This film is part of Free
Street Scenes in India: Colonel Alexander Personal Film 1
From the arrival of a new viceroy to street markets, this amateur film captures the diversity of life in colonial India
This amateur footage, taken by Colonel ETH Alexander between 1935 and 1936, combines everyday shots of street traffic and markets with more unique events, including the military parades to mark the arrival of the new Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, at the Gateway of India, Bombay (now Mumbai) in April 1936. An engineer and member of the Bombay Light Patrol (similar to the Territorial Army), Alexander worked in Calcutta (Kolkatta), Bombay and Madras between 1928 and 1947.
In the second half of the film we see different sites in southern India, including the Rock Fort at Tiruchirappalli (aka 'Trichy'), the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram and Nandi (bull) statue at Chamundi Hills, Mysore, highlighting the enormous cultural and historical diversity of the Indian subcontinent. Regional identities and politics were very much at the fore of Indian politics in this period, as the 1935 Government of India Act gave Indian representatives political autonomy at the level of provincial government, while securing British power at the all-India centre. Dr. Eleanor Newbigin (SOAS University of London)