Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Sacred Heart of Jesus High Schools and their Founders

The Sacred Heart of Jesus High Schools and their Founders - PART 1

Anjuna is laced with 26 wards – one of them is GAUMVADDI. It’s a unique ward because it is also known by nine other ward names as follows:

1) BAIRO SAM JÕAO or St. John’s ward named after the patron of the ward, Sam João Batista or St. John the Baptist. Some old-timers still address their letters to their loved ones at Rua de Sam João or St. John Street/Road, and the postman has no problem in delivering them to the individuals in Gaumvaddi.


All the houses located by the foot of the Gaumvaddi hill on the east side come under ‘Gaumchi-Araddi’ - my house is one of them.


The Prabhus or Porobos, who were the original moradores (residents) or ganvkars, selected the prime elevated sites for residential purposes and they called this belt of dry uplands ‘Voilo Vaddo.’

They then assigned various sectors in the Gaumvaddi to hereditary occupational groups and thus created a small scale industry within Gaumvaddi.

The Anjunkars were an agricultural community. They were and are still a hard-working people. We cultivated paddy fields, nachnno or millet and grew home produce like onions, chilies, vegetables, etc. and supported our families. For centuries, Anjuna met all her requirements locally - it was an independent and self-sufficient village.


The belt of dry uplands is also known as ‘Porobo vaddo’ because most Prabhus or Porobos lived and still live there.


The main profession of Porobos in Voilo Vaddo was to make explosives and fireworks; hence, it came to be known as ‘Fogêr Vaddo.’

Birth marks the beginning of the reign of the god of fireworks. Thereafter, every event in the life of the people, public and private, sacred and profane, Hindu and Christian is loudly proclaimed and celebrated through the voice of gunpowder.

Until the late Eighties, two of the descendants of the ‘Fogêr’ community, popularly known as “Thontto Purso, Fogêr” (lame Purshotam, the manufacturer of artificial fireworks) – his full name was Purshotam Sadashiv Porob - he was called thontto or lame because one of his legs was deformed - he was a polio victim, and his younger brother, Mungês or Mangesh – his full name was Mangesh Sadashiv Porobo, known to all as “bhero Munges” (deaf Mangesh) because he was hard of hearing, were in great demand to make fireworks for the feasts and other occasions in Anjuna, Parra, Arpora, Nagoa, Calangute, Candolim, Assagao, Siolim, Pernem, Mapusa, etc.

Whether they are kids, youngsters, or older people, everybody enjoys the fireworks like crackers, skyrockets, petards, small and big gornal (hand made grenades,) twinkling anars, furious rockets, vibrant sparklers, cyclonic ground discs (phirki), etc.

Fireworks, including "kombo ani kombi" (hen and rooster) at the Vespers, was an added attraction because of which people made it a point to attend the Vespers however busy they might have been. It was so famous and in demand in the days gone by that it was always kept as the last item of the evening.

With the brass band in the background, Mungês would start firing petards, gornal, etc. and treat our eyes to the jet power of rockets, which kept on ascending into the sky before bursting into thousands of colored sparks, which ultimately landed in adjoining fields.

Our joy knew no bounds when Mungês introduced the exhibition of the Catherine Wheel, to culminate finally in the incandescence of the ‘Gate’. People would not move from the site until they witnessed the kombo-kombi fireworks display.

When the kombo-kombi was lit, those present said in utter astonishment: “Polloiat, kombo-kombi kaiborim distat!” (Look at the beautiful rooster-hen!) The hen lastly laid luminous eggs at which people remarked: “Polloiat, kombi kaiborim bhangarachim tantieam ghalta!” (Look, the hen is laying beautiful golden eggs!) And that would mark the end of the fireworks display. It was a bonanza for our eyes and ears.

On the feast day, too, fireworks added worldly (not spiritual) colors to the celebrations.

Thontto Purso and Mungês were so safety conscious that they built four small rooms at Toleacho Bandh (strip of land beside the pond) and stored their gunpowder there, away from residential area.

Just as rice, wheat, millet, lentils, etc. were ground at home on a “dantem” (millstone,) they hired a couple of women to grind gunpowder for them on two “dantim.”

One of the rooms at Toleacho Bandh was solely used to prepare fireworks. Finished fireworks were dried and stored in a separate room.

Bhero Mungês passed away on August 15, 1988. He was 88 years old. Exactly a year later, Thontto Purso passed away on August 15, 1989. He was 98 years old.

Today you get a variety of fireworks but they are not manufactured manually – they are factory-manufactured.

Did you know that the fogêr or manufacturers of artificial fireworks in Voilo Vaddo treated people for burns? Yes, they treated all degrees of burns at home. They mixed gunpowder with coconut oil and prepared some kind of ‘pomada’ (ointment), which was applied liberally over the burns and, voilá, burns were cured within a week or more depending on the gravity of burns – without getting admitted in a hospital!


A slice of Voilo Vaddo is also known as Sonar Vaddo and that’s because the sonar or goldsmith came from this part of Anjuna. It is believed that their workmanship was of a very high quality - some of the best goldsmiths came from Gaumvaddi. The Chodankar family still reside here as descendants of the original race.


