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Dr Miguel Caetano Dias' 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations

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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

At a Glance

Date of Birth: 9 July, 1854
Date of Death: 26 July, 1936

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