Goa, October 28, 2016: In Shashikala Kakodkar’s death Goa has lost a great leader. This first woman Chief Minister of picturesque state of Goa and the second one in its list of chief ministers, Shashikala Kakodkar was known as ‘Tai’ to us all. She took over the reins of Goa on August 12, 1973 following the death of her father, Goa’s first Chief Minister, Dayanand Bandodkar. She also has the distinction of being the third woman Chief Minister in India’s history preceded by Sucheta Kriplani ofUttar Pradesh and Nandini Satpathy of Orissa. She had a firm grip over the administration unlike some of her successors.
As a friend of the family, Shashikala’s three sons Yatin, Sameer and Abhay and I played together as children. Shashikala’s three boys were brought up as normal kids never pampered or allowed to play truant unlike most children of today’s tribe of politicians. In spite of her busy schedule as Chief Minister, whenever I was at their Porvorim residence at lunch time she made sure lunch was served at her hands.
In 1979 the student community proved to be a formidable force to be able to challenge the then Government headed by Shashikala Kakodkar. It was the kindling of student activism in Goa. It was the desire that the student community in Goa should get 50% bus concession. The powerful bus owner's lobby was being fully supported by the government led by her. The student agitation spread from Pernem to Canacona and within 13 days of launching of the agitation the Shashikala Kakodkar Government decided to concede to the demand of the student community for 50% bus concession.
During the same student agitation, on 7th Jan 1979 she was being felicitated at Azad Maidan on her 44th birthday by a committee headed by the late Mr. V.M Salgaoncar. As she was not conceding to our demand for 50 % bus concession we decided to demonstrate and disrupt her felicitation function at Azad Maidan. We were successful and ended up with VM Salgaoncar’s Mercedes car badly smashed in that chaotic evening. It was just a coincidence that I later graduated in law from VM Salgaoncar’s college.
She was definitely never vindictive. Though I am a very close friend of the Kakodkar family, Shashikala respected my right to oppose some of her government’s policies and decisions. And for this I respected and always held her in the highest esteem. She was more than a "Tai" to me. She was always very concerned about my well being.
Shashikala Kakodkar graciously conducted herself even after being out of power. She at all times kept herself abreast with issues concerning Goa. We should always remember the contribution of this great lady towards the development of Goa and in particular the upliftment of the Bahujan Samaj. May her Soul rest in eternal peace.