DR OSCAR REBELLO 11th Dec 2023


80 eventful years.  

80 fateful years. 

80 years as witness to the tumultuous period of post- liberation Goan history!!

80 years of dedicated service to the community and a stoic, brave resilience when fate dug its deepest dagger into him!!

80 years of triumph over every adversity!!

11 Dec is the day when an affectionate uncle and mercurial friend,

When a simply sparkling doctor, and sometimes argumentative conversationalist,

rocks it @ 80!!

Dr. Francisco Colaço: friend, philosopher and my forever guide.

But this piece is not just about Goa's favorite cardiologist. 

It is my search through the eyes and life of Dr. Colaço for the Goa we so loved (and perhaps still do) but have comprehensively lost. 

We always wax eloquent about the beauty of Goa's beaches and mountains, about her electric food and eclectic people, about her joie de vivre and serene lifestyle.

And that is precisely where we miss the point. 

The Goa that once existed, blessed as it was by luminaries like Dr Colaço, is what defined Goa then—and certainly no longer now. 

My argument then is that the qualities of head and heart that folk like Dr Colaço and his ilk (giants like Uday Bhembre and Damodar Mauzo , Claude Alvares and Nirmala Sawant, Suresh Amonkar and Pundalik Naik, and thousands of others) showcased to the world is what shaped the post-liberation history of Goa.

These ladies and gentlemen, who are now in their late 70s and 80s, sowed the seeds of the Goa which always remained the neighbour's envy and the owner’s pride. Until those in the 40s to 60s generation sold this pride to the neighbour for the proverbial song and 40 pieces of silver.

So like the Goa of yore, Fanchicote was its quintessential ambassador.

There were three qualities that pervaded that generation, qualities that shone through.



For Fanchicote, as I have observed him over the years, this was his fundamental, non-negotiable, dimension. 

Come hell or high water, vindictive government raids or smear campaigns by his opponents, Fanchicote never ever budged from his stated position and ideology. 

No matter what!!

I have received my fair share of opprobrium from him (and deservedly so) if he even sensed I was veering away from the ideological path.

The renegade from Argentina, who used his goodwill to win the 2017 election from Fatorda, and then switched horses in a heartbeat, still dodges the bullets from the doctor’s imaginary gun.

But that is Fanchicote Integrity. It has disturbed him over the years, costing him his own health, as to why people take the easy way out merely because it is more convenient or profitable. 

As the famous dialogue in Sholay goes:

“Dotor toot sakta hai,

Magar jhookega kabhi nahin”

Thus, it is clear as daylight that the singular reason we have lost Goa is because we have lost this simple yet profound quality called Integrity.



That's the second quality that the Golden Generation had in joyful abundance. 

Not just bookish knowledge, but native intelligence. 

And Fanchicote was endowed with a mind that still works fast and furious.

This guy at 80 reads medicine and can outwit any smart-pants cardiologist by a mile.

His knowledge and passion for learning is unmatched among any doctor in Goa.

The moment he rises to ask a pointed question at a conference, the cocky speaker on the podium either ducks for cover, fumbles with his papers, or stares morosely at the puddle of water he has created at his feet.

This is the level of penetrating knowledge of medicine that Fanchicote still possesses. 

And it is this level of intelligence, which typified the outstanding generation, that kept Goa afloat in the 60s, 70s and 80s. 

From sensible environmental laws, to sustainable development. 

From getting everyone access to education to connecting with the intelligentsia of the globe in the pre-internet era. 

From limiting emigration by focusing on health-care and infrastructure.

This doesn't require rocket science guys. 

Just native intelligence and a genuine love for Goa.



Fanchicote is a faithful Christao, committed to his Faith.

And needless to say, I am the absolute opposite—convinced that all religions are figments of a BS imagination. 

Yet Fanchicote and I love and respect one another immensely. 

Simply because we share something bigger than any organized religion.

A deep sense of Humanism. 

The grace with which Dotor Bab treats his patients, 

the abundant acts of charity he performs on the under-privileged,

the time he devotes to the social causes he believes in…

All these stem from his very natural alliance with humanism. 

And again, that's what Goa had in plenty during those times.

Post-liberalisation (nothing to do with liberation, mind you) our generation took over Goa, 

And the first thing we lost, in our relentless pursuit of Greed and Power and Domination and Macho-nationalism, was precisely those three qualities. 

We decimated Integrity, Intelligence and Humanism. 

We savagely bombed them out of our consciousness and our soul as if it was…well, just a Gaza.

The moment we murdered these three defining qualities of what made Goa…we lost Goa, perhaps forever!!

That is why a Doctor Francisco Colaço becomes so very important in our troubled and besieged times.

We wish him “ad multos anos”because we are still privileged enough to peer into his pristine heart, admire his ram-rod spine, and be in awe as to how he has made his life a shining example of conviction, conviction and only conviction. 

And we wonder: lf only we could emulate, rather than praise or ridicule this life…

Would Goa have been a different place??

Dotor Bab, 

You have been a tough act to follow!! 

A fastidious stickler for probity and Integrity in all facets of life.  

A straight-shooting, no-nonsense cowboy who loves his music and song and Mando.

A genuine human being with all the frailities and foibles of a man in pursuit of excellence in his field. 

Thank you for walking on our side of the world. Thank you for being a beacon for us all. Thank you for flashing your light for so many of us—even if you never knew it. 

Rock on buddy!!

Enjoy the 80!!



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