The Portuguese first arrived at Malabar in 1498 AD (940 AH). The time of trade had finished by then. They studied the economic and political climate of the kingdom and returned back to their country after staying a few months. Their man aim was to explore the markets of Pepper. Until then, they’re buying pepper that was exported from Malabar.
“They had not come as tourists or explorers but rather with a definite purpose in mind. The coming of Portuguese should be seen as a continuity of the crusades. It was a calculated move. They lost in almost all the battles they fought with the Indians. They justified the failure by preaching that it was due to the sins of the participants in the battle. Thereafter they employed children who were believed to be free from sins.
Unlike Arabs, the Europeans were not trained in long journeys. Many academies were set up, funded by the King, to train the sailors. Vasco Da Gama was the student of one such expedition.”
It is generally believed that crusades were battles fought between Muslim and Christians. But in fact it was the product of the West’s greed to capture the fertile lands and profitable trade of the East.
D.H Lawrence writes in European history, ‘the despotism of Church was in many ways. It only initiated trial of blasphemy and crusades, but also killed innocent people.
It hid the bible from people. When a set of people started living following a bible they found, they were declared enemies of the Church and killed them in 1209… The pious and wicked joined hands to fight crusades in the name of Christ’.
Luise Madetai opines in L Expansion Francise that Crusades were the first attempt to colonize the rest of the world
The attack on Christians of St. Thomas
The followers of St. Thomas who is reputed to be buried near Madras: “When the Portuguese first opened the navigation of India, the Christians of St. Thomas had been seated for ages on the coast of Malabar. Their religion would have rendered them the firmest and most cordial allies of the Portuguese, but the inquisitors soon discerned in the Christians of St. Thomas, the unpardonable guilt of a ‘heresy’…
Instead of owning themselves the subjects of the Roman pontiff, the spiritual and temporal monarch of the globe, they adhered, like their ancestors, to the communion of the Nestorian patriarch…; the title of Mother of God was offensive to the ear, and they measured with scrupulous avarice the honors of the Virgin Mary, whom the superstition of the Latins had almost exalted to the rank of a goddess.
When her image was first presented to the disciples of St. Thomas, they indignantly exclaimed, ‘We are Christians, not idolaters!’…Their separation from the western world had left them in ignorance of the improvements or corruptions of a thousand years.
E. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, VII, p. 64.
In the beginning, Muslims enjoyed the affectionate and large-hearted treatment under the Samudiri ruler. But as time passed by, changes started taking place in their religious life and fell into disobedience towards their Creator.
As a result, God sent his wrath as a response and their position was taken over by the callous Portuguese. It is not easy to enumerate the cruelties that the natives, especially Muslims, had to face at the hands of devilish Portuguese.
They had to bear insults, punishments, imprisonment, and mockery; using them as vehicle while crossing swampy areas, spitting on face and body, block travels, especially Hajj pilgrimage, looting the wealth and burning houses and mosques, stamping the copies of Holy Quran and setting them ablaze, insulting the Holy Prophet publicly, to dirty the places of worship, to forcefully kneel down people in front of the Cross and paying the people for the same, murdering the pilgrims and torturing them, tying them to huge chains, kidnapping them and later selling them as slaves and charging a high price on those who step forward to free the slaves.
Others were imprisoned in narrow jails in foul smelling areas, burning the private parts- these were some of the routine tortures met to the Muslims.
“Da Gama’s behavior on this expedition was utterly ruthless. Off the Indian coast, he seized a passing Arab ship and after removing its cargo but not his passengers, burnt the ship at sea. All of those on board- several hundred people, including many women and children- perished.
When he arrived at Calicut, Da Gama imperiously demanded that the Zamorin (Samudiri) banish all Muslims from the port.
When the Zamorin hesitated, Da Gama seized, killed and dismembered thirty-eight Hindu fishermen and then bombarded the port. Enraged but helpless, the Zamorin granted Gama’s demands.”
The 100, A Ranking of the most influential persons in the history by Michael H. Heart pp 436,437
Capture of Goa and establishment of Portuguese rule
Later they captured Goa from Adil shah, the grandfather of Ali Adil Shah, and established their rule over the place. However Adil Shah recaptured his kingdom and exiled the Portuguese.
But the Portuguese were determined to get Goa under them. They fought another battle with great superior weaponry. But this time, the cold-blooded European power won because of the conspiracy on the part of some of the King’s officers and courtiers. And thereafter their influence grew more and more.
