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How Churchill 'starved' India

Soutik Biswas | 15:50 UK time, Thursday, 28 October 2010

Victims of the famine in Bengal, 1943

It is 1943, the peak of the Second World War. The place is London. The British War Cabinet is holding meetings on a famine sweeping its troubled colony, India. Millions of natives mainly in eastern Bengal, are starving. Leopold Amery, secretary of state for India, and Field Marshal Sir Archibald Wavell, soon to be appointed the new viceroy of India, are deliberating how to ship more food to the colony. But the irascible Prime Minister Winston Churchill is coming in their way.


"Apparently it is more important to save the Greeks and liberated countries than the Indians and there is reluctance either to provide shipping or to reduce stocks in this country," writes Sir Wavell in his account of the meetings. Mr Amery is more direct. "Winston may be right in saying that the starvation of anyhow under-fed Bengalis is less serious than sturdy Greeks, but he makes no sufficient allowance for the sense of Empire responsibility in this country," he writes.

Some three million Indians died in the famine of 1943. The majority of the deaths were in Bengal. In a shocking new book, Churchill's Secret War, journalist Madhusree Mukherjee blames Mr Churchill's policies for being largely responsible for one of the worst famines in India's history. It is a gripping and scholarly investigation into what must count as one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the Empire.

The scarcity, Mukherjee writes, was caused by large-scale exports of food from India for use in the war theatres and consumption in Britain - India exported more than 70,000 tonnes of rice between January and July 1943, even as the famine set in. This would have kept nearly 400,000 people alive for a full year. Mr Churchill turned down fervent pleas to export food to India citing a shortage of ships - this when shiploads of Australian wheat, for example, would pass by India to be stored for future consumption in Europe. As imports dropped, prices shot up and hoarders made a killing. Mr Churchill also pushed a scorched earth policy - which went by the sinister name of Denial Policy - in coastal Bengal where the colonisers feared the Japanese would land. So authorities removed boats (the lifeline of the region) and the police destroyed and seized rice stocks.

Mukherjee tracks down some of the survivors of the famine and paints a chilling tale of the effects of hunger and deprivation. 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. "No one had the strength to perform rites," a survivor tells Mukherjee. 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," writes Mukherjee.


Winston Churchill during the Second War

The famine ended at the end of the year when survivors harvested their rice crop. The first shipments of barley and wheat reached those in need only in November, by which time tens of thousands had already perished. Throughout the autumn of 1943, the United Kingdom's food and raw materials stockpile for its 47 million people - 14 million fewer than that of Bengal - swelled to 18.5m tonnes.

In the end, Mukherjee writes eloquently, it was "not so much racism as the imbalance of power inherent in the social Darwinian pyramid that explains why famine could be tolerated in India while bread rationing was regarded as an intolerable deprivation in wartime Britain". For colonial apologists, the book is essential reading. It is a terrifying account of how colonial rule is direly exploitative and, in this case, made worse by a man who made no bones of his contempt for India and its people.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:43pm on 28 Oct 2010, Ananya78 wrote:

    Horrifying! What an eye opener!

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  • 2. At 5:25pm on 28 Oct 2010, whatever wrote:

    Surely the greatest primenister of Britain, an absolute hero of its people could not have done this. Churchill must have done this for the overall benefit of the Indian's, we are just too short sighted to be able to fathom it.

    I will wait for a response from an enlightened englishman to reveal the TRUTH.

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  • 3. At 5:36pm on 28 Oct 2010, altruist77 wrote:

    This is another glimpse from the past that proves that the British were usurpers. They have never felt apologetic to India or expressed gratitude to India for all that they gained from colonizing her. Atleast Germany, is paying Israel every year for the genocide that Hitler committed. What is UK doing for the damages and crime it has caused to all of its colonies. India was the second largest economy of the world in the 18th century. After Independence, she was left with starving weak citizens whose rich possessions were usurped by England. They built the Railways and other infrastructures to support their quest to exploit and take the resources of India. When will they repent and realize their mistakes?

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  • 4. At 6:06pm on 28 Oct 2010, Phew wrote:

    Soutik Biswas congrats on braving to publish this on BBC. Thanks to Mukherjee's 'gripping and scholarly investigation'. It, sure is shamefull for the British who exported from India while Indians were starving. Biswas continue on the same please look into other investigation on atrocities of the 'British India rule' like missionaries bribing the hungry Indians to change their cast for food (similar to person saying come to bed if you need money), info on where the taxes collected by British in India go, how Pakistan came into existence.......... and publish it out here

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  • 5. At 6:09pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Churchill was a great orator, he was also a racist.

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  • 6. At 6:15pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    "What is UK doing for the damages and crime it has caused to all of its colonies."

    As an example, we've let an awful lot of Commonwealth citizens have access to our shores/labour markets so they can build themselves a better life than they could if they stayed back home, Indians included.

    I'd say that goes some way towards reparations.

    We Brits have done some nasty stuff, we should (and often do) own up, say sorry, and try to do something to help (aid).

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  • 7. At 6:20pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 6:47pm on 28 Oct 2010, N Venkatesh Jayanthi wrote:

    It is a know fact that Winston Churchill was anti-India (and probably a racist). This negligence about Indian poor and suffering isn't surprising. Remember he called Mahatma Gandhi 'the half naked fakir'. I have never had a high opinion of him.

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  • 9. At 7:36pm on 28 Oct 2010, Rahul wrote:

    Attrition rate in India is high, lifewise Sautik must have got a new job based on his experience with BBC. Britsh definitely caused famine but there were famines after the British left, theyy# were caused by MARWARIS stocking on food grains and corrupted Politicians and Police, creating artificial famines. These are very well documented in old bollywood movies. Even today there are starvation deaths, but they are caused by various other reasons.
    A few days ago Supreme Court directed Indian Parliament to atleast distribute the grain for poor rather than letting it rot and the PM MMS of India questioned Supremen Courts interference, now shall we blame the Brits again ? What's the difference between Churchill and MMS ?
    I have no respect for people who come up with FALSE propaganda, that said, i am not absolving the BRITS but hey look at us 60 years post independence have we changed yet ?
    Sautik this article is a total insult to India, because rather than highlighting the some actual day to day problems, like the corruption in India or the wrong practices in public distribution which might instigate a GOI response and benefit the people you are trying to get cheap publicity.

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  • 10. At 8:09pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Found story.

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  • 11. At 9:02pm on 28 Oct 2010, Richard wrote:

    When I was growing up in Africa, I remember how the British were chastised for denying the local their rights. As soon as they achieved independence (basically one-man-one-vote, once) conditions immediately became a lot worse, and fifty years later they remain worse than they were in colonial days. Even in South Africa, more people starve today than during white rule, and far more people have died as a result of elected government policies than previously. The fact that Churchill was white and the populace were Indian is irrelevant (as the writer has stated): by-and-large British rule was less corrupt and more beneficial than Indian rule. The fact that they were of a different race is immaterial.

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  • 12. At 9:25pm on 28 Oct 2010, ad2 wrote:

    The scarcity, Mukherjee writes, was caused by large-scale exports of food from India for use in the war theatres and consumption in Britain - India exported more than 70,000 tonnes of rice between January and July 1943, even as the famine set in. This would have kept nearly 400,000 people alive for a full year.

    If the population of India at the time was ~ 200 million (about one sixth of the current population of the subcontinent), those food exports would have been enough to feed one Indian in 500, 0.2% of the population.

    Their impact on the Indian food market must have been negligable.

    It occurs to me that Bengal used to import a lot of rice from Burma and Vietnam, before they were overrun by the Japanese. What effect did that have?

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  • 13. At 9:29pm on 28 Oct 2010, kalpesh wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 14. At 9:41pm on 28 Oct 2010, JLIT99 wrote:

    Just a note to the author - you do know that East Bengal is now Bangladesh? Just to point out that the majority of the famine occured outside the borders of present day India.

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  • 15. At 9:53pm on 28 Oct 2010, 1933 wrote:

    A shameful chapter in British history.I wish some body writes how British destroyed the Indian economy.

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  • 16. At 10:00pm on 28 Oct 2010, Ved Vedamanikam wrote:

    Madhusree Mukherjea's research has exposed Churchill's virulent racism and criminal policies that resulted directly in the starvation deaths of nearly 3 million Bengalis.

    Perhaps some historical revision is necessary when one reads about the war time Prime Minister of UK - a statesman as well as a war criminal!

    Of course he will never escape God's retribution.

    Ved Vedamanikam
    Austin, TX

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  • 17. At 10:03pm on 28 Oct 2010, MyWordsRock wrote:

    JLIT99, what real difference does that make to the point of the article which was that the policies of Churchill directly lead to the deaths of so many Indians? They were Indians in Churchill's time and he regarded Indians as inferior people. It is no surprise to anyone who has read up on this man that he was clear racist.

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  • 18. At 10:58pm on 28 Oct 2010, ks wrote:

    That makes Churchill Hitler's brother, a shade better than Hitler. You can say he was a civilized Hitler.
    The problem for Hitler was that he killed jews and he lost the war. Churchill won the war and even if he was responsible for the death a few million inferior Indians the world did not care and the Indians never cared either.
    Before the British rule there were no beggers in India.After the British everybody knows what happened to India. That is the true legacy of British rule in India.

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  • 19. At 11:21pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    18. At 10:58pm on 28 Oct 2010, ks wrote:
    "Before the British rule there were no beggers in India.After the British everybody knows what happened to India. That is the true legacy of British rule in India."

    So, pre ~1856, there we no beggers in India. Seems like a wild claim imv, got any proof?

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  • 20. At 11:38pm on 28 Oct 2010, DavidG wrote:

    That much for our iconic symbol of Western "democracy"!
    But on hindsight, how different is the Indian famine from opium wars a century earlier?
    When it comes to 'free' trade and profit margins of the East Indian Company, a few million natives' death count little.

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  • 21. At 01:29am on 29 Oct 2010, DP wrote:

    Oh please, do we have to suffer yet more anti-British rhetoric? A scholarly assassination attempt is nothing more than that. The British Empire is not something I am not remotely ashamed of, nor will I apologise for it: at that time, if it were not the British, it would have been the French or the Dutch, and in my view, the British were far more 'enlightened' rulers than either the French or Dutch. If we judge everything by today's morals and ethics, we will find no value in anything. We pick and chose the bits we wish to eulogise and condemn, we select heroes and rascals, based on the tint of our vision. Churchill was many things to many people but his conduct of the war had one purpose alone, Britain's survival and the destruction of German and Japanese fascism.

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  • 22. At 01:48am on 29 Oct 2010, ajay891 wrote:

    And there are people who still seem to think that British rule was good for India. For all its supposed misrule, independent India has never suffered a famine.
    Churchill was voted #1 by the British in the list of 100 greatest Britons!

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  • 23. At 01:49am on 29 Oct 2010, maoriventure wrote:

    British this, British that, racists this, racist that!

    Unbelievable.

    My understanding of Indian history must be slightly different from that of other posters on here. Most of the posters on this blog's feedback would have you believe that prior to British colonialism, the multitude of states within what is now modern day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh must have been lands of milk and honey without pestilence, famine, drought or greedy fat bejeweled maharajahs desperately trying to ferret away as much gold and food as possible at the expense of the general populace.

    This is even before we get into the discussion on the rampant, endemic discrimination that has existed within the previously mentioned borders based upon race, religion and an almost unchangeable social caste system for MILLENIA.

    Churchill was very far from being a perfect man and the British were very very far from being ideal colonialists but please, some of the rhetoric on here beggars belief. Knee jerk nationalist revisionist agendas are often ugly but hey, it does sell books.

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  • 24. At 01:57am on 29 Oct 2010, Jimgmcc wrote:

    "what must count as one of the most shameful chapters in the history of the Empire."

    Almost as bad as what they did during Ireland's potato famine, during which the Brits exported beef from Ireland while 33% of the Catholic population starved to death.




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  • 25. At 02:44am on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    I am an englishman. In 1942 Churchill wrote to Attlee "the Indian troops are fighting splendidly". In 1943 he accepted Cherwell's advice not to send relief to the starving in Bengal ( source Ponting on Churchill).
    So, when the flag has stopped fluttering, is there any commentator here who can tell me of any other ally to whom we refused assistance in wartime who suffered such horrendous losses?
    Is it also true that the Canadian Government offered food and WC did not wish to send any boats to collect it?
    It was, by any humane standard, a wholly morally unjustified neglect of our duty of care to an ally let alone our duty of care to our 'subjects'. I don't care what the standards were in India before, nothing excuses such calculated neglect. Amery, according to Dalton Diary, considered Churchill's attitude on this issue to be 'Hitler-like'.
    And Gandhi still wanted us to leave as 'friends'. Friends indeed!

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  • 26. At 02:57am on 29 Oct 2010, Bud Mashc wrote:

    maoriventure

    How you can compare the actions of a few tin pot gready dictators to an elected leader is fascinating. And of course British history doesn't have its share of hoarders, free loaders & inbreds masquerading as heads of state !!

    Churchill probably didn't realise at the time how his attitude would be viewed then and now. It seems you may share a likeness when it comes to ignorance and myopia.

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  • 27. At 02:59am on 29 Oct 2010, maoriventure wrote:

    "Almost as bad as what they did during Ireland's potato famine, during which the Brits exported beef from Ireland while 33% of the Catholic population starved to death."

    I had a bet with myself on how long this old chestnut came up.

    I think people must, must understand that 21st century moral, cultural or social understandings cannot and should not be used to attack (for profit, fame or notoriety) the actions, good or bad, of colonial powers of even the recent past without certainly referencing what would have THEN been a modern understanding of the world.

    If we are to relentlessly pursue and vilify characters from the past and connect them to their nation of the present I will expect posters on this blog's feedback to offer an equal vilification of Germany, Italy, the USA, Turkey, Russia, Greece, Japan, Israel, China amongst others and certainly India its very self for its own colonial ambitions in the mid to late 20th century.

    Actions that have taken place even just 3 or 4 generations ago should not be forgotten or even forgiven, they should however be written about, discussed and described in context without intentionally raising nationalistic tensions for the sake of it.

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  • 28. At 03:28am on 29 Oct 2010, Saeed Ahmad wrote:

    Well, what else should we expect from this "civilized" nation. After all, these are the same people who took out eyes of the two sons of Bahadar Shah Zafar with knifes and put them on his hands as a punishment for the war of 1856. He was 82 years old at that time.

    This "civilized" nation continues its war crimes and crimes against humanity in concert with America and call others the terrorists.

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  • 29. At 03:36am on 29 Oct 2010, Bren wrote:

    I had no idea how biased Churchill was against India, a real eye opener.

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  • 30. At 03:39am on 29 Oct 2010, maoriventure wrote:

    Bud Mashc

    "maoriventure

    How you can compare the actions of a few tin pot gready dictators to an elected leader is fascinating. And of course British history doesn't have its share of hoarders, free loaders & inbreds masquerading as heads of state !!

    Churchill probably didn't realise at the time how his attitude would be viewed then and now. It seems you may share a likeness when it comes to ignorance and myopia."

    The last thing I am doing is sticking up for British colonialism, or for Great Britain's fantastic collection of "hoarders, free loaders & inbreds masquerading as heads of state",you seem to have mis-understood.

    My issue with the feedback on here is the lack of understanding of political, social and cultural perception of others at that time (WW2 or any other time) that would have affected any person's choices and decisions. You yourself mention that Churchill probably didn't realise at that time how he would be perceived either then or in the future, I agree wholeheartedly. However, they (the feedbackers)are now looking at actions from the past with a modern set of eyes (myopic or otherwise) then passing that off onto the present and that is the issue I have.

    Ignorant? I'd hope not. Myopic? Well, .125 anyway :)

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  • 31. At 03:57am on 29 Oct 2010, Aotearover wrote:

    Despite what this article seems to suggest, this is not an issue that has just come to light. Amartya Sen wrote on the causal factors underlying the 1943 Bengal Famine (including the role of Churchill's government) thirty years ago in his excellent work 'Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation'. Does Mukherjee's book provide new material, or does it simply rehearse Sen's earlier arguments?

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  • 32. At 04:02am on 29 Oct 2010, Saeed Ahmad wrote:

    In response to Brits like Andy who feel no shame and are saying, well that is the way the things were then.

    Look at another headline on the BBC website: 27 October 2010 Last updated at 11:22 ET,

    Hague: Iraq leak is a propaganda gift for terrorists

    So, the leak of wire crimes and crimes against humanity that Americans and its puppet British are committing TODAY is wrong, not the crimes of America and Britain! WOW! What a logic. What excuse do you have Andy for these wire crimes? I know you are going to say Sadam Hussain was a monster, a dictator who used weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons. But who fed this monster? Who provided this monster the weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons? America and Britain. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY OF THESE SHAMEFUL POLICIES TODAY EVEN IF WE FORGET WHAT HAPPENED DURING THE COLONIAL ERA?

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  • 33. At 04:47am on 29 Oct 2010, history_buff wrote:

    A number of comments above seem to raise the question of how secure the food situation was in India was before the advent of colonial rule.

    There is nothing to give us much data about whether famines did occur during the middle ages in India, but Greco-Roman accounts have it that in ancient India, there were a number of measures in place to minimize the risk of famine.

    One source that I shall quote is Megasthenes' Indika where he writes: 'It is accordingly affirmed that famine has never visited India, and that there has never been a general scarcity in the supply of nourishing food. For, since there is a double rainfall in the course of each year,--one in the winter season, when the sowing of wheat takes place as in other countries, and the second at the time of the summer solstice, which is the proper season for sowing rice and bosporum, as well as sesamum and millet--the inhabitants of India almost always gather in two harvests annually; and even should one of the sowings prove more or less abortive they are always sure of the other crop.'

    In the third paragraph of the same, you read: 'But, farther, there are usages observed by the Indians which contribute to prevent the occurrence of famine among them; for whereas among other nations it is usual, in the contests of war, to ravage the soil, and thus to reduce it to an uncultivated waste, among the Indians, on the contrary, by whom husbandmen are regarded as a class that is sacred and inviolable, the tillers of the soil, even when battle is raging in their neighbourhood, are undisturbed by any sense of danger, for the combatants on either side in waging the conflict make carnage of each other, but allow those engaged in husbandry to remain quite unmolested. Besides, they neither ravage an enemy's land with fire, nor cut down its trees.'

    Some of these safeguards may have been forgotten by the 18th century and the safeguards of nature proved insufficient after some arguably unwise and profit-oriented land-revenue systems were introduced in India by the English East India Company in lands that they controlled (I believe starting with the Permanent Settlement Act of 1793). Some of these land-revenue systems were - to give the parliament of England its due - severely criticised in England.

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  • 34. At 04:48am on 29 Oct 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    In my humble reading of history, NOBODY comes to the table with clean hands. I think if we'd all accept this -- and learn to despise ANYBODY that claims to have a title deed to the "moral high ground" -- we might be able to make some progress.

    Never happen though. As the old saying goes, everybody insists on playing the hero in his own autobiography. Name me any empire, country, town, village or tribe that declares themselves to be a despicable, blood-thirsty gang of prats that the Almighty -should- punish if he was doing his job.

    Folly, all of it.

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  • 35. At 04:56am on 29 Oct 2010, history_buff wrote:

    Another little-known fact is that during the Bengal famine, the Indian government-in-exile (the government of Subhas Chandra Bose) - based along with the Indian National Army in the Andaman islands during the war - had, with the assistance of the Axis powers, made an offer to provide 100,000 tonnes of rice grain to the province of Bengal. (The offer was ignored by the Allies).

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  • 36. At 04:57am on 29 Oct 2010, hootroostero wrote:

    For those surprised at such a view of Churchill I recommend Clive Ponting's biography, "Churchill". I don't recall to what extent India came up, but this story is typical enough.

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  • 37. At 05:06am on 29 Oct 2010, A Kar wrote:

    A lot of people responding here are forgetting that these decisions were taken during the middle of World War II. If the war had been lost by the Allies in Europe then India would most likely have ended up a Japanese colony instead and history, and our world today, would be very different. Hard-nosed decisions are taken during a time of war; you need to save yourself before you can save others. It's not nice but it is reality. Could a better decision have been made, one that might have saved thousands of Indians from starvations? Probably. Does that make the decision to continue to feed Europe in an attempt to win the war there first wrong? No it does not.

    It is also a bit disingenuous to pin this all on one man. Churchill was an iconic leader but he was not the government.

    Indians (and I am one) are too quick to try and blame all our current ills on the British Empire. That is too convenient and short-sighted. We are an improving nation but have many ills. Some of those are indeed a result of Empire. Some of them, however, are the result of a culture and society that went way off track a long time before the first white men turned up. Let's be honest with ourselves so we can make ourselves better.

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  • 38. At 05:14am on 29 Oct 2010, Pulkit wrote:

    To be honest, I didn't expect anything else.

    Those years were a terrible time for all of us and not just India. Britain was being constantly bombed and the British prime minister did exactly what he was supposed to do - safeguard the interest of his own country. He used the resources where he felt most appropriate. Yes, it is appalling and shocking and disgusting but that is the sad reality of war.

    and to the people who are comparing this what the Nazis did...ahem...Churchill didn't do this because he felt that "Indians were worthless", he did it because he felt the Greeks were more important. Of course, he couldn't care less if you were Greek or Indian, it's just that he was trying to do whatever he could to weaken the Nazis and grain being given to the people directly fighting the Nazis makes more sense (war-logic).

    I'm in no way suggesting that what he did was good. Just saying that as a wartime PM, his decision made logistical sense.

    And this was repeated all throughout the world. Japan did the same to the colonies it gave up, so did the U.S.S.R., so did France and just about every country you can name.

    I personally don't really like Churchill but in this case, it is hard for me to seperate the truth from the emotional overtone that seems to be the selling point of this book...

    Moreover, there is no reason to blame the British. They are fantastic people and have made every attempt to look at us in a fair light - something we haven't done. Yes, they took India over but that aspect of our history has both a good and a bad side to it and it always seems like we are ready to shove the good side away just in order to inspire nationalism (not aimed this article but just in general). Furthermore...I honestly believe that things would have been much worse if some other colonial power had taken us over. The Brits only went after the money and the trade and most of their policies were aimed at helping you keep your culture because they saw a monetary benefit in that - peaceful colonials would benefit the Empire. This approach, though inherently selfish, was much better than the approach of the Belgians or the Germans.

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  • 39. At 05:27am on 29 Oct 2010, Aotearover wrote:

    Perhaps indicative of Churchill's attitude is a telegram sent to the Viceroy in India (who had requested the release of food stocks to combat the famine) posing the question: 'If there is a famine, then why isn't Gandhi dead yet?'

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  • 40. At 05:27am on 29 Oct 2010, abid wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 41. At 05:28am on 29 Oct 2010, LUFCGavaghan wrote:

    So much British Empire bashing here again I am afraid. Firstly India did not exist as a single state before British rule, but was rather an area dominated by different cultures who were often at war; the British took advantage of those divisions when building the Empire. How many 'Indian' lives were saved by the (relative) stability the British brought during that period in which many of modern India's foundations - legal, political and infrastructure now stand? Look at what happened when Britain finally left.

    Secondly, had the Japanese taken India and colonised this area, it is very unlikely that Indian independence would have been obtained when it was - if at all. The Japanese at the time were actively carrying out genocide in other parts they colonised and would have not balked at the same in India. Manchuria I believe suffered really badly. So the Empire probably saved India from grave tyranny.

    Thirdly, Churchill did not become a great leader by being a nice person. He took cold decisions when Britain (and India) faced destruction at the hands of fascists who would and did liquidate any races that were singled out at any one time. Note also Britain was on the verge of starvation itself and had it starved there is a real possibility the balance of power in the world would have rested in the hands of dictators and fascists.

    Whilst Churchill and the British Empire were far from perfect, for better or worse they created the world in which we live now - which enables the likes of us in UK and India to make our personal views public and hopefully look to the future. Now where is that compensation cheque the Italians sent me because of what the Romans did 2000 years ago ...




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  • 42. At 05:39am on 29 Oct 2010, HandleyPage wrote:

    Shocking, but there are no rules in war or love...life isn't fair.
    I can't understand how Queen Victoria let the Irish Starve in 1847, how many died?
    I don't believe there was a war going on...

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  • 43. At 05:51am on 29 Oct 2010, Gernot Hassenpflug wrote:

    Sounds pretty similar to the Irish famine: continued forced exports of food to other parts.
    I'd like to point out that "hoarders made a killing" is a contradiction of the economic benefits hoarders contribute, much like the mistaken notion of the evils of speculation: in the real world, not one created by fantasy, saving and investment must precede consumption.

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  • 44. At 05:53am on 29 Oct 2010, Bharath wrote:

    What a sick mentality of Churchill! I'm sure there are lot more heinous crimes which need to be revealed.

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  • 45. At 05:57am on 29 Oct 2010, krytenwalia wrote:

    We shouldn't be surprised, Churchill was no supporter of freedom, he began concentration camps in South Africa, which the Nazis used to their horrific conclusion. The British empire starved Ireland as is well known and also did similar during the Victorian era. Empire is there for the advantage of the metropole and exploitation, including genocide, of the colonised. Maybe us Brits will stop revering Churchill as if he's some kind of god - doubt it though.

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  • 46. At 06:11am on 29 Oct 2010, Ashish wrote:

    This book is about what happened in the past.. one should read it and if the feeling is that this was a wrongdoing then look at options for not repeating this in the future.. I see a lot of bickering here and don't see how this helps.. I think both India and UK have moved on, continue to be great friends as nations and its the maturity of these nations that allows a free expression of views and frank discussions on what happened in the past..

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  • 47. At 06:14am on 29 Oct 2010, TrustierDock wrote:

    Thx Mr. Soutik for this 'a real eye opener'.

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  • 48. At 06:14am on 29 Oct 2010, history_buff wrote:

    Responding to comment #41 by LUFCGavaghan, India was a political/cultural entity prior to the colonial era. See post #33.

    Responding to #37 and #38, the contention seems to be that any food should have gone to the nations supporting the war effort during WW2.

    You must allow that Indian forces were active in the years 1940-1942 fighting against Rommel.

