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1544 (a): Parava area1544 map
Documented causes: religious persecution of Christians
Documented effects: migration, Christian relief effort

P. Pierre du Jarric, "Histoire des choses plus mémorables advenues tant ez Indes orientales que autres païs …" (vol 1, 1608)
pp112-3: [Shortly after the arrival of the Jesuit Francis Xavier on the fishing coast of Parava, in south-west india] "… voyci venir les Badagaz, qui sont certains peuples Gentils de la terre ferme de Bisnaga … gens fort cruels de leur nature, & accoustumez aux larrecins & voleries, dont ils vivent d'ordinaire … Ceux-cy donc, lors que moins on y pensoit, s'estans assemblez en grand nombre, commencent d'entrer dans les terres des Parauas vers le coste plus proche du cap de Commorin; & se jettent sur le païs à l'impourveu, avec telle vitesse, que les habitans de ces quartiers eurent bien affaire à sauver seulement leurs vies; si que laissans leurs maisons au pillage, ils furent contraints de s'enfuir avec leurs femmes & enfans, & se retirer vistement dans leurs barques, sans avoir loisir de prender ce qui leur estoit necessaire pour vivre. De sorte qu'apres avoir esté sur mer quelques iours, attendans que les ennemis deslogeassent, la faim & la soif les pressoit si fort, qu'ils estoient tous pour mourir, sans l'ayde que leur procura le P. Xavier …"
Henry Venn, "The missionary life and labours of Francis Xavier ..." (1862)
pp59-61: "The persecutions from which Xavier desired to defend the converts, by engaging the protection of the King of Travancore, were chiefly inflicted upon them by the incurslons of an armed host, called, by Xavier, 'Badages.' A letter from Goa by one of the Jesuit Fathers, given by Maffeus (1568 — Organtinus Brisciensis), informs us that the Badages were 'the collectors of the royal tribute, a race of overbearing and insolent men, and commonly called Nairs,' or soldiers. They were probably the 6000 horsemen and 20,000 infantry already mentioned. Xavier gives many very lively descriptions of the anxiety and alarms under which he was kept for many months through this cause.
The Badages had expressed their determination to expel the Christians, both native and foreigners, from the coast. News was brought to Xavier in the summer of 1544, that the Badages had made an incursion upon the Christians of Cape Comorin: some were killed, a large proportion taken away as captives, and the rest driven into caverns of the rocks overhanging the sea, where they were perishing by hunger and thirst. Instantly Xavier freighted twenty of the country boats, called dhonies, with provisions, and started with them himself to succour the distressed Christians; but adverse winds baffled all his attempts to reach the promontory of Cape Comorin. He remained eight days at sea, using every effort, but in vain, and was at last obliged to return to Manapur, to which place many of the wretched fugitives found their way. Xavier having waited in vain for a change of wind, went on foot to Cape Comorin, a distance of fifty miles, and thus describes the scene: —
'Never did I witness a more wretched spectacle: attenuated countenances, ghastly with famine; the foul carnage throughout the country — here unburied corpses, there the sick and wounded at the last gasp; decrepid old men fainting through age and want; women giving birth to children on the public roads, their husbands with them, but unable to procure help; all in the extremity of one common destitution;— if you could have looked upon such a sight, as I did, your heart would also have been pierced to the quick by pity. I have provided for the transport of all the poor to Manapar, where already the greater part of their deeply-afflicted people is receiving from us the succour we can render. Pray our God that He will touch the hearts of the rich with pity for these most unfortunates, withering away in destitution.' [Source: No. 28 in Bologna Latin edition (and French translation) of Xavier's letters]
Xavier not only made collections in all the towns for the relief of these victims, but took means to prevent similar misfortunes falling upon other Christian villages, first, by providing boats in which the people might embark, with their families and property, upon the alarm of the Badages; then in organizing a line of watchmen to give notice; further, by obtaining a gun-boat to protect the embarkation if necessary; and, lastly, by interceding with the King of Travancore to repress the violence of the Badages. He received from his friends at the King's court the promise that, if the violence of the tax-gatherers could not be effectually restrained, at least Xavier should be informed of their intended visits in time for the flight of the Christians."
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