CHURCHILL: a leader through justice or crime?
75 years on, Winston Churchill is remembered for his victories and leadership through WW2, though his crimes against the Bengalis have been forgotten by the many. The policies Churchill undertook meant those in Bengal would face food shortages, commodity reductions, income loss and epidemics. All of which was blamed on the fact Indians were “breeding like rabbits”.
Churchills policies allowed resources from Bengal to be taken; used to either benefit the British and allies, or as defence against the opposition. Crops exported across Europe, in some cases to use as buffer stocks if ever Greece and Yugoslavia were invaded. Bengalis were unable to make clothes grown from crops, as the materials were used for British military uniforms. Those in the fishing and transportation industry were left without boats or carts, rice from the fields was taken, all commanded by Churchill to prevent Japanese invasion. A lack of commodities, choices, and income resulted in trade entitlement loss for millions across Bengal.
At one point the Delhi Government sent out a descriptive telegram of the unjust horrors and numbers of deaths to the UK Government, of which Churchill responded, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”. Some argue that without Churchill, there would have been far worse effects, given how “well” he handled the war priorities alongside the famine. However, this can be outrightly refused given the collated number of displacements, disease and death.
Hungry Bengal, an account of the famine during 1943 by Chittaprosad, targeted the British-colonial ruling and global capitalistic system. So when published, the UK Government burnt all copies, keeping the truth away from public eyes. It is disturbing that such acts as the Bengal famine of 1943 can be hidden and remain unspoken of by those here in the UK, whilst commemorating the leader who was in ruling at such a time.
The history of Bengal will live on, though over 4 million lives were lost and many more suffered due to unjust policies.