By Dr Gideon Polya
24 May, 2009
The UK British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has produced a book and a lavish, 6-part TV series called “The Story of India”. However the 6th episode that deals with India under the British manages to completely ignore horrendous, repeated British-imposed atrocities on a scale of death greater than that of the World War 2 (WW2) Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation), most notably the 1769-1770 Bengal Famine (10 million dead), the WW2 Bengal Famine (6-7 million dead) and the British India Holocaust in general that was associated with 1.8 billion excess Indian deaths in the period 1757-1947. [1, 2].
Indeed in the TV series “The Story of India” the very word “Famine” is not even mentioned as such even once – the presenter Michael Wood refers to “famine-stricken refugees” in talking about 18th century British military campaigns in the South of India and, later in the Indian Holocaust-ignoring 6th episode, an image is given of a volume in the Indian National Library with the title “Famine”.
Just imagine the outcry in the West - and indeed around the World – if the BBC produced a lavish TV series entitled “The Story of Germany” and failed to mention its millennium history of massacring Jews and culminating in the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million dead, 1 in 6 dying from deprivation) and the WW2 Holocaust in general (30 million Slav, Jewish and Roma deaths).
Does the BBC somehow regard Indians or non-Europeans in general as somehow Lesser Creatures in deleting horrendous British atrocities from “The Story of India”?
Does the BBC secretly subscribe to the views of a succession of racist Englishmen who regarded Indians in much the same way as the German Nazis regarded Jews i.e. as untermenschen [sub-humans]? Here, with documentation, is a sample of 7 of those views – but before reading them see the following image of starving Indians in British India circa 1900: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26713/42/ (of course there are no such images in the BBC’s sanitized “The Story of India”). .
1. Lord Hastings (Lord Moira, Marquess of Hastings and Governor-General of India, 1813-1823) (1813): “The Hindoo appears a being nearly limited to mere animal functions and even in them indifferent. Their proficiency and skill in the several lines of occupation to which they are restricted, are little more than the dexterity of which any animal with a similar conformation but with no higher intellect than a dog, an elephant, or a monkey, might be supposed to be capable of attaining. It is enough to see this in order to have full conviction that such a people can at no period have been more advanced in civil policy.” .
2. Charles Dickens (circa 1857): “I wish I were Commander in Chief over there [India]! I would address that Oriental character which must be powerfully spoken to, in something like the following placard, which should be vigorously translated into all native dialects, “I, The Inimitable, holding this office of mine, and firmly believing that I hold it by the permission of Heaven and not by the appointment of Satan, have the honor to inform you Hindoo gentry that it is my intention, with all possible avoidance of unnecessary cruelty and with all merciful swiftness of execution, to exterminate the Race from the face of the earth, which disfigured the earth with the late abominable atrocities [2,000 British killed in the 1857 Indian War of Independence aka the 1857 Indian Mutiny]”. .
3. Report of the Indian Famine Commission 1880 (arguing against generous famine relief): “the great object of saving life and giving protection from extreme suffering may not only be as well secured, but in fact will be far better secured, if proper care be taken to prevent the abuse and demoralisation which all experience shows to be the consequence of ill-directed and excessive distribution of charitable relief.” .
4. Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India on the 1900 Indian Famine, January 1900 (arguing against generous famine relief): “In my judgement any government which imperilled the financial position of India in the interests of a prodigal philanthropy would be open to serious criticism. But any government which, by indiscriminate alms-giving, weakened the fibre and demoralised the self-reliance of the population would be guilty of a public crime.” .
5. Winston Churchill, speech to the House of Commons (1935): “In the standard of life they have nothing to spare. The slightest fall from the present standard of life in India means slow starvation, and the actual squeezing out of life, not only of millions but of scores of millions of people, who have come into the world at your invitation and under the shield and protection of British power.” .
6. Winston Churchill to Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India (1942): “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.” .
7. Winston Churchill (1953) (in an egregious act of Nobel Prize-winning Holocaust Denial in which he totally wipes out any mention of the 6-7 million Indians he deliberately starved to death in 1943-1945): “No great portion of the world population was so effectively protected from the horrors and perils of the World War as were the peoples of Hindustan. They were carried through the struggle on the shoulders of our small Island.” .
Here is a list of immense British atrocities in its over 2 centuries of genocidal mis-rule in India (substantially from 1757-1947) that were simply not noticed by the BBC’s TV series “The Story of India” (for detailed histories of India, details of British atrocities in India and detailed documentation see my books “Body Count” and “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History”). [1, 2].
1. 1769-1770 Bengal Famine (10 million dead).
2. Other pre-20th Century famines in British India, in particular those in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa (1769-1770), Rajasthan, Oudh and elsewhere in northern India (1782-84), Rajasthan, Bombay, Gujarat and north-western provinces (1812-1815), north-western provinces, Punjab and Rajasthan (1837-1838), Madras, Deccan, Bihar, Bengal and particularly Orissa (1866; 3 million dead), Rajasthan and northern India (1868-1870), and throughout much of India from Hyderabad to Rajasthan and the Punjab (1899-1900; millions dying).
3. 25 million Indian cholera deaths in 19 th century India due to British transmission of the disease from Bengal by rail and sea (and by sea around the world).
4. 1.5 billion Indian excess deaths in the period 1757-1947 (1.8 billion excess deaths in the British-dominated Native States are included).
