The Politician of People

Maulana Whaiduddin Khan | Speaking Tree | March 25, 2019

Mr. Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Minister of Goa, passed away on 17th March 2019 after a prolonged illness. Born in 1955 in Goa, Parrikar was a Metallurgical Engineer who entered the field of politics in 1994. He served the state four times as Chief Minister and had a three-year-long stint as Defence Minister in the Cabinet. He was a popular politician and statesman, who enjoyed acceptability across strata of the society. In a condolence note from his alma mater, the (Act.) Director of IIT-Bombay, Professor A.K. Suresh said,

The loss is not only a void in the political arena but also one in humanity. People like him are one in a million.” (Times of India, New Delhi, March 19, 2019, P.11)

Parrikar’s example teaches us a valuable lesson. That if you are virtuous and diligent in your efforts, it shall reap the desired results. Through his persona of a leader-next-door, Parrikar garnered extensive support among masses and his peers held him in high stead. During his term as the Chief Minister of Goa, he undertook various projects to restore several heritage spots and promote development in the state.

We are all familiar with the revolutionary idea of democracy presented by Abraham Lincoln near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 1863. In his famous address, he hailed democracy as “government of the people, by the people and for the people. Parrikar put this idea into action and demonstrated that a successful governance model comprised of, “A government based on the ideals of simple living, high thinking and paving way for the progress of common man!”

Parrikar is fondly remembered by his followers as an unpretentious leader how knew how to tide over circumstances by power of his character and resilience. Once Manohar Parrikar was riding a scooter in the morning. As he stopped at a signal, he noticed that a youth sped away in a luxury car! He immediately swung into action, followed and stopped the car. The youth began to cast aspersions and said to Parrikar in a rage, “How dare you stop me like this on the road? Don’t you know who I am? My father is a DSP!” Parrikar, with his quintessential smile, took off his helmet and told him that, “Tell your father that you met the Chief Minister today!”

Even as a Chief Minister, Parrikar did not give up interacting with the masses, whether it was the grocery marketer or the fisherman, he was always available to listen to their concerns and act as per the best of his capability. The secret of Parrikar’s success in the political sphere was his ability to be a big bird thinker. Disciplined and focused, Parrikar relied on hard work instead of special preferences. He did not allow himself to be trapped by the trivialities of his bureaucratic status. Rather, he focused on issues and strove to resolve them.

Paying his tribute to Mr. Manohar Parrikar, Dr. P Jagannath, chairman, Department of Surgical Oncology, Lilavati Hospital (Times of India, March 18, 2019) said, “He was an honest, hardworking, “peoples’ politician”… Parrikar took it (the illness) in his stride and said, “I never give up. Until the last day, I will spend in public service!”           

Parrikar’s life epitomized relentless pursuit of a goal and what it meant to lead a simple yet extraordinary life. He left behind an indelible mark in the minds of people who shall fondly remember his special style and his ability to lead over crisis and put vision into action!