25 Interesting Pre-Independent Indian Propaganda Posters

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World War II had a huge impact on Indian independence. Indian Army during WW2 supporting the British and its Allies became the largest volunteer army in human history rising to over 2.5 million men in August 1945. Indian Army had a huge impact on the outcome of the war. Here is a collection of 25 Interesting Indian PropagandaPosters for Indian troops during World War II. These include propagandaposters from British, Japanese and Germans Agencies. Also Indian Independence League posters have been included that urged British Indians soldiers to fight for Indian independence. here are 25 Interesting Pre-Independent Indian Propaganda Posters

German Posters

London Ki Sair

01 London Ki Sair

This German leaflet depicts three Indian troops looking at three scantily-dressed dancing girls. The propaganda text is very interesting. The Germans claim that after the war the British intend to give any Indians who had been held prisoner, a tour of London. They then suggest that rather than being killed on the battlefield, wouldn’t it be better to allow yourself to be taken prisoner so that you can take part in the free tour. The text is:

Tour of London! Free!

All India Radio Delhi has said in its evening news bulletin of 25 September 1944 that the British government has decided recently that those prisoners of war who would be in Germany would be sent to London after the war. Beautiful girls having magical eyes are waiting even from now itself for those Indians who had jumped into the flames of war for the victory of England but fortunately did not meet the death. After this pleasure trip (of London) they will be sent home.

But What Will Become of You Who Are Still on Battlefields?

Be victims of the chilly winds of the Alps

Be frozen in the freezing cold of Italy

Face the adversary¡¯s platoons and weapons

And finally, be targets of bullets!

Go to permanent sleep with the desire to go home!

If the war is going to end soon as the British propaganda says, then is it justified for you to lose your life in the terminal stage?

One stone two birds!

Protect your life! Tour of London via Germany!


Jarman Qaidi Kampon Men Zindgi

02-Jarman Qaidi Kampon Men Zindgi

This is the first page of a German newspaper leaflet that depicts 23 happy and healthy Indian captives in a prisoner of war camp. The languages are Hindi, Hindi (Romani) and Urdu scripts. There is a also mixture of Hindi and Urdu that was once called Hindustani. The text is:

Life in a German Prisoner-of-War Camp

Many Indian sepoys (privates) are living comfortably in the German prisoner-of-war camps. This newspaper depicts photographs of the prisoners’ life in those camps. There is excellent schedule of prisoners’ meals, sports, the reading of books, dance and skits for entertainment. The camps have temples for the Hindus, mosques for the Muslims and ‘gurudwaras’ for the Sikhs.

Now guess who among them has won? It seems that only those who are smiling have won. But actually all of them (seen in the picture) have won because they have saved their lives and are living happily in the prisoner-of war camps.


Neya Sal Mubarak!

03-Neya Sal Mubarak!

This leaflet was printed in December 1944 by Germany for use against the Indians in Italy. The text in the back read in part:

May God Bless You With A Happy New Year

Think about it – during the new year – uniforms, shining shoes, and turbans, etc. Going back home in good spirits. But all of this has become a dream, and now you dance on a rope, and a little slip can bring you down right over the sharp bayonets. Then you will become a statistic of the dead. But is it possible to go home in good cheer by taking this leaflet to the Germans without any fear?

If you want to know more about this offer than listen to the radio at 5:30 p.m. To 6:00 p.m. On medium wave 449.1 or on short wave 476.


  Jo Radio Sunta Hai

04-Jo Radio Sunta Hai

This leaflet is a radio leaflet produced in an attempt to get Indian soldiers to listen to the German propaganda radio. It depicts two Indians listening to the radio on the front. The text is:

Whoever listens to the radio always remains connected and up to date.

Its back is all text and gives the wavelengths of various propaganda stations in various languages. The text is:

You can listen daily in the evening.

Between 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM: MW 449.1 and SW 47.6

Between 8:30 PM to 9:00 PM: SW 47.6

The Voice of Bhai [Brother] Band Radio.

Broadcasts correct news from all over the world, plays Indian music and news for the betterment of Indian soldiers.


Shahr Men Jana

05-Shahr Men Jana

This leaflet is the usual German divide-and-conquer aimed at driving a wedge between the Indians and their British officers. The front of the leaflets depicts an officer talking to a girl in a peaceful Indian city. The text is:

Entry to the city is strictly prohibited

But who watches the officers?

