back to top
OpinionsLibia Lobo Sardesai ran a secret Radio Station during liberation movement...

Libia Lobo Sardesai ran a secret Radio Station during liberation movement in Goa


99 year old recalls in their Panaji home the day Portuguese troops surrendered

By Harihar Swarup

“Rejoice Brothers and sisters” Rejoice Today, after 451 years of alien rule, Goa is free and united with the mother land. Our brothers are there to protect you”.

On the morning of December 19, 1961—the Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule—Libia Lobo Sardesai and her colleague Vaman Sardesai flew over Panaji and other parts of Goa in an IAF plane with radio transmitter aboard and a loudspeaker fitted on plane's belly, dropping leaflets and announcing in Portuguese and Konkani that Portuguese had surrendered.

“That was the last broadcast by our secret radio station”, recalls 99-year-old Libia at her house in Panaji.

The underground voice of Goa's Liberation struggle, Libia turns 100 on May 25. To commemorate her pivotal role in the coastal state's liberation struggle, Israel-based street artist and painter Solomon Souza, the grandson of pioneering modernist painter from Goa, Francis Newton Souza, has painted her mural on a wall across the road from her house. “I told him to put more light in my eyes”, she says, looking on from her balcony.

For six years from 1955 to1961—when Goan nationalist movement gained momentum and in the backdrop of suspension of all civil liberties under a Portuguese dictatorship in Goa—Libia and Vaman set up an underground radio station in the jungles on the outskirts of Goa to counter Portuguese propaganda, broadcasting news, speeches of Indian leaders in Parliament, update nationalist movement  and anti-colonial struggle in their broadcasts in their broadcasts.

On the eve of their final broadcast, Libya says she was informed  by Lt. Gen J N Chaudhary, then General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of southern command, at an army camp in Sambra in Belgaum, around 120 km from km from Panaji, that Portugese forces were surrendering.

“The General asked me, Kumari Lobo What do you want to do now?. Impulsively, I said I would like to go into skies and announced that Goa is free. He took me seriously…. We were warned that plane could be shot down since Portuguese guns were still hidden somewhere, but we were not scared. I told them that it did not matter because if the plane is shot down, we will fall and die in a free Goa”, she said.

In 1954, after Portuguese attacked and killed several Saytagrihis who had entered Goa to demand end of colonial rule. closed its borders with the state and imposed an economic blockade, curtailing free movement and trade. “Road, sea and rail links were snapped, and all communications could be only clandestine. In Goa complete censorship was in force. Not even an invitation card or a calendar could be printed or circulated without the seal of the ‘censors'. People lived under a cloak of strict vigilance and suspense. No outside papers or  printed  material  were allowed to come in. A couple of local newspapers and the official Goa radio toed the Portuguese line, Installing fear and feeding false propaganda to the people of Goa,” said Libia.

“We were averse to violence. So, this was the only peaceful alternative to propagate our cause”, she added when these enclaves were freed from the Portuguese, were converted into a radio transmitter and a team was assembled. The Radio station team comprised Libia, Vaman and Nicolau Mezes, a Goa nationalist who had been living in-exile in Bombay.

(IPA Service)







The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

Share post:


More like this

Those supporting terrorists to face ‘Exemplary Punishment’: DGP Swain

Says war imposed on us, enemy trying to make...

IWT Neutral Experts’ Visit to J&K: 50 Liaison Officers assigned

Indus Water Treaty: ‘Neutral Experts’ with India, Pak delegation...

Israeli Parliamentarian, Journalist slam government for Gaza War

By Mark Gruenberg An Israeli parliamentarian and an Israeli journalist...

Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus set to enter Bangladesh politics

Grameen Bank founder indicates He’s not finished with Sheikh...