A Double-Blind Peer Reviewed Online Journal Published by the Rashtram School of Public Leadership
A Double-Blind Peer Reviewed Online Journal Published by the Rashtram School of Public Leadership

The 1943 Bengal Famine: A Brief History of Political Developments at Play

Authored by Mohua Bhowmik

 Independent researcher 

Volume I, Issue 2 | May 2021

Abstract

This paper briefly surveys the political developments at the beginning of the twentieth century and examines how those developments played a part in the Bengal Famine of 1943. The Bengal Famine of 1943 is arguably one of the worst man-made famines recorded in human history. There were a multitude of reasons behind it, each of which had contributed to the severity of the famine and its irreversible effects on the Bengali society. However, this paper largely focuses on examining the assertions made by the Churchill Project of Hillsdale College and certain sections of the British academia, who have been attempting to emphasise that Sir Winston Churchill and, by extension, the British government had provided humanitarian aid during the Bengal Famine. At the same time, there have been multiple efforts to shift the narrative of the Bengal Famine of 1943 and point fingers specifically at the Hindu society, especially by these aforementioned institutions. All this is taking place at a time when the decolonial narrative is gaining more traction in mainstream discourses. The purpose of this paper is to take a closer look at the policies and motivations of the colonial era British administration, not only to understand how each of their decisions led to the enormity of the Bengal Famine but also how certain institutions are encouraging the colonial narrative that is often distorted. 

Keywords: Bengal Famine, Churchill Project, 1943, Hindu, Colonial, British Administration, Decolonial 

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