Reddit Reddit reviews Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II

We found 13 Reddit comments about Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II
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13 Reddit comments about Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II:

u/thequeensucorgi · 7 pointsr/onguardforthee

WW2 too! I recommend reading Churchill's Secret War by Madhusree Mukerjee to get a full sense of how deeply it cost India to keep the British Empire alive

u/meanthinker · 6 pointsr/india

Read this - it was systematic death by exploitation for common people while a few at the top benefitted.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/AsianMasculinity

Sorry but I have to disagree. I really think vegetarianism is extremely bad for Indians. First of all, those wrestlers are a small minority chosen from a very large Indian population. They most likely already had amazing genetics for getting huge and may have given up education in the pursuit of training. I'll bet they also drink loads of milk and would be even bigger if they ate meat. In general though, child malnutrition in India is on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

EDIT: Sorry, that image didn't work because of the way that website is written. Here is the original article. Scroll down to see the graph on meat consumed per capita:

This shows the amount of meat consumed per capita by country. India is among the lowest, while South Korea is relatively high up. South Korea has one of the highest heights among Asians if I'm not mistaken. India is one of the shortest, or equal to North Korea. Anecdotally, the pediatrician I used to go to told my mom that Indians raised in the US tend to be bigger and taller than Indians that grew up in India.

My parents would actually tell me to eat a lot of home cooked Gujurati food, like rotli saak, darbhat (dunno the proper romanization). Basically thin bread, potatos with spices that made me smell bad in high school, and rice in a lentil soup. And they'd let me drink all the soda I'd want as a 5 year old when we went to weddings and Indian social gatherings. They'd yell at my brother for not eating enough. So it might be a bit different than East Asian cultures that encourage not eating too much. But I think it makes Indians fat off of eating a diet with too much carbohydrates. East Asians tend to be a lot leaner and more likely to have abs in my experience. Also, Gujurati food is gross. I never liked it as a child and not one of my cousins really liked traditional Gujurati food growing up. It's really an acquired taste and I think this kind of diet stems from the colonial mentality of food scarcity and the remains of famine-era reliance on cheap sources of calories. Statistically, richer people start eating meat more often, but Indians are often held back by culture.

Churchill avoided sending much needed grain to India innumerable times during and before famines, some of which could have been prevented. He instead used a lot of the food budget to make sure the British back home were getting enough meat. And these days, the British still eat a lot of meat, and their country is pretty tall.

For more info, I recommend this book:

Before the British came to India, Hindus and Muslims lived in relative harmony. They would go to pray at mosques and temples without discretion in those times. Considering that and the fact that Hindus today are able to somehow mangle their beliefs so that they can eat chicken and fish, I'm sure Hindus in the past ate some meat while in contact with Muslim friends, if only occasionally. I think the real reason Indians don't eat meat is because of British-engineered famine, and the resulting poverty and reliance on cheap sources of calories such as grain. This became part of the culture over the 200 years of occupation and is still present even among immigrants.

Sorry, this post is a bit long and slapdash. Also, no disrespect toward you, just have to disagree. I appreciate you guys maintaining these boards and ensuring we have an outlet and a voice.

u/thecurseddevil · 2 pointsr/todayilearned

This is the source

While the statistics might have been inaccurate, it goes without saying that it was a result of policy failure.

Ak fazlul haq even predicted the famine, still he was ignored.

Also Churchill's response when he was informed of the famine wasn't quite pleasant either.

u/raks1991 · 2 pointsr/IndianLeft

Madhsree Mukherjee's book, Churchill's Secret War on how Churchill's decisions ravaged India.

u/DaManmohansingh · 1 pointr/india

Food stocks from India (and from Australia Wheat stocks) were diverted to the Mediterranean theatre.

British Raj officials themselves pleaded with London (Churchill) to release stocks off food, British Army said Med theatre had adequate food stocks, yet the food was diverted to the Med.

The famine was in itself caused by scorched earth policy which messed up rice production in Burma. There was no way the British did not know that cutting away the rice supply from Burma would cause a famine like situation in India. Interestingly enough, according to Amartya Sen the British position is made weaker. He says food production actually increased and if they hadn't been diverted purposely to the Med, the famine wouldn't have even occurred.

The level of food supply is strangely very murky (some observers talk about a storm in 42 that wiped out an entire season's crop, Amartya Sen talks about excess food supply) but what is clear is India lost a fair portion of the rice imports from Burma (scorched earth) and massive food stocks were diverted to the Med.

However let me quote Madhushree Mukherjee,

>>The Japanese occupation of Burma in March 1942 cut off rice imports, of between one and two million tons per year, to India. Instead of protecting the Indian public from the resultant food shortage, the War Cabinet insisted that India absorb this loss and, further, export rice to countries that could no longer get it from South East Asia. As a result, after war arrived at India’s borders, the colony exported 260,000 tons of rice in the fiscal year 1942-43.

>>Meanwhile India’s war expenditures increased ten fold, and the government printed paper money to pay for them. In August 1942 a representative of India’s viceroy told the War Cabinet that runaway inflation could lead to “famines and riots.”

