INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 136 (19/10/1945)

This film is held by the Imperial War Museum (ID: INR 136).


I. "THE NEWS IN BRIEF. Karachi Contact Club, Pola Festival, Nagpur - Police Investiture". Sir Hugh Dow, Governor of Sind, visits the Club. Festival of the Bull is celebrated. The Governor of the Central Provinces decorates police officers for distinguished service. II. "THE PUBLICISTS' ROLE IN RECONVERSION FROM WAR TO PEACE". President of the Publicity Advisory Committee, Sir Sultan Ahmad, addressed the Committee on plans to mobilise the Information services in the work of peace and reconstruction. III. "FOOD CONTROL TO REMAIN". Members of the Food Advisory Council meet in New Delhi to discuss ways of guaranteeing food supplies to India's population of 400 million. IV. "WOMEN AT WAR". Air Chief Commandant, Lady Walsh, Director of WAFF tours a RAF base outside Bombay. V. "PENANG REOCCUPIED". Allied soldiers occupy Japanese bases around Penang and the city itself.



Indian News Parade 136 covers a broad range of subjects frequently featured within the newsreel, including the issue of food rationing, and the war efforts of women in India, while also incorporating footage from a local festival and from overseas war campaigns. However, this issue also indicates a growing self-awareness within the Indian News Paradestaff, as they sought to promote and justify the role of the newsreel, of film and, in particular, of India’s Information Services within post-war India.

This subject would reappear in various guises in issues 139143150151155, and 159 and the growing attention afforded to ‘visual education’ and to the role of Information Films of India (IFI) reflects the IFI’s increasingly fragile position. The IFI was the source of criticism and derision in much of the Indian press. The speech included here, which was delivered by Sir Sultan Ahmed, Member for Information and Broadcasting, to the Publicity Advisory Committee on 13 September, thus seeks to outline the importance of the Department’s ‘reconstruction publicity campaign’. ‘In our post-war schemes for development’, Sir Sultan Ahmed began, ‘it would, we think, be disastrous to ignore so potent an educative medium as the cinema. We are, therefore, considering schemes for the continuation of Information Films of India, with a special emphasis on the production and distribution of films for educational institutions’ (Indian Information, 1 October 1945, 355). The Information and Broadcasting Department’s proposals were approved by the finance committee in February 1946, but were widely condemned at a Central Assembly Meeting in March 1946. The meeting criticised the individual films produced, and the department’s ‘extravagant expenditure’ and led to a drastic reduction in the funding offered to the Department. This would ultimately contribute to the closure of Indian News Parade (Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 311).

This issue also includes an update on the ‘important question of food rationing’, as it depicts the three-day session of the Central Food Advisory Council in New Delhi, which had begun over a month before this film’s release on 13 September 1945. The session addressed concerns about a potential new famine and promoted a number of initiatives, including the ‘Grow more Food’ campaign and the use of Village Grain banks (Indian Information, 15 October 1945, 407-412). A few days later (on 18 September) the final report of the Famine Inquiry Commission was published. The report estimated that the death toll for the Bengal famine from January 1943 to June 1944 was one and a half million – a figure immediately questioned by the Bengali public – and outlined a series of proposals to prevent further food shortages. The report itself received criticism, primarily for its failure to publish the six volumes of testimony it had collected and for holding its sessions in camera, and was not mentioned here within the newsreel (Greenough, 1982, 137). The issue of famine and rationing had featured in issue 125, which outlined that Bengal had ‘recovered from the effects of the last famine’ and, under the guidance of Governor Casey, was ensuring that ‘past mistakes will not be repeated’. Likewise in issue 129, Sir J.P. Srivastava inspected the Government’s subsidised milk centres and praised their success and ‘clockwork precision’. Sir J.P. Srivastava and Governor Casey would survey the food situation in Bengal in Indian News Parade 144.

The item ‘Women at War’, which shows Lady Welsh, the Director of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) touring RAF units in India, Ceylon and Burma, has been discussed by Jude Cowan in her work on women in Indian News Parade. The item begins with ‘the classic air arrival shot’ as Lady Welsh lands and then transfers into a car, which Cowan suggests ‘emphasises both British modernity and its management of the vastness of India’. Cowan notes the ‘informal and personal style’ of Lady Welsh, which ‘emphasises her persona as an officer who likes to mingle with the ranks’ (Cowan, 2001, 28). The item promotes her personal involvement with the women, and incorporates footage filmed by H.J. Orchard of the RAF film production unit. Rushes of Lady Welsh’s visit to the No. 9 RAF general hospital in Calcutta on 28 September appear in ‘Lady Welsh Visits Calcutta’ (ABY 175).

The newsreel concludes with footage of the reoccupation of Penang in early September, which was widely covered by RAF photographers and cameramen. The item forms part of an ongoing narrative, stretched across the final item of the newsreel over five issues. It was preceded by ‘Singapore Liberated’ (issue 133), ‘Japanese Officially surrender Singapore to Lord Louis Mountbatten’ (134), ‘Hong Kong Reoccupied’ (135) and would be followed by ‘Scenes from Singapore’ (137). 



Indian News Parade 136 opens with a sequence of short ‘News in Brief’ items, which contrast the experiences of the Europeans – shown relaxing and reading with the Governor at the Karachi Contact Club – with the ‘local population’, who are represented at the Pola Festival, which the commentator explains is held ‘to honour the indispensable bullock’. These contrasting representations are to an extent ‘resolved’ in the next scene, which shows the Governor decorating Indian officers at a Police investiture ceremony.

The ongoing role of India’s Information Services, a recurring theme over the next few months, is the subject of the next item, as Sir Sultan Ahmed speaks directly to the film audience. The chosen extract from his lengthy speech once more celebrates the War effort, even though this only constituted a small section of his speech, and offers no details regarding his proposals for IFI. The item does though conclude with applause as Sir Sultan Ahmed sits down – vindication and apparent support for his proposals – while the commentator highlights the ongoing importance of information services for India’s ‘great advance’ and ‘giant economic plans’.

The latest update on India’s food situation is also noticeably short on detail. Presented with jovial music, it serves instead to highlight the authorities’ continuing concern and attention to these issues of food supply and famine relief. Furthermore, the footage highlights the Indian make-up of the committee – ‘delegates from every part of India’ - but perhaps most significantly turns the responsibility away from government, and towards the people of India, as the commentator concludes that ‘feeding India is a colossal job and the people of India must help tackle it’.

The final item on the reoccupation of Penang highlights ‘rejoicing throughout Penang’, and serves as a celebration of British reoccupation. The footage celebrates the end of the war with Japan, an event that in India signalled renewed discussions and demands for independence. Wavell had broadcast his latest proposals for Indian self-government on 19 September, and yet the film here celebrates the ‘hoisting of the Union Jack’ and highlights a country thankful for British rule. ‘The occupation is complete’ the commentator concludes. ‘Yet another town has been released from the Japanese grip of tyranny’.

Tom Rice (February 2009)


Works Cited

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.

Greenough, Paul R., Prosperity and Misery in Modern Bengal, The Famine of 1943-44 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982).

Indian Information, 1 October 1945, 355.

‘Sir J.P. Srivastava on Planning of India’s Food Economy in Post-War Period’, Indian Information, 15 October 1945, 407-412.

Indian Information, 15 March 1946, 311.



  • INDIAN NEWS PARADE NO 136 (19/10/1945)
Series Title:

Technical Data

Film Gauge (Format):

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