The Voice Of Freedom- Goa’s Underground Radio Station - Homegrown

The Voice Of Freedom- Goa’s Underground Radio Station

While rest of India was taking fresh breaths of freedom, who knew that a small city on its western borders would be stifling in the clutches of the Portuguese rule.

Goa attained its freedom 14 years after India became independent. Fighting initially with peace and then with violence, the freedom struggle of Goa is one for the books.

And one such incredible and forgotten aspect of its movement is of the Voice Of Freedom, an underground radio station, started by the three hardcore and staunch revolutionaries, Libia Lobo, Vaman Sardesai and Nicolau Menezes.

Background

When Antonio de Oliviera Salazar stepped in as the Governor of Goa in 1932, things became deleterious. Basic citizen rights were curbed. Press media was censored. Newspapers smuggled in from the publications set up by Indians and Goans became the main source of motivating people and a forum where people could voice their opinions. It became all the more imperative to inform the people of Goa about the reality and sustain their morale after the Portuguese started misusing the newspapers and official Goa radio station to instill fear in the people by feeding them lies and false propaganda about India and the Liberation Movement.

Liberation of Dadra and Nagar Haveli in July and August of 1954, was seen as the First National Collective step against the Portuguese with the involvement of various social and political bodies all over the nation.

During this time, some nationalists had found some powerful wireless sets, which they converted into effective transmitters with the assistance from an engineer, selecting the location and wavelength from where transmission could be safely and clearly beamed to all parts of Goa.

Thus, the underground radio station was born.

The Voice Of Freedom

A transmitter mounted on a truck, operated out of a dense forest in Amboli in Maharashtra where the nationalists worked incognito. Called as the Q station, 25th November 1955, 7 a.m., marked the beginning of the “Voice of Freedom”, regular one hour sessions, where people were provided the real and truthful information to counter the false propaganda made by Portuguese administration. It highlighted the struggle for attainment of civil liberties in Goa, support received from the Government of India and other nations.

A regular feature of the Voice Of Freedom Of Goa was to broadcast the news related to anti-colonial struggle in Asia and Africa besides Goa to keep the morale of the Goan people high and to show them how other colonial countries in the world were fighting for their freedom from colonial powers. In order to highlight to the Goans that their struggle for freedom was not a solitary struggle, but one with all other anti-colonial struggles in Asia and Africa, Voice Of Freedom broadcasted every small incident regarding the freedom movement in the colonies.

Similarly, it also broadcast many public speeches from some of the eminent personalities from India and beyond. It not only reported them but also assessed these speeches from the view point of Goans. One such important speech was of Acharya Vinobha Bhave, on 15th July 1956, who called upon the Portuguese to leave Goa peacefully and in a friendly manner, by respecting the sentiments of the people of Goa.

Every discussion taking place in the Parliament, in various conferences around the world regarding the issue was broadcasted in a very precise and detailed way to the Goan population. It became the voice of the Satyagraha movement.

In December 1961, when Operation Vijay began in full-swing, the team of the Voice Of Freedom got news that the border had become unsafe and they should move out immediately. On reaching Belgaum, the broadcasts were started again and in keeping with the momentum, they were done almost every hour. Each and every particulars of Operation Vijay were reported to the awaiting public.

The Day Of Freedom

When Goa was finally handed over to India, Voice Of Freedom Of Goa team, on 19th December 1961, boarded an Air Force Plane provided by the army fitted with a transmitter and a loudspeaker on its belly, flew over Panjim and the rest of Goa dropping leaflets and telling the people that the Portuguese had surrendered.

The Voice Of Freedom, always assuring the Goan people that Goa would be free made its last broadcast from skies announcing that now finally after 450 years Goa is free. The task of its establishment was fulfilled and the need or reason for a clandestine existence ended.

To run this entire movement for liberation, initially by three nationalist and then just by two required the undaunted courage. A grand salute to these nationalists who spent nearly six years of their life, by living incognito, in jungles.

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