25 October, 2020

His Hour Of Infamy

Churchill’s hand fed the appallingly dire Bengal famine. He comes off here as the fevered colonial of a caricature.

His Hour Of Infamy
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It is an interesting footnote that the death of Winston Churchill in January 1965 was solemnly commemorated throughout the lands that had till recently been part of the British empire. In Calcutta, a city that enjoyed a strange love-hate relationship with the British Raj, The Statesman covered his state funeral in London with a meticulous sensitivity that would have baffled Britons, not least the deceased. The bumptious principal of my school even had a portrait of Churchill put up at a discreet corner near the library.

This posthumous adulation of a man who had waged a determined campaign in the 1930s to prevent limited self-government for India and had once described Mahatma Gandhi as a “half-naked fakir” may seem inexplicable. Yet, it is important to remember that the nationalist mythology of an impoverished mass of Indians rising to boot out arrogant, exploitative colonials in a frenzy of anti-imperialism is a recent creation. The reality was an India that saw British rule in different shades of grey. The...

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