40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943

40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943

Jacob Miller - September 14, 2017

The Bengal famine of 1943 was a major food shortage in the Bengal province in British India during World War II. It is estimated that 3 million people died in the famine from starvation and then from diseases such as cholera, malaria, smallpox, and dysentery. Malnutrition, population displacement, unsanitary conditions, and lack of healthcare.

The Bengali economy was mainly agrarian. The underlying causes of the famine included inefficient agricultural practices and dense populations. Secondary causes included a cyclone that caused flooding, wartime inflation, and inflation induced by British policy failures and loss of rice imports due to the Japanese occupation of Burma (Myanmar) as well as divestment of relief from the Bengali to the soldiers. The British government prioritized military and defense needs over the needs of the rural poor, allocating medical care and food to the military, laborers in the military industries, and civil servants. Domestic sources of grain were constrained by emergency inter-provincial trade barriers and access to international sources of grain were denied by the War Cabinet of Great Britain.

India was not permitted to use its own sterling reserves, or indeed its own ships, to import food. And because the British government paid inflated prices in the open market to ensure supplies, grain became unaffordable for ordinary Indians. Lord Wavell, appointed Viceroy of India that year, considered the Churchill government’s attitude to India “negligent, hostile and contemptuous.”

Churchill notoriously said, “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion… famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.”

40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving families sitting in the hot scorching sun. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving women waiting for the government-controlled Grain Shop to open. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A young Hindu girl serving food to the starving citizens suffering from the famine. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Children poking grain cars with wires, trying to pierce bags and pull grain down into bags. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Hindus burning their starved dead at the Calcutta Myrone Memorial. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving Hindus waiting for the government controlled Grain Shop to open. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving people lining up for small government handouts in Calcutta. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
The extensive line of people lining up for government food rations in Calcutta. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Indian Army convoys of grain head out across Howrah Bridge Calcutta to villages where it will be distributed at government controlled prices. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A Hindu family sitting along the roadside, suffering from the famine. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
ARP truck drivers picking up a child’s corpse. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A crowd of people watching while Army convoy unloads government controlled food rations. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A starving child finally eating a bowl of grains. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A man suffering from famine, causing his bones to seep through his skin. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
An overheated boy washing his face off with water from a public fountain. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
An emaciated man suffering from hunger during the famine. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A woman sweeping up each grain she dropped, carefully off the road. The government would not give her anymore. Life

40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
An old 64-year-old peasant and his granddaughter looking out over the lush growing fields. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A little boy being picked up by the Co.-Ordinator of Relief Officials to be fed at the government kitchen. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
An older Hindu man suffering from the famine. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
ARP truck sweepers disposing corpses and carrying them to one of Calcutta’s burning ghats. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving people waiting for the government controlled Grain Shop to open. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Distribution of milk among children in a relief camp. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A Famine affected mother and child Bengal 1943. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Impoverished Bengalis sitting around town. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Hindus burning their starved dead. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Relief officials helping the famine affected onto a truck. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Starving People lining up for food in a relief camp. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
Grains to be distributed among the people. Life
40 Images of the Tragic Bengal Famine of 1943
A mother holds her starving child. valleyofdance

 

Sources For Further Reading:

The Independent – The Dark Side of Winston Churchill

History Of Yesterday – The Bengal Famine: How Indians Died to Feed the British Greed

News 18 – ‘Churchill Was Racist’: Indians Remember Bengal Famine after Statue is Vandalized

Winston Churchill – Leading Churchill Myths

Wikipedia – Japanese Invasion of Burma

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