Author: Mel de Cª Maldonado
Size: 390 x 270 mm
Original, unpublished watercolour and ink drawing depicting the “Os enganchados” ceremony, which denotes the Hindu ritual “zatra” originating from the town of Goa de Kundaim.
Celebrated annually, in this religious festival four men are offered up as human sacrifices in order to appease the gods and gain prosperity for the town. Recently appointed governor general of Portuguese India, José Ferreira Pestana, signed a provincial order on the 12th of October 1844 prohibiting the ceremony on the pretense that it was barbaric. However, this was an ancestral rite, deeply-rooted in Kundaim culture, meaning that such prohibition sparked controversy with the indigenous people.
Consequently Minguel da Costa, a native of Raia in the very same Goa, would make a request to Pestana himself for the ban to be lifted in 1966, arguing that more misfortune had befallen the people of Kundaim as a result of its introduction.
Braganca Pereira’s description of the final celebration of this ritual in his work “Goa, Daman and Diu” corresponds with this illustration.
Allusions are made to the soldiers of the infantry second battalion who kept watch over the musicians and the women seated, and assured that it passed without incident.
Other than his origins in Raia, we cannot find any further information about Minguel da Costa.
The signature in the lower left hand corner ostensibly belongs to the illustration’s author, although we cannot state for sure that the surname is Maldonado.