19.9.10

The Second Great Bengal famine

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I have covered this subject before, but since Madhusree Mukerjee has published a whole book on the subject with a revisionist perspective, I thought I'd post the below article:


From Publishers Weekly

Misremembered as a placid imperial bastion during WWII, India was in fact racked by famine and insurrection, according to this searching history. Mukerjee (The Land of Naked People) surveys a country seething with violence, as Congress Party militants agitating for independence turned to rioting and assassination campaigns after bloody police crackdowns, and an army of Indian guerrillas fought alongside the Japanese against the British. The author's centerpiece is a chronicle of the 1943 Bengali famine, in which at least 1.5 million died while British authorities continued exporting Indian grain. She blames the disaster on British policy, which, she argues, sought to extract as much war production and food as possible from India while printing money to pay for it; the resulting inflation priced food beyond the reach of the poor. Mukerjee sets her well-researched chronicle amid heartbreaking scenes of starvation, bloodshed, and pungent portraits of Winston Churchill and his advisers as studies in racial disdain and deluded imperial nostalgia. This gripping account of a historical tragedy is a useful corrective to fashionable theories of benign imperial rule, arguing that a brutal rapaciousness was the very soul of the Raj.

Review

Ramachandra Guha, author of India after Gandhi

“Winston Churchill’s dislike of India and Indians has been known to scholars. But now, in Churchill’s Secret War, we have, for the first time, definitive evidence of how a great man’s prejudices contributed to one of the most deadly famines in modern history. In her book, Madhusree Mukerjee writes evocatively of how hunger and rebellion in rural Bengal was a product of cynicism and callousness in imperial London. Deeply researched and skillfully constructed, this is a major contribution to Indian history and to the history of the Second World War.”

Mike Davis, Professor of Creative Writing at University of California–Riverside

“An epic indictment of British policies that cold-bloodedly caused the death of millions of ordinary Indians during the Second World War. With impeccable research, Mukerjee debunks the conventional hagiography of Churchill, showing ‘the last imperialist’s’ monstrous indifference to the peoples of the sub- continent.”

John Horgan, Director, Center for Science Writings, Stevens Institute of Technology

Churchill's Secret War is a major work of historical scholarship, which reveals that one of the 20th century's greatest heroes was also one of its greatest villains. Mukerjee's elegant, precise prose and meticulous research make her tale of colonial brutality all the more gripping and horrific.”

Kirkus

“An important though uncomfortable lesson for readers who think they know the heroes and villains of World War II.”

Publishers Weekly

“[W]ell-researched…This gripping account of historical tragedy is a useful corrective to fashionable theories of benign imperial rule, arguing that a brutal rapaciousness was the very soul of the Raj.”


In order to understand FULLY where nations are in all respects, and where they are going, it is very important for us to understand, absorb and come to terms with the real past, which is not tainted with lies, falsehoods, half truths and mythology because they happen to serve certain agenda's. As with the media and so much else, written history is often controlled by elite groups and interests to serve their agenda's.

Thus it is significant that
Madhusree Mukerjee takes a fresh approach to this contentious subject. Generally since Independence, the Bengal famine has been covered as a tragedy with social-economic implications by Indian historians and media people. Nobody looked at the political implications and background, because for most post colonial historians tainted with the Macauley Brown Sahib mentality such tricky sensitive questions were not asked, or the done thing. But finally after 63 years of Independence, some writers in and out of India are looking at Indian history with a radical revisionist fresh perspective, and this is indeed very promising.

I blog and prattle around these subjects casually with no references or footnotes, but there are out there now interested people who take the time to labor, research and produce fine books with DETAIL on the subjects of great significance.

The Bengal Famine of 1943, was not the first famine artificially created by the British Raj. An estimated 30 million Indians were victims of genocide under the British rule of India from 1757, when the conquest began in earnest until its end in 1947. Clearly Bengal was not the only victim of British misrule, but that other states such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and many others suffered in pockets or in large swathes.

The worst famine has to be the 1769 famine of Bengal when 10 million people perished, in a state of 34 million because the East India company gave preference to growing cash crops such as Indigo, Jute and Opium for exports. That event is well documented even though it is further down in history, because the primary perpetrator Warren Hastings was brought to court in a private action in London. The injustice was recognized, if not punished.

And such things went on for the next 200 years.

Though the British colonial perspective was that local Indian rulers were corrupt and incompetent; Indians were work shy; over producing and a lessor people who ought to be treated like little children in the better days. British civilization had to be introduced, and local culture discouraged where possible. The British were in India to build railways and roads, and all modern benefits of Western civilization. A force for good, and clean justice.....with good Victorian Evangelical morality.....and so the official narrative went.

