The Parrikar Phenomenon

By on May 07, 2019
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With logic to every opinion and the heart of a true Goan, Manohar Parrikar was a mine of smart decisions

When I returned to Goa after completing my higher studies from the United States in 1995, we had a common circle of friends in Panaji. There were many but one particular gentleman stood out from the rest. He seemed quite unusual.

I was introduced to Manohar Parrikar by Sandeep Kundaikar, a close family friend of both of us. That’s how I started meeting and getting to know him, and at the end of every interaction, I was left in no doubt that this man was different.

The first thing you noticed was his straightforwardness. He didn’t bother whether you felt good or bad about his opinion; if he had to speak, nothing would stop him. He spoke his mind, but unlike many politicians – he was only recently elected MLA – for every opinion that he gave, he had his logic. I like people who can convey their opinion with logic. A year after we had first met and I became chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies, I was appointed head of the Planning and Development Authority (PDA).

Parrikar, as MLA of Panaji, was an ex-officio member, and I discovered another unknown side. Not once did he recommend any proposal to be cleared and, unlike politicians, provided independent opinions. He was such an asset. When we went for on-site inspections, his inputs as an IITian were invaluable. Over the years, I found him to be extremely hard working.

For him, work was supreme. This is what makes people successful: The passion and hunger to succeed can overcome the toughest of odds. Whether he was an MLA, leader of the opposition, chief minister or even India’s Defence minister, his commitment to work remained unchanged. That’s something that really impressed me.

Parrikar’s ability to take decisions also stood out from the rest. Do you know how much time it took for him to decide that the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) was good for Goa? A few seconds. Do you know how much time he took to clear the proposal? Forty-eight hours. I was at the centre of all this as a member of the Confederate of Indian Industry’s western region, and it was Parrikar who made it happen. How he got the necessary infrastructure in place for IFFI is the thing of legends. Many said he was moving too fast, but the proof is right here in the city.

Once, I was in a meeting with him late in the night, possibly past 10pm. When we were done, he asked whether I still had some time. It was time for a site visit and we landed at Inox which was being constructed. Believe me, his attention to detail was phenomenal. He knew exactly where the wires were located, what equipment was about to land and the exact progress chart.

Parrikar had several pet subjects, none more important than education. Education is close to the heart of the Dempo Group and I picked up a lot of ideas from him. He was a huge advocate of education for all and repeatedly told me not to consider education as business. At heart, wherever he went, he was a simple Goan. During his stint in Delhi as Defence minister, he longed to meet Goans. I always found him more relaxed.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.

Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.


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