The back of the leaflet depicts an Indian soldier dying in combat. The meaning is clear. Indians are being sacrificed by their officer corps. The text is:

Who commands this company?

Company Commander Major Sarbuland.

Where are all the officers?

Can it be that they are strictly forbidden to serve on the front lines?



Azad Hind Zindabad

06-Azad Hind Zindabad

This is one of German leaflets dropped on Indians fighting for the British in Northwest Europe and Italy late in the war. The text reads;

Long Live Independent India


  Azad Hind Stamps

07-Azad Hind Stamps

These were the postwar envelope bearing the genuine “Azad Hind” Stamps. This 1964 envelope, designed in honor of the Indian National Army’s Martyrs Memorial bears the five low value designs. They are; a nurse comforting a wounded soldier, a map of the Indian subcontinent with a broken chain across it, a turbaned soldier wearing the springing tiger insignia of the Indian Legion and aiming a German MG 34 machine gun, an Indian girl working at a spinning wheel, and a plough framing a rice field with a farmer working on it. The stamps are cancelled with a special stamp reading “NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE – CALCUTTA. ” These stamps were produced in Germany for propaganda purposes and meant to be used at some future time in territories controlled by the Free Indian Army. Twelve million stamps were printed and gummed by the Reichsdruckerei in Berlin. The failure of the Free Indian Army to achieve any military success left the stamps without a reason for use, and the entire issue was still in storage in Europe at the end of the war. None of the stamps was ever placed in use.


  Azad Hind Bank

08-Azad Hind Bank

This is an “Azad Hind” Commemorative Propaganda Banknote. There is no proof that the Free Indian Movement ever produced any banknotes. However, former members of the INA when interviewed reported that there were plans for such currency by the new Independent Indian Government. In March 1944 Bose demanded the establishment of a National Bank of Azad Hind. In another meeting he demanded that when the Japanese and Indians invade India:

Special currency issued by the Free India provisional Government should be used rather than Japanese military currency.

There is a rumor that the Germans printed banknotes for Bose about the same time they printed the stamps, but allegedly they were lost when the ship they were sent in was torpedoed on its way to Japan. To serve the financial needs of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, an Azad Hind Bank was established. The bank was created on 5 April 1944 and capitalized at several million rupees.


Question from BBC London

09-Question from BBC London

This German leaflet depicts “Death” holding a British flag at the top and starving Indians below. The back has a long text message and depicts Churchill holding a bag of money. The text is very long and written in Urdu Roman letters and Urdu script. The text talks about the British and German radio broadcasts, the British causing strife between the Hindus and the Muslims, and the British looting of Indian foodstuffs and industrial items. It says in part:

Question from BBC London

On Thursday, 21st September 1944, BBC London had a question for our fighting soldiers on its morning program for Indians.

“Do you ever wonder why India is so poor? If you think about answering this question with all your new experiences and ideas you can figure out what can you do for betterment of India once the war is over.”

We know that many of our brothers have never heard our [German radio] program, and very few of those who have heard our program believe what we say. However, we can answer the question about why India is so poor.

It is because of the unfortunate presence of Britain in India!


Soldiers of the 4th Indian Division

10-Soldiers of the 4th Indian division

The Germans produced a number of divide and Conquer leaflets targeting Allied forces during the battle for Monte Cassino. Among the various minorities that they claim were being forced to fight and die for the Americans and British were those from New Zealand, India and Poland. The leaflet above targets the Indian 4th Division. The language is Urdu and the script is Arabic-Persian (the standard script of the Urdu) and Roman so all Indians could read it. The Indian soldier depicted on the front being pushed forward by Churchill is most likely a Sikh or a Muslim. The text in part is:

SOLDIERS OF THE 4TH INDIAN DIVISION!

You have seen in the last attack on Cassino how many Indian soldiers have gone to permanent sleep. Looking at these miserable deaths, every human cries. This is the same place where the American forces earlier attacked and got a bloody nose.

INDIANS ARE CANNON FODDER

Where the American and British forces fail, the voiceless Indians are put in the front to be cannon fodder. Think a bit, what business have you got in Italy? Why are you unnecessarily making thousands of Indian children orphans and Indian women widows?

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY

Take advantage of the chance to quickly cross over to the German side. Spend your time in a prisoner-or-war camp and at the end of the war go home safely. Your brothers are present here in the thousands. 

Note: You can cross over to the Germans safely by showing this paper.

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