The death of Indo-Portuguese historian Dr Teotonio R de Souza is a great loss to the academic community of Goa as well as to Indo-Portuguese historians worldwide, said director of Xavier Centre of Historical Research (XCHR), Fr Anthony da Silva SJ.
Dr Teotonio, the founder of XCHR which is based at Alto-Porvorim, passed away in Lisbon on Wednesday.
A resident of Moira, Dr de Souza completed his primary education in Portuguese language. He went on to join the seminary of the Archdiocese of Goa. He later joined the Jesuits and was eventually ordained a priest.
He completed his PhD in history from the University of Poona and immediately thereafter collaborated with fellow-Jesuits in founding the Xavier Centre of Historical Research. “After working for several years as director at the Xavier Centre, he experienced a certain inner restlessness which prompted him to reassess his earlier choices in life. He finally opted to be a full-time university scholar and relinquish priesthood. This decision led him to move his residence from Goa to Portugal,” said Fr Anthony.
In Lisbon, Dr de Souza headed the Department of History in the Universidade Lusofona de Humanidades e Tecnologias.
Fr Anthony said Dr de Souza demanded high standards of work from his students and schooled them well in the art of research and historical investigation. He added, “Students were frequently impressed by de Souza’s own hard work and persistence in chasing knowledge, be it at the Goa Archives or in the majestic halls of the Central Library in
His principal focus of research and publications was the Indo-Portuguese colonial period. He explored the prevalent myth of ‘Goa Dourada’ (golden Goa) and demonstrated through scholarly research the hardships and struggles of the common Goan people in colonised Goa. “Dr de Souza’s second major contribution as a historian of Goa was to interpret its history with the help of other disciplines such as economics, anthropology, political science, sociology, culture, religion etc. This gave Indo-Portuguese history a whole new face and opened many new avenues for scholarly research and a fresh understanding of the history of Goa,” said Fr Anthony.
Dr de Souza was not only a voracious reader but also published widely. He wrote in scholarly journals as well as newspapers and magazines. His seminal work, ‘Medieval Goa’ has undergone a second revision and was republished in 2009. It gives a lucid analysis of the socio-economic history of medieval Goa.
In addition, de Souza has authored several other books and edited volumes in collaboration with fellow-scholars. “Dr de Souza will be missed much in Goa and his memories will linger at the Xavier Centre,” said Fr Anthony.
Source:: The Navhind Times