INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 155 (1/3/1946)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 155).


I. "FIGHTING FOURTH WELCOMED HOME". At Karachi, Fourth Division return home after over six years of active service in the Mediterranean theatre. II. "FIELD PUBLICITY ORGANIZATION'S GREAT PROGRESS". At Bombay, mobile cinema vans, which will spearhead field publicity in the provinces, are about to be dispatched to rural areas of India. III. "BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION COMPLETES INDIAN TOUR". News Parade accompanies the Parliamentary Delegation on the last lap of its lightning tour of India.



Indian News Parade 155 opens with a celebration of ‘India’s world famous Fourth Division’ on its return to India. In a tribute delivered from the Delhi Station of All India Radio on 6 February 1946, General Sir Noel Beresford-Peirse, the Welfare General in India, stated, ‘The Red Eagles of the Fourth Indian Division are flying home at last. From to-day their famous flash, familiar all over North Africa, and Italy, and Greece, will be seen again in India’ (Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 341). The item emphasises ‘one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the Indian army’ at a moment of heightened dissension within Indian ranks. RIAF men went on strike in January 1946, before a more prominent strike by the Royal Indian Navy escalated during the second half of February. The highly publicised – if not by Indian News Parade – trial of Indian National Army soldiers fuelled these strikes and, in the words of General Francis Tucker, G.O.C. of the Eastern Command, ‘threatened to tumble down the whole edifice of the Indian Army’ (Ghose, 1993, 141). Historian Sekhar Bandyopadhyay further argued that ‘the sympathetic strikes in the air force and army indicated very clearly that the Indian Army was no longer the same “Sharp sword of repression” which the British could use as before’ (Bandyopadhyay, 2004, 430).

The next item outlines the work of mobile cinema vans in touring local villages. As discussed in Indian News Parade 136 and 139, the newsreel’s increasing self-promotion sought to justify the continued role of Information Films of India at a time when the legislative assembly planned to slash the IFI’s budget. In February 1946, Sir Akhbar Hydari, minister for Information and Broadcasting, outlined the importance of the Field Publicity Organisation ‘for the general improvement of the social and material condition of the people as a whole’ (Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 311).

However, the larger part of Indian News Parade 155concerns the British Parliamentary delegation’s tour of India. The tour had featured prominently in 152 and 154 and these three items may have been shown together as a single film (such a composite film is held at IWM under Indian News Parade 155). The tour itself was proposed in a statement by the Secretary of State for India on 4 December 1945 and was intended to foster ‘personal contacts between members of parliament and leading personalities in Indian politics’ and to ‘reassure those whom it meets that India should speedily attain her full and rightful position as an independent partner State in the Commonwealth’ (The Times, 1 January 1946, 3). The visit though was initially viewed with skepticism by many in India. The Hindustan Times labeled the statement, ’a purposeless comment’, while the veteran liberal leader Srinivasa Sastri, who was on his death bed, told Gandhi in January 1946 that ‘we know nothing can come out of it [the British parliamentary delegation]. Labour or Conservative so far as India is concerned, they are all one and the same’ (The Times, 6 December 1945, 6; Nanda, 1970, 175). These concerns were hardly abated by the comments of the delegation’s leader, Robert Richards, a former Under Secretary of State for India, who stated at the first press conference that India ‘was certainly entitled to a measure of home rule’ (Sorensen, 1970, 539).

Reginald Sorensen, a Labour MP who wrote on his experiences as part of the delegation, recognised the initial hostility or, at least, antipathy felt towards the other members of the group (he suggested that, in contrast, he ‘was smothered in garlands’ because of his pro-Indian activities as chairman of the India League). He noted their initial meeting with the members of the Congress working committee, ‘all ex-prisoners’, at which he could feel the ‘suspicious reserve behind the veil of courtesy’. ‘The British press had reported’, he continued, ‘that Nehru considered our mission “a huge hoax” (or joke) and although he stated he had been misreported I conjectured that this was what the Congress working party approximately thought it to be. That was the measure of the mood we had somehow to disperse if our task was not to report a fiasco’ (Sorensen, 1970, 541-542).

