This film is held by the BFI (ID: 227143).


The situation in India in 1942.

Titles. Elephants heading along a road. A wide plain in India. Aeroplanes flying in formation and dropping bombs; Indians looking up in the air for the aircraft: 'to no people has war come with more shock and terror than to the 400 million Indian people'. A relief map of India. Japanese troops in action. Busy Indian streets: 'in India the enemy sees not a united and vigorous nation but a huge sprawling subcontinent who, divided one against the other, are preoccupied with their own political aspirations'. The 'sainted' Mahatma Gandhi, walking along a road with followers; he is the 'personification of the only unity India has ever known'. Indian men listening to an address by Jawaharlal Nehru and other members of the Indian National Congress. Muslims worshipping in the courtyard of a large mosque: they 'fear that an independent India would mean Hindu domination under which they would become no more than a persecuted minority'. Mohammed Ali Jinnah at a table with other politicians: 'he demands that Britain create a separate and independent state out of those provinces in which Muslims predominate'. Outline of a potential Pakistan is shown on the relief map. Party chiefs of the Hindu Mahasabha political party. Indian men listening to a loudspeaker: 'among many of the Indian people is dawning the realisation that whatever their grievances might have been, their mortal enemy today is not Britain, but the Axis, Germany and Japan'. Indian radio announcer, broadcasting that 'the misunderstandings and mis-dealings among ourselves and between ourselves and England seem small indeed behind the magnitude of our present peril'. Title card: 'Huge, complex and baffling - the problem of India has for generations defied the efforts of Britain's ablest statesmen'. Goods vessels in a dockyard: 'British dominance in India began with the great trading monopoly, which London's East India company established and developed from the 17th and 18th centuries'.

Troops on horseback. Statue of Queen Victoria: 'by 1858 parliament had placed the East India company's vast domain under the crown'. Motor cars in a city street. A Union Flag flying from a ruined fort. Hindus descending ghats into a river: Hinduism 'in its extremist form renders the introduction of western standards of progress exceedingly difficult'. Yogis sat cross-legged before a temple. A parade for a Hindu god. A Hindu cremation. Untouchables in Indian streets: 'in spite of all efforts by the British and by Indians like Gandhi to improve their lot they remain outcasts'. Market scenes in a city. Men planting rice in a paddy field. Indian children in a school; Indian women in a college; Indian youths in an engineering college: 'while the British have governed in India, they have also served, to the betterment of millions of Indians'. Wealthy Indians at a racecourse. An Indian regal procession in Mysore. City scenes in Mysore, which has experienced 'a measure of progress unsurpassed in any native state or colony'. Men working in Indian factories. A 'British-built' dam. Farmers tending crops; commentary mentions the country's over-population. Footage of factory workers: 'if this potential reservoir of labour could be fully utilised to enlarge India's already huge industrial establishment and concentrated on war production . . .'. Production of arms in Indian factories: 'it was Japan's fear of this enormous war potential, as much as its desire to smash the British empire where it had been made vulnerable by native disunity, that launched the Japanese armies on the pathway to India; and it was Japan's imminent invasion that moved Britain's wartime statesmen to a final effort, which they hoped would solve the old problem of India's freedom. Title card: '"We have tried to help India along her road to victory and freedom but past distrust has proved too strong to allow a present settlement" - Sir Stafford Cripps. New Delhi, India. April 1942'. Indian men in a large field at a political rally. Document outlining the 'India Proposals' of the Cripps' Offer.

Footage of British people in an Indian hill town. Troops marching through an archway. Government buildings: 'to a people who have never known anything but the harsh rule of autocrats [the British] have brought enlightened government, even-handed customs, and a first glimmering of constitutional laws'. Troops marching through an old fort. Nehru addressing large crowds at a political rally: 'today millions of people throughout the united nations are watching India with grave anxiety for they know that in the outcome of the great struggle for control of Asia, India's own inner struggle - racial, national and religious - must inevitably play a large part'. Gandhi, flanked by followers. Title cards. Ends.



  • INDIA IN CRISIS (Alternative)

Technical Data

Running Time:
18 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
1718 ft

Production Credits

Production Countries:
Production Company
Time Inc