Many places in Goa are named in such a way that the name itself gives rise to curiosity. One of these places is 18th June Road. Why is it named so? It’s a question that puzzles many tourists and locals alike when they visit it. The area in the vicinity of the road serves as a prominent shopper’s paradise for many domestic tourists. Located in the capital city of Panaji, like many other public places, the road was named after an important event.
The story behind 18th June Road
Dr Ram Manohar Lohia and Dr Julião Menezes were friends right from their college days and studied at the Berlin University. Their friendship continued even after graduating. Dr Menezes returned to Goa in 1938 and began preaching the message of freedom to his fellow Goans. While Dr Lohia became active in India’s freedom struggle, it took a toll on his health.
It was Dr Menezes who medically examined Dr Lohia and advised him to take rest. Dr Lohia arrived in Goa on August 10, 1946, upon the invitation of Dr Menezes. On hearing that Dr Lohia was staying at Dr Menezes’ house in Assolna, Goan intellectuals and political activists began to gather there to discuss various issues pertaining to Goa’s freedom struggle.
June 15 precursor to June 18
On June 15, 1946, Dr Julião Menezes and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia organised a public meeting in Panaji. The meeting was an act of civil disobedience. There was a ban on public meetings imposed by the then Portuguese government. However much to their surprise, this public meeting was tolerated by the colonial rulers.
On 18th June, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia along with Dr Julião Menezes entered Margao square riding in a horse carriage. Thousands of people had gathered there to welcome them. The grand entrance is said to have been greeted with slogans such as “Dr Lohia-ki Jai! Dr Julião Menezes-ki-Jai!”. The turnout was so huge that it became difficult for the police to handle. To avoid untoward incidents and any unrest, the duo, Dr Lohia and Dr Menezes were arrested.
The reaction of the public
This was unacceptable and people began to protest in large numbers. They demanded that Dr Lohia and Dr Menezes be released from prison. The police failed to disperse the crowd. This left the government with no choice but to release Dr Lohia and Dr Menezes. After his release, Dr Lohia was asked to leave Goa. As 18th June came to be known as the ‘Revolution Day’ in Goa, after its Liberation in 1961, in honour of the stalwarts responsible for this feat, the road was named 18th June road. This day is celebrated every year in Goa.
Image Credit – The quint