In a shocking and disappointing stand which is bereft of any logic, the Chief Minister of Goa Dr Pramod Sawant, who shall be referred to as Pramod henceforth, passed a resolution in the Goa Assembly that the New Goa Airport at Mopa should be named Manohar International Airport.
Pramod told the House that the decision to name the New Goa Airport as the Manohar International Airport was taken by the Centre (Ministry of Civil Aviation). He further expressed that both he and his government have immense respect for Manohar Parrikar.
While the Centre may have decided on the name for the New Goa Airport. Are we to believe that the Goa government cannot and does not have a mind or say of its own, outside the decision of the Centre? I do not believe we have a dictatorial government at the Centre at all, whose orders Chief Ministers in the BJP-governed states must follow unquestionably. Secondly, the Goa government could have moved its own resolution to name the New Goa Airport as ‘Manohar Parrikar International Airport’ it is within its rights to do so. But they failed to do so and it does not make any sense.
Opposition MLA Vijai Sardesai alleged, “It seems there is an allergy to the Parrikar name.” There has been a political grapevine in the state for some time now that certain quarters do not want the legacy of ‘Parrikar’ to persist. I think it is foolish on the part of any political lobby to assume or presume that the ‘Manohar Parrikar’ legacy will die down in Goa or India. I don’t think Pramod or any other political leader in Goa is allergic to the ‘Parrikar’ name or legacy. But what is certainly not making sense is the logic behind the naming of the airport as ‘Manohar’ and not ‘Manohar Parrikar’. If there is sound logic then the Centre and State should come out openly and tell the people of Goa and India. To think that the people of Goa will not ask questions is even more foolish.
The ‘Manohar is my friend’ expressions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ‘Parrikar is my teacher’ expressions of Pramod certainly have elements of genuine respect for the Late Manohar Parrikar.
Therefore, it baffles even the most logical person to decode the reason behind both the Centre and the State naming the airport ‘Manohar’ especially when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pramod have time and again expressed love and respect in their flowery tributes to the Late Manohar Parrikar on various occasions.
In fact, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fondness, love and respect for Manohar Parrikar that led him to decide to dedicate the Mopa Airport to Manohar Parrikar. He even expressed his thoughts of admiration for Manohar Parrikar at the launch of the New Goa Airport. So there is no way I or anyone can doubt the respect of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Manohar Parrikar.
But, I must ask in all humility; Whose is Manohar? India and the world know Manohar Parrikar as Manohar Parrikar or Parrikar or Bhaiee. Of course, you could not have named the New Goa Airport as Bhaiee International Airport. But it could have been named Manohar Parrikar International Airport or if a long name was a constraint, it could have been named just Parrikar International Airport. Manohar sounds wrong and most important it is wrong. It is not a tribute but a half-hearted tribute that makes no sense at all to most Goans and Indians too at least in its actions.
I have been in the North of India, over the last couple of days. I took an Ola for my travels. The name of the Ola driver was Salim Khan. Since it was a long drive, we got talking. When Salim, realised I was from Goa. He commented, “You had a good leader Parrikarji. I heard him on TV sometimes but never met him. He was a good man. India needs more politicians like him.” Here is a common man. Someone who only dreams of coming to Goa. Someone I am sure who would not know the name of any other politician in Goa. He remembers ‘Parrikarji’ and he associates him with Goa and with goodness.
Mr Manohar Parrikar is not just a ‘Manohar’, it is hurtful to Goans. We should never disrespect and allow disrespect for such a great man by calling him ‘Manohar’. There are many Manohars in Goa and in India and maybe around the world too but there was only one ‘Manohar Parrikar’.
Manohar Parrikar brought a unique respectability to Goa on the national and international stage. He showed the people of India that from a small state like Goa, a tall leader with immense integrity and passion to dedicate his life to the service of Mother India could be born. He was not a politician even though he was politically astute and had brilliant political acumen, he was a soldier and a visionary who wanted a Better Goa and a Better India. His life was a life of simplicity and a life of devotion. Till his last breath, he worked for Goa and India.
Don’t disrespect this legend in such a manner, Pramod! At least in the true spirit of respect, the Goa government could have moved a resolution to name it ‘Manohar Parrikar International Airport’, we, as Goa, could have impressed upon the Centre and convinced them of their folly in the naming. But you and your government did not even take this first step of moving a resolution naming the Mopa airport ‘Manohar Parrikar International Airport’, which should have been taken on the floor of the House. It is hugely disappointing.
I am clear in my thoughts. I will consciously not utilise the services of the New Goa Airport at Mopa until it is appropriately named ‘Manohar Parrikar International Airport’. I know, I am a nobody and my decision will not cause a ripple effect but I cannot disrespect ‘Manohar Parrikar’ and travel in an airport mouthed to be dedicated to him but named just ‘Manohar’.