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Interesting snippets from Manohar Parrikar’s extraordinary life

An Extraordinary Life  showcases Manohar Parrikar’s rise in politics from the son of a grocery store owner in a nondescript town, a sanghachalak in Mapusa town, an Opposition MLA and leader, to a chief minister (on multiple occasions) and, finally, to a defence minister.

Over the last two decades, the exploits of one man, an IIT-Bombay alumnus, changed the way mainstream India looked at Goa and the political goings-on in the country’s smallest state.

In An Extraordinary Life, Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar explore daily battles of a gifted individual are brought to the fore as he encounters love and vices.

Alongside his public feats and persona, Parrikar was also an intriguing man with some personality quirks that contributed to his political career. We take a look at some of these below:

 

Finding a way out

 

‘Falling into trouble isn’t rare when one is young. But even at the age of eight, Manohar had the temperament to find a way out of it.

Avdhoot was nine, a year older than Manohar, when the latter fell into a deep, dry rainwater ditch near their ancestral house in Parra village. The gutter was deep enough to make Manohar’s efforts to climb out of it futile. Like in many rural homes at the time, the Parrikar household also reared a few head of cattle.

‘Manohar told me to fetch at least five bundles of straw. They weren’t too heavy, so I brought them one by one and, on his direction, threw them into the gutter. He piled them one on top of the other and managed to climb out,’ Avdhoot recalled.’

 

IIT-Bombay

 

‘A year after the release of the Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha–starrer Bombay to Goa, seventeen-year-old Parrikar left Goa to go to Bombay in 1973. And just like Bachchan was a superstarwaiting-in-the-wings in the S. Ramanathan film, IIT-Bombay gaveParrikar the fertile breeding ground for his personality to blossom and allowed him to come into his own.

As far as Parrikar was concerned, he was to give IIT-Bombay the privilege of having on its rolls the first IITian chief minister in India, and his hostel-mates the pleasure of better meals at the mess at that time.’

 

Resourcefulness and Keen Eye

 

‘Even his mother was often stumped by Manohar’s resourcefulness. Radhabai once had enough of her son’s brattish behaviour. So she locked him up in a room one day.

According to Walavalkar, Manohar escaped by breaking the glass windowpanes. Another time Radhabai decided to teach her younger son a lesson once again. She decided to play dead to get Manohar worked up. Avdhoot, who was nearby, saw her lying still and not responding to his call. He called out to Manohar for help. ‘I thought Aai was dead and started crying. But Manohar was obviously smarter than me. He told me not to cry because he could see Aai’s stomach moving with her breath. Her plan to rattle him was foiled,’ Avdhoot said.’

 

Calligraphic Skills

 

‘Apart from his special talent at maths, he was regularly complimented by his teachers for his immaculate handwriting, something the media also noticed decades later when his handwritten noting related to the Rafale deal as the defence minister merited a news feature story in February 2019.

‘Cursive font. Sentences so perfectly stacked you wonder if a ruler was involved. No strikethroughs. No smudged ink. A written reply by Manohar Parrikar to India’s defence secretary in 2015, accessed by ANI, would put any schoolteacher’s pet to shame,’ stated an India Today online story headlined ‘Rafale Row Rages.’

 

Appetite for Reading

 

‘When he was in school, he loved reading storybooks, instead of ‘boring’ school texts.

‘Often he would pretend that he was reading a textbook when our parents were around, but cached inside was a storybook. Once, a relative got suspicious because Manohar had been going hard at this coursebook for hours and yanked it from his hands. The hidden storybook fell out too,’ said Avdhoot.

Manohar also developed another habit early on. A habit that would hold him in good stead in his later years. Reading newspapers. So obsessed was he with reading newspapers that his parents started worrying about it.’

***

An Extraordinary Life || Sadguru Patil, Mayabhushan Nagvenkar

 

An Extraordinary Life  showcases Manohar Parrikar’s rise in politics from the son of a grocery store owner in a nondescript town, a sanghachalak in Mapusa town, an Opposition MLA and leader, to a chief minister (on multiple occasions) and, finally, to a defence minister.

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