(Afghanistan, Iraq now)

What ordinary Indians KNEW, and the REALITY they faced each day was not written about. It was glossed over, AND so the injustice was never addressed and continued into 1943/44 until Hitler intervened and hastened the end of the British empire.

Churchill was an ultra-racist, as were much of the British elite. He was Jewish on his mothers side, though he did not practice Judaism. He was a Sodomiser who engaged in ALL male orgies in the seedier parts of London. He invited masseurs to 10 Downing Street regularly. He was incompetent in most things in life. He was Neanderthal ugly. He was the first to use poisonous gas against civilians when in government. But because he belonged to the Anglicised Jewish elite along with the powerful Rothschilds of London, he became the perfect mascot of the "British Bull dog cause" in the wholly artificial fiction created by the Jewish bankers known to the rest of us as World War II.

Churchill committed great crimes in India, but he was by no means the only one. Many great crimes were committed by the British in India.

However the other great crime of Churchill, again neglected by astute Indian historians is the re-launch of the Muslim League in the critical year of 1940, with Jinnah at its helm. It was under Churchill that the Muslim League briefly became a fully proactive mass party under British guidance, and Jinnah who I believe was recruited by them as their agent who led this "British proxy party" to undermine the assertive Congress in the final years towards Independence. The British were fully aware of their agent Jinnah's real condition, and that is why they brought forward the date of Independence so early, when all else expected it to be a year or two later. By 1948 the British created the ISI which they controlled and guided with a British officer heading the Pakistan military into 1951, and the Muslim League was effectively folded in 1951. The Muslim League was a party on paper so long as it had the blessings of the British.


aka Musharaf out of London recently, MQM, PPP and Muslim League under the Sharif's.....all vetted by London.


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Churchill blamed for Indian famine that killed three million

By The Peninsula.



British prime minister Winston Churchill deliberately let millions of Indians starve to death, the author of a new book has claimed, alleging he was motivated in part by racial hatred.

As many as three million people died in the Bengal famine of 1943 after Japan captured neighboring Burma — a major source of rice imports — and British colonial rulers in India stockpiled food for soldiers and war workers.

Panic-buying of rice sent prices soaring, and distribution channels were wrecked when officials confiscated or destroyed most boats and bullock carts in Bengal to stop them falling into enemy hands if Japan invaded.

Rice suddenly became scarce in markets and, as worsening hunger spread through villages, Churchill repeatedly refused pleas for emergency food shipments.

Emaciated masses drifted into Kolkata, where eye-witnesses described men fighting over foul scraps and skeletal mothers dying in the streets as British and middle-class Indians ate large meals in their clubs or at home.

The “man-made” famine has long been one of the darkest chapters of the British Raj, but now Madhusree Mukerjee says she has uncovered evidence that Churchill was directly responsible for the appalling suffering.

Her book, Churchill’s Secret War, quotes previously unused papers that disprove his claim that no ships could be spared from the war and that show him brushing aside increasingly desperate requests from British officials in India.

Analysis of World War II cabinet meetings, forgotten ministry records and personal archives show that full grain ships from Australia were passing India on their way to the Mediterranean region, where huge stockpiles were building up.

“It wasn’t a question of Churchill being inept: sending relief to Bengal was raised repeatedly and he and his close associates thwarted every effort,” Mukerjee said in a telephone interview.

“The United States and Australia offered to send help but couldn’t because the war cabinet was not willing to release ships. And when the US offered to send grain on its own ships, that offer was not followed up by the British.”

“He said awful things about Indians. He told his secretary he wished they could be bombed,” Mukerjee said. “He was furious with Indians because he could see America would not let British rule in India continue.”

Churchill derided Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi as a lawyer posing as a “half-naked” holy man, and replied to British officials in India who pleaded for food supplies by asking why Gandhi had not yet died.

“I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion,” he told Leo Amery, the secretary of state for India. Another time he accused Indians of effectively causing the famine by “breeding like rabbits.”

(This was an opinion held by many within the British state structure, not just Churchill. In order to subjugate and exploit people, demonization must take place, other wise the subjugation and exploitation cannot take place in the 19th century colonial context.)

Amery once lost his temper after one rant by the prime minister, telling Churchill that he could not “see much difference between his outlook and Hitler’s.”

Amery wrote in his diary: “I am by no means sure whether on this subject of India he is really quite sane.”

“Winston’s racist hatred was due to his loving the empire in the way a jealous husband loves his trophy wife: he would rather destroy it than let it go,” said Mukerjee.

Mukerjee’s book has been hailed as a ground-breaking achievement which unearths new information despite the hundreds of volumes already written on Churchill’s life.

“The famine, you could argue, was partly a deliberate act. India was forced to export grain in the early years of war and in 1943 was exporting rice at Churchill’s personal insistence. Britain ruthlessly exploited India during war and didn’t let up even when famine started.”