Bengal famine of 1943

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The 1943 Bengal Famine was a case of colonial genocide where an estimated 7 million people were starved to death in the Bengal Province of British India.[1] During World War 2, the British ordered the destruction of all boats and rice stocks in the coastal areas of Bengal, claiming that the Japanese would land there and seize it. The British, under the orders of Winston Churchill, diverted food supplies to British soldiers and even Greece while Bengal was in famine. Wheat from Australia(which could have been transported to starving Indians) was instead transported to British troops in the Mediterranean.[2] The United States and Canada offered to send food supplies to India, but it was turned down by the British colonial authorities. Winston Churchill, defended the stockpiling of food within Britain, by telling his private secretary, "The Hindus were a foul race, protected by their mere pullation from the doom that is their due."

Accounts[edit]

Author Madhusree Mukerjee tracked down some of the survivors and described the chilling details of the effects of hunger and deprivation. In the book, "Churchill's Secret War", she wrote, "Parents dumped their starving children into rivers and wells. Many took their lives by throwing themselves in front of trains. Starving people begged for the starchy water in which rice had been boiled. Children ate leaves and vines, yam stems and grass. People were too weak even to cremate their loved ones."[3]

"No one had the strength to perform rites", a survivor tells Mukerjee. "Dogs and jackals feasted on piles of dead bodies in Bengal's villages." The ones who got away were men who migrated to Calcutta for jobs and women who turned to prostitution to feed their families. "Mothers had turned into murderers, village belles into whores, fathers into traffickers of daughters," wrote Mukerjee.

References[edit]

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  • "Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History: Colonial Rapacity, Holocaust Denial and the Crisis in Biological Sustainablilty" by Gideon Maxwell Polya