Dr. Abhijit Sarkar- who I assume to be of Hindu Bengali ancestry- is an upcoming academic who hopes to shift the blame for the Bengal famine onto the Hindu Mahasabha. He has a paper titled-' Fed by Famine: The Hindu Mahasabha’s politics of religion, caste, and relief in response to the Great Bengal Famine, 1943-1944.” Modern Asian Studies 54, 6 (14 February 2020), Cambridge University Press.' No doubt, his next scholarly achievement will be to blame Hindus for the Bangladesh famine.
This is the abstract of his paper
This article demonstrates how the 1943-44 Bengal Famine, and relief activism during it, fed the politics of the Hindu right.
Sarkar thinks that people starving to death should not be a political issue. Of course, Communists were welcome to seek to profit politically as were the Muslims who blamed the Hindus. The problem is that ICS officers have testified that a Muslim officer denied relief to a Congress dominated District for a purely political reason. The plain fact is that Hindus were not in power in the province. Congress politicians were generally behind bars as was Bose's elder brother who had propped up Fazl ul Haq. There were some Hindus in the Ministries but, apart from Syama Prasad Mukherjee, they were nonentities.
This aspect of the tragedy has not previously received much scholarly attention.
Because it is foolish. The Mahasabha, like most Hindus, wanted to divide the Province so as to escape Muslim domination. But they couldn't say so- just like Congress.
Using hitherto unused primary sources, Dr. Sarkar introduces a novel aspect to the study of communal politics, namely the propagation of Hindu communalism through food distribution during a humanitarian crisis.
Hindus did some food distribution. How very wicked of them! What led to Hindu communalism was Muslim communalism. The Hindus were repenting their previous opposition to Curzon's partition of the province.
Examining caste and class bias in private relief efforts,
is foolish. The primary sources are worthless.
this is the first in-depth study that process as it affected the Famine of 1943-44.
What is the point of doing an 'in-depth' study when the conclusion is foregone? Hindus are very evil. They iz totes Nazi. We get it.
The Hindu Mahasabha (All-India Grand-Assembly party) pursed the famine for political purposes.
No. They, like other Bengalis, reacted to a famine- caused by Japanese aggression- in political and other ways.
The party portrayed Muslim food officials as “saboteurs” in the food administration.
As did some ICS officers and other observers- including Communists.
It alleged that the Muslim League Bengal government was “creating” new Muslim grain traders, undermining the established Hindu traders.
Which was perfectly true. Shurawardhy gave the grain contract to the Ipsahanis. It is said that he wanted to include a couple of Hindus but the Ipsahanis refused to countenance any such thing.
It publicized the government’s failure to avert the Bengal famine
Which was bleeding obvious. People had dropped dead in the streets.
to prove the economic “unviability” of creating a separate Pakistan.
The alternative was to live in a Muslim majority Province- which is difficult to do if you keep getting stabbed coz you are an infidel.
This article also explores counter-narratives,
for example, that Hindu political leaders were deliberately impeding the food supply in the hope that starvation would compel Bengali Muslims to surrender their demand for Pakistan.
This is stupid shit. Hindus in Punjab and Bengal wanted to get the fuck away from the Muslim majority rather than wait to be killed or forcibly converted. Obviously, they couldn't say so. Similarly, people like Sarkar can't say 'Daddy and Mummy moved to You Kay due to India is a shithole'. On the other hand, when people like me speak in this vein, everybody says 'India is less of a shithole thanks to your leaving it. On the other hand, your little piece of England's green and pleasant now stinks of curry.'
The politics of religious conversion played out blatantly in famine relief. This began when the Mahasabha accused Muslim volunteers of converting starving Hindus to Islam in exchange for food.
Sarkar doesn't know that most Hindus have either fled or been converted in Pakistan and Bangladesh. He doesn't get that food has always been a weapon of the missionary.
It also demanded that Hindu and Muslim famine orphans should remain in Hindu and Muslim orphanages respectively.
Because kids in Muslim orphanages are brought up Muslim.
Finally, by dwelling on beef consumption by the army at the time of an acute shortage of dairy milk during the famine, the Mahasabha fanned communal tensions surrounding the orthodox Hindu taboo on cow slaughter.
But 'Gau Rakshak' committees had been operating in Bengal since the 1880's. Sarkar may not know that Cow Protection is a Directive Principle in the Indian Constitution. The plain fact is India is an overwhelmingly Hindu nation where it is Hindu, not Christian, or Muslim, 'sacred cows' which are protected by law. The Mahasabha was but the weak sister of Congress which pushed through draconian anti-beef laws in some States in the Sixties.
From the conclusion
“In general, during the Bengal famine, at the level of quotidian politics, the amount of private food-relief became proportional to the political dividends that a certain class, community, or caste was projected to yield.