The films in the collection contain scenes, mainly in India, but also in Burma (Myanmar), Aden and the UK. The first film includes footage demonstrating different trades in India, such as the making of cart wheels. The following films include footage taken in Calcutta (Kolkata), during the violence of August 1946, and at a rally called by Gandhi in 1947.
There are also two films of the Royal Wedding of Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, which would have been purchased from news companies.
Arthur Wise was born in India and spent most of his working life there. He was a business man, based in Calcutta, who worked for an American oil company. During the 1940s, he was living with his family at 9 Harrington Street in Calcutta. He was a keen amateur film-maker. He served on the local council and was the elected leader of the European group from 1944 to 1948. There was increasing troubles between Hindus and Muslims members on council, and Wise tried to mediate between them.
On 16 August 1946 and over the following days, violence broke out between rival factions, known as the Great Calcutta Killings, which resulted in c.5,000 deaths in the city. Wise was on the streets recording the violence with his camera. The following year, Mahatma Gandhi visited Calcutta and met Arthur Wise, inviting him to join a central peace committee (he was the only white representative). Wise left India in 1948, and died in the UK in 1992.
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