Just like everyone else in India, I thought Winston Churchill was a great man….. till I read about the Bengal Famine. Winston Churchill was just like Hitler and Stalin – a vile man who created the conditions where millions of innocent people died. Yet he managed to get a Nobel Prize for literature. He is admired around the world as a “great” leader and a great orator. 😔
I had written earlier about the famine during the pandemic – 3 Million Die of Hunger ……355,257 Recoveries. Revisited the tragedy all over again when I read a brilliant thread by @Shrikantha5 on the internal enemies who tried to whitewash Churchill’s role in the famine.
The link to the twitter thread is – Bengal Famine. Reposting it here –
I am rewriting my earlier tweet threads about British complicity in creation of Bengal famine.
This has references to the literature and primary sources.
Britain was carried by India through the world wars. #BengalFamine #Colonialism
Indian armed forces grew from 189,000 in 1939 to 2,500,000 in 1945!
India massively carried Britain on her shoulders.
War economics of primary producing countries
by A. R. Prest (1948)
Britain promised to share the costs. The deal was that India would incur the costs first and then UK would provide sterling credits later.
Britain was penniless at that time and India bore the costs.
(Refer: Churchill’s secret war, Madhusree Mukerjee)
But Britain provided paper currency instead of sterling (silver). The result was Money supply went up by 7 times. (700%)
Compare this to money supply growth in India during covid- hardly 1/4 times. (25%)
Re: War Economics of Primary Producing Countries, Prest
Here is the snapshot of the money supply from the RBI figures. Just note how money supply went up by 666 percent between Aug 1939 and June 1945.
When money supply of paper currency is increased it results in inflation. This is exactly what happened. There was inflation running into triple digits.
Defense expenditure went up by 1700%. It was not even our war. Britain stole from India.
Now we come to Bengal.
Bengal was to British Empire, what Ukraine is to current Europe.
Bengal used to supply grains to Asia. British were afraid that INA will free Bengal.
So British not only stole rice, but also burnt what they could not ship to Europe!
Britain was afraid that Japanese will invade from the east, so all the grain stored in the east was either diverted to WW effort in Europe or simply burnt or destroyed.
Result was scarcity.
See how the prices moved up on eastern side.
This resulted in Bengal Famine. And millions died because of starvation.
India suffered the biggest casualty of the WW2.
However, “developmental economists” have ignored this smoking gun.
Amartya Sen (Nobel laureate) fudged that Bengal Famine happened because of hoarding of food by Mawaris. Amartya Sen absolved British complicity in the crisis they created.
As per Amartya Sen there was no scarcity of rice!
If there was no scarcity of rice, why did the prices go up. Immediate attention should be on money supply. Since Britain reneged on the promise of silver and instead paid in paper currency, there was massive inflation. It is this inflation that created starvation.
Amartya Sen to prove his theory quoted the official shortfall from the official records at 140,000 tons. However, the document he referred to lists the short fall at 1,400,000 tons!
Amartya Sen argues that it was the entitlement that led to starvation!
More about that later. But a factual error needs to be addressed first.
Refer to the highlighted figure.
Ref: Poverty and Famines, An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation – By Amartya Sen
A shortage of 1,400,000 tons in the official figures was cast down as shortage of 140,000 tons by Amartya Sen (Nobel Laureate)
When asked about this, he said it was a typo!
We have typos in “order of magnitude”! Imagine the other fudging done by the “developmental economists” I have already provided the Money supply figures.
Claim that Bengal Famine was due to entitlement of Indians and not due to British design is false.
British engineered a famine in India to make it harder for INA and Japanese army to make advances into Eastern India.
Indian were expendable for colonials.
And Amartya Sen fudged his theories.
I can understand why Winston Churchill wanted to take away food from Bengal and let the “natives” die of hunger, but I find it difficult to forgive Amartya Sen. How can he and his kind try and whitewash this tragedy ?
Its hard to read about the famine and even harder to digest the whitewashing done by our own people… घर का भेदी लंका ढाए is so true. As our NSA Mr. Doval said in one of his speeches, India has never lost a war except when internal enemies colluded with the external enemy. Sadly, the tradition continues 😔