All you need to know about Voice of Freedom – Goa’s underground radio station

All you need to know about Voice of Freedom - Goa's underground radio station thumbnail
A NEW FM CHANNEL?
Umm, not really. Rather, it was an underground radio station started by Goan nationalists in the mid-1950s, in the run-up to liberation of the state in 1961.

WOW, THAT’S UBER SUBVERSIVE. BUT WHY AN UNDERGROUND STATION?
That calls for a quick history class. In June 1946, freedom fighter RM Lohia organised a Satyagraha campaign for the first time in Goa to demand civil liberties and to liberate Goa. Lohia was arrested, the movement was quashed, but it would spark off many more movements by Goan satyagrahis in the years to come. Portuguese police action would be swift and violent. The underground radio station was an attempt to sustain the morale of the people by keeping them updated on the progress of the freedom struggle, both inside Goa and outside.

HOW DID THE STATION ESCAPE THE PORTUGUESE CRACKDOWN?
For one, the station — essentially a transmitter mounted on a truck — operated out of a dense forest in Amboli in Maharashtra, on Goa’s outskirts, where the nationalists were living incognito. Trial broadcasts began in November 1955, and by the 25th of that month Voice Of Freedom began.

WOW, THAT WAS QUITE A PLAN…
Yes, hatched by three young Goan nationalists: Vaman Sardesai, Nicolau Menezes and Libia Lobo, the last two being Goans residing in Bombay.

ER, MENEZES, LOBO… NATIONALISTS? SHOULDN’T THEY BE ‘PORTUGUESE’?
Well, it’s best to let a freedom fighter, Ronaldo Coutinho, answer that question: ‘The liberation struggle of Goa saw the participation of both the communities, that is Catholics and Hindus. It was widely believed that the Catholics in Goa were loyal to the Portuguese rule and considered themselves more as Portuguese than the Portuguese themselves. But this was not true in regard to all the Catholic population.’ Coutinho said this in a newspaper interview in 2001.

COUTINHO MAY HAVE BEEN AN EXCEPTION.
Not really. Guess who said: ‘I belong to that race which composed the Mahabharata and invented chess…’ A Goan politician called Francisco Luis Gomes, sometime in 1861 in Paris. In one of his novels, Luis Gomes also wrote: ‘Impartial men, who are moved by justice and not by racialism, want India to be ruled by Indians.’

HMM, TELL ME MORE.
Tristao de Branganca Cunha established the Goa Congress Committee and linked it to the Indian National Congress, leaving little doubt that Goa was an integral part of India….The next time you’re in Panjim, look out for TB Cunha Road.



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