Miguel Caetano Dias

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Miguel Caetano Dias (9 July 1854 – 26 July 1936) was a Goan medical doctor.

Dias began his medical career in Goa in 1888; before that he worked in Mozambique for five years.[1] In the same year he was promoted to the rank of major and then to lieutenant colonel. He was appointed chief of health services and director of Escola Medico e Cirurgiao de Goa (Goa Medical School) in 1906.[2] Dias opposed the proposed move of shutting down the college and also expressed regret over the attitude of the Government, this finally led systematic changes being brought in the curriculum over 1913 to 1919.[3] He was honored as "General" by Government of Portugal, being the first and the only Goan to be so honoured in Portuguese Medical Corps.[2]

He had many honors bestowed upon him by the colonial Portuguese government, including Cavaleiro, Official and Comendador da Real Ordem de S. Bento de Aviz. From the Queen of Portugal, D. Amelia, he received a silver medal for his work in India, and achieved renown for his work in 1908 in exterminating the bubonic plague in Panaji. He became the mayor of the Panjim Municipality and president of the first Provincial Congress of Goa.[4]

His great-grandson, Dr Luis Dias, is currently based in Maidstone, UK.[5]


  1. ^ Sarkhande, Prajal (2012). "Biography". drmiguelcaetanodias.tripod.com. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  2. ^ a b J. Clement Vaz (1 January 1997). Profiles of Eminent Goans, Past and Present. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 210–. ISBN 978-81-7022-619-2. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Fátima da Silva Gracias (1 January 1994). Health and Hygiene in Colonial Goa, 1510-1961. Concept Publishing Company. pp. 182–184. ISBN 978-81-7022-506-5. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Rodrigues, Maria (2012). "Miguel Caetano: From humble beginnings to glorious splendour | iGoa". navhindtimes.in. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Goan Voice UK: Newsletter. Issue 2004-25. Jul 08, 2004". goanvoice.org.uk. 2011. Retrieved 18 August 2012. 

In Panaji, where the Tobacco Square (Largo de Estanco once stood, is a tiny garden. The bust of an eminent Goan – Minguel Caetano Dias, stands in this garden. Dias, who was famous for his work in the field of science and medicine,

was born on July 9, 1854, and died after meritorious services on July 26, 1936. He was the last General of Goa and belonged to the Portuguese Medical Corps. Such was the esteem for his work that his colleagues, students and citizens, in his lifetime had a bust made of marble, installed at the Escola Medica de Goa (Goa Medical School). Following his death, the statue was installed at its current location. Miguel Caetano Dias came from an economically backward family from Santo Estevam also known as Ilha Verde. His parents were Manuel Francisco Dias and Escolastica Dias. His desire to study was fulfilled by his brother Santana Dias, who was a pharmacist and a major in the army. He offered to take Miguel to Portugal, where he joined the Lisbon University for a degree in medicine. After passed with flying colours in 1882, he joined the medical services in the African colony of Mozambique. There he was able to demonstrate his expertise especially as a surgeon, when he amputated a patient’s gangrenous leg using a mere pen-knife, thereby saving his life. This was a huge feat in those days because the medical conditions prevailing at that time in Africa were rudimentary. His decision to successfully operate was appreciated and authorities were impressed. After being promoted to the rank of major, he opted to join the Goa cadre in 1888 and later on as lieutenant colonel he became the Director of the Health Services and Medical School. He retired from service in August 1913. Dr Dias was responsible for pioneering the surgical approach, using new techniques while undertaking surgical procedures and occupying various positions in committees for public service. He received several awards, civil as well as military honours from the Portuguese government. He was in succession, Cavaleiro Official and Comendador da Real Ordem de S Bento de Aviz. He received a silver medal for his work in India and a military silver medal for exemplary behaviour from the Queen of Portugal, D Amelia. He also received lavish praise for his zeal, courage and dedication in exterminating the bubonic plague that ravaged Panaji in 1908. He was the first citizen of Panaji and the president of the first Congress Provincial da India Portuguesa. He was also the president of Union National da India Portuguesa. In accordance with his wishes he was buried in his native village Santo Estevam, which he loved so dearly; the village he left as a humble and unknown boy, only to return in glory and splendour, and finally be laid to rest. His affection for villagers was such that Zuenkars would barge into the Escola Medica and ask for “Miguel Caetano” and no one dared to stop them. It is believed that he gave strict instructions to not prevent Bendekars from meeting him.

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