The book is available in three languages and shares a freewheeling account on the political and social impact of Goa’s former Chief Minister
Manohar Parrikar’s impact on Goa’s political landscape has been indelible. After his demise a number of biographies dedicated to him came out, many of them written by journalists who had the experience of working during the political tenure of Parrikar and therefore, being first hand witnesses of his career and personal life.
Waman Prabhu, who has completed more than five decades in the field of journalism in Goa, not only followed the life and times of Parrikar, but was also a close friend of the popular politician.
Prabhu’s book, Manohar Parrikar: Off the Record is based on his close association with the former Defence Minister of India and former Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, for more than 26 years, having witnessed his political journey before getting elected as an MLA right up to his last days.
Prabhu elaborates on the idea behind writing the book. “There were a few things which led me to writing this book. I had played a crucial role in the MGP- BJP alliance in 1994 and Parrikar used to tell me that I will mention it in my book. Unfortunately he could not do that. Secondly I always wanted to write a book on different topics which I had in mind but somehow I was never able to pen it down. Last year, lockdown happened and I utilised that time to jot down my memories of Parrikar and some instances which have never come out in public domain and also some unseen sides of Parrikar which I had the privilege to observe during my association with him.”
Off the Record is a tri-lingual biography written in Marathi, Konkani and Hindi and when Prabhu began writing it, it was never his plan to print the book in three languages. “I wrote the book initially in Marathi and released it in January this year. The response was overwhelming and within the first month I had to go for a second edition. Many of my friends from Delhi and other parts of Northern India asked me whether the book is available in Hindi after seeing my posts on social media. Manohar Parrikar was a national leader and had many admirers throughout India. Also, he represented Lucknow as member of Rajya Sabha. There was no book on Manohar Parrikar in Hindi – that’s the reason I chose to publish a Hindi edition, which is now available globally.”
As for writing in Konkani, Prabhu considered writing in a language that Goans speak every day. “Though the size of the market is not big but emotionally I felt the need to write about a great son of Goa and not to have it in Konkani would be unfair. Incidentally, this is a first book in Konkani on Parrikar.”
Prabhu also has had enquiries for a book in English and is currently thinking of publishing it in a digital format, but plans on that are still firming up.
It took Prabhu around four months to write his first Marathi book. “I consider it my first baby as getting the book rolled out was quite a task and included a lot of hassles. By the time the book was released, it was already nine months and hence it’s fair to call it a baby.”
The Hindi edition wasn’t much of a problem as it was translated by Kishore Arjun and the publisher was Notion Press, who were very professional. This book was released worldwide online on 17th March 2021, the second death anniversary of Parrikar.
The Konkani edition was an easy exercise, as Prabhu himself was doing it and the book was available on the stands on 1st May 2021. Prabhu shared a close rapport with Parrikar and explains why the former chief minister’s legacy will continue to live on in Goa. “Parrikar was one of the sharpest political minds that I have come across in my entire journalistic career spanning over five decades. His performance in the Goa Legislative Assembly, both as Chief Minister and as Leader of Opposition was exemplary. There may be some flaws but his commitment to Goa was unquestionable.
Parrikar’s legacy will live on in the different projects completed during his tenure. Parrikar loved getting things done and get it completed before deadlines. Be it Inox, New Patto bridges, numerous bridges across Goa and other numerous projects. The Atal Setu was one of his dream projects which he inaugurated before his death. He was also instrumental in getting the new Zuari Bridge sanctioned.”
As a senior journalist and pioneer of local TV, Prabhu is a busy man. “With the COVID 19 refusing to go, I am writing my next book which is about my 51 year journey in journalism – right from 1969 when I joined daily Gomantak to present times. How things were then and how they have changed now, coupled with some of my experiences in print and electronic media. I plan to release this book in July in English and Marathi”