How Churchill 'starved' India

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by navida, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. navida

    navida Regular Member

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    It is 1943, the peak of the Second War. The place is London. The British War Cabinet is holding meetings on a famine sweeping its troubled colony, India. Millions of natives mainly in eastern Bengal, are starving. Leopold Amery, secretary of state for India, and Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell, soon to be appointed the new viceroy of India, are deliberating how to ship more food to the colony. But the irascible Prime Minister Winston Churchill is coming in their way.


    "Apparently it is more important to save the Greeks and liberated countries than the Indians and there is reluctance either to provide shipping or to reduce stocks in this country," writes Sir Wavell in his account of the meetings. Mr Amery is more direct. "Winston may be right in saying that the starvation of anyhow under-fed Bengalis is less serious than sturdy Greeks, but he makes no sufficient allowance for the sense of Empire responsibility in this country," he writes.

    Some three million Indians died in the famine of 1943. The majority of the deaths were in Bengal. In a shocking new book, Churchill's Secret War, journalist Madhusree Mukherjee blames Mr Churchill's policies for being largely responsible for one of the worst famines in India's history. It is a gripping and scholarly investigation into what must count as one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the Empire.

    The scarcity, Mukherjee writes, was caused by large-scale exports of food from India for use in the war theatres and consumption in Britain - India exported more than 70,000 tonnes of rice between January and July 1943, even as the famine set in. This would have kept nearly 400,000 people alive for a full year. Mr Churchill turned down fervent pleas to export food to India citing a shortage of ships - this when shiploads of Australian wheat, for example, would pass by India to be stored for future consumption in Europe. As imports dropped, prices shot up and hoarders made a killing. Mr Churchill also pushed a scorched earth policy - which went by the sinister name of Denial Policy - in coastal Bengal where the colonisers feared the Japanese would land. So authorities removed boats (the lifeline of the region) and the police destroyed and seized rice stocks.

    Winston Churchill during the Second War

    Mukherjee tracks down some of the survivors of the famine and paints a chilling tale of the effects of hunger and deprivation. Parents dumped their starving children into rivers and wells. Many took their lives by throwing themselves in front of trains. Starving people begged for the starchy water in which rice had been boiled. Children ate leaves and vines, yam stems and grass. People were too weak even to cremate their loved ones. "No one had the strength to perform rites," a survivor tells Mukherjee. Dogs and jackals feasted on piles of dead bodies in Bengal's villages. The ones who got away were men who migrated to Calcutta for jobs and women who turned to prostitution to feed their families. "Mothers had turned into murderers, village belles into whores, fathers into traffickers of daughters," writes Mukherjee.

    The famine ended at the end of the year when survivors harvested their rice crop. The first shipments of barley and wheat reached those in need only in November, by which time tens of thousands had already perished. Throughout the autumn of 1943, the United Kingdom's food and raw materials stockpile for its 47 million people - 14 million fewer than that of Bengal - swelled to 18.5m tonnes.

    In the end, Mukherjee writes eloquently, it was "not so much racism as the imbalance of power inherent in the social Darwinian pyramid that explains why famine could be tolerated in India while bread rationing was regarded as an intolerable deprivation in wartime Britain". For colonial apologists, the book is essential reading. It is a terrifying account of how colonial rule is direly exploitative and, in this case, made worse by a man who made no bones of his contempt for India and its people.

    link : BBC - Soutik Biswas's India: How Churchill 'starved' India
     
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  3. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Good point. That was indeed an induced genocide.

    A visit to the Cellular Jail in Port Blair will convince how the British were wary of Bengalis. A complete list of freedom fighters who were imprisoned in the Cellular Jail is there for all to see. Most of these freedom fighters were from Bengal, and the British were not too unhappy to let the Bengalis starve to death. Who would care for a province and the people thereof, who weren't willing to be lackeys of the British Empire and constantly assassinating British officers, judges and soldiers?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2010
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  4. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    I wonder Churchee's soul must be writhing in pain and shame when it saw Cameron come to India, pleading for business deals to save employment in his country and get his spoilt citizens some food. How time changes....:emot15:
     
  5. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

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    World is round. Today's winner is tomorrow's loser and will bite the dust like ever
     
  6. navida

    navida Regular Member

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    Another shameful and brutal move by the British was to double the tax on Indians during the famine which lead to more suffering and deaths.

    The famines that India suffered brought about some important changes in Indian history.

    1. The famine just before Gandhi's birth was still in people's memory and it gave him and the contemporary Indians the will and reason to flush out the British out of the country.

