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Independence Day Special: As we celebrate the Independence day anniversary of our country, let us take a moment to remember and respect the glorious freedom fighters who fought for our country. Ever since the British set foot on our land, the people of India had gone through a lot and was waiting for one ultimate thing - freedom. Finally, on 15th August 1947, India's independence was achieved through a lot of courage, sacrifice and determination of some personalities.
Here, we have compiled a list of notable Indian freedom fighters and the cars they've used or owned!
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the ‘Father of the Nation', is the most important figure in India's journey to Independence. He believed in a path of nonviolence and has got a huge following in the country and many other parts of the world, even today. Although Gandhi used to travel mostly by foot, he had a Ford Model T to do occasional distant journeys.
Mahatma Gandhi's Ford Model T is considered to be of high historical importance and has been in the possession of many car collectors over the years. Recently, the vintage Ford even shared space with a 1930 Studebaker – the very same car used by Nathuram Godse when he assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
Subhash Chandra Bose played a pivotal role in India's fight for freedom and was initially a leader of the Indian National Congress. He had his differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress high command while serving in India; the result of which he was put under house arrest by the British.
However in 1941, Bose managed to escape from his house in South Kolkata to Germany via Moscow and Kabul; a significant journey in Indian history, also known as - ‘The Great Escape'. For this, he used his 1937 Wanderer W24 to get to Gomoh railway station to catch the Kalka Mail. The journey witnessed many crucial moments including him meeting Adolf Hitler.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru – the first Prime Minister of India – was a prominent figure in Indian politics, both before and after independence. He is also considered as the architect who made India to what it is today – a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. Children were very fond of him and for the very same reason, his birthday is celebrated as ‘Children's Day' in the country.
‘Pandit Nehru' commonly used India's first state car for his travels – a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. The car was gifted by Queen Elizabeth to Lord Mountbatten and was later passed on to Nehru post-independence. Nehru always maintained a good relationship and status quo with the Britishers.
In this picture, he is seen going around Shimla in a Sunbeam Talbot.
Lal Bahadur Shastri
The second Prime Minister of India and senior leader of the Indian National Congress, Lal Bahadur Shastri was a loyal follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He also led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War in 1965, believing in the slogan – "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the soldier; hail the farmer").
In 1965, he bought a Fiat 1100 for Rs 12,000. He only had Rs 7000 in his bank account and had to take Rs 5000 as a loan from the Punjab National Bank. Before he could repay the loan, Shastri passed away and it was his wife who paid the bank back with her pension. Today, the very same car is preserved at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial museum in Delhi.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, was an active participant in India's fight for freedom and has even undergone imprisonment, twice. He was elected president in 1951 by the electoral college of the first Parliament of India and its state legislatures; the first of its kind in India. In 1957, he was re-elected again and became the only Indian president who has served two full terms.
Rajendra Prasad did his official travels in a Cadillac convertible – the first presidential car of India. It was imported from the USA.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Sardar Patel, officially named as Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, was the first Deputy Prime Minister of India. He was the one who united 565 independent princely states to one single Indian nation. During the time, such a unification was believed to be impossible and for the same reason, he came to be known as the ‘Iron Man Of India'.
Though there aren't any sources telling what car he owned, he was once photographed arriving in a 1940 Chevrolet. The car had a placard on its front grille which said ‘Congress Car'.
Thoughts On India's Freedom Fighters And Their Cars
India's fight to independence is not limited to just these names, but thousands of brave souls who've struggled and fought for almost 200 years. As for the cars owned by freedom fighters, not everyone could get their hands on one at that time. Furthermore, there are only very limited data available on these vintage cars.
Do you know some details of cars with immense historical importance? Feel free to share it with us. In the meantime, on the 72nd anniversary of India's independence, DriveSpark wishes you a safe and joyful motoring ahead!
Image Source: I, II