Left-wing political commentator Ash Sarkar has used information without context to defame Sir Winston Churchill on Twitter.
In an attempt to prove the war-time Prime Minister’s racism, she referenced his handling of the Bengal famine of 1943 in India as evidence.
What stinks about this is how the lives lost in the Bengal famine – or the mass slaughter of the Pashtuns in Afghanistan, or the bombing of Kurdistan and Iraq – are completely erased.
This is racist dehumanisation in action.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) February 13, 2021
While it has been widely acknowledged that famines are generally not caused by politicians, but are instead considered “acts of God”, the handling of the situation by Churchill has been widely scrutinised in recent years. According to the International Churchill Institute, on November 18th 2008, Gideon Polya wrote an editorial piece, entitled “Media Lying Over Churchill’s Crimes”.
“Churchill is our hero because of his leadership in World War 2,” Polya wrote, “but his immense crimes, notably the WW2 Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians, have been deleted from history by extraordinary Anglo-American and Zionist Holocaust Denial.”
The theory, however, that Churchill’s arguably poor response stemmed from racism, has been widely debunked by other historians and prominent biographers. Among them was Sir Martin Gilbert, who said: “Churchill was not responsible for the Bengal Famine. I have been searching for evidence for years: none has turned up.” War-time shortages have been attributed as blame for the atrocity that cost many lives.
In fact, according to the historians at Hillsdale College and the Churchill Project, Churchill on the contrary wrote to Lord Wavell, his new Viceroy of India, personally seeking to find a solution:
“Peace, order and a high condition of war-time well-being among the masses of the people constitute the essential foundation of the forward thrust against the enemy … The hard pressures of world-war have for the first time for many years brought conditions of scarcity, verging in some localities into actual famine, upon India. Every effort must be made, even by the diversion of shipping urgently needed for war purposes, to deal with local shortages.“