On this page, I have collated some of the newsreels filmed in Kashmir in 1947. All have been taken from the YouTube site. Please note that there will be copyright restrictions on using this footage, or audio from it, in any film or broadcast.
I am still searching for the 1950 short film Storm Over Kashmir made by B.D. Garga. If you have a copy or know where one can be found, please let me know.
Universal News, 'Invasion of Kashmir', c November 1947, 0'58"
This wonderful newsreel, just a minute long, focusses on the Indian military airlift to Kashmir which started on 27th October 1947, and also includes startling aerial shots of smouldering villages. It was uploaded to YouTube by Harappa.com who dates this film, convincingly, to November 1947.
COMMENTARY: Embattled Srinagar with its neighbouring peaks reaching 14,000 feet into the sky will soon be isolated. And to oust raiding tribesmen from the north-west, the Indian government is flying troops into Kashmir, stopping at first at Jammu 100 miles soouth of Srinagar. The single landing strip at Srinagar can scarcely handle such heavy traffic, a constant stream of aircraft to complete the rout of tribesmen already losing ground. As they fell back, the tribesmen leave burning villages and desolation behind them, and both india and Pakistan are eager to stamp out a fire that could set the whole sub-continent ablaze.
SHOTS: aerial shots of mountains; soldiers on plane and at airstrip; landing strip with planes; soldiers disembarking and then marching in file; aerial shots of burning villages.
'Pandit Nehru in Kashmir', c November 1947, 1'56"
Another brilliant newsreel from November 1947, and again uploaded by Harappa.com - with shots of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah addressing crowds in central Srinagar.
COMMENTARY: The Kashmiri cauldron still simmers and grim scenes reminiscent of larger scale warfare are despoiling the face of the fair land. St Joseph's convent suffers the same wanton destruction as other buildings at Baramulla. The marauding tribesmen recognise no rules of war but their own. Indian government forces are having a hard time throwing these tough intruders out of Kashmir, and Pandit Nehru flies to Srinagar to speed on the task. Here in his greeting by Sheikh Abdullah is a symbol of Hindu-Muslim brotherhood, sorely tried by communal strife but still surviving in the wiser and enlightened men of India. Kashmir state troopers provide a handsome background against which the Maharajah of Kashmir is welcomed to his capital by Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah. Government troops pack the centre of Srinagar to hear the voice of their own leader, Pandit Nehru, that man of intense sincerity and certainly one of the greatest men in all Indian history. Nehru, who has suffered indignities and civil penalties in his selfless service of his countrymen, now emerges as the moderate yet firm leader of a new nation. And while the Srinagar crowds fete their modest idol, his 58th birthday is honoured at India House, London, by Lord Mountbatten. MOUNTBATTEN SYNC: "You will agree then, and now you must take my word for it, you have been proved to be one of the greatest men in any country at any time in history." (Applause)
SHOTS: devastated townscape; sign board and damaged chapel interior at St Joseph's; captured tribesmen, including close-ups; Nehru disembarking from plane; Nehru garlanded by Sheikh Abdullah, with Indira present; Kashmiri cavalry; Nehru with Maharaja Hari Singh,latter in military uniform [Sheikh Abdullah not in same shot as Maharaja]; crowd in Srinagar; Nehru addressing crowd from rostrum; militia members listening; Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah saluting; militia marching with rifles; Nehru on jeep in crowd; Mountbatten addressing gathering, and unveiling a full length portrait of Nehru.
British Pathe, 'Pandit Nehru visits site of Indian fighting', c Nov 1947, 1'02"
Another fantastic newsreel - substantial overlap with footage in other newsreels.
COMMENTARY: Arriving in Kashmir, Pandit Nehru was greeted in traditional fashion by Sheikh Abdullah. The tall Kashmiri leader had been released from prison when Maharaja Sir Hari Singh, here returning to his capital, joined the Indian dominion. When the Maharaja greeted the Indian prermier, it became clear to all observers that the proposed plebiscite was as good as settled and that Kashmir would vote to remain with the Indian dominion. That thought was reflected in Nehru's speech as he told the people that the Indian army would clear all invaders from their soil. In the western part of the province, tribesmen are now in full retreat. A new invasion has been reported in Jammu in the south. India and Pakistan have not yet found a solution of peace.
SHOTS: Nehru, Indira and Sheikh Abdullah at airstrip; Maharaja disembarking; Maharaja and Nehru; Kashmir cavalry; Nehru addressing large crowd in central Srinagar; Nehru in jeep through crowd.