5. 17 million Indians died in the Spanish influenza pandemic (1918-1923) out of a world total of about 50 million, this being exacerbated by the return of hundreds of thousands Indian soldiers from WW1 and British Empire commerce.
6. 1943-1945 Bengal Famine (first WW2 atrocity to be described as a “Holocaust” – by Jog in 1944; 6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death by the British under Churchill; see the 2008 BBC “confessional” broadcast involving myself, 1998 Economics Nobel Laureate Professor Amartya Sen of Harvard University, medical historian Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya, Wellcome Institute, University College London, and other scholars: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot/
bengalfamine_programme.html ). .
bengalfamine_programme.html ). .
How did the BBC’s “The Story of India” manage not to notice this 2 centuries of appalling carnage that is unprecedented in human history in its sheer magnitude?
The BBC’s TV version of “The Story of India” did qualitatively (if not quantitatively) notice Indian collateral damage in South Indian British wars and brutal British reprisals after the 1857 “Indian Mutiny”. In addition, the book version mentions the 1866 Orissa Famine (3 million dead) but attributes this to the El Nino meteorological phenomenon and makes passing reference to British administrative failure: “In the almost thirty years since the Mutiny they [educated Indians] had seen for themselves the failure of British government in many key areas, but especially in the basic one of providing food and security to the population” (p281).
What “The Story of India” resolutely ignores is the merciless British policy for over 2 centuries of keeping the Indian population on the edge of starvation (see Winston Churchill’s 1935 speech quoted above) – this deliberate strategy enabling a relatively small number of British troops and much larger numbers of well-fed Indian sepoys to keep several hundred million Indians subjugated.
What a disgrace! Tell everyone you can – because history ignored yields history repeated. South Asia is currently under immense threat from First World-imposed global warming. Many scientists now doubt that we can avoid further damaging temperature increases to over 2C above that in 1900. According to top UK climate scientist Dr James Lovelock FRS fewer than 1 billion people (mostly European) will survive the century due to First World profligacy and unaddressed man-made climate change – this translating to 10 billion deaths (mostly of non-Europeans, 3 billion Muslims, 2 billion Indians) in an already-commenced Climate Holocaust and Climate Genocide. .
Peace is the only way but silence kills and silence is complicity. Tell everyone you can (a) about Western holocaust commission and holocaust denial and (b) how they can act to help save India from a 2 billion-victim, First World-imposed Climate Genocide.
. Gideon Polya, “Body Count”, G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ and http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya .
. Gideon Polya, “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History. Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability”, G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ .
. Gideon Polya (2008), “Media lying over Churchill’s crimes. British-Indian Holocaust”, MWC News: http://mwcnews.net/content/view/26713/42/ .
. Lord Hastings (1813), Private Journal I, p30 quoted by Spear (1971), p198 [Spear, P. (1971) The Nabobs. A Study of the Social Life of the English in Eighteenth Century India (Peter Smith, Gloucester, Massachusetts)] and by Plumb (1963), p178 [Plumb, J.H. (1963), England in the Eighteenth Century (Penguin Books, London) ].
. Grace Moore (2004), Dicken and the Empire. Discourses of class, race, and colonialism in the works of Charles Dickens” (Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK): http://www.amazon.com/Dickens-Empire-
. Famine Commission Report (1880); quoted in Kachhawaha (1985), p32 [Kachhawaha, O.P. (1985), Famines in Rajasthan (1900 A.D. - 1947 A.D.) (Hindi Sahitya Mandir, Jodhpur)].
. Lord Curzon (January 1900) quoted in Edwardes (1967), pp230-231 [Edwardes, M. (1967), British India 1772-1947 (Sidgwick & Jackson, London)].
. Winston Churchill, Hansard of the House of Commons, Winston Churchill speech, Hansard Vol. 302, cols. 1920-21, 1935; quoted by Jog (1944), p195 [Jog, N.G. (1944), Churchill’s Blind-Spot: India (New Book Company, Bombay)].
. Winston Churchill (1944), in Diary of Amery (Secretary for India), September 9, 1942; quoted by Ziegler (1988), pp 351-352 [Ziegler, P. (1988), Mountbatten. The Official Biography (Collins, London) ].
. Churchill (1954), vol. 4, p181 [Churchill, W.S. (1954), The Second World War. Volumes I-VI (Cassell, London)].
. Dr Gideon Polya, Professor Amartya Sen, Dr Sanjoy Bhattacharya et al., BBC (2008), The things we forgot to remember. The Bengal Famine:: http://www.open2.net/thingsweforgot
. Gideon Polya (2009), “Letter to global warming-threatened Island States – take climate criminal Australia et al to ICC”, Bellaciao, 2009: http://bellaciao.org/en/spip.php?article18830 .
Dr Gideon Polya published some 130 works in a 4 decade scientific career, most recently a huge pharmacological reference text "Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds" (CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, New York & London, 2003: http://www.amazon.com/Biochemical-Targets-Plant-Bioactive-Compounds/dp/0415308291 ). He has recently published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2007: http://globalbodycount.blogspot.com/ and http://mwcnews.net/Gideon-Polya) and an updated 2008 version of his 1998 book “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History, Colonial rapacity, holocaust denial and the crisis in biological sustainability” (G.M. Polya, Melbourne, 2008: http://janeaustenand.blogspot.com/ ). He is currently teaching Biochemistry theory and practical courses to second year university agricultural science students at a very good Australian university.