This film is part of Free

India Strikes

A celebration of India’s contribution to the British war effort.

Documentary 1945 34 mins Silent


During WWII India became the chief Imperial reserve for an Empire under threat. India Strikes documents India’s role in the War. The tone of the film, however, is one in which the established truths of Empire were now impossible to maintain. Images of backward ‘feudal’ India are contrasted with the modern Indian city and the Indian Army. India’s contribution to the War is no longer to be depicted as a product of Empire loyalism but as step towards Indian self-governance.

The significance of the film, produced by Butcher’s Film Services, is in what it does not depict. The British in India needed to mobilize Indian nationalist opinion in order to finance and recruit for their War effort. That was not forthcoming because of the insincerity of promises of Independence. WWII was the site of mass starvation through man-made famines (chiefly in Bengal), mass-insurgency (Quit India from 1942 and in Talangana from 1945) and military rebellions (the Indian National Army who fought with the Japanese from 1942 and the rebellions in the Royal Indian Navy that were to follow in February 1946). Dr. Gajendra Singh (University of Exeter)