British Pathe, 'Britons evacuated from Kashmir', c November 1947, 0'42"
High quality newsreel featuring mainly footage filed at Srinagar's airfield.
COMMENTARY: There beyond the snow-capped Himalayas, forming a barrier to all invaders, lies Kashmir. It is the largest of the Indian states and the latest to which conflict between the two dominions has spread. On Srinagar airfield, Sikh troops prepare to repel advancing Pathan tribes. while British families are evacuated by the R.A.F. to Pakistan. Four-fifths of Kashmir's population is Muslim but the ruling class is Hindu. When tribesmen from the North-West Frontier invaded the state, the Maharaja joined the Indian dominion. Pandit Nehru has promised a plebiscite as soon as fighting has ceased.
SHOTS: aerial shots of mountains; Srinagar airfield, including Sikh troops; European children and families on the airstrip; a European pilot helping passengers to board
British Pathe, 'Invasion of Kashmir', c November 1947, 4'32"
Not a film, but mute footage, described on You Tube as unused though some features in the newsreels above.
SHOTS: landing strip and troops; aerial shots of ? Srinagar; aerial shots of burning villages; troops in plane in flight; Sikh troops marching from landing strip; aerial shots of mountains; aerial shots of villages, some smouldering; planes taxi-ing and soldiers at airstrip; soldiers disembarking.
British Pathe, 'Nehru in Kashmir', c November 1947, 5'42"
Excellent mute footage shot largely in Srinagar, some repetition, and much used in above newsreels
SHOTS: Indian officers and civilian VIPs; militia marching through streets; Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah saluting; Maharaja Hari Singh in uniform with Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah; devastated town street ? Baramulla; exterior of St Joseph's, Baramulla, signboard, and inside ransacked chapel; Indian armoured car; Nehru in civilian car; women visiting Indian troops with gifts or supplies: Srinagar, panning to crowds and processions on bridge; processions of ? militia in Srinagar; Nehru disembarking from plane with Indira; captured tribesmen with Indian soldiers; Indian officers close-up; Maharaja Hari Signh with Indian officers; soldiers with rifles on look-out; close-ups of captured tribesmen, including two with hands up; riverside town ? Baramulla; captured tribesmen; Indian army look-out; close-up of captured tribesmen, one with badly gashed face; Hari Singh with Nehru; Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah at air strip; Sheikh Abdullah introducing colleagues to Nehru; Nehru saluting soldiers, then inspecting soldiers; Kashmir cavalry; Nehru with soldiers.
'Real History of Kashmir' - 1'38"
I'm not sure of the provenance of this newsreel, but it contains some footage I've not seen elsewhere - notably of the National Conference militia (from 0'47"), and for three seconds (from 0'57"), the only shots I've seen of the women's wing of the militia, shown here drilling with rifles
COMMENTARY; In October 1947, events took a grave turn. On the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir delaying its decision about accession either to the dominion of India or Pakistan, freebooters from the North-West and Punjab invaded the state with the connivance and material support of the Pakistan government to force accession by the sword. The raiders, well armed and well equipped, sacked and looted towns and villages, put many inhabitants to death and spread a reign of terror. Under the guidance of the National Conference, the people of the valley defended therir soil and their common heritage with courage and unit. The invader was almost at the doorstep of Srinagar. On October 26th, the stateacceded to the Indian Union with the express consent of the people and soguht military aid against the wanton aggression. Indian troops were flown in and stemmed the tide of invasion.
SHOTS: lake, mountains; ? tribesmen coming down a mountain; graphic - map; Indian troops; captured raiders; devastated townscapes; newspaper headline; National Conference militia marching, women drilling; marauders attacking; burnt-out buildings; newspaper front page; planes landing; Indian soldiers marching, and using bren gun
'Guns and Glory'
This 22-minute documentary, narrated by Kabir Bedi (whose parents had significant political influence in Kashmir in 1947) and made for an Indian news channel, includes quite a bit of footage from India's Defence Ministry not otherwise available - and there's a little of the National Conference militia.
'First Pakistan War 1947-1948', 4'43"
Most of the newsreels posted here are sympathetic to the official Indian account of the origins of the Kashmir conflict. This video, which makes use of Margaret Bourke-White's photographs taken in Abbottabad, is pro-Pakistan.