Recently, the Sonar vaddo is also known as Padr Agnel vaddo because, as we all know, Ven. Fr. Agnelo was born in Sonar Vaddo/Voilo Vaddo.


All houses in the low lying belt come under Sokoilo vaddo.


In Sokoilo Vaddo, we have ‘Pedro Bhatt’ and this is where, in the 19th century, a great person, Jacob Conceição de Souza, was born to Caetano Bernardo de Souza and Dulcina de Souza, who produced sons like Walter and Ligouri, who were far-sighted visionaries and pioneers of education.

The 19th century produced noteworthy sons in Gaumvaddi, but God’s greatest gift to us was Ven. Fr. Agnelo (January 21, 1869 - November 20, 1927).

For centuries, Anjuna was true to its old adage: “Anjuna fuddem ganv nam ani Anjunkarank nanv nam” (Anjuna lacks a village beyond it; and its people lack any fame for themselves). It was dormant till the middle of the last century, when it suddenly shot to world fame from the late Sixties because of the hippies who made it their paradise.

The 19th century was the era when transportation hardly existed and bullock carts creaked and rumbled over Anjuna’s pot-holed roads.

Primary institutions set up by the Portuguese to formally educate people were not sufficient to cater to their needs neither were they accessible to all.

This gave rise to private institutions and individuals shouldering the burden of teaching and educating the Goans.

These institutions prepared and trained students for the primary and secondary exams besides training people in different professions.

Primary education was made compulsory by a decree of the Government and the teaching had to be exclusively administered in Portuguese or Portuguese-Marathi, Portuguese-Gujrati and Portuguese-Urdu combinations – the English language was nowhere on the scene!

English education in Goa was started by Mr. William Robert Lyons, a Jesuit Scholar, popularly known as Fr. Lyons, when he founded a school in Arpora in 1887 and named it ‘St. Joseph’s High School’. During colonial times it was known as ‘Collégio de Arpora S. José.’

The establishment of an English school was a turning point in the economic and social set up of Goa.

The prevailing conditions at that time had forced many a Goan to leave their birth place in search of greener pastures elsewhere. The youth were anxious to learn English in order to make a living in the then British India and British East Africa.

On the other hand, education beyond the primary level had become the sole privilege of the affluent Goans who could afford to send their sons to Panjim or outside Goa. A few of the middle class and hardly any of the poor class could afford to do the same to improve their state in life.

Employment opportunities during the Portuguese regime, especially to those who learned English, were next to none. This is why Goans who had studied English had to migrate and take up jobs in the neighboring cities like Bombay, Poona, Belgaum, Baroda, Ahmedabad, etc.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the exodus to British overseas territories was in full swing. So, the desire to learn English increased. Consequently, small English teaching schools mushroomed all over Anjuna village but all of them vanished except one in Gaumvaddi.

Jacob Conceição de Souza from Gaumvaddi was one of those Goans who had to leave Goa and take up employment in Belgaum. He was employed in a post office where he worked his way up and became a Postmaster.

We do not know how much Jacob studied but the very fact that he returned home from Belgaum as a retired Postmaster, proves that he was an educated person.

He received a monthly pension of Rs.75, which his grandson, Archibald, collected for him from the Mapusa Post Office.

Upon his return home, Jacob set up an English teaching school in his house in Gaumvaddi (presently ‘Bougainvillea Hotel - Grandpa’s Inn’, owned by Lucindo Faria, son of Phyllis Virginia Faria from Morodd, Mapusa - grandson of Alphonsus Ligouri D’Souza,) around the first decade of the 20th century, but there are no records to support this fact.

However, Dr. Teresa Albuquerque, a highly reputed historian, writes the following in her book: ‘ANJUNA: Profile of a village in Goa’:

“In 1891, we know from an article written by Ambrosio D’Sa in ‘Anglo Lusitano’ that an institution called St. Michael’s School was being directed by Cosmos Damiao da Cruz at Anjuna. The latter resided at Kumbhar Vaddo and had started as a teacher in St. Xavier’s High School, Bombay; and had also been headmaster of a school in Igatpuri. St. Michael’s School comprised of six classes manned by experienced teachers and it continued till 1900, if not later. Both da Cruz and D’Sa taught in the school and very probably ‘Ghirzoo’ assisted them.

From 1910 to 1914 da Cruz taught in an English-teaching school set up by Jacob D’Souza, a retired Postmaster of Belgaum. The classes were conducted in his house at Ganv vaddi.”

Although the school existed in Jacob’s house for over 25 years, sadly this fact is not recorded anywhere except in Dr. Teresa Albuquerque’s book.

But if we go by the year 1910 as the inception year of the school, it completes one hundred years this year, which is good enough cause to celebrate the first centenary of the school.

The school taught only four classes, from the 1st to the 4th Standard. No wonder in those days, whenever one talked about educational qualifications, they would say: “Chear classi xikop aslear puro!” (Should have studied at least four classes!)

The concept of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School was conceived at Jacob’s house at Pedro Bhatt in Gaumvaddi.

