The Portuguese ruled Goa for more than 400 years. The Indian Government tried to secure Goa’s freedom from Portugal through diplomacy, but after diplomatic endeavours failed, Nehru ordered the Indian army to take Goa by force.
The Operation, known as Operation Vijay resulted in the Indian forces annexing Goa and Daman Diu from the Portuguese in 1961. The state celebrated the event with great pomp, with the CM addressing the parade and giving out awards to those who have made notable contributions. Few, however, know that the first blow for Goa’s liberation was dealt from India on June 18, 1946, by freedom fighter Ram Manohar Lohia, during days he came to Goa to take care of his ailing health.
Around 1946, at the time when India was on the verge of independence, Dr Juilião Menezes, a noted academician and writer invited Ram Manohar Lohia to his house in Goa. Dr. Lohia had earlier visited Dr. Menezes for a medical examination in Bombay where Menezes had advised him to take rest and stay at his house in Asansol, Goa.
A visit to a friend soon turned into an opportunity to discuss Goa’s liberation from the Portuguese as leading Goan intellectuals and political activists lined up at Menezes’ house to discuss the future course of action for Goa with Lohia
On June 15, 1946, defying the ban against public meetings, Menezes and Lohia organised one as an act of civil disobedience against the 435-year-old Portuguese rule.
While the June 15 movement went on peacefully, at another meeting held on June 18, the turnout was so big that police decided to arrest both Lohia and Menezes, who had entered the area in a horse carriage. The day would prove to be a watershed day in the history of the Goan freedom struggle, where the inhumane treatment meted out by the Portuguese police to those protesting would leave a lasting impression on young Goans like Prabhakar Vitthal Sinari, Prabhakar Trivikam Viadiya and Vishwanath Lawande to form the Azad Gomantak Dal, an outfit that would fight for Goan freedom for years to come.
Lohia was expelled from Goa post the meeting, but the first seeds for Goan liberation were sown. Defying ban on meeting at public places, Goans started meeting and organising themselves to fight for Goa’s liberation.
18th June started coming to be known as Revolution Day in Goa, after the State’s liberation in 1961, one of the busiest streets in Panaji named 18th June road to honour the memory of that eventful day.