Former Goa governor Mridula Sinha known to be a prolific Hindi writer and a calm political observer passed away ten days before her 78th birthday leaving the nation and especially leaders in Goa in shock. Known for her penchant for writing on social issues, some of her books that won her wide acclaim were Dampatya Ki Dhoop-Chhanh (on marriage), Sita Puni Boli, Ahalya Uvach, Jyon Mehandi Ke Rang and Atishaya. Mridula was an avid reader too, and a few hours before her Goa tenure came to an end in October 2019, she disclosed that her 86th book was on Goa, work on which was in progress. She spoke of how her vast collection of books would be incomplete without Goa and recounted the good memories when she lived in the State.
Mridula was a soft-natured individual, but she too encountered upheavals. If we may recall, a major controversy erupted, one that became a talking point across the State, when she invited BJP, the second-largest party after the March 2017 assembly elections ignoring the Congress party which finished just four short of a majority winning 17 of the 40 seats.
Mridula had a different connect with Goans and constantly tried to reach out to the people of the State. In fact, she was the first governor to open the gates of the majestic Raj Bhavan to the public and even invited children from Bal Bavan and special children from different parts of the State to visit the palace. She even reserved one play area and park for these children inside the premises. A strong desire to involve and reach out to the people of the land was visible. Mridula headed the Swachh Mission in Goa; however, despite her several initiatives, including the one of awarding cities for garbage management, the State failed in tackling the vexed issue.
Mridula, besides her penchant for writing, will be remembered as a peace-loving person. She draws a strange analogy of the peace in the early morning hours and compares it to the budding flower of dawn. Mridula may not have actively engaged in public issues and mass movements, but she had a special connection to the State and always praised the warm and hospitable lifestyle of people. “I will carry a part of Goa with me as I move out, and it will always remain dear to me. I would certainly love to come back visiting Goa in the times ahead,” were her final words before she bid Goa goodbye as governor.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant may be facing flak for double-tracking and coal transportation projects recently, but back then in 2019, Mridula exuded confidence in his leadership and refused to draw parallels to his predecessor Manohar Parrikar. While she signed off from Raj Bhavan, she promised to visit the State very often and update herself about Goa through interactions with the chief minister. Her plans of visiting Goa have come to an abrupt end. Rest in peace.