Mangalorean Catholics (Konkani: Kodialchein Katholik) are an
ethno-religious community of Catholics following the
Latin Rite from
Mangalore Diocese (erstwhile
South Canara district) on the
southwestern coast of Karnataka, India. They are Konkani people
and speak the Konkani language.
Mangalorean Catholics are descended mainly from Goan
Catholics who migrated to
South Canara between 1560 and 1763,
throughout the course of the
Goa Inquisition, Portuguese–Adil Shahi
wars, and the Portuguese–Maratha wars. They learned the languages of
South Canara, Tulu, and Kannada, but retained Konkani as their mother
tongue and preserved their lifestyle. Their 15-year captivity at
Seringapatam imposed by Tipu Sultan, the de facto ruler of the Kingdom
of Mysore, from 24 February 1784 to 4 May 1799 led to the near
extinction of the community. After Tipu's defeat and subsequent
killing by the British in 1799, the community resettled in South
Canara, and later prospered under British rule.
Although early assertions of a distinct Mangalorean Catholic identity
date from the migration period, a developed Mangalorean Catholic
cultural identity only emerged following the captivity. The culture of
Mangalorean Catholics is a blend of Mangalorean and Goan cultures.
After migration, they adopted some aspects of the local Mangalorean
culture, but retained many of their Goan customs and traditions, and
like their Goan ancestors, modern Mangalorean Catholic culture can be
best described as an increasingly Anglicised Indo-Latin culture. The
Mangalorean Catholic diaspora is mostly concentrated in the Arab
states of the Persian Gulf and the English-speaking world.
1 Ethnic identity
2.1 Pre-migration era
2.2 Migration era
2.3 Post-migration era and captivity
2.4 British and modern era
3 Geographical distribution
4.3 Names and surnames
4.4 Language and literature
4.5 Traditions and festivals
4.6 Costumes and ornaments
4.7 Historical society
4.8 Songs and music
6 Notable Mangalorean Catholics
8 See also
10.2 Further reading
11 External links
The Roman Catholics from the
Mangalore Diocese and the newly formed
Udupi Diocese (erstwhile
South Canara district) and their descendents
are generally known as Mangalorean Catholics. The diocese is
located on the southwestern coast of India. It comprises the civil
Dakshina Kannada and
Karnataka state, and
Kerala state. This region was collectively referred to as
South Canara during the
British Raj and then from the partition of
India until the
States Reorganisation Act
States Reorganisation Act of 1956.
In 1526, Portuguese ships arrived in Mangalore, and the number of
local converts to
Christianity slowly increased. However, a sizeable
Christian population did not exist there until the second half of the
16th century, when there was a large-scale immigration of Christians
Goa to South Canara. They were reluctant to learn the local
languages of South Canara and continued to speak Konkani, the
language they brought from Goa, so that local Christians had to learn
Konkani to converse with them. After this migration, the skilled
Goan Catholic agriculturists were offered various land grants by the
native Bednore rulers of South Canara. They observed their
Hindu customs in conjunction with the newfound Catholic
practices, and preserved their lifestyle.
Most migrants were people from the lower economic strata who had been
left out of government and economic jobs; their lands had been
confiscated due to heavy taxation under the Portuguese in Goa. As a
consequence of the wealth and privileges which these Goan migrants
enjoyed in Mangalore, they began feeling superior to their landless
kindred in Goa. Their captivity at
Seringapatam (1784–1799), where
many died, were killed, or were forcibly converted to Islam, led to
the formation of a separate and common Mangalorean Catholic cultural
identity among members of the group, who hitherto had considered
themselves an extension of the larger
Goan Catholic community. They no
longer self-identified as Goan Catholics. After their years of
captivity, prosperity under the British and under Italian Jesuits,
followed by migration for employment to Bombay, Calcutta, Poona, the
Persian Gulf Arab states, and the English-speaking world, enabled the
community to restore their identity. The overwhelming majority of
Mangalorean Catholics are of
Goud Saraswat Brahmin
Goud Saraswat Brahmin lineage.
Historian Alan Machado
Prabhu estimates that almost 95 per cent of
Mangalorean Catholics have Goan origins.
Main article: History of Mangalorean Catholics
St Mary's Islands in Udupi, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco da
Gama landed in 1498
All records of an early existence of Christians in
South Canara were
lost at the time of their deportation by
Tipu Sultan in 1784. Hence,
it is not known exactly when
Christianity was introduced in South
Canara, although it is possible that Syrian Christians settled in
South Canara, just as they did in Kerala, a state south of Canara.
The Italian traveller
Marco Polo recorded that there were considerable
trading activities between the
Red Sea and the Canara coast in the
13th century. It can be surmised that foreign Christian merchants were
visiting the coastal towns of
South Canara during that period for
commerce; it is possible some Christian priests might have accompanied
them for evangelistic work.
In April 1321 the French Dominican friar
Jordanus Catalani of Severac
(in south-western France) landed at Thana with four other friars.
He then travelled to
Bhatkal in North Canara, a port town on the
coastal route from Thana to Quilon. Being the first bishop of
India and the
Quilon Diocese, he was entrusted the spiritual
nourishment of Christian community in
Mangalore and other parts of
Pope John XXII. According to historian Severine Silva, no
concrete evidence has yet been found that there were any permanent
settlements of Christians in
South Canara before the 16th century. It
was only after the advent of the Portuguese in the region that
Christianity began to spread.
In 1498 the Portuguese explorer
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama landed on a group of
South Canara on his voyage from
Portugal to India. He named
the islands El Padron de Santa Maria; they later came to be known as
St Mary's Islands. In 1500 Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares
Cabral arrived at Anjediva in
North Canara with eight Franciscan
missionaries. Under the leadership of Frei Henrique Soares de Coimbra,
the missionaries converted 22 or 23 natives to
Christianity in the
Mangalore region. During the early part of the 16th century,
Krishnadevaraya (1509–1529), the ruler of the
Vijayanagara Empire of
Deccan, granted commercial privileges to the Portuguese on the Canara
coast. There was complete freedom of worship, belief, and propagation
of religious tenets in the Vijaynagara Empire. In 1526, under the
viceroyship of Lopo Vaz de Sampaio, the Portuguese took possession of
Franciscans slowly started propagating
Mangalore. The most prominent local convert was the
Shankarayya, who in 1751 travelled with his wife from
Goa and was baptised, with the Portuguese viceroy assuming the role of
his godfather. The honoured mahant took the name of Francisco de
Távora, after the Viceroy Marques de Távora. Their
properties were subsequently taken over by their
Hindu relatives, but
the viceroy instructed his factor of
Mangalore to get their property
restored. In 1534 Canara was placed under the ecclesiastic
jurisdiction of the Bishop of Goa, where the Portuguese had a strong
presence. Missionaries soon arrived and gained converts. The number of
local converts in
South Canara continually increased until 1546.
During the mid-16th century, the Portuguese faced resistance from
Abbakka Rani of Ullal, the Queen of the Bednore dynasty. This put a
halt to conversions. The first battle between
Abbakka Rani and the
Portuguese was fought in 1546; she emerged victorious and drove the
Portuguese out of South Canara.
See also: Christianisation of Goa
A 19th-century coloured lithograph depicting the conversion of Paravas
Roman Catholic saint
Francis Xavier in 1542. He requested John III
Portugal to install an
Inquisition in Goa, which led to the first
great wave of migrations towards South Canara.
In 1510, a Portuguese fleet under Afonso de Albuquerque, sent by King
Manuel I of Portugal, wrested the region of
Sultan Yusuf Adil
Shah of Bijapur. In 1534, the Diocese of
Goa was established. Soon
missionaries were sent to Goa, which led to conversion of a sizeable
population to Roman Catholicism. The bulk of Christian settlers
came in three major migration waves towards South Canara. These
migrations occurred in periods of great unrest: the
occurred from 1560 onwards; the Portuguese–Adil Shahi wars were
between 1570–79; and the Portuguese–Maratha wars occurred between
1667–83 and 1737–40. Other factors that led to mass migrations
were disease epidemics, famines, natural calamities, overpopulation,
poor living conditions, heavy tax burdens, and social discrimination
by the Portuguese.
In 1542, the Navarrese
Jesuit Francis Xavier, co-founder of the
Society of Jesus; arrived in Goa. He discovered that the newly
converted Christians were practising their old
Hindu customs and
traditions. He requested the Portuguese king João III to install an
Goa in 1545. Many of the Goan ancestors of the
Mangalorean Catholics fled
Goa when the
Inquisition began in
1560. King Sebastião I decreed that every trace of Indian customs
should be eradicated through the Inquisition. Many Christians of Goa
were tenaciously attached to some of their ancient Indian customs,
especially their traditional
Hindu marriage costumes, and refused to
abandon them. Those who refused to comply were forced to leave Goa
and to settle outside the Portuguese dominion, which resulted in
the first major wave of migrations towards South Canara.
