Man who conceived Guj's Statue of Unity feels memorial on India's first aircraft carrier will help preserve history
Pune: Prabhakar Kolhatkar, the man who conceived the mammoth Sardar Patel memorial -Statue of Unity in Gujarat - has come out with a solution which would sort out the issue of INS Vikrant and as well as the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea.
Speaking to dna, Kolhatkar said that building a memorial in Arabian Sea which shows Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj riding a horse is illogical.
He said, "One can think of saving the heritage in INS Vikrant. Building a memorial of Shivaji Maharaj on Vikrant is logical as Maharaj was the pioneer of Indian Navy who built sea forts to safeguard Indian oceans from British invaders as well as Dutch and Portugese."
Kolhatkar said that the memorial would be unique in a sense that there would be a huge building inside the statue and the same can be done for Shivaji Maharaj Memorial on Vikrant.
He suggested that a museum of Indian Naval history starting from Shivaji Maharaj's contribution can be created in the building which can be inside the huge statue.
Kolhatkar said that by scrapping Vikrant, one can get just Rs68 crore but by preserving it, generations to come would know about the legendary warrior king's vision for identifying sea power and contribution of INS Vikrant to the Indian Navy.
Recalling his eight meetings with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, he said, "It was during my trip to see the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project with my son-in-law that I came to know an 8-feet tall statue of Sardar Patel was contemplated near the site. Sardar Patel, in a period of just 30 months, merged 562 princely states in Union of India and contributed for national unity in an unparallel way."
He added, "Hence I felt that Sardar Patel's 8-feet tall statue would not be a befitting tribute to this Great Son of India. I came home, prepared sketches for the huge memorial and sent a mail to Modi. To my surprise, I received a mail from Modi's office after nine days and he invited me to meet him."
Kolhatkar prepared a detailed presentation of the proposed memorial which was named Statue of Unity and showed it to Modi during his first visit.
Kolhatkar said that the presentation had 34 slides and on the eighth frame, Modi told him that the memorial would be exactly as it is shown in the presentation.
Kolhatkar made it clear that there was no intention of comparing it with Statue of Liberty in US but the demand of scale required such a big dimension for the memorial.
Kolhatkar said, "I met Modi eight times out of which four meetings were one on one while the other four meetings were along with his officials."
Kolhatkar was a special invitee on foundation laying ceremony for the Statue of Unity project and was felicitated during the function.
He had suggested Modi to release a hot air balloon up to 182 metre height so that it can be ascertained as to from which places Sardar Patel's memorial can be seen. Accordingly, the tourism places can be developed.
Kolhatkar, who does not have any political inclination to any party hails from Baroda, and is an architect and urban planner by profession.
Born on February 6, 1930, Kolhatkar's father Mahadev Kashinath Kolhatkar was a well-known sculptor in the Baroda. Kolhatkar worked with Union government in the Town Planning Department under Urban Development Ministry for 34 years.