The men behind the curtains of Dr Jack Sequeira’s recognition
After the death of Dr. Jack de Sequeira on 30 October 1989, a resolution was passed by then MLA of Panjim constituency, the late J. B. Gonsalves, to install a statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira, the Father of the Opinion Poll in the capital city of Panjim. This demand once again reverberated in 1994, by Victor Gonsalves, former MLA of Santa Cruz constituency and Francisco Sardinha MLA of Curtorim constituency, both who reiterated that a statue must be erected at a suitable place in the State.
Requests from several quarters were made but no concrete action was forthcoming. The Village Panchayats of Merces and Santa Cruz respectively passed resolutions in 2005 that a statue of Dr. Sequeira be installed. Several other institutions, well-wishers, intellectuals, politicians, doctors and prominent citizens lobbied for installation of a statue to honour Dr. Jack de Sequeira, with the support of the print media, but nothing materialized.
In 2006 the Taleigao Village Panchayat passed a resolution to name the Taleigao Community Hall in Dr. Sequeira's name, which was rejected by the Rane government. In the year 2003, when Digambar Kamat was the Urban Development Minister in the then BJP government, he rejected sanctioning the amount for installation of a statue at the NIO Circle, Dona Paula (which installation was later made and the entire cost of about Rs. 16,00,000/-was borne by the family members of Dr. Jack de Sequeira).
On Legislature Day in 2006, Victor Gonsalves raised the issue of erecting the statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira in the capital city, which was strongly supported by the former United Goans Party MLAs, John Teotonio Pereira and Leo Velho. In January 2006, Kefas An-Times, a monthly publication spearheaded by its publisher, Peter Figueiredo, printed a special supplement on Dr. Jack de Sequeira. The lead story headlined 'Dr. Jack de Sequeira-The Mastermind of the opinion poll detailed the entire struggle and trails that Jack de Sequeira had to endure, in order to bring to fruition the victory of the anti-merger UGP-backed campaign to retain Goa’s separate entity.
The publication influenced and created strong awareness amongst people of the contributions made by him, with archived photographs about the entire life and works of Dr. Sequeira. In order to evoke the politicians' conscience of the need to honour the Father of the Opinion Poll, a photograph of the new Assembly complex at Alto-Porvorim was published to serve as a timely reminder to the CM, Ministers and MLAs that Dr. Jack de Sequeira be given his just reward for his yeoman service to the people of Goa. Due to his relentless effort, Goa was declared a State in the Union of India and today has its own new Legislative Assembly complex as well as a Legislative Assembly consisting of 40 MLA’s representing the 40 constituencies.
WORDS INTO ACTION: Peter Figueiredo who initiated the process for installation of the statues of the Father of the Opinion Poll, is to be credited for his relentless pursuit in giving Dr. Jack de Sequeira his much deserved due.
Peter Figueiredo and Joseph Sequeira, ex-Sarpanch, Village Panchayat of Calangute seen inspecting the preparatory work prior to installation of the statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira at Calangute
WELL DONE DR. WILLY: Dr. Wilfred de Souza who cleared the deck for the installation of the statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira, without whose support it would have been impossible to fructify the installation of the statue at Calangute, in the face of stiff opposition.
Sustained efforts were made by a large section of the ex-politicians, intellectuals, well-wishers and the newly elected members of the Legislative Assembly to include Dr. Sequeira’s name in the history of Goan politics, for his contribution which resulted in the ultimate formation of the State of Goa. Goans hoped that their newly elected members would not fail in according Dr. Sequeira his due, though belatedly, thus fulfilling the clamour of the masses, for his recognition.
The opinion poll was the single most significant struggle in the post-liberation history of Goa and needs to be chronicled by a unanimous resolution of the entire Legislative Assembly. Much has been said, but sadly it remained only lip service. The political will and sincerity missing. It was left to Peter Figueiredo who initiated the move and strongly supported by a handful of well meaning citizens including some of Dr Jack Sequeira’s colleagues to finally give Dr Jack de Sequeira a platform of pride and honour in the State, recognizing the Father of the Opinion Poll.
Saying enough is enough to all to all the lip service of plastic politicians, Peter Figuereido and Joseph Sequeira put their heads together and got into action, thus fulfilling the wishes of the masses, towards which Dr. Wilfred de Souza, the National Congress Party state President and Deputy Chief Minister and Tourism Minister (2007) cleared the deck by ensuring that a notification was issued by the concerned authorities for erecting a life size statue of Dr Sequeira at Calangute, in the face of tough political opposition.
