One great Goan personality whose 150th birth anniversary is being celebrated by Goa is 'General-Medico' Miguel Caeatano
Dias--the first Goan doctor to be designated as 'General' by the Portuguese governemnt. His bust can be seen opposite the
General Post Office at Panaji. The house that you can see at the rear of the bust is the Dias House (the former Casa da Moeda)
where he lived.
Dr J Clement Vaz, the author of "Profiles of Eminent Goans Past & Present" tells us that Gen Dr Miguel Caetano Dias
was born on 9 July 1854 at St Estevam (Jua) island. Miguel had from his youth a consuming desire to specialise in healing.
He proceeded to Portugal to complete his medical studies with laurels in 1882. He served Mozambique thereafter for 5 years
and returned to Goa in 1888, where his reputation had already preceded him, to be appointed as Director of Health Services
and later as Director of Escola Medica and Military Hospital in Panjim. He climbed the ladder of success by dint of his own
merit, having gained rapid promotions until he reached the highest with the designation of 'General' in the Portuguese
medical cadre, the first and only Goan to be so honoured. Honour and fame followed Dr Dias for his expertise as a physician
as well as for his deftness with the surgeon's scalpel at a time when anaesthesia was perhaps in its infancy.
As an intellectual of high calibre, he was associated with a number of social, educational and scientific bodies
and institutions, and was decorated with honours and medals both by the Government in portugal and the Portuguese Government
of Goa. So great was the admiration in which he was held by his large circle of friends and wellwishers that they decided,
even while he was living, to build a memorial to him. as a result, the bust stands there.
Dr Dias always cherished the memories of his beautiful island-village of Juvem-St Estevam, and before his death on 26
July, 1936, had expresseda desire to be buried there. I met his family members, greatgrandson Dr Luis and his great grand-daughter-in-law
Dr Ms Elvira Dias at their residence near the GPO in Panaji recently. This piece is a humble tribute to this Great Goan
on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary on 9th July 2004. ----Shri Prajal Sakhardande