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Tristão de Bragança Cunha

Tristão de Bragança Cunha

Indian nationalist from Goa
Tristão de Bragança Cunha
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Indian nationalist from Goa
From India
Gender male
Birth 2 April 1891
Death 28 September 1958 (aged 67 years)
The details


Tristão de Bragança Cunha (Konkani:त्रिस्तांव ब्रागांझ कुन्ह्य ; 2 April 1891 – 26 September 1958), alternatively spelled as Tristao de Braganza Cunha, was a prominent Indian nationalist and anti-colonial activist from Goa (then part of Portuguese India). He is popularly known as the "Father of Goan nationalism", and was the organiser of the first movement to end Portuguese rule in Goa.


Cunha was born on 2 April 1891 in the village Chandor in Goa. He hailed from Cuelim, Cansaulim. He completed his school education in Panjim and then went to Pondicherry to French College for his B.A. and then to Paris. There he studied at the Sorbonne University and obtained a degree in electrical engineering. In Paris, Cunha entered the circle of Romain Rolland and helped publicise the Indian independence movement generally, and the case of Portuguese India in particular, in the French-language press.

Cunha returned to Goa in 1926 and he set up the Comissão do Congresso de Goa (Goa Congress Committee) in Goa in 1928 to organise the Goan intelligentsia against Portuguese colonial rule. Pressured by Portuguese authorities, Cunha transferred operations to Bombay and in 1938, affiliated his organisation with the Indian National Congress. He continued publicising the Goan case in a stream of articles and books, denouncing Portuguese rule. Among his publications were booklets Four Hundred Years of Foreign Rule and The Denationalisation of Goans (1944). Cunha was an advocate of Goan identification, political as well as cultural, with greater India.

In 1946, Cunha helped organise the famous assembly in Margão, inviting the INC speaker Ram Manohar Lohia to address what was arguably the first and largest mass gathering yet, setting in motion the Goa liberation movement. Along with the other organisers, Cunha was arrested by the Portuguese authorities in 1946. He was kept in dark damp cell at Fort Aguada. He was the first civilian to be tried by a military tribunal. He was court-martialed and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. He was deported to the Peniche prison in Portugal.

After his release from Portugal in 1954, Cunha returned to Bombay. Cunha formed and headed the Goa Action Committee, to help co-ordinate the numerous Goan organisations that had emerged by this time. He published a newspaper called "Free Goa".

He died on 26 September 1958, Loknayak Jaiprakash Narayan was one of the pallbearers. The Government of India issued a postage stamp in his honour.


The World Peace Council at Stockholm in 1959 posthumously awarded T. B. Cunha a gold medal for his contribution to the cause of "Peace and Friendship among People."

Cunha's mortal remains are housed in an urn at a memorial located in Panaji's Azad Maidan. A prominent road in the city of Panaji is named as "T. B. Cunha Road". A statue of Cunha has been installed in his ancestral village of Cuelim, Cansaulim. A school in Margao and a government higher secondary school in Panaji are also named in Cunha's honour. The campus in Panaji's Altinho which houses the Goa College of Architecture and the Goa College of Music, is named as "Dr. T. B. Cunha Educational Complex".

While a Sports' Complex in Cansaulim, Cuelim is also named after him, his portrait was unveiled in the Indian Parliament in 2011 to commemorate the golden jubilee of Goa's accession to India.

A book entitled ‘The Life & Times of T B Cunha',authored by Nishta Desai, was published in 2015.

External References

  • [1] Glória ao Herói no Quarto Aniversário da Morte de Tristão de Brangança Cunha – Poem by Visnum Porobo Sincró commemorating the fourth anniversary of Cunha Bragança's death (Portuguese)

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