    Some snippets from Wikipedia:

    13 December:
    8th Army attacks Gazala line
    NZ forces stopped at Alem Hamza
    Indian forces take Point 204
    Indian infantry face Afrika Korps and against heavy odds destroy 15 of 39 Panzers
    14 December: Indian troops repel repeated Panzer attacks on Point 204
    15 December: German advance overruns British forces en route to Point 204, but Indian forces at Point 204 hold on

    Moreover, NE India was also close to the theatre of war, just as Greece was, with the Japanese forces a few hundred kilometres away in Burma. Interestingly, the Japanese and the Indian rebel army fighting for the Japanese did offer to send food to Bengal, but not the Allies.

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  • 49. At 06:15am on 29 Oct 2010, seanpd wrote:

    There a few things I would like to point out that the article neglects to look at.

    Firstly, during the second world war most if not all industry in Britain became geared towards helping the war effort. This greatly helped all Indian businesses as they no longer had to face competition from British firms. This was only helped by the fact that Britain had to import all of its food and other basic needs. So it shouldn't be that much of a surprise to see many of Indians goods being exported. Basically it boils down who could pay more, and in the end the Indian business men were more willing to sell their goods to the British ( who were willing to pay more) than to local Indians.

    Secondly, one problem that was faced by the British in India at the time was that the outdated train system was collapsing under the strain of the war effort. This is in fact one of the main reasons there was a famine after the war itself in 1946, simply because food could not be transported from one end of the country to another. So it is possible to that Churchill may have realised that the train system in India at the time was close to collapsing and any added pressure could "break the camels back". This would obviously have been detrimental to the war raging in Asia at the time, as it would have severely slowed transportation of both goods and troops.

    Lastly I would like to point out that the blame cannot be laid at Churchill's feet alone. Britain had prevented many of India's small industries from growing over the previous decades. The small industries received no subsidies or tariffs while many British industries enjoyed both. This meant that the British could sell their goods for less and could prevent Indian's industries from thriving.

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  • 50. At 06:15am on 29 Oct 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    Finally a small sampling of the true and accurate history of the world.

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  • 51. At 06:27am on 29 Oct 2010, blefuscu wrote:

    The 'famine' was due not to a natural disaster....there was plenty of rice.

    The cause was the 'rumour' of shortage leading to hoarding on a massive scale by Bengali speculators forcing the price uo beyound affordability for the great mass of the people , using the confusions of the Japanese stategic threat and the consequent realignment of forces for Indian defence and the belief that Britain (after Singapore 1942) would lose.

    Suggest you read Amyrta Sen, Nobel prize winning economist, before leaping to simplistic, anti-British myths.

    There was no physical shortage...stocks were in fact slightly above average, but given the heightened sense of panic, the effect was amplified.

    Psychology and greed were at play.

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  • 52. At 06:39am on 29 Oct 2010, manoj k asthana wrote:

    I am Indian, this killing of many millons in east Bengal was an act of commision & not omissiom. Sir Winston Churchill led successfully to concquer the Nazi evil but from indian perspective he was as bad as Hitler, who killed six million jews and others.

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  • 53. At 06:55am on 29 Oct 2010, Porag wrote:

    "Parents dumped their starving children into rivers and wells." this statement is true. My father was only four at the time of famine. he witnessed a mother throwing her infant into water from a tree. the baby always crying for food and mother cannot give any.

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  • 54. At 07:04am on 29 Oct 2010, balasubramaniam wrote:

    Really it is a horrifying news ,we now know how the British people treated the Indians.Even now most of the us are crazy to go to England.

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  • 55. At 07:05am on 29 Oct 2010, Joao Coelho wrote:

    I see three lines of argument about this story: British were terrible colonialists, British were the saviours of the unenlightened poor masses of Africa and Asia, Churchill was a racist.
    I think we need to put things in perspective. Every society including India has at one point or another enslaved or been enslaved by another. This article points out that even the most enlightened societies still have a ways to go. Retracing the evils of history is only beneficial if we learn something from it, not if we start throwing darts at each other.

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  • 56. At 07:07am on 29 Oct 2010, jaytirth wrote:

    Not long back, Churchill was voted as the greatest Briton. It is like Germany voting Hitler as the greatest German. I see no difference.

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  • 57. At 07:10am on 29 Oct 2010, Zaheer Uddin wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 58. At 07:13am on 29 Oct 2010, jaytirth wrote:

    Not long back, Churchill was voted as the greatest Briton. It is like, Germany voting Hitler as the greatest German. I see no difference.

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  • 59. At 07:18am on 29 Oct 2010, Martyn abrahams wrote:

    Britain seemed to hold anyone in contempt who stood up to her or defied the might of British Imperialism. Look what they did to the boers during the Boer war- they starved thousands of women and children to death in concentration camps and one which is totally disregarded even today, just like India.

    However, with S Africa it is a contempt that still stands to this day for the Afrikaner 110 years on. Britain needs to acknowledge and apologize for these atrocities in both India and S Africa

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  • 60. At 07:23am on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    22. At 01:48am on 29 Oct 2010, ajay891 wrote:

    And there are people who still seem to think that British rule was good for India. For all its supposed misrule, independent India has never suffered a famine.
    Churchill was voted #1 by the British in the list of 100 greatest Britons!

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Its interesting you say that when there are currently millions starving in India, whilst India spends billions on space exploration.

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  • 61. At 07:32am on 29 Oct 2010, 113150 wrote:

    Churchill had the same attitude to Guernsey and Jersey, being prepared to let the islanders starve so that there would be less food for the Germans. When Red Cross boxes from Canada finally arrived the Germans didn't grab the boxes for themselves, they were all kept for the locals.

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  • 62. At 07:40am on 29 Oct 2010, Woodstock107 wrote:

    The sad thing is that it wasn’t only in India that Britain was carrying out atrocities in the name of Empire. You only have to look at Kitchener’s invention of the concentration camp in South Africa and, in even more recent times, the systematic torture of innocents following the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the 50’s.
    The cause has nothing to do with being British but everything to do with the fact that controlling a population through strength of arms with the sole objective of maximising your own profits is wrong and will only bring out the worst in people, whichever country does it. What worries me is the double standards of many British people who would rather bury their heads in the sand and criticise other nations than deal with our own previous mistakes.

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  • 63. At 08:03am on 29 Oct 2010, hellstriker wrote:

    everybody knows british kingdom wrong doings during their colonial rule in india... its just an eye opener... there are many horrifying incidents during their rule... they made us slaves... unfortunately still we influence by them every sphere of field like politics, foreign policy etc.. hope india would be a super power as soon as possible

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  • 64. At 08:06am on 29 Oct 2010, Theguiltywriter wrote:

    Sir Winston Churchill, without a doubt was one of the greatest politicians of his time and I firmly believe that what happened during war time in India, had nothing to do with Churchill. This is a negative propaganda. It is true that Sir Winston Churchill always wanted India to be a colony of the Empire, not because he had low regards for us but he knew well that we, the people of Sub Continent had no ability to run and lead a nation. Once he said it very eloquently "If India is granted freedom, power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all leaders will be of low caliber and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water will be taxed." He said that nearly 7 decades ago. I truthfully have high regards for this man as I firmly believe that he was a man of vision and of great caliber. Besides, there had been famines before and has been since freedom and the result of was the exactly same, therefore, we should not and can not blame one man for all of this. It's bitter but true that we are a kind of a nation which should be lead by others (people like Churchill)

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  • 65. At 08:07am on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    rE #60 "Its interesting you say that when there are currently millions starving in India, whilst India spends billions on space exploration."


    You mean even without cruel Winston?


    And with many western countries and UN shipping food aid to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc.? For years?


    Strange.

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  • 66. At 08:07am on 29 Oct 2010, cyberFC wrote:

    Arguments in defense of Churchil / British Empire such as "we've done what others were doing or would have done in our place" could be a blanket amnesty for atrocities of Hitler and Stalin. Hitler slaughtered innocent Jews because he treated them as enemies of his Reich, Stalin killed innocent Polish because he treated them as potential traitors. Churchil policy in Bengal of scorching earth in fear of Japanese invasion cannot be viewed as having a higher moral ground.

    As someone has rightly noted, the difference between bad tyran and good ruler is the former has lost and the latter has won the war. Afterwards, historians will re-write and "massage" history to winner's favor. Just look at which leaders of Yugoslavia ended up in Hague Tribunal (all from losing side, Serbs). Victor's justice.

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  • 67. At 08:09am on 29 Oct 2010, Stephen Chin wrote:

    Hitler has a hidden rival.

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  • 68. At 08:10am on 29 Oct 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    .Re #59
    "Look what they did to the boers during the Boer war- they starved thousands of women and children"



    So Winston starved Boers, and yet some lunatics here call him a racist?

    [I wonder what they would call Churchill if he did something similar to Zulu]

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  • 69. At 08:10am on 29 Oct 2010, rs_999 wrote:

    What else can one expect from someone who called Gandhiji "the half naked fakir"! May be the only thing he cared for is his alcohol bottle!

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  • 70. At 08:15am on 29 Oct 2010, Axiocracy wrote:

    Churchill simply gave priorities and was not a criminal. Greece is unknown for being the largest victim of WW II, with the highest loses in proportion to its size and population.Greece lost 10% of its population during the war. Only during winter 1941-1942, 300000 children, women, and men were starved to death by the Nazis. The Germans never paid compensation to Greeks. Second was Soviet Union, with 20 million dead. Greece was a vital ally at the time, the country which destroyed the forces of Mussolini and stopped Hitler in attacking Moscow before winter. There should be another article posted by BBC that is more balanced towards history and Churchill. Anti-British hysteria most of the times is not correct.

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  • 71. At 08:24am on 29 Oct 2010, jmsn09 wrote:

    Little wonder. remember that everything the English learned to do in their other colonies, they first did to Ireland. the Great Irish potato famine had all kinds of grains being exported while the potatoes rotted in the fields. The English colonial history needs to be brought out so its sins can be forgiven. God have mercy.

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  • 72. At 08:25am on 29 Oct 2010, pg55555 wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 73. At 08:29am on 29 Oct 2010, Ric_UK wrote:

    No one can deny Britain's negligence of India during colonial times. However, for all the talk of Britain it would be more productive to focus on what is going on presently in India.

    Chronic levels of poverty, a corrupt government/ politicians disguised under a sham democracy, promises of becoming an economic super-power at the expense of being the cheap labour of the world, internal racism (because of religions, castes, gender) like no other country and the list goes on.

    Yes the past is important, but fixing today's problems is more important but I am afraid this is not the case.

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  • 74. At 08:34am on 29 Oct 2010, Daniel Nagle wrote:

    At risk of saying I told you so, all imperial powers behave this way. I am Irish, we had a similar experience under British rule. Power corrupts and absolute power.... Look at the capitalist system today, the system harvests, people, their ideas, their wealth, and when it collapses what happens...... the peasants have to pay again. Walmart, cannibalizing its own staff to make profits...... When China formally takes over I expect we will have a fairer system re food distribution but maybe not much else, maybe they might do something for the environment... Self interest has the world the way it is, I'm all right Jack... BTW, does anybody know if there really is a God, or is it a committee that somebody got to?

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  • 75. At 08:34am on 29 Oct 2010, LexAlex wrote:

    There were sacrifices made all across the Commonwealth and all across the world during and after WW 2. We might not have been here if certain decisions were not made as they were, lets not start pointing fingers.
    Be grateful you've outlived another couple of wars.

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  • 76. At 08:41am on 29 Oct 2010, indus wrote:

    Famines in India are nothing new. There were famines even before the British, as matter of fact far more serious particularly during mohamedan occupation of India.

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  • 77. At 08:43am on 29 Oct 2010, ajaysk wrote:

    Yes, India was not a picture of roses before or after the british. Yes, there was starvation, famine, misrule before and after the british. But the crucial difference is that the europeans committed the crimes of commission or omission deliberately, knowingly, intentionally. Add to it the 'tinge' of racist, 'white man's burden' mindset and you have a veritable ahem.. churchill on your hands.

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  • 78. At 08:44am on 29 Oct 2010, Axiocracy wrote:

    I am not British, but even the British nowadays are not fair with their own history. Yes, there have been crimes and mistakes, but in over all, the world is very lucky for not having the Nazis over its head. Only those countries who resisted the Germans in Europe, the Jews and those who perished in Hitler's camps, know how brutal and inhuman the Germans were. The Gipsies were sent to concentration camps for liquidation, on the basis that they were of Indian stock, another race. Indian readers, please investigate the race issue of the Gipsies in Eastern Europe. They came to Europe several centuries ago from India.
    We should not open our mouths and critisise on historical issues, when we are ignorant of history.

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  • 79. At 08:48am on 29 Oct 2010, Blogger wrote:

    As an example, we've let an awful lot of Commonwealth citizens have access to our shores/labour markets so they can build themselves a better life than they could if they stayed back home, Indians included.
    ----------------------------------------------
    OK , let me be more clear here. India dosent need UKs help.
    All said, whatever you are saying dose not even cover 0.0001% of Indians affected by British racism and pondering. When UK allows visa to doctors and engineers the affected poor can't even afford the ridiculously high British visa fees. Looks like these fees are designed to help begging British economy. After all when the loot is consumed the only option is to work or beg!
    This comment from Andy demonstrate the ignorance of its citizen's( I hope minority) and shows why UK has to beg!

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  • 80. At 08:52am on 29 Oct 2010, Mercedes99 wrote:

    As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill also "allowed" the Lusitania to be sunk in WW1, which he thought would push the Americans into joining the war.
    http://www.threeworldwars.com/world-war-1/ww1.htm

    He certainly had an influence over world events, but whether the world would have been better off with or without him we shall never know. He was certainly ready to sacrifice the lives of others to achieve an objective, and this degree of ruthlessness is not the impression most people in Britain have of him now.

    In the "old" wars generals might deliberately sacrifice a divison of troops if it won them the battle. In modern wars for "division of troops" read "bunch of innocent civilians".

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  • 81. At 08:54am on 29 Oct 2010, SATISH wrote:


    It was really a chilling story. But, churchill always chilled the natioanl collective spine of this ' colony '. India never could become nation in his eyes. Indians were always less than human. The greatest MAN the history produced, in his times, was a naked fakir.

    However, it is high time some one investigates how AAMCHAA sharad "Power" has reacted time and again with supercillious indifference, or bohemian disdain, to the pitiful clamouring for free food for the hungry millions of the Independent Nation, even while India is sitting on the largest pile of food grains in the known history of the past few centuries.

    Sir, the inward investigation should be motivated by your excellent article.

    Comliments.

    Satish Joshi

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  • 82. At 08:56am on 29 Oct 2010, Little green amphibian wrote:

    I tend to agree with post 9 rahulc - my father was in India during the Burma campaign – from Kohima onwards through Burma. I was born and brought up in India at least for the first fifteen years. At the time we left in the sixties there were still famines – not something you can blame the British for at that point. Corruption and maladministration are far more likely to have been the root causes.
    At the time of independence India was a mighty regional economy and much of the infrastructure was in place for this to be developed. Not just roads and railways but education, legal, and a system of democratic governance that has survived in the main till this day.
    I went back for the first time since the mid sixties about ten years ago – some things are better – others are worse.
    Its also a matter of priorities – this is a country with nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers yet in the villages of Assam and what used to be called West Bengal life has not changed very much from the days of the empire.

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  • 83. At 08:59am on 29 Oct 2010, mystix wrote:

    Wow.. really? Churchill = Hitler. Those saying this clearly have no understanding of Hitler. Yeah Churchill was no softy for the indians, and had little to know compassion for them.

    Hitler however planned and directly ordered the deaths of those millions. Its not only the numbers, but the ruthless efficiency, those people had almost no chance as the entire resources of the state hunted them, rounded them up, and industrially killed them.

    Yes leaving a group in hard times to their own devices makes noone a hero. Had the Indians/Bangladeshis organized and/or taken offers that were apparently made by the axis, perhaps some people would have lived even without British aid. Even if that was not possible they had the chance to make it on their own. Ill take those odds any day over being sent to auschwitz

    How many of you have turned down a beggar in the street, or refused to send your cash to feed the children. Every one of us in the 1st world makes decisions with our relative riches that indirectly cause deaths in the poorer nations of the world. Are all of us evil for not sending all our cash to those in need? ..maybe a little. It certainly is in no way comparable to any one of us booking a flight to that corner of the world, hunting them down, and shooting them dead.

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  • 84. At 09:07am on 29 Oct 2010, Crystal Ball wrote:

    WWII was a total war thrust on many nations by the Axis powers and led by Adolf Hitler of Germany, Emperor Hirohito of Japan and Benito Mussolini of Italy.
    This was a 'total' war with Germany and Japan being especially brutal to all the peoples that fell under their control. Perhaps as many as 80 million people died because of the war and the after effects are still felt today!
    It must be made clear that this was a fight for the survival of free people the world over! The Jews, Slavs and Russian civilians were killed like animals. Military personnel from all countries were slaughtered on mass and the suffering was beyond the wildest nightmares!
    The Indian people mentioned in this book are part of a much wider story of world wide suffering as a result of this inhuman conflict.
    Had the Allied powers not been victorious I can assure Madhusree Mukherjee that the losses suffered by starvation in India would have looked like a drop in the ocean compared to what Hitler and Hirohito had in mind for them!

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  • 85. At 09:12am on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    The English colonial history needs to be brought out so its sins can be forgiven.
    ---------
    I'd be all for that personally, mostly so more people would be taught any range of history at all besides a few specifically focused areas. There are always going to be different attitudes, even surrounding horrible actions, so best everyone knows what happened and how people feel about it.

    As other posters have said, this article's contents are not a huge surprise, though I admit to being unaware of this particular area. Empire, whatever the claims of its most ardent defenders, was not about civilizing other places (though the attempts to 'make "them" us' method of informal empire in places without a large British presence such as Argentina to benefit the UK make for interesting reading) but about the needs and wants of the controlling nation. It's hardly surprising a great many shameful incidents therefore took place.

    That being said I for one am not ashamed of it. We did crappy things, but the reality of the time was that if it wasn't us it would have been another who dominated, many of whom were worse. That doesn't make it right, but as another poster said, we cannot judge all of Imperial and Colonial history by our modern sensibilities; the nasty things the British got up to need to be taken in context with the world as it was, though of course they still need to be acknowleged as wrong.

    You show you acknowledge that not with pointless official apologies but actions, by demonstrating we and the world have changed. Churchill was not quite there to put it mildly. I've always been glad how the Indian subcontinent as a whole have NOT tried to blame all their modern problems on British rule(at least, the indian historians I have met with on the subject have been fair and unbiased professionals), as is occasionally espoused by some people; the idea is preposterous and simply leads to a kneejerk dismissal of complaints where Britain may well have continuing responsibilty as a result.
    ----------
    Really it is a horrifying news ,we now know how the British people treated the Indians.Even now most of the us are crazy to go to England.
    -------
    Um, you 'now' know? I rather think the treatment of their subjects by the British is well known in the home of those subjects. Or at least I certainly hope so. If anything I would have thought the truth would have been exaggerrated, as horrible acts tend to be, in the minds of the populace where they occurred.

    It was an Empire! Of course the rulers cared more for themselves and were more concerned with what they could get out of a territory than they could do for their new subjects. That the horribleness was continuing right up to the end is appalling, but unsurprising. But times have changed, attitudes have changed. History outside of certain areas is hardly taught, and it is ignorance of things like this that is prominent, not approving it; most people are so ashamed that we ever had an empire (gasp, you mean Britain did horrible things and subjugated others when that is what major powers just did [note: agreed by 1940s even that was on the decline; the point still stands]) that they are ashamed to learn anything about the past, which is not a helpful attitude.

    Most 'heroes' have unsavoury aspects to them, particularly when you go back to times when what we regard as unacceptable attitudes and actions were more commonplace. Churchill was not that long ago at all, but he had his fair share of bad points, some of which most people are aware of, some not, but 'the british' of then and 'the british' of now are not the same. You may be right that Indians are 'mad' to go to Britain, but it would not be mad simply because the Brits were nasty to Indians 60+ years ago and for a long time before then. If that were the case how could any nations once ruled by another/been at war with one another/etc cooperate for the future.

    People celebrating Churchill without qualification is generally because they are unaware of his negative points. Take those away and it is no wonder people voted him one of the greatest, as he had many positive qualities too.

    'Clarendon on Cromwell; As he was guilty of many crimes against which Damnation is denounced, and for which hell-fire is prepared, so he had some good qualities which have caused the memory of some men in all Ages to be celebrated; and he will be look’d upon by posterity as a brave bad man'

    -Sorry, didn't mean to ramble (especially beyond the scope of the article; the curse of the blog comment). I love history, even when it reveals things to regret-

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  • 86. At 09:16am on 29 Oct 2010, tensingd1 wrote:

    why many people seem to consider this as eye opener or something. churchill was right anyway, we were just slaves to british empire. So what do you do to your slaves when you are in crisis?.

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  • 87. At 09:17am on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    78. At 08:44am on 29 Oct 2010, Axiocracy wrote:

    I am not British, but even the British nowadays are not fair with their own history. Yes, there have been crimes and mistakes, but in over all, the world is very lucky for not having the Nazis over its head. Only those countries who resisted the Germans in Europe, the Jews and those who perished in Hitler's camps, know how brutal and inhuman the Germans were. The Gipsies were sent to concentration camps for liquidation, on the basis that they were of Indian stock, another race. Indian readers, please investigate the race issue of the Gipsies in Eastern Europe. They came to Europe several centuries ago from India.
    We should not open our mouths and critisise on historical issues, when we are ignorant of history.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Well said. I would also like to add that a lot of people who make criticisms were not there at the time and have not researched the subject they are going on about properly and take their knowledge from hearsay and hysterical rhetoric.

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  • 88. At 09:27am on 29 Oct 2010, bayda wrote:

    As you may well know, before the 2nd world war, most of the Asian,African and middle eastern countries are the colonial states or rule by the Bristish/French/Spain and Dutch. What ever resources/commondoties,are taken away to their benefit of the mother states.So during the war, the priorities is for the welfare of their countries and not the colonial states under them.It is for the surviving
    of their people and countries.Its simple and practical,
    So thats why the independant countries in Asia, Africa and Arabian do
    not have faith/confidence and loyalty to them anymore.now India and china are the rising economical and powerful countries.

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  • 89. At 09:28am on 29 Oct 2010, ajaysk wrote:

    No wonder the british chose churchill as their greatest ever. these were the same people who launched a public fund-and there were heavy contributions to it-in aid of general dyer, the perpetrator of jalianwalla massacre.

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  • 90. At 09:31am on 29 Oct 2010, tensingd1 wrote:

    You know even the allies had war crimes on their part. But because they have won the war meant that everything got covered up and germans and others got all the blame on to them.

    Starving indians are much smaller when you research others.

    WE have to just forget these things and move on. YOU never get justice in this world really.

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  • 91. At 09:35am on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    I do find it interesting how Wavell and Amery clearly felt a sense of responsibility was concomitant with the idea of Empire - just how much all involved in the 'imperial mission' believed that I sometimes wonder - but the conclusion is particularly worthy of being repeated, as it seems to have become lost in the wider argument this article has, as expected, raised.

    'It was "not so much racism as the imbalance of power inherent in the social Darwinian pyramid that explains why famine could be tolerated in India while bread rationing was regarded as an intolerable deprivation in wartime Britain"...a terrifying account of how colonial rule is direly exploitative and, in this case, made worse by a man who made no bones of his contempt for India and its people'

    NOT so much 'racism' as imbalance of power inherent in the system (no joke) made worse by Churchill, who had no issue with his contempt for Indians. I find the slight distinctions fascinating, as we the people (as represented by this blog) begin to descend into picking absurd extremes (it sure didn't take long for Hitler to come up - that not's something people deride blog comment sections for now is it? It is? My goodness)

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  • 92. At 09:38am on 29 Oct 2010, Logic Man wrote:

    I think all the anti-Brits should calm down and consider two points;
    1. Churchills decisions must be seen in context of the war at the time. Many of his policies and individual deicisions may well have been poor, disgraceful or even criminal but the text we have read is not proof of any of that. I am not denying that the evidence exists, only that the published article is not, itself, proof.
    2. Assuming that Churhill was guilty of some sort of war crime, for the sake of arguement, his acts then are nothing to do with Brits of today. Individual politicians should not be confused with a nation of 65 million people.

    If we British are so awful, why are so many people from around the world coming to live with us?

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  • 93. At 09:41am on 29 Oct 2010, Oslo_Syd wrote:

    I'm rather appalled at some of the self-righteous views expressed here, with the benefit of seventy years of hindsight. One fact stands out historically and that is that the focus of the British government in the years 1939-1945 was squarely on defending Britain and the Empire and defeating fascism.
    Perhaps these comments of Churchill's, taken from his book "The Second World War" may go some way to redress the balance:
    "The two great Indian political parties, the Congress and the Moslem League, were either actively hostile or gave no help. Nevertheless, upwards of two and a half million Indians volunteered to serve in the forces, and by 1942 an Indian Army of one million was in being, and volunteers were coming in at the monthly rate of fifty thousand. Although this policy of a swollen Indian Army was mistaken in relation to the world conflict, the response of the Indian people, no less than the conduct of their soldiers, makes a glorious final page in the story of our Indian Empire."
    An army of one million! A million slaves? No. A million people receiving army pay, food, clothing and accommodation with the object of defending their homeland against an enemy that had overrun most of South-East Asia and China.
    And I think you will agree that these do not sound like the words of a racist.

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  • 94. At 09:54am on 29 Oct 2010, hackerjack wrote:

    They have never felt apologetic to India or expressed gratitude to India for all that they gained from colonizing her. Atleast Germany, is paying Israel every year for the genocide that Hitler committed. What is UK doing for the damages and crime it has caused to all of its colonies.
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    Stupid comparison. Britain brought much and invested much in India during it's colonial era and has continued to do so even since independence. The British set up most of the oldest universities and hospitals in India, they paid for the courts, they trained the police, army, medicals and teachers.

    And to this day more money is drawn from the UK into India than any other country via commonwealth backed schemes, private company investments and Indians working here sending money home.

