The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, the alma mater of Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Monday paid respects to the institute’s first graduate who went on to become the head of a state.
Parrikar, who passed away Sunday at the age of 63, had served as Goa’s chief minister four times and had a three-year-long stint as defence minister in the Narendra Modi-led cabinet. Since February 2018, Parrikar had been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Parrikar was a B Tech (metallurgy) student at IIT B between 1974 and 1978. A statement issued by the institute administration on behalf IIT director Deven Khakhar said: “Goa Chief Minister Mr Manohar Parrikar’s demise comes as a shock to all of us at IIT Bombay. He was the institute’s distinguished alumnus and (was) keenly involved with many (of its) initiatives… He was also deeply involved with the launch of IIT Goa… The institute condoles his demise.”
The event turned emotional when 75-year-old retired security guard, Budram Barai, shared his memories of Parrikar when he was a student at the institute – Parrikar was a boarder at hostel number 4 of the institute during his graduation years, where Barai was posted as a guard.
“I didn’t eat without him. I would keep his food aside and wait for him to come. Everyday, he would ask me to wake him up at 3 am, and I would sometimes wake him up 10 minutes early so as to make sure that he studied well. He is alive in my heart and will always be,” said Barai.
Even after assuming charge as the Chief Minister of Goa, Parrikar had visited Barai’s house twice and had lunch with him during his visits to the institute’s campus, Barai said. Barai even named his son (born in 1978) Mannu, after Manohar.
During the event, Badresh Padia, an alumnus of the chemical engineering department, recalled his brief meeting with Parrikar in 2003. “He came and sat next to me. He even shook my hand and it did not seem like he was the CM of a state,” Padia said.
Another alumnus, Apurva Apte, said it was under the guidance of Parrikar that a solid waste management cell was set up within a record 18 months under the Department of Science and Technology, government of Goa.
“The plant was set up in record-breaking time (of 18 months). We were amazed by his quick decision-making skill and the efficiency with which he conducted multi-departmental meetings to speed up the work… His simplicity was beyond words,” Apte said.