The lust for wealth
A Portuguese historian says: “Although the ocean is for everyone to voyage… it is applicable for the Christians of Europe only. It is not relevant for those outside the Christ’s laws like Muslims and others.”
They believed, like their western counterparts, that all the privileges were meant for the Westerners. They colonized the world to promote their own ambitions. Dangeo D. Castro wrote to the Portuguese king in 1558, “India is a land of Gold, silver and pearls. In her forests are found pepper and cinnamon. This country is under our rule. Its people are equal to our slaves.”
Kerala Muslims : The history of struggle by Prof. KM Bahaudhin
The Inhuman Murderers
The Portuguese cherished the desire to capture the trade supremacy from Muslims. And they adopted any merciless methods to fulfill this evil ambition. Albuquerque, the successor of Gama, wrote to the king after capturing Goa, “The road from Banastry to Gandeli is filled with corpses of those who tried to escape… After that I burned the entire city in four days so that nobody could escape. The number of Muslims killed exceeds 6000… As such, I completed a great task.” he adds, “I am aspiring to destroy Makkah.”
According to Danvers, (Portuguese in India) he also had the intention to capture Madina sending 400 men on horseback and destroy the Holy city and to divert the direction of Nile River and thereby transform Egypt into a desert.
The valiant Nayar Fighters kills 500 Portuguese intruders
In 1510, the Portuguese arrived at Calicut. They set afire the mosque built by Nakhuda Miskal. They entered the palace of Samudiri demanding his surrender. But the King had left for another battle at another place. The brave Nayar fighters fought fearlessly and threw out the Portuguese. About 500 of them were killed. The rest escaped by boarding the ship.
The merciless invaders also came at Ponnani and set afire to the empty boats at the coast. Around 70 natives of the place were martyred.
Attitude towards Muslims
The Portuguese felt uncomfortable whenever they saw the Muslims in their way of life. They cursed their ancestors for not converting the present Muslims into their religion.
Finally they asked the king of Cochin to expel the Muslims altogether. The king replied that it is impossible to expel a community that has been an important contribution to the building of the kingdom
After capturing plenty of ships from the coasts of Gujrat, Konkan and Malabar, the European power became extremely wealthy. How many virgin girls had they kidnapped and raped them ruthlessly? How many scholars and saints had they imprisoned and tortured? How many believers had they converted forcefully…? It is impossible to describe them in detail. May Almighty deal with them accordingly!
Help from Arab World and the defeat of Portuguese
The Samudiri and men had to wage a continuous war with the Portuguese. He had to spend heavily for this purpose. This weakened his glory. He tried contacting many Muslim kings, but it did not earn much results. Sultan Mahmud Shah of Gujrat and Adil Shah of Bijapur prepared to send their force. But they could not start.
Sultan Qanisul Ghauri of Egypt sent his able general Amirul Hussain with thirteen armed ships. The force arrived at Dew Port at Gujrat. While on the way to Chaul Port, the navy of Sultan Malik Ayaz, the King of Dew, joined. They fought a valiant battle and defeated the Portuguese
They returned and the aggression began!
After a gap of two years, they returned. They came well prepared with 4 ships and entered into trade. They asked the officers to stop the Muslims from trading with Arabia and to block their ships. They promised to pay extra if the Muslims were stopped from trade. Consequently, the Portuguese started to use force against the Muslims. When Samudiri was informed about this incident, he ordered the execution of the pirates. Accordingly, about 60 or seventy of them were killed. The rest of them escaped in the ship and while doing so they fired shots at the people of the coast.
They landed at Cochin and built a fort after making a treaty with the king of Cochin. They demolished the mosque near the coast and built their own place of worship. They also went to Kannur also where they built a fort.
This time when they returned to Portugal, they took with them ships full of pepper. This was what they wanted after traveling of about 13,000 miles
They kept coming and going. Each time their number of ships increased rapidly and so did power and influence. Following their settlement in Cochin, the traditional practice of passing the power to the eldest member was broken and it was given to the in-laws.
When Samudiri heard about the Portuguese presence in Cochin, he sent a force of 100,000 Nayar men and several Muslims. But due to the heavy artillery of Portuguese, the Samudiri men could not enter Cochin. Many Muslim fighters from Veliyankode and Ponnani were martyred. Due to heavy rain, the Samudiri army returned.
A stage arrived when any ship going or coming to Cochin or Kannur required the sanction of the monopolistic Portuguese.