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.
BBC News: Why India and Pakistan fight over Kashmir
This short BBC video,posted in October 2017 to coincide with the seventieth anniversary of Kashmir's accession to India, includes some wonderful archive footage from the 1940s
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.
'Four Days in 1947'
This 2005 Indian government video isn't sophisticated in its message, but it does have fascinating testimony and archive footage relating to the attack on Baramulla - including of St Joseph's convent and hospital.
Another Indian government short film for 2005, particularly about the Kashmiri resistance in October and November 1947 to the invasion by Pakistani tribesmen (or 'kabailis'). It includes marvellous footage of the National Conference militia - including rare shots of the women's militia (at 3:56, 4:14, 4:22 and 4:32). Some of the footage looks staged and I suspect some scenes of the raiders depredation are reconstructions.
This wonderful Pathe newsreel - with a misleading title (Kashmir wasn't and isn't independent) - includes shots of both the men's and women's militia being parading and being inspected by Nehru during a visit to Srinagar in 1948. This is likely to date from early May when - I'm told - there was a week of celebrations of Kashmir's 'independence', which seems to mean the ending of princely rule. The commentary goes as follows:
'The people of Kashmir celebrate newly won independence. They are rejoicing at the cutting of the maharajah's oppressive powers, tempered by the realisation that Kashmir is the stumbling block to peace between India, represented here by prime minister Pandit Nehru, and Pakistan, who sent no representative. The frontier battles have been going on incessantly, and the war that has even put the women of their state under arms occupies the minds of all on this independence day.
'Addressing the crowd, Pandit Nehru speaks of the plebiscite by which Kashmir will be able to affirm its accession to the Indian Dominion, It was this provisional union that last year precipitated the frontier incidents. As in the world's trouble centres. it's the fanaticism which makes soldiers of women which defies solution by the peacemakers.
'A UNO commission is now on its way to the valley of Kashmir, the scenic beauty of which is world famous. Hopes of a settlement seem dim for in a country where even young boys are put in uniform and given arms, peace must remain remote.
'A river procession is the climax to the seven-day long celebration. The frontier war recedes as Pandit Nehru accompanied by Sheikh Abdullah, Kashmir's prime minister, says farewell to the people of India's youngest state. If the fighting spreads to this peaceful valley, Hopes of Indian unity will - '
'Kashmir Celebrates' - 1948
This appears to be five minutes of mute out-takes (with some repetitions) filmed at the same time as the previous item - and including Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah, Indian troops, the men's and women's militia, and some brief shots of the maharajah and of Begum Abdullah.
'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.