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Blame Gandhi and Churchill for a split that poisoned the world

2428 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  CamCanola
When the Communist dictator Stalin used the withholding of food as a political weapon in the Ukrainian Great Famine and millions of Ukrainians were starved to death they call it Holodomor.

What do they call it when the imperialist democratic leader and "rabid racist" Winston Churchill used the withholding of food as a political weapon in the Bengal Famine and millions of people were starved to death?

In the G&M article below, Doug Sanders describes the "poison pill" the Brits left behind in their religion-based "divide and conquer" strategy of splitting Pakistan and India when the British Empire was kicked out by Gandhi, after it looted hundreds of billions of dollars from India with the help of the East India Company.
================================================ Canada's National Newspaper
The Globe and Mail
Blame Gandhi and Churchill for a split that poisoned the world

MUMBAI -- Sixty years ago this week, a bespectacled British lawyer named Cyril Radcliffe arrived in India for the first time in his life to take on a simple three-week job. His solitary task, finished on Aug. 13, 1947, would have a few immediate results - hundreds of thousands of people slaughtered, millions mutilated or raped and tens of millions forced out of their homes and livelihoods.

In a larger sense, his little job created the biggest problem in the world today. The mosque wars in Pakistan this week, the nuclear-arms race between India and Pakistan and much of the al-Qaeda threat can be traced to his short stay here.

Radcliffe's job was to draw two lines on a sheet of paper. The lines, across the eastern and western flanks of the soon-to-be-independent nation of India, would attempt to demarcate areas that contained at least 50.1 per cent Muslims from ones that had a majority of Sikhs, Hindus or members of other faiths.

He was, in a coldly bureaucratic way, giving life to the nations of India and Pakistan - an act of partition, or religious segregation, that only months before had seemed unpopular and dangerous to the majority of the continent's Muslims and Hindus, and unthinkable to the retreating colonial masters in London.
[ . . . ]

What happened in 1947 was not just the creation of a new kind of nation. It was the creation of a new kind of people. Suddenly, hundreds of millions of people were categorized and forced to define themselves by religion - which had heretofore been a largely private and incidental matter for most of the people of India. People who had no religious belief at all suddenly found themselves defined entirely by a faith they didn't hold.

"What is so strange," the elderly Sikh journalist Narinder Singh Soch told historian Patrick French, "is that we started to see everything in terms of the community to which somebody belonged. Very few of us could avoid that, even though before the partition I remember the Sikh-Muslim relationship as being rather good."

This, along with the very similar partition of Palestine done by the United Nations the same summer, represented the creation of a new sort of person, the religious-political individual. In many respects, the twin partitions led to the invention, by Britain and the United Nations, of the designation of "Muslim" as a political category imposed on hundreds of disparate peoples with few real common interests - a fiction that meant little before 1947, but has scarred the world since.
[ . . . ]
"There was nothing inevitable or pre-planned about the way that partition unfolded," says historian Yasmin Khan, a descendent of Punjabi Muslims who were forced to flee the slaughter of 1947. Her detailed new history The Great Partition draws on a decade of scholarship to take a careful look at the feelings and thoughts of ordinary Indians in the event-filled years after the Second World War.
[ . . . ]
For the 1.4-billion people of the Indian subcontinent, the past six decades have been a struggle to escape this prison of categorization. The current Indian government, with its Sikh prime minister, Muslim president and Hindu cabinet, has made great efforts to overcome the curse of 1947. The current Pakistani government is being torn apart by the effects of its self-definition: In violent uprisings in the north, the east and - as we saw in the Red Mosque this week - the major cities, it is becoming apparent that "Muslim" is not a unifying characteristic at all.
[ . . . ]
So who was to blame for partition, which has been described by several historians as the most destructive single decision of the 20th century?

The most prominent figures of 1947 made some foolish choices that led to countless unnecessary deaths. It has been popular to blame Louis Mountbatten, the final Viceroy of India and the man responsible for its final disposal; or Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the Muslim League and the father of Pakistan; or even Jawaharlal Nehru, the Congress Party leader who went on to become the first Prime Minister of India.

But by the time those three came along, it would have been very difficult to reverse India's split. Something terrible had happened during the war years.
[ . . . ]
If Gandhi foreclosed the possibility of a united governing party, it wasn't an irreversible flaw; after the late 1930s, he had little influence over Congress. The fault for allowing the situation to stagnate, for permitting India's harmonious religions to turn into opposing political poles headed for mutual destruction, must lie with Winston Churchill.

It was during the Second World War that partition became inevitable (wars tend to do that). Churchill had the deadly combination of being a radical imperialist who couldn't think of granting India independence, and also a rabid racist who detested Indians. ("I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.")

He drained India of money: It gave billions of pounds (hundreds of billions in today's figures) to financing the war, and two million Indian soldiers to fight; in exchange, Churchill refused to send wheat to prevent the Bengal Famine, thus sentencing a million people to starvation; he refused to reward those two million soldiers for their sacrifice; and he refused to allow even the slightest democratic rights for Indians. By neglecting the growing divisions in India, the British Prime Minister allowed a passing colonial problem to turn into the biggest crisis of our age.
[ . . . ]

Global Avoidable Mortality: The Forgotten Holocaust - The 1943/44 Bengal Famine
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An interesting story. Thanks for the post. I would need to examine the issues a lot closer to speak to the plausibility of a simple article. One warning is to not oversimplify "what ifs" in history -- the unknown can be easily made to look preferable simply through not liking what did happen and chasing a juicy story.

That said, an interesting read.
This is one of those occasions 'Spec, that I call your attention to you drawing conclusions on events based on what you have read or heard without ever having "seen the movie", so to speak.

Yet you accuse me of doing so with MM. How do you justify your position here?

And don't get me wrong my friend. It is an important issue that deserves your support.

Just sayin'.

This is now:

Which makes George W. our (much dumber) Churchill.
When they shake hands in hell, George and Winston,
of the two, who will have the most blood on their hands.

Maybe we should judge our leaders by the number of liters of blood they spill.
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