Churchill blamed Indians for the Great Bengal Famine - After all, why did Indians have to breed like rabbits ...? he asked. Click for larger image.
Decades of planning
Emerging nations (India is, hopefully, re-emerging), at some point, will confront militant and aggressive powers, who have used major massacres to secure their ends. Apart from well documented and known military massacres , there are equally effective massacres – the Bengal Famine of 1943 being a prime example.
Like much of Western history, the British (Lord Willingdon, Neville Chamberlain, Montagu Norman, Winston Churchill – as the Chancellor of the Exchequer) executed a scorched earth policy in India from 1920-1945 – culminating in the The Great Bengal Famine.
After all what is a brown life worth?
A propaganda victory
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. (via How Churchill ‘starved’ India.).
Pictures of the hungry and dying in Bengal during the famine. Click for larger image.
They implemented a series of economic and administrative measures that killed millions in the Bengal Famine, would impoverish India – and sustain the empire. Between 1920-1945, the British manipulated exchange rates and trade to impoverish the Indians. Food grain prices rose sharply on supply disruptions during WW2. Indians had no financial reserves. 40 lakhs Indians died in the resultant Bengal Famine.
After the fall of Singapore, and the rapid Japanese advance, with Subhash Chandra Bose in the vicinity, a revolt by Bengal would have had catastrophic effect on the colonial administration. Howard Fast, in his novel ‘The Pledge’ speculated that the Bengal Famine was a deliberate creation – possibly to weaken the local population. Subsequent research has confirmed that this ‘theory’ of deliberate famine.
No bodies ... no famine ... What famine ... ? The British efficiently disposed of the bodies in Kolktta. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image
Caught in a pincer movement, between Subhash Bose’s trained and armed soldiers and Gandhiji’s unarmed force, the British Raj responded savagely. With massive additions to the Indian police force.
The British were better …
Under dubious licences and restrictions, the British Raj turned Bengal into a huge concentration camp. Like the Spanish had done in Cuba, nearly 80 years ago. General Valeriano Weyler, “The Butcher,” was sent from Spain to stamp out the independence movement in Cuba. He created modern history’s first concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of men women and children were put into concentration camps. In Havana city alone, 52,000 people died.
Afraid that Bengal would fall to Subhash Bose, Burma’s rice crop was barricaded from Bengal. To cut Bengal from Burmese rice, Indian traders in Burma were hounded out. Grain trucks were not allowed to move into Bengal. Without Burmese rice, on which Bengal depended, an estimated 40-50 lakh people in Bengal died.
All that was left of Indians - Skin and bones. Why did Indians have to breed like rabbits? asked Churchill. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image
The Bengal Burma link of the ages was broken. Chettiar money lenders were thrown out of Burma. From being a granary of Asia, Burma started declining – and there was no rice for exports. Result – The Bengal Famine of 1943. Tally – 40-50 lakh deaths. As Gideon Polya has pointed out, Australian sheep have lower mortality rates.
Dignity of death
In his study (Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation By Amartya Sen) about The Great Bengal Famine, Amartya Sen highlights that “…for every dead woman there were nearly two dead men …” Sir Charles Elliot Famine Commissioner in Mysore in 1876 the general belief about Indian famines that “all authorities seem agreed that women succumb to famine less easily than men.”
The end of extraction
After WW2, Churchill very much wanted the option of squeezing the Brown man at least a little more. Whatever little there was left of the Brown man after the Great Bengal Famine of 1943.
A womans collects fallen grains of food from the road. (Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image
Clement Attlee pointed out that there was nothing left to squeeze. Attlee thought that the cost of squeezing was greater than the value of the extract. After Montagu Norman, Churchill, Lord Willingdon, Neville Chamberlain had finished with the Great Bullion Scam against India from 1925-1945. After the war was over and the Brown man was used in Africa and Europe. They let us go – and allowed us to rule ourselves.
How can we ever repay this debt?
Hitler was never alone
Hitler’s biggest mistake – he lost the war.
The genocide with which his regime was charged with was also carried out against the Native Americans in the USA, the Australian aborigines, in Congo by the Belgians.
Post colonial Governments in Kenya and India have ignored the cover-up of the millions killed by the colonial rulers – in the Mau Mau operations in Kenya or the 1857 War in India.
Bodies were disposed as efficiently as food was denied in Bengal. ((Picture by life.com; courtesy - oldindianphotos.blogspot.com.). Click for larger image.
While Hitler killed millions (some 5-6 millions) in his concentration camps, Britain killed a similar number in Bengal. Britain wreaked havoc in India by creating The Great Bengal Famine. Some 40-50 lakh Indians died. Hitler rained the Holocaust on the Jews. Some 50-60 lakh Jews died.
What’s the difference
How were German concentration camps different from Bengal-as-a-concentration camp? There was one significant difference.
The British were kind enough not to use Zyklon gas – which would have killed Indians faster. Instead Indians died, slow, horrible deaths, over a period of 2 years. Unlike Jews, who were killed quickly. The British were without doubt the more humane murderers – compared to the Germans.