Historians criticize BBC report claiming Winston Churchill was behind the ‘slaughter’ of millions during the Bengal famine in 1943


THE BBC was criticized for a report claiming Winston Churchill was responsible for millions of deaths during the Bengal famine in 1943.

A segment on famine during News at Ten focused on how Indians view Churchill as part of a series on British colonial history.


The BBC was criticized for reporting on the Bengal famine in 1943Crédit: Hulton Archive – Getty
Some appearing in the report said Churchill could be blamed for his role in causing the famineCredit: Getty – Contributor

Indian historian Rudrangshu Mukherjee of Ashoka University said that Churchill could be “considered the trigger for massacres” because of his alleged role in the Bengal famine in 1943.

It is estimated that nearly three million people died of famine in British India, now Bangladesh and eastern India, during World War II.

Yasmin Khan, of the University of Oxford, said Churchill could be held responsible for “putting white lives first over South Asian lives” by failing to help.

BBC News India correspondent Yogita Limaye said that while Churchill was considered a hero in Britain, many in India criticized him for “making matters worse” during the famine.

Bengal Famine of 1943

The Bengal Famine of 1943 was a famine in British India’s Bengal Province (now Bangladesh and eastern India) during World War II.

Between 2.1 and 3 million people out of a population of 60.3 million, died of hunger, malaria or other diseases during famine.

Millions of people have been impoverished as the crisis engulfed the economy.

Families were dispersed as the men sold their small farms and left home to look for work or join the British Indian Army, and the women and children became homeless migrants, often traveling to Calcutta or the other big cities in search of organized help.

Churchill’s legacy has since been defended, and the BBC has criticized the “lopsided” agenda on the warlord’s role in famine.

Times columnist Sir Max Hastings said Churchill’s behavior during the famine was a “stain on his record” but should be seen against his service in Britain and the rest of the world during the war.

Tirthankar Roy, professor at the London School of Economics, told The Times: “Winston Churchill was not a relevant factor behind the Bengal famine in 1943. The agency which was most responsible for the famine and which did not was not doing enough was the government of Bengal. “


Meanwhile, former BBC reporter Tom Mangold accused the program of promoting the idea that Churchill was racist.

“As someone who worked for several years on BBC TV News, I am puzzled by the inclusion of items like this – many of which are closely related to the ‘awakened’ vision of white men in British history. – in a tough news program, ”he told The Times.

A BBC spokeswoman told Sun Online: “This article was the last in a series devoted to British colonial heritage around the world.

“The series includes different perspectives from around the world, in this case from India, including a Bengal famine survivor, as well as Oxford historian Dr Yasmin Khan.

“The report also clearly explained Churchill’s actions in India in the context of his WWII strategy. We think these are all important perspectives to explore and we support our journalism.

The BBC report comes after a statue of Churchill was vandalized during the Black Lives Matter protests last month.

Churchill’s name was crossed out and in black spray paint “was racist” was written underneath.

The BBC came under fire in June for Newsnight host Emily Maitlis’ ‘biased’ rant about Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

The Newsnight host slammed Mr Cummings for allegedly breaking coronavirus lockdown rules by making a 260-mile trip from London to Durham in March. After an investigation, police found that Mr Cummings’ trip did not violate lockdown rules.

Nearly three million people are estimated to have died of famine in British India, now Bangladesh and eastern India, during World War II


It is estimated that nearly three million people died of famine in British India, now in Bangladesh and eastern India, during World War IICredit: BBC
Famine hit India during WWII


Famine hit India during WWIICrédit: Time & Life Pictures – Getty


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