. Generally conservative and pro-Portuguese, many of East Timor¡¯s richest citizens supported the UDT. Although
the UDT started as the largest and most popular party, it would soon lose
ground to the second party founded, the ASDT (Associação Social Democrática
Timorense or Timorese Social Democratic Association), which was better
organized and more innovative. Fully committed to total independence from the
beginning, the ASDT envisioned an 8-10 year period of decolonization in which
the East Timorese would be able to develop the political and economical
structures needed for independence. As its members-and the East Timorese
population in general-became more radical, the ASDT changed its name in
September 1974 to FRETILIN (Frente Revolucionária de Timor-Leste Independente
or Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor). FRETILIN volunteers would go
into rural areas to teach Tetum, establish agricultural cooperatives, help
organize labor unions, and promote local culture. As a result, FRETILIN became
the most popular party by early 1975. The third party, Apodeti (Associação
Popular Democrática Timorense or Timorese Popular Democratic Association)
favored autonomous integration with Indonesia. However, it had very
little support, never having more than a few hundred members. Other minor
parties included KOTA (Klibur Oan Timur Asuwain)
and the Labor Party, but neither had much influence and would later collaborate
The new Portuguese
government appointed a new governor for the colony on November 18, 1974. Mário
Lemos Pires, who would become the last governor of Portuguese Timor, legalized political
parties and invited the three main parties to Lisbon to advise the MFA on the Timorese
decolonialization process. Although FRETILIN and the UDT would join and form a
coalition, Apodeti refused to participate, claiming it only recognized the
2) Operasi Komodo
The activities in East
Timor alarmed the Suharto regime in Indonesia, which was not pleased by
the prospect of a small independent state in the sprawling archipelago. Such a
state might serve to inspire provinces such as Aceh, West Irian, and the Moluccas to push for independence. The fact that the
increasingly popular Fretilin was becoming more radical and left-leaning was
also a discomforting fact to Suharto, who had brutally suppressed the
Indonesian Communist Party less than a decade earlier. Thus it was concluded
that an independent Timor would become a
potential threat to the stability of the region and Indonesian military
intelligence, known as BAKIN (Badan Koordinasi Intelijen Negara) devised a plan
aimed to strengthen Apodeti and weaken Fretilin. This was known as Operasi
Komodo, or Operation Komodo, named after the Komodo dragon native to Indonesia.
Operasi Komodo started
with a number of diplomatic successes in 1974. During a meeting in September
1974 with Indonesian president Suharto, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
voiced his support for East Timor integration with Indonesia. Indonesia was also able to gain the support of
the United States, which had
expressed concerns over East Timor in the wake
of the Vietnam War. Having gained Indonesia
as an ally, the United
States did not want to see the country
destabilized by a left-wing regime in its midst.
When Fretilin and UDT
formed a coalition, Operasi Komodo was stepped up. In February 1975, the
Indonesian military, commonly referred to as ABRI (Angkatan Bersenjata Republik
Indonesia) staged exercises
in Sumatra that simulated an air and sea attack on East
Timor. Soon after, Indonesia
began disseminating false reports of a planned coup by the MFA and Fretilin and
the supposed persecution of Apodeti members. Operasi Komodo, along with the
increasing popularity of Fretilin, served to weaken the Fretilin-UDT coalition,
which was further weakened when Indonesia
convinced the more conservative members of UDT that international isolation
would result if leftists were allowed to remain in the coalition. In May 1975,
UDT formally withdrew from the coalition.
3) UDT Coup and Fretilin
UDT leaders met with
Indonesian officials in Jakarta and became
convinced that Indonesia
would not allow Timorese independence under Fretilin or even UDT. Thus they
came to the conclusion that purging East Timor
of communist influence was the only way to prevent an Indonesian invasion.
In the mid-August 1975, Indonesia
gave UDT false intelligence reports of an imminent power grab by Fretilin,
complete with clandestine Chinese arms shipments and ¡°Vietnamese terrorists¡± entering
East Timor to aid Fretilin. In a bid to halt Fretilin, the UDT mounted a coup
on August 11, 1975, quickly capturing the communications station and airport in
However, Fretilin was
able to convince most of the East Timorese units of the Portuguese army to join
their cause. Soon Fretilin controlled most of Dili and by late September had
driven the remaining UDT supporters across the border into Indonesian Timor,
where they were permitted to enter only if they signed a petition calling for
East Timor¡¯s integration into Indonesia.
The short civil war was over after a month.
Fretilin immediately set
up a de facto government to fill in for the Portuguese, who had fled during the
brief civil war. The former Australian consul in Dili, James Dunn, described
the people¡¯s response:
structure had obvious shortcomings, but it clearly enjoyed widespread support
or cooperation from the population, including many former UDT supporters¡¦.
leaders of the victorious party were welcomed warmly and spontaneously in all
main centers by crowds of Timorese. In my long association with the territory,
I had never before witnessed such demonstrators of spontaneous warmth and
support from the ordinary people. (Dunn 186-187)
Meanwhile, ABRI was
making incursions over the border to give the appearance of an ongoing civil
war. ABRI soon captured some towns near the border between East Timor and West Timor, their campaign culminating in a two-week
land, air, and sea assault on a town called Atabae, just 35 miles from Dili.
ABRI finally took Atabae on November 28. 1975. Faced with an imminent
Indonesian invasion, Fretilin declared the independence of the Democratic
Republic of East Timor that same day. Although Fretilin hoped this declaration
would give East Timor some international protection, only four former colonies
in Africa recognized the new country
4) Operasi Seroja
On December 7, 1975, Indonesia launched Operasi Seroja (Operation
Lotus), a full-scale invasion of East Timor. At
2 am, Indonesian ships began bombarding the outskirts of Dili and by 5 am,
planes were dropping paratroopers into the waterfront area. ABRI soldiers began
rampaging through the streets of Dili. According to the former Catholic bishop
of Dili, ¡°The soldiers who landed started killing everyone they could find.