>>In December 1942, Viceroy Linlithgow warned that India’s grain supply was seriously short and he urgently needed 600,000 tons of wheat to feed soldiers and the most essential industrial workers. The War Cabinet stated that ships were not available. In January 1943, Churchill moved most of the merchant ships operating in the Indian Ocean over to the Atlantic, in order to build up the United Kingdom’s stockpile of food and raw materials. The Ministry of War Transport cautioned him that the shift would result in “violent changes and perhaps cataclysms” in trade around the Indian Ocean. (In addition to India, the colonies of Kenya, Tanganyika, and British Somaliland all suffered famine in 1943.) Although refusing to meet India’s need for wheat, Churchill insisted that India continue to export rice.

>>With famine raging, in July 1943 Viceroy Linlithgow halted rice exports and again asked the War Cabinet for wheat imports, this time of 500,000 tons. That was the minimum required to feed the army and otherwise maintain the war effort. The news of impending shipments would indirectly ease the famine, he noted: any hoarders would anticipate a fall in prices and release grain, causing prices to fall in reality. But at a meeting on August 4, the War Cabinet failed to schedule even a single shipment of wheat for India. Instead, it ordered the buildup of a stockpile of wheat for feeding European civilians after they had been liberated. So 170,000 tons of Australian wheat bypassed starving India—destined not for consumption but for storage.

>>Meanwhile, the United Kingdom’s stockpile of food and raw materials, intended for shoring up the postwar British economy, reached 18.5 million tons, the highest ever. Sugar and oilseeds overflowed warehouses and had to be stored outdoors, under tarpaulins.

>>Of course Churchill knew that his priorities would result in mass death. In one of his tirades against Indians, he said they were “breeding like rabbits” anyway. On behalf of Indians, the War Cabinet ignored an offer of 100,000 tons of Burmese rice from freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose (who was allied with the Japanese), discouraged a gift of wheat from Canada, and turned down rice and wheat volunteered by the United States.

>>The War Cabinet eventually ordered for India 80,000 tons of wheat and 130,000 tons of barley. (Barley was useless for famine relief because it had no impact on prices.) The first of these meager shipments reached India in November. All the while, the Indian Army consumed local rice and wheat that might otherwise have fed the starving. The famine came to an end in December 1943, when Bengal harvested its own rice crop—at which point Churchill and his friend Cherwell renewed their demand for rice exports. Source

I strongly recommend her book as well, it is from this (and Sen's to a certain extent) that I came to the conclusion that the Bengal famine was not a famine, but a man made genocide.

Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India During World War II

The Bengal famine was no different from the Holdomor in the sense that it was death by starvation caused wilfully by a government that knew it's actions would result in the deaths of millions.

u/Postgrifter · 0 pointsr/HistoryPorn

Here is the other post that I thought I responded to you, and I did not:

is plenty of evidence that it could have been prevented: Here is a whole book: ""
The common white-Western narrative that it was preventable is false. Here is a key piece for you:
"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."
Read on the topic before using insults.
" I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” -Winston Churchill

u/Tritainia · 0 pointsr/europe

Hmm, I wonder if a website called the "Churchill Project might be a little biased.

Per Mukerjee:

The War Cabinet's shipping assignments made in August 1943, shortly after Amery had pleaded for famine relief, show Australian wheat flour traveling to Ceylon, the Middle east, and Southern Africa – everywhere in the Indian Ocean but to India. Those assignments show a will to punish.

In addition, the provincial government of Bengal never declared a state of famine. At best we have utterly incompetent and deadly neglect, at worst we have purposeful murder. Not that that isn't a common thread in imperial history...

u/popfreq · 0 pointsr/india

> Hitler wasn't better during WW2

From our point of view.

Different countries have different interests. Israelis put a higher emphasis on tragedies that affected them directly. Americans put a higher emphasis on tragedies that affected them directly. So do the Russians, Amenians, Polish and every other people. We are Indians -- why should we, uniquely in the world, put others major tragedies, ahead of our own?

Remember -- Hitler was not genocidal towards Indians. Millions of Indians did not die because of him.

We should not be ignoring the fact that the death of millions o Indians is more pertinent to us.

> Nope this is simply not true,

It is. See Churchill's Secret War

> Churchill did is in no way comparable to the holocaust or the evil perpetrated by Imperial Japan.

It is ironic you say that, because in the first para I pointed out that India gave Hirohito 3 days of official mourning when he died. Hirohito was the head of Imperial Japan in WW2. He wielded the power in a pretty hands on manner, often overruling his generals/admirals. To ignore him is a pretty large gap for someone implicitly claiming to knowledgeable in "real history".

>There is a tremendous difference in degrees. To say otherwise is to lessen the victims of the holocaust and the victims in most of eastern Asia.

Many magnitudes more of Indians died due to British Rule. Even the period covered by Mike Davis' Late Victorian Holocausts has around 30 million. I have sympathy for the family of Holocaust victims, but it is you who are trivializing the deaths of tens of millions of Indians.

u/ishouldpimlicoco · -3 pointsr/ukpolitics

580k military deaths.

If you add the 1.5 – 3 million Bengalis that starved to death due to exporting food out of India to feed European allies, then it would be in the millions. Source.