    None of that (nor anything else) of course can undo the atrocities that were committed, but to pretend that India got nothing out of it is every bit as bad as defending them.

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  • 95. At 09:59am on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    We should not open our mouths and critisise on historical issues, when we are ignorant of history.

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    Well said. I would also like to add that a lot of people who make criticisms were not there at the time and have not researched the subject they are going on about properly and take their knowledge from hearsay and hysterical rhetoric
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    Seconded. The contents of this article are, for me anyway, eye opening on a particular series of incidents, but I have studied other areas extensively and the absolute insistence by people on things long since proven either untrue, or nowhere near as black and white, because they fit into a historical narrative or moral point they wish to raise and prpoagate further is infuriating. The belief that things just 'happened this way, because of this reason' as that is what has been remembered in memory even if evidence suggests otherwise is sad but widespread. Hell, I'll probably find I fall victim to the trap on some areas.

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  • 96. At 10:18am on 29 Oct 2010, sagarji wrote:

    @RahulC

    Pls donn't open mouth about things u don't have knowledge.

    Famines since Indian independence:

    Indian Independence in 1947 did not stop damage to crops nor lack of rain; the threat of famines did not go away. India faced a number of threats of severe famines in 1967, 1973, 1979 and 1987 in Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Gujarat respectively. However these did not materialize in to famines due to government intervention. The loss of life did not meet the scale of the 1943 Bengal or earlier famines but continued to be a problem. Jean Drèze finds that the post-Independence Indian government "largely remedied" the causes of the three major failures of 1880–1948 British famine policy, "an event which must count as marking the second great turning-point in the history of famine relief in India over the past two centuries".[55] Although large scale famines have disappeared from India after independence, mass poverty and hunger are persistent problems. The relief measures had proved to be effective and they limited the impact of the devastating drought causing relatively little damage in terms of excess mortality, nutritional deficits and asset depletion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine_in_India#Famines_since_independence

    Its clearly shows there have been hardly any famine starvation in india since the independence of India.

    Latest Supreme court direction to distribute over stocked food items among the poor is n't related to famine or starvation deaths.But to let the excess food stock given freely to the poor instead of going waste in store houses .I must say that food stocks already very cheap priced(nearly free)are available to to poor section of people.

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  • 97. At 10:21am on 29 Oct 2010, Blogger wrote:

    93. At 09:41am on 29 Oct 2010, Slightly hazy Oslo Syd wrote:
    I'm rather appalled at some of the self-righteous views expressed here
    -----------------------------
    It is quite obvious that British have always denied their dark past. Instead of being appalled by British racism crimes - some of that even outperforms Hitler- they are appalled by factual comments. For them their self righteous attitude is more important than the lives of millions. One side you talk about democracy and human rights and on the other side behave like a mad wild animal towards others. That's why people like Churchil, Dyer are Heros in UK. So shameless!

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  • 98. At 10:22am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    The British Empire and Nazism were two sides of the same coin. An ideology based on ruthless exploitation of other races and cultures for selfish gain and looting.Churchill in today's world would be considered an outright racist. I never had a high opinion of this man. Infact, I loathe him. The difference between Hitler and Churchill was that the former was an outspoken racist and evil, while the latter was a racist all the same cloaked in garb of civilized person. Griffin of the racist BNP party in UK is absolutely right when he says that Churchill would be considered a racist in UK today, and he and Churchill have basically same ideology.

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  • 99. At 10:32am on 29 Oct 2010, docrex wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 100. At 10:32am on 29 Oct 2010, indus wrote:

    The British took a lot, did a few wrong things,but unlike others, they gave a lot in return. India as know today never existed even during the reign of Emperor Ashok, united and stretching from Kashmir in the north to Cape Kanyakumari in the south, from Gujerat in the west to Bengal in the east, leaving behind the institutions necessary to run the country. Now compare this to others who invaded India. Take the mohamedans for example. They came and destroyed hundreds of temples, killed, raped and enslaved millions of Indians.

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  • 101. At 10:33am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I used to admire Churchill, but the more I got to read about him, the more I consider him on the same level of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, cloaked in the garb of the "savior of the world" from Nazism. What a despecable character. If this is what the British people consider a national hero, I feel sorry for the British.

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  • 102. At 10:41am on 29 Oct 2010, indus wrote:

    Winston Churchil is a racist. Who is'nt?. I am and so are the rest of us. Go to India and you will see that everywhere,Even in Africa, once described as a hopeless and useless continent by the Economist magazine.

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  • 103. At 10:42am on 29 Oct 2010, James41007 wrote:

    The British are not awful, we were fighting the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’, how when during the period of Jan 1942 to May 1943 when we were loosing 576,000 tons of shipping per month and yet helping to supply Russia, fighting in North Africa, etc. did we have the spare capacity for humanitarian aid?

    This is the same revisionist rubbish that we had in the 1960’s about the First World War, particularly now that those who fought and had to make ‘Tough Choices’ are no longer in a position to argue! We are viewing the ‘Tough Choices’ of those brought up in an Edwardian era with a 21st Century outlook – they wouldn’t even know what racism was! Let’s be realistic it was only framed in legislation in 1976 – Winston Churchill died more than a decade earlier in 1965. How can a man born in 1874, just after the Franco – Prussian war be viewed as a man who committed genocide??

    In his position in 1942 / 3 what would you do? We had to beat Hitler (visit his death camps if you need to know why), we lost 9,792,000 tons of shipping in that time, it only became apparent at the end of 1943 that we could replace it with American built ships!!

    I agree that some of the wrong decisions were made, we all make mistakes! In the round can any of you say that you would have rather have allowed Hitler to fight on a single front? The consequences for the world would have been much worse??

    Before you criticise, please contemplate walking a mile in his shoes!

    Oh, if you want a real example of genocide then look to King Leopold of the Belgians at the turn of the 20th Century when he had 8,000,000 Africans butchered in the Congo!!

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  • 104. At 10:44am on 29 Oct 2010, HonarySwede wrote:

    I found the above article interesting, but written from the view of a single issue and event and not taking account of the reality of what was happening and at stake at the time.

    For instance the over simplistic comments are made about no ships being sent to help India, not mentioning the fact that until the late summer of 1943 was the height of the battle of the Atlantic ( after this the focus then shifted to the Arctic convoys), a battle even Russian historians consider to be on a par in terms of intensity and importance as Stalingrad. To take valuable Cargo ships away to the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic, would have required removing many of the scarce Escort ships as well from this crucial battle as at that time when Japanese still represented a significant threat to Allied shipping.

    If the Battle of the Atlantic had been lost, their would have been no opportunity for the Americans to move large quantises of arms and equipment to Britain and Russia as well as the American build up for the invasion of Europe. Noting that the war with Germany did not have universal support in America it is quite likely America would have then moved its focus to the Pacific which would almost certainly have resulted in both Britain and Russia having to negotiate a truce with Hitler's Germany or face defeat.

    In context of that the loss of peasants in Bengal who could contribute little to the war effort makes sense. Its horrific, but then war is horrific. to blame Churchill is wrong, these people are victims of a war Britain or Churchill did not start with Germany and Japan.

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  • 105. At 10:47am on 29 Oct 2010, StopBashingTheWest wrote:

    It's easy to be critical of Britain whilst conveniently ignoring the millions upon millions of Indians living in poverty now- nevermind that the Indian government is constantly securing arms deals and investing in technology. Surely the health of Indians today is more of a concern than the death of 3 million 70 years ago during a world war where far greater freedoms were at stake and where many countries paid a harsh price for resisting Axis attacks. And drawing comparisons between Hitler and Churchill? Hitler was responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews and an even greater number of Russians.

    Yes the Allies committed war crimes, but they pale in significance compared to those committed by the Axis powers, and although they are tragic- the allies were responsible for halting one of the most murderous, uncompromising regimes ever. And do not think that Hitler and Japan would have stopped their advances in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific- these empires would have spread to other parts of the world, Africa, Asia and South America- don't be so foolish as to think that Hitler's eugenics programs would not come into play in these regions: of course they would he was trying to establish a 'master race'.

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  • 106. At 10:51am on 29 Oct 2010, Pio Venantius wrote:

    LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, 2 FEBRUARY, 1835

    I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

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  • 107. At 10:56am on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    101. At 10:33am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I used to admire Churchill, but the more I got to read about him, the more I consider him on the same level of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, cloaked in the garb of the "savior of the world" from Nazism. What a despecable character. If this is what the British people consider a national hero, I feel sorry for the British.

    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    To compare Churchill to Hitler and Bin Laden is just ridiculous and an example of the hysterical rhetoric that I mentioned earlier.

    Do you consider the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh or the Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to be the same as Hitler or Bin Laden given that they are allowing millions to starve at this very moment in India yet continue to fund the Indian space program?

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  • 108. At 10:58am on 29 Oct 2010, StopBashingTheWest wrote:

    Ajaysk, Slaves? Seriously? Why do I bother reading these comments, they are fueled mostly by people ignorant enough and lacking in any ability to think critically and objectively so as to form a unique and fair opinion. Stop using the imperfections and past injustices of former imperial powers to justify your own countries' problems.

    rajesh1211, you "feel sorry for the British"? As if they should after Churchill brought an entire country through the greatest war ever? Please, after reading an article about a book that claims Churchill was responsible for a famine that led to the starvation of 3 million Indians that makes excessive use of emotional stories so as to describe Churchill as initiating these policies explicitly to harm Indians. Even more Russian citizens died of starvation due to Nazi labour and policy, and the broader picture, every country had to pay a price. Get over it.

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  • 109. At 11:03am on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    32. At 04:02am on 29 Oct 2010, Saeed Ahmad wrote:

    "In response to Brits like Andy who feel no shame and are saying, well that is the way the things were then."

    Since I'm the only "Andy" on this thread up to your comment who has posted on this thread, you must mean me, however, I have said nor intimated no such thing. Care to clarify which "Andy" you mean Saeed Ahmad.

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  • 110. At 11:15am on 29 Oct 2010, Jack123 wrote:

    LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, 2 FEBRUARY, 1835

    I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.

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  • 111. At 11:22am on 29 Oct 2010, StopBashingTheWest wrote:

    Rajesh1211

    And so what if Churchill would be called a racist today, times change, Britain is no longer an empire and India is no longer a subject of that empire. Do we hold the German people responsible for what the Nazi's did during the war? No, so why should anyone hold the current British nation rsponsible for what happened so long ago? Sure these countries committed war crimes and abused human rights, but violations of this calibre are now far more common in the 3rd world, and its usually the result of corrupt, inefficient government.

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  • 112. At 11:22am on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    Read the reports of those commenting at the time. There was no great admiration or love for the Prime Minister's attitudes and actions (or lack of action).This is NOT revisionism. This is the truth after the 50 year rule expired and we were able to see cabinet meeting minutes, etc. If you want to justify such 'actions in wartime' you better call in Carl Rove. We refused to assist an ally and country subject to British Rule at the expense of more than 3 million lives.

    However, it would be a great wrong and injustice to the ordinary British people to think that such actions (or lack of them) had universal support. Remember, it was the poor workers of the cotton mills of Lancashire, amongst others, who had such support for Gandhi's 'burn british cloth' campaign even before the war..
    Compare also the enormously charitable reaction of the British people in the Indian famine of the middle 1960's. I remember it. I remember over 100 english teenagers walking 50 miles to raise money for starving Indian children.

    The actions of 'leaders' do not always reflect the will and/or morality and/or ethical standards of the societies they claim to represent.
    You think it was for no reason WC didn't get elected after the war? So ask yourself, was he elected by the British People in a democratic vote to be Prime Minister during wartime?

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  • 113. At 11:24am on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    It is quite obvious that British have always denied their dark past. Instead of being appalled by British racism crimes - some of that even outperforms Hitler- they are appalled by factual comments. For them their self righteous attitude is more important than the lives of millions. One side you talk about democracy and human rights and on the other side behave like a mad wild animal towards others.
    ---------
    What an appallingly stupid and offensive comment, full of moronic generalized assertions about British People past and present, made on an article which has little bearing on suh an extreme argument. I for one have studied history and am perfectly happy to acknowledge past mistakes by my nation, and we all have to have thick skins to handle the riot of uninformed, deliberately provocative and idiotic comments and silly comparisons that commonly take place on blogs, but that comment is not only also racist - as well as violating Hanlon's Razor by attributing to the modern British malice where in fact such things are almost always due to ignorance of specific events (most often because peopel are so ashamed of the past because, shock, the nation has done awful things, that they have no wish to actually examine all the facts; still awful at times, but we still need to learn it) - but just plain unhelpful to, I don't know, creating a harmonious world where we can prevent horrors from reoccuring.

    I pride myself on responding reasonably on topics such as these, as I believe most people of all cultures and background do, but that offensive and downright silly answer has finally made me snap. Congratulations. Remember, it doesn't matter what people are actually saying, just frustrate all those with an opposing view in the most stuipd way until they get tired and back down and you win by default, right?

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  • 114. At 11:27am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    To compare Churchill to Hitler and Bin Laden is just ridiculous and an example of the hysterical rhetoric that I mentioned earlier.

    Do you consider the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh or the Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to be the same as Hitler or Bin Laden given that they are allowing millions to starve at this very moment in India yet continue to fund the Indian space program?

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    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Dr Manmohan Singh or Smt Patil have never made a racist comment in their entire life, they dont have a racist bone in them. Do you even know what you are talking about? Chruchill has a repeated history of racist statements which prove his intentions during the famine. Stop comparing apples with oranges, and making a fool of yourself.

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  • 115. At 11:31am on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    #TonyofBritain
    You wrote "To compare Churchill to Hitler...is just ridiculous"
    I would respectfully point out that Cabinet Ministers, military advisors and other persons of political influence AT THE TIME (according to Ponting's research and Dalton Diary) did compare WC to Hitler and not in a favourable way.
    Roosevelt considered India to be of prime strategic importance in the war against Hitler and Japan.

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  • 116. At 11:35am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I have no respect for Chruchill. The man is a racist. You dont have to put Jews in the gas chambers and kill 6 million of them to be branded as a racist. Churchill killed millions of Indians via deleberate neglect and food blockade, just like the Nazis did to the Soviet POW's during WW2. One could have given him the benefit of the doubt, but for the racist statements against India, Indians, Gandhi, Indian religions, "Indians breeding like rabbits", which proved his intentions. He hated Indians & blacks.I would put Hitler, Osama Bin Laden & Churchill in the same category.

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  • 117. At 11:41am on 29 Oct 2010, StopBashingTheWest wrote:

    Rajesh1211 please support your quotes with a link, and it is one thing to be a racist, it is another to act on that racism and kill 6 million people. And he did not actively bloackade India, those ships would have been needed elsewhere, like transporting supplies in the pacific and running the Atlantic convoys. actively Pursueing the death of Indians out of pure hatred would not have been his perogative, as you may have noticed, there was a war going on.

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  • 118. At 11:44am on 29 Oct 2010, Evan wrote:

    So Churchill is a racist for prioritising supplies for, what can arguably be described as, a pressing need for food in Europe, in the more necessary theatres that are directly involved in fighting the Axis powers - the Greeks for instance?

    Churchill also attempted to divert Australian troops on the way home from a very successful stint in the Middle East to Burma against the wishes of the Australian government. He also said Australia could be left to fend for itself against the Japanese as England wasn't prepared to help, despite previous Australian assistance in Europe. Shame we're the same race or I'd be able to use that card as well...

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  • 119. At 11:45am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    A lot of Brits are offended when their national hero is exposed as a bigot, xenophobe and a racist, which Chruchill undoubtedly is. Many Arabs feel the same when Osama Bin Laden is called a Terrorist. Osama Bin Laden is also considered a national hero by some in Saudi Arabia. Russians have accepted Stalin as a Butcher. Its time the British start seeing Churchill for what he is, a bigoted racist, prejeduiced, xenophobe on the same level as Hitler & Osama Bin Laden.

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  • 120. At 11:46am on 29 Oct 2010, Jack123 wrote:

    Stopbashingthewest.. "And so what if Churchill would be called a racist today, times change, Britain is no longer an empire and India is no longer a subject of that empire. Do we hold the German people responsible for what the Nazi's did during the war? No, so why should anyone hold the current British nation rsponsible for what happened so long ago? Sure these countries committed war crimes and abused human rights, but violations of this calibre are now far more common in the 3rd world, and its usually the result of corrupt, inefficient government."
    ------------
    ------------

    Noone is holding the Germans responsible for what Hitler did but do we stop talking about him? No, and the same for Churchill. People will talk about Churchill, so either take it or shut your ears. Ofcoure, I would compare Churchill to Hilter. British empire had toturted and illtreated people in her colonies. No one can deny that.

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  • 121. At 11:53am on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    114. At 11:27am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    To compare Churchill to Hitler and Bin Laden is just ridiculous and an example of the hysterical rhetoric that I mentioned earlier.

    Do you consider the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh or the Indian President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to be the same as Hitler or Bin Laden given that they are allowing millions to starve at this very moment in India yet continue to fund the Indian space program?

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Dr Manmohan Singh or Smt Patil have never made a racist comment in their entire life, they dont have a racist bone in them. Do you even know what you are talking about? Chruchill has a repeated history of racist statements which prove his intentions during the famine. Stop comparing apples with oranges, and making a fool of yourself.

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    We know racism is rife in India, and unfortunately I cannot say whether the PM or President of India have made racist statements or not, but their actions speak louder then words. As I have stated, there are millions starving in India, yet the government pours money into the Indian space program. Does that not speak volumes to you? Or is your anti British racism blinding you?

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  • 122. At 11:53am on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    115. At 11:31am on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    #TonyofBritain
    You wrote "To compare Churchill to Hitler...is just ridiculous"
    I would respectfully point out that Cabinet Ministers, military advisors and other persons of political influence AT THE TIME (according to Ponting's research and Dalton Diary) did compare WC to Hitler and not in a favourable way.
    Roosevelt considered India to be of prime strategic importance in the war against Hitler and Japan.

    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    Please provide a link or two.

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  • 123. At 11:55am on 29 Oct 2010, Srav Alaparthi wrote:

    I hope there comes a day in our life or in the next generations of India to make the so called Great Britian realise their mistakes............

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  • 124. At 11:58am on 29 Oct 2010, gerryzm wrote:

    People were of their age and time. It's pointless quoting their deeds out of context. Things deemed unacceptable now were regarded as normal once.

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  • 125. At 12:00pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Its very easy to tell the Arabs & muslims that Osama Bin Laden is Terrorrist, or to Germans that Hiter was a racist. But when Churchill is exposed as the same, you get offended? Even FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt considered Chruchill to be a racist, bigoted old man, and clearly told him that he would help Britain against the Nazis, but that does not mean that Britian could countinue its blood-sucking racist Imperial policies, especially towards India. FDR respected Gandhi & India, and saw Indian struggle as the same as American fight for independence against Britian. FDR was repulsed by Chruchill's racist attitudes. FDR was the greatest American president. Churchill, due to his racist & replusive statements, looked low-class compared to FDR. FDR had a lot of credibilty, so if even he looked down upon Chruchill as a bigot & a racist, I can see why he felt that way. Accept the facts Brits, you had your own version of Osama Bin Laden & Hitler, who you call your national hero.

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  • 126. At 12:02pm on 29 Oct 2010, Evan wrote:

    I love the irony here. People are complaining of racist Britain past and present, yet say nothing of India. India is one of the most racist countries on earth. Look at it's history and social make up!

    All countries have people who have racist beliefs, it's a fact of life - accept it. The problem though, is the people who, like some on this blog, like to carry on as if they/their country/their countries past, is pure and good and everyone else is at fault.

    You'd make me laugh if your fanaticism wasn't so scary..

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  • 127. At 12:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Churchill, Hitler, Osama Bin Laden. What unites them? They all made racist statements, they were all bigots, they made/make racist statements and consider/considered other people inferior, and millions of people died/ are dying because of their actions direct or indirect. They fit the criteria.

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  • 128. At 12:08pm on 29 Oct 2010, Evan wrote:

    Srav Alaparthi - nice threat... you've just been reported.

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  • 129. At 12:12pm on 29 Oct 2010, brazilwatcher wrote:

    It was surely a question of priorities. Britain was fighting for its life in 1943, so it did not have the luxury of providing famine relief to Indians, when its priority was fighting Germans and holding back the Japanese. As is usual in cases like this, people make comments with the benefit of hindsight.

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  • 130. At 12:12pm on 29 Oct 2010, FormerlyOldHermit wrote:

    So Churchill was a Nazi no better than Hitler? Would you like to know the Nazi view on how Britain treated India? The Nazis considered British Colonial Policy, specifically in India, as soft and weak. In private discussions, with Lord Halifax (the former Viceroy) I think, Hitler offered his own advice on how to deal with Ghandi and India and to say the least it would not have been pleasant.

    The rampant nationalist historical agenda on view as a result of this article is disgusting. You don't hear anyone from Britain ranting on about the Indian soldiers who fought for the INA during the war and colluded with the Japanese, despite the fact that at the time and now they were wrong. Try and apply some objectivity to the debate.

    Churchill wasn't Hitler and Britain didn't systematically attempt a cleansing of Bengal. Please read some proper history, like Amyra Sen's account of the Bengal Famine mentioned in post 51.

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  • 131. At 12:13pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    Ofcoure, I would compare Churchill to Hilter. British empire had toturted and illtreated people in her colonies. No one can deny that.
    ---------
    No, but there seems to be a semantic argument developing as to whether being racist 'and' making a decision which led to lots of deaths(for strategic reasons, though the race element probably didn't help, as the above article suggests - although as pointed out the conclusion also says it wasn't exactly racism that was behind it) makes Churchill the same as someone who tried to wipe out entire races.

    One disliked another race, which probably impacted on his stategic choices whether consciously or not though how much is hard to say, the other set out to intentionally wipe other races from the face of the earth; It makes no difference to those who are dead as a result, but I invite those comparing the two men to see why others are having trouble accepting the comparison; it isn't necessarily about being angered at the defamation of a national hero - Churchill, for all that he did have positive qualities, was not who I voted for in the 100 greatest poll precisely because of his less savoury characteristics being too prominent for me - but because, intentionally or not, by matching him with Hitler you imply he was the sort of man who would, given the chance, have annihilated hundreds of millions, billions, of Indians, Africans and so on(oh god, I just referred to all other categories as 'so on'; I am clearly a racist! Just throwing something out there for the intractable to seize on).

    Inherently awful as Empire and the things it entails are to our modern eyes, and as much as Churchill was far from a fine man in racial areas, the comparison just doesn't hold water.

    Besides, is it really necessary to compare them? Just say you think Churchill was racist and evil, with examples to show why you have that opinion, and eschew any reference to murderous dictators, even if you make it fairly obvious you believe him to be near that level, and we wouldn't become embroiled in a silly debate and forget all about whatever the hell the topic began with.

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  • 132. At 12:14pm on 29 Oct 2010, ordinaryfolk wrote:

    You can all read Cormac O Grada's "Famine - A Short History" for a useful perspective on the Bengal famine.

    O Grada covers the arguments made by the book reviewed here, though he does not hold Churchill personally responsible.

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  • 133. At 12:17pm on 29 Oct 2010, drshutch1 wrote:

    My father served in the Indian army during this period and he told me about the starvation he witnessed. He also said it was caused by Indian merchants hording the rice to increase the price. It only ended when the army went in and opened up the grain stores.

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  • 134. At 12:18pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    101. At 10:33am on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    "I used to admire Churchill, but the more I got to read about him, the more I consider him on the same level of Hitler and Osama Bin Laden, cloaked in the garb of the "savior of the world" from Nazism. What a despecable character. If this is what the British people consider a national hero, I feel sorry for the British."

    I admire Churchill for his oratory skills, I detest him for his racism.

    His we shall fight on the beaches speech still makes me puff up and want to fight BREF's (belligerent radical evangelizing fundamentalists), however, should his speech have contain racial slurs and his superiority complex, it would have had a whole different meaning and I'd not be supporting it.

    The more I learn about him, the more I wonder what he meant by "we" and "them".

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  • 135. At 12:22pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    I hope there comes a day in our life or in the next generations of India to make the so called Great Britian realise their mistakes............

    ------------
    I would suggest we already have in attitude, by and large, if not specific instances of mistakes of which there are many, but, come now, you cannot hold the name of country against us now, surely? Just think of it as 'great as in large' in order to distinguish Big Britannia from Little Brittania and petty jokes can be directed elsewhere with more of an impact.

    Given India's rising prominence in the world, I'd just ask if you could be gentle when you make us 'realise our mistakes'. You know, be the better people, take the high road, an eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind(who apparently said that, I wonder?), that type of thing?

    But good luck all the same; restirring up past hatreds instead of educating each other and learning to get along seems important to you.

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  • 136. At 12:25pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    126. At 12:02pm on 29 Oct 2010, Evan Skuthorpe wrote:

    "I love the irony here. People are complaining of racist Britain past and present, yet say nothing of India. India is one of the most racist countries on earth. Look at it's history and social make up!"

    Until India [and other countries, see link] gets rid of its caste system, it's going to be labelled (quite rightly in my view) as a severely discriminating state.

    All men are created equal, unless you live in a caste society apparently.

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  • 137. At 12:26pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    So Churchill was a Nazi no better than Hitler? Would you like to know the Nazi view on how Britain treated India? The Nazis considered British Colonial Policy, specifically in India, as soft and weak. In private discussions, with Lord Halifax (the former Viceroy) I think, Hitler offered his own advice on how to deal with Ghandi and India and to say the least it would not have been pleasant.

    The rampant nationalist historical agenda on view as a result of this article is disgusting. You don't hear anyone from Britain ranting on about the Indian soldiers who fought for the INA during the war and colluded with the Japanese, despite the fact that at the time and now they were wrong. Try and apply some objectivity to the debate.

    Churchill wasn't Hitler and Britain didn't systematically attempt a cleansing of Bengal. Please read some proper history, like Amyra Sen's account of the Bengal Famine mentioned in post 51.