A STAUNCH SUPPORTER: Former Sarpanch Joseph Sequeira and members of the Calangute Village Panchayat, who was instrumental in passing the resolution in the Panchayat, paving way for installation of the statue and providing the necessary backing.
Due to the unstinted efforts of Peter Figueiredo, backed by the finances provided by the Village Panchayat of Calangute, 16 January 2007 marked as a red letter day in the annals of Goan history when finally after 41 long years of waiting, a carefully crafted statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira by Mumbai-based sculptor Ajinkya Chaulkar, was finally erected at Calangute, culminating sustained efforts initiated on the part of former UGP MLA of San Andre and owner of Paulo Travels, John Teotonio Pereira, who was the silent guiding force behind the drive place his colleague and fellow-President of the UGP, on a pedestal of honour, thus recognizing Dr Sequeira’s sacrifices to the people and the land of Goa.
Where ministers failed, common men succeeded. At long last the cherished goal of paying tribute to a stalwart of the Goan identity's struggle, had been paid the long overdue tribute, a timely reminder for all the politicians, that the power of common people is a force to reckon with and succeeded after relentless effort.
Dr. Jack Sequeira's statue at NIO Circle Dona Paula
Another 9-metre full-size bronze statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira was unveiled on the 20 April, 2007, on the occasion of the 92birth anniversary of Dr. Jack de Sequeira at the hands of India’s Navy Chief, Admiral Suresh Mehta, who as a matter of fact is the son-in-law of Dr. Jack de Sequeira, at the NIO junction, Dona Paula. The installation ceremony of the imposing bronze statue was attended by former Chief Minister, Dr. Luis Proto Barboza, Corporation of the City of Panjim, Mayor, Tony Rodrigues, as well as John Teotonio Pereira, ex-UGP MLA
Dr. Jack Sequeira's statue at Calangute Circle
besides all family members of Dr. Jack de Sequeira. The total cost for this installation was a whopping Rs. 16, 00,000/- that was entirely borne by the family of Dr. Jack de Sequeira.
Since then the road leading from Miramar Beach (by-pass road) to NIO circle, Dona Paula and the Panjim bus stand to Merces NH17 junction has also been named after Dr. Jack de Sequeira, which though belated, accorded due recognition to the Father of the Opinion Poll.
A third statue is being contemplated to be erected in South Goa so that South Goa residents also give their due recognition to Dr. Sequeira, after North Goa (Calangute) and Tiswadi (Dona Paula ) have already paid their respect to this immortal legendary leader of Goans.
A MASTER CRAFTSMAN: Ajinkya Chaulkar, the sculptor from Mumbai who sculpted both the statues of Dr. Jack de Sequeira merits a pat in the back for a job well done. He is in the process of sculpting the third statue to be erected in Salcete shortly.
Ajinkya Chaualkar, noted Sculptor who sculpted both the statues of Dr. Jack de Sequeira, Father of the Opinion Poll, who was felicitated at the hands of Former Chief Minister and NCP Chief Goa State Dr. Wilfred D'Souza. Also seen Paula Sequeira, granddaughter of Dr. Jack de Sequeira and Peter Figueiredo, General Secretary Nationalist Youth Congress (NCP Youth Wing). The felicitation function was jointly organised by Konkani Songit Somajik Kala Kendr, Taleigao and Nationalist Youth Congress.
Sustained attempts are also being made by the Secretary of the Konkani Songit Somajik Kala Kendr from Taleigao, Peter Figueiredo to include a chapter wherein the exploits of Dr. Jack de Sequeira are chronicled in school history textbooks, in English, Konkani, Marathi and Hindi, in both Roman and Devanagiri script, thus making his role significant in the historical annals of Goa. Every Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs have a role towards making this possible. An appeal by Figueiredo was made to the ex-Speaker, Francisco Sardinha, ex-Deputy Speaker, Victoria Fernandes and other MLAs and the matter was immediately brought to the notice of the entire House by the ex-Deputy Speaker, Victoria Fernandes in the last Assembly session in March 2007, for immediate action and that the text of the opinion poll highlighting the efforts made by Dr. Sequeira be included in the history books.
When the new Assembly complex at Porvorim was inaugurated during the BJP rule in 2000, they failed to shift the portraits of Dr. Jack de Sequeira and Dayanand Bandodkar, which were still lying in the old secretariat, Adil Shah Palace, Panjim, covered with cobwebs. A representation to this effect had been made, and after repeated efforts by Peter Figueiredo, in the capacity of the Secretary of the KSSKK, Taleigao, a green signal has been finally given so as to shift the portraits to the Secretariat, Porvorim.
On 15 August 2007, the Association released a musical CD titled, 'Opinion Pollacho Baap-Dr. Jack de Sequeira’.