There were many dead bodies in the streets-all we could see were the soldiers
killing, killing, killing.¡± Several other witnesses confirm these atrocities.
After the initial mass
killings, the soldiers began looting from churches and homes, loading whatever
they had taken onto ships destined for Java, where ABRI was centered. Refugees
reported ABRI soldiers raping women in front of their husbands or fathers,
severely beating, imprisoning, or sometimes even killing those men who refused
to surrender their wives or daughters.
In the first two days of
the invasion, 2,000 people in Dili were slaughtered. A few days after the
assault on Dili, Indonesian soldiers attacked other major towns and eventually
pushed inland. By Christmas, the initial 10,000 ABRI troops were supplemented
by 15,000-20,000 more. By mid-February 1976, 60,000 East Timorese out of a
total population of 600,000 were dead.
After the invasion, Indonesia set
up a puppet legislative assembly, whose 28 members consisted of Apodeti and UDT
leaders. On May 31, 1976, this assembly unanimously endorsed an act of
integration into Indonesia
and on July 17, East Timor officially became the 27th province of the Republic of Indonesia.
1) Portuguese Refusal to
Negotiate with India
The Government of India
strictly followed its policy of peaceful negotiations with Portugal and made attempts to solve the problem
of Goa without the use of force. However, the
Salazar regime in Portugal
resisted any form of diplomatic solution and refused to transfer power over the
region of Goa. In 1953, the Portuguese would
cut diplomatic ties with India.
Arbitration by the World Court
and the United Nations General Assembly favored self-determination, but Portugal resisted all such attempts by India. The
Indian government would place an economic blockade in 1955 in an attempt to
force the Portuguese out of the area, but to no avail. The Portuguese would
even go so far as to fire upon demonstrators and brutally suppress a peaceful
Satyagraha launched to liberate the region in 1955.
After 1955, the pressure
on the Indian government to take action on the issue of Goa
increased. However, Prime Minister Nehru and the Congress Party did little from
1955 to 1961 to relieve the situation in Goa.
However, a seminar held in New Delhi
in October 1961 on Portuguese colonialism helped change in the thinking of
Prime Minister Nehru. On November 24, the Indian merchant ship Sabarmati was
fired upon near Portuguese-controlled
Although the claim was denied by Portugal, this act of aggression
was enough for Nehru to decide on military intervention.
2) Operation Vijay
On December 17, 1961,
Jawaharlal Nehru ordered the military invasion and liberation of Goa, a military operation called Operation Vijay. An
Indian force of 30,000 troops supported by the Indian air force and navy
entered Goa on December 18. Goa
was guarded by an ill-equipped Portuguese force of 3,000 men under the command
of Vassalo da Silva, the Portuguese Governor General. After a nearly bloodless
conflict, da Silva and the Portuguese forces surrendered on the 19th and Goa,
Daman and Diu were integrated into India,
forming the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu.
Though the integrations
of East Timor and Goa into Indonesia
respectively may seem similar in the fact that both acts of integration were in
fact military takeovers, it is clear that there is a difference in the nature
of the invasions.
The first difference
that must be addressed is the difference in the Portuguese government of 1961
and of 1975. In 1961, Portugal
was ruled by the fascist Salazar regime, while in 1975, the MFA had toppled the
dictatorship and set up a democratic government. While the Salazar regime
refused to take any actions that might compromise Portuguese sovereignty over
its colonies, the MFA was more willing to grant its oversea territories
independence. Therefore the use of force was probably the only choice that the
Indian government had of resolving the problem of Goa.
However, force was not the most desirable or necessary step in the issue of East Timor. At the time of the Indonesian invasion, Portugal was willing to grant East
Timor the freedom to choose its future.
viewed the immensely popular Fretilin party as a possible advocate of communism.
The possibility of a communist state in the midst of the Indonesian archipelago
was a discomforting revelation. An independent state would also threaten the
stability of the ¡°federation¡± of islands that made up Indonesia.
Therefore, Indonesia found
it necessary to prevent the independence of East Timor
by any means possible.
The complexity of the
situation in East Timor compared to the situation in Goa
is also noticeable. The existence of several different political parties and
Indonesian attempts to alienate these parties in the form of Operasi Komodo led
to a much more intricate pre-invasion situation than in Goa.
While Goa was subject to Portuguese suppression and the Salazar regime¡¯s
refusal to discuss integration into India,
East Timor saw the rise of the UDT and
Fretilin and the UDT coup and subsequent civil war. Goa was invaded by India while under the rule of Portugal, while East Timor
was invaded after it had declared independence.
The most visible
difference, however, is the sheer difference in damage done during the Indian
and Indonesian invasions respectively. While Operation Vijay left Goa
relatively intact with a nearly bloodless conflict, Operation Seroja involved
mass killings and looting and raping, leaving 2,000 Timorese dead in the first
2 days and 60,000 dead in the two months. This would be a precursor to the
different paths the two regions would go down after integration into India and Indonesia respectively.
On July 17, 1976, East
Timor was integrated into Indonesia
as the 27th province
of Timor Timur
(alternatively Timor Loro Sae). The province is the highest tier of local
government subnational entity in Indonesia. Each province has its
own local government, headed by the governor; and has its own legislative body.
The governor and member of representatives are elected by popular vote for 5
years term. In the case of East Timor however,
the army had joint power with civil authorities, who exercised little real
power. The army was the law in East Timor.
Furthermore, the region was closed to outsiders for 13 years until January
1989, during which all mail was censored and the movement of Timorese was
United Nations did not recognize the annexation of East Timor, so Portugal was left the nominal official
administrative power of the East Timor region.
