Thursday, 23 October 2014

BENGAL FAMINE OF 1943, AND A CRAZY BLOG

One Ajit Vadakayil has posted a blog on, among other subjects, on the Bengal Famine of 1943. The blog  at http://ajitvadakayil.blogspot.in/2011/09/amartya-sen-gets-nobel-prize-for.html?m=1 is such an enormous load of nonsense that I felt obliged to write something. Much of it is based on total misinformation or some half-digested facts. First of all, although I am Bengali, I am not a total admirer of Amartya Sen -- I rate him highly as an economist, but I thoroughly dislike his habit of poking his nose into every facet of life -- as if, just because he got a Nobel Prize, he knows everything. He doesn't, and moreover, he has lived abroad most of his life, so he has no way of knowing what happens here in India. In respect of the Bengal famine of 1943 I would much rather rely on the account of Ashok Mitra ICS, later Census Commissioner of India, who, as an SDO of a famine affected subdivision, had an insider's view of what caused the famine. According to him it was a policy of 'Denial and Evacuation', really a 'scorched earth' policy, followed by the British government in mortal fear of a Japanese takeover of Bengal, coupled with a terrible combination of a cyclone and Tsunami in a place called Kanthi in the present Purba Medinipur district of West Bengal. And the main person responsible, according to Mitra, is the half-crazed British governor of Bengal, Sir John Arthur Herbert, who was responsible for this cynical policy. Prime Minister Churchill, Secretary of State for India Leopold Amery and Viceroy Lord Linlithgow are primarily guilty of apathy and negligence. The blog contains a lot of other rot. Amartya Sen's first Hindu wife Nabaneeta Deb-Sen did not leave him because of his pro-Western views -- in fact she still sports his surname 'Sen' bears witness to the fact that it is not so. I know what caused their divorce, but I shall never make these domestic matters public. Ajit appears to be an anti-Semite, which is why he blames Rothschilds for all the ills of the world. The Rothschilds are powerful, but not that powerful. That Santiniketan, the ashram built by Rabindranath Tagore's father Debendranath,was built with opium money, or that Edwina Mountbatten was a Rothschild is pure baloney. He says Ramanujam, the mathematical genius, was "whisked off to England and then discarded like a curry leaf". Total rot. Ramanujam's talent was discovered not by any Indian, but by Hardy and Littlewood, two English mathematicians. What Ajit exhibits is called xenophobia, an irrational fear of everything foreign, in support of which he tries to marshal all this misinformation. The blog just teaches us what a lot of nonsense makes its rounds on the internet. One has got to be very,very careful.

4 comments:

  1. 'scorched earth' policy, followed by the British government in mortal fear of a Japanese takeover of Bengal. -----
    well, if the scorched earth policy leads to millions of deaths, sure all authorities from Sir John Arthur Herbert to
    Prime Minister Churchill, Secretary of State for India Leopold Amery and Viceroy Lord Linlithgow are all responsible. You or Ashok Mitra have no right to exonerate these criminals. As far as we are concerned . Ajit Vadakayil has exposed this great Holocauste. He desrves to be congratulated for bringing out Buried truths. Don;t call it "Rot".

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    1. Absolutely. Thank you Mr. Gupta.

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  2. Remarkably candid and credibly backed by data. Forcefully argued.

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  3. Remarkably candid and credibly backed by data. Forcefully argued.

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