The British rule in India was definitely not as good as proclaimed by a lot of People, Indian’s had to suffer a lot under the British rule. The British era brought poverty and suffering to the land which was rich and had no beggars. Most of us know the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the hanging of our freedom fighters. The Bengal famine is a lesser-known incident to today’s people. Winston Churchill, A British man was responsible for the loss of 3 million Indian lives.
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was a British Army officer and the Prime minister from 1940 to 1955. Churchill is honoured with statues in the united kingdom and is hailed as the hero who led to the country victory in world war 2. But often, historians ignore the atrocities committed by him. Winston Churchill is the man who murdered about 3 to 4 million Indians during the man-made Great Bengal famine.
The soil moisture and rainfall data for 1943 indicate that there was no possibility of a natural famine. Unlike other famines which happen due to lack of favourable conditions for the production of food, the great Bengal famine of 1943 was an effect of Churchill’s policies. The famine disturbed the already fragile Bengal economy. Bengal was an agrarian economy and the famine forced men to sell their small farmlands at throwaway prices and leave home to look for work or to join the British Indian Army while women and children became homeless migrants.
The world was going through the tough times of world war 2 and millions of lives were at stake. Britain was at war which meant it needed resources to sustain the war. These resources were plundered from the colonies of Britain by the then prime minister Winston Churchill. India, One such colony of Britan, was subject to the cruel rule of the British. The local population was overworked, illtreated and misused to produce goods for Britain’s war needs.
Wheat, rice and other resources from the country were exported to Britain in large quantities as war supplies. During the war, the food supplies were reserved and diverted to certain groups. The British government’s shady policies created a shortage of food and other important resources. The clumsy planning and implementation led to artificial inflation and the black market for the goods. The British traders stocked food grains in bulk to get higher profits which further caused problems to everybody in Bengal.
The Bengal Chamber of Commerce which was composed mainly of British-owned firms with the support of the British government of Bengal came up with a plan that will help the British sustain the industrial services and other important services which could help Britain. Huge stocks of resources were stocked and were being provided to workers in high-priority roles such as armed forces, war industries, civil servants and other priority classes, to prevent them from leaving their positions.
There were large-scale natural disasters in south-western Bengal like cyclones, tidal waves flooding and rice crop disease. looking at these factors, The British viceroy of India had requested for an emergency Aid for one million tons of wheat to ensure food supply for all. Winston Churchill declined the request and downplayed the situation and declined the existence of a famine or food shortage. Churchill instead blamed the famine on Indians “breeding like rabbits”
Churchill also did not let British Indian Viceroy to request support from elsewhere and also did not let any imports of goods to India. Even if the Imports were allowed, it was reduced to a fraction of the requirement. Churchill let Indians die and did not support In even if he could. The Bengal famine of 1943 could be completely avoided if Churchill wanted. There was adequate rainfall in the year 1943 and all conditions were favourable for food production, but the land grabbing mafia supported by the British and Churchill’s policies resulted in the death of millions.
As a resultant of Bengal famine, the poor farmers had to sell their land and search for a job and many farmers land was snatched away by the landlords/ Zamindars to recover debt. In 2017, Congress MP Sashi Tharoor called Churchill as The “worst Genocidal Dictators” of 20th century. Churchill had diverted the food supply to Greece and other countries and cut off aid to India killing an estimated 3 million people as per official figures. The real figures could have been much higher.
Sadly, This is just one among the many atrocities committed by the British rule in India that many people don’t know about. In spite of all these, there are a few people who claim that the British rule civilized India.