A selection of cartoons published in the Daily Mail, UK, in 1942 and during 1946-1947 period, by Leslie Gilbert Illingworth (1902-1979)
It is very interesting to see, through the eyes of a contemporary observer such as Illingworth, various events in the run-up to India’s independence. From the clarity and detail displayed in framing the issues of the day, it appears that he followed events closely.Jinnah as a cricketer defending a tiger labelled ‘Pakistan’. A cow labelled ‘Hindu Intransigence’ is crushing a man labelled ‘Untouchables’, and ‘Nehru’ and others are arguing in the background.
Historical context: India’s Constituent Assembly, which is due to hold its first meeting on December 9, Mr Jinnah, the Moslem League leader, said he would boycott the Assembly and described it as “one more blunder”. “It is quite obvious”, he said “that the Viceroy is blind to the present serious situation and is playing into the hands of Congress”. At the same time the Congress leader, Pandit Nehru, was telling his followers that the only good thing about the Assembly was that “Britain will not be directly represented on it”.
Women are standing in doorways of a row of houses marked “Ceylon” and “India”. The row is on fire, and the the fire has reached the house marked “Burma”. A man marked “Cripps” is running along the street holding a document marked “New policy for India”.
An aristocrat and a soldier are riding an elephant called ‘Congress’ which is out of control. The aristocrat with the words ‘ Velvet Glove Govt’ on his clothing is struggling to control the beast while the soldier is climbing out of the box on the elephant’s back and is saying to the aristocrat ‘ Move over, Marmaduke, this brute needs bringing to its senses’. A tiger with Japanese features is hiding in the grass nearby.
Historical context: August 9, 1942 – Gandhi and other Indian leaders were arrested following pro-independence riots.
A map of Indian provinces. Thunder and lightning cover ‘Bihar’.
Gandhi, and a group of protesters, including a US sympathiser, are holding placards demanding that the British get out of India. All around them are the bodies of those who have died of hunger or civil war.
Historical context: On May 23 1947, the British cabinet took the step of agreeing to Lord Louis Mountabatten’s proposal for the partition of India into two states, one Moslem and the other Hindu.
A man, marked “Race hatred” with a sword has caught hold of a woman, marked “Minorities” who has run away from the riots in the streets to an office where there is a paper marked “Renunication of British sovereignty”.