When Dom Pedro found the orphaned Govind in a cave near the Banastarim Gate, he promised the baby’s dying nurse to raise the child as a Hindu. But in 1651, Dom Pedro was captain in the army of the Portuguese King, in a Goa whose citizens were in the grip of the Holy Inquisition. All orphaned souls were destined for baptism as Christians and the penalty for disobedience was death. Govind is the story of that orphan’s journey from childhood to young manhood, steered by his guardian through the tricky waters of family jealousy and religious opposition, learning to be a good Portuguese soldier, while discovering his heritage as a Hindu. In a colony at war with the armies of both Shivaji and the Adilshahi rulers, Govind works out his destiny against the backdrop of a fierce, colourful and warlike age.
H Ratnakar Rau