The Christians who left
Goa were for the most part skilled
agriculturists who abandoned their irrigated fields in
Goa to achieve
freedom. The remainder were skilled carpenters, goldsmiths,
artisans, and merchants. At the time of migration, Canara was
ruled by the Keladi king
Shivappa Nayaka (1540–60). He evinced great
interest in the development of agriculture in his empire and welcomed
these agriculturists to his kingdom, giving them fertile lands to
cultivate. They were recruited into the armies of the Bednore
dynasty.[a] This was confirmed by Francis Buchanan, a Scottish
physician, when he visited Canara in 1801. In his book A Journey from
Madras through the Countries of Mysore, Canara and Malabar (1807), he
stated that "The princes of the house of Ikkeri had given great
encouragement to the Christians, and had induced 80,000 of them
to settle in Tuluva." Later, this was identified as a probable
mistake and should have read "8,000". This figure included the second
emigration of Christians from Goa. The taxation policies of the
Keladi Nayakas during 1598–1763 enabled the
Goan Catholic migrants
to emerge as prominent landowning gentry in South Canara. These
migrants usually brought their own capital from Goa, which they
invested in their new lands, thereby indirectly contributing to the
prosperity of the Keladi kingdom.
Under the provisional treaties between the Portuguese and the Bednore
rulers, and the Padroado, the Christians were allowed to build
churches and help foster the growth of
Christianity in South
Canara. The arrival of the British and the Dutch halted the
activity of the Portuguese, and they were gradually unable to send the
required number of missionaries to Mangalore.
Shivappa Nayaka had
previously expelled the Portuguese from their forts a little before
1660, which brought about considerable changes in the ecclesiastical
situation. The appointment of the
Vicar Apostolic of
felt by the
Holy See to be of critical importance. Nayaka pressured
the church authorities to appoint a native priest as the Vicar
Apostolic, which resulted in the appointment of Fr. Andrew Gomez to
the post; however, he died before the nomination papers could reach
Ali Adil Shah I's attack on
Goa in 1571 precipitated the second wave
Goan Catholic migrations towards South Canara.
At the recommendation of the
Vicar General of Verapoly, Mons. Joseph
Clement X appointed Bishop Thomas de Castro, a Goan
Theatine and Bishop of Fulsivelem, as the
Vicar Apostolic of
Propaganda Fide in the Vicariate of Canara on 30 August 1675, for the
purpose of providing spiritual leadership to the Canara
Christians. After his consecration, he first went to Calicut
and then moved to Mangalore, where he served from 1677 to 1684. In
1677, Bishop de Castro entered into a conflict with the
Goa, Dom Frei António Brandão, for disregarding the Padroado.
Consequently, they did not cede the jurisdiction to him despite the
Pope's letter of appointment. The Padroado–Propaganda conflict
which ensued divided the Catholics of Canara into two sides—those
who recognised the authority of the
those who supported de Castro.
The Portuguese refused to recognise Bishop de Castro's appointment and
vigorously opposed his activities.
Archbishop Brandão's sudden death
on 6 July 1678 further complicated matters, and the Cathedral chapter
Archdiocese of Goa
Archdiocese of Goa following the vacancy created by
his death, forbade the Canara Catholics from receiving the sacraments
from the bishop or from priests appointed by him. In his turn, Bishop
de Castro excommunicated those Catholics who were obedient to the
Padroado authorities in
Goa and their priests. In 1681, the Holy
See appointed another Goan priest Fr. Joseph Vaz, as the Vicar Forane
of Canara; he was asked not to submit to Bishop de Castro unless he
showed the letter of appointment. However, after being convinced
of its legitimacy, Fr. Vaz submitted to Bishop de Castro and brought
about a truce. He further managed to persuade the bishop to delegate
his jurisdiction to him while retaining the post. In 1700, the
Catholics of Canara were again brought under the jurisdiction of the
Archbishop of Goa.
The Milagres Church, one of the oldest churches in South Canara, was
built in 1680 by Bishop Thomas de Castro. In 1568, the
Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Mangalore
Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Mangalore (Our Lady of Rosary
of Mangalore) was erected by the Portuguese at Bolar in Mangalore. The
Nossa Senhora de Mercês de Velala (Our Lady of Mercy of
Ullal) and São Francisco de Assis (St. Francis of Assisi) at
Farangipet were erected by the Portuguese in
South Canara at around
the same time. These three churches were mentioned by the Italian
traveller Pietro Della Valle, who visited
Mangalore in 1623.
In 1570, the
Sultan of Bijapur, Ali Adil Shah I, entered into an
alliance with the
Sultan of Ahmadnagar, Murtaza Nizam Shah, and the
Zamorin of Calicut for a simultaneous attack on the Portuguese
territories of Goa, Chaul, and Mangalore. He attacked
Goa in 1571
and ended Portuguese influence in the region. The Bijapur Sultans were
especially renowned for their loathing of Christianity. Fearing
Goan Catholics fled to
South Canara during this
second wave of migrations, and settled in Barcoor, Kallianpur,
Cundapore, and Basroor. For the next century, there was
continual migration of
Goan Catholics southwards, so that by 1650, a
considerable number of Catholics were settled around Mangalore,
Moolki, Shirva, Pezar, Bantval, Cundapore, Kallianpur, and Kirem.
Goud Saraswat Brahmins
Goud Saraswat Brahmins who came during this wave
belonged mostly to the Shenvi subcaste.
The Maratha ruler Sambhaji's onslaught was responsible for the third
and final great wave of migrations to South Canara.
The attacks of the
Maratha Empire on
Goa during the mid-16th century
precipitated the third major wave of migrations. In 1664 Shivaji, the
founder of the Maratha empire, attacked Kudal, a town north of Goa,
and began his campaign for Goa. After Shivaji's death on 3 April 1680,
Sambhaji ascended to the throne. The onslaught of Sambahji
along the northern territories of
Goa drove nearly all the Christians
from their homelands, and most of them migrated to South Canara.
Migration increased with the fall of the Portuguese "Province of the
North" (which included Bassein,
Chaul and Salsette) and a direct
threat to the very existence of
Goa in 1738–40.
According to one estimate, emigrations from the
Salcete district of
Goa were around the rate of 2,000 annually.
Jesuit priests estimated
that 12,000 Christians emigrated from the
Bardez district of Goa
between 1710–12, most of them going southward. A
report of 1747 presently in the
Panjim archives records that around
5,000 Christians fled from the
Tiswadi districts of Goa
during the Maratha invasion. During the Maratha raids on Goa,
about 60,000 Christians migrated to South Canara. These new
migrants were given lands at Shirva, Kirem, Mundkur, Pezar, and
Hosabettu by the
Chowta kings of
Moodbidri and at Milagres, Bondel,
and Cordel by the Banghel kings of Mangalore. During later years,
migration slowed because of the Maratha–Mughal wars, and some 10,000
Christians returned to Goa. According to Alan Machado Prabhu,
Mangalorean Catholics numbered about 58,000 by 1765.
Subsequent to this steady rise in South Canara's Catholic population,
the Portuguese took advantage of every opportunity to extend their
control over the Mangalorean Catholics, who came to be identified with
Portuguese interests. The Portuguese sought to expand the power of
the priests, as from the beginning of their empire, priests had
accompanied Portuguese delegations on diplomatic missions and on
occasion were the principal negotiatiors. Treaties they signed with
the Keladi Nayakas progressively incorporated clauses which increased
the authority of the priests over the local Catholic population,
making them obedient to the priests in matters of Christian laws as
well as granting priests the authority to punish violations. The
Portuguese promised to refrain from slaughtering cows and to halt
forcible conversions in their factories. The terms of these
treaties were not always honoured by the Portuguese, with the result
that whenever hostilities broke out between the Keladis and the
Portuguese, the Catholic settlers were often harassed or arrested by
Post-migration era and captivity
Main article: Captivity of
Mangalorean Catholics at Seringapatam
Tipu Sultan (1750–1799), the architect of the
In 1686, Seringapatam, the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore, had a
community of more than 400 Catholics. The community was severely
harassed in the following two decades, with the churches destroyed and
the priest's house confiscated. The destruction was undertaken under
the name of the
Wodeyar king, Kanthirava Narasaraja I, by his finance
minister. The priest's house was returned to the church in 1709.
Relations between the Wodeyars and the
Mangalorean Catholics improved
until 1717, when there was an anti-Christian outburst. The resident
priest was expelled and forbidden to preach. Several more
anti-Christian outbursts followed. By 1736, there were better
relations between the two groups.
