An Indian politician has put Winston Churchill in the same category as some of “the worst genocidal dictators” of the 20th century because of his complicity in the Bengal Famine.
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Dr Shashi Tharoor, whose new book Inglorious Empire chronicles the atrocities of the British Empire, argued the former British Prime Minister’s reputation as a great wartime leader and protector of freedom was wholly miscast given his role in the Bengal famine which saw four million Bengalis starve to death.
In 1943, up to four million Bengalis starved to death when Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal.
During an appearance at the Melbourne writers’ festival broadcast by ABC, the Indian MP noted Churchill’s orders related to Australian ships carrying wheat at Indian docks.
“This is a man the British would have us hail as an apostle of freedom and democracy, when he has as much blood on his hands as some of the worst genocidal dictators of the 20th century,” he said to applause.
He added: “People started dying and Churchill said well it’s all their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits. He said ‘I hate the Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’.”
PRABHUPADA SAYS THOSE IN DEVOTION LINE WERE NOT IN WANT DURING FAMINE:
And if you live your life for sacrifice, sacrifice of yajña, then you will never be unhappy. You’ll never be in want. We become unhappy for want of things which we require. This is practical. This is practical. Anyone… You will be surprised.
I have taken practical information. In 1942 there was a manufactured famine in Bengal by the manipulation of the then government. It is for the first time we experienced that India… In our childhood, when we were children, at that time the first-class rice was selling three dollars for 82 pounds. Can you imagine? Three dollars. Not three dollars, I mean to say, dollar is exchange. Say, for less than one dollar, three-fourth dollar. Three rupees. Three rupees. The exchange of dollar and rupees is: five rupees make one dollar. Now, it was selling at 3.8. So about, I mean to, 75 cent. 75 cent for 82 pounds of best rice. I have seen it in my experiencing of life. When I was a boy in India it was selling. Can you imagine that? But that rice all of a sudden rose in 1940, ten dollars. Now, just imagine if something, the price of something, is raised from 75 cent to ten dollars, how difficult it becomes for the public, for general mass of people. So so many people were in difficulty, and so many people died for want of food, diseases, famine, because when there is want of food… But you will be surprised… I inquired in 1942. Persons who were in our line, I mean to say, engaged in devotional service… I also purchased at the same time. I had… In my family life at that time, I had some responsibility: my self, my wife, my five children, servant, and so many, about ten people. And I was purchasing rice. So anyway, management was going on. But so many people died. But you will be surprised. Those who were in some way or other in touch with the devotional service, I inquired from them individually, and I was satisfied that they were not in difficulty even in that famine circumstances. Even from the villages I inquired that “Were you in difficulty?” They replied, “No, we have no difficulty. Some way or other, we are managing.” So this is practical. Anyone who is engaged in the devotional service, whose life is dedicated for service of the Supreme, you will see practically that there will be no want, there will be no unhappiness. This is a fact. This is a fact.
Srila Prabhupada Lecture Bhagavad-gītā 3.8-13, New York, May 20, 1966