The Dongarkeri Gonsalves Prabhu family is a Mangalorean Catholic clan that has it's roots in the Dongarkeri locality of Mangalore.

Their earliest known ancestor is Nicholas Gonsalves (born in 1740), also known as "Babsha Gonsalves.[1][2] He had only one son, Pascal, (born in 1768) who was captured by Tippu Sultan in 1784 and deported to the captial fortress of Seringapatam.[1]

The names of the ancestors who preceded Nicholas Gonsalves are unknown.[1]

Origins Edit

The Gonsalves Prabhu clan originated in Sirodiam or Sirodao, which is the very first village in the Bardez taluka, North Goa. They were Goud Saraswat Brahmins before their conversion to Roman Catholicism by the Dominican and Fransiscan missionaries in 1560.[1]

The Gonsalves Prabhu were ganvkars (landed proprietors) in the village and hence, belonged to the class of aristocratic families. As such, they were entitled to collect zonn (income from the land) as well as the right to vote, among other rights.[1]

Migration to South Canara Edit

The clan immigrated to South Canara in 1700, due to overcrowding in Goa and the hostile Maratha incursions under Sambhaji, who viewed the Goan Catholics as having close relations with the foreign Portuguese.[1]

It is supposed that 4 brothers must have migrated from Goa. One settled at Kulshekar, two at Kadri, a suburb of the Mangalore town and the 4th. at Modanthar, some miles off eastward of Bantwal.[1]

This clan is closely related to the Gonsalves Prabhu clan of Kulshekar, as Nicholas Gonsalves was the brother or cousin of the latter clan's progenitor, Salvador Gonsalves.[1]

Nicholas Gonsalves Edit

Nicholas Gonsalves was a leading member of the Mangalorean Catholic community, prior to the captivity of Seringapatam in 1784. He was held in great estimation both by the parish priest and by the Catholic community of the parish. So much so that the parish priest never used to commence saying mass on Sunday, until he saw Nicholas in the church.[1]

It was a practice then in vogue to fire a country gun or Kadina in the vicinity of the church as a signal announcing the community that mass begins shortly or it had began. This was used to be fired on the arrival of Nicholas in the church. On hearing the gun fire, people used to exclaim "Oh! Babsha Gosal has reached the church! Let us make haste lest we should miss the mass". So saying, people used to run to the church.[1]

Nicholas Gonsalves must have died prior to the captivity of Seringapatam. The records of the church of prior to 1784 and subsequently up to 1811 are not to be found. They must have been lost in the confusion of the captivity of Seringapatam. So it is not possible to say as to when Nicholas Gonsalves died.[1]

He must have died prior to 1784, since it does not appear that he was carried to Seringapatam. Tradition says Pascal Gonsalves alone was carried in captivity to Seringapatam.[1]

Pascal Gonsalves Edit

Pascal Gonsalves was captured and taken to Seringapatam in 1784. He was 16 years of age at the time of his captivity. It is not known whether he was carried alone or his relations also shared the same fate with him. His mother remained behind in Mangalore. Perhaps it was thought that the old woman would not sustain the hardships of a long journey to Seringapatam. So she was not arrested.[1]

Pascal escaped from Seringapatam and settled at Telicherry. Whether he returned to Mangalore after the general liberation of Christians from the captivity of Seringapattam after its fall in 1799 or he escaped previously as many Christian captives had done with the aid of Domingo Pinto (Dumga Peenth) is not known.[1]

If he had returned after the fall of Seringapatam, he would not have gone to Tellicherry and there sojourned for sometime and married his 2nd wife Francisca there, but he would have returned direct to his old dear home. So most probably he must have escaped from Seringapattam prior to its fall.[1]

We do not know when and where Pascal Gonsalves married his first wife, nor is her name known. She belonged to the family of Boloor, the daughter of Luis Sequeiera. When and where she died is not known. Pascal Gonsalves had only one daughter by his 1st wife named Joanna who was given in marriage to Francis Coelho, brother of Falnir-based Martin Prabhu, alias Coelho.[1]

It is not known whether Pascal Gonsalves married the second time before or after coming down to Mangalore from Seringapatam., but it is certain that he married at Tellicherry (then under the dominion of the Arakkal Bibi of Cannanore), where he sojourned for sometime being afraid of being re-arrested if he returned to Mangalore.[1] The name of the second wife of Pascal Gonsalves is Francisca (Forsi Bai), who belonged to the family of Gonsalves of Kadri. It is believed that she was related to Pascal Gonsalves.[1]

Pascal Gonsalves returned to Mangalore alone in 1800. Whether he returned to Mangalore directly from Seringapatam or he returned directly to Tellicherry it is not known.[1]

It is possible that he escaped to Tellicherry and married his second wife there, and leaving his wife there returned to Mangalore alone, or he might have come directly to Mangalore and gone to Telicherry for his second marriage.[1]

After his return, Pascal settled in the town of Kadri, few miles north of Mangalore, where he earned his living as a trader and had four sons.[1]

They were as follows:

  • Nicholas Cajetan Gonsalves (1801 – 26 September 1839)
  • Anthony Martin Gonsalves (1803–1832)
  • Alexander Gonsalves (1807–1842)
  • Peregrino Gonsalves (1812–1883)[3]


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