Thursday, 7 May 2020

The great Bengal Famine of 1943 accelerated by Winston Churchill - tragedy much worse than Covid -19 pandemic caused by China

Churchill .www.coventry
Churchill .henrypayne.com
Because of Covid-19 virus pandemic  that has its roots in Wuhan, city, China, almost every country  world over is very much affected by the quick spread of the virus in the absence of a reliable medication. So far roughly 3841500 people have been confirmed positive and the global death toll is roughly 265600 people;1.31 million people recovered. In India the total confirmed cases  is 53000 and the death is 1700.  In the wake of it countless countries  are facing all kinds of problems - loss of jobs,  battered economy, access to shops to buy groceries, rationed food,  etc in view of lock-down situation in many countries, not to speak of pain and anxiety suffered by the families who lost their loved ones. 

As for India, the PM Modiji and theTN  state CM take the correct decision regarding total lock down of the country and some relief here and there, but a large swathe of irresponsible people in many parts of the country and in TN  pay little attention to social distancing  and self-isolation that will keep the spread of virus in check. The disparaging fact is the opposition leaders, using the virus problem as a ruse and criticize the leaders instead of being cooperative. They have failed to act in tandem  with the government to alleviate the social problems being faced by the people.  No decent  donations from these political parties to the public funds to handle the present virus emergency  in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.  
Winston Churchill cigarmonkeys.com/
At a time when millions of people world wide are facing threats to their lives  due to irresponsible  and arrogant attitude of belligerent China,  my mind goes back to the time of the colonial time and the tragic Bengal famine of the 1940s  that killed roughly 4 million people.  That time the conservative party was running the administration in London under the hot headed politician Winston Churchill who was a famous India baiter. He  had a  deep apathy for Indian political leaders, in particular, Mahatma Gandhi.  Indians were furious about the policies of conservative government that were against the Indians. Reason; Lack of transparency, reluctance to give freedom to India   and  utter negligence  during the worst famine in Bengal.  
Shashi Tharoor, Congress man and an active politician from Kerala,  rightly put Winston Churchill in the same category of the 'Rogue's gallery'  as one will find in the police department.  I wish I had a mug shot of Winston, the craziest man from the English aristocracy.  Without any hesitation Tharoor referred to him as  “the worst genocidal dictators” of the 20th century because of his complicity in the Bengal Famine.
In his well-received popular book ''Inglorious Empire''  Dr Tharoor lists despicable atrocities of the British Empire and he, with authority, argued  that Churchill's  reputation as a great wartime leader and protector of freedom was simply hyped up by the  British media.   The worst Bengal famine exposed his racist and snobbish mentality  towards Indians. No body ever thought 
Churchill would stoop to such a low level as to  divert  the ships from Australia  laden with  wheat  docked at the Calcutta harbor  to  European destinations  to increase the buffer stock there and meet the needs of  British soldiers and countries such as Greece. This was done on purpose by him  while a deadly famine  was sweeping through Bengal, killing people in large numbers almost daily. He never showed any remorse toward the dying people, their pain and misery.  The paradox is it was India and the natives' sweat and blood  financed the industrial revolution in England and these people stood by the British  during the two world wars and they  supplied them  the needed arms, ammunition, uniforms, boots, etc during the wars - all at the cost of Govt. of British India (they got the revenue from the Indian lands).  

“This is a man the British would have us hail as an apostle of freedom and democracy, when he has as much blood on his hands as some of the worst genocidal dictators of the 20th century,”  Tharoor  said to an audience in England and it was well received by the well-balanced people. Dr Tharoor became popular  after his spell-binding  speech at Oxford Union, discussing the economic toll British rule took on India, in July 2015 went viral. He, during the brief period, was much applauded by the audience. 

 Churchill' paranoia about India  was quite  well-known, so was his wild and  adamant opposition to freedom for Indians.  Equally distressing was  his hatred for Mahatma Gandhi that  generated carping remarks  from him. In this respect, his badmouthing never became subdued,  he repeatedly mocked, calling  Gandhi (among other things) a “malignant subversive fanatic” and “a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a ''fakir'' of a type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace.”
When the British officials   informed him about the daily unfolding  causality  in Bengal due to unrelenting famine, Churchill said, “People started dying and .... well it’s all their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits. He said, ''I hate the Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” His senior cabinet colleague Leo Amery recalled how Churchill had once referred Indians as beastly people.   He added that their leader - Winston was, in his opinion, the beastliest of them all.
'' ...Even sharper in its criticism was the now-defunct Indian News Chronicle. Its editorial on September 27, 1951, titled “Churchilliana,” said the former British leader’s memoirs were full of myths and misstatements, of which the calumnies against Gandhi were representative. Churchill’s “entire political career,” the paper thundered, “is a record of political opportunism, inconsistency, and downright wickedness.” Calling him a “friend of reaction” and “a high priest of British imperialism. 

Dr Tharoor, a former Under-Secretary of the UN,  said the British broke the backbone of the traditional Indian industries such as textiles which reduced India  to “a poster child of third world poverty” by the time the British left in 1947.

It is quite well-known that the British Empire was responsible for  
 5 worst atrocities that can not be erased from the pages of British history. they are 
1. Boer concentration camps - 1900- 1902 (26000 women and children perished in the camps in S.Africa)
2. Amritsar massacre - April 13, 1919 (unofficially more than 1000 unarmed people were killed,  countless people bled to death, no medical services, no ambulance. carried by Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer; more than 1000 were severely injured).
3. Partitioning of India - August 1947 (communal violence took its roots during the colonial period; during partition resulted in the death of more than  one million people while shifting their residecy across the India and Pakistan borders).
4. Mau Mau Uprising - (1952-1960 in Kenya).
Winston Churchill visits the ruins of Coventry Cathedral.historic-uk.com
No doubt Winston Churchill is one of the evil rulers of the 20th century sharing the lousy reputation of cunning and murderous people like  Hitler, Mao and Stalin.   In reality, his almost strangled neck in the face of Hitler's pounding (September 1940 until May 1941) of England in the WWII was saved by the  superior war strategies and  the bravery of Americans and Russians at the right time. The impact of WWII was so much on Britain's economy, at last, it loosened its tight grip on the Indian subcontinent. As the Indians woke up, there was no question of any further exploitation of India and her resources.  The Indians had begun to see the flickering light at the end of the tunnel after the Bengal famine that exposed Britain's evil face; but,  there was no end to Winston's mad continuous  blabbering about India. 
The blitz German bombing of London historyextra.com
In his homeland,  Churchill’s  supposedly vital  contribution to saving his people from Hitler' onslaught  eclipses other leaders real contribution and he was  voted as  the greatest Briton of all time.  A senior Labor party leader described him as a “villain” for having ordered troops to fire on striking workers in the Welsh town of Tonypandy in 1910. Till his death Churchill's  superiority complex and  obdurate attitude toward people of other races  kept surfacing then and there for the simple reason - his strong ingrained


belief in the hegemony of the world by  Anglo-Saxon peoples.”
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/04/churchill-gandhi-briton-indian-greatest/584170/
http://navrangindia.blogspot.com/2018/07/wiston-churchills-abusive-quotes-on.html https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/winston-churchill-genocide-dictator-shashi-tharoor-melbourne-writers-festival-a7936141.html
Ramachandra Guha is a historian based in Bengaluru. His most recent book is Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World, 1914-1948.