However, this fact had little or no effect on the Indonesian administration of East Timor.
2) Resistance against
Fretilin had prepared
for a possible Indonesian invasion months before December 1975, establishing
bases and relocating its forces to the country¡¯s interior. Falintil(Forças
Armadas da Libertação Nacional de Timor-Leste), the military wing of Fretilin,
consisted of 2,500 former full-time Portuguese troops, 7,000 part-time militia,
and 10,000 reservists. In addition, it had a comprehensive knowledge of East Timor¡¯s geography and large supplies of weapons left
by the Portuguese.
ABRI suffered heavy
casualties at the hands of Falintil. During the first few weeks, it is
estimated that there were more than 450 Indonesian casualties, and during the
first four months of 1976, as many as 2,000 Indonesian troops were killed. Such
fierce resistance enabled Fretilin to maintain control over the majority of East Timor for some months after the invasion. When
Indonesian forces became too overwhelming, Fretilin reorganized as a guerilla
group under the leadership of Xanana Gusmão.
However, the Timorese
resistance was not just an armed struggle. Fretilin also sought to make the
struggle for independence known in the international community. As a result of
their efforts, Fretilin¡¯s chief diplomat José Ramos-Horta and Catholic bishop
Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996. The Catholic
Church was the only organization in East Timor
with infrastructure and links to the outside world and used this advantage to
document the situation and reveal it to the world under the leadership of
Monsignor Lopes and later Bishop Belo. The Church would also use its relative
immunity to publicly oppose the Indonesian military regime in East
Timor and protect fugitives, and many young men would become
priests to actively participate in the resistance movement.
3) Indonesian Brutality
The atrocities committed
during the invasion of 1975 would continue during the entire span of Indonesian
occupation. Although the Indonesian government put the official estimate at
around 120,000 deaths during the first six years of occupation while other
estimates are as high as 308,000, which is approximately 40% of the population.
However, the general estimation is 200,000 dead. Women were subject to sexual
brutality and practitioners of local animist religions were beaten and their
worship places desecrated. Sons were forced to bury or kill their own fathers
and friends, people were arrested and tortured without notice, and many
Timorese were drafted into local militia involuntarily. Though ABRI was
directly responsible for a large portion of this number, it was also the
indirect cause of thousands of other deaths.
In September 1977, ABRI
devised a new plan in which it would force the resistance into the center of
the country where they could easily be killed or captured and push the rural
population into the coastal lowlands where they could be controlled more
effectively. Sources call this strategy ¡°encirclement and annihilation.¡± When
the campaign ended in 1979, most Fretilin fighters were killed or captured and
several thousand civilians had died. However, Fretilin soon regrouped under the
leadership and started a guerilla war against ABRI. In response to Fretilin¡¯s
resurgence, ABRI launched a new operation in mid-1981 called the ¡°fence of
legs.¡± About 80,000 Timorese ranging in age from 8 to 50 were forced to walk in
a line across the countryside in front of ABRI troops as human shields. ABRI¡¯s
objective was to flush out or encircle the guerillas. Many of the walkers died
of starvation, having been given barely any food at all. The campaign also
greatly disrupted agricultural production, causing massive food shortages
across the region.
During the 24 years of
Indonesian occupation, the Timorese were victim to a number of massacres, the
United Nations having documented over 120 massacres during the period. The most
well known ones being the Kraras Massacre of 1983, the Santa Cruz Massacre
(alternatively Dili Massacre) of 1991, and the Liquiçá Church Massacre of 1999.
In August 1983, Indonesian troops attacked the peaceful village of Kraras
in reprisal for the mass desertion of Timorese soldiers only a few days earlier.
It is estimated that over 200 people died; the survivors of the initial
massacre were captured and executed later. This massacre violated and
effectively ended a ceasefire that had been signed only a few months earlier.
On November 12, 1991, Indonesian troops fired upon a peaceful memorial
procession to the Santa Cruz
cemetery in Dili that had turned into a pro-independence demonstration. Of the
people demonstrating in the cemetery, 271 were killed, 382 wounded, and 250 remain
unaccounted for. This massacre, unlike many others which occurred during the
course of Indonesia's
occupation, was filmed and photographed by international journalists, sparking
international interest and concern for the occupied region. In April 1999, pro-Indonesian
militia attacked a church in the pro-independence Liquiçá district, killing up
to 200 people. The total number of victims has never been fully determined,
ranging from a low of 61 claimed by Indonesia, to more than 200 by
initiated a birth control program in East Timor
in order to lower the birthrate. It was widely suspected that Timorese women
were sterilized without their knowing of it, and personal accounts strongly
suggest that newborn infants were killed in hospitals. Indonesian soldiers also
took children from their parents, supposedly to take them in like pets. As East Timor had already lost a sizable proportion of its
population, it seems unlikely that overpopulation was the reason for such
drastic measures of birth control.
In an attempt to control
the population, ABRI ordered the resettlement of the population. According to a
July 1979 report by the Australian Council for Overseas Aid, there were fifteen
camps with a total population of 318,921displaced persons. In many cases, the
inhabitants of the camps were forced to work for the Indonesian military. Relocation
and forced labor wreaked havoc on local farming, causing widespread famine. In
one of the camps, it was estimated that 80% of the 8,000 inhabitants were
suffering from malnutrition. Many of the inhabitants of the camps were
relocated to resettlement villages, which existed for the remainder of Indonesian
occupation. A large number of the inhabitants of these camps died from
starvation and diseases.
changes in the demography of East Timor can be
noted during this period. The first is the change in population. East Timor suffered a major setback in population during
World War II, but this paled in comparison to what happened during the
Indonesian occupation. Although the population has increased in general, it
must be said that the current population is an estimated 200,000 less than what
it could have been had there been no Indonesian invasion. This is significant,
considering that 200,000 is nearly 20% of East Timor¡¯s
current population. However, it is likely that the difference is greater,
considering the birthrate is considerably higher than what is was in 1975. Although
Indonesian sources report a total death count slightly higher than 100,000, the
Catholic Church and other sources estimate around 200,000 deaths in the first
few years of occupation. Indonesian atrocities and birth control programs are
largely to blame. That plus the forced Diaspora of Timorese across Indonesia
and the large number of displaced people and refugees caused a major setback in
East Timor¡¯s natural population increase. The drastic decrease in population
during the first years of occupation made population a statistic difficult to
measure, which is why the Indonesian yearbook Statistik Indonesia does not have any records on East Timor during the late 1970s.