    2. Famines like the South Indian famine led people to migrate en mass to countries like Malaysia, Burma and Africa in search of livelihood.
     
  7. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    I admire what Churchill did to save Britain from the nazis, but the truth of the matter is he was very anti indian to the point of being openly racist towards indians..
     
  8. Dovah

    Dovah Untermensch Senior Member

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    Without Churchill, India’s Famine Would Have Been Worse

    Without Churchill, India’s Famine Would Have Been Worse

    This is supposed to be a rebuttal of Madhusree Mukerjee's book "Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II"

    Enjoy.

    Without Churchill, India’s Famine Would Have Been Worse

    Also, the site says you can read more about the topic in "Myths" section.
     
  9. PredictablyMalicious

    PredictablyMalicious Punjabi Senior Member

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    And yet there are some indians who love him and british. Our education system has failed them
     
  10. The Fox

    The Fox Regular Member

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    That SOB there are still few Idiots in this country who worship him saying that he is the greatest PM of Brithsh Raj............
     
  11. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    We(Hindus) would be living as second class citizens in Mughal land, if not for the British. :bplease:

    Lets not get carried away ...
     
  12. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Maybe under the Marathas and the Sikhs. Maybe even Mysore and Nizams. Mughals were a weak entity by the time the British became powerful in India.
     
  13. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Thats the problem right there- "May Be"

    We had 800 years to get rid of the Islamic forces from here. But did we do it? NO.

    The Marathas , Sikhs or any other Hindu Kingdom for that matter had absolutely no reason to do that .ie to liberate the entire India from Muslim rule. They would have rather allied with the Muslim kings against their native rivals than with themselves. Is that not how the Brits bring India under it?

    As much I hate the commie, I would agree with him that Hinduism failed India in providing a political unity. But unlike shit logic which the leftists usually put forth, I think, we should learn from that and try to be more united in the future to prevent history from repeating itself. But denying history like it never happened will achieve nothing other than satisfy our false pride!
     
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  14. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    The "May Be" was only for the Marathas and Sikhs being in power. But there was no "may be" when I was referring to the Mughals as a spent force. And that was the point that I was trying to counter.
     
  15. cloud_9

    cloud_9 Regular Member

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    The Martha's were pretty much interested in conquering India and they had success at doing that.Sikhs were not interested in coming down south.Delhi was there limit and they more interested in westward expansion into A-Stan along the Bahawalpur,Multan,Quetta axis.
     
  16. spikey360

    spikey360 Crusader Senior Member

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    Let's not blame the British now that they are our masters no more. It was our fault to begin with that Bharatvarsh was not united as it is now.
     
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  17. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    May be you are right. I dont know. But, that is also not entirely true no?! Sure Mughals were weak, but they were not that weak that they would have been driven out of Delhi, afaik . Anyway, any links to the same? Because from what I read, it was the Brits who finally broke the back of the Mughal rule! Also, note that Gurkhas, Sikhs, and some Indian kings fought along with Brits in 1847. And that has always been the case no?

    Also, the essence of what I meant was that Hindus/India would still have been living under different fiefdoms if not for Brits, under various regimes!
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013
  18. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    British didn't defeat Mughals militarily, but destroyed their cultural supremacy after 1857
     
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  19. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    i do not admire that he used indian troops to save his race from the nazis while starving our folks

    he was the most racist prime minister of the uk - but ....... it's not over yet !
     
  20. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    Actually they did both. All the assumptions that Mughals were weak and would have been over thrown by SIkhs/Marthas are all completely unfounded bull- with lots of "May be"s. Also, the loss of Mughal power started way back and the final death knell was 1857, and it was un-mistakably from the Brits

    The reason is that, if that actually was the case, then we actually would have seen it happen! I mean we would have seen the Marathas overpower the Mughals. But we dint see it did we? I really dont think that Marathas were stupid enough not to conquer the whole India, if it was possible! We can also give a "may be" to united India conquering the world- but that will still remain a "May be". The only thing that matters is what happened- and that is Brits kicking out the native powers one by one "with" native help to gain control of India as whole. One good thing though among many bad stuff is the removal of Islamic rule!
     
  21. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    No, they didn't. There weren't any wars between Mughals and British, except a short war in the late 1600s which was won by Mughals (see Child's War).

    Soon after Aurangzeb's death in 1707, the Mughal Empire essentially collapsed and became highly fragmented. The territory of the former Mughal Empire came under the rule of various competing powers like Marathas, Sikhs, Jats, Nawabs of Bengal and Awadh, Nizam of Hyderabad, etc. The British became militarily dominant by defeating/allying with these various successor states, not by fighting the Mughals.
     

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