    -----------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------

    Gandhi knew that Britain could be forced to leave through peaceful means, by non-cooperation. Violence was not required.It worked. Nazis would have no chance against Indians in the long run. If nazis started killing millions of Indians by the gun, like they did Jews, it would not work. The population of India was 350 million at the time, a massive number. No way Indians would be non-violent when faced with mass scale butchery. The numbers were far too great. The Nazis would have their blood sucked out after few years. The Indian numbers would overwhelm them. India was a colony for a long time, not due to the gun, but because of Indian cooperation. Nazis would be toast in India.

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  • 138. At 12:29pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    You admire Chruchill for his oratory skills? So is Hitler & Osama Bin Laden, who are admired for their oratory skills. A Racist is a Racist is a Racist!

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  • 139. At 12:40pm on 29 Oct 2010, Evan wrote:

    Obama is a pretty good orator. Is he a racist?

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  • 140. At 12:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Until India [and other countries, see link] gets rid of its caste system, it's going to be labelled (quite rightly in my view) as a severely discriminating state.

    All men are created equal, unless you live in a caste society apparently.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior. No to mention the skinheads mudering non-whites in UK everyday. BNP, a racist party is popular. You have your own caste system going.

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  • 141. At 12:44pm on 29 Oct 2010, James41007 wrote:

    Ok, earlier I tried to inject some facts about some cold hard practicalities. You know those small facts like fighting Hitler, ship losses etc.

    I never said Churchill was perfect, look at Gallipoli in WW1 and other flaws in his decision making. When some of you get out of your armchairs and go and visit Ravensbruck, Aushwitz and other Nazi concentration camps you would realise that it is a question of intent. Hitler intended to kill 6m plus. When you look at the collection of evidence, stand on the platform where they conducted the sorting, then you will realise how they killed with intent!!

    Churchill did not by design intend to kill 3m, and as the evidence shows, he might have made some poor choices. However, he only had limited choices and from my brief reading above, his actions could have only ever mitigated that fact. It is also of interest how the timing is distorted to prove the point, at a time when we struggled to supply the Med, how exactly could we move Canadian grain?

    So can all of you out there stop looking at these things as though they are black and white (no racist pun intended), accept there were flaws - Churchill was a power for good as well - what is the balance of his actions? I would say that he was trying to do the right thing!

    Hitler, Stalin and King Leopold of the Belgians are in a different league!! THEY ALL INTENDED TO KILL AND TARGETED THEIR VICTIMS, NOW THAT IS MURDER..

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  • 142. At 12:45pm on 29 Oct 2010, OldTimer wrote:

    As a boy I remember a visit that Churchill paid to America after WW2. At that time Gandhi's fasting protests and the struggle for India's independence was high on the world's media agenda. As he was approaching the steps of the White House his progress was intercepted by a female reporter who threw a question at him 'What are you doing about your Indians, Mister Churchill?' she called out. He stopped walking and turned to face her. 'Whatever Madam' he replied. 'It will be better than you did with yours.'

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  • 143. At 12:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Hiter = Osama Bin Laden = Churchill

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  • 144. At 12:50pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    Rajesh1211

    You come across as a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe against Brits, does that put you on the same level as Hitler & Osama Bin Laden?

    To utilise your own thoughts right back at you: a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe is a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe is a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe after all, eh.

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  • 145. At 12:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, zathros wrote:

    It's America's fault, and every other nation on Earth. All the people starving today, in 60 or 70 odd years our children will read how depraved we are (all of us), and so on.

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  • 146. At 12:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    Anyone who has a decent knowledge of history will have to admit that Churchill was a racist.

    However, that doesn’t suddenly make him personally responsible for a famine which killed over 3 million people. He was one man, not the entire government. I wouldn’t say he was on par with Hitler, but I won’t deny his views are dangerously similar. The major difference being that Hitler actively engaged in a total genocide, a final solution. Whereas Churchill did some horrible things (check out his army service record) but never anything of the same scope or scale.

    Should he be idolized as a hero? Probably not, as to do so ignores his massive character flaws.

    I find it funny that Indians can go on about the racism inherent in the British Empire, but totally ignore the fact that their society is one of the most racist on the planet. A caste system which appears to be tied to the darkness of your skin pigment, the 'uncivilized' tribal’s who are routinely discriminated against by the government. Perhaps it would be more constructive for Indians who are so proud of their culture, to address these issues rather than continually looking back to the days of empire?

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  • 147. At 1:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    As a boy I remember a visit that Churchill paid to America after WW2. At that time Gandhi's fasting protests and the struggle for India's independence was high on the world's media agenda. As he was approaching the steps of the White House his progress was intercepted by a female reporter who threw a question at him 'What are you doing about your Indians, Mister Churchill?' she called out. He stopped walking and turned to face her. 'Whatever Madam' he replied. 'It will be better than you did with yours.'

    -----------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------


    Dont even compare the great Americans to your British "Loot" Empire
    Even Roosevelt considered Churchiill a racist, bigot & a xenophobe

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  • 148. At 1:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    140. At 12:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Until India [and other countries, see link] gets rid of its caste system, it's going to be labelled (quite rightly in my view) as a severely discriminating state.

    All men are created equal, unless you live in a caste society apparently.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior. No to mention the skinheads mudering non-whites in UK everyday. BNP, a racist party is popular. You have your own caste system going.

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Oh is that right? Then why is there a Muslim parliament, Muslim council, Black Police association, non whites murdering whites etc etc etc. Just because you are black or brown does not mean you are not racist or innocent. It seems you are quite racist judging by your comments so far.

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  • 149. At 1:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, indus wrote:

    N Venkatesh Jayanthi:

    I would rather have tea with Churchill than with your beloved half naked fakir, a bleeding panderer to the mohamadens in India, direct descendants of destroyers of temples, murderers and rapists.
    Indus

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  • 150. At 1:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    140. At 12:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    "Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior. No to mention the skinheads mudering non-whites in UK everyday. BNP, a racist party is popular. You have your own caste system going."

    On planet Rajesh1211 that may be true, in my country, nope, that's just the delusional talk of a bigoted xenophobic racist.

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  • 151. At 1:04pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    You come across as a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe against Brits, does that put you on the same level as Hitler & Osama Bin Laden?

    To utilise your own thoughts right back at you: a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe is a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe is a bigoted racist, prejudiced, xenophobe after all, eh.


    ------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------


    You are just annoyed becuase your so-called national hero has been exposed as a racist. Dont worry, many muslims feel the same when you call Osama Bin Laden a Terrorist.

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  • 152. At 1:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior. No to mention the skinheads mudering non-whites in UK everyday. BNP, a racist party is popular. You have your own caste system going.
    --------
    Look, I am not saying anything about the Indian Caste system (I do not know enough about it to cast judgement), but this is just nonsense. Protestants treated as inferior? Where? Historically with Catholics I guess, simple enough error. BNP are popular? More than I would like certainly, but it is a tiny percentage, and who did badly in 2010 elections and whose vote decreased in numbers when they got MEP seats years earlier but voter apathy meant the overall percentage was higher as there was lower turnout. Skinheads murdering non-whites? I'm sure it has happened at some point, but you make it seem as though isolated incidents are the same as gangs of skinheads roaming the towns of Britain looking for prey. Irish and Scots as inferior? Well, British people don't see it that way because the latter would be included if one defines oneself as British (as would certain Irish), and I tend to disagree, though I think you are confusing the accusations of marginalization from those constituent countries(due to smaller populations and not having the captial) with accusations of being treated like an inferior subset of society. And no love for the Welsh in your analysis?

    I have an uncle who has gone to India for 2-4 weeks every year for decades; he says it is his favourite place on earth, that as fondly as he thinks of Britain, he thinks India is better. I, on the other hand, have never been, but I try to keep an open mind and not willfully misinterpret a place just because someone has just cast aspertions upon my own home and I seek to retaliate.

    Class system in the UK's pretty rigid still though, I'll give you that one.

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  • 153. At 1:09pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:


    Rajesh1211

    Of course Indians are not racist and never have been. The caste system doesn’t exist and never has.. Hindus have never ethnically cleansed Moslems from their homes and burned their places of worship or ever will..
    India is a perfect Nirvana..

    I think it's PC gone mad that the British still send aid to India to help feed their starving millions, while India boasts of having a space programme and Nuclear weapons.. Obviuosly India's politicians know where their priorities stand and it isnt about feeding their people.

    George Washington would be considered a racist today. In fact all of the American founding fathers would be considered racists. Stop trying to see the world as it was then, through the eyes of today it doesn’t work..

    Re#59
    • Britain seemed to hold anyone in contempt who stood up to her or defied the might of British Imperialism. Look what they did to the boers during the Boer war- they starved thousands of women and children to death in concentration camps and one which is totally disregarded even today, just like India.

    However, with S Africa it is a contempt that still stands to this day for the Afrikaner 110 years on. Britain needs to acknowledge and apologize for these atrocities in both India and S Africa ....................................

    This has to be the best bit of nonsense I’ve read here today.. Of course the British have nothing but contempt for the Afrikaner and rightly so.. It’s a shame the British just locked them up in camps instead they should of treated them the same way as the Afrikaners treated the black population of South Africa. Nelson Mandela summed it up when he said if the Boer war had been a decisive victory for Britain and not the fudged peace that is was which allowed the Boers to continue with their dream of a white South Africa. Apartheid may never of existed

    It’s like saying Churchill was a racist for the way he treated the Nazis during WW2..

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  • 154. At 1:13pm on 29 Oct 2010, Granten wrote:

    It's actually rather curious. Why didn't India announce this post-independence, or did geopolitics convince the new leaders that it was best brushed over?

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  • 155. At 1:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re116

    you're right you don't just have to put Jews in a gas chamber to be branded a racist. Instead you can creat a caste system for your whole country. How are the "untouchables" doing these days??

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  • 156. At 1:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, NewDelee wrote:

    "the point of the article which was that the policies of Churchill directly lead to the deaths of so many Indians"

    No life should automatically be worth more than another; I am curious though, we hear much here about the number who died but I would like an idea of the number of Greeks and peopel of the lioberated countries who were saved by the food going to them instead.

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  • 157. At 1:17pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    140. At 12:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:
    Until India [and other countries, see link] gets rid of its caste system, it's going to be labelled (quite rightly in my view) as a severely discriminating state.

    All men are created equal, unless you live in a caste society apparently.

    ------------------------------------------------------------
    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior. No to mention the skinheads mudering non-whites in UK everyday. BNP, a racist party is popular. You have your own caste system going.



    Can you please provide some evidence? The BNP are a fringe party. While they may garner some support from certain section of our population I would hardly describe them as popular.
    Skinheads murdering non whites every day? Any evidence for this? What about caste based honor killings?, which are far more common than some Indians like to admit.
    In the UK we have a class system, which basically means if you are born into money you will be afforded a lot more opportunities in life. It’s the same in India.
    While there are tensions at times between all the different kingdoms of the state, it is no where near the level of division found within India.

    At the end of the day you come across as just as much of a bigot as Churchill. It’s always so funny when people become what they hate without ever realizing it.

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  • 158. At 1:18pm on 29 Oct 2010, Tony of Britain wrote:

    It appears that Rajesh is Mahatma of Britain, the same anti British racist views are in all his comments.

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  • 159. At 1:20pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Winston Chruchill, a Racist mass-murderer

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  • 160. At 1:22pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    Dont even compare the great Americans to your British "Loot" Empire
    Even Roosevelt considered Churchiill a racist, bigot & a xenophobe
    -----------
    OK, now I am getting a little confused. Now, bearing in the mind I was not the one who made the comment you respond to here, but your characterization of the British as scumbags because of the Empire as contrasted with the 'great' Americans strikes me as strange, in that you appear to be csating wholesale judgements on entire races/civilizations and deciding certains ones are unworthy and others are inherently great. That feels like a slippery slope.

    Besides Britain is often accused these days of being a cheap copy of America culturally, so perhaps if we fully adopt the trappings we can be rehabilitated for the sins of our ancestors?

    Although I think you may be right about Roosevelt (it has been a while since I studied WW2). Didn't he find Stalin more pleasant company? I don't doubt he despised the man's politics (he was Stalin after all), but supposedly he found him a more convivial man to deal with.

    What was the article about again?

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  • 161. At 1:26pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    151. At 1:04pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    "You are just annoyed becuase your so-called national hero has been exposed as a racist.


    Just how daft are you? Read my post number 5:

    "5. At 6:09pm on 28 Oct 2010, you wrote:

    Churchill was a great orator, he was also a racist."

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  • 162. At 1:27pm on 29 Oct 2010, Pras_n_Srini wrote:

    This is somewhat of a "open secret", which was known long before Southik Biswas even started college.

    Less well-known is Churchill's disdain also for Slavic Europeans, such as Poles--which became apparent the next year when he prevented the Polish Home Army of Tadeusz Komorowski aka "General Bor" from receiving the ammunition necessary even for the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis--due to his having a deal with (cruel Georgian tyrant) Stalin that Poland would be handed-over to him. As a consequence, Poland permanently lost a large chunk of pre-1939 territory to Soviet Union, compounded with a near half-century of Soviet suzerainty/robbery (which was rather similar to British rule over Ireland).

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  • 163. At 1:28pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    You are just annoyed becuase your so-called national hero has been exposed as a racist. Dont worry, many muslims feel the same when you call Osama Bin Laden a Terrorist.
    ------------
    Oh, for crying out loud. I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt, and I for one have made clear I have no issue with my 'so called national hero being exposed as a racist' (it is well known Churchill was hardly enlightened onsuch issues) and have been clear I do not regard him as my principle national hero, and you are still coming across as inexplicably and intractably intolerant and unreasonable to me as well, not to mention one who just ignores arguments and just repeats Churchill=Hitler in various forms ad naseum. Why am I annoyed then, given neither of the above applies to me?

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  • 164. At 1:28pm on 29 Oct 2010, pg55555 wrote:



    The original blog (and book) merely show a lack of knowledge of the historiography of the Second World War.

    The details are readily available in "Merchant Shipping and the Demands of War".

    All it needs is proper teachers, or merely interested readers.

    .

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  • 165. At 1:30pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    Speak for yourself. You treat Scots, Irish as inferior. You treat Ptoestents as inferior.
    ............................

    not quite right.. the British first make the Scots Prime minister then treat him as inferior.. aka Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.. Both proud Scots I believe...

    and I think you mean "they treat Catholics as inferior" You really don’t know what you are talking about do you??

    When the US declared that "all men are created equal" The founding fathers decided that African Slaves were three fifths of a man to get round this obvious hypocrisy.. It was a different world then..Get over it and Concentrate on the world now....


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  • 166. At 1:36pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    147. At 1:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:
    As a boy I remember a visit that Churchill paid to America after WW2. At that time Gandhi's fasting protests and the struggle for India's independence was high on the world's media agenda. As he was approaching the steps of the White House his progress was intercepted by a female reporter who threw a question at him 'What are you doing about your Indians, Mister Churchill?' she called out. He stopped walking and turned to face her. 'Whatever Madam' he replied. 'It will be better than you did with yours.'

    -----------------------------------------------------
    -----------------------------------------------------


    Dont even compare the great Americans to your British "Loot" Empire
    Even Roosevelt considered Churchiill a racist, bigot & a xenophobe


    Hahahaha. You hve no idea how idiotic that statement is. So from your viewpoint the Americans are great, despite killing and oppressing the Native americans, who they considered to be racially and culturally inferior. But the British are evil for doing something similar to the Indians? (although with far less devestating effects on the locals)
    How does that work?

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  • 167. At 1:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Look, I am not saying anything about the Indian Caste system (I do not know enough about it to cast judgement), but this is just nonsense. Protestants treated as inferior? Where? Historically with Catholics I guess, simple enough error. BNP are popular? More than I would like certainly, but it is a tiny percentage, and who did badly in 2010 elections and whose vote decreased in numbers when they got MEP seats years earlier but voter apathy meant the overall percentage was higher as there was lower turnout. Skinheads murdering non-whites? I'm sure it has happened at some point, but you make it seem as though isolated incidents are the same as gangs of skinheads roaming the towns of Britain looking for prey. Irish and Scots as inferior? Well, British people don't see it that way because the latter would be included if one defines oneself as British (as would certain Irish), and I tend to disagree, though I think you are confusing the accusations of marginalization from those constituent countries(due to smaller populations and not having the captial) with accusations of being treated like an inferior subset of society. And no love for the Welsh in your analysis?

    I have an uncle who has gone to India for 2-4 weeks every year for decades; he says it is his favourite place on earth, that as fondly as he thinks of Britain, he thinks India is better. I, on the other hand, have never been, but I try to keep an open mind and not willfully misinterpret a place just because someone has just cast aspertions upon my own home and I seek to retaliate.

    Class system in the UK's pretty rigid still though, I'll give you that one.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    Kieran,

    Look, I have nothing personally against the British people in general. I live in the USA, not India. I meet British people here and they seem fine I have never been to UK, except one stop over in London. But it never ceases to amaze me that you call Churchill a national hero when he is so blatantly racist. 70 years ago, the Brits created a fund for the butcher Terrorrist of Amritsar General Dyer, who massacred over 1500 innocent men, women & children in Jallianwala Bagh. Imagine if those people were British. You live in a illusion of the British Empire. Winston Chruchill was a racist, and its time you admit it, and carry on with your life. Indians are nice poeple, you uncle loves India for a reason. For all the centuries of loot your ancestors did in India, he should be greatful that Indians are still freindly to the British today.

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  • 168. At 1:45pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    you're right you don't just have to put Jews in a gas chamber to be branded a racist. Instead you can creat a caste system for your whole country. How are the "untouchables" doing these days??

    -------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------


    Atleast India did not deport the untochables like you did to your untochables when you shipped them to Australia in chains. You considered your convicts as subhuman and untochables. No wonder Australians call you Poms and hate you to this day.

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  • 169. At 1:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, Argum wrote:

    15 million Chinese died in that war, tying down 1 million seasoned Japanese troops who would otherwise have invaded India. Countless British soldiers also died to prevent India from suffering the same fate. Why is India's sole strategy one of litigously blaming others for its historically chronic inability to get its own act together? As for "racism", how can a nation so large continue to care so little or contribute so little to the welfare of other peoples?

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  • 170. At 1:49pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I see the riots among Catholics and Protestents and wonder about the British caste system. The UK caste system is so advanced and evolved, its amazing to an outsider. Not to mention the discrimination against the Irish(IRA), Scots(you historically treated them as second class citizens) Welsh( you consider them below you). A tiny island, a refined caste system.

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  • 171. At 1:52pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    President FDR(Roosevelt) of USA considered Chruchill a racist old man. Are you going to argue with FDR?

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  • 172. At 2:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jean Dyson wrote:

    So many bloggers all too ready to blacken the name of Winston Churchill, it sickens me.
    In 1943 we were in the middle of WW11. I lived through that period. We did'nt starve, food, clothes, petrol - in fact just about everything was rationed. (Sugar rationing continued until June 1953, eight years after the war ended.) Many ships transporting food were sunk by the Germans and the Japanize. During that time we in the UK were enduring a blitz, our nights spent in air raid shelters, emerging to find our homes and possessions gone. We never left home without a gas mask. Our menfolk created Victory gardens, and though meat, eggs, fish etc were in short supply we had home grown vegetables and fruit.
    Winston Churchill was voted "Man of the Century" without him the UK would be a very different place today.
    I too remember Ghandi being assassinated by his own people and we in the UK mourned his death, and still today in India the class system exsists - "the untouchables". People there are still starving to death, 63 years after getting their independence. Why is this so? What is the Indian government doing?


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  • 173. At 2:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, LandOfTheMapleLeaf wrote:

    Is there anything really new here? Everyone knows that Churchill was completely focused and even obsessed with saving the UK. He saw a situation where a powerful German navy formed a ring around the island and the equally powerful German air force bombed the country into gravel. As industrial or middle powers go, besides Canada and some of the others in the Commonwealth, who else could the UK depend on unconditionally? An earlier poster is correct: if Canada and the UK lost the Battle of the Atlantic, it's no slam dunk that the USA would have jumped in on our side because it was isolationist and unsympathetic to GB and the Commonwealth. In any event, without Churchill, it would have been a very different war the USA was joining in Europe- if it had joined at all. India suffered terribly, but people need to get past the 20/20 hindsight idea that Churchill was a moral failure if he dropped below perfection.

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  • 174. At 2:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I would have given Churchill the benefit of the doubt if the great President Roosevelt of the USA also did not consider him a racist & a bigot. There is a reason why FDR considered him to be dangerously Hitler-like.

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  • 175. At 2:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, tridiv wrote:

    @ 11 Richard wrote: "When I was growing up in Africa, I remember how the British were chastised for denying the local their rights. As soon as they achieved independence (basically one-man-one-vote, once) conditions immediately became a lot worse, and fifty years later they remain worse than they were in colonial days. Even in South Africa, more people starve today than during white rule, and far more people have died as a result of elected government policies than previously. The fact that Churchill was white and the populace were Indian is irrelevant (as the writer has stated): by-and-large British rule was less corrupt and more beneficial than Indian rule. The fact that they were of a different race is immaterial."

    You are amusing- opening your big mouth while the brain is vegetating (difficult to find any trace of it going by the rubbish that you write). Do you know that there has never been a famine in independent India? Famine, by the way, is a well researched subject. Obviously, i do not expect a supremacist ignorant to be aware of that. How would you, the most respectable work in this field of development economics comes from Amartya Sen. One of the most notable conclusions is that famine has not occurred in a democracy, especially in a parliamentary democracy like India where a degree of accountability prevent governments from neglecting grave issues. Should be quite an eye opener for colonial relicts like you.

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  • 176. At 2:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Keiran,

    I consider USA to be the greatest nation of the world. USA has the ideals of freedom which are truly inspiring. UK does not even come close to USA's greatness. India & USA are natural allies. India is fast becoming a developed Superpower. In the last 15 years, India has leapfrogged to an amazing growth rate. In the next 30 years, India will be truly reach the zenith, ie, 25% of the world's GDP(as it was before the British invasion). Britian is nowhere close to its past heights(founded on colonial wealth & loot). Its a spent state. You guys better join hands with Indians & Chinese if you want t survive in the new world, becuase the new world lies in Asia. And USA will be India's long term & best ally. America considers India as special relationship now, not you. Its hilarious, but that "special" tag is now India's. President Obama is coming to India in few days, watch the welcome he will get there.

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  • 177. At 2:24pm on 29 Oct 2010, Evan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 178. At 2:26pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jim1648 wrote:

    How much food would they have gotten if Japan had invaded? I don't think the prisoners on the Bataan Death March did very well either.

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  • 179. At 2:35pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    167. At 1:42pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    "Look, I have nothing personally against the British people in general."

    Lmao, that's not what you have stated in this thread.


    "Winston Chruchill was a racist, and its time you admit it"

    I've stated he was and you ignored that.



    You need to make several retractions and appologies.

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  • 180. At 2:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    174. At 2:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    "I would have given Churchill the benefit of the doubt if the great President Roosevelt of the USA also did not consider him a racist & a bigot. There is a reason why FDR considered him to be dangerously Hitler-like."

    Meanwhile, as Jews were being gassed, the hamburger-eating "neutral" fence sitters that was the US looked on looking to make a quick buck.

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  • 181. At 2:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:

    This is nothing new. Brits starved Indians for centuries. Tens of millions died. The official British history of India has covered this up, instead focusing on how they gave the Indians cricket and 4:00 tea. And as a result many Brits have no idea of just how murderous their country was in India. Worse than Hitler, worse than Stalin. That's the British Empire, folks. (And please make me laugh by bringing up Bhopal. I need a good chuckle this morning)

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  • 182. At 3:07pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    "Do you know that there has never been a famine in independent India? Famine, by the way, is a well researched subject. Obviously, i do not expect a supremacist ignorant to be aware of that. How would you, the most respectable work in this field of development economics comes from Amartya Sen. One of the most notable conclusions is that famine has not occurred in a democracy, especially in a parliamentary democracy like India where a degree of accountability prevent governments from neglecting grave issues. Should be quite an eye opener for colonial relicts like you. "

    One has to wonder how you see people starving to death - is that ok because they don't starve under that banner "famine"?

    Famine may not occur under a democracy because they simply don't call it famine, much like in the US they say they don't condone torture so Americans have never committed it.

    Quite frankly, a person who dies of starvation and a person who dies of torture is dead, regardless of what label some third party wants to put on it.

    I very much doubt any of this will open your eyes are they're firmly shut with a bigots' glue.

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  • 183. At 3:09pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    Kieran,

    Look, I have nothing personally against the British people in general. I live in the USA, not India. I meet British people here and they seem fine I have never been to UK, except one stop over in London. But it never ceases to amaze me that you call Churchill a national hero when he is so blatantly racist...You live in a illusion of the British Empire. Winston Chruchill was a racist, and its time you admit it, and carry on with your life. Indians are nice poeple, you uncle loves India for a reason. For all the centuries of loot your ancestors did in India, he should be greatful that Indians are still freindly to the British today.
    --------
    No doubt. Just to lay all cards on the table, I do not have any issue saying Churchill was a racist. As you ask, I will admit I think he was. As for how he can be considered a national hero, well, national heroes for all nations tend to be romantisized, and national villains tend to be demonized. Even when there is ample evidence of someone being great and good they probably held views today we would find appalling, and even those we regard as villains had good qualities. That most people do not care enough about history to learn more than the bare basics, including the less appealing aspects of national heroes, is regrettable and I hope that changes. The provision of history in the UK is generally terrible. But equating him with the worst of humanity for racism just makes people defensive 'even' if they do think he is racist.
    -------
    I consider USA to be the greatest nation of the world. USA has the ideals of freedom which are truly inspiring.

