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Updated January 19th, 2024 at 19:48 IST

‘Memory Still Gives Goosebumps’: Man Who Made Chariot for LK Advani's 1990 Rath Yatra Gets Emotional

"I feel Lord Ram chose us to make the rath. When we built the chariot, we felt like we were making it for Lord Ram and not for Advani-ji," he said.

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Maker of Advani's 1990 'rath' gets emotional Ayodhya Rath Yatra Lord Ram Ram Temple
Maker of Advani's 1990 'rath' gets emotional | Image:Social Media
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Mumbai: Prakash Nalawade, who made the 'rath' or chariot for Lal Krishna Advani's Rath Yatra in 1990, says the memory still gives him goosebumps as the stage is now set for the consecration of the new Ram temple in Ayodhya on January 22. Nalawade, a resident of suburban Chembur, had a fabrication business, and he managed to convert a mini-truck into a chariot in just ten days.

It was to travel around 10,000 km and face rough weather along the way. Advani announced the yatra on September 12, 1990, and it began from Somnath in Gujarat on September 25.

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“I was approached by BJP leader Pramod Mahajan a few days before the yatra. Art director Shanti Dev had designed the rath, and I had to make it. We used aluminium and other tough materials to make the chariot so that it could withstand extreme climatic conditions,” the 66-year-old said. It had an air-conditioned cabin and power backup, Nalawade said.

“I was honoured to make the rath. As the temple consecration ceremony nears, I feel Lord Ram chose us to make the rath. When we built the chariot, we felt like we were making it for Lord Ram and not for Advani-ji," he said.

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"I still get goosebumps when I think about it," said Nalawade, adding that people were fighting for the temple for 500 years. Advani was arrested in Bihar on October 23, 1990, and the yatra ended there before it could reach Ayodhya. But it provided a momentum to the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and provided a boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party. 

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Published January 19th, 2024 at 19:47 IST

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