Manohar Parrikar, former Defense Minister of India and Chief Minister of Goa, passed away yesterday after suffering from Pancreatic Cancer for months. True to his grit, he continued to serve the country till his last breath.
Apart from his many qualities and sterling achievements, Parrikar was also known to make comments which augmented his reputation as a no-nonsense leader and a straightforward politician. In this article, we shall look at some of his statements which ruffled a lot of feathers.
On the 26th of November, 2016, Parrikar said about Pakistan, “We don’t itch for a fight. But if someone looks at the country with an evil eye, we will gouge his eyes out and put them back in his hand. There was no firing on the border for the last three days because if they fire once, we fire twice at them. We are giving a tit-for-tat response, and when they realized it, they approached us, seeking to stop it.”
Only a few days after the first Surgical Strikes, the late Chief Minister of Goa had said, “Pakistan’s condition after the surgical strikes is like that of an anaesthetized patient after a surgery who doesn’t know that the surgery has already been performed on him. Even two days after the surgical strikes, Pakistan has no idea what has happened… If Pakistan continues with such conspiracies, we will give them a befitting reply again.”
On another occasion, Parrikar remarked, “Our soldiers sent back five terrorists yesterday. And going to Pakistan and going to hell is the same.” His approach towards the menace of terrorism as Defense Minister has been directed towards inflicting heavy costs on the enemies. He had said once, “I gave instructions to the armed forces personnel to shoot at anyone possessing an AK-47 machine gun as it is obvious they do not have any good intentions.”
The former Defense Minister was also clear in his vision that terrorist should not expect human rights. He had stated, “A terrorist coming to India with a gun should not expect human rights. If required, we will neutralize terrorists with terrorists. Our Army of 13 lakhs is not to preach peace.”
On Indian Nuclear Policy, Parrikar had made a significant remark in 2016. He had said, “Why a lot of people say that India has No First Use policy… I should say I am a responsible nuclear power and I will not use it irresponsibly… And as an individual, I get a feeling sometime why do I say that I am not going to use it first. I am not saying that you have to use it first just because you don’t decide that you don’t use it first. The hoax can be called off.”
Parrikar also had a charming sense of humour. Once, he made a witty remark about his perceived ‘Seedha-Sadha’ image. “Someone said that I am simple (seedha-saadha). I think the Defence Minister should not be straight when it comes to ensuring the safety of the country. In matters of the country’s defence, I can be wily (tedha),” he had said.
He was also aware of honesty not being the only criterion for a proper leader. He said once, “Honesty without output is of no use. It’s not that if you are honest then you can’t deliver. A simple way of living honestly is not to take any decision. When you take a decision, you have to pass through a path with thorns and nails. You have to avoid all those and take a clear, conscious decision in the interest of the nation.”
Manohar Parrikar was an epitome of integrity, honesty, nationalism and courage. Even in the face of imminent demise, he continued to serve the country with utmost dedication.