INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 71 (21/7/1944)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 71).


I. "KHALSAS WINS M.U.C. GOLD CUP" The Gold Cup Final (soccer) in Madras is won by Khalsa College. The match is stopped after fighting breaks out between players, and then spectators. The award of the trophy is postponed; finally, the cup is given to the Khalsa College Captain.

II. "NEW CHIEF COMMANDER FOR THE WOMEN'S AUXILIARY CORPS" The Countess of Carlisle arrives by plane for her first parade as Chief Commander of the Women's Auxiliary Corps. Lady Carlisle tells the WACI's that "the Japs' power of resistance is something to be reckoned with" and that by expanding women's services in India, "every woman who joins releases a man to fight".

III. "IN HONOUR OF THE POOR" Holy Muslim festival takes place in the tomb of Kwaja Moinuddin Chisti Sahib in Ajmer. Thousands of Muslims enter the shrine through the Gateway to Heaven (Jannati-Darwaza), throwing gifts into a large cauldron. Scenes of another cauldron of hot cooked food being ritually looted and the food sold. The Qul, the second part of the ceremony, takes place as the Dewan Sahib goes to prayer. Crowd fights to receive drops of sacred water thrown upon them.

IV. "INDEPENDENCE DAY" Celebration of American Independence Day in Delhi, a "day of Allied unity". The Union Jack and the American flag are hoisted together, having "healed old quarrels" in the "storm of war". Scenes of American soldiers, a basket ball match being played on donkeys and a fireworks display.

V. "R.A.F. & I.A.F. DEFY THE MONSOON" Monsoon wind and rain hit Allied airfield as tanks are taken out on tank carriers to avoid becoming stuck in the mud. Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin travels around by horseback. Local labour "helps the counter attack against the monsoon" by feeding stones into a sorting machine, ready to make an airstrip. Hess is laid on top to prepare it for aircraft. Pilots emerge and go out to fly bombing missions, "fighting a non-stop battle with mud, rain and wind".


Summary: film not viewed; synopses based on commentary sheets.



Among the items included in Indian News Parade 71 are the arrival of Lady Carlisle, the new commander of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (India), usually known as WAC(I), and scenes of celebrations in India for American Independence Day.

The WAC(I) was formed in India in 1942 and by 1945 it comprised 8,600 other ranks and 1,160 officers, who were trained to replace service personnel in all three forces (Cowan, 2001, 21). This was a mixed race organisation – one in eight was European – but the officer corps was predominantly British, and as all volunteers were required to speak colloquial English, it did not attract large numbers of Indian women. Most volunteers came from Anglo-Indian and Indian Christian communities (Procida, 2002, 185).

The arrival of Lady Carlisle was reported in Indian Informationin August 1944. She announced her intention to ‘visit the W.A.C. (I) units in all parts of India personally to acquaint myself with them, and their working and living conditions’ and issued a plea for ‘many more women’ to sign up. ‘I say to the women of India’, she stated, ‘that our work is work which any woman should be proud to undertake’ (Indian Information, 15 August 1944, 190).

Jude Cowan, in writing about the representation of women in Indian News Parade, suggested that ‘WAC(I) representation in the newsreels is much greater than their proportional size, indicating that their presence was seen as useful for morale-boosting and the mobilisation effort’. Cowan recognised these as ‘feel good items’ and suggested that their appearances – which often revolved around parades and emphasised the costumes of the women – were also motivated by a desire of audiences for footage on women on screen (Cowan, 2001, 21).

The newsreel also shows footage from American Independence Day celebrations in India. A year earlier, Indian Movietone News 23 had shown American troops entertained at Government House in Karachi – along with the Governor and Premier of Sind – to celebrate the Fourth of July, while the C.B.I. Roundupfor American troops had reported on a picnic celebrating Independence Day at an East India air base. The programme, ‘a typical American Fourth of July celebration’, had included church services, various sports, a movie, and ‘enough ice cold beer to quench everyone’s thirst’ (C.B.I. Roundup, 15 July 1943). Yet, along with these regular celebrations amongst American servicemen, the day also assumed significance for Indian nationalists. On 4 July 1943, Subhas Chandra Bose had become leader of the India Independence League and during his speech to the 13,000 men within the Indian National Army on the following day, he cited George Washington as an example of a man who had led his country to Independence. A year later on 4 July 1944, Bose delivered a speech at a rally of Indians in Burma in which he famously urged his ‘comrades in the War of Liberation!’ to ‘die so that India may live’. ‘It is blood alone that can avenge the blood that the enemy has spilt’, he stated. ‘It is blood alone that can pay the price of freedom. Give me blood and I promise you freedom!’ (Montgomery, March-April 1944, 2-5).