The second point that
can be made is the impressive number of conversions made to Catholicism during
the Indonesian occupation. Contrary to common belief, East
Timor¡¯s population was largely animist before the Indonesian
invasion, and Catholicism gained widespread popularity only after the invasion.
In the years leading to 1975, there were only around 30 priests and 30 nuns
residing in East Timor. However, a number of
factors led to the mass conversion to the Catholic Church. Indonesian policy
required its people to have a religion or face persecution, and the Indonesian
government did not recognize local animism, the most popular religion in East Timor before the occupation, as a religion.
Furthermore, the Catholic Church was one of the very few if not the only
organization residing in East Timor with
international ties. This made it difficult for ABRI to persecute the Church,
even if it was actively participating in the resistance. A large number of the
youth became priests and nuns, as their status would give them the protection
they needed to resist the Indonesians relatively safely. As a result, now
approximately 98% of the population is Catholic.
The third point is the change
in ethnicity. Though the majority of the population has constantly been of
Malayo-Polynesian or Papuan descent, changes in the minority groups have been
drastic. Before 1975, there was a sizable Chinese population and pure-blooded
Portuguese population in East Timor, but most
of the Portuguese fled during the civil war and subsequent occupation. Indonesia had a
long history of anti-Chinese sentiment, and the Chinese were subject to
persecution during the occupation period, leading to the departure of most of
the Chinese population. Though some groups decreased during the occupation
period, there was a significant increase in the number of Indonesians living in
East Timor, mostly as a result of Suharto¡¯s transmigration
Soon after the invasion,
Indonesian interests took over the former Portuguese colonial enterprises.
Indonesian authorities also confiscated the land traditionally held by groups
of hamlets and gave them to local pro-Indonesian rulers. In 1991, the
Indonesian government required that all property certificates be converted from
the Portuguese system to the Indonesian system. This system enabled land to be
even more concentrated in the hands of Indonesian interests, as many private
owners were resettled or in exile.
The Indonesian policy of
resettlement dislocated a large proportion of the population for several years.
Nearly all of the Timorese population was involved in farming, and this caused
massive problems in agricultural production. Other industries were not any more
luckier, however, as most of East Timor¡¯s industry soon came under the
influence of the P. T. Batara Indra Group, a military-affiliated monopoly of
East Timor¡¯s economy. One of the main subsidiaries of the group was P. T.
Denok, a coffee monopoly set up by General Benny Murdani immediately after the
invasion. The monopoly resulted in increased production but a decrease in the
incomes of small East Timorese farmers. Other subsidiaries have resulted in
increased production of sandalwood and marble and the importation of consumer
products. Areas in the economy not controlled by the military were largely
dominated by Indonesian businesses, who took advantage of the vacuum caused by
the departure of Portuguese and Chinese businesses.
During the occupation, East Timor¡¯s economy was heavily dependent on the
Indonesian economy and Indonesian aid. East Timor exported most of its products
to other regions in Indonesia,
and imported most of its goods from Indonesia. As a result, East Timor¡¯s economy suffered greatly during the Indonesian
economic crisis in the late 1990s.
Indonesian interest in
investing in East Timor¡¯s infrastructure was
minimal at best. During the 24 years of Indonesian occupation, East Timor was
one of the least developed provinces of Indonesia. What infrastructure that
was built was constructed to make control over the population easier. There
were little if no international telephone connections, and asphalt roads were
built to facilitate the movement of ABRI forces. Rural areas were
underdeveloped, as Indonesian officials were more concerned with urban and
7) Indonesian Attempts
efforts to gain military control over East Timor have been the most violent and
visible part of the occupation, Indonesia has used other methods in order to
achieve its long-term goal of ¡°Indonesianizing¡± East Timor. Some of the methods
have already been addressed, such as the resettlement of Timorese and the
encouragement of Indonesians to settle in the area. It was estimated that in
the 1990s there were approximately 150,000 Indonesian settlers out of a total
population of 900,000.
Another step to
Indonesianization is the control of the educational system. Any information on
East Timor that did not correspond to Jakarta¡¯s
official viewpoint was neglected, and Bahasa Indonesian (the official language
was the only language allowed in schools. Military culture and physical
education was emphasized, and students were required to memorize the Pancasila,
the ideological basis of Indonesian society. Despite the dramatic increase in
number of schools after the invasion, illiteracy remained high, as Indonesian
educational priorities were misplaced and Timorese resistance to
Indonesianization was strong.
During his rule, Suharto
visited East Timor a number of times, even holding the National Boy Scout
Jamboree in East Timor in 1986. Suharto would
also give the Timorese people two gifts in the form of the Church of the
Immaculate Conception and a giant marble statue of Jesus. Suharto participated
in the inauguration of the cathedral, purportedly the largest one in Southeast Asia, in 1986. The 27-meter-tall statue of
Jesus, built in 1996, was erected as a symbol of Indonesia¡¯s openness to all
religions, a gesture of goodwill to the dominantly Catholic East Timorese.
