Maharashtra’s Gold Shirt-Man Makes It to Guinness World Records
Maharashtra’s well-known businessman-politician Pankaj Parakh called ‘The Man With the Golden Shirt’ by his friends – has earned a place in the Guinness World Records (GWR).
The GWR certificate issued on Tuesday cites Parakh, 47, as the man with “the most expensive gold shirt in the world costing Rs 98,35,099 ($161,354/GBP 95,856)” as on 1 August 2014.
The school dropout, who made his fortunes from a garment fabrication business is also the Nationalist Congress Party’s Deputy Mayor of Yeola town in Nashik district, around 260 km from Mumbai.
Whenever Parakh steps onto the streets of Yeola in his full ‘shining golden gear’ and his licensed revolver worn discreetly, he admits that women stare and men glare at him, while two stern private security guards manage to keep everyone at a safe distance.
A team of 20 select artisans spent 3,200 hours over two months to craft the 18-22 carat pure gold strands, to the last thread and ‘stitch’ it, and the deal was fully billed - to keep tax sleuths at bay!
Barely three decades ago, the poor, young Parakh could ill-afford his school education and dropped out after Class VIII to enter the family’s small garments business in Yeola.
In 1982, he branched out to an independent business and a decade later even entered politics to be elected as a municipal councillor in Yeola.
Progressing and prospering over the years, he took care of all his family’s needs – a good house looked after by wife Pratibha and higher education for his two sons Siddharth (24) and Rahul (21).
Then, he indulged in his passion and invested his excess incomes to acquire a ‘gilded edge’ that helped him enter the GWR.
However, his unimpressed family does not share his passion for gold, they ignore it as ‘a necessary evil,’ but all his relatives think he has gone bonkers, Parakh guffawed.
Parakh says when the entire family attends weddings or important social occasions, he adorns himself with around three-and-half kg gold ornaments while his wife looks bare and stark with just 40-50 grams gold jewellery.
Despite his gilt-edge, Parakh is a down-to-earth and caring human being, deeply involved in a variety of social and educational activities.
He spends a week each year to offer voluntary services, financing poor patients, providing food, medicines and other requirements.
Maharashtra has had other ‘gold-men’ including Datta Fuge of Pune, Jagdish Gaikwad of Navi Mumbai (Thane), the late Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader from Pune Ramesh Wanjale, and to a certain extent, famed music director Bappi Lahiri of Mumbai.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Hi there! We will be continuing our news service on WhatsApp. Meanwhile, stay tuned to our Telegram channel here.)