He showed us another side of campus life, say Manohar Parrikar’s IIT-B friends
The news of Goa chief minister (CM) Manohar Parrikar’s death was met with sadness at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B), where he studied from 1973 to 1980. While many shared fond memories of Parrikar as a student, others recalled the humble man who attended alumni meets regularly.
His friends at the institute always knew he was meant to be a leader. Bakul Desai, Parrikar’s junior, hostel mate and close friend, recalled, “Our hostel mess fee was Rs 180 per month. In order to reduce the price, he went to Byculla market to buy vegetables himself. The idea was adopted by our mess contractor and the fees were reduced to Rs 160.”
Desai said, “At every alumni meet, members were handed a coupon for lunch. Despite his status as the defence minister [from 2014-2017], he would hold the coupon and stand in the queue year after year. He always asked his security to step away when he was with friends.”
Mukund Deshpande, a Pune-based civil engineer and another hostel mate of Parrikar, remembered a time in 1978 when the hostel mess staff went on an indefinite strike. “He was on good terms with the mess workers as he always participated in the committee. After the strike was called, he spoke to the workers. When they refused to serve us, he convinced 40 of us to cook ourselves. That was the best meal we ever had,” said Deshpande, who graduated with a civil engineering degree from IIT-B in 1980.
“At a time when all of us only focused on books, we always saw Manu on his Yezdi, involved in things beyond just studies. He showed us a different side to campus life.”
Several IIT-B alumnus and students took to social media to pay their respects. Ganesh Natarajan, who graduated from the mechanical engineering department in 2005, said little changed after Parrikar became CM. “Have seen him take an auto rickshaw to the airport even after becoming Goa CM. He will be missed across all walks of life,” he shared on Twitter.
A spokesperson for IIT-B 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 initiatives at IIT-Bombay. He was also deeply involved with the launch of IIT-Goa. The Institute condoles his demise.”