However, these measures did little to quell the pro-independence sentiment in East Timor, as would be demonstrated in 1999.
When Goa, Daman and Diu
were incorporated into the Republic
of India on December 19,
1961, they were administered as a single union territory. Most nations
recognized the annexation, and Portugal
would recognize it after the Carnation Revolution in 1974. After annexation,
the area was under military rule for five months, but civil service was soon
returned and the area became a federally administrated territory. As a union
territory, Goa¡¯s first popular government was
elected in 1963. Goa separated from Daman and Diu
and was granted statehood in 1987. In the 1966, the inhabitants of Goa voted
against a merger with the neighboring state Maharashtra.
As a state of India, Goa¡¯s
capital is Panaji, or what used to be New Goa. Goa
has a unicameral legislature consisting of a forty member legislative assembly,
headed by a Chief Minister who wields the executive power. The governor, who
plays a largely ceremonial role, is appointed by the Indian president. After
having a relatively stable government for nearly thirty years up to 1990, Goa has had fourteen governments from 1990 to 2005.
Unlike other states which follow the British Indian model of civil laws framed
for individual religions, the Goa government
has retained the Portuguese Uniform Civil Code, which was based on the
2) Difference From Rest
Goa's isolation from the
rest of India for more than
four centuries under the Portuguese rule and its geographical borders in the
form of the Sahyadri ranges and the tidal rivers have managed to give the
people of Goa a unique and separate identity. In
fact, Goa was the only region in India
to retain its self-identity through a plebiscite when it voted against a merger
with Maharashtra. In general, Goan¡¯s put their
Goan identity first over religion. In contrast to other parts of India, Goans
have developed a remarkable degree of tolerance towards each other's religious beliefs;
hence religious fundamentalism is completely unknown in the state.
can also be seen in the form of the language Konkani. Konkani is a language
native to the Konkan region, which consists of Goa, south coastal Maharashtra, coastal Karnataka, and Kerala. Though
suppressed during the Portuguese era and supplanted by Marathi in Maharashtra,
Konkani saw a revival in popularity after Goa¡¯s incorporation into India. Konkani
became the official language of Goa in 1987 and later, it would become India¡¯s 18th
national language in 1992.
Goa, which was
given statehood mainly because of its unique identity, is currently the fourth
smallest state in terms of population. As a result of the rapid economic
development following integration into India,
Goa has increasingly urbanized and now nearly
half of the population lives in urban areas. Goa¡¯s
literacy rate is 82.2% (males 88.88% and females 75.51%), which is considerably
higher than the national average, especially in terms of the literacy rate of
One major factor has
been crucial in changing the demography of Goa, and that is the influx of
immigrants from other regions of India. Goa¡¯s economic development
has attracted many immigrants after incorporation into India, and is currently the main source of Goa¡¯s
population increase, as there is zero net growth in Goa¡¯s
native population. Goa¡¯s birth rate has continued to decline, and is currently
the lowest in India,
being less than half of the Indian average. Net immigration has stabilized to
about 14%, though this is still of considerable significance.
One thing that must be
noted about the religious composition prior to Indian integration is the
difference in regions where Hindus and Catholics lived respectively. The Old
Conquests, consisting of the territories of Ilhas, Salcette, Mormugao and
Bardez, were the areas originally conquered by the Portuguese in the 1500s and
subject to the Goa Inquisition and subsequently dominantly Catholic. Meanwhile,
the New Conquests of the late 1700s, consisting of Ponda, Sanguem, Quepem,
Canacona, Pernem, Bicholim and Satari, were granted religious freedom, allowing
them to retain their Hindu identity. As a result, there was a clear division
between the Old Conquests and New Conquests in terms of religion. However, heavy
immigration has caused radical changes in the demographic pattern. The
Christians who were in a majority of 64% in 1951 are now in a minority of
26.7%, and the Hindus are in a majority of 65.8%. However, the most significant
change is the presence of a Muslim population, evident for the first time.
The fact that the
Uniform Civil Code, which provides for rights of property and inheritance
irrespective of caste, creed, religion or sex, was retained proved important in
Goa¡¯s development. An important feature is the
equal right given to women along with men in the communion of assets. Its
impact on the development of human resource is perceptible, making Goa a model for the rest of the country.
When Goa¡¯s government
joined the Union framework in 1963, India was already in the middle of
its Third Five Year Plan (1962-1966). However, the situation was more than made
up by liberal funding and decisiveness of the Planning Commission and the
Central government. Roads and bridges destroyed by the retreating Portuguese army
were rebuilt and trade networks disrupted by the economic blockade of 1955 were
reopened, reviving Goa¡¯s traditional pattern
of imports and exports. One significant difference would be the fact that
licensing provisions were relaxed to allow foreign collaborations,
collaborations that were otherwise banned in the rest of the country.
The main developments
took place during the term of Goa¡¯s first
Chief Minister, Dayanand Bandodkar. Bandodkar would revive agriculture and
animal husbandry, establish a network of roads and public buildings that kept
with the culture of Goa, and bring a large
portion of the population belonging to the backward classes into the framework
of economic and cultural life, opening up schools, dispensaries and community
halls in areas of relative poverty. Another milestone was reached in 1983 when
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held the Retreat of the Commonwealth Heads of
Government in Goa. Significant and productive
investments were made for roads, telecommunications, water supply, electricity
transmission and distribution, the international airport terminal, and by the
private sector for hotels and tourist attractions.
unprecedented economic growth through the period when it was a union territory.
Though political instability during the 1990s has slowed growth, the average
yearly growth rate was 8.23%, one of the fastest in the country. Goa¡¯s Gross State Domestic Product has increasing
rapidly, more than doubling every five years. Goa¡¯s Gross State Domestic
Product for 2004 was approximately 3 billion dollars, and its GDP per capita is
more than two and a half times that of India as a whole, making it the richest
state in India. Poverty reduction was also drastic. Even in 1973-74 Goa¡¯s
poverty ratio was estimated at about 45% as against about 53% in Maharashtra or 59% in Kerala. But by 1999-2000, Goa¡¯s poverty level had dropped to a little over 4% with
rural poverty as low as 1.35%.
