No matter how many promotions he got in the Army, he always remained extremely down to earth and approachable towards his friends,” said city-based Ajit Kanitkar.
Kanitkar is one of the classmates and friends of Lt-General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who is all set to become the next chief of Indian Army from January 1, 2020.
Born and brought up in Pune, Naravane is alumnus of the city’s Jnana Prabodhini Prashala and National Defence Academy (NDA).
“We together passed Delhi Board’s class XI from Jnana Prabodhini in 1976. As students, I remember that we played a lot. Since Prabodhini did not have its own playground, which it still doesn’t have, we used to go to the ground of New English School, Tilak Road to play. Manoj was good at playing hockey, football and basketball,” Kanitkar said.
Another classmate and close friend of Naravane, orthopaedic surgeon Milind Modak said, “Manoj was extremely intelligent. Even while playing any sport, his calculations and manoeuvres on the field were always spot on. But what we batchmates have always adored about him is his humility.”
Known to be humble and down to earth among his peers and teachers, his friends have described Naravane as very approachable.
“After he passed out of NDA, he would keep moving from one posting to another, and he kept rising to higher ranks. However, he always had his rapport with all his friends. He never said no to meeting us. Manoj was never someone to flaunt his position,” Kanitkar said.
Another quality that friends have fondly attributed to Naravane is his calmness. “I have never seen him disturbed. Neither in school nor whenever I visited him during any of his postings. He was always calm and knew what he was doing. I think this is very important, considering the position he is soon going to take up,” Modak added.
While stating that the school has given the country over 40 defence officers, Jnana Prabodhini Prashala Principal Milind Naik said that Prabodhini, since its inception has encouraged its students to think of the society before their individual self.
“Our motto itself says: ‘Motivating individuals for social change’. Most of our alumni have been exceptionally active in the social field and have been contributing to the society in different ways,” Naik said.