From 1761 onwards, Hyder Ali, a distinguished soldier in the Mysore
army, took de facto control of the throne of the Kingdom of Mysore
Wodeyar dynasty. Hyder occupied
Mangalore in 1763. The
Mangalorean Catholics numbered 80,000 in 1767. In February 1768
the British captured
Mangalore from Hyder. Toward the end of 1768,
Hyder and his son
Tipu Sultan defeated the British and recaptured
Mangalore fort. After the conquest, Hyder was informed that the
Mangalorean Catholics had helped the British in their conquest of
Mangalore. Hyder believed that this behaviour of the Christians
amounted to treachery against the sovereign.
The Christians were alleged to have helped General Mathews with a sum
of Rs. 3,30,000/-. Hyder summoned a Portuguese officer and several
Christian priests from
Mangalore to suggest the punishment for the
Mangalorean Catholics for treachery. The Portuguese officer suggested
the death penalty for those Catholics who helped the British, because
it was a fitting punishment for people who betrayed the sovereign. But
Hyder exhibited a diplomatic stance and imprisoned the Christians,
rather than killing them.
Later, he opened negotiations with the Portuguese. As a result of the
agreement, the suspicion against the clergy and the Christians was
removed. During Hyder's regime, the Mangalorean Catholic community
continued to flourish. After Hyder's death in the Second
Mysore War on 7 December 1782, the British captured the fort
again. Hyder was succeeded by his son Tipu Sultan. Tipu laid
several assaults on the
Mangalore fort until January 1784, all of
which resulted in failure. The fort was finally delivered to Tipu when
the British capitulated on 30 January 1784.
Tipu received highly exaggerated reports about the role of the
Mangalorean Catholics and their help to the British in the Second
Mysore War. To minimise the British threat to his kingdom
and in the Sultan-ul-Tawarikh, due to "the rage of
Islam that began to
boil in his breast", Tipu banished the Mangalorean Catholic
community from their lands, and imprisoned them at Seringapatam, the
capital of his empire. The captivity of
Mangalorean Catholics at
Seringapatam, which began on 24 February 1784 and ended on 4 May 1799,
remains the most disconsolate memory in their history.
Soon after the
Treaty of Mangalore in 1784, Tipu gained control of
Canara. He issued orders to seize the Christians in Canara,
confiscate their estates, and deport them to Seringapatam, through
the Jamalabad fort route. All this was accomplished in a secret
and well-planned move on
Ash Wednesday (24 February 1784).
Accounts of the number of captives differ, ranging from 30,000 to
80,000. The generally accepted figure is 60,000, as per Tipu's own
records. They were forced to climb nearly 4,000 feet
(1,200 m) through the dense jungles and gorges of the Western
Ghat mountain ranges along two routes; one group travelled along the
and the other along the Gersoppa falls (Shimoga) route. It was 200
miles (320 km) from
Mangalore to Seringapatam, and the journey
took six weeks.
A dungeon at Seringapatam. Many
Mangalorean Catholics who refused to
Islam were imprisoned into such dungeons.
According to the Barcoor Manuscript, written in
Kannada by a
Mangalorean Catholic from Barcoor after his return from Seringapatam,
20,000 of them (one-third) died on the march to
Seringapatam due to
hunger, disease, and ill treatment by the soldiers. At the camp at
Jamalabad fort, Mangalorean Catholic leaders were thrown down from the
fort. All Christian churches in South Canara, except the Hospet
Church at Hospet and the
Monte Mariano Church at Farangipet, were
razed to the ground and all land owned by the captured Christians was
taken over by Tipu and distributed among his favourites. After
they were freed, all their belongings had disappeared and their
deserted lands were being cultivated by the Bunts.
After arriving at Seringapatam, the Christian captives were made to
forcibly embrace Islam, were tortured, or sentenced to death. The
young men who refused to embrace
Islam were disfigured by cutting
their noses, upper lips, and ears. They were seated on asses, paraded
through the city, and thrown into the dungeons of Seringapatam.
Historian Praxy Fernandes, author of Storm over Seringapatam: The
Incredible Story of
Hyder Ali & Tippu Sultan, states that contrary
to popular belief, 40,000 Christians were not kept manacled in the
dungeons of Seringapatam.
Ludwig von Pastor, a German historian, author of The History of the
Popes, from the Close of the Middle Ages. Volume 39 emphasises saying
Mangalorean Catholics were hanged, including women with
their children clinging around their necks. Others were trampled or
dragged by elephants. The able-bodied young men were drafted into
the army after being circumcised and converted to Islam. The young
women and girls were distributed as wives to Muslim officers and
favourites living in Seringapatam. According to Mr. Silva of
Gangollim, a survivor of the captivity, if a person who had escaped
Seringapatam was found, Tipu had ordered the cutting off of the
ears, nose, the feet, and one hand as punishment. The persecutions
continued until 1792. This was followed by a brief relaxation
period from 1792–1797, during which a few Catholic families managed
to escape to Coorg, Cannanore, and Tellicherry. The persecutions
resumed in 1797.
British and modern era
See also: Participation of
Mangalorean Catholics in the Indian
The Last Effort and Fall of Tippoo
Sultan by Henry Singleton
In the Battle of
Seringapatam on 4 May 1799, the British army under
officers George Harris, David Baird, and Arthur Wellesley stormed the
fortress, breached the town of Seringapatam, and killed Tipu.
After his death in the Fourth Anglo-
Mysore War, the Mangalorean
Catholics were freed from his captivity. Of the
Mangalorean Catholics taken captive, only
15,000–20,000 made it out as Christians.
Historian Alan Machado
Prabhu mentions that only 11,000 survived the
captivity as Christians. British general Arthur Wellesley helped
10,000 of them return to
South Canara and resettle on their
lands. Of the remaining Christians freed, about a thousand
went to Malabar, and some hundreds settled in Coorg. According to
Francis Buchanan, 15,000 of them returned to
Mangalore and its
vicinity, while 10,000 of them migrated to Malabar. The Gazetteer
Bombay Presidency (1883) mentions that 15,000 persons returned,
of which 12,000 were from
South Canara and 3,000 from North
Canara. According to genealogist Michael Lobo, the present
Mangalorean Catholic community is descended almost entirely from this
small group of survivors.
Later, the British took over South Canara. In 1800, they took a census
of the region. Of the 396,672 people living in South Canara,
10,877 were Christians. Thomas Munro was appointed the first
collector of Canara in June 1799. He passed three orders in
respect of the estates of the Christians, which were taken over by
non-Christians during the captivity. Through the assistance of
the church and with the support of Munro, the Christians were able to
recover their lands and estates. Fr. José Miguel Luis de Mendes,
Goan Catholic priest, was appointed Vicar of Our Lady of Rosary of
Mangalore on 7 December 1799. He took interest in the re-establishment
of the community from 1799 to 1808. Later, British general John
Goldsborough Ravenshaw was appointed collector of South Canara. He
took an active part in the restoration of the Catholic community's
former possessions and the recovery of its estates. He constructed a
church for them, which was completed in 1806.
Thomas Munro helped the
Mangalorean Catholics recover their lands
after their return from captivity.
In 1800, there were 2,545 Catholic households with a population of
10,877. Their population almost doubled by 1818. According to
various parish books,
Mangalorean Catholics numbered 19,068 in South
Canara (12,877 in
Mangalore and Bantval, 3,918 in Moolki, 2,273
in Cundapore and Barcoor). Most of the churches which were
earlier destroyed by Tipu were rebuilt by 1815. The
community prospered under the British, and the jurisdiction of the
The opening of the Protestant German
Basel Mission of 1834 in
Mangalore brought many handicraft industries, such as cotton weaving
and tile-manufacturing, to the region and led to a large-scale rise in
employment. In 1836–37, the political situation in
Portugal was in turmoil. Antonio Feliciano de Santa Rita Carvalho, a
Portuguese priest, was appointed Archbishop-elect of
Goa in September
1836 without authorisation from the then Pope, Gregory XVI. Many
Mangalorean Catholics did not accept the leadership of Carvalho but
instead submitted to the
Vicar Apostolic of Verapoly in Travancore,
while some of them continued to be under the jurisdiction of the Roman
Archdiocese of Goa
Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The parishes in South Canara
were divided into two groups—one under
Goa and the other under
Under the leadership of Joachim Pius Noronha, a Mangalorean Catholic
priest, and John Joseph Saldanha, a Mangalorean Catholic judge, the
Mangalorean Catholics sent a petition to the
Holy See in 1840 to
Mangalore as a separate Vicariate. Conceding to their
Pope Gregory XVI
Pope Gregory XVI established
Mangalore as a separate
Vicariate on 17 February 1845 under the Verapoly Carmelites. The
Mangalore Mission was transferred to the French
Carmelites by a bull
dated 3 January 1870. During the regime of Carmelites, the
Mangalorean Catholics constantly sent memorandums to the
Holy See to
send Jesuits to
Mangalore to start institutions for higher education,
since students frequently had to go to
Pope Leo XIII, by the Brief of 27 September
1878, handed over the
Mangalore mission to the Italian Jesuits of
Naples, who reached
Mangalore on 31 December 1878.
