DR. JACK DE SEQUEIRA: The human he was
Born on 20 April 1915 in Burma, now known as Myanmar, the youngest son of Mr. Erasmo de Sequeira and Mrs. Ana Julia de Sa e Sequeira, João Hugo Eduardo de Sequeira, popularly known as Jack de Sequeira completed his entire education in Portuguese at the Lyceum. He was a brilliant student who later became a Medico Cirugião at the Escola Medico de Goa and at the tender age of 21 as he was preparing to specialize, taking up blood research, his father passed, thus forcing him to shelve his medical profession in order to run the family business, Agencia E. Sequeira, which was a leading business house, at that time in Goa. Little did he realize at the time, that he would play a key role in the history of Goan politics.
Though a Committed Catholic with special devotion for Goa’s Patron Saint Francis Xavier, he had an open mind and respected all cultures, caste and creed and willingly welcomed three of his sons-in-law, who came from other communities. Incidentally, the date of the Opinion Poll, 16 January coincides with the death anniversary of Goa’s favourite saint-in-the-waiting, the venerable Padre Jose Vaz. It was as if Divine Providence willed that the observance of the day in all the churches in Goa should also share the solemn occasion, on which Goans would live to cherish as the day which decided through the conduct of the opinion poll, the preservation of Goa’s unique identity, probably a blessing from Padre Jose himself for Goans.
As a young man, sports came naturally to him and he along with his brother Dr. Frank, played tennis. When he married Lilia Margarida de Gouveia Pinto he was just 23, and had nine children - three sons and six daughters. As one of his daughters, Dr. Lilia Sequeira e Sukhija reminiscing about him, says, “as a father, he was a strict disciplinarian, but also a wonderful friend and confidant when the need arose.”
With a nostalgic smile on her face, Dr. Lilia recollected that even though he was an extremely busy man, he made it a point to spend time with the family. Konkani was spoken most often in the Sequeira household. Therefore it comes as no surprise that he demanded a separate Statehood for Goa, with Konkani as its official language. He was always punctual, a man of word and a gentleman to the core.
Dr. Lilia further explained that it was from her father that she and her siblings learnt the values of honesty, integrity and to treat every human being with respect. Dr. Jack de Sequeira always maintained that there was no success without failure and it was important to accept what came one’s way with a positive attitude.
One of the great regrets of Dr. Jack de Sequeira was that he could not practice medicine, a profession he was qualified in. Therefore, he was extremely pleased when his daughters Julie and Lilia became physicians. His family further states, “he would have been even happier to see four of his granddaughters join the medical profession too.”
People of the older generation perhaps remember him for his honesty and generosity. During the World War II, when there was shortage of the most essential commodities, Dr. Jack de Sequeira ensured that the family firm Agencia Sequeira sold kerosene and scarce matchboxes at a subsidized price. The thought of profiting never crossed his mind. During the elections of 1979, at the fag end of his political career, he lost the election in Santa Cruz, a seat he had won three times.
Recollecting this episode, his daughter Dr. Lilia was clearly emotional and said, “I distinctly remember the episode, as I was present there. He remained in the counting hall till the results were announced, shook hands with his victorious opponent and walked out, his head held high saying he accepted defeat even as the people rejected him.” Dr. Jack de Sequeira was shaken by this sudden change of allegiance in the people of his constituency and true to his word never contested elections again. He expired on 17 October 1989 at the age of 74.
For the last forty years, since his yeoman contribution to the people of Goa, no politician at the helm of affairs gave him his due. Finally on 16 January 2007, a statue of Dr. Jack de Sequeira was unveiled in the village of Calangute as a tribute to all his unsung efforts and hard work, thanks to the initiative of Peter Figueiredo from Taleigao. Commenting on the installation of her father's statue at Calangute, an overjoyed Dr. Lilia said that she and her family were extremely thrilled that recognition was finally accorded to her father.
However, she seemed clueless as to what her father might have felt about it, if he were alive as he was someone who shied away from the limelight.
Dr. Sequeira with his Parents, Uncle, Brother & Sister
Dr. Sequeira as a Boy
Dr.Sequeira's Wedding Snap