INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 120 (29/6/1945)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 120).


I. "LORD WAVELL BROADCASTS PLAN TO SOLVE THE INDIAN POLITICAL DEADLOCK". The Viceroy puts forward the proposal for the formation of a New Executive Council that would include 'equal proportions of Caste Hindus and Moslems'. It would function under the existing Constitution. II. "15TH PUNJAB REGIMENTAL CENTRE'S RECEPTION TO NAIK GYAN SINGH V.C.". Colonel Goddard and his Officers welcome Naik Gian Singh and process through the crowded streets, flanked by cheering soldiers and civilians. III. "ALLIED COMMANDERS HONOURED". At a ceremony in St. Mark's Square, Venice, European commanders from the Italian campaign are honoured. In Paris, General de Gaulle confers the Order of the Legion of Honour on Field Marshal Montgomery.



Indian News Parade 120 opens with a lengthy address to camera delivered by Lord Wavell, the Viceroy of India, as he broadcasts his proposals to ‘solve the Indian Political deadlock’ and ‘advance India towards her goal of full self-government’. The speech, outlining what is widely known as the ‘Wavell Plan’, was delivered on 14 June 1945, and on the same day, Leo Amery, the Secretary of State for India, delivered a similar speech to the House of Commons (The Times, 15 June 1945, 5).

Lord Wavell had sought to organise the summit and push forward his proposals over the previous year, but his attempts had been blocked, not least by Churchill’s Cabinet. Wavell had written to Churchill in October 1944. ‘I feel very strongly’ he began, ‘that the future of India is the problem on which the British Commonwealth and the British reputation will stand or fall in the post-war period’. He warned that post-war India could descend into ‘chaos’ and argued that the government was treating vital problems in India with ‘neglect… hostility and contempt’. Wavell then set out a proposal for India, which included the formation of a provisional government incorporating the most prominent Indian political leaders. However, the proposals and letter were largely ignored by Churchill, who planned to reply ‘at leisure and best of all in victorious peace’. The proposals were then rejected after a meeting of the War Cabinet on 18 December (Wolpert, 2006, 75-77).

Wavell was increasingly frustrated at the government’s failure to address the Indian situation, and arrived in England on 23 March 1945. Amery noted that this provided, as he saw it, ‘the first talks on the Indian problem at large in five years!’ and eventually on 31 May, after further delays, and after victory over Germany had been secured, Churchill agreed to Wavell’s proposals for the Simla summit (Clarke, 2008, 279). Peter Clarke attributed Churchill’s concession to the impending general election, as Wavell and Amery both threatened to resign over the issue, and Churchill could not afford such a scenario barely a month before the election (Clarke, 2008, 319). Piers Brendon further argued that Churchill had only agreed to the conference ‘because he was confident that it would come to nothing’ (Brendon, 2007, 401).

On his return to Delhi on 5 June, Wavell met with the existing council and noted in his diary that his proposals ‘met with a very cold reception… hardly any member had a good word to say for them’. Plans were immediately leaked to the press from within the council, and while his decision to release the members of the Congress Working Committee, imprisoned since the Quit India protests of 1942, ‘drew favourable press comment’, a number of press reports and editorials immediately questioned the proposals (Clarke, 2008, 329). For example, an editorial in The Tribune on 16 June argued that ‘it will be deceiving oneself to imagine that the Wavell Plan will either appease the hunger of the people of India for freedom or it will bring India much nearer the realisation of her objective for which lakhs of her sons have undergone great suffering and made untold sacrifices’ (Khan and Pubby, 1996, 101). The problem, the paper argued, was in the proposed introduction of ‘communal representation’ in the executive council. Dawn, the official organ of the Muslim League, also warned on 15 June, that ‘the Musalmans will tolerate no infiltration of non-league stooges to humour any party’ (Menon, 1998, 188).

The film contains an edited version of Wavell’s speech. For example, there is no mention on film of Wavell’s plans to release the imprisoned members of the Working Committee of Congress. The next three issues of the newsreel all feature the progress of the conference, and this subject featured again in issue 125 (‘Indian Leaders leave Simla’). 



Over the next five issues, Indian News Parade would afford extensive coverage to the Simla conference and the proposed political developments within India. With the end of the war in Europe, the issue of Indian independence became more prominent and this is seemingly reflected within the newsreel. While post-war social and economic plans for India had been a common theme within earlier editions of Indian News Parade, this film shows the government directly addressing the political situation within India, while the form and in particular mode of address adopted here, also mark a departure for the newsreel.

The newsreel is now used to broadcast a government speech, with no additional commentary offered. Lord Wavell talks directly to the audience from his office, using a technique more familiar in radio broadcasts. This mode of address seeks to emphasise to the audience that the British government is now directly confronting the process of withdrawal, but it also blatantly reveals that the newsreel is serving as a mouthpiece for the British government.

The speech itself received criticisms, not only for the proposals outlined, but also for the language used. For example, in correspondence with Wavell before the summit, Gandhi outlined his strong objections to the term ‘Caste Hindus’ and further noted that the broadcast ‘seemed rigorously to exclude the use of the word independence. Accordingly it seems to me to demand revision to bring it in line with modern Indian thought’ (Menon, 1998, 185). A further problem, however, concerns the topical nature of this news material. On the day (29 June) that Indian News Parade 120 was released to cinemas – fifteen days after Wavell had delivered his speech – the conference was adjourned after a further breakdown in talks. While the conference did not officially end until 14 July, viewers, and in particular critics of the colonial administration, were already aware that the optimism and proposals outlined by Wavell had been largely rejected.

The remaining two items both depict war celebrations and ceremonies. The first shows Naik Gian Singh, a recipient of the Victoria Cross, whose reception is described as a ‘tribute not only to the Sikh hero, but to the gallant Indian army’. The last item shows the commanders honoured, but again highlights the Indian war effort through the men of the ‘famous Eighth Indian division’. The commentator states that ‘the toughest of assignments was never too tough to the men of the Eighth’, but this item shows troops from a variety of countries honoured, so that the Indian achievements are positioned here within the context of the broader Allied effort.

Tom Rice (February 2009)


Works Cited

Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar, ‘Transfer of Power and the Crisis of Dalit Politics in India, 1945-47’, Modern Asian Studies, Volume 34, Number 4 (October 2000), 893-942.

Brendon, Piers, The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781 – 1997 (London: Jonathan Cape, 2007).

Clarke, Peter, The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire: The Demise of a Superpower, 1944-1947 (London: Penguin, 2008).

Cowan, Jude, ‘”Women at Work for War… Women at Work for the things of Peace”: Representations of Women in the British Propaganda Newsreel in India in the Second World War, Indian News Parade’ (unpublished master’s thesis, Birkbeck College, University of London, 2001), accessed at Imperial War Museum.

Khan, Azizur Rahman and Vipin Pubby, Shimla Then and Now: Summer Capital of the Raj (New Delhi: Indus Publishing, 1996).

Menon, V.P., Transfer of Power in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1957).

The Times, 15 June 1945, 4, 5, 8.

Wolpert, Stanley, Shameful Fight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 120 (29/6/1945)
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Production Credits

Production Countries:
GB, India
Department of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)
Moylan, William J (FRGS, FRSA)







Production Organisations