    It sure does. Not perfect, but hey, no-oneis.
    -------------
    UK does not even come close to USA's greatness.
    --------------
    I will freely admit I cannot make an unbiased judgement there. America is richer, more powerful, its freedoms what have you are great by and large, but I would still pick UK over USa every time as I am not even trying to be objective on that score at least.
    --------
    India & USA are natural allies. India is fast becoming a developed Superpower. In the last 15 years, India has leapfrogged to an amazing growth rate. In the next 30 years, India will be truly reach the zenith, ie, 25% of the world's GDP(as it was before the British invasion).
    ----------
    True (can't speak for the figures, but it wouldn't be surprising)
    -------------
    Britian is nowhere close to its past heights(founded on colonial wealth & loot). Its a spent state. You guys better join hands with Indians & Chinese if you want t survive in the new world, becuase the new world lies in Asia.
    -------------
    Also probably true (though spent state is a little harse). One former lecturer of mine were fond of explaining how the future belongs to India and China and Europe as a whole will find itself in a dramatic relationship shift. Now that the days of Empire are over and the lessons have been learned I just hope they are kind.
    -----------------
    And USA will be India's long term & best ally. America considers India as special relationship now, not you. Its hilarious, but that "special" tag is now India's.
    ----------------
    Eh, this is a little more contentious. The Special Relationship was never that special, and India may well become the best long term ally (though until America's dominance declines there will be nothing like parity between them and other states), but will that relationship ever deserve the capital S Special? Hard to say. Economically and politically it makes sense, but states do not always act in ways that make sense, and they have very close ties with others. It seems more likely that they will continue, as with Britain, tolerating other nations toasting their success at becoming USA'a no. 1 best buddy, as it just reaffirms how dominant they are, but the relationship will just be a standard ally arrangement, Capital S Special implies something greater, more sentimental (and seemingly never truly existed in the first place), so I would be wary of using that as a thing to be happy about. No.1 ally is a better phrase.

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  • 184. At 3:11pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    Rajesh:
    I'm glad that the US see's India as the new '"special relationship" and I am looking forward to seeing India sending troops to Af/Pak, Iraq and perhaps soon Iran.. The greatest nation in world as you call it prefers to use the word Muslim as an insult... aka The president is a secret "Muslim" Or we don't want Muslim Mosques built in Christian America...
    If you really do live in the USA you will know that Obama is a spent force and the Tea Party/Republicans will be the new power in Washington after next week.. “guns, religion and the constitution” will be the new mantra.. and to them Pakistan, India, Afghanistan are all the same once you scratch below the surface.. i.e not “god fearing Christians..

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  • 185. At 3:17pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    181. At 2:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:

    "(And please make me laugh by bringing up Bhopal. I need a good chuckle this morning)"

    If you want to laugh at the victims of Bhopal, that's your business but I'd find that wrong-headed to say the least.

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  • 186. At 3:18pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    176. At 2:15pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:
    An ill thought out diatribe.


    Hmmm. So Britain was founded on colonial wealth and loot. What was America founded on? Ideals? Maybe that was part of the puzzle. But you ignore the fact that without decimating the Native American population and encouraging slavery, America would never have grown as quickly as it did.
    I agree that the British empire was a morally wrong entity. All empires are. So why are you such a supporter of the American Empire? You do know that they occupied the Philippines? They still occupy part of Samoa and Costa Rica? That they invaded Mexico and engaged in mass slaughter? That they set up a false flag operation in order to invade Vietnam and kill over 3 million people? That is killing directly. Britain did things just as bad. So has India. Unless you want to ignore Kashmir? Which of course you do.


    Idiot nationalists like you are unable to see past their own blinkered viewpoints. I don’t understand why you don’t realize that a countries government is not its people.

    While we all engage in pointless attempts to occupy some fictitious morale high ground, people all over the world still starve. That is the point. Evil didn’t end when the empire collapsed...

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  • 187. At 3:26pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    And as a result many Brits have no idea of just how murderous their country was in India. Worse than Hitler, worse than Stalin.
    ----------
    Wow. It truly is amazing that Britain and India are currently allies. I mean, sure, we work with Germany and Russia now, but most of their cruelty was not directed at us, whereas ours was at India. A testament to the forgiveness and nobility of the Indian peoples, how inspiring.

    For my information, are we talking sheer numbers over centuries? I mean, Hitler and Stalin were around for much less time than Britain in India, so I'd expect they killed less overall, but at an accelerated rate. I will take your word that every food shortage for centuries was the direct result of calculated malice by the British (Admittedly I inferred this - 'Brits starved India for centuries' would seem to imply a deliberate cmapaign)
    -----------
    (And please make me laugh by bringing up Bhopal. I need a good chuckle this morning)
    -----------
    I don't really see how it is relevant, but we should all do what we can to spread laughter I guess. Bhopal. Oh, what the heck, here's another on the house: Bhopal.

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  • 188. At 3:31pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    181. At 2:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:
    This is nothing new. Brits starved Indians for centuries. Tens of millions died. The official British history of India has covered this up, instead focusing on how they gave the Indians cricket and 4:00 tea. And as a result many Brits have no idea of just how murderous their country was in India"


    Correct. Which is probably one of the main reasons so many British are ignorant of the true face of Imperial progress.

    As I stated in a previous post ALL empires are evil. How could they be anything else? But before you ride off into the sunset please consider this. America (with Britain as its willing lackey) is still engaged in causing death and misery worldwide. Wikileaks anyone?
    That’s not even mentioning the fact that the CIA, caused unimaginable levels of suffering all over South America since the 50's, setting up death squads, assassinating democratically elected leaders and generally forcing the population under the influence of American companies.

    So before you deride the British Empire, take a look at your own history.
    There is no moral high ground when discussing the activities of ANY nation state. So please stop deluding yourself.




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  • 189. At 3:33pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#176
    "President Obama is coming to India in few days, watch the welcome he will get there"
    ...........................................................
    I'm sure it will be much better than the welcome he receives in his own country. looks like another one term president is on the cards...
    Rajesh121,
    try reading Mark Mardells blog and you will see what Americans think of Roosevelt's legacy and present day Obamacare

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  • 190. At 3:41pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#182,

    scottNYC,

    you are right "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" or am I getting mixed up with another act of ethnic cleansing and millions dying from starvation and disease..

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  • 191. At 3:44pm on 29 Oct 2010, dgreen wrote:

    Churchill did EXACTLY the right thing in order to ensure total victory over the Nazi scourge, and we can all thank God that he did. He had the courage and vision to make hard decisions, and now 60+ years after the fact armchair strategists and the politically correct whinge about what was done. If it wasn't for Churchill, we'd all be speaking German or Japanese.

    People this day and age forget some simple facts:
    - the world, both west and east, was under threat of domination by strong military and political foes of freedom.
    - there are casualties in war, and often they are people who are "innocent". Sad and unfortunate, and no solace to those who suffer, but it's a simple fact of the matter.
    - it was critical to stockpile food for the British Isles; they were housing troops for the war and were under threat of blockade and isolation, and if that was successful they would need that food. Remember, until the US came into it, Great Britain was the ONLY power defending Europe.
    - as hard as it is to hear, the East Bengalis weren't exactly contributing to the war effort; they were in fact a drain on supplies. Sounds horrible, but again, simple fact and Churchill had the courage to stick to strategy to achieve victory.

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  • 192. At 4:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:

    There are many sources around documenting the famines occurring in India while under British rule, roughly from 1750 to 1950. And yes, the British bear responsibility for these. As for number of dead, estimates vary, anywhere from 30 million to 60 million. As for calculated malice, I don't recall the British Raj official starving, which suggests the food reached them quite successfully, while not reaching those under their thumb. That does suggest malice. I'd reckon it was a form of population control/eugenics (a British invention) or a tool of social control (suppressing rebellion); or, perhaps both.

    Faced with this record, I realize the British can only respond with their trademark defensive sarcasm. It's what makes them so very special and beloved the world over.

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  • 193. At 4:14pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:

    "That’s not even mentioning the fact that the CIA, caused unimaginable levels of suffering all over South America since the 50's, setting up death squads, assassinating democratically elected leaders and generally forcing the population under the influence of American companies."

    I see you have the standard puerile Oxford student union interpretation of history. You should write for the Guardian. I've traveled in Latin America and the least of their problems is the CIA. Venezuela is both socialist/Marxist and fabulously rich. And yet it's the basket case of South America. How do you account for that?

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  • 194. At 4:14pm on 29 Oct 2010, ihero wrote:

    Here was a statesman who committed atrocities against Indians and other colored people, declared a hero by the Western countries and his country men, decorated NOBEL prize (thanks God, not a peace medal) by Sweden just because he was a white (supremacist). Was he charged for war crime? Ohh.. He was a white, right?

    Around the same era, another man, who lived for his country men, took many fasts to save lives of millions. The first man's nation crumbled upon the might of the mental power of a simple man- "half naked fakir"; and of course, he didn't get any prize because he was a colored man! Wasn't it irony?

    Well.. I believe in Karma. Ever since the independence Britishers supported Pakistan more than India. Their govt closed its eyes on the terrorist activities supported by Pakistan, Sikh and Kashmiri supporters against India. Now, the same country is crumbling under the Islamic terrorism. Soon Pakistanis and other Islamic terrorists will rule (they started ruling some towns). Britishers, it is high time to apologize for the evil things your ancestors did against India and Indians.

    Well.. I do not think BBC will show this comment. For BBC, supporting Pakistan is its main agenda. Didn't BBC reporter initially say, no Pakistanis involved in Nov 2008 Mumbai massacre by visiting the village of Kasab?

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  • 195. At 4:21pm on 29 Oct 2010, Stott_Bristol wrote:

    I am saddened by both the article and it's many responses,

    Churchill is regarded as the savior of Britain in it's worst crisis since it's inception. I find myself inspired by his speeches in Parliament and, as an englishman instinctively hold him in the highest regard.

    Revealing these incidents is a painful but very necessary part of Post-Colonial Life for both the former Empire and the states that have succeeded them.

    I am proud of the achievements of the British Empire but that pride is always tarnished with the knowledge that we killed, tortured, raped, stole, and lied.

    Anywhere and in any time there are always individuals who prey on the weak and there are enough of them to have a huge impact.

    My plea to everyone to appreciate and understand the feelings of the other. If we continue to snap at each other then we will never learn from the mistakes of the past, AND ENSURE THAT IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN

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  • 196. At 4:31pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#168
    Atleast India did not deport the untochables like you did to your untochables when you shipped them to Australia in chains. You considered your convicts as subhuman and untochables. No wonder Australians call you Poms and hate you to this day.

    POME's
    "Prisoners of Mother England"

    You are showing your true racist colours by comparing India's "untouchables" to convicted criminals..


    You don't really know much about the world around you.. If Australians hate the British why did they vote to keep QE2 as their head of state In 2000..

    From what I've seen in the news its the Indians that the Ozzys are not too keen on... Isn't Indian bashing the new sport in Australia these days..

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  • 197. At 4:34pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    There are many sources around documenting the famines occurring in India while under British rule, roughly from 1750 to 1950. And yes, the British bear responsibility for these. As for number of dead, estimates vary, anywhere from 30 million to 60 million. As for calculated malice, I don't recall the British Raj official starving, which suggests the food reached them quite successfully, while not reaching those under their thumb. That does suggest malice. I'd reckon it was a form of population control/eugenics (a British invention) or a tool of social control (suppressing rebellion); or, perhaps both.

    Faced with this record, I realize the British can only respond with their trademark defensive sarcasm. It's what makes them so very special and beloved the world over.
    --------------
    And clearly I messed up by including one sarcastic comment with a real comment (one after the other FYI, though I stand by the comment about the Indian peoples being good - I have no reaosn to believe otherwise and think all people are generally good); I was being serious about wondering if the British were directly responsible for the famines ScottNYC.

    As I have made clear repeatedly, I have no issue with the general thrust of statements made by some re Churchill about racism, though including pointing out the case in the article was not as simple as racism, and rebutting what I deemed as offensive and ignorant comments. I have also freely confessed over the course of several statements that, though I have studied history(which included some little Indian history) I cannot pass judgement on things I do not know enough about. Which included Indian famines.

    Now, clearly I am partially at fault for the ambiguity by having two statements, one serious, one mostly not, but since all I did was make a comment about the nobility of the Indian peoples (which was genuine, I have heard nothing but good from people I know who have been there, and mostly good from the people I know - not many unfortunately - who are from there) and my praise, while over the top and capable of misunderstanding, was genuine, I feel a little aggrieved.

    Since you apparently deemed my comments as a whole as defensively sarcastic, unlike your assumption it seems safe to conclude you were being false when you described an entire people as 'special and beloved the world over', and in fact were making petty insult the likes of which help no-one and are characteristic of several comments today castigating the British as a whole for either past actions (should not be forgotten, but do not condemn the present for the past), or views of one individual. That is entirely unreasonable, and do you no credit at all.

    Now, you reference 'trademark British sarcasm'. I have explained the misunderstanding for which you have wildly overreacted, sadly not uncommon by either side of debates today. Apparently your trademark, be it belonging to a race, religion, nation or something else, is to misinterpret serious comments because of a benign and in fact complimentary bit of mild sarcasm (inofitself absolutely understandable) and then to respond with hostility which you believe to be reciprocatory in nature.

    It was not.

    P.S Since it is so easy to be misinterpreted, I will clarify simply that I see no value in insulting an entire race because I disagree with someone's opinion, especially when there was easily the potential I overreacted because the opinion could have been genuine.

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  • 198. At 4:39pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    My plea to everyone to appreciate and understand the feelings of the other. If we continue to snap at each other then we will never learn from the mistakes of the past, AND ENSURE THAT IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN
    ---------------
    Thank you!!! Especially the bit about continuing to snap at each other. We've had to work with even hated enemies before in order to move on from the past and try to make a safer world, but the venom going around makes it seem as though some do not wish to simply educate the ignorant (please do, I am very happy to learn things, even ones that show Britain or its rulers were very much in the wrong) but transfer that resentment forever onwards.

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  • 199. At 4:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    Well.. I do not think BBC will show this comment.
    ----------
    I see this in comments so often I wonder if the moderators allow them through on purpose to stave off boredom in unceasing cyclical debates where sides deliberately obfuscate the issues and misrepresent the opposition. Seems to happen more in Labour vs Tory debates.
    --------
    Around the same era, another man, who lived for his country men, took many fasts to save lives of millions. The first man's nation crumbled upon the might of the mental power of a simple man- "half naked fakir"; and of course, he didn't get any prize because he was a colored man! Wasn't it irony?
    -------------
    Who knows. It is sad though. Though if he didn't get it specifically 'because' he was a coloured man I would blame those who give out the award.

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  • 200. At 4:48pm on 29 Oct 2010, nadim wrote:

    " Britain ...has a barbaric human rights record from relatively recent colonial times yet these issues are barely in the consciousness of the masses. It is far more common to encounter someone who defends the historical human rights of the East Germans imprisoned by the Berlin Wall than someone who defends the rights of the Mau Mau in the 1960s, or for that matter of Muslims in Britain or the Middle East now. This is part of a general pattern that most people know more about human rights in other countries, than about human rights in their own countries.I suspect this in turn is a reflection of the influence of nationalism on the minds of the masses. If "we" kill [or starve] people they are enemies, Talibans, etc or must be "a greater good" for those people. If they kill us they are murderers and terrorists. I think this is a far more common attitude than the defence of universal human rights. If, as I think, the masses do not generally hold a consistent view of global universal human rights this does not negate the potential value of universal human rights, but it seems to me more important now, to reveal the class interests behind specific 'human rights' campaigns." (H.K. 14 October 2010)

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  • 201. At 4:49pm on 29 Oct 2010, Kieran wrote:

    No wonder Australians call you Poms and hate you to this day.
    --------------
    It's more of a rivalry, and the Poms explanation is a cute but inaccurate one. We do have the same head of state after all. Plenty do not want us to share that, but it isn't hatred. Free colonists started to outnumber shipped convicts (what a bloody stupid idea that was) within decades of settling.

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  • 202. At 4:49pm on 29 Oct 2010, sid wrote:

    Its no surprise...after all If Hitler had won the war, he would have been a hero...and Churchill would have been shooting himself in head to escape facing justice for the genocide of 6 million Indians ...no difference...lets pass on the link to every person we know online so that this "hero" is treated as he deserves

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  • 203. At 4:50pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    ScottNYC.

    you are only half right. The british Empire was evil and millions died to keep the AngloSaxons in wealth and power.

    But Also The USA was evil and millions died to keep the AngloSaxons in wealth and power.
    Africans were kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery and then raped some more (it was cheaper than buying new slaves)
    Native Americans were forced off their land, starved or just killed either by the bullet or disease.. a population of 40 million down to 10 million in just 12 years not bad going..
    Maybe its just that Anglo/Saxons are evil ;)


    I am neither American or British but my point is are we forever going to judge countries for their past actions or how they behave today..

    Personally I think both the USA and the UK contributions to the world far outway the bad things they have also done....

    Washington was a racist and kept slaves
    Churchill was a racist
    Gandhi was murdered by his own people

    This is all old news............

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  • 204. At 4:50pm on 29 Oct 2010, misterkeithkelly wrote:

    To Vilify Mr. Churchill is wrong! What we should do is get on our knees every night before we go to bed and thank God that he was able to stop the Germans from doing what they intended. I'm quite certain that there wouldn't be any Indian people or other people of color if Mr. Churchill was not successful. My father grew up in WWII London and he was starving!! From what I understand, food was rationed until the 1950's other than whale steak and seagull's eggs. It was mentioned that 400,000 people may have lived longer if so much rice wasn't exported, assuming that their was even enough fuel to cook these tons of rice. Wasn't it mentioned that the dead were not even cremated?

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  • 205. At 5:00pm on 29 Oct 2010, bacon_butty wrote:

    Saeed Ahmad (message #28) wrote:
    "After all, these are the same people who took out eyes of the two sons of Bahadar Shah Zafar with knifes and put them on his hands as a punishment for the war of 1856. He was 82 years old at that time."

    If you must vilify the British, at least get your facts correct. The Indian Mutiny began in May 1857 and ended in approximately June 1858 when the last rebels were defeated in Gwalior. By 1859, other prominent rebel leaders, such as Nana Sahib and Tantya Tope had either fled or were dead. There is no evidence that suggests the British "took out the eyes" of Zafar's sons and placed them "on his hands." After the three princes had surrendered at Humayun's Tomb, William Hodson (of Hodson's Horse) shot them dead while they were being escorted to Delhi in a bullock cart. Opinion differ's, but Hodson claimed he executed the princes because the gathering crowd threatened to free them. Their bodies were stripped and summarily dumped near the Khooni Darwaza (Bloody Gate), located near Delhi Gate on present day Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg. This information is easily verified from a plethora of sources researched by both Indian and British historians.

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  • 206. At 5:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, nadim wrote:

    Regarding
    Soutik Biswas looks back to history with a good eye, but when it comes to the present time, he has a narrow view of democracy: India according to hi is "the world’s largest democracy."
    According to an Oxford University study, 55 percent of India’s population of 1.1 billion, or 645 million people, are living in poverty. Using a newly-developed index, the study found that about one-third of the world’s poor live in India. The Western regimes and their media call India ""the world’s largest democracy."

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  • 207. At 5:13pm on 29 Oct 2010, histJunkie wrote:

    Ah, there is nothing more enjoyable than jumping on a bandwagon and putting the boot in, is there? Once people start, it doesn't stop until everyone is exhausted and all perspective is lost.

    #71 "The English colonial history needs to be brought out so its sins can be forgiven". Forgiven? That is not the motive, is it. And note that this person is absolving the Welsh and Scots.

    Personally I agree with Axiocracy, who points out that "we should not criticise on historical issues when we are ignorant of history."

    I read the American historian John Lukacs book, "Five Days in London: May 1940" in which he outlines in detail the war cabinet discussions over 5 crucial days when Churchill was being pressured to make a negotiated peace with Hitler by those within that cabinet. France had newly sent a message that it was going to have to negotiate a peace, leaving Britain to fight entirely alone. Roosevelt didn't want to help.
    Churchill managed to sway the outer cabinet as a whole to side with him by pointing out that Hitler would demand the fleet and put a puppet fascist in charge, whereas Halifax had said there was no harm in beginning negotiations. Churchill pointed out the dangers of "the slippery slope", and that once negotiations began, British morale would shatter and would be unable to stand up to the fight once devastating terms were given by Hitler.

    Churchill said, "If Hitler wins and we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science".

    He persuaded the cabinet to fight on alone against all odds because it couldn't be worse than the alternative. Without him ..., well, take those boots off for a moment and contemplate the alternative. Did he do an absolutely perfect job of saving the world? No. But it was an enormous job and there was no-one else to lead. Personally I am glad he was there.


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  • 208. At 5:27pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    I'm glad that the US see's India as the new '"special relationship" and I am looking forward to seeing India sending troops to Af/Pak, Iraq and perhaps soon Iran.. The greatest nation in world as you call it prefers to use the word Muslim as an insult... aka The president is a secret "Muslim" Or we don't want Muslim Mosques built in Christian America...
    If you really do live in the USA you will know that Obama is a spent force and the Tea Party/Republicans will be the new power in Washington after next week.. “guns, religion and the constitution” will be the new mantra.. and to them Pakistan, India, Afghanistan are all the same once you scratch below the surface.. i.e not “god fearing Christians..

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    I respectfully disagree. The United States of America is the greatest nation that ever was. Muslims are freer here than even in some muslim countries. George Bush and Obama, both are good presidents. I have never seen a country with more opportunity than the USA. Americans are very freindly people in general. The character of Americans is strong, and they are genuinely nice people, and they will never disrespect another immigrant. This is an amazing country, with a lot of similarities with India, multicultural, democratic, rule of law, diverse, capitalist, vast, freedom of religion etc. Britain is not that relevant in today's world. Its a spent force. USA & India are natural allies. Anyhow, India will surpass USA in the next century as one of the biggest economies along with China. India is like a champagne bottle whose cork has just been opened after many centuries. Have you seen what happens when the cork of that bottle is opened? That explosive growth has just started. It is going to be huge.

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  • 209. At 5:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, Ravi_L wrote:

    the pages regarding this and other such subjects must have fallen out of the History Books and Notes Post World War 2

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  • 210. At 5:44pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    So many bloggers all too ready to blacken the name of Winston Churchill, it sickens me.
    In 1943 we were in the middle of WW11. I lived through that period. We did'nt starve, food, clothes, petrol - in fact just about everything was rationed. (Sugar rationing continued until June 1953, eight years after the war ended.) Many ships transporting food were sunk by the Germans and the Japanize. During that time we in the UK were enduring a blitz, our nights spent in air raid shelters, emerging to find our homes and possessions gone. We never left home without a gas mask. Our menfolk created Victory gardens, and though meat, eggs, fish etc were in short supply we had home grown vegetables and fruit.
    Winston Churchill was voted "Man of the Century" without him the UK would be a very different place today.
    I too remember Ghandi being assassinated by his own people and we in the UK mourned his death, and still today in India the class system exsists - "the untouchables". People there are still starving to death, 63 years after getting their independence. Why is this so? What is the Indian government doing?

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    Mahatma Gandhi along with FDR won the Time magazine man of the century, not Churchill. Get your facts straight. Chruchill does not deserve mention along with those two great men. The former was a saint. Are you comparing a racist with a saint? Gandhi was the most Christ-like man after Jesus Christ, unlike bigot, racist & hateful Chruchill.

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  • 211. At 5:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Ah, there is nothing more enjoyable than jumping on a bandwagon and putting the boot in, is there? Once people start, it doesn't stop until everyone is exhausted and all perspective is lost.

    #71 "The English colonial history needs to be brought out so its sins can be forgiven". Forgiven? That is not the motive, is it. And note that this person is absolving the Welsh and Scots.

    Personally I agree with Axiocracy, who points out that "we should not criticise on historical issues when we are ignorant of history."

    I read the American historian John Lukacs book, "Five Days in London: May 1940" in which he outlines in detail the war cabinet discussions over 5 crucial days when Churchill was being pressured to make a negotiated peace with Hitler by those within that cabinet. France had newly sent a message that it was going to have to negotiate a peace, leaving Britain to fight entirely alone. Roosevelt didn't want to help.
    Churchill managed to sway the outer cabinet as a whole to side with him by pointing out that Hitler would demand the fleet and put a puppet fascist in charge, whereas Halifax had said there was no harm in beginning negotiations. Churchill pointed out the dangers of "the slippery slope", and that once negotiations began, British morale would shatter and would be unable to stand up to the fight once devastating terms were given by Hitler.

    Churchill said, "If Hitler wins and we fall, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a New Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science".

    He persuaded the cabinet to fight on alone against all odds because it couldn't be worse than the alternative. Without him ..., well, take those boots off for a moment and contemplate the alternative. Did he do an absolutely perfect job of saving the world? No. But it was an enormous job and there was no-one else to lead. Personally I am glad he was there.

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    Churchill claim to fame about his leadership which won the war is overrated. It was the USA which was the decisive factor. Russians lost 20 million people to win the war as well. Churchill was a good orator, but oratory alone does not win wars. It was Franklin Delano Rooselvelt who wont WW2. Stalin, for all his faults, had also a huge part to play. Churchill comes a distant third. India has the largest volunteer army fighting the Nazis. Hundereds of thousands of Indians died fighting the Nazis, Gorkhas, Sikhs, Rajputs. Without the massive Indian troop contribution, things for the allies would be very difficult. Indians, Americans & Russians primarly won the war and freed the world. British were finished in 1942 itself. Know your facts.