Goa¡¯s primary industry
is tourism, as Goa handles 12% of all foreign tourist arrivals in India. Because
of Goa¡¯s unique history, it has been considered an ¡°India
for beginners¡±, and as a result, an increasing number of tourists visit Goa. In 2004, more than 2 million tourists were reported
to have visited Goa, 400,000 of which were
from abroad. Other industries include mining, which is the second largest
industry, and agriculture, fishing, shipping, and manufacturing. Though
agriculture is of shrinking importance to the economy, it still employs a large
portion of the population. Fishing has been on the decline, as traditional
fishing has given way to large-scale mechanized trawling.
As a result of active
government investment and economic prosperity, Goa
has one of the best infrastructures among the Indian states. In fact, Goa was
the second state in India
to achieve 100% automatic telephone system status, and has a well built system
of telephone exchanges. In terms of roads, Goa
is well connected by two national highways along the West coast, namely NH4A
and NH17, and has a dense network of metallic roads connecting the state to
other parts of the country. Goa has 195 km per
100 km2, which is nearly four times the national average of 50 km per 100 km2.
Goa also has
abundant power and water resources. Goa's per
capita power consumption, which is 690 Kwh compared to the national average of
355 Kwh, is a good indicator to the current power supply situation. Water is
available in adequate quantity and is piped through the Asnora, Selaulim, and
Opa reservoirs. To expand the water supply, the state government has initiated
the Selaulim Water Supply project.
Goa also has a
well developed internal water transport system formed by a grid of navigable
rivers. This offers industries an economical mode of transport for their goods
and raw material throughout the State. Goa
also has a good network of railroad systems, which is planned to be further
expanded. Goa¡¯s Mormugao port is one of the best all-weather ports in India. As a
result, Goa¡¯s shipping industry has greatly
The first point of
comparison that can be made is the different ways in which the two areas were
administrated. While East Timor¡¯s annexation was not recognized by the
international community, Indonesia
administrated it as one of their own provinces albeit under military rule. East
Timorese were not given the freedom to elect their own government, as the
central government in Jakarta and ABRI
controlled regional politics in East Timor. On
the other side, most nations recognized India¡¯s
annexation of Goa immediately, and India
gave Goa relative autonomy as a union
territory, then state. India¡¯s
federal government enabled Goa to pursue local politics with greater freedom,
freedom that was nonexistent in East Timor.
The next point that can
be made is the different responses towards the incorporation of East Timor and
Goa into Indonesia and India
24-year occupation of East Timor can be
characterized by Fretilin¡¯s struggle against Indonesian brutality, as an
estimated 200,000 Timorese died during the occupation. Resistance against
Indonesian rule was characterized by an armed conflict and an attempt to bring
international attention to East Timor¡¯s cause.
Indonesian attempts to force an Indonesian identity caused more resistance and
worsened the situation. Indonesian brutality may have also had religious
undertones, as East Timor was a dominantly
animist and later Catholic region in a dominantly Muslim country. However,
Goa¡¯s incorporation into India,
though initiated by a military invasion, was relatively peaceful. Goa was able to maintain a unique Goan identity, and the
Indian government did not attempt to force an Indian identity over the region.
Goa was also unique in its peaceful coexistence of various religions, unlike
most of India and the
situation in East Timor.
The final point is the
drastic difference in the development of the economy and the local
infrastructure. In East Timor, a
military-affiliated monopoly basically controlled all aspects of society,
including the economy. As a result, the lives of many Timorese became worse,
and starvation was widespread. Indonesia
neglected to improve the situation in East Timor,
resulting in it becoming one of the most backward regions in the country. On
the other hand, the relative freedom of the state government of Goa from the
Indian government allowed Goa to pursue policies specific to Goa.
As a result of liberal funding and careful planning, Goa has become one of the
most developed and richest states in India. Goa¡¯s
unique identity has also allowed it to maintain a lucrative tourism industry
and well developed human resources. Thus Goa became one of the most valuable
states of India, while East
Timor became more of a liability to Indonesia.
1) 1999 Referendum
A series of events in
the late 1990s and the Asian economic crisis served to increase dissatisfaction
against Suharto¡¯s authoritarian and corrupt regime. When Suharto won the
presidency again in 1998, students occupied the Parliament in protest, and Suharto
was pressured to step down by his former allies in the military. Suharto was
forced to resign and was replaced by his vice-president, Jusuf Habibie.
President Habibie was unwilling to maintain the 'burden' of such an expensive
province and in January 1999 offered Timor-Leste 'wide-ranging autonomy'.
Should the Timorese reject this then Indonesia would be prepared to 'let
An agreement to hold a
referendum supervised by the United Nations was reached in May 1999. The UN
started to prepare for the referendum by setting up the United Nations
Assistance Mission for Timor-Leste, UNAMET. UN observers arrived in East Timor on June 3, and the UN referendum on autonomy
or independence was held August 30. Despite threats from pro-Indonesian militia
groups, an overwhelming 98.6% of East Timor¡¯s
registered voters chose to show up, 78.5% voting in favor of full independence
and an immediate end to Indonesian rule.
