Armoured Rolls Royce
Released in 1982, the movie Gandhi went on to win eight Oscar awards, and was nominated for no less than 20 awards. An epic historical drama film based on the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India’s non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United Kingdom’s rule of the country during the 20th century, Gandhi featured British-Indian actor Ben Kingsley in the title role. Covering Gandhi’s life from a defining moment in 1893, as he is thrown off a South African train for being in a whites-only compartment, to his assassination and funeral in 1948, the movie, available in English and Hindi languages, has an important scene where thousands of Indians were massacred by troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer on April 13, 1919, at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, a public garden of six to seven acres, walled on all sides, with five entrances. It was the day of Baisakhi, the main Sikh festival. Having assembled to peacefully protest and condemn the arrest and deportation of two national leaders, Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, the people, all of them civilians, valiantly faced the bullets and gave up their lives for their country.
Shown at the head of Colonel Dyer’s battery is an armoured Rolls Royce vehicle. Referred to as Rolls Royce Indian Pattern, the vehicle was introduced in 1921. Based on the 1920 Pattern, it had extended hull armour to provide extra space and a domed turret with four ball mounts for machine guns. Structured on a 1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost chassis, the armoured vehicle weighed 4.7-tonnes, and had a crew of three (commander, driver, and machine-gunner). Mounted on the vehicle was a .303 Vickers machine gun. Boasting of a 12 mm armour, the vehicle was powered by a 80 hp, six-cylinder engine. Consisting of two wheels at the rear, the vehicle was fitted with leaf spring suspension allround. Capable of a top speed of 72 kmph, the armored vehicle was also used in various parts of the world by the British until 1941. A model of the Rolls Royce armored vehicle, which played a role in the massacre of unarmed people at Jallianwalla Bagh, is on display at the Cavalry Tank Museum, Ahmednagar.