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  • 212. At 6:04pm on 29 Oct 2010, Peter Hawkins wrote:

    The Second Bengal Famine took place in 1943 in the South West Midnapore District of Bengal, during the Bengal Provincial Government of the Muslim League. It was the third of the famines in the world in that year during the war. Food in the United Kingdom with the exception of Bread, was rationed. It was not rationed in India. The Governor of Bengal responsible for the Famine was John Arthur Herbert who was mortally ill, and the Viceroy responsible was Victor Alexander John Hope, 2nd Marquess of Lithlingow, who, being present, was criticized by the Metropolitan Bishop of Kolkata in Delhi Cathedral at Christmas that year in the words "and all we have left is an array of blasted hopes". The famine was triggered by a Toophan hitting the Bengal and Orissa coast on the 16/10/42 which poisoned the land for forty miles inland and destroyed the harvest waiting to be cut. The "Rice Denial Scheme" intended to prevent supplies reaching the Japanese trying to invade India, also made things worse. It is accepted that there was enough Rice in the area, but the shortage was caused by not enough work for the very poor and hoarding by merchants and the wealthy. Eventually the UK Government released a million tons of Rice to Bengal, and that caused prices to fall. Exports of Grain from India were necessary to feed the Indian and British Forces in East and North Africa and then Italy. It was the rule that the fighting man always received the best available rations. The Minister responsible in the Muslim League Provincial Government of Bengal was HS Shurawady later Prime Minister of Pakistan, he who confessed that his major problem in life was "fast women and slow horses", and he was actually a Bengali Muslim whose Bari was in the very same Midnapore District. The British Indian Army did a great deal of effective Famine Relief in the area. The then refusal of Bengalis to eat any other food grain than rice was not changed until the Ration Scheme of the West Bengal Government in the years following 1964. As soon as the incoming Viceroy Wavell heard of the famine, he travelled to the area and put in place the standard Indian Government Relief Measures for Famine being special diet of molasses and electrolytes for the starving, and public works providing food and wages for the indigent. To this programme the present West Bengal Government added the requirement that the Rice Ration may only be received along with an equivalent amount of other food grains to educate Bengalis to eat other food grains. Winston Churchill was responsible because he held overall responsibility, but it was a local matter and was dealt with by the Viceroy effectively. War does cause famine and many other evils. Britain herself was close to starvation, and in the following year the Dutch did starve, along with those in Greece, Yugoslavia and the Concentration Camps. Churchill's attitudes towards India were not impressive, but he did pay a pension towards his former Bearer.
    The developments of Ports, Shipping, Canals, Trunk Roads and Railways did make it possible to reduce the liklihood of Famine in India, but War always increases the possibility. It happened on Churchill's Watch, so he and the King Emperor along with the rest were responsible. Generally it is best for people to make their own mistakes and not be ruled by Bideshis, not matter how well intentioned.

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  • 213. At 6:17pm on 29 Oct 2010, Phillip T Hevener wrote:

    It is important, when reflecting upon matters such as famine in Bengal, to keep in mind the strategic situation that Britain was in between January and July 1943. The first thing to take into account, was that the Allied policy, for very sounds reasons, was based upon defeating Germany first. In fact, the very idea of defeating Germany, in the spring of 1943, was as secondary consideration to mere survival. Germany's U-boats came within days of cutting off Britain from its vital supplies of food and equipment, and thus, nobody of sound mind in Churchill's position, would have remotely contemplated diverting food and ships to India, when Germany was on the brink of forcing Churchill to the peace table.

    Another matter to consider, was the British situation in India. First and foremost, was that the Japanese had the initiative at this time, and anyone looking at a map can see that the Bay of Bengal was an ideal place to land troops, thus flanking the British and Indian troops fighting in Burma, as well as cutting off Chinese troops that were also fighting Japan, from vital supplies. A telling perspective can be gained, when it is recalled that the high water mark of Japanese activity was reached when they invaded India in February 1944, and only began to ebb, when they lost the battles of Kohima and Imphal. A last consideration was the factor of internal security and "Quit India" activity. Indeed, there were such serious disruptions in 1942-43, in Bengal and Bahia, that hundreds of thousands of security personnel had to be diverted from the war effort, to maintain control. In Ballia, the revolt even succeded in establishing an independent enclave, which took several weeks to crush.

    Thus, while Churchill, as a man of his time, was racist, there are far more compelling and rational reasons to explain why he would not divert ships, food, oil, etc, to Bengal. The first was that Britain itself was in mortal peril at the very same time, and equally important, it made no sense to spend vital resources on a colony that you might imminently loose to Japan or internal subversives, at any moment. Unfortunately, in the making of such cold and matter-of-fact decisions, innocent people often die. However, had Britain been forced to terms with Germany, India's lot would have been far worse than the terrible tragedy in Bengal....Years, decades, maybe longer, of servitude to a militant Japan.

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  • 214. At 6:19pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jaipur Vegetables wrote:

    >LORD MACAULAY’S ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT,
    >2 FEBRUARY, 1835

    >I have travelled across the length and breadth of
    >India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar,
    >who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country,
    >such high moral values

    Dear Sir,

    the above is a well known forgery of MaCauley's speech.

    Typically the words you quote are preceded by the comment
    that "His words were to this effect" but MacCaulay's real
    speech is very different.

    In INDIA: THE ANCIENT PAST, Burjor Avarji exposes your
    quote as mischievous tampering. It is a mainstay of the
    far right-wing manifesto in India, the equivalent of the BNP.

    Please don't post far-right propaganda on the BBC.

    Thanks,
    Max

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  • 215. At 6:23pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jaipur Vegetables wrote:

    >independent India has never suffered a famine

    Not true.

    Dileep Simeon, lecturer St. Stephen's College, plantay, Dehli,
    gave his observations of the famine on Page 157, "Indian Tales
    of The Raj", ISBN 0-520-07127-1.

    See also "A Cause for Our Times: Oxfam - The First Fifty Years By
    Maggie Black". Black describes how at the peak of the Oxfam
    relief effort, five million children were fed daily, with Oxfam
    milk and nutrition supplements.

    Seems like five million starving children can be described as
    'suffering' even by the most callous anti-British commentators.

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  • 216. At 6:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, Pras_n_Srini wrote:

    @LandOfTheMapleLeaf (obviously meaning Canuck--is it also double-entendre for Pigtowner/Torontonian) wrote "India suffered terribly, but people need to get past the 20/20 hindsight idea that Churchill was a moral failure if he dropped below perfection".

    A good point that NO leader is perfect. We'll look at US examples:
    (*) FDR--prolonged the Deptression (which caused misery, and starvation for hundreds of thousands) through his "New Deal" policies
    (*) Truman--not willing to use overwhelming force in Korea
    (*) Eisenhower--refused to intervene in Hungary 1956
    (*) and all presidents from Truman till 0bama have made deals with dictators (especially those of India's neighbour Pornistan) every bit as unsavoury as Hitler.

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  • 217. At 6:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, yoss wrote:

    To maoriventure

    Its is remarkable to read the moral relativism you bring to the table. This laser like focus you have on the mores of the time supposedly excusing the evil that men do.

    Stringing up Hitler's thugs was pursuit of justice ? Certainly. But eulogising Churchill? That was genocide however one looks at it.

    As for other readers romance with Churchill and his wartime role, well you would really do well to read history. Had it not been for the Russians breaking back of the Germans in the east and the military might of the Americans Britain would have been taken over by the Germans for certain - all the brave speeches of Churchill notwithstanding. And if the western front did not have the "benefit" of Monty's military acumen, then the progress across France would have been much swifter after D Day, many more lives would have been saved but Churchill and Monty would not have been able to pretend what great wartime leaders they were.

    As someone else said, Amartya Sen has talked about all of the Bengal famine long ago. This is not new data. Churchill committed crimes agains humanity and history needs to be set straight. It can no longer be what the English want it to be.

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  • 218. At 6:57pm on 29 Oct 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    Rajesh1211 if you add up ALL the racist and hateful comments on this blog you'll find that YOU wrote about half of them, you really are a disgustingly hateful person who seems to have some sort of agenda to rewrite history only leaving in facts that support your own racist beliefs.

    Churchill may not have been a nice man, he may have been a racist and an alcoholic too, but he NEVER set out to wipe out any races as Hitler, Osama Bin Laden (and many others) did/do.
    He made many mistakes that cost millions of lives but he was one of the very few who actually saw the Nazis and the Soviet communists for what they really were, two groups who wished to rule the world in their own image at ANY cost, no matter how many tens/hundereds of millions were executed in the process.
    He stood practically alone in the fight against faschism when the USA sat back and did nothing and while some of his beliefs may be vile when viewed with a 21st century outlook, he was no different from MOST people of his generation.

    A few on here have done nothing but criticise (and worse) Britain and some of those have lauded the USA at the same time, please remember that neither nation is close to being perfect, we both have pasts that have unsavoury and downright disgusting aspects to them and with respect to human rights we could both improve our standing on the world stage, but we both offer freedom to ANYONE regardless of colour, creed etc. we both allow individual freedoms denied to nearly a third of the world and we are both willing to fight against tyrany and to protest against inhumanities the world over, which is more than most other countries can honestly say.
    Both our nations stand up for what's morally right and even though it took the USA a very long time to get there, we're both far more tollerant and inclusive societies than the vast majority of those who sit in the UN and I for one am proud that Churcill was British because he did more than anyone else to save the world from faschism and I'm also proud to be an Englishman and a Brit because (generally) we can see our own faults and we're not afraid to admit to them.
    Maybe some other nationalities should take that on board.

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  • 219. At 7:18pm on 29 Oct 2010, Dovergull wrote:

    maoriventure wrote:

    "Almost as bad as what they did during Ireland's potato famine, during which the Brits exported beef from Ireland while 33% of the Catholic population starved to death."

    I had a bet with myself on how long this old chestnut came up.

    --------------------------------------------------------------

    And I had a similar bet on how long such a response would appear.

    I dislike Brit bashing of any means but I do get irritated when unfortunate chapters of history such as the Irish Famine, Concentration Camps of the Boer War and the 1943 Famine in India are described as "Old Chestnuts" in some quarters of British Society.

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  • 220. At 7:24pm on 29 Oct 2010, shortarmpull wrote:

    It is disappointing to read this news. Churchill so admired for his courage, speeches, writing and yet so despised for his despicable treatment of Indians.
    The so-called Greatest Generation was a racist bunch – reserving their humanity for their own kind.
    I have really got over it, as my baby boomer generation is probably the last to be affected by the past, and the new generations do not give a fig for racial differences like in the past.
    Churchill looked good because Chamberlain was so bad.
    He was a right wing warmongering royalist nut that was going to be hostile to Hitler’s views of expanding/improving Germany even if Hitler was a pacifist like Gandhi! (sic)
    I still enjoy reading his books and if the current Military leaders in Afghanistan need to get an education they should reach a young Churchill’s journal of the turn of the century Afghan war - still chillingly topical.
    His inability to ‘Preside over the Liquidation of the British Empire’ and calling Gandhi a ‘naked fakir’ does not endear him to Indians though his rousing speeches during the war should go down as some of the greatest in history.
    A paradox, a great man no doubt but an evil imperialist of the worst kind as far as Indians are concerned.

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  • 221. At 7:26pm on 29 Oct 2010, VND wrote:

    I am one who shares the last comments of this blog. The author Mukherjee concludes the story by recognizing that this was partly a man-made tragedy of colonial governance, not necessarily an ENGLISH negligence. For a balanced view and minus any diatribes, let me lead you to Vijay Lakshmi's, Nehru's sister, recollection of the famine of 1943. It was acknowledged by many and both sides, English and Indian, that this was a famine that could have been avoided. The Governor of Bengal at that time was Sir Richard Casey. He was not the typical snob of a bureaucrat. He was a God fearing Humanitarian. Mrs. Pandit and other Indians were able to enlighten and inform him of the dire situation. It was too late. However the elite of India also displayed total apathy to the plight of the starving. Independent India is still struggling to feed it's population. BAD GOVERNANCE persists to this day.

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  • 222. At 7:38pm on 29 Oct 2010, yoss wrote:

    And to all who admire Churchill's courageous speeches ! Get real people - What makes you think Hitler didnt make great or perhaps greater speeches? Just because he lost? There really is little difference between Hitler and Churchill to at least one sixth of the world's population. Evil, devilish men both. May their souls rot in whatever purgatory they find themselves in.

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  • 223. At 7:48pm on 29 Oct 2010, MABUSE wrote:

    The British empire did, as most empires do, commit crimes against the people within its colonies. In the same way those closer to home, whether it be the Scots or the Irish were made to suffer great hardships. The BBC recently drew our attention to the way in which British children and adults were often shipped abroad to work as no more than slaves in the colonies of Canada and Australia in order to serve the empire. The history of Britain is not all glorious and majestic as we would wish it to be. There are indeed dark chapters which are all too often sidelined or conveniently ignored.

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  • 224. At 7:51pm on 29 Oct 2010, Madvillain wrote:

    193. At 4:14pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScottNYC wrote:

    "I see you have the standard puerile Oxford student union interpretation of history. You should write for the Guardian. I've traveled in Latin America and the least of their problems is the CIA. Venezuela is both socialist/Marxist and fabulously rich. And yet it's the basket case of South America. How do you account for that?"


    Never been to university. Never really felt the need. To me working and helping my family was more important. But this is irrelevant. Just as your attempt to pigeon hole me with this narrow minded label is.
    I never said America was responsible for all of Latin Americas ills. No. Those issues run far deeper. It is impossible to argue that having your far more powerful northern neighbor interfering in domestic affairs would help the situation. Especially when they are acting in there own interest, no matter the effects on the population. This is what the powerful do. No matter the nation of their birth.
    Remember the past. But fight for the present.

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  • 225. At 7:55pm on 29 Oct 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    "There really is little difference between Hitler and Churchill to at least one sixth of the world's population."

    At least that proves that over 80% of the world has a brain, or is simply indifferent to either man.

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  • 226. At 7:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    222. At 7:38pm on 29 Oct 2010, yoss wrote:

    "And to all who admire Churchill's courageous speeches ! Get real people - What makes you think Hitler didnt make great or perhaps greater speeches? Just because he lost?"

    What makes you think they don't think Hitler made great speeches - he did. The best of the best and the worst of the worst are usually great at making speeches.

    "May their souls rot in whatever purgatory they find themselves in."

    Do unto other as you would have them do unto you - say hi to them from me.

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  • 227. At 8:01pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jaipur Vegetables wrote:

    >Churchill ... began concentration camps in South Africa

    What nonsense. The camps in the Boer War were set up
    by Kitchener to house peaceful burghers fed up with fighting
    the guerilla war of the Boer commandoes. Burghers who did not
    want to fight any more turned up at the British lines looking
    for a haven from the commandos, who kept impressing them when
    they tried to rejoin their families. The colonial
    Spanish had used the tactic of concentration camps in Cuba in
    1896, some four years before the Second Anglo-Boer war, and
    the US tried it in the Phillipines at the same time as the
    British.

    > which the Nazis used to their horrific conclusion.

    No. The Nazis did not adopt the British system; they adopted
    the pattern of the German colonial camps used to exterminate
    the Hererro in South West Africa, circa 1905, in which inmates
    were worked to death. No-one was worked to death in a British
    Boer War camp - where inmates chose to work, they were paid.
    Herman Goering's dad was an Imperial administrator and intimately
    familiar with the policies of the German colonial camps, and
    these were adopted by the Nazis in 1933.

    >They built the Railways and other infrastructures to support
    >their quest to exploit and take the resources of India.

    If the railways were used only
    for shipping loot, why were elaborate railway stations,
    with platforms and ticket offices were built, to facilitate the
    travel of Indian people, not just goods? If the railways
    were merely for shipping loot, a yard and a few cranes would
    suffice. Soldiers don't need ticket offices and platforms
    either.

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  • 228. At 8:09pm on 29 Oct 2010, Zaheer Uddin wrote:

    Further to what Mr Biswas and others have written about the famine, an additional reason was a Militant Congress leader, a Bengali Mr. Subhash Chandra Bhose, or Netaje, who fled India after the collapse of British - Indian Army in Singapore, Malayasia and Burma. Mr. Bhose connived to fly out of India and joined Japan, where he formed the Indian National Army (INA) manned by the Indian elements of the POW held by the Japs. The Bengalis started parading and celebrating the forthcoming liberation of India through their son, Mr. Subhash Chandra Bhose. The Brits were then fighting for their dear life in North Africa, seeing this surge of militancy from a militant group growing in the Indian National Congress, the British - Indian Government imposed a ban of food movement between provinces within India. Bengal was always a basket case, when no food came from the rest of Indian provinces the Bengalis died like flies, cholera, typhoid, malaria and other diseases added misery to the hungry masses, after more than 3, 4, or 5 million Bengalis lost their lives, volunteers and food was transported to Bengal, but the damage was done, Bengalis were told in no uncertain way, BEHAVE or ELSE. The protests stopped and all the fervour of song and dance of the saviour of India is coming soon was doused out. Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Jinnah were not in favour of the militants and the latter was firmly in support of the British during the dark days of war, who said its better to live with the devil one knows than the devil we don't.

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  • 229. At 8:11pm on 29 Oct 2010, David wrote:

    I don't deny that Churchill may have been a xenophobe however his actions must be taken in the context of all out war in Europe. India, although provided a contribution to the war effort was not involved on the same level as the UK, and was not strategically important in the conflict, unlike Greece as cited for the provision of food.

    The priority was to win the war, as all wars (if ever started) should be pursued.

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  • 230. At 8:19pm on 29 Oct 2010, yoss wrote:

    With reference to
    226. At 7:58pm on 29 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you - say hi to them from me."

    You want me to tell you to find yourself in purgatory like you are advising me? Why would I do that? I dont even know you! How very strange.

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  • 231. At 8:32pm on 29 Oct 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    @9

    Is it not the fault of we British that a nation - or, really, group of nations, prior to British intervention on the Indian subcontinent, which were capable of administering themselves capably were, mysteriously, incapable and corrupt after British conquest?

    It is no coincidence that corruption, greed, avarice and villainy are rife in every single country that we ruled during the days of Empire.

    You, in India, and others, elsewhere in the Commonwealth, have I am very sad to say learned very well from us. Many of the countries in the former Empire were, prior to British conquest, running along fairly well. Some, of course, were not - and are probably not much worse off, in the long run - but there are those where British influence is easily seen in the horrifically poor governance.

    After all, who administered India and other places around the Empire? Was it well-trained bureaucrats from the civil service? Was it highly educated, capable university graduates?

    No. It was the friends of rich men who had done those rich men favours. It was not a meritocratic society but a plutocratic one, and unsurprisingly, those who are selected on the basis of some sort of buddy system are not good at running a country.

    The native bureaucrats who followed them after independence unsurprisingly follow the example of their predecessors.

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  • 232. At 8:34pm on 29 Oct 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    @229
    "India, although provided a contribution to the war effort was not involved on the same level as the UK"

    ...what. What "level". Is nation-building an MMORPG and India hadn't levelled up enough to buy a mount yet?

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  • 233. At 8:41pm on 29 Oct 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    @193

    What nonsense. Venezuala is the basket case of South America, is it? Then why is it that HDI is falling in every South American country (barring Mexico) which has a higher human development index than Venezuala - but Venezuala's HDI continues to rise?

    Furthermore, despite it's economic problems in the past twenty years, Venezuala has been a democratic country since 1958. That makes it one of the most stable countries in all of South America.

    My, what a basket case that place must be, what with the stability, high average GDP per capita (for the region), strong HDI, and status as a founding member of OPEC.

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  • 234. At 8:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, Auqakuh wrote:

    ~slaps fingers~

    Venezuela, too. Venezuala is the same country but in Narnia, obvz.

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  • 235. At 8:59pm on 29 Oct 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    re#208
    so why did the Tea Party invite Gert Wilders to their last big rally if they are so tolerant of Muslims, and I know a lot of people who would vote for Sarah Palin if she ran for president

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  • 236. At 9:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, promodsharma wrote:

    This is all bunkim, how could our former masters ever treat us natives like this ? I dont believe it. No, the british were very merciful & benevolent. And Churchill was a hero, no, almost a god.

    Mr. Biswas has made a terrible mistake. Please recheck your facts Mr. Biswas.

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  • 237. At 9:06pm on 29 Oct 2010, ScotsSevensNutjob wrote:

    "The British Empire has always encountered difficulty in distinguishing between its heroes and its monsters".
    Alan Moore, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

    But not in this case.

    If it wasn't for Churchill, I wouldn't even be speaking German, I wouldn't exist, as the Nazis would have killed my grandparents for being deaf.

    Churchill is as bad as Hitler?

    Not even close.

    Anyone who think so is mentally defective.

    In Churchill's Britain it was no crime to be a human being.

    This country was on a knife's edge, and it was the leadership he provided which saved Britain, Europe and the INDIANS from the Axis powers and redeemed us in the eyes of the world.

    Churchill is a British hero, and the Greatest Briton, a worthy accolade in such a competitive field, and one that he deserves.

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  • 238. At 9:14pm on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    #TonyofBritain
    You asked me to provide a link or two:
    ISBN 1 85619 270 9 Churchill: Clive Ponting pages 692 - 700
    Here you will find references that I have referred to in my comments, especially:
    Roosevelt, Amery who 'judged his attitude 'Hitler-like', Commander in Chief Wavell (QUOTE:'he (WC) hates India and everything to do with it') Cherwell (a confirmed racist), Churchill tried to remove the (India) right to leave the commonwealth but was overruled by his cabinet colleagues. On April 11th 1942 Roosevelt tried to encourage further negotiations with India about Indian Independence. WC refused to even present the communication to the British Cabinet. He warned Roosevelt that there would be grave danger to American/British relationships if the President continued!
    I would also point out that there were attempts to suppress Ponting's book, including High Court hearings (if my memory serves me right).
    I would repeat my earlier question for those who seek to justify this scenario by saying 'it was wartime'. In 1942 WC himself said " The Indian troops are fighting splendidly", that is, they were fighting with the allies against the Axis. What wartime justification can possibly be made to justify such appalling treatment of a wartime ally?
    Churchill was the right man at the time for waging war against the horrors of Hitler - but, that in no way means that we should overlook those aspects of 'British Public consciousness' which were not respected. That women and children starved to death under our rule and whilst their menfolk (some of them) were fighting for us, is a stain upon our character that only brutal honesty can mitigate.

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  • 239. At 9:17pm on 29 Oct 2010, Benoy wrote:

    There can be no question that Churchill had a blind spot about India as Roosevelt realised when he pressed Churchill during World War II to announce India's independence and Churchill reddened in the face; and there is no need to excuse him on this score. But this should not blind us to Churchill's enormous contribution to saving the world from the evil that was Hitler. In this connection I recall that Sri Aurobindo, freedom fighter and great Yogi that he was, wrote to the Indian National Congress Party when the war started pleading with them to support the war effort as saving humanity from Hitler was much more important at the time than the fight for India's freedom that he knew would come in any case. During the war, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother used their considerable powers to defeat Hitler and commented that Churchill was very receptive to spiritual help. It is a great pity that Subhash Bose could not see the evil at work in Hitler and his friends.

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  • 240. At 9:47pm on 29 Oct 2010, Jaipur Vegetables wrote:

    >Mahatma Gandhi along with FDR won the Time magazine man
    >of the century, not Churchill. Get your facts straight.

    time.com shows both
    Gandhi-ji and Churchill were "Man of the Year", Churchill in
    1949, and Gandhi-ji in 1930.

    >Chruchill does not deserve mention along with those two
    >great men. The former was a saint. Are you comparing a
    >racist with a saint?

    Yes. Saint Gandhi-ji was a bare-faced racist too, complaining
    about a certain race "whose occupation is hunting and whose sole
    ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy
    a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness."
    See "The Gandhi Nobody Knows" by Richard Grenier which reports
    other comments that make Gandhi-ji's lamentable attitude clear.

    Both men of their time, i.e., the good old days :-)

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  • 241. At 9:59pm on 29 Oct 2010, Global_Nomad1 wrote:

    Is that why Indians are buying land the size of Belgium in starvation prone Ethiopia, to grow export flowers and biofuel while Ethiopians are starving ?

    What is the excuse ?

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  • 242. At 10:03pm on 29 Oct 2010, gkr wrote:

    "The famine ended when the government in London agreed to import 1,000,000 tons of grain to Bengal, reducing food prices"
    Lawrence James, Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India
    .
    That prices had been 'artificially raised' is clear. That there was not a dramatic drop in rice production (1941 - 6.768 million tones, 1943- 7.628 million tons) is also clear (source Amartya Sen).
    What we are left with is not a shortage of food but a falsely leveraged price, perhaps occasioned by diverting resources or by encouraging Muslim traders in preference to Hindu thus weakening the Independence struggle..
    BUT, and it's a big but, in the final analysis it was an administration problem that was relatively quickly solved when grain was imported to reduce prices. It was a question of the British Government's will to do it - and save millions of lives.
    Like WC didn't know??? Tell it to the marines!

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  • 243. At 10:24pm on 29 Oct 2010, Roxy wrote:

    Winston Churchill was a racist and that is obvious to see from his pictures and films. He was a British Nazi that the indigenous idolised no wonder Indian's have never received an apology from Britain for they did to India and her people disgusting! This kind of attitude has lead to racism of Indians in the UK since they arrived, this country stole from India, left her with nothing then laughed at the Indians upon their arrival here and those very Indians were subjected to alot of abuse, verbally, sexually and many other ways. I am middle-aged and had my father live a life of hatred towards the way he was treated by the indigenous...and he came here legitimately!!!!

    All those who say India is now buying outright quite right she should, the British should shut up, sit in their armchairs and be very careful about the hand that feeds them. Because of the 'No Apology' from Britain it will cost you your country and the real history that is coming out about the way Indians were treated, even less than animals which they were not. I read about the indigenous on here grumbling about ethnics 'taking over Britain' well look what Britain did to India if you are lucky you will receive a doggy bag from India in due course.

    I hope India goes onto own alot more this country brought her to her knee's then it happens here the indigenous moan, did you really expect no repercussions? Karma is a good thing what you do unto others comes back 3 times harder unto you! This country has favoured other ethnics over Indians and perceived Indians as filthy and smelly who are you to judge anyone how many Indians have ever judged indigenous since they arrived? They have worked hard, cleaned up after the indigenous, well no more now you can clean up after yourselves maybe then you will see how hard we have had to work and how it felt to be foreigners in our own country!

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  • 244. At 10:27pm on 29 Oct 2010, Roxy wrote:

    241 - Global_Nomad1 - How much did Britain own in India and let Indians starve?

    You people make my blood boil you talk of building railways in India how can you be so proud of that when you can't even run your own trains on time in a modern Britain????

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  • 245. At 11:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, john doba wrote:

    A cyclone devastated the crop. It's not like Papa Joe starving the Ukraine. There was a world war on, still highly uncertain in 1943. Rage against colonialism is all the rage, but Mukherjee's book has been completely debunked by Arthur Herman.

    http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/in-the-media/churchill-in-the-news/966-without-churchill-indias-famine-would-have-been-worse


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  • 246. At 00:06am on 30 Oct 2010, Sandalwood23 wrote:

    john doba (245), I went to your link... it is a tortured attempt to justify the unjustifiable. Excerpt below...

