Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

bionic mosquito – The Cyclone

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2019

The English have treated India just like…they treat everyone else.

The Cyclone

Everyone in Midnapore dates the famine from the day of the cyclone, October 16, 1942.

Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II, by Madhusree Mukerjee

From the beginning of British rule until the mid-twentieth century, events transpired as one would expect regarding the colony: wealth transferred from colony to the empire; rebellions against foreign rule; suppressions against local protests; closing of the local congress.

Most important for this story: India went from being reasonably self-sufficient in food and grain to a significant exporter of these, to the benefit of other parts of the Empire. Life-expectancy was increasing in Britain while decreasing in India.

Inventory in food and grain was minimized from the beginning of the war. In the face of this, the cyclone; heavy rains and wind, strong enough to lift a man. The winds went from morning until midnight; the banks of the Rupnarayan River had burst, and the ocean swept in:

Salt water covered the entire landscape. The cyclone had destroyed virtually every tree and house on the horizon.

Huts collapsed; bodies – human and animal – floated by in the flood-waters; trees uprooted. Something between ten-thousand and thirty-thousand perished. Worst of all, the receding waters left a layer of sand that crushed the rice plants; the crop – expected to be harvested that winter – was gone. A difficulty in any circumstance; the beginning of a famine when years of forced export drained all inventory and stores.

No more cereal was going to be available for upward of a year – until the next crop could be sown in the monsoon of 1943 and harvested at the end of that December.

The government (British, of course) would not allow the release of boats for rescue; cyclone relief would be withheld until the people turned over stolen guns; private charity workers were arrested for attempting to provide aid.

By January 1943, a food crisis was raging in Bengal…

Be seeing you

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