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Dr Miguel Caetano Dias' 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations

The 150th Anniversary Celebrations!
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SON OF GOA HONOURED: The 150th birth anniversary of General Dr Miguel
Caitano Dias
was observed with the Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar
Parrikar, garlanding the bust on Friday (July 9) morning, which stands
erected opposite the General Post Office. Dias was the last general of Goa
and belonged to the Portuguese Medical Corps. Addressing the gathering,
Parrikar said that the history of such eminent Goans must be made known to
all and in particular to the younger generation. The Corporation of the
City of Panaji could consider the proposal of naming the road opposite the
GPO after Dr Dias, suggested Parrikar…Dr Elvira Dias, whose husband was
the grandson of late Dr Dias, proposed a vote of thanks. The prestige Dr
Dias enjoyed amongst students and patients was so great that they erected
a monument of him in the medical school during his lifetime. (GT)

Miguel Caitano Dias - the last general of Goa

by Bailon de Sa

We are observing the 150th birth abniversary of the great master surgeon, General Dr Miguel Caitano Dias on July 9.He was the last General of Goa and belonged to the Portugues Medical Crosp. Born in a simple home, he had an insatiable desire to study but had no material resources to fulfill his ambition. His elder brother, Major Santana Dias, a pharmacist, came to his rescue and took him to Portugal where young Miguel registered his name in the faculty of medicine of the University of Lisbon.

Despite tremendous odds, he finished his course with distinction and was immediately assigned to the military medical cadre of Mozambique. He spent five years there till the end of 1887. While in Mozambique where medical and surgical facilities were either non-existent or minimal, he saved the life of a Portugues official by amputating his gangrenous leg.

In 1888, he was transferred to Goa where began his meteoric rise. He was promoted to the rank of Major and in the same year to Lieutenant Colonel. He was appointed chief of health services, director of the Medical School of Goa and raised to Colonel in 1906. He retired as General in 1913.

The Portugues government bestowed on him several honours and medals. From the Queen of Portugal, D Amelia, he received the silver medal for his work in India, and another military silver medal for exemplary behaviour, and praised for his zeal, courage and dedication in exterminating the bubonic plague that ravaged Panjim in 1908.

Menezes Braganza who, normally, is not very lavish in praise of others, had said, “yet as he attained a position of prestige and eminence, he hid not take pride in it, as he was fully aware of the obstacles he had to overcome to open a triumphant way in life. He did not boast like a parvenu. Life among the great did not dazzle him. He remained always the same - simple, ingenuous, unaffected before the great and the and small, perhaps he lacked the superficial varnish of behaviour that many use to conceal hidden malice, the studied smile that often hides simulated revenge - all this that deceive the poor of spirit.”

Dr Dias was probably the greatest surgeon that Goa produced. His judgment and prognosis of any ailment was so precise and accurate that his colleagues never contested it and the patient was reassured of his state of health.

He had the “healing touch”. So great was the prestige that Dr Dias enjoyed among his students, colleagues and the general public that they erected a monument in the medical school during his lifetime. He was a mayor of Panjim municipality and president of the first Provincial Congress of Goa.

If attendance at the funeral of an individual is an indication of his worth and popularity, the records of that time show that the funeral of Dr Dias was a veritable apotheosis. From the Governor General and the patriarch to the humblest citizen - they all came to pay their homage to the great General - Medico Miguel Caetano Dias. Never such funeral was witnessed in Goa.

Dr Froilano de Mello in his speech delivered at the cemetery in St Estevam said, “on his express which he is laid in the humble grave of his native village, the son who ennobled it most, Dr Miguel Caetano Dias.”

The end of Dr Miguel Caetano Dias was like that of a lamp that is extinguished after a long and serene journey of glory and suffering. Storms were not lacking on his way. But putting them aside with stoical resignation and conquering them with firmness, he had during his life the great reward that God reserves for those who know how to live well doing good: a tranquil and enviable longevity.

There is still one person, at the moment, who deserves our deep sympathy - his widow, the virtuous companion who, being a person of reminded sensibility, shared with him, in the peace of their home more his sufferings than his glories.

Incomparable mother she will find in the love of her children whom she brought up, solace in the pain of the separation of the companion of her youth and old age. For her our homage, the homage of colleagues and students of her unforgettable spouse.”