    "Yet the truth runs more deeply against Mukerjee than she is willing to admit. Her evidence of Churchill's intransigence on India stems mainly from Leo Amery's diary, where he recorded every one of the Prime Minister's furious outbursts whenever Amery brought up the famine in the War Cabinet-whether Churchill meant what he said or not."

    ["whether Churchill meant what he said or not." is the basis of the ridiculous apologia]

    "Amery privately decided that "on the subject of India, Winston is not quite sane," and recorded in August 1944 Churchill's remark that relief would do no good because Indians "breed like rabbits" and will outstrip any available food supply. "Naturally I lost patience," Amery records, "and couldn't help telling him that I didn't see much difference between his outlook and Hitler's, which annoyed him no little."

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  • 247. At 00:31am on 30 Oct 2010, Nik wrote:

    Soutik, I find your article very unfortunate. Is it me or is it you that chose the 28th of October, national day of Greeks commemorating the famous "NO" to invading Italians to write this article? And what WWII Greece has to do with WWII India - if anything the only thing that connected the 2 countries is that they both underwent horrible starvation - only that in the case of India this killed less than 1% of its population, while more than 5% of Greeks (and about 25% in the cities) died of it all while more than 15% of Greeks died in the WWII because of:

    1) war battles with Italians and then Germans
    2) resistance clashes against the invading Germans, Italians, Bulgarians & Albanians
    3) official executions by Germans, Italians, Bulgarians and Albanians
    4) localised genocides by Bulgarians and Italians
    5) abducted people who were worked to death in death camps
    6) the full genocide of the jewish communities
    ... and yes
    5) ... allied bombing which particularly hit the civilian areas of Greek towns for some mysterious reason...

    On the overall in a country of 7 million back then about 1 million died, i.e. 1 in 7, i.e. every single Greek family had more than 1 dead to mourn.

    And why Soutik suggests here that as-if Churchill and the British cared about Greece more than about India?

    Doesn't Soutik knows that Greeks had not asked Churchill and the British to care? Doesn't Soutik knows that Greeks hated the British for the great treason of WWI and the resulting Greek genocide of 1,5 million Greeks in 1922 by Turks provoked by the British-orchestrated campaign of the Greek army in Minor Asia (as part of the British allied army...)? Doesn't Soutik knows that the British had to murder inside the hospital the Greek president Metaxas so as to break the Greek resistance to.... British aid which they were resisting successfully till 1941? Doesn't Soutik knows that even behind the attack of Mussolini were the British, because that was their wish till the very beginning and they had provoked it? Doesn't Soutik knows that some 20 years back even Mussolini himself had risen to power in Italy with ample British aid? Doesn't Soutik knows that Greeks insisted they are not part of WWII and that they were neutral and that they fought only against an invading Italy? Doesn't Soutik knows that only after the assasination by the British of president Metaxas, did the Germans decide to attack Greece (as as such they invaded the Balkans)?

    So Soutik does not realise that without the "generous British aid" Greece would had never any need to fight any war back in 1940 and that 1 million more Greeks would be alive today (let alone the other millions of other Balkan people, namely the Serbians?).

    It is very heartening to see Indian people trying to understand history - the above articles describing Churchill under the same light as Hitler are 100% valid and I add on top and put my personal signature - if British people want to think otherwise, they are free but so are Germans free to think positevely about their Hitler then, Japanese about Hirohito, communists of Stalin and so on...

    What is not heartening is to have such unfortunate articles like this from Soutik. Especially putting idiotic comparisons between Greeks and Indians, two people struck by their unfortunate interaction with the recent world power. Indian people have to always keep in mind that Greek people have been hit as much as Indian people by the British and in fact in percentage terms - due to the different population scales - Greeks have been hit much more (though I know this is difficult for some Indian to comprehend).

    I would expect more from Soutik. Not an article like that. Not on 28th of October, national day for Greeks. Not that. Greeks had nothing to do with european colonialism. Greeks were slaves to the asiatic muslims, the Ottomans (then renamed Turks in the 20th century), one of the most regressive human cultures to ever appear on the face of the earth, then genocided by them in Minor Asia along with the Armenians and the Assyrians. British were the best mates of the Ottoman muslims and used them and protected them for more than 200 years against Russia. And they still are - many Indians who know the history about India-Pakistan know very well how exactly British played and still play.

    Huge India and little Greece have far more commmon ground than Indians (and Greeks) would imagine.

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  • 248. At 00:36am on 30 Oct 2010, Nik wrote:

    245. At 11:43pm on 29 Oct 2010, john doba wrote:
    """A cyclone devastated the crop. It's not like Papa Joe starving the Ukraine. There was a world war on, still highly uncertain in 1943. Rage against colonialism is all the rage, but Mukherjee's book has been completely debunked by Arthur Herman."""

    A cyclone? A cyclone stroke all India? Are you out of your mind? Did you check the stocks the British were taking out? Of course, you have the answer: there was a war going on and it was uncertain...

    ... so uncertain that by mid-1942 the British diplomats were preparing their answer to Morgenthau plan (of returning Germany to stone age after it would had been conquered, which was of course by all means a certainty) insisting that it would be better to maintain Germany an industrial power and turn the attention of Germans into consumerism and use them as a production machine and for that it would be advisable to make German people possibly even richer than the British people themselves, no problems. I guess British diplomats did not feel very uncertain...

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  • 249. At 00:40am on 30 Oct 2010, Nik wrote:

    5. At 6:09pm on 28 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:
    """Churchill was a great orator, he was also a racist."""

    He might as well go down as one of the biggest haters of Greeks and Indians alike of the 20th century. Under his doings, either directly or indirectly - but in full consciousness of his part...:

    1) 300,000 Indian troops were slaughtered in WWI being used as "meat" (military bait...)
    2) 1,5 million Greeks were genocided in Minor Asia right after WWI
    3) 1 million Greeks died in WWII
    4) Millions of Indians starved to death during WWII...

    ... and if you dig you will keep finding...

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  • 250. At 00:41am on 30 Oct 2010, Shilpy wrote:

    let's face a few facts of british colonial rule vis-a-vis india:
    - hitler got rid of british imperialists from india. is it ironic or what that hitler used swastika to symbolize that?
    - of all the terrible things brits did in india none are worse than the socialism and the church they brought and left behind. socialism-communism still prevents a big chunk of india from recovering from poverty. the church, under the guise of religion and financed from the west (specially usa), uses indian poverty to create a new band of ferocious rebels in india thr' industrial scale conversions.
    - bengal received the worst of the british rule and the british legacy. it was famished during the raj, and has been saddled - to date - with communist govt since.

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  • 251. At 00:50am on 30 Oct 2010, jacko333 wrote:

    Why is all this passionate (and impressively articulate) anti British rhetoric being spewed out on the BBC web site? Is it an attempt to make the British feel guilty, or to stir up racial tention, or just to unload years of bottled-up resentment. Isn't the fact that these postings can occur, with no censoring, a sign of racial tolerence by the British? Would the government of India (or any other country) allow such on one of their sponsored web site?

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  • 252. At 00:57am on 30 Oct 2010, LandOfTheMapleLeaf wrote:

    Apply the same metrics to Roosevelt, Eisenhower, LBJ, Lincoln and Napoleon -Churchill comes off looking pretty good. If anything, he was more of a chaunvinist than a racist.

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  • 253. At 00:58am on 30 Oct 2010, Kirsty Stirling wrote:

    No one in their right mind could read this and think the action taken (or lack of) to remedy this was adequate and for all we know Churchill was racist, but you can't compare him to Hitler. Lets get some perspective, in 1943 it was never guaranteed Britain would win WW2, we were fighting for survival. If we hadn't won the war, Britain would have ceased to exist along with the Empire, we would all have been taken over by the Nazis and that's a chilling prospect. Does anyone honestly think that Hitler or the Japanese would have treated the people of India any better? I doubt it, the people of India wouldn't have been Aryan enough for dear old Hitler. He'd have had them starve to death but only after they had received the same treatment as the Jews did in his concentration camps. Isn’t it funny how all these years later we can sit here, at a keyboard and point the finger at a great war leader, and call him a fascist and racist when if it hadn’t been for Churchill, we wouldn’t have won the war. No, instead we would be typing in German about how evil Hitler was, probably with some experience or maybe we wouldn’t even have the freedom to do that!
    As to charges of racism, Churchill was far from perfect but he was also a creature of the age and class he was born into. Britain wasn't the multicultural Country it is now, it was a different age and he would probably be appalled at how this Country has become despite the fact that our diversity is a direct link to our imperial past that he so cherished. The irony isn’t lost on me that we should have gone to war to fight for sovereignty and independence of a Country like Poland, when we were quite happy to deny this to Country’s like India. When I read accounts like this about Churchill I do feel disappointed, all these people that suffered and died because of his decisions, you can’t be unmoved when you read a piece like this. Churchill was a human being, he made bad decisions and he made mistakes, we all do but at least our mistakes, and the decisions we make aren’t life and death for millions and millions of people around the world. The people of India that starved to death didn’t deserve to die a horrific death any more than the young men who died on the battlefield to give us the right to voice our opinions. It’s very easy to sit on a moral high horse 60 odd years after the fact. Isn’t it brilliant to be a perfect 21st century Brit!

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  • 254. At 01:11am on 30 Oct 2010, Jaipur Vegetables wrote:

    >Even Roosevelt considered Churchill a racist, bigot & a xenophobe

    Looks like Roosevelt was a racist, bigot and xenophobe too, for example,
    Executive Order 9066, which interned 120,000 Japanese-Americans in
    WW2 concentration camps. Further, Roosevelt would not meet with
    Jesse Owens or any other black athlete after the 1936 Olympics
    (though he met with the white athletes).
    Owens said that it was Roosevelt that snubbed him not Hitler
    [vide TRIUMPH by J. Schaap].



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  • 255. At 02:31am on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    It was well known for some time that, “However, noted economist and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen holds the view that there was no overall shortage of rice in Bengal in 1943: availability was actually slightly higher than in 1941, when there was no famine” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_famine_of_1943#Possible_Causes). It is also well recorded that Churchill was one of the most racist and anti-Indian British PMs. In fact it is quoted that this Churchill said, “One of the most striking findings of Toye’s research is that they really didn’t: even at the time, Churchill was seen as standing at the most brutal and brutish end of the British imperialist spectrum. This was clearest in his attitude to India. When Gandhi began his campaign of peaceful resistance, Churchill raged that he “ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back.” He later added: “I HATE INDIANS. THEY ARE A BEASTLY PEOPLE WITH A BEASTLY RELIGION.” (New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/books/review/Hari-t.html?_r=1&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all).
    All the people who are aware of world history (not what is taught in UK), acknowledges that majority of current pressing problems in the world were created by British imperialist oppression around the world. EVEN EX-FOREIGN SECRETARY OF UK, JACK STRAW, HAS BLAMED BRITAIN'S IMPERIAL PAST FOR MANY OF THE MODERN POLITICAL PROBLEMS, INCLUDING THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT AND THE KASHMIR DISPUTE. (Source BBC news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2481371.stm).

    Yet, Britain still cannot gather the courage and guts to admit its atrocities and say “sorry”.

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  • 256. At 02:34am on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    Even British queen still do not feel ashamed to decorate her crown with the stolen diamond (one of the bigggest in the world) from India (during British raj), Kohinoor. British govt refused to return that to India.

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  • 257. At 02:57am on 30 Oct 2010, Garth Geyan wrote:

    Please! Stop blaming the British for everything that's goes wrong with India! If the Indian masses hate the British so much why are Indians still playing cricket?

    And is not India to blame for the deaths of Assamese (in Assam), Tamils (in Sri Lanka)and other indigenous people (in Anadamans)!

    Anyway we don't see other former colonies (Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong etc)complain about British rule! India please grow up!



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  • 258. At 03:12am on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    A recent statement by current British PM show how morally bankrupt Britain has become, even today. “During an interview with Indian television station NDTV, he was told that the programme had been besieged with requests from viewers for him to agree to return the priceless jewel.
    BUT THE PRIME MINISTER SAID: "IF YOU SAY YES TO ONE YOU SUDDENLY FIND THE BRITISH MUSEUM WOULD BE EMPTY”. David Cameron refuses to return Koh-i-Noor diamond to India. (source: The Telegraph (UK)- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/david-cameron/7915424/David-Cameron-refuses-to-return-Koh-i-Noor-diamond-to-India.html. They stole wealth from all over the world. It seems that British museum is full of such ill-gotten items (as per British PM). Yet they not have the courtesy and courage to return it back to its rightful owners. That is not limited to India, but almost any country Britain once ruled; including Egypt, Middle East and many other countries.

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  • 259. At 03:54am on 30 Oct 2010, Garth Geyan wrote:

    Please! When it comes to sharing water between "Indian" States and diverting the Ganges water to "Indian" states that badly need it - the Indians reveal their selfish sides! No sharing! If Indians can't share their own water resources among themselves don't expect others to be generous! So are Indians okay if they starve their fell Indians ! Who are they going to blame? So far I have yet to see any research findings on this! Why? It will blatantly show the real side of India! Again stop blaming the British for all your problems! Grow up India!

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  • 260. At 04:22am on 30 Oct 2010, Richard wrote:

    Nice to read comments like those of Tridiv, shows that polite discourse is still possible in the modern world. In any event, what I said stands. If you look at the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, you will see that the populace is hungrier and poorer now than it was in colonial days. Millions have died in South Africa from AIDS due to poor black African government decisions. And something else interesting in independent Africa is how great the tensions have been historically between Indians/Pakistanis and the indigenous Africans. It is on the rise again in South Africa, after some years of peace. The perceptions that Africans have is that the Indians cheat them and treat them poorly. This opinion exists also in East Africa, which was why the Asians were forced out once the British were no longer there to protect them. It seems to me that the Africans view the Indians as suspiciously as people like Tridiv view the British. Maybe it is simply a problem with different ethnicities, I don't know. It takes courage for the colonised to look at the coloniser and say: yes, you governed better than me, especially if those governors are of a different race. The British were very good administrators, which may mean 9/10, not 10/10. Errors are made, priorities dictate actions that may be hard to understand later on. Eventually the Africans and Indians may duplicate their level of achievement in that regard. After all, Britain was in chaos for a very long time after the Romans left, but finally reached the requisite level of competency. But I do urge you to live in Africa for a few decades before feeling yourself competent to comment on the situation there.

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  • 261. At 05:34am on 30 Oct 2010, guychipper wrote:

    For Andy
    Google Lord Macaulay's address to the British Parliament Feb 1835

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  • 262. At 05:44am on 30 Oct 2010, Avatar wrote:

    Hi see talk about racism a lot here, was wondering is it not racism which the British started, that of bribing/forcing Indians to change caste to that of theirs(British religion) on coming to India and this racist behavior is still going on by the same club of missionaries.
    The British like Muller started a new fake theory of Aryan Invasion of India giving talks of Indian language Sanskrit similar to language in west so it has influence of west, horses are not from India blah blah blah RigVeda is not from India anything to show India and its religion cannot take credit for various merits Indian culture had. Was this not racism by the British. And what is the divide and rule game which the British played to be called.
    [The recent headline 'Ancient bugs found in 50-million-year-old Indian amber' ....many insects are related to species from far-away corners of the world..... Wonder what new invasion theory is to come from people like Muller. Also dates of India invasion by Aryans which was changed once earlier has not yet been changed to accommodate Harrapan civilization, Indus valley civilization that was discovered later]

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  • 263. At 08:49am on 30 Oct 2010, anil92844 wrote:

    Nothing surprising. It is a common story of England through the ages. They have robbed and plundered and Hitler and Stalin are fascists.

    But then Bengalis are to blame. Soutik Biswas would have written a more critical and insulting article if it were regarding Indian rule in Kashmir inhabited by a foreign culture but his masters the English and BBC need to be spoken well about.

    No doubt Hitler is better liked than the English double faced royalty.

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  • 264. At 09:42am on 30 Oct 2010, Prithvi wrote:

    The question I have with many of Churchill's defenders here and those using the "those were hard times calling for hard but necessary measures" cliche, is this-

    How many people in UK died due to a famine during the war? Can you provide us the figures? Times were hard I know so how many people in UK died due to starvation?

    The gripe here being voiced by many is not about these measures being necessary or unnecessary. It is simply to do with the fact that Indians were treated like second class citizens by what was then supposed to be an "enlightened society". This is not the first famine to hit India under the rule of the British. Nor were famines only limited to the rule of the british. However, there were more famines under the rule of the british than otherwise. The proportion is disturbingly high.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    As for being at the forefront of the war, the Japanese had invaded Burma. It doesn't get closer to India than Burma. Maybe you people missed out on the war in Asia given that your worldview is curiously limited to Europe being ground zero for the war effort. If anything, you should've done even more for India given this situation, not vice versa.

    So please, time to grow some B**ls and own up to what your ancestors did to us. I know it's not your fault, but it is your legacy. No mater how you want to avoid it, this is something that is not going away (remember Dalhousie's wonderful "doctrine of Lapse"? that was very fair treatment of the natives indeed).

    PS- to those telling us about how the British civilized us and did more good than bad, I am sorry, I do not consider being under a yoke no matter if its made from gold, a privilege. We rather that you hadn't accorded us with such a "wonderful" leash.

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  • 265. At 09:59am on 30 Oct 2010, Prithvi wrote:

    My link has been removed for some reason though I found nothing that contravened the rules in the url or the site so let me try again maybe get it published this time the way it's supposed to-

    http://tinyurl.com/3895qe4

    PS- You gave us a bureaucracy that continues to sap India's lifeblood like a cancer should I point this out to all the supporters of Britain's wonderfulness (sic). No I shouldn't since I believe that to be pointless.

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  • 266. At 10:23am on 30 Oct 2010, Forlornehope wrote:

    During 1943 my father was an officer in the Indian army. He recounted how he was sent to purchase wheat that was being hoarded by Indian farmers in the Punjab. The government paid a "fair" price but the farmers were holding out for a windfall. When I asked how they reacted he said "They were friendly enough but if we hadn't had our rifles they'd have cut our bloody throats!" There was plenty of food in India at the time but there was also a lot of profiteering going on and the Punjabis didn't seem to care if the Bengalis starved. As with most things in history, there is more than one story to tell here.

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  • 267. At 11:13am on 30 Oct 2010, Peter van Peborgh-Gooch wrote:

    Perhaps if Sir Winston Churchill were alive and able to defend himself he would say that a British India was certainly preferable to a Nazi India. The loss of human life on this scale is however the result of all out war and tragic in the extreme.

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  • 268. At 11:25am on 30 Oct 2010, tigerinhunt wrote:

    Andy : "As an example, we've let an awful lot of Commonwealth citizens have access to our shores/labour markets so they can build themselves a better life than they could if they stayed back home, Indians included."

    or may be UK does not have enough skilled educated labour to fill its jobs and earn taxes in return so as keep rolling out dolles for those who cant earn..which works for both i.e. Indians and Britishers..

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  • 269. At 11:43am on 30 Oct 2010, tigerinhunt wrote:

    well done Soutik..till now I had seen you just as another India bashers..well there are too many for some reason..

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  • 270. At 11:56am on 30 Oct 2010, tigerinhunt wrote:

    Forlornehope: "During 1943 my father was an officer in the Indian army. He recounted how he was sent to purchase wheat that was being hoarded by Indian farmers in the Punjab. The government paid a "fair" price but the farmers were holding out for a windfall. When I asked how they reacted he said "They were friendly enough but if we hadn't had our rifles they'd have cut our bloody throats!" There was plenty of food in India at the time but there was also a lot of profiteering going on and the Punjabis didn't seem to care if the Bengalis starved. As with most things in history, there is more than one story to tell here."

    fare enough..everyone wants to make maximum money of their produce..what is wrong with it..it is the job of goverment in control to distribute the produce to other places where it is neeed and offcourse to control the price..Did he mention what was done to the wheat that was procured? exported out of India or sent to Bangal?

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  • 271. At 12:08pm on 30 Oct 2010, mpn wrote:

    Ref 268.
    Yes, ofcourse. The British take in Asians as for 5 years they will pay full tax and the British do not have to pay them any benefits. Many will before 5 years, and Britain gets to keep their payments.
    And the Asiand come because even after paying tax the living is better than in their own home land. I think it is simple economics both ways.
    No one doing anyone any favour!

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  • 272. At 12:35pm on 30 Oct 2010, Rahul wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 273. At 12:40pm on 30 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    268. At 11:25am on 30 Oct 2010, tigerinhunt wrote:

    "Andy : "As an example, we've let an awful lot of Commonwealth citizens have access to our shores/labour markets so they can build themselves a better life than they could if they stayed back home, Indians included."

    or may be UK does not have enough skilled educated labour to fill its jobs and earn taxes in return so as keep rolling out dolles for those who cant earn..which works for both i.e. Indians and Britishers..
    "

    That could be the case. In my area, it more a case of undercutting wages, wages that are extremely high.

    I do laugh at rabid nationalists (not aimed at you, merely an observation )though who go to a foreign land to make a life/living. I'm reminded of French demonstrators shouting "Vive la Difference!", tens of thousands of them, all shouting (long) live the difference together, ie, shouting the same thing in togetherness.

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  • 274. At 1:34pm on 30 Oct 2010, kanakasabhai wrote:

    The author has not mentioned the comments of Mr.Churchill that Indians multiply like rabbits and thus can not be fed all the time.

    While being a colony had its limited benefits, India lost a lot in terms of participation in both the world wars to protect the empire. It also lost a lot of wealth and the progress in industry and education. Imagine a country with 330 million losing 3 million in famine under the great British rule and no famine ever since independence that too when present population is over 1 billion.70,000 tonnes of rice was not available then but now over 30 million tonnes are in government storage.60 - 75 % below poverty level at that time against 25% today.

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  • 275. At 1:50pm on 30 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    274. At 1:34pm on 30 Oct 2010, kanakasabhai wrote:

    "The author has not mentioned the comments of Mr.Churchill that Indians multiply like rabbits and thus can not be fed all the time."

    Perhaps because Churchill said, "Bengalis were to blame because they were breeding like rabbits". East Bengal is now part of India, West Bengal, after the end of Pakistani rule, is now called Bangladesh.

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  • 276. At 2:08pm on 30 Oct 2010, Richard wrote:

    Prithvi, how do you feel about other foreign rulers in India (the Timurids, specifically)? And how do you feel about how India has been run since 1947? I am interested in trying to contextualise your comments. Some Indians I have spoken to seem to think that these rulers were indigenous (because they had "dark skin") and so whatever cruelties/benefits they conferred were acceptable. In other words, if another darker skinned person kills me, that is much better than if a lighter-skinned person does it. If somebody from nearby kills me, it is better than if somebody from far away does it. With regard to Africa the same mentality persists, and not only among Africans.

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  • 277. At 2:41pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    It seems that many (seemingly) British people are still not able to understand and admit the atrocities they (as a nation) committed to other people around the world. I fully understand the shame and guilt (and probable financial compensation) associated with admitting such horrible crimes. Some seem to hide behind that British were better administrator than its past Islamic rulers and (probably) present day Indian politicians who rule India. That might be true, BUT that does not give them the right to commit many of the crimes they did. One wrong does NOT justify another wrong.

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  • 278. At 3:02pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    It seems that many (seemingly) British people are still not able to understand and admit the atrocities they (as a nation) committed to other people around the world. I fully understand the shame and guilt (and probable financial compensation) associated with admitting such horrible crimes. Some seem to hide behind that British were better administrator than its past Islamic rulers and (probably) present day Indian politicians who rule India. That might be true, BUT that does not give them the right to commit many of the crimes they did. One wrong does NOT justify another wrong.
    There is a basic difference between average British Colony and French colonies. French colonies used to be more “developed” and ruling class (invaders) used to mix with local people more freely than British. French used to introduce more neutral and seemingly more identical (as compared to France) legal system in its colonies, unlike the Brits. So ex-French colonies have huge influence of French culture on average local people and are less hostile towards to France than ex-Brit colonies. In countries like India, only handful of equally corrupt and oppressive Indians or popularly known as “brown Sahibs” (who are more “British” than actual Brits) try their best to imitate the Brits to become “elite” in ex-Brit colonies like India. The only exceptions are those places where British totally overwhelmed and/or almost wiped out local people and culture (e.g Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc.).
    As a “good” administrator it was the responsibility of the British invaders to take action against hoarders in Punjab or Bengal traders (as prescribed by some). British tried their best to destroy local industry, only allowed few industries to process raw material, mineral ore to be ready for export to feed industries in UK and other world market. Brit destroyed many fertile paddy field in Bengal to cultivate indigo (before chemical indigo was invented) to be exported to UK (to make their clothes more white) while Bengal farmers and people were brutalized and forced to remain hungry. “Blue mutiny” (1861) was among the first organized opposition against Brit rule
    (Revolt of indigo cultivators: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harish_Chandra_Mukherjee#Revolt_of_indigo_cultivators).
    You may defend those crimes by your imagination or some distorted sense of “justice”, but that is not what the so-called “civilized” people are expected to do. And if they have done it in the past, they should have the courage and civility to admit it and face the consequences, to say the least.

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  • 279. At 3:20pm on 30 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    It seems that many people are still not able to understand and admit the atrocities they (as a nation) committed to other people around the world. I fully understand the shame and guilt (and probable financial compensation) associated with admitting such horrible crimes. Some seem to hide behind that they or some other were better administrator than other past rulers and (probably) present day politicians who rule those territories now. That might be true, BUT that does not give them the right to commit many of the crimes they did. One wrong does NOT justify another wrong.

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  • 280. At 3:21pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    In reality, British not only destroyed Indian industry (https://www.nyu.edu/fas/institute/dri/DRIWP/DRIWP02.pdf) but also agriculture. They deliberately avoided land reform, supported feudal lords (who had majority land holdings but hardly had any connection with cultivation), and avoided introducing latest technology in agriculture. As a result India inherited a chronic problem in agriculture since independence in 1945 (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/sunday-toi/all-that-matters/Our-freedom-was-born-with-hunger-were-still-not-free/articleshow/6313154.cms). The “brown sahibs” the British rulers groomed (with the vices of Brit culture, education, and most importantly, with typical oppressive, strictly hierarchical British mentality) installed after independence did a lot of harm to India even after Independence.

