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Greatest Briton or Half the Devil - you decide

By: Toothless Posted Jun 27, 2013 General 614 Views

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Is a quote by Winston Churchill, it is just one of the many gems that he flooded the literary world. Some have found their way in Indian text books and his life and leadership has stood as a model for educators, politicians and policy makers. He has been credited as the greatest Briton in many polls and his presence during the Second World War is regarded as the reason for the British defiance and victory over the Nazis. However, there is a problem, history is written by the victors and victors are not necessarily benign.

The year is 1943, India is under British rule and Second World War is in full flow. Burma which is a large supplier of rice to India is occupied by Japan thus cutting off their rice supply to India. This is the reason attributed to the Bengal famine of 1943 along with some cyclones and other weather extremities. But the truth is quite different. Over the past few days I have been reading from a lot of sources over the cause of the Bengal famine and I have come to the conclusion that there is a lot more that happened behind the scenes.

With the supply cut off from Burma, Churchill and his supporters reserved most of the rice in India for their Army which was already amply fed. He diverted the rice supplies to England and other countries in Europe citing the war effort. The reserves in India were also not allowed to be touched and the aid that Australia/ USA and Canada were willing to send was also turned down by Mr Churchill. “I hate Indians”, “Famine or no famine, Indians breed like rabbits” are some of the statements this great person made. When he was requested for supplies by the Delhi government as people were dying, he questioned – how Gandhi was still alive.

Ultimately an estimated 3 – 4 million people died in Bengal due to famine.

Channels like History/Discovery/NGC have at least 2 programs a day that show how the Nazi Devil crime boss with the toothbrush mustache murdered 6 million people in death camps, but there is no word about the deaths caused by Churchill. He may have held out the British spirit during the second world war but killing half as many as Hitler, although indirectly should make him half the devil. But he won’t be seen as an evil person because history is written by the victors and he was one of them.

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