Tuesday 23 July 2024

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Society | People

Goa’s ‘Tai’ and first woman CM no more


Shashikala Kakodkar, Goa’s first woman chief minister, and India’s third, expired today afternoon after brief illness.

She was 81.

She died peacefully at home while she was bed ridden for the last two months.

Her body would be brought to the Altinho residence at 11.30 am tomorrow from the GMC morgue. She would be cremated at St Inez at 5 pm.

Known popularly as Tai, the eldest daughter of Goa’s first CM Bhausaheb Bandodkar was elected to the second Assembly of Goa, Daman and Diu union territory in 1967 election, as the first woman legislator of Goa.

She became Goa’s first woman minister in Bandodkar’s Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party cabinet in 1972, as a state rank minister for education.

Tai turned out to be equally a capable chief minister, when she succeeded her father, who suddenly expired on 12th August in 1973.

After ruling for 3 years and 10 months, she brought back the MGP to power.

But she could not survive for more than 1 year and 10 months due to a revolt by young turks – Dayanand Narvekar and Dilkhush Desai, who were later joined by law minister Shankar Laad and speaker Narayan Fugro.


She lost the budget demands in the Assembly on 27th April 1979 by one vote (15 v/s 14), following which then Prime Minister Morarji Desai imposed the President’s rule in Goa.

Graduated as a history student, Tai was just not looked upon as a politician but a real statesman with firm views and vision for Goa.

Her decision to limit government grants only to the regional language medium primary schools, when she again became education minister in 1990, is still rocking the state.

After losing two subsequent elections in 1999 and 2002, Tai retired from active politics and dedicated herself to social, cultural and literary activities.

She was the convenor of Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch till the end.

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In Shashikala’s Kakodkar’s death Goa has lost a great leader. Goa’s second Chief Minister, 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. Shashikala Kakodkar was India’s third lady Chief Minister, the first being Sucheta Kriplani (Uttar Pradesh) and the second being Nandini Satpathy (Orissa). Shashikala Kakodkar had a firm grip over the administration unlike some of the subsequent Chief Ministers.

As a friend of the family, Shashikala’s three sons Yatin, Sameer and Abhay we 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 Shashikala Kakodkar Government. 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.

Shashikala Kakodkar was definitely never vindictive. Though I was a very close family 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.

Aires Rodrigues , Ribandar