New Delhi: Seldom does a memoir of an Indian politician, more so one that is written after his passing away, generate a feeling of affection and respect for the individual.
That’s where the succinctly put words, paragraphs and pages on the life of former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by journalist Nitin. A. Gokhale, stands out as it leaves a lasting impression of Parrikar on the minds of the readers as Gokhale effortlessly traces the rise and the challenges that Parrikar faced in his personal and professional life without the people around him realizing the difficulties that he was facing. As per Gokhale’s own admission in the book, that he mentions in the very initial pages, his friendship with Parrikar was not an old one, but began when he joined the Union Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This confession by Gokhale, which if he wanted, could have been left out from the book, adds to the credibility of Parrikar, the writer and the book as it proves how Parrikar cultivated and handled relationships old and new.
The book which is titled “Manohar Parrikar: Brilliant mind, simple life”, published by Bloomsbury, sums up how Parrikar lived his life, in a contended space where the only thing he needed was a few friends, some time to enjoy his beer and fish and an environment where he could work for 20 hours in a day so that he could finish the task that he was assigned either by the RSS in his initial days or by PM Modi during his stint in Delhi.
The anecdotes shared by Gokhale, which are not pushed just for the sake of putting them in the pages as many writers penning a memoir of a politician do, are small yet valuable as they give an insight into how Parrikar, the people’s politician, worked and thought.
Parrikar was one of the rare politicians that India had who could take quick decisions involving great risks as was evident from the numerous incidents brought out by Gokhale in the book and many others that are already out in the public domain.
After reading the book, one can imagine and arrive at a definite answer to questions like whether the decades old OROP issue would have been solved so swiftly had it not presented itself to Parrikar or whether the Indian forces could have been able to fight back strongly during the recent border stand-off with China which happened almost one year after Parrikar left the world, had not Parrikar realized and responded in quick time to the policy paralysis that was plaguing the Defense ministry which had led to a massive shortage of critical arms and ammunitions. Parrikar, who as the book will also confirm, was a magician at solving complex issues, the benefit of which was seen by the people of Goa and the corridors of the Ministry of Defense. His untimely passing away, took away not just from the BJP but from the people of Goa and India at large, a rare politician who truly cared for the common man.