The Italian Jesuits played an important role in education, health, and
social welfare of the community. They built St. Aloysius College
St Aloysius Chapel
St Aloysius Chapel in 1884, St. Joseph's
Seminary and many other institutions and churches. On 25 January
Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII established the Diocese of Mangalore, which is
considered to be an important landmark in the community's
history. By the later half of the 19th century, many
Mangalorean Catholics were involved in the
Mangalore tile industry,
coffee plantations, and trade in plantation products. They
prospered under the British and competed with the local Brahmins for
offices in the service of the British. The overwhelming majority
Mangalorean Catholics continued to remain agriculturists.
The St. Aloysius Chapel in Mangalore, was built by
Antonio Moscheni in
Mangalore was transferred to the Italian Jesuits in 1878.
During the later 19th century, they started migrating to other urban
areas, especially Bombay, Bangalore, Calcutta, Karachi,
Mysore and Poona. The
Mangalorean Catholics came to
of economic necessity. The first permanent settlement of
Mangalorean Catholics in
Bombay was recorded in the 1890s. The
first Mangalorean Catholic settlement in
Madras was recorded in the
1940s. Joachim Alva, a Mangalorean Catholic politician, actively
participated in uniting the Mangalorean Catholic community against the
British during the Indian Independence Movement.
Mangalorean Catholics accounted for 76,000 of the total
84,103 Christians in South Canara., while in 1962, they
numbered 186,741. During the mid-20th century, Victor Fernandes,
Mangalore from 1931 to 1955, erected a large cross at
Nanthoor, near Padav hills, on the former outskirts of Mangalore, in
honour of the memory of Mangalorean Catholic martyrs who died on the
march and during their 15-year captivity at Seringapatam. During
the 1970s, coastal communication increased between
Mangalore with the introduction of ships by the London-based trade
firm Shepherd. These ships facilitated the entry of Mangalorean
Catholics to Bombay. In 1993, the
Mangalore Diocese estimated the
Mangalorean Catholics to be 325,510 out of a total South
Canara population of 3,528,540. This amounts to 9.23 per cent of the
population. A notable post-independence era event pertaining to
Mangalorean Catholics that occurred in southern Karnataka, and
made national headlines, were the attacks on Christian religious
institutions in September 2008.
Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangalore
Roman Catholic Diocese of Mangalore estimates the population of
Mangalorean Catholics in the areas that comprise historical South
Canara to be 360,000 out of a total population of 3,957,071, or
approximately 9.5 per cent of the population. Other regions of
India having a significant proportion of Mangalorean Catholics,
characterised by the presence of Mangalorean Catholic organisations or
celebration of the unique Mangalorean Catholic
Monti Fest festival,
are Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad,
Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, and Ranchi. A few
Mangalorean Catholics are found in Kodagu and Kerala, where there are
tiny pockets concentrated in Thalassery, Kasargod,
Kannur and Kochi.
They are mainly descended from those Catholics who fled the
persecution and roundup by Tipu Sultan. The Mangalorean Catholic
diaspora is scattered across the globe. Many Mangalorean Catholics
are found in Persian Gulf Arab states in the Middle East. The
Mangalorean Catholic Association of Sydney (MCAS) has estimated that
around 300 Mangalorean Catholic families live in Sydney,
Australia, with a lot of second generation families. Many of these are
multi-racial, being married into Anglo-Saxon, Spanish, Italian, Greek,
and other ethnicities. Mangalorean genealogist
Michael Lobo has
estimated that approximately half of the
Mangalorean Catholics still
Mangalore and the other towns in the
South Canara district.
As for the remaining half, about 15 per cent reside in other parts of
Karnataka (mostly Bangalore), 15 per cent reside in
Mumbai and its
neighbouring areas, 10 per cent reside in the Persian Gulf countries,
5 per cent reside in other parts of India, and the remaining 5 per
cent reside in other parts of the world.
Main article: Culture of Mangalorean Catholics
Main article: Architecture of Mangalorean Catholics
A traditional Mangalorean Catholic house
The German missionary
Plebot set up the first tile factory at
Mangalore in 1860. It was called the
Basel Mission tile factory.
Mangalorean Catholics learnt the technique of preparing Mangalore
tiles. The Albuquerque tile factory, the first Indian Mangalore
tile factory, was started in
South Canara by Pascal Albuquerque at
Panemangalore in 1868. Since then,
Mangalorean Catholics have been
actively involved in manufacturing the tiles. The Alvares tile factory
was established in
Mangalore by Simon Alvares, a Mangalorean Catholic
from Bombay, in 1878. In 1991–1992, out of twelve Mangalore
tile manufacturing factories in Mangalore, six were owned by
Christians. These tiles, prepared from hard clay, were in great
demand throughout India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, and were even shipped
to East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia. These were the
only tiles to be recommended for Government buildings in India,
and still define Mangalore's skyline and characterise its urban
setting. Urban and rural housing follows the traditional variety
of laterite brick structures with
Mangalore tile roofing on steeply
sloped roofs. Inside the house, a spacious hall is present while a
large verandah is present in front of the house. The traditional
houses tend to have spacious porticos, red cement or terracotta
floors, and have fruit trees outside the house. The old Catholic
South Canara bear traces of Portuguese influence. The tall
windows, pointed roofs, and verandahs are some of the Portuguese
influenced architectural features of the century-old houses.
Main article: Mangalorean Catholic cuisine
Kuswar are sweet delicacies prepared at Christmas, and include around
22 varieties of sweets.
Historically, the Mangalorean Catholic diet was completely vegetarian.
This changed during the 20th century, when with the advent of
Westernisation, meat came to be consumed increasingly in the
community, especially amongst the elite. Coconut and curry leaves
are common ingredients to most curries. Sanna-Dukra Maas (Sanna
is idli fluffed with toddy or yeast; Dukra Maas is pork) is one of the
most popular dishes of the Mangalorean Catholic community.
Rosachi Kadi (Ros Curry), a fish curry made with coconut milk (ros),
is a traditional curry served during the Ros ceremony. Patrode, a
dish of colocasia leaves stuffed with rice, dal, jaggery, coconut, and
spices is popular.
Kuswar are sweet delicacies prepared during
Christmas and include around 22 varieties of sweets. Fish and
rice form the staple diet of most Mangalorean Catholics.
Par-boiled rice, known as red rice, is the traditional rice eaten
and is preferred over raw rice.
Names and surnames
Main article: Mangalorean Catholic names and surnames
Maxwell Pereira-Kamath, popularly known as Maxwell Pereira, is a
senior-ranking IPS officer from Delhi. Like Pereira-Kamath, some
Mangalorean Catholics use their ancestral
Brahmin surnames in
conjunction with their post-conversion surnames.
Bilingual names, having variants in both Konkani and English, like
Zuãuñ (from Portuguese João, meaning John) and Mornel (Magdalene)
are common among Mangalorean Catholics. Most Mangalorean
Catholic names for males follow the second declension. Among women,
the names follow the first declension, while among young girls, the
names follow the second declension. Portuguese surnames like
D'Souza, Coelho, and Pinto are common among Mangalorean
Catholics, and generally follow the second declension.
Other European surnames are found.
Mangalorean Catholics use
their native language Konkani forms of their surnames in
Konkani-language contexts, along with their Portuguese forms in
English-language contexts, such as Soz, Kuel, and Pint, instead
of Sousa, Coelho, and Pinto. Some families use their original
Brahmin surnames such as Prabhu, Kamath, Naik,
Shet. These original surnames are actually the names of five
classes of persons: lord, cultivator, merchant, warrior, and
writer. Four of these are
Goud Saraswat Brahmin
Goud Saraswat Brahmin surnames, with
the exception of Shet, which is used by a few who trace their origins
Daivadnya Brahmins of Goa. These ancestral pre-conversion
surnames of the
Mangalorean Catholics are called paik in Konkani.
To capture their tradition, many have reverted to their paik
surnames, or use hyphenated names consisting of their
post-conversion surnames in conjunction with their ancestral
Mudartha is a unique Mangalorean Catholic surname to be
found among some Catholics that hail from Udupi.