2) 1999~2002 East Timor Crisis
Indonesian response to
the results was quick and devastating. Directly after the referendum,
Indonesian-backed paramilitaries carried out a campaign of violence and
terrorism in retaliation. An estimated 75% of the population was driven from
their homes and over 2,000 people were killed. 300,000 East Timorese were
forcibly pushed into West Timor and detained
in camps. The militia systematically destroyed the country¡¯s infrastructure,
approximately 70% of the infrastructure being decimated during the attacks. On
September 14, 1999, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to authorize the
creation of a multinational military force known as INTERFET (International
Force for East Timor). INTERFET arrived on the
island on September 20; its mission was to restore peace and security, protect
and support UN operations, and provide humanitarian relief to refugees.
INTERFET was able to restore order and in the following months, enabling some
200,000 refugees to return to East Timor.
However, it would take until 2005 for nearly all of the refugees to return.
The administration of East Timor was taken over by the UN through the United
Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), established on
October 25, 1999. The INTERFET deployment ended on February 14, 2000 with the
transfer of military command to the UN. For the next two years, the UNTAET
would work to help rebuild the country¡¯s infrastructure and train East Timorese
in establishing self-government.
On August 30, 2001, East Timor held its first parliamentary elections for a
constituent assembly to draft a constitution, electing Marí Alkatiri as the
first Prime Minister. The process of drafting the constitution ended in
February 2002. In April 2002, former resistance leader Xanana Gusmão, who had
spent nearly a decade in an Indonesian prison, was elected the first president.
At the stroke of midnight on May 20, 2002, over 100,000 East Timorese gathered
in Dili to celebrate the moment the country officially became independent as
the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. After centuries as a Portuguese colony,
and more than two decades of harsh Indonesian rule, East Timor became the
world's newest nation, a title that has since been passed to Montenegro. On September 27, 2002, East Timor joined the UN as the 191st nation.
4) Troubles after Independence
Due to the 1999 crisis,
much of East Timor¡¯s economic basis was decimated, and East
Timor is currently the poorest country in the world in terms of
GDP per capita. East Timor struggles with
widespread poverty, as the unemployment rate is estimated to be 50%. Though East Timor has a potentially lucrative coffee industry
and oil industry, it has been unable to exploit these properly. The
government¡¯s apparent inability to solve the economic problem has caused unrest
in the population, shown in the Dili riots of 2002 and the 2006 crisis.
On December 4, 2002, one
day after a student had been arrested, rioting students set fire to the house
of Prime Minister Alkatiri and advanced on the police station in Dili. Police
opened fire on the protestors, killing one student, whose body was carried to
the Parliament building. The police and the students fought near the Parliament
building. The police opened fire a second time and four more students were
killed. The conflict grew as the number of rioters increased to 2,000. UN
peacekeeping forces had to be sent to restore order.
On February 8, 2006,
four hundred and four soldiers, out of the regular strength of about 1500,
deserted their barracks, later joined by 177 more on the 25th. Soldiers from
the western part of the country had been claiming that they had been
discriminated. The soldiers were ordered to return in March, but refused, and
were subsequently relieved of duty. On April 24, the former soldiers and their
civilian supporters, mostly unemployed youths, marched through the streets of
the capital Dili in protest. The initially peaceful march turned violent when
the soldiers attacked a market run by people from the east of the country. In
the resultant violence, five people were killed, more than 100 buildings were
destroyed and an estimated 21,000 Dili residents fled the city. Fierce fighting
between the different factions of the military broke out, and as of May 25, Australia, Portugal,
New Zealand, and Malaysia have sent troops to Timor
in an attempt to stop the violence. On June 26, Prime Minister Alkatiri
resigned due to overwhelming pressure by President Gusmao and the general
public. His successor is former Foreign Minister and Nobel laureate José
Ramos-Horta. At least 23 deaths have occurred since March 21, and the violence
has nearly subsided as international peacekeepers have secured the region. On
August 18, the UN Security Council passed a resolution to extend the mission in
Currently Goa is the
richest state in India,
and one of the most developed. It is often referred to as the Jewel of India, a
title that Goa will not lose in the near
future. However, though its economy continues to grow at a high rate, Goa is not without its problems. The political unrest characteristic
of the 1990s has settled down, but it is uncertain if such problems have been
solved for good. Though the influx of workers from the rest of India may have
provided Goan industries with a substantial workforce, the increasing number of
immigrants have proven negative for Goan society. Slums have been appearing in
the cities of Goa for the first time, and the streets of Goa,
famous for being well maintained compared to those of other cities, are
increasingly becoming like the streets of other major Indian cities. The relative
decrease in the native Goan population has also led to the worries of a loss of
Goan identity, as an increasing proportion of the Goan population is Indian and
not, in fact, Goan.
East Timor and Goa share quite a few things in common. Both are tropical
regions with potential resources, and both were colonies of Portugal. They
were similarly invaded and incorporated into Indonesia
respectively. However, today Goa is the one of the most prosperous regions of India, and East Timor¡¯s
young democracy is in danger of collapse. This paper has shown that despite the
many similarities between the two regions, some critical differences have
caused the respective histories of the regions to turn out as they have.
From the beginning of their
common history, East Timor and Goa were
treated differently. Goa was the crown jewel of the Portuguese Empire, yet East
Timor was simply another outpost under the administration of Goa.
Goa¡¯s economy rose and fell with the rise and fall of the Portuguese while East Timor¡¯s remained the same as an underdeveloped
Though the integration
into India and Indonesia
respectively seem to be similar in that both were started by military
invasions, we have seen that the contexts of these invasions were drastically
different. India pursued a
policy of political integration through diplomatic means yet the Salazar
dictatorship in Portugal
refused to negotiate with India,
leaving India no other
choice but to invade Goa in 1961. However, by
the time East Timor was invaded in 1975, the Carnation Revolution had taken
place in Portugal,
creating a new democratic government more willing to release its colonies. Indonesia,
which was ruled by a military regime, was pursuing a policy of expansion to
consolidate its power over the region. Though East Timor wanted its
saw the prospect of an independent state as a possible threat to the stability
of the archipelago. Therefore, Indonesia
invaded and occupied East Timor, not because Portugal refused to negotiate, but
to ensure its own stability.
