By Janam Mukherjee
The years top as much as the independence and accompanying partition of India mark a tumultuous interval within the heritage of Bengal. Representing either an incredible entrance within the Indian fight opposed to colonial rule, in addition to a very important Allied outpost within the British/American warfare opposed to Japan, Bengal stood on the crossroads of complicated and contentious structural forces - either household and foreign - which, taken jointly, outlined an period of political uncertainty, social turmoil and collective violence.
While for the British the overarching precedence was once to avoid wasting the empire from drawing close cave in at any fee, for almost all of the Indian inhabitants the Nineteen Forties have been years of acute shortage, violent dislocation and enduring calamity. particularly there are 3 significant crises that formed the social, fiscal and political context of pre-partition Bengal: the second one international battle, the Bengal famine of 1943, and the Calcutta riots of 1946.
Hungry Bengal examines those intricately interconnected occasions, foregrounding the political economic climate of struggle and famine with a purpose to examine the advanced nexus of starvation, struggle and civil violence in colonial Bengal on the twilight of British rule.
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Extra resources for Hungry Bengal: War, Famine and the End of Empire
Pinnell—who would play a fateful role in the lives of many millions of Bengalis—narrated his equivocal record of administration in the Bengal countryside during the war and famine tellingly: I do hope that some of the members of the Commission will go on tour by the watercourses along the coastal routes of Bengal; if they do so they will 34 War appreciate how impossible it is to administer that area in detail with the staff that exists…the whole area is a network of tidal khal [inlets, canals and bayous] running between very big and dangerous rivers and your staff consists of the sub-divisional officer, perhaps a couple of circle officers for an area of 600 square miles, and a thana [police precinct] staff of a sub-inspector with perhaps one assistant for an area of—I would not like to exactly say….
The earth itself is being soaked in blood, The sky has gone dark. Bombs and gunpowder are piled in heaps. All of India has been watching this war closely, Knowing that we too are never far from peril. Now the flames of war have come close to our land. The jaw of Calcutta is veiled in darkness. ’ Civility and culture have been stricken to the root. And yet, I see, so many of you young boys and girls, remembering your faith, are speaking from your hearts, narrating dreams of happier days to come—even while the earth is stained with blood, even amidst the cries of distress and fear.
12 A Food (Defense Plans) Department of His Majesty’s Government (HMG) was established in December of the same year. 15 As importantly, the plan included strict measures to control bulk purchasing. Bulk purchasing by vested interests and commodity speculators, it was well understood, could radically destabilize markets during wartime, leading to uncontrolled inflation and ultimately shortages. As such, detailed plans were drawn up for governmental appropriation and storage of large quantities of food grains in order to control markets.