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. An Extraordinary Life traces the life and times of Manohar Parrikar through the informed voices of his relatives, friends, foes, bureaucrats and IIT contemporaries. The daily battles of a gifted individual are brought to the fore as he encounters love and vices. But more importantly, it showcases his 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.
Arguably Parrikar was one of the most charismatic politicians in the contemporary India. Known for his integrity and vision, Parrikar had never forsaken pragmatism in his administrative and political dealings. A committed RSS worker, he never shied away from calling spade a spade. As Defence Minister, addressing a gathering of RSS volunteers on the topic of Make in India, he said: “We talk of our glorious past and how we made aircraft in pre-historic times, etc. But the reality is that today we can’t make a nut or bolt flawlessly that we use in our military equipment.” He was much criticised for calling BJP stalwart L K Advani, his guru, a “rancid” and “ageing pickle”.
Penguin is bringing out a biography of Parrikar written by journalist duo Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar. Patil has been working for leading Marathi newspapers since 1995. He was chief reporter with Dainik Gomantak and is now the Bureau Chief with the Goa edition of Lokmat. He has extensively covered politics and all major political developments in Goa. For ten years now, Sadguru’s incisive weekly political column ‘Saripaat’ has had an avid following. Sadguru has interviewed Manohar Parrikar on at least 20 occasions in different roles as an Opposition MLA, Opposition Leader, Chief Minister and Defence Minister.
Nagvenkar has been a journalist for nearly 22 years working out of Mumbai, Delhi and Goa. He had worked with Tehelka, Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, Associated Press, BBC, Firstpost, The Guardian, Daily Pioneer, Deccan Herald, Himal, Scroll, etc.
“An indefatigable and spirted politician, he chose to work until his last days, and left a mark wherever he went. An Extraordinary Life by Patil and Nagvenkar chronicles the life and impact of Manohar Parrikar in Indian politics,” said Milee Ashwarya, publisher, Ebury Publishing and Vintage Publishing, Penguin Random House India.