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  • 281. At 3:27pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    Will those Churchill supporting Brit supports support US invasion in Iraq, with the same logic they extend to Brit rule in India? At least American administration is far better than that of Saddam Husain’s Iraq or many other places in the world!

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  • 282. At 3:32pm on 30 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    In reality, a colonizer not only destroys but also plants the seeds for future development(s). As a result, a territory can in inherit chronic problem as well as inherit solutions to age old issues. Local rulers are often groomed and installed after independence can a lot of harm to a country even after Independence, as well as a lot of good.

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  • 283. At 4:05pm on 30 Oct 2010, GB wrote:

    Dear Friends,
    I am an Indian and I really do not want to think much about what happened 60 years ago. I know some not so nice things happened those days and if we started fingerpointing for all those, yah, we can spend days (if not weeks) posting these anti-british, anti-Maharaja and anti-native Indian type comments. Please move forward. Please post something a little positive, a little optimistic. I do believe that modern day India & UK can cooperate in lot of different matters and we have a lots of things in common. I do agree there are some differences too..that's why some are British and some are Indians. Regarding the original article, yes anybody can study a particular subject and publish it. As a reader you may like it, agree with the author's view or just disagree with the author's view.

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  • 284. At 4:26pm on 30 Oct 2010, Andy wrote:

    GB,

    I welcome your post #283 and as a Brit, reciprocate the feeling contained within. Peace.

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  • 285. At 4:41pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    I fully appreciate the comment by GB and Andy. It raises a basic issue of understanding our history to develop a better future. What we are depends on what we were and that also dictates our future. Yes, we cannot change our past. I also admit that present day British people are not responsible what their predecessors did a century ago. But that should know the history and admit what Britain did some time ago and take responsibility as a responsible world power and more so as a “civilized” society. That is important for not allowing any other world power (that implies to rising powers like India and China as well) to repeat the same mistake Brits did in their colonies.

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  • 286. At 4:43pm on 30 Oct 2010, Roger Partridge wrote:

    I have only just heard - in this blog - of the book about the famine in Bengal of 1943, “Churchill's Secret War”, however for two years I have carried them out a considerable amount of research on this topic on the basis of both secondary and primary sources, including extensive reading of the three volumes covering the period January 1942 to August 1944 of “The Transfer of Power, 1942-47”, Mansegh and Lumby, which draw extensively on both the minutes of the War Cabinet in London of meetings in which India is discussed and also the correspondence between Leopold Amery, secretary of state to India and the Viceroy of India - first Lord Linlithgow and then, from Autumn 1943 onwards, Earl Wavell.
    It is certainly true that both viceroys did urge the War Cabinet via Amery to send wheat to India, in particular for Bengal, and it is true that this which was never granted, at the beginning apparently because the Cabinet in London was "second-guessing"Linlithgow, and did not believe that the authorities in Calcutta or New Delhi were doing everything possible to prevent or alleviate the famine respectively. It is also probably true that Winston Churchill did not have the interests of the civilian population in India at heart. He was an imperialist “die hard”, who never made any secret of his attitude towards India that it was a colony that should not be given up at any cost and that apart from the original inhabitants of the subcontinent, the British had as much right to be there as the descendants of those originally coming from central Asia.
    Having said that, it is not at all clear that sending wheat to Bengal by ship, as the Canadian government offered to do during the war, would have helped much of the civilian population of Bengal. The staple diet there was rice, and it is extremely difficult for somebody used to eating rice for many years to change to a wheat-based diet.
    Citing Madhusree Mukherjee, Soutik Biswas writes “India exported more than 70,000 tonnes of rice between January and July 1943”. I have never come across this information but shall certainly get hold of Mukherjee’s book to check the source. Assuming that it is true a possible explanation - not a justification - is that this arose from a large degree of autonomy between the various provinces of "British India" resulting from the "Government of India Act” 1937, although of course the central government in New Delhi under the Viceroy still retained considerable power and influence.
    Apart from neglect by Winston Churchill and his war Cabinet in London there were many other factors and events contributing to the famine. These included
    • The war against Japan and precautions taken by both the military in India and the ICS (Indian Civil Service) against an invasion of Bengal by Japanese forces, predominantly the “denial” of boats, bicycles and rice campaign, not, however a scorched earth policy.
    • The campaign for Independence of India from Britain, in particular after the failure of the “Cripps Mission” to broker an agreement between the Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, and the leaders of the Congress party, and the reaction to it 1942 by Linlithgow
    • The cyclone (hurricane) in south-west Bengal October 1942
    • Measures taken by officers in Bengal of the ICS to shortages and/or rises in the price of rice, which seemed sensible at the time but for various reasons - mainly the reaction in many cases of rice growers and traders to these measures - were ineffective.
    Yes, it is one of the great "what ifs" of history, that if Churchill had done everything in his - considerable - power to alleviate the famine, a large number of the millions who died either directly or indirectly from the famine might well have been saved. Let us however not forget the stupendous effect he had on the whole history of Europe, starting with his anti-appeasement campaign in Britain before WW2. Without United States and the Soviet Union, Britain would never have won the war against Hitler Germany, but to a large degree thanks to Winston Churchill’s leadership, to use the words of the late AJP Taylor, Britain "kept the war warm" until the two powerful allies joined the fight.
    Yes, a man with great flaws but also heroic qualities.

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  • 287. At 4:44pm on 30 Oct 2010, Crystal Ball wrote:

    @ Rajesh1211
    I for one am sick of reading the comments from this person!
    I never heard so much biased nonsense in all my life. He quotes Nick Griffin of the BNP, as if this was proof perfect. He compares Churchill to Hitler and other despots but tries to convince us that Bin Laden may have a vast following! It seems quite obvious to me where his sympathies lie.
    Let me tell you Rajesh1211.....you can write your poison only because you live in a free world. A free world because Churchill and our Allies were victorious! Had they not been you would definitely not have the right to free speech and I doubt that you would have even been born; Hitler would have made sure of that!

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  • 288. At 4:46pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    I fully appreciate the comment by GB (#283) and Andy (#284). It raises a basic issue of understanding our history to develop a better future. What we are depends on what we were and that also dictates our future. Yes, we cannot change our past. I also admit that present day British people are not responsible what their predecessors did a century ago. But they should know the history and admit what Britain did some time ago and take responsibility as a responsible world power and more so as a “civilized” society. That is important for not allowing any other world power (that implies rising powers like India and China as well) to repeat the same mistake Brits did in their colonies.

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  • 289. At 4:53pm on 30 Oct 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Shocking, but isn't all war ultimately about man's inhumanity to man? In war, it's us against "them", and "them" always seem less than human.
    The author lays the blame for the Bengal famine and the resulting three million deaths at Churchill's doorstep.
    This sad period was another example of "divide and rule" - this division eventually metastasized into: India, Pakistan & Bangladesh, a situation that is still ugly and unresolved.
    Fearing the war coming to India, the famine was primarily an action against Japan; provisions such as rice were removed from coastal Bengal, so that they could not feed Japanese who were expected to arrive by sea.
    The capital shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.
    Churchill made a choice - whether to expend valuable wheat + shipping space on providing famine relief to the Bengalis. Leopold Amery, Secretary of State for India, and its Viceroy, Wavell, attempted to respond to the famine; they were stymied by Churchill and his adviser, Lindemann.
    Mukerjee: "If the United Kingdom had an Achilles' heel, it was the stomach." Having experienced temporary shortages due to German U Boat action in the First World War, the British created stocks to last four (4) months. Churchill appointed Lindemann to watch over the feeding of Britons.
    Mukerjee makes the case that the ideas of eugenics that Lord Cherwell supported and racism influenced Churchill's judgment. Eugenics was in consonance with Churchill's own thinking, and was certainly never far from the mind of Hitler.
    e.g. Churchill's thinking on colonies recorded by Amery: "(Churchill) came very near to suggesting that we really could not let Indian starvation or multiplying too fast interfere with operations."
    The Bengal famine was imbued with a racist mentality.
    Why did the people not rebel?
    Mukerjee does not provide all the answers.

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  • 290. At 5:56pm on 30 Oct 2010, Raj wrote:

    Richard wrote "by-and-large British rule was less corrupt and more beneficial than Indian rule. The fact that they were of a different race is immaterial."

    True the colonial rule was less corrupt and more beneficial to the British. However, for the Indian population it is well established that it was not.

    The callousness of the British authorities is a well documented fact of history as is also taught in Ecomonics as to how famine can be artificially created. Mukherjee's book is definitely not the first one on this subject.


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  • 291. At 6:19pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:


    Any country that wins a war always writes novels, songs, re-write “history” praising their win. They praise any policy that helped them to win the war. Few British people in this forum seem to be obsessed with the idea that any policy is supportable for “allied” win over “axis” power (that includes nazi Germany, Japan, Italy). That’s why they justify British PM Churchill’s effort to snatch food from Bengal to feed its own people, solders and others to win THEIR war. If we think from their perspective, it may seem right. But if we analyze it in a more neutral manner, it may not be so evident. That’s why we now got UN and UN Human rights organizations (established mainly after that horrific world wars) to prevent such crimes against one to support others.
    There is a huge debate in India about the justification of Congress party and MK Gandhi’s support of British in THEIR war against Japan and Germany. Many Indian freedom fighters like Netaji Subhas Bose and others directly allied with Germany and Japan to use that opportunity to quicken Indian freedom (from British rule). In fact, Netaji Subhas Bose could achieve partial freedom from Brit rule in eastern sector of India (North-eastern states of Manipur, Mizoram, parts of Assam etc) much before 1947, 15th Aug. Many do believe that British ultimately gave freedom to many of its colonies like India mainly because of Britain’s inability (both economically and militarily) to maintain distant colonies after Second World War (and NOT because of Congress/Gandhi’s non-violent movement).
    In that sense, we, as citizens of independent India, are more indebted to Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan. It made perfect sense for Indian political leadership to rally in favor of British enemies like Germany and Japan.

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  • 292. At 6:32pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    "His (Subhas Bose’s) stance did not change with the outbreak of the Second World War, which he saw as an opportunity to take advantage of British weakness. At the outset of the war, he left India, travelling to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany andImperial Japan, seeking an alliance with each of them to attack the British government in India. With Imperial Japanese assistance, he re-organised and later led the Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA), formed with Indianprisoners-of-war and plantation workers from British Malaya, Singapore, and other parts of Southeast Asia, against British forces. With Japanese monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance, he formed the Azad Hind Government in exile". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhas_Chandra_Bose )

    To liberate the Indian soil from the clutches of the British empire INA fought courageously in the hills and plains of Nagaland and Manipur then parts of the greater Assam. Imphal, Palel, Kohima, Bishenpur and many frontier areas witnessed great valour, patriotism and sacrifice of the INA soldiers, which still inspire present generation of the Indian youth. INA liberated Moirang of Manipur on 14 April 1944 and hoisted Indian tricolour there replacing the British Union Jack. Thus it was a part of then greater Assam that was cleared of the British domination for the first time by Netaji’s army. The INA remained in possession of about 1500 square miles of territory in this eastern tip of India for about six months. At Kohima in Nagaland also the soldiers of INA planted the tricolour on top of the mountains around the town. (http://www.nenanews.com/NEE%20Aug.%2022-Sept.6,%2004/nationalC.htm )

    Many blame Congress policies, mainly MK Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru (the first PM of independent India) for most of the evils we see in India today; as they did not prepare the country for freedom (as prescribed by Subhas Bose and many others like Sardar Patel), neither did they “earn” freedom in true sense, but was gifted by the British to cope up with their inability to rule the colony (after second world war).

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  • 293. At 6:49pm on 30 Oct 2010, Jay wrote:

    In reality, British authority during that time (1940s) was much afraid of Subhas Bose than anyone else, even MK Gandhi. Probably, Gandhi’s non-violence was a sweet melody for British authorities, mostly from Conservative party (that Churchill belonged to) as compared to cry for freedom from people like Subhas Bose.

    In 1941, when the British learned that Bose had sought the support of the Axis Powers, they ordered their agents to intercept and assassinate Bose before he reached Germany. A RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED INTELLIGENCE DOCUMENT REFERS TO A TOP-SECRET INSTRUCTION TO THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS EXECUTIVE (SOE) OF BRITISH INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT TO MURDER BOSE. IN FACT, THE PLAN TO LIQUIDATE BOSE HAS FEW KNOWN PARALLELS, AND APPEARS TO BE A LAST DESPERATE MEASURE AGAINST A MAN WHO HAD THROWN THE BRITISH EMPIRE INTO A PANIC.

    His (Bose’s) correspondence reveals that despite his clear dislike for British subjugation, he was deeply impressed by their methodical and systematic approach and their steadfastly disciplinarian outlook towards life. In England, he exchanged ideas on the future of India with British Labour Party leaders and political thinkers like Lord Halifax, George Lansbury, Clement Attlee, Arthur Greenwood, Harold Laski, J.B.S. Haldane, Ivor Jennings, G.D.H. Cole, Gilbert Murray and Sir Stafford Cripps . HE CAME TO BELIEVE THAT A FREE INDIA NEEDED SOCIALIST AUTHORITARIANISM, ON THE LINES OF TURKEY'S KEMAL ATATÜRK, FOR AT LEAST TWO DECADES. Bose was refused permission by the British authorities to meet Mr. Atatürk at Ankara for political reasons. During his sojourn in England, only the Labour Party and Liberal politicians agreed to meet with Bose when he tried to schedule appointments. Conservative Party officials refused to meet Bose or show him courtesy because he was a politician coming from a colony. In the 1930s leading figures in the Conservative Party had opposed even Dominion status for India. It was during the Labour Party government of 1945–1951, with Attlee as the Prime Minister, that India gained independence.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subhas_Chandra_Bose

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  • 294. At 7:46pm on 30 Oct 2010, john doba wrote:

    "When the War Cabinet became fully aware of the extent of the famine, on 24 September 1943, it agreed to send 200,000 tons of grain to India by the end of the year. Far from seeking to starve India, Churchill and his cabinet sought every way to alleviate the suffering without undermining the war effort. The war—not starving Indians or beating them into submission—remained the principal concern."

    That's Arthur Herman, at the link I supplied in post 245. But Mukherjee's book, and forums like this, exist mostly to make people of leftwing persuasion feel good about themselves, by turning an (admittedly flawed) man like Churchill into a slavering gargoyle-brother of Hitler. That way they can keep blaming other people and the past, and keep crying for handouts---instead of getting on with the job at hand: namely helping to create the conditions for further progress and prosperity. History happened; get over it. Or throw out the baby with the bathwater: condemn Western civilization entirely! And go back to burning widows, and premodernism. Just ditch your computer, cell phone, electricity and indoor plumbing; rid yourself of all those Western contaminants, and ease yourself into sweet paradise!

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  • 295. At 7:49pm on 30 Oct 2010, Shilpy wrote:

    re post 258, Jay, a good thing about the british people is they, like americans, say what's on their mind with frankness and opnenness. pm mr. cameron's statement you quote has a certain comedic value and i couldn't help lol at the british thckskin. here is a recent example in tony hayward, the chief of bp, while under fire during congressional investigation of gulf catastrophe.

    "I spent years investigating BP. I've got a pocketful of promises that they've made me in different times of how they were going to improve things. So, I can see no way that they can be trusted to observe proper care and concern over safety measures." lamented John Dingell, a lawmaker on the Energy and Commerce Committee, a Michigan Democrat and former committee chairman.

    and what's bp chief's attitude?
    "I'm so far unscathed," he told analysts in a recent conference call, referring to the general criticism he's received. "No one has actually physically harmed me. They've thrown some words at me. But I'm a Brit, so sticks and stones can hurt your bones but words never break them, or whatever the expression is."




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  • 296. At 8:33pm on 30 Oct 2010, Richard wrote:

    It is interesting for me to read Jay's perspective. Does he really think the famine was created by Britain? India had been having famines for centuries, and continues to have them to this day. Its population grows exponentially with no real thought given, even today, about how to feed its population. China has learned that it must control its population or face starvation, yet this thinking has not yet entered the Indian discourse. Other writers in this discussion have indicated how Indian farmers hoarded food, hoping for a windfall. Are they not in large part responsible? The Mughals were foreign invaders, just as the British were after them, and sought to consolidate and govern territory, just as the British did after them. The idea of territory was equal to power in those days, but WW2 saw an end to that sort of thinking, and the empires came to an end, whether for good, or bad. It is always a mixed picture; for instance, the practice of sati was outlawed by Britain, saving probably millions of lives, at least as many as died in the famine to which you refer. If the British had not arrived, India would have been subsumed into the Islamic world entirely. That would also have brought changes, some bad, some good. In other words, it makes no sense to try to unpick history. At the end of the day, the colonised people are still their own people: look at Hong Kong, how that prospered, despite (or probably because) it was colonised by Britain. If India has failed, it is because of India. Colonisation was a mixed blessing, but by no means all bad for India.

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  • 297. At 8:51pm on 30 Oct 2010, Wokingboy92 wrote:

    A horrific event in one of the darkest years in human history. However, blaming Churchill sounds overly simplistic and several questions immediately come to mind:-

    1. Did the local Raj, major landowners and officials in Bengal try to alleviate the famine or did they exacerbate it by continuing to tax the starving local population?

    2. Having already achieved a degree of autonomy with Home Rule in 1937, what actions (inaction) were taken by Indian politicians and civil servants? Did they object to the continued supplies to Great Britain and the Allies or did they consider it in India's national interest in order to protect it from Imperialist Japan who in 1943 were attacking India's eastern border through Burma?

    3. What was the actual cause of the famine? Was it an immediate natural disaster, i.e. flood, or prolonged change in the environment, i.e. several years of poor rain? The numbers look shocking, but were the majority over a short period of time when relief would have had a negligible impact?

    As always the reality in 1943 was probably a lot more complicated than the simplistic Churchill, as Imperialist monster. I also think that the suggestion he was similar to Hitler as being disgusting. Hitler deliberately exterminated millions of people for ideological reasons whilst Churchill's actions were bad decisions made in wartime, but probably not the decisive factor in their deaths.

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  • 298. At 9:43pm on 30 Oct 2010, Milagros Gil Quintero wrote:

    Sometimes history is related in a different way than truth & reality. As it's happened a long time ago, and perhaps they are no more witness.
    But this time, I red this truth not only by you.
    Idols, some times have dark personal background behind them.

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  • 299. At 10:03pm on 30 Oct 2010, Prithvi wrote:


    "Prithvi, how do you feel about other foreign rulers in India (the Timurids, specifically)?"

    It is hard to tell since I cannot connect with them while in the case of the british I am removed just a single generation so I can perhaps talk about this with a lot more clarity.

    However looking back at history there is one thing we can reasonably conclude.

    Most invaders managed to meld into the Indian ethos after conquest. Sure there were hiccups here and there (the odd temple sacking and rape and pillage). The british though ruling for close to 300 years never managed this. I do not know if this due the colour of the skin (eugenics was apparently a science in the early half of the last century), because the Kushans were fair skinned and they had no problems as was the case with the scythians. In other words the british were never Indianised enough if you will.

    "And how do you feel about how India has been run since 1947? "

    It's not good, but I certainly think we have learnt some very valuable lessons on the way. I also think that we wouldn't have so much Jingoism if the british hadn't invaded us. This whole of trend of rabid nationalism I believe is an unconscious response to the sentiment that we were subjugated by british only such a short time ago and now need to re-affirm the fact that we are getting good at things.

    "I am interested in trying to contextualise your comments. Some Indians I have spoken to seem to think that these rulers were indigenous (because they had "dark skin") and so whatever cruelties/benefits they conferred were acceptable."

    That is funny and I don't believe in this viewpoint. In fact in India, fair skin is literally worshipped. If you don't believe me, check out the number of fairness creams being sold in India.

    "In other words, if another darker skinned person kills me, that is much better than if a lighter-skinned person does it. If somebody from nearby kills me, it is better than if somebody from far away does it. With regard to Africa the same mentality persists, and not only among Africans."

    I am sure these things might be valid viewpoints for some people but not for me.

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  • 300. At 10:48pm on 30 Oct 2010, Avatar wrote:

    - john doba
    - -- - - - -- - - - - - --
    Or throw out the baby with the bathwater: condemn Western civilization entirely! And go back to burning widows, and premodernism. Just ditch your computer, cell phone, electricity and indoor plumbing; rid yourself of all those Western contaminants, and ease yourself into sweet paradise!
    -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Hope you are not blind to the Indian contribution which assisted the above products http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries
    [browse en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_inventions_and_discoveries specially science and maths for a few updates(not all) on the same]

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  • 301. At 11:58pm on 30 Oct 2010, jbrl wrote:

    Winston Churchill hero for the British people in World War 2 ,allowed the Bengal Famine without giving possible help under thosecircumstances.He did not find other resources of food grains as we were Imperial,Colonial,
    Racist British Slaves.Slaves in history never had any Fundamental rights and even the basic Condition of being alive and Living.He was like aroman emperor who fed slaves to lions as Churchill fed us to the Life kiling Famine

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  • 302. At 00:18am on 31 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    @ Rajesh1211
    I for one am sick of reading the comments from this person!
    I never heard so much biased nonsense in all my life. He quotes Nick Griffin of the BNP, as if this was proof perfect. He compares Churchill to Hitler and other despots but tries to convince us that Bin Laden may have a vast following! It seems quite obvious to me where his sympathies lie.
    Let me tell you Rajesh1211.....you can write your poison only because you live in a free world. A free world because Churchill and our Allies were victorious! Had they not been you would definitely not have the right to free speech and I doubt that you would have even been born; Hitler would have made sure of that!

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    Calling Churchill a racist is poison? Why? Becuase he is your national hero? Churchill was a despicable human being who murdered millions of Indians delelerately while getting fat himself. Look at Chruchill's language, sounds very much like what Nick Griffin of BNP says everyday, "Minorities are breeding like rabbits", "I find Indians and their religion nauseating" and so on and so forth. There is a reason why Griffin considers Churchill his hero. Point number two, Osama Bin Laden, Hiter and Churchill are in the same category, I stand by my point. My sympathies lie with all the underdogs who you British looters raped & pillaged through your inhumane British Empire, whom even Hitler idolized. Hitler wanted the Third Reich to be on the model of the British Empire, which was a blueprint for racist colonization of other races. Hitler admired the British, because the racist, inhumane policies of the British were very much what he envisioned for the Third Reich. Both the Nazis & the British were racist. Point number three, I dont need a certificate from the "western free world" to write whatever I want. You self-rightious racist British thugs call yourslef free world? What have you given the world other than conflicts, loot & misery. Even Americans hate the British. Americans are far Superior to you thugs. WW2 was won by the RUSSIANS & AMERICANS, not your fat, racist, xenophobe, low-class, substandard human Churchill.

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  • 303. At 00:32am on 31 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    218. At 6:57pm on 29 Oct 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    Rajesh1211 if you add up ALL the racist and hateful comments on this blog you'll find that YOU wrote about half of them, you really are a disgustingly hateful person who seems to have some sort of agenda to rewrite history only leaving in facts that support your own racist beliefs.

    Churchill may not have been a nice man, he may have been a racist and an alcoholic too, but he NEVER set out to wipe out any races as Hitler, Osama Bin Laden (and many others) did/do.
    He made many mistakes that cost millions of lives but he was one of the very few who actually saw the Nazis and the Soviet communists for what they really were, two groups who wished to rule the world in their own image at ANY cost, no matter how many tens/hundereds of millions were executed in the process.
    He stood practically alone in the fight against faschism when the USA sat back and did nothing and while some of his beliefs may be vile when viewed with a 21st century outlook, he was no different from MOST people of his generation.

    A few on here have done nothing but criticise (and worse) Britain and some of those have lauded the USA at the same time, please remember that neither nation is close to being perfect, we both have pasts that have unsavoury and downright disgusting aspects to them and with respect to human rights we could both improve our standing on the world stage, but we both offer freedom to ANYONE regardless of colour, creed etc. we both allow individual freedoms denied to nearly a third of the world and we are both willing to fight against tyrany and to protest against inhumanities the world over, which is more than most other countries can honestly say.
    Both our nations stand up for what's morally right and even though it took the USA a very long time to get there, we're both far more tollerant and inclusive societies than the vast majority of those who sit in the UN and I for one am proud that Churcill was British because he did more than anyone else to save the world from faschism and I'm also proud to be an Englishman and a Brit because (generally) we can see our own faults and we're not afraid to admit to them.
    Maybe some other nationalities should take that on board.

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    Chruchill may not have shouted from the mountaintop that he is a racist & a bigot like Hitler & Osama Bin Laden, but all his racist views have been "documented". He said " We have a war to fight, we cant allow Indians to have the food, they are breeding like rabbits, what are they doing for the Empire". The FAT disgusting man did not know that the INDIAN ARMY provided the largest volunteer army for the war effort. You British would be speaking German today of it wasnt for the British INDIAN Army who lost hundereds of thousands in the war to save you. Even Eisenhower acklowlegded the great Indian contribution. The fact is the the INDIANS, RUSSIANS & the AMERICANS saved you from becoming the slaves of the Germans. Thank the Indians for preventing the Germans to make you slaves. Chruchill was a low-class, perjeduiced ,bigot, racist alcoholic & a despicable human being without a shadow of a doubt, and a black dot on your history.

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  • 304. At 00:33am on 31 Oct 2010, Rajesh1211 wrote:

    Chruchill may not have shouted from the mountaintop that he is a racist & a bigot like Hitler & Osama Bin Laden, but all his racist views have been "documented". He said " We have a war to fight, we cant allow Indians to have the food, they are breeding like rabbits, what are they doing for the Empire". The FAT disgusting man did not know that the INDIAN ARMY provided the largest volunteer army for the war effort. You British would be speaking German today of it wasnt for the British INDIAN Army who lost hundereds of thousands in the war to save you. Even Eisenhower acklowlegded the great Indian contribution. The fact is the the INDIANS, RUSSIANS & the AMERICANS saved you from becoming the slaves of the Germans. Thank the Indians for preventing the Germans to make you slaves. Chruchill was a low-class, perjeduiced ,bigot, racist alcoholic & a despicable human being without a shadow of a doubt, and a black dot on your history.

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