Mangalorean Catholic variant
Gift from God
My God is my oath
The Lord will add
Source: An English–Konkani Dictionary (1882) and A Konkani
Language and literature
Michael Lobo published the first genealogical encyclopaedia of the
Mangalorean Catholic community in 1999.
Canara Konkani and Literature of Mangalorean Catholics
Mangalorean Catholics speak the Konkani language, which they have
retained as their mother tongue despite the migration; the language is
central to the community's identity. They speak a dialect known as
Mangalorean Catholic Konkani, which the
Ethnologue broadly identifies
The Mangalorean Catholic dialect has
Sanskrit influences, and
preserves many features of the Maharashtri, Shauraseni, and Magadhi
dialects of Prakrit. It also liberally uses loanwords from the Tulu
Kannada languages. It is written in the
The dialect does not distinguish between the nouns of
Konkani and has developed into a language that is very practical for
business. Some
Kannada rootwords which have
disappeared from the Goan dialects due to the influence of Portuguese
have re-entered the Mangalorean lexicon. 350–400 Portuguese
lexical items are found in the Mangalorean Catholic dialect, of which
more than half are related to religious terminology. The influence of
Portuguese syntax is only found in some sets of phrases and prayers
which have come down from the pre-migration era.
The Mangalorean Catholic dialect is largely derived from the
Bardeskaar (North Goan) dialect and bears a good degree of
intelligibility with the modern Bardeskaar dialect (spoken by North
Goan Christians, North Goan Hindus, and South Goan Hindus) and to a
slightly lesser extent with the standard Konkani dialect. It
consequently differs from the dialect spoken by the Goud Saraswat
Brahmins in South Canara, which is copiously derived and bears a good
degree of intelligibility with the modern Sashtikaar (South Goan)
dialect spoken by South Goan Christians and
North Canara Konkani
Hindus. It is much closer to the dialects of the Goan Hindus
than to that of the Goan Catholics.
The Italian Jesuits who arrived in
Mangalore in 1878, devoted
themselves to the study and development of Konkani, and were thus
responsible for the revival of the
Konkani language in Mangalore.
The origin of their literature dates to 1883, when Angelus Francis
Xavier Maffei, an Italian Jesuit, published the first An
English–Konkani Dictionary in Mangalore. He published a book on
Konkani grammar in 1882, with a revised version in 1893. In 1912
the first Konkani periodical, Konknni Dirvem (Konkani Treasure), was
Mangalore by Louis Mascarenhas. Popular Konkani
periodicals published in
Mangalore include Raknno (Guardian) (1938) by
Sylvester Menezes, Konkan Daiz (Heritage of Konkani)
(1958), and Kannik (Donation) (1965) by Raymond Miranda. The
twentieth-century literature focused on themes like the suffering of
Mangalorean Catholics during their 15-year captivity at
Seringapatam and the oppression of
Goan Catholics during the Goa
Inquisition. The first Konkani novel in
(1915), was written in the
Kannada script by Joachim Santan
Alvares. In Bombay—which had a small Mangalorean Catholic
community—periodicals like Sukh-Dukh (Ups and Downs) (1948) by
G.M.B. Rodrigues, Konknni Yuvak (Konkani Youth) (1949) by George
Fernandes, Poinnari (Traveller) (1950) by V.J.P. Saldanha, and
Divo (Lamp) (1995) by J.B. Moraes were published.
Richard Crasta is best known for his work The Revised Kamasutra, a
novel on sexual desires.
Modern literature is diverse and includes themes such as Indian
politics in books like What Ails the Socialists by George
Fernandes, historical awakening, in books such as Sarasvati's
Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians by Alan Machado
Prabhu, and sexual desires, in The Revised Kama Sutra: A
Novel of Colonialism and Desire by Richard Crasta. Genealogist
Michael Lobo published the first genealogical Encyclopedia of the
Mangalorean Catholic community in 1999. This genealogical
encyclopaedia, which exceeds 6,000 pages, covers over a thousand
families, each of which is researched as far as its ancestry can be
traced. Three offshoots have thus far been launched, which include
Mangaloreans Worldwide – An International Directory (1999),
Mangalorean Catholics (2000), and The Mangalorean
Catholic Community – A Professional History / Directory
(2002). William Robert da Silva translated the first complete
Bible from English into Konkani. The work entitled Baibol (Bible) was
written in the
Kannada script, and published by the Mangalore-based
Bible committee in 1997. In 2000, the
also released a Konkani
Kannada script entitled Pavitr Pustak
(Holy Book), which was made available online on 26 July 2007.
Traditions and festivals
Mangalorean Catholics have retained many Indian customs and
traditions; these are especially visible during the celebration of a
marriage. Their culture is more traditional and Indian.
Though the Portuguese traded quite frequently in Mangalore, and most
of the priests arriving in the region were Portuguese, there did not
develop a community identified with
Portugal and Portuguese
Mangalorean Catholics have no uniform rituals since
they belong to both the patrilineal
Brahmin stock and to the
Brahmin stock. Their marriage rites share many
similarities with the Shenvi sub-caste of the Goud Saraswat
Brahmins. It was mainly these pre-Christian marriage rites that
the Portuguese found objectionable and prohibited during the Goan
The Roce[b] (anointing) ceremony, conducted one or two days before a
wedding, celebrates the last day of virginity of the bride and
bridegroom and involves the parents' blessing of the bride and groom,
who are anointed with roce, a mixture of coconut milk and coconut
oil, while a cross is inscribed on the bride's
forehead. The marriage traditions include Soirik
(betrothal), exchange of
Paan Pod[c] (betel leaves) during the
marriage ceremony, which known as Badalchen (changing hands;
formal acceptance of the promise made by the bride's father to the
bridegroom's father that he will give his daughter in
marriage).[d] The bride is adorned with the Sado (wedding
sari) and Pirduk[f] (wedding necklace). Other rites include
the Onpnni (giving away the bride formally by the father or the
guardian of the bride), Porthoponn (re-invitation to the bride's
house), and singing of Honvious (hymns). Some non-marriage
traditions include Novemjeevon (partaking of the food prepared from
new corn) and Novem (blessing of new harvests).
Monti Fest celebration near the Milagres Church in Hampankatta,
In addition to common Christian festivals like Christmas, Good Friday,
and Easter, the community celebrates many other festivals of religious
and historical significance.
Monti Fest is one of the major festivals,
celebrated on 8 September. It combines the Nativity of the Blessed
Virgin Mary and blessing of Novem (new crops). The festival derives
its name from the
Monte Mariano Church at Farangipet in South Canara,
and was initiated by Fr. Joachim Miranda, a
Goan Catholic priest at
Farangipet, in 1763. Although
Tipu Sultan destroyed the churches of
Canara, he spared
Monte Mariano Church in deference to the friendship
of his father
Hyder Ali with Fr. Miranda. Attur Jatre or Attur
Fest (Attur festival) is the feast of St. Lawrence, celebrated in the
St. Lawrence Shrine
St. Lawrence Shrine on the outskirts of
Karkala in South Canara.
This shrine, in existence since 1759, is said to have a history of
miracles. Evkaristik Purshanv (Eucharistic Procession) is an
annual religious procession led by the Bishop of
Milagres Church to Rosario Cathedral. The procession, held on the
first Sunday of the New Year of the Gregorian calendar, seeks
blessings for the new year.
Costumes and ornaments
Main article: Attire of Mangalorean Catholics
A Mangalorean Catholic couple dressed in traditional wedding costumes.
The bride is wearing a wedding
Sari (Sado); while the groom is wearing
a Todop (golden hem), Kutanv (coat), Pudvem (dhoti), and Urmaal
Mangalorean Catholic men traditionally wore long, loose-frilled, white
or black coats known as Kutanv (similar to the Maratha loose coats
with buttons), over a Zibbo (loose shirt), while the Pudvem (dhoti), a
piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 7 yards (6.4 m) long,
was wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist.
The turban called Mundaas or Urmal, were usually flattened like the
Coorgi turbans. It was a long white piece of cloth with a Todop
(golden hem) tied around the head like a turban in a particular manner
by which they could be easily identified as Catholics. In
modern times however, this mode has changed. Only a few older people
can be seen wearing this traditional dress on church-going
Before marriage, women used to wear a Kirgi (sari) and Baju (blouse).
