It seems like Loutolim, a small village, has throughout its life been a very important place, punching way above its weight. Before the Portuguese era, it was the site of a major Hindu university and its inhabitants were traditionally of only two types – the Brahmin ‘leaders’ (more specifically, its founders by legend, the ‘Goud Sarawat Brahmins’, settlers from North India) and their agricultural workers (the Sudras and the Kunbis).
The Portuguese Inquisition forced the exit of most of the Hindus with their temple idols to Ponda and beyond, those that remained converted to Catholicism. They retained, with the blessing of the church, their caste sentiments, though, leading to the strange (to the outsider) existence of ‘Goud Sarawat Brahmin Catholic’ families that prospered under the new regime and soon gained Portuguese hereditary titles. These families built the plethora of Indo-Portuguese mansions that mark this village as something special and have produced great writers, statesmen, churchmen, thinkers and orators.
Casa Susegad is one of these mansions. The land it sits in is the remains of a large estate in the Loutolim ward of Orgao that was part of the settlement on the marriage between Domingos Francisco do Rosário Fernandes (b. 5 Apr 1832) from Raia (a village midway between Margao and Loutolim) and Maria Ulorica Quitéria Faria (b. 30 Jan 1841) on 27 Feb 1859. It would seem that the Casa (until recently known as the ‘Copros’ House) was built shortly after this date.
Their eldest son, Francisco Xavier Ernesto Fernandes (b. 15 Dec 1863) married Aramita Sebastianinha de Quadros (b. 5 Nov 1872) on 24 April 1888. Their hand-tinted portraits from around 1930 hang proudly in Casa Susegad’s vestibule (donated back to the Casa by a descendant) and their ten children were all born here. An earlier (c.1902) group photograph of the Quadros family shows the couple standing together in formal dress.
Francisco Xavier Ernesto Fernandes was a well known author and his descendants tell of him writing at a desk on the same spot that Deodita does the registration forms today. He died 14 May 1951 and his imposing monument stands in the church cemetery at Loutolim. His wife lived until 1963 (dying 23 Jul) and the Casa has a photograph showing her standing on the steps of the balcao in 1961 (the year that Goa became part of India again).
Their descendents still come back from the four corners of the world in order to visit the old ancestral Copros mansion and keep a link to the past, and they are always welcomed back by those that now carry the torch.
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