“JACOB-HANGÊR” (At Jacob’s)

In the past as well as during our childhood, Jacob’s house was known as ‘Jacob-hangêr’ (at Jacob’s). Later, it came to be known as ‘Edwin-hangêr’ (at Edwin’s) because he and his family were the last members to live in that house before it was converted into a hotel.

Jacob’s house was one of the larger houses in Gaumvaddi. It comprised of the following:

Spacious verandah in front and on its left side
One large entrada or entrance hall
One large sal or sitting room hall (now used as a snooker room)
Four (4) bedrooms, all in a row
One prayer room
One dining room
One kitchen
One storeroom
One passage from the sitting room to the kitchen (now converted into an office)

One staircase from the sitting room corner leads to a loft upstairs. It was used as a study place by Edwin’s son, Bernard, during examination days; it has a wooden floor.

The malli or storey had a window by the roadside, which Lucindo closed because of the age-old belief e.g., ‘Anjunant malliechem ghor togonam’ (a storied house does not last in Anjuna.) It’s alright though to have a door or window on the side; hence, the right side window of the malli has been retained.

As in many old Portuguese houses in Goa, the house has a roz-angnnem (open space in the middle of the house), which exists till today but it is now turned into a mini garden with flower pots.

There are two L-shaped spacious corridors on the outside of four bedrooms, adjoining the roz-angnnem.

There was a servants’ quarter behind the house, a firewood store and a chicken coop, which were demolished and five new rooms or studio apartments, matching the old house, have been built in their place.

On the north side, in line with the compound wall, there were two old-style toilets – one for gents and the other for ladies; these were demolished.

There were three iron gates to the compound wall – one front main gate and one each on the left and right compound walls. The left compound wall was demolished to expand the hotel area.

Now there are only two gates left – the main front gate and the one on the right side. These are original gates and they are still in good condition. Their existence enhances the beauty of the house/hotel and gives antique authenticity to the environment.

The hotel is named ‘Bougainvillea Hotel’ because the compound wall was fully covered with bougainvillea.

The logo of the hotel is a ‘volter’ (armchair), which belongs to late Jacob de Souza; it’s still there in its original condition.


The hotel now has a swimming pool and a Yoga Center in one corner of the plot close to the main road. Three new rooms or studio apartments have recently been built close to the swimming pool, thus bringing the total number of rooms available with the hotel to 12.

If anyone is looking for a comfortable Portuguese-type house to live in while in Anjuna/North Goa, ‘Bougainvillea Hotel - Grandpa’s Inn’ is an ideal place!

Classes were taught in the four bedrooms – now they are hotel room No. 1, 2, 3 and 4. During the summer, classes were sometimes shifted in the verandah so they could enjoy the freshening breeze, as there were no fans in those days.

I did not see Jacob personally but I have seen his photographs at his home (now Grandpa’s Inn) and at his granddaughter’s, Phyllis’ residence in Mapusa. Here is one of them:


From left to right (Front row): Sylvia (Walter’s daughter,) Cynthia (Ligouri’s daughter,) Elsie (Ligouri’s wife,) Albertina (Jacob’s wife,) Jacob, Olive (Jacob’s daughter,) Sybil (Edwin’s daughter,) Ivy (Olive’s daughter)
Children sitting on the ground from left to right: Olga (Ligouri’s daughter,) Phyllis (Ligouri’s daughter,) Hazel (Olive’s daughter)
From left to right (Back row): Archibald (Walter’s son,) Ligouri, Myrtle (Olive’s daughter,) Edwin, Dr Joseph

The elderly from Gaumvaddi and my paternal grandmother, Isabela Fernandes, who worked at Jacob’s from the Thirties until she passed away on July 16, 1957, told us that Jacob was a gentleman and had a great personality.

Just like my grandfather (died July 23, 1943), who sported white beard and was nicknamed “Khaddieo Abreu’ (Bearded Abreu,) by the Abreu family at Sorantto, Jacob, too, sported a fully white, flowing beard. They said it was so shaggy that one of the little girls from his family sometimes sat in his lap and tied it up into bows and plaits!

It has also been related that on one solemn occasion when the Patriarch visited the parish, he stopped to marvel at the fine, shining beard that Jacob sported.

Jacob belonged to a bhattkar or landlord family. Bhattkars did not mix up with common people. They spent their free time with close relatives and friends who were not always there. So, sometimes they felt lonely, and we know loneliness is boring.

Whenever Jacob felt bored, he hired one of the persons from the ward to talk to him and pass his time. Jacob relaxed in an armchair and made the person sit on a stool in the verandah. The person then talked to him and gave him all the news from the village and beyond!

On Sundays, Jacob went to Church in a “boilanchi gaddi” (oxen-ridden carriage). The priest would start Sunday mass service only after Jacob’s carriage arrived in the Church compound. He knew Jacob was on his way to Church or nearing it from the jingling sound created by jingles in the neck of oxen. In the absence of clocks/watches, some Gaumvaddi people depended on the jingling sound of Jacob’s carriage to help them get to Church in time.

……………..To be continued


Domnic Fernandes
Anjuna, Goa
Mob: 9420979201


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