The Kirgi is a piece of cloth not longer than four feet, and about
three feet wide. It was wrapped around the body from the waist down. A
jacket with long sleeves called a Baju, was used to cover the upper
part of the body. This dress was a sign of the bride's virginity and
was worn during the Ros ceremony. The Kirgi was wrapped
around the waist, but the end of the sari is not thrown over the
shoulder. To wear the sari with its end thrown over the shoulder,
known as Worl, is the exclusive right of a married woman. Married
women used to wear sarees the general way. The
Salwar kameez is
another form of popular dress for females. The Mangalorean Catholic
bride's wedding sari is known as a Sado.[e] It is usually a
Banarasi sari which is made of finely woven silk and is
decorated with elaborate engravings. In olden days, the bride
wore on her head a red cloth, three feet square. Gold ornaments were
absent in those days: the bride went to the church dressed as a virgin
girl. In modern times, the bride wears (in place of the Kirgi) a red
sari, but the end of the sari is not thrown over the shoulder; it is
wrapped around the waist. The bride wears a few gold ornaments, some
rings on the fingers, earrings, and at least two of the Dantoni
(golden combs). Other ornaments worn by the bride in the olden
days included Kanti, Chakrasar, Kap, Karap, Mugud, Kanto, and
A typical Mangalorean Catholic wedding sari (sado)
Dantoni consist of two ordinary combs with the upper part of each one
plated with gold; they are worn in the hair on both sides of the head
over the ears. On the way to church the bride wears some white and red
flowers stuck in the hair. In the centre of the forehead, a Bang (gold
chain) was placed with a pendant. The Pirduk (Mangalsutra)[f] is
a necklace made of black beads strung on gold wire as either as a
single chain or double chain, with a connecting pendant. This
necklace is worn as long as the husband is alive; a widow is expected
to take it off. It is highly prized by women as the symbol of
their married state. A widow is expected to wear a black sari for
the remainder of her life, and is not allowed to wear ornaments.
The bridegroom's dress in early times consisted of a short loincloth
of hand-woven cloth (Dhoti), a shawl to cover his shoulders, and a red
handkerchief on the head (Leis). Later, his dress consisted of a white
loincloth with a red and gold hem (todop), a shirt with gold buttons
and a coat (Kutanv), a shawl on the shoulders, and a towel (Urmal) on
the head. The bridegroom wore a Chakrasar (neck chain)
around his neck. He wore a pair of sandals or at least a pair of
socks. At present, most Mangalorean Catholic couples opt for a
White wedding, where the bridegroom wears a suit, while the bride
wears a white wedding gown. The traditional style of wedding is
becoming exceedingly rare.
A Mangalorean Catholic gentleman belonging to the Bamonn caste. Circa
Mangalorean Catholics retained the same caste system as their
ancestors in Goa. They were mainly divided into four castes: Bamonns,
Charodis, Sudirs, and Gaudis.
The biggest group were the Bamonns, who were converts from the
Brahmin class. All
Brahmin sub-castes such as the Goud
Saraswat Brahmins, Padyes, and Daivadnyas, especially the goldsmiths
and a few merchants, were lumped into the Christian caste of
Bamonn. The descendants of Goud
Saraswat converts comprised the
majority of this caste. The Bamonns were further divided into
other castes according to rank. In Mangalore, they were sub-divided
into Sirudhegars (the highest class), Alhdhengars, Cutdhnangars,
Dhivodegars, Nathnolegars, Sashragars, Puruvargars, and Maidhegars.
These names are taken from the villages to which they once
belonged. This group constituted the landed gentry. In accordance
Hindu law that allowed a
Brahmin to practice any
occupation except cultivation, the Bamonns refrained from cultivating
their lands, and leased them to tenants.
The Charodis, the second-largest group, were converts from the
Kshatriya (warrior class) and
Vaishya (merchant class) castes.
They were generally engaged in trade and commercial vocations.
The artisan converts formed the third-biggest group and were known as
Sudirs (the Konkani word for Shudras, which were the labour
class). They were workers and agricultural labourers engaged in
service professions. The converts from the fisher caste residing
around Ullal, Kuloor, and other places around the seacoast were called
Gaudis, and formed the fourth group. They cultivated the lands of
the Bamonns and the high-caste Hindus. Other minor castes
included the Padvals, whom historian Severine Silva assumes to be
local Jain converts.
An extended Catholic family in
Mangalore belonging to the Bamonn
caste. Circa 1929.
Mangalorean Catholics constituted a small community widely
scattered across the
South Canara district. Rather than being a
closely knit and united group, the
Goan Catholic immigrants and their
progeny did not associate with the native Catholics on account of
caste, origin, and language, and even among themselves were strongly
divided by caste. The Hindus, including the indigenous Brahmins
(mostly belonging to the Shivalli, Havyaka, and Kota sub-groups) and
Bunts did not associate with the Catholics and would not admit them
into their houses on account of their religion. However, a close
contact was kept by the Catholics with the Hindus of the same caste
who were refugees from Goa. Catholics would invite their
to festivities such as birth celebrations, weddings, and funeral
feasts. The Hindus accepted such invitations. Unlike his Hindu
counterpart, a high-caste Mangalorean Catholic did not consider
himself polluted upon physical contact with a member of the lower
caste, but members of different castes did not fraternise or invite
each other home for dinner.
Marriage between members of the various castes was not permitted, and
such matches were strictly discouraged by the elders. For instance, a
Bamonn boy would only marry a Bamonn girl and a Charodi boy would only
marry a Charodi girl. The Bamonns and Charodis would invite
neighbours and friends belonging to the Sudir and Gaudi castes to
special occasions such as weddings and baptisms, although the latter
would have to observe certain restrictions with regards to sitting and
eating. The lower castes felt honoured if they were invited and
usually accepted such invitations. The upper castes usually did
not attend the ceremonies of the lower castes, even if expressly
Sacristan of St. Lawrence Church, Moodubelle, gives his blessings
to his granddaughter during her Ros ceremony. Circa 1975.
It was difficult for the few priests who had accompanied the Christian
South Canara to look after them properly. Thus, the
Gurkar system came into existence. Gurkars were Mangalorean Catholic
men of good moral character who were selected as headmen in Christian
settlements. They were entrusted with the social and religious
supervision of the community. After migration, the only possible
occupation of a Mangalorean Catholic was agriculture, since they were
skilled farmers. Every farmer practised carpentry, but it was
quite primitive and unskilled, and other crafts and industries were
non-existent. The mass was celebrated in Latin; but the sermon,
the catechism, and the explication of the mysteries were delivered to
the congregation in Konkani.
The parishes were grouped into deaneries called Varados. Every parish
was divided into wards, while Parish Councils were present in most
parishes. About 15 percent of the households in the parishes were
literate. A widow had to remain indoors, practically for the rest
of her life. Since high-caste
Hindu widows cannot remarry after the
death of their husbands, the high-caste Christians too considered the
remarriage of a widow as something unnatural. Canon law did allow
remarriage for widows and therefore there was no direct prohibition
for widows to remarry in the society of the Christians of South
Canara. Few women had the courage to go against the strict conventions
of their community. A widow who remarried was looked down upon,
pitied, and shunned as unlucky. But she was not ill-treated or made an
outcast, and no stigma was attached to her husband.
Succession to property was practised as per the
Songs and music
Konkani Nirantari, a Konkani cultural event, entered the Guinness Book
of World Records for non-stop singing of Konkani hymns.
On 26 and 27 January 2008, a Konkani cultural event, Konkani
Nirantari, held in
Mangalore by the Mangalorean Catholic organisation
Mandd Sobhann; entered the Guinness
Book of World Records for non-stop
singing of Konkani hymns. Mandd Sobhann members sang for
40 hours, surpassing the old record of 36 hours held by a
Brazilian musical troupe, Communidade Evangelica Luterana São Paulo
(Lutheran Evangelical Community of São Paulo) of Universidade
Luterana do Brasil (Lutheran University of Brazil). The Silver
Band, started in 1906 by Lawrence D'Souza in Mangalore, is one of the
oldest and most popular brass bands in Mangalore. The well-known
Konkani hymn Riglo Jezu Molliant (
Jesus entered the Garden of
Gethsemene) was written by Fr. Joachim Miranda, an 18th-century Goan
Catholic priest, when he was held captive by
Tipu Sultan on his Canara
mission. Mons. Minguel Placid Colaco wrote the devotional hymn
Jezucho Mog (Jesus' Love) in 1905, and translated the Latin
Stabat Mater into Konkani under the title Khursa Mullim (Bottom
of the Holy Cross). Joseph Saldanha's Shembor Cantigo (100
Hymns) and Raimundo Mascarenhas' Deva Daia Kakultichea (O
Compassionate Master) were popular. Other popular Konkani hymns
Mangalorean Catholics are Aika Cristanv Jana (Listen, O'
Christian People), Utha Utha Praniya (Wake up, Creatures), and Sorgim
Thaun (From Heaven).
Konkani pop music became popular after Indian Independence in 1947.
