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Professor Eduardo’s Saligao connection

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

My first encounter with Professor Eduardo José Alberto Magno de Sousa was in 1987 at Veroda, Cuncolim, where I was the parish priest at St. Anthony’s Church. One fine October morning, accompanied by the late Dr. John Carvalho, he visited the Veroda Church parish house. At that meeting he said to me, “I am your silent admirer.”

He visited me again at Our Lady of Snows Church, Rachol, in 1998. This time he embraced me and said, “Like you I am a ‘kolo‘ and member of the Saligao Communidade.  I belong to the 9th vangod and you belong to the 11th vangod.”   This brought a smile to the face of Rachol parishioner Leopoldo Vás, who was a close friend of Prof. Eduardo. After that meeting, I decided to find out a bit about Prof Eduardo’s background.

He is the son of Elias Napoleão Assuncão de Sousa, born at Assanora, and of Clementina Petornila de Siqueira. Born at his maternal grandparents’ residence in Aldona on 15-11-1909, Eduardo studied in Assanora, Mapuca and Panjim and completed the Escola Normal with distinction, standing first in 1934. At the same time he was attending classes at the Medical School, where he passed the disciplines of Anatomy Part I & II and Physiology & Histology.

He started his career as a primary teacher in Arambol, on June 1, 1935, and as a pre-requisite, secured a diploma in Marathi in 1936. In 1937 he married Lydia, from Piedade.  From there, in 1939, he started attending the Pharmacy Course and secured a Diploma in Pharmacy in 1945 and followed it up with a degree course, with distinction in 1952. He later taught at Portuguese primary schools at Chorao, Piedade, Pilerne, Nagoa, Candolim and Tuem.  In 1958 there was a vacancy in the Lyceum to teach Cosmography and General Geography.  He applied along with 30 other candidates and after written and oral tests, stood first and was appointed “professor eventual do 50 groupo“ 

Accused by his sister, he was under suspicion for nationalistic activities and was imprisoned in the Aguada fort, from 26 January to 19 December 1961.  While in jail, because of his fluency in Portuguese and English, he was appointed Censor of incoming and outgoing correspondence.  There were 600 detainees in jail and reading through all that mail was a laborious task. He edited for some time in the Portuguese weekly Correio de Bar in the name of his wife. He retired in 1967. Subsequently, he occupied many prestigious honorary posts.

Prof. Eduardo de Sousa was elected Member of the Society of Geography, Lisbon.  As a Member of the Institute Menezes Braganza, he has contributed many articles to their “Boletim“. Popular writer in Portuguese, English and Konkani, his contributions have appeared in several newspapers in Goa, Portugal and Brazil. Goans have listened to him on All India Radio Panjim.  Besides, he has written 15 books including one in the Devnagari script.  He was also an orator. From Goa With Love is his magnum opus of Goan greatness.

In his leisure time he was a progressive farmer with a select nursery of different plants including coconut saplings of various varieties. As a hunter he had a diploma de Casador given to him by the Portuguese government.  His hobby was fishing with different nets in the salt pans in Pilerne and catching snakes. 

He had a vision to create a new life, a new India and a new world order sans terrorism, sans wars, sans boundaries.  He lived up to the age of 95 in his mansion at Pilerne, Bardez, where he died on 6 July 2004. 

The good professor was famous for his jokes. Here’s one of them:

A Saligaokar had a big shop selling leather articles, including shoes. When he went abroad he came across shoes of different shapes, very cheap.  So he bought a dozen of them.  To avoid customs duty he made two different parcels: one of right-foot shoes only and the other of left-foot ones. When the parcels reached Panjim, they were not claimed. After some time they were auctioned. None of the shoe merchants present bid for each of the consignments because they thought they were useless. But the cunning Saligaokar bought each of the parcels for a song, through one of his friends, deceiving the customs officers and everyone else by his cleverness! 

Reference: SOUSA, Prof. Eduardo de, From Goa With Love, 2002, printed at Lucky Printers, Bombay 400064

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