First-hand accounts do suggest that the delegates were affected by their experiences on the tour. Mrs Muriel Nichol commented, on viewing the demoralising conditions in India, that ‘Britain is going to get a shock when this Parliamentary Delegation returns. I can see the Viceroy’s house turned into a college or a hospital, or something useful. We must end this sun-dry bureaucracy of ours’ (Kumar, 1998, 10). Shortly before the delegation left India on 10 February, Robert Richards told a final press conference that ‘we are all conscious of the fact that India has attained political manhood, and it will be the privilege of our country to extend and further the confidence that India has in herself and in her ability to take her place amongst the free nations of the world’ (The Times, 9 February, 1946, 4). The delegation went to Downing Street on 13 February – the morning after its return – and stressed to the Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, and his Cabinet ‘our unanimous decision that India must be guaranteed immediately her national freedom and sovereign rights’ (Sorensen, 1970, 545). A week later, Attlee announced that a three-person Cabinet mission would be sent to India to talk to the Indian leaders and formulate a scheme to help India to attain her freedom ‘as speedily and fully as possible’ (The Times, 16 March 1946, 4).



The parliamentary delegation’s tour of India is afforded extensive coverage within Indian News Parade. The newsreel presents itself as an official chronicler of the tour – ‘News Parade accompanies the Parliamentary Delegation on the last lap of its lightning tour of India’ – which may elevate the status of the newsreel, but also further aligns it with the British government. The Parade’sclose association with the delegation is again evident as the commentator reports that ‘Sir Akbar Hydari, Member for Information and Broadcasting, joined the delegation on their sight-seeing trip’. Indeed, the film offers effusive coverage throughout, as it repeatedly shows the tourists being garlanded, while noting, in the previous issue, ‘the sincerity of the British government’ and the delegation’s focus on ‘both rich and poor’. The commentator concludes that these ten people ‘had made a staunch effort to understand Indian politics’.

The newsreel offers valuable historical coverage of this tour and of the political figures therein, yet it also signifies the impending demise of Indian News Parade. The newsreel’s support and affiliation with the British, evident in this extensive coverage, made it especially vulnerable to an interim government that viewed it as ‘an imposition and a waste of money’ (Garga, 2007, 114). It is apparent in the opening item that the voice of the newsreel is increasingly removed from this emerging modern India. At a moment of heightened military unrest amidst widespread popular support for the I.N.A soldiers on trial for treason, the newsreel highlights its traditional support for the war and offers a celebration of the loyalty and unity of the army. The next item, outlining the plans for the Field Publicity Organisation, indicates the newsreel’s recognition of this shift, and indeed of its potential demise, as it seeks once more to redefine and position itself – in this instance as a modern proponent of social change in rural areas – within this post-war India.

Tom Rice (February 2009)


Works Cited

Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar, Plassey to Partition: a History of Modern India (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2004).

Garga, B.D., From Raj to Swaraj: The Non-Fiction Film In India (New Delhi: Penguin, 2007).

Ghose, Sankar, Jawaharlal Nehru, a Biography (New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1993).

Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 311, 341.

Kumar, Raj, Rameshwari Devi, Romila Pruthi, Women and the Indian Freedom Struggle: Volume 6 (Jaipur: Pointer Publishers, 1998).

Menon, V.P., Transfer of Power in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1957). 227

Nanda, B.R., ‘Nehru and the Partition of India’, in C.H. Philips and M.D. Wainwright (eds.), The Partition of India: Policies and Perspectives 1935-1947 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1970).

Sorensen, Lord, ‘The Parliamentary Delegation to India, January 1946’, in C.H. Philips and M.D. Wainwright (eds.), The Partition of India: Policies and Perspectives 1935-1947 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1970), 535-545.

‘Delegation To India: Congress Party Coolness’, The Times, 6 December 1945, 3.

‘Good-Will Mission To India: M.P.s Leave To-Morrow’, The Times, 1 January 1946, 3.

The Times, 9 February, 1946, 4.

‘Cabinet Mission To India: Mr. Attlee On Its Aim’, The Times, 16 March 1946, 4.



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 155 (1/3/1946)
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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