The nature of the
occupations is also of great disparity. After a 26 hour conflict with
relatively little bloodshed, Goa was incorporated into India as a
union territory, then state. India
granted the Goan government a large amount of freedom in pursuing its own
policies. As a result, Goa was able to invest
wisely, stimulating a very high rate of growth that has continued until today.
On the other hand, within months of Indonesia¡¯s military invasion, the
Indonesian army had killed over 60,000 East Timorese. ABRI would attempt to
control various aspects of East Timorese society including the economy and
education, and many Timorese rose up and resisted against the Indonesian
regime. Over 200,000 Timorese died during the 24 years of occupation, and when
the Indonesians left in 1999, the country was worse off than it had been before
Though the differences
created during Portuguese colonialism may have affected the current situation
in Goa and East Timor, the critical point of difference lies in the way the two
areas were treated after integration into India
respectively. The Indian government did not try to force Goa
into a fixed role in the federal union, but rather, let the state government do
what it felt best. This allowed Goa to take advantage of its unique background
and grow to become a crucial part of the Republic of India.
Indonesia on the other hand,
attempted to rule East Timor with an iron
fist, attempting to cow the population into submission and forcing an
Indonesian identity upon them. No opportunity was given to the East Timorese to
develop their own industries, and what opportunities the Timorese might have
had were lost when the Timorese resisted Indonesian threat and voted for independence,
inciting a scorched-earth campaign by the Indonesian military. As a result, East Timor gained independence without the economic
foundations it would need to support its democracy.
A major part of the
history that we learn is about colonialism. However, little emphasis is gone
into the subject of what happens to former colonies. This paper shows that
while there are success stories as in the case of Goa, former colonies can be
occupied by other countries and brutalized as in the case of East
Timor. 200,000 people dead is no small number, yet it is hardly
dealt with in textbooks. Colonial history does not end with decolonization;
decolonization is merely the opening to a new stage which is sadly neglected.
Though some former colonies may be able to succeed on their own like Goa, we must never ignore the former colonies that have
suffered and still suffer because the textbook simply did not mention them.
Biro Pusat Statistik. Statistik Indonesia 1977-1978. Jakarta: C.V. Nasional.
---. Statistik Indonesia 1994. Jakarta: C.V. Nasional.
Noam. A New Generation Draws the Line:
Kosovo, East Timor and the Standards of the
West. New York:
Constancio, Pinto; and Jardine,
Matthew. East Timor¡¯s unfinished
struggle: inside the Timorese Resistance. Boston, MA:
South End Press. 1997
Costa, Alberto. ¡°The Portuguese Experience.¡± Revista Jurídica de Macau. 1996.
Accessed July 27, 2006.
Alban. ¡°The Goan Economy.¡± Amchem Goem (November
2004). Accessed June 14, 2006.
Cristalis, Irena. Bitter Dawn:
East Timor: A People¡¯s Story. New York: Zed Books.
Magalhaes, Antonio Barbedo. ¡°East Timor: A
People Shattered by Lies and Silence.¡± Vancouver
Conference on East Timor and Indonesia. March 17,
1997. Accessed August 21, 2006. <http://www.sfu.ca/~rdr/silence.html>
Souza, Teotonio R. Goa Through the Ages:
An Economic History. New Delhi:
Concept Publishing Company. 1990.
James. Timor: A People Betrayed. Sydney: ABC Books. 1996.
Farolan, Ramon J. ¡°Notes on East Timor.¡± Inquirer.
June 18, 2006. Accessed August 4, 2006.
Jardine, Matthew. East Timor: Genocide in paradise. Tuscon, AZ:
Odonian Press. 1995.
Agus R. Future Indonesia-East Timor Relations: An Analysis of the Regional Security
Practices in the Cold War and After. Monterey:
of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Report on India. Seoul: Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2004.
---. Report on East Timor.
of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2003.
Bal. ¡°An outsider in Goa.¡± Amchem Goem (November 2004). Accessed
July 23, 2006.
Vishvanath Pai. ¡°Impact of democracy and federalism on Goa.¡±
Amchem Goem (November 2004). Accessed
July 15, 2006.
Ressa, Maria. ¡°Indonesia's Suharto
snubs Nobel winner.¡± CNN. Cable News
Network Inc. October 15, 1996. Accessed August 1, 2006.
Rockhill, W.W. ¡°Notes on relations and trade of China with the eastern archipelago and the
coasts of the Indian Ocean during the
fourteenth century.¡± T¡¯oung Pao. 1915. 16:236-71.
Turner, M. Telling: East Timor, personal testimonies, 1942-1992.
Kensington, NSW, Australia: New South
Wales University Press. 1992.
Alfred Russel. The MalayArchipelago: The
Land of the Orang-utan, and the Bird of Paradise (vol.1). London:
of East Timor.¡± Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. July 31, 2006. Accessed August 20, 2006. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_East_Timor>
---. ¡±Goa.¡± Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. August
23, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2006.
integration of India.¡±
Wikipedia, the free
encyclopedia. July 20, 2006. Accessed July 29, 2006.
Wikipedia, the free
encyclopedia. August 11, 2006. Accessed August 22,
¡°East Timor.¡± CIA – The World Factbook. CIA. August
22, 2006. Accessed August 23, 2006.
Infrastructure of Goa.¡± India in Business. Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Accessed July 30, 2006.
of Goa.¡± Goacom.com.
Demerg Systems India.
Accessed August 1, 2006.
of Goa.¡± Goa2u.
Goa Travel Consultancy Services. Accessed July
¡°Haji Mohammad Suharto.¡± U-S-History.com.
Highways. Accessed August 1, 2006.