Henry D'Souza and Helen D'Cruz are known for the Konkani love duet
Kathrina in 1971 and the love Ballad Garacho Divo (Lamp of the
House) in the 1970s, while Wilfy Rebimbus' sonnet Mog Tuzo Kithlo
Axelom (How I Have Loved Thee) from 1977 is popular. Konkani
plays, especially religious ones, were written and staged in Mangalore
in the 20th century by prominent playwrights such as Pedru John
D'Souza, Pascal Sequeira and
Bonaventure Tauro. The Ghumat was a
popular musical instrument played especially during weddings. The
instrument has the form of an earthen pot but is open at both sides.
One end is covered with the skin of some wild animal, and the other is
left open. The traditional theatre form is called Gumat, and is
performed on the eve of the marriage or in connection with the
marriage celebrations in the decorated pandal (stage). The play
is conducted by males belonging to both the brides' and bridegrooms'
parties, and usually takes place for two or three nights. The
plays performed are usually those of Biblical stories, and their
morals are presented with the purpose of educating the bride and
bridegroom. This tradition has almost completely died out among
the present generation.
The tradition of Voviyo (wedding songs), sung by women during a Ros,
is important to this community. The procedure is that an elderly lady,
usually the yejman (wife of the master of ceremonies, who is known as
yejmani) who knows the voviyos, leads the song while the rest of the
women sing along. Only women whose husbands are still living may sing.
In ancient times, the wedding songs expressed very lofty sentiments
and gave vent to the feelings of the people about the marriage
partners and their families, invoking the blessing of God on
Aprosachi vatli, kasgran petli, ruzai mai betli, hea rosalagim.
The Ros brass plate is made by brass smith, our Lady of Rosary is here
at this ros ceremony.
Dimbi ami galeam, santa kuru kadeam, kurpa ami magieam amchea
Let us kneel, make sign of the cross, and pray for God's grace.
Akashim mod, narl kubear telacho kuris hokleachea kopalar.
Clouds in the sky, coconut on the tree, oily sign of cross on the
forehead of the bride.
— Voviyos taken from The Tradition of Voviyo article by Maurice
Many organisations cater to the community in South Kanara. The most
notable are Mandd Sobhann, which broke the Guinness record for
non-stop singing, and the Catholic Association of South Kanara
(CASK). The first session of the
Canara Konkani Catholic World
Convention took place on 26 December 2004 in Mangalore. The
convention aimed to establish institutions to conduct research on the
history of Mangalorean Catholics.
In India, the
Kanara Catholic Association, Mumbai, (KCA Mumbai,
established in 1901), the
Kanara Catholic Association, (KCA Bangalore,
established in 1955) and
Mangalore Catholic Association,
Pune) (MCA, established on 10 February 1996) in are well known.
Bangalore (established in 2007) a non
profit group to promote skill development and success among
Mangalorean Catholic Entrepreneurs, students and catholic institutions
are part of the efforts to help the community.
In the United Kingdom, Mangalorean United Konkani Association (MUKA)
Nottingham is popular.
In Australia, The Mangalorean Catholic Association of Victoria (MCAV)
Melbourne was the first organisation for the community
in Australia. In 2006 the Mangalorean Catholic Association of
Sydney (MCAS) was established in Australia.
In North America, the Mangalorean Association of Canada and the
Mangalorean Konkan Christian Association (MKCA) in Chicago are
In the Middle East, the
Mangalore Cultural Association (MCA) in Doha,
Qatar; was established on March 2008.
Notable Mangalorean Catholics
Member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament,
from 1968 to 1974
Rajya Sabha from 1972 to 1998; appointed Governor of
Uttarakhand in 2009
Politician in the
Indian National Congress
Indian National Congress and first Roman Catholic
minister in the
Karnataka state government
Jesuit priest, educationist, writer, and member of the Indian
Constituent assembly from 1946 to 1950
Defence minister of India from 19 March 1998 to 22 May 2004
Member of Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, from
1980 to 1998
Member of Parliament Bhopal
Indian writer, scientist and genealogist
IPS officer who variously served as Assistant Commissioner of Police
and Deputy Commissioner of Police in Delhi, Superintendent of Police
for Sikkim, Assistant Inspector General of Police and Chief Vigilance
Officer in Mizoram, and Inspector General of Police for
Miss India America 2009
Hollywood actress known for her role in Slumdog Millionaire
Pius Fidelis Pinto
Indian historian, researcher and scholar on Christianity
Captain of India's national field hockey team
Konkani singer and lyricist
Konkani novelist and short story writer
Sahitya Akademi Award (2011) Winning Konkani Poet
Archbishop of Lahore Archdiocese from 2001 to 2011
John Richard Lobo
current MLA of
Mangalore South constituency
Konkani litterateur, dramatist, musician, and poet
Indian Olympic Hockey player
Campus Director of Ryan International Group of Institutions.
a ^ Most of the Christian soldiers in the
Keladi Nayaka army belonged
to the Charodi caste.
b ^ The Ros is a ceremony similar to the Tel ceremony performed by the
Goan Hindus. The Tel is an auspicious ceremony during which the
Hindu bride wears a yellow sari, while ladies from the family would
rub the body with turmeric and oil. They would apply it with the help
of two leaves of a mango tree over the forehead, neck, chest, shoulder
arms and legs of the bride. A similar pattern was followed
wherein the Christian bride was smeared with turmeric paste, coconut
milk, rice flour with the leaves of ambolim to make the skin smooth,
fair and prepare the bride for marriage. In 1736, this practice was
banned by the Holy
Inquisition in Goa.
c ^ Bido is the small packet of pieces of areca nut wrapped into a
betel leaf with the addition of several spices. Pan-pod is the same,
but loosely placed on a plate, so that each guest can prepare his own
pan. The areca nut, uncut, is called popal, cut into small pieces it
d ^ In the past, Canara was famous for its spices. And so, paan (betel
leaf) and pod (areca nut cut into small pieces), the seed of the
Areca catechu were generously supplied on all festive
occasions. The spices were not mixed with chuno (Quick lime). In fact,
in every house a copper or brass plate was always kept ready for a
pan-pod party. Whenever a guest arrived at the house, it was customary
to offer him this plate with a fresh betel leaf just picked from the
vine. A betel nut known as tobak or dumti (Tobacco) was prepared and
placed on the brass plate.
e ^ After the wedding was over, the sado was well preserved and worn
only on high feast-days or for weddings. Sometimes, a particularly
precious sado was handed down from mother to daughter and considered a
valuable heirloom. The cost of a sado was reckoned in varahas. Saris
are known for their variety by special names, such as Katari, Shilari,
Gulabi, etc. Both the Sado and Dharma sado were costly saris,
while the Sado was the most expensive, the Dharma Sado was the second
f a b The Hindus call it mangalsutra or mangala-sutra (the auspicious
necklace). It is the symbol of the married state. In the olden
Mangalsutra was made of black glass beads strung on a thread
made of the fibres of dried pineapple leaves. The ordinary crude
pattern of the pirduk was improved in the course of time. Later
longish beads of gold were inserted between the black glass beads and
a pendant was added. The earliest pendant was a round disk of silver.
It was called thali. Later it was changed into a golden pendant.
Christianity in India portal
Roman Catholicism in Mangalore
East Indian Catholics
^ a b c "Statistics". Diocese of Mangalore. Archived from the original
on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
^ a b Koṅkṇi humiṇyo 1981, p. 203: "This city (Mangalore) has a
very influential proportion of Roman Catholics, numbering over a good
quarter of the total population. It is the seat of the
Catholic Diocese Latin Rite, and hence when we speak of the
Mangalorean Catholics, we do not limit ourselves only to the roughly
60,000 Catholics within the city limits, but to a total of much over
200,000 Catholics spread over the whole diocese, which is co-terminous
with the civil district of South Kanara."
^ Farias 1999, p. 299: "Four centuries of living in South Kanara
gave these Catholics an identity of their own. Thus they are commonly
known as Mangalorean Catholics."
^ a b c d Silva & Fuchs 1965, p. 6
^ Silva & Fuchs 1965, pp. 4–5
^ a b c Pereira, Maxwell (3 May 1999). "We the Mangaloreans". The
Indian Express. Archived from the original on 29 June 2013. Retrieved
25 May 2013.
^ Larsen 1998, p. 357
^ Larsen 1998, p. 361
Prabhu 1999, p. XV
^ Fernandes 1969, p. 246 "The bulk of our
belonged to the
Saraswat and the
Goud Saraswat Brahmin
Goud Saraswat Brahmin communities."
Prabhu 1999, p. 154
^ a b c Silva & Fuchs 1965, p. 4
^ a b c South
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 101
Prabhu 1999, p. 78
Jordanus & Yule 2001, p. 40
^ a b
Prabhu 1999, p. 81
^ "The great prelates who shaped the history of Diocese of Quilon".
