Ranchi grooms run after Ford that drove Mahatma Gandhi | india | Hindustan Times
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Ranchi grooms run after Ford that drove Mahatma Gandhi

india Updated: Oct 02, 2011 00:20 IST
B Vijay Murty

Grooms from elite families in the Jharkhand capital are indulging in a spot of Gandhigiri. They have forsaken elephants and horses, the preferred carriage at weddings, for a vintage Ford that ferried no less a personage than Mahatma Gandhi around 70 years ago.

The four-seater red convertible belongs to the city's well-known liquor merchants, the Jaiswals. The late Laxminarayan Jaiswal, then a second generation shellac businessman, imported the car from the US in 1922.

The family contributed handsomely to the freedom movement, donating land and gold. And in 1940, when Gandhi was on his way to Ramgarh from Ranchi to attend the Ramgarh Congress Conference, Laxminarayan played chauffeur for the 45-km drive.

Today, the family owns at least 15 vintage and several luxury cars. "But this Ford remains our prized possession. It is the Mahatma connection that makes it so special," says Aditya Vikram Jaiswal, 30, great grandson of Laxminarayan. The car led his baraat too, and he drove it himself while bringing his bride home.

So far, more than 200 grooms - all close friends and relatives - have taken out their marriage processions in this car.

Sanjay Jaiswal, 50, a distant relative of Laxminarayan, still remembers bringing his bride home in this car in 1985.

"Words can't express the happiness I felt sitting in the same vehicle that once carried the father of our nation. It was a moment of great pride," said Jaiswal, a hotelier in Varanasi, UP.

The family tries to accommodate most requests, but the fear of damage to this priceless machine does bother them.