- This is a British newsreel, which would have been shown to British
audiences in cinemas in 1947, soon after Indian independence. It describes
the setting up of two new states - India and Pakistan.
- The majority of Indians were Hindus, but a very large number of Indians
were Muslims. As the campaign for Indian independence grew it was largely
headed by Hindus like Gandhi. Muslims became concerned that they would
be a minority in India and campaigned for their own Muslim state of
- Tension between Hindus and Muslims erupted into violence as Indian
independence got closer. There were terrible atrocities by both sides
and thousands were killed. Around 2 million people fled from their homes
to areas of Pakistan or India where they would not be a minority.
- In 1947 the final partition of India created the two states, although
violence continued for some time. Partition left 18 million Hindus in
Pakistan and 40 million Muslims in India. There were serious disputes
over territories, particularly Kashmir. Even today, relations between
India and Pakistan remain tense and there have been many outbreaks of
violence and open war in the 1960s.
- The news clip provides a very positive view of Britain's rule of India.
It also sets out the massive challenges that faced the new leaders of
India and Pakistan in 1947.
- Sources like this one can be interpreted several ways. Admirers of
British rule would point out the achievements and contribution of the
British. They might even say that India’s terrible problems of
hunger and famine could have been less serious if British rule had carried
- Critics of British rule might point out that if British rule
was so beneficial, why were there terrible famines after 100 years of
British rule and why did the standard of living of ordinary people need
to be raised? They would probably see this clip as extremely patronising.