The announcement of two Oscar Awards, including Best Actor, to go with 4 other Oscar nominations for the film ‘The Darkest Hour’ – a quasi biopic of the former British PM Winston Churchill – comes as no surprise. It is further validation, if any were needed, that the Western worldview remains rigidly Euro-centric & this finds expression in so-called ‘global’ awards like the Oscars.
For Britain and the West, Churchill remains the courageous fighter who rallied his country against Nazi Germany during ‘World’ War 2. Sadly, many ‘educated’ Indians too have swallowed this projection of Churchill, ignorant of the fact that Winston Churchill was a racist of the highest order, who condemned over 3 million Indians (mostly Bengalis) to death through his actions as Britain’s PM.
But many on social media called out the double-standards on display in this year’s Oscars –
The 2018 #Oscars will be remembered for honouring a whitewashed biopic of one of the worst racists of the 20th Century – Winston Churchill. A bigot who was ideologically little different from Hitler and who was culpable in the starvation deaths of three million Bengalis.
— Abhinav Agarwal (@AbhinavAgarwal) March 5, 2018
Despite all the politics that is now the @TheAcademy the Hollywood film industry has no problem giving the Best Actor award to someone playing, as a hero, a man who through his actions caused genocide in India and made no apologies for it.
— Arnab Ray (@greatbong) March 5, 2018
Watching the #Oscars unabashedly celebrate a movie on the life of Churchill, the genocidal racist who killed 3 million Indians. This is definitely their Darkest Hour.
— Ripper (@Ace_Of_Pace) March 5, 2018
And Churchill’s genocidal acts were not limited only to people of Bharat, but affected even the other ‘colonial subjects’ of the erstwhile British empire. Here are some little-know facts about Winston Churchill –
1.) He engineered the 1943-44 famine in Bengal, killing over 3 million
Bengal had a bountiful harvest in 1942, but the British started diverting vast quantities of food grain from Bharat to Britain, contributing to a massive food shortage in Bengal and the areas surrounding it. 3 to 4 million people perished in this famine. Noted Australian biochemist and author, Dr. Gideon Polya called the Bengal famine “a man-made holocaust”.
Refusing to send food aid to Bharat, Churchill instead trumpeted that “the famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.” Churchill refused any plea of help for the starving millions even from his Viceroy, Lord Wavell. The Viceroy had pointed out the explicit racist policy of the British by his comments, “When Holland needs food, ships will of course be available, quite a different answer to the one we get whenever we ask for ships to bring food to India”.
2.) An unapologetic racist and white supremacist
Churchill told his secretary of state for Bharat, Leo Amery, that “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”. In his private diaries Amery vented that “on the subject of India, Churchill is not quite sane” and that he didn’t “see much difference between Churchill’s outlook and Hitler’s.”
In February, 1945 Churchill had declared to his private secretary, John Colville that “The Hindus were a foul race……..and he wished Bert Harris could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them”.
Churchill once said that Palestinians were simply “barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung.”
In 1937, he told the Palestine Royal Commission:
“I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”
3.) A supporter of Nazi-style eugenics
Churchill was a keen supporter of eugenics, something he shared in common with Germany’s Nazi leadership. Churchill drafted a highly controversial piece of legislation, which mandated that the mentally ill be forcibly sterilized. In a memo to the Prime Minister in 1910, Winston Churchill cautioned, “the multiplication of the feeble-minded is a very terrible danger to the race”.
Churchill had a long standing belief in racial hierarchies and eugenics. In Churchill’s view, white protestant Christians were at the very top of the pyramid, above white Catholics, while Jews and Bharatiyas were only slightly higher than Africans.
4.) An advocate of state-sponsored terror against ‘uncivilised’ people
Churchill was also a staunch proponent of the use of ‘terrorism as a weapon of war’. During the Kurdish rebellion against the British dictatorship in 1920, Churchill remarked that he simply did not understand the “squeamishness” surrounding the use of gas by civilized Great Britain as a weapon of terror. “I am strongly in favour of using gas against uncivilised tribes, it would spread a lively terror,” he remarked.
As Secretary of State for War, Churchill sent the infamous Black and Tans to Ireland to fight the IRA. The group became known for vicious terrorist attacks on civilians which Churchill condoned and encouraged.
Professor Caroline Elkins, highlights Churchill’s many crimes in Kenya in her book Britain’s Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya. Professor Elkins explains how Churchill’s soldiers “whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated Mau Mau suspects”, all in the name of British “civilization” – one the victims of British torture was Barack Obama’s grandfather.
Prior to Bharat’s independence from Britain, Churchill was eager to see bloodshed erupt in Bharat, so as to prove that Britain was the benevolent “glue holding the nation together”. For Churchill, bloodshed also had the added strategic advantage that it would also lead to the partition of Bharat and Pakistan. Churchill’s hope was this partition would result in Pakistan remaining within Britain’s sphere of influence. This, in turn, would enable the Great Game against the Soviet empire to continue
Let’s hope that Churchill is one day recognised all over the world for his true self – a symbol of racist Western imperialist tyranny.
“Churchill’s secret war” – a book by Madhusree Mukherjee
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