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“Woh Goa-wallah body de do!”


Myths of Goa and their origins

Dada, was Jack Sequeira a big man?”

“You’re asking about Dr. Jack de Sequeira, Father of the Opinion Poll?”

“Yes Dada.”

“Of course he was a big man. Without his efforts we would probably be a small district of Maharashtra and you would be speaking Marathi instead of Konkani.”

“That I know Dada. We were taught in History class. What I mean is, was he a big man physically?”

“Oh yes he was a giant of a man in many ways. Tall and big chested  and broad shouldered.”

“But Dada the statue in Calangute is of a small built man with a large head.”

“Oh that! It’s a long story. It starts in 1983 in Aldona and the triangular plot of land near the market.”

“You’re making up a story again no Dada?”

“Arre Baba. What is truth? What is fiction? History is written by the victors…”

“Ok, ok,  go on. But make it short.”

“Well this triangular plot belongs to the Aldona Church, as does most of the market area. On 13th March 1983 there was a mini-riot between Hindus and Catholics about a ‘tulsi’ that was illegally built there.  It caused a lot of tension between the two communities which had till then had a peaceful co-existence. The plot was then left unused and untended for many years and was an eyesore till in 2005 somebody suggested that a Holy Grotto be built there. A few village elders got together and decided that rather than open up old wounds with a religious structure let Aldona be different.”

“Different? How?”

“An open meeting of the villagers was held and a suggestion was made that rather than honour a religious head or a political head, like other villages did, we would honour an educationalist – Principal Edward J. Soares who died in 1955. Everyone agreed. Not surprising, considering almost everyone in Aldona has studied at the St. Thomas High School founded by Edward Soares in 1923. We decided to raise funds ourselves and not approach the Government. While fundraising activities were going on in full swing a three-member team of village elders was sent to Mumbai to the best statue foundry to get costings. Just a bust would cost Rs. 4 lakhs and a full-body statue would be Rs. 7 lakhs. We decided nothing but a full-body statue would do for our beloved Principal.”

“What has all this got to do with Jack Sequeira?”

“Arre Baba I’m getting there. Our team in Mumbai then phoned us saying that there were standard ‘bodies’ available on which a head could be attached.  But then the head of Edward Soares, who was a small built man, would look absurd on the body of an Ambedkar or a Tilak – or sitting on a horse with a sword in hand like Shivaji. The foundry said that if they were supplied with full length photos of Edward Soares they could make an exact body – for an additional cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. Fortunately our team had carried many photos and a deal was struck. On 9th December 2006 the exact replica statue of Principal Edward Soares was installed in the Aldona market triangle. Students of his from Aldona, Moira, Nachinola, Olaulim, Pomburpa, Assnora…”

“Dada! Jack Sequeira!”

“Yes! Yes! Well simultaneously a group of well-wishers were planning to honour Dr. Sequeira with a bust to be installed at the main junction in Calangute in January 2007. It was being prepared at the same foundry that had made our statue.  The President of the Jack Sequeira Bust Committee realized that they had more funds than they had calculated. He phoned the foundry and a strange conversation ensued. It sounds better in Hindi but…”

“Just go on Dada!”

“Well the President  asked the supervisor if the bust could be converted into a full-body statue. The supervisor said a made-to-order body was not possible at such short notice but offered him the standard ready-made bodies of Marathi saints and political leaders – and of course Shivaji. The President asked if they had any ‘Goan’ body. The supervisor recalled that just last week a Goan statue had been installed and the body mould was still intact. The President was besides himself with joy at having found a Goan body befitting Jack Sequeira.  The deal was done. And that’s how the statue at Calangute has the head of Jack Sequeira on the slim body of Edward Soares.”

“Dada you just made this up didn’t you?”

“Son, what is history? Somebody’s version of the truth.  This is my version. Simple.“

DISCLAIMER: The article on this page is satire and is not in anyway factual. This is only a humorous and satirical take on the events unfolding around us. We do not in anyway intend to offend any individual or institution through our satires and regret any offence caused inadvertently.