This issue also contained an item on a Muslim festival – further evidence of the broad coverage of India’s different religious communities within the newsreel – and footage, which would feature again in Indian News Parade 74, of the RAF and Indian Airforce. A concurrent report in Indian Information had stated that the I.A.F ‘has made no less than 6,000 sorties and recorded 8,200 operational flying hours’. The article concluded that ‘the well-proven ability of the pilots and the high standard of aircraft serviceability maintained by the ground crews, have resulted in a low casualty rate and very high morale amongst pilots’ (Indian Information, 1 July 1944, 4). 



The fourth item within Indian News Parade 71 is introduced by a title, which reads ‘Independence Day’. The item, of course, talks of American Fourth of July celebrations, but it evidently recognises and acknowledges that the issue of independence is now on the agenda for Indian audiences. The commentator refers to the Declaration of Independence – which ‘talks of the pursuit of happiness’ – and references an event which was used by nationalists as an example of the historical overthrow of British rule.

However, Indian News Parade re-imagines this Independence Day as a ‘day of allied unity’, showing the Union Jack and American flag now ‘hoisted together’. While this obviously promotes a message of Allied unity during the war, it also, in the context of India, seemingly urges continued co-operation and unity between Britain and India in the move towards – and beyond – independence.

The footage of the WAC(I) illustrates a propensity with Indian News Parade to include items depicting the work of women during the war. As Jude Cowan suggested, ‘these women’s units are an opportunity for feel-good items, in which the main story is their existence and appearance’ (Cowan, 2001, 22). However, these items are also important for the female cinema audience, in both displaying women on screen and in particular as part of a recruitment drive. The commentator explains that ‘every woman who joins releases a man to fight’ and adds that while there are plenty of jobs being done, there are ‘a good deal more jobs waiting for someone to do them’.

The item also follows established representational tropes within the series, as it shows Lady Carlisle arriving by plane – ‘emphasising both British modernity and its management of the vastness of India’ – and then inspecting a parade. The film thus shows, by following these established tropes, the important, and traditionally masculine, role assumed by these women. The commentator notes in particular the countess’ extensive ‘war reading’ and her experience in travel – ‘she’s been twice to Japan’ – defining her through education and travel, which Cowan argues, ‘reflects British propaganda opinion on class and learning’ (Cowan, 2001, 27).

The item again makes direct reference to the Japanese enemy, but such war references are most explicit in the final item. This item once more shows Indian and British co-operation – ‘R.A.F. and I.A.F. defy the monsoon’ – and highlights, in particular, the local support, as ‘local labour helps the counter attack against the monsoon’. As with the Bengal famine, the ‘fight’ against ‘nature’ is discussed in military terms, while the British ‘organisation’ and modern technology is promoted and contrasted with the ‘traditional’, un-mechanised work of the locals, who carry baskets on their head. This thus serves to highlight British primacy, while again emphasising imperial support and co-operation during the war effort.

Tom Rice (January 2009)


Works Cited

‘“Looey Cunnel” Knocked Down By Lowly G.I.’, C.B.I. Roundup, 15 July 1943, Vol. 1, No. 44.

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.

‘I.A.F.’s Record in Burma’, Indian Information, 1 July 1944, 4.

‘New Plans for W.A.C. (I): Forthcoming Tour by Lady Carlisle’, Indian Information, 15 August 1944, 190.

Montgomery, Andrew, ‘Subhas Chandra Bose and India's Struggle for Independence’, Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1994 (Vol. 14, No. 2), 2-5.

Procida, Mary A., Married to the Empire: Gender, Politics and Imperialism in India, 1883-1947 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002).

Woods, Philip, ‘”Chapattis by Parachute”: The Use of Newsreels in British Propaganda in India in the Second World War’, Journal of South Asian Studies, 23:2 (2000), 89-110.

Additional reading

Harfield, Alan. 'The Women's Auxiliary Corps (India)'. Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, 83:335 (2005), 243-254.



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 71 (21/7/1944)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Running Time:
6 minutes
Film Gauge (Format):
588 ft

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