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Dark Side of Winston Churchill
Not surprisingly, the majority of historians ignore the dark side of Winston Churchill. He not only was extremely racist but also ruthless towards the colonial states. He referred to Palestinians as “barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung.” Churchill is also responsible for the killing of over 4 million Indians during the Bengal famine of 1943.
The Western media paints Winston Churchill as a champion of democracy, which is unfair. Perhaps he was practically believed in the famous cliche, “Everything is permissible in love and war.”
Defeating Hitler does not Condone Churchill’s Crimes
Churchill was not only a politician, a military genius but also a master of the fine arts. He earned a good name in literature, painting, and journalism as well. He always made all the decisions of life wisely.
Despite these attributes, he is not a champion of liberalism, pluralism, democracy. It is a colonial mentality that regards him as a so-called great leader of the 20th century. Although Winston Churchill is rightly called the winner of World War II, history cannot ignore the dark side of Winston Churchill.
Churchill was an Incompetent Student
Winston Churchill in his famous autobiography, “My Early Life” revealed that as a student, he was criticized by teachers for being an incompetent student. This is the best book for anyone who wants to study him at length.
Churchill performed poorly in virtually every subject except history and English composition. On many occasions, he would earn corporal punishments. He hated the days he spent in the hostel. But all this time passed, and as the 19th century drew to a close.
Fighting to Suppress Freedom Movement in Colonized Sudan
After completing his primary education, he joined the army. Involved in 3 wars on the battlefield itself. In the first war in Sudan where he fought against the colonized Sudanese to put down the so-called mutiny.
One notable dark side of Winston Churchill is his assent for chemical weapons, much like Nazi Germany. His rival was the religious leader of Sudan, Mohammed Ahmed bin Abdullah. Johann Hari (2020) in “Not his finest hour: The dark side of Winston Churchill” says
As a British colony, Sudan was under siege, and Churchill went to the battlefield to extend British imperial rule, which is another dark side of Winston Churchill. This war is also known as the Anglo-Sudanese War. Johann Hari also claims Churchill charged off to take his part in what he considered “a lot of jolly little wars against barbarous peoples.”
Participating in the Second Anglo-Boer War in Africa and in World War I
Churchill was actively involved in the Second Anglo-Boer War in Africa and in World War I. He participated in World War II as Prime Minister and Military Leader of the UK.
There are many facets of his military life in Africa and India. Churchill was also responsible for Britain’s decision to participate in World War II. It may not be a dark side of Winston Churchill, but his decision to bomb civilians, especially in Germany.
From Becoming a Journalist to Prime Minister
Andrew Roberts in ”Churchill: Walking with Destiny” (2018) said he began his career as a soldier and journalist.
This book terms him the greatest Briton. According to Roberts, ”Churchill becomes the mirror in which bewildered Britons can find consoling fantasies of national greatness.” It is one of the most authentic biographies of Churchill, especially from the British point of view.
Later, he became a Member of Parliament in 1901. Churchill rose from Home Secretary to Chief of the Navy and Air Force. Then he took the seats of the Minister of War, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Arms.
He twice became the Prime Minister of the UK. The first time, was from May 1940 to 1945 and then from 1951 to 1955. Even though Winston Churchill is credited with leading his country to victory in World War II, he has been the subject of controversy. Unfortunately, many historians ignore the dark side of Winston Churchill, especially his racial, narcissistic, and jingoistic nature.
Do you Know
Churchill came to the Indian subcontinent in 1896. He served in Bombay, Bangalore, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Meerut, Peshawar, and Malakand as a journalist taking part in British-supervised military battles.
He wrote a book containing these memories, The Story of Malakand Field Force, the first book of his life. The book not only shows the true picture of British India but also illustrates the evolution of Churchill. If you love Churchill (I don’t), you will finish the book in one go.
Paradox of the Century: Churchill Flirted with Islam
Although Churchill was a staunch opponent of Islam and Muslims, he was a lover of Islamic civilization and culture. Patrick Sawer and Patricksawer (2014) in “The Telegraph” says Churchill had a hate-love relationship with Islam.
They argued that Churchill’s fascination led him and his close friend Wilfrid S. Blunt, the poet and radical supporter of Muslim causes, which inspired him to dress in Arab clothes in private while in each other’s company.
National Post in “Winston Churchill quietly flirted with Islam — to the point that relatives feared he might convert” says, Churchill wore an Arabic robe and dress when he went to his parties.
His inclination toward Islamic civilization was so strong that his family feared he converting to Islam. Churchill once wrote in a letter that he wanted to be Pasha. His sister-in-law wrote him a letter in which he wrote, she pleaded with him to think otherwise.
In the letter, discovered by Warren Dockter, a history research fellow at Cambridge University, she pleads:
Despite this, he hated Muslims. He referred to Palestinians as “barbaric hordes who ate little but camel dung,” which is an ugly and dark side of Winston Churchill.
Winston Churchill was a Robust Character
Many consider Winston Churchill a top-notch leader in the world of politics. It is true since he played a key role in the defeat of Hitler’s Germany in World War II. If there was no Churchill in World War II, the world map would have been different today.
He even wanted to overthrow Russia, and for this, he lobbied hard with the Western powers. US President Roosevelt opposed this lobbying, because of which Russia survived.
Winston Churchill Lost 1945 Elections Because of his Image as a Warrior
Unexpectedly, Winston Churchill lost the 1945 elections mainly because of his image as a warrior, another dark side of Winston Churchill. Churchill was a war hero but people did not want war but peace. So, Churchill was not a suitable candidate for the reconstruction and peace of Britain.