Quilon Diocese. Archived from the original on 18 June 2006. Retrieved
14 January 2008.
Kamath (16 September 2002). "Where rocks tell a tale". The Hindu
Business Line. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 8
^ a b South
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 52
Prabhu 1999, p. 155
^ a b Shastry & Borges 2000, p. 260
^ Pinto 1999, p. 152
^ Raghuram, M (23 October 2007). "Abbakka's legacy being revived".
Chennai, India: The Hindu. Archived from the original on 21 March
2012. Retrieved 24 August 2008.
^ Mathew, K. M. (1988). History of the Portuguese Navigation in India,
1497–1600. Delhi: Mittal Publication. p. 123.
^ Shastry & Borges 2000, p. 256
^ a b c d
Prabhu 1999, p. 157
^ Pinto 1999, p. 183
^ Schurhammern, Georg (1982). Francis Xavier; His Life, His Times:
Jesuit Historical Institute. p. 148.
^ Baring-Gould S (Sabine) (2009). The Lives of the Saints, Volume XIV.
BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 629. ISBN 978-1-110-73420-7.
^ a b c d e Rodrigues, Vernon (2 March 2009). Myaboo, Philip, ed.
"Mangalorean Pagan Catholics". The Secular Citizen. Mumbai: Printed
and published by Lawrence Coelho. 18 (9): 12. RNI No. 56987/92,
Registered No. 139/2009-11.
^ Kanjamala, Augustine; Commission for Proclamation and Communication
(Catholic Bishops' Conference of India) (1997). Paths of Mission in
India Today. Bandra, India: St Pauls. p. 160.
^ a b c d e f g h i Silva & Fuchs 1965, p. 5
^ a b Pinto 1999, p. 150
^ a b South
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 102
^ Buchanan 1988, p. 23
^ a b c Buchanan 1988, p. 24
^ Larsen 1998, p. 353
^ a b c d e "
Christianity in Mangalore". Diocese of Mangalore.
Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 30 July
^ George 2010, p. 128
^ a b "Brief history of the Archdiocese of Verapoly". Archdiocese of
Verapoly. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 22
^ a b c Pinto 1999, p. 208
^ Pinto 1999, p. 209
^ a b
Prabhu 1999, p. 158
^ a b c
Prabhu 1999, p. 159
^ Pinto 1999, p. 212
^ a b Silva & Fuchs 1965, p. 9
^ Raviprasad Kamila (30 November 2005). "Jubilee celebrations at
Milagres Church on Tuesday". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Archived from
the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
^ Raviprasad Kamila (27 November 2004). "The holy heritage". Chennai,
India: The Hindu. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012.
Retrieved 23 August 2008.
^ a b c d e Prabhu, Alan Machado (1999). Sarasvati's Children: A
History of the Mangalorean Christians. Bangalore: I.J.A. Publications.
ISBN 978-81-86778-25-8. Material available in the
Sarasvati's Children Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
article, written by Joe Lobo, the President of the Goan Catholic
Association in Florida, was borrowed mainly from Alan Machado's book.
Prabhu 1999, p. 132
^ Kurzon 2004, p. 77
Prabhu 1999, p. 167
^ a b c
Prabhu 1999, p. 160
Prabhu 1999, p. 162
^ George 2010, p. 132
^ George 2010, p. 134
^ a b South
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 62
^ Rural Industrialization in Backward Areas 2006, p. 37
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, p. 90
^ Jayadev 1996, p. 66
^ Tour 1855, p. 236: As soon as Hyder was informed of this, he caused
these merchants to appear before him, with the chief of the Portuguese
factory, and several Christian priests belonging to the three churches
at Mangalore. He then demanded of the Portuguese chief and the
priests, what punishment the Christians inflict on those who should
presume to betray their sovereign, by giving assistance to his
enemies. The Portuguese officer having without hesitation answered
that such a crime deserved death, Hyder replied, "I do not judge in
that manner, for our laws are milder. Since they have made themselves
English by engaging to serve them, their property shall be adjudged to
belong to Englishmen; and themselves shall be thrown into prison till
I make peace with that nation."
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, pp. 103–104
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, p. 105
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 63
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 64
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, p. 116
^ "In Tipu's own writings, he justified his action as arising from
"the rage of
Islam that began to boil in his breast" for something
that the Portuguese had done centuries before."Machado 1999,
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, p. 117
^ "Deportation & The Konkani Christian Captivity at Srirangapatna
(1784 Feb. 24th Ash Wednesday)".
Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd Mangalore.
Archived from the original on 29 January 2008. Retrieved 29 February
^ Forrest 1887, pp. 314–316
^ The Gentleman's Magazine 1833, p. 388
Prabhu 1999, p. 183
Prabhu 1999, p. 231
^ Farias 1999, p. 76
^ Prasad 1980, p. 20
^ a b D'Souza 2004, p. 48
^ Farias 1999, p. 73
^ Silva 1957, N. 6, p. 128
^ a b Farias 1999, p. 74: "More than one third of the number succumbed
before the party reached Seringapatam. This account of the siege and
captivity of the
Kanara Catholics is taken from old Kanarese
manuscript written by a Catholic of the
Barkur taluka after his return
Seringapatam at the defeat and death of Tipu."
^ a b John B. Monteiro. "
Monti Fest Originated at Farangipet –
240 Years Ago!".
Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd Mangalore. Archived from the
original on 25 January 2008. Retrieved 15 January 2008.
^ a b Silva & Fuchs 1965, p. 2
^ Chetti 1897, p. 94
^ D'Souza 2004, p. 49
^ Fernandes 1969, p. 249
^ a b Pastor 1978, p. 397
Prabhu 1999, p. 213
^ Account of a Surviving Captive, A Mr. Silva of Gangollim (Letter of
a Mr. L.R. Silva to his sister, copy of which was given by an
advocate, M.M. Shanbhag, to the author, Severine Silva, and reproduced
as Appendix No. 74: History of
Christianity in Canara (1965))
Prabhu 1999, p. 226
Prabhu 1999, p. 230
^ a b Wellington & Gurwood 1837, p. 40
^ John B Monteiro (15 August 2006). "Canara Catholics in Freedom
Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd Mangalore. Archived from the original
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Prabhu 1999, p. xiv
^ Farias 1999, p. 81
^ Saldanha 1938, p. 79
^ Gazetteer of the
Bombay Presidency 1883, p. 381
^ a b Lobo 1999, p. ix: "Members of our community may now be found all
over the world – from Norway in the north to Chile in the
Southwest and New Zealand in the Southeast. There are
virtually every country in Europe and in virtually every state of the
United States. There are
Mangaloreans in unusual and exotic locations
like Korea, the Bahamas and Papua New Guinea. What binds these diverse
and far-flung members of the Mangalorean community is that they
commonly descend from a small group of families who returned to their
homeland in 1799."
^ A Gazetteer of the World 1856, p. 254
^ Pai & Supriya 1981, p. 217
Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 65
^ Farias 1999, p. 85
^ Indica 1997, p. 146
^ a b Silva 1961, p. 165
^ The Gentleman's Magazine 1833, p. 389
^ Paths of mission in India today 1997, pp. 161–162
^ The Oriental Herald 1824, p. 14
^ The Oriental Herald 1824, p. 15
^ The Oriental Herald 1824, p. 16
Prabhu 1999, p. 245
^ Monteiro, John B. "Mangalore: Comtrust Carries On Basel's Mission".
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Kanara District Gazetteer 1973, p. 103
^ Farias 1999, p. 91
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^ Farias 1999, p. 108
^ Indica 1988, p. 144
^ The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 14, p. 361
^ Farias 1999, p. 113
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^ Larsen 1998, The 'Cultural Identity' of
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contact with and contribution to the hometown. The Christians had
migrated to urban areas especially cities like Bangalore, Bombay,
Calcutta, Karachi, Madras,
Pune in search of greener
pastures just as other agrarian communities from other parts of India
had done."; "The earlier of the Christians to leave South
the Protestants of the Basel Mission, a few men who left in the 1880s
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Bombay almost a decade later."
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Kanara Catholic community, as a whole, were to be attempted, my guess
is that about half would still be residing either in
or in one of the smaller towns or villages of the district. Of the
remaining half, about 15% would be residing in other parts of
Bangalore and the Ghats), another 15% in
its surrounding areas, another 10% in the Persian Gulf countries,
another 5% in other parts of India, and the remaining 5% in other
parts of the world."
^ Oddie 1991, p. 140
^ Nair 2004, p. 88 "There are about 200 Catholics hailing from
Mangalore and its surroundings living in
Calcutta for the past one
hundred years or so."
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Prabhu 1999, p. 156
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