Churchill was a warrior and only war could be expected from a general. The fact is that had Churchill won the 1945 election, the world would have been into a new bloody war.
Winston Churchill’s Hatred towards Subcontinent People
Churchill was a staunch opponent of British colonial independence, one key dark side of Winston Churchill. He refused to become prime minister simply because he had to preside over India’s independence ceremony as prime minister. His senior cabinet colleague Leo Amery recalled how Churchill had once referred to Indians “as a beastly people with a beastly religion.”
Therefore, it is pertinent to say Churchill was a bigoted Englishman who hated Muslims and Indians. He lived in this region for a few years, but his heart never softened for this land.
Winston Churchill’s Racial Slur at Gandhi
Widely respected Gandhi, one of the important leaders in the independence of India also faced his racial slur. On many occasions, he disrespected Gandhi, a dark side of Winston Churchill. He once said,
This is probably the reason Leopold Amery, Churchill’s own Secretary of State for India considered him no different from Adolph Hitler. He, his diaries, showed the dark side of Winston Churchill, ignored by most historians. He said,
Winston Churchill is Responsible 1943 Bengal Famine
A hurricane and flood in 1942 caused famine in Bengal, then under Churchill-led English rule. The famine killed at least four million people. That is six times the total number of British troops in World War II. This horrific devastation falls on the British hands, which shows the dark side of Winston Churchill.
Eyewitnesses to the devastation recounted how they saw dogs and vultures eating human corpses. They were so hungry that they would have no courage to perform the funeral rites of the dead.
Sumitra Chatterjee, a senior Bengali actor who was eight years old at the time of the Bengal famine, says, “At that time, everyone could see a skeleton with only skin on it. People were all helpless. They would only cry in desperation, begging for a bowl of rice.
This shows how Bengal was witnessing a dire famine. Winston Churchill deliberately ignored their call for help, the darkest of the dark side of Winston Churchill. When the local authorities told Churchill about the unspeakable sufferings of the people, he replied,
For those who want to see the real face of Winston Churchill, this is the best book you will ever read. Tharoor wisely outlines the perspective of the Indian subcontinent during colonial days. When the British came to India, It made about 27% of the total global GDP; when they went, its economy was about 2% of global GDP.
Churchill’s Fear of Japan’s Attack on India
Yasmeen Khan, an Oxford University historian, terms it a “strategy of depriving the enemy of resources.” Those days, Britain feared that Japan would overrun India and Burma. Behind this strategy was the idea that not only crops but also boats that could be used to transport crops would have to be destroyed, yet another dark side of Winston Churchill.
And when the Japanese would come here, they didn’t have the resources to move on. There is clear evidence of the devastating effects of the strategy of depriving the enemy of resources. This strategy was successful but nearly 4 million famine-stricken people perished.
Malthusian Trap by Winston Churchill
The diaries of then-British officials also support this thesis. For months, Churchill’s government rejected their requests for an immediate supply of food to India, an extremely satanic and overly dark side of Winston Churchill.
It is because the British government at the time feared it will reduce food stocks for the British soldiers fighting WW I. Shashi Tharoor terms it a Malthusian strategy or Malthusian Trap, a dark side of Winston Churchill.
This philosophy says when the population increases exponentially, there comes famines to level the food-people ratio. It simply means that Indian people have exponentially increased and they must die. It also says that famines are natural and the people should not receive any external help.
Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio, Subsistence, increases only in an arithmetical ratio.An Essay on The Principle of Population, First Edition 1798, Page. 14
31 Famines in 120 Years of British Raj
Mike Davis (2001) in the Late Victorian Holocausts says there were 31 serious famines in the 120 years of British rule compared with 17 famines in the 2,000 years before British rule. According to the author, famines in the late Victorian Age were almost every time deliberate move. A nice read!
Notably, the 1943 famine was avoidable but the then British administration did not care about humans living outside Englan, a dark side of Winston Churchill.
Moreover, Lord Wavell, the then British Viceroy in India, wrote that the Bengal famine was the greatest catastrophe that befell India during British rule. To him, it was impossible to estimate the damage done, not only to the people but also to the British Empire’s reputation.
British must Reparate and Apologize
At the moment, there is no formal demand from Pakistan, India, or Bangladesh to apologize or reparate. But, there is a blurred expectation that the UK must apologize for what it has done to India in the past. It especially must feel sorry for the untoward incidents like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, and the Bengal famine.
Many in Britain are now questioning the legacy of Britain’s colonial past and the leaders of that era. In that case, Churchill’s statue in central London was defaced last month during the “Black Lives Matter” protest against black lives. This bears testimony to the fact that the rosy picture of the British raj was corrupt and exploitative.
Winston Churchill Saved Millions of British but Killed Manifold more Bengalis
Winston Churchill saved millions of British but killed manifold more Bengalis, a dark side of Winston Churchill. Demolishing statues or defaming these characters is not the way forward. If one weighs past against today’s standards, perhaps no such hero in the world will survive.
Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II (2011) by Madhusree Mukerjee is an all-encompassing book explaining Churchill’s odious policies that caused catastrophic famines and killed millions of Indians. He shamelessly said, ”I hate Indians.” It also shows the miseries of millions of dead and displaced Bengalis.
So, Winston Churchill is a hero for the British people but not for the former colonies. He did save millions of British people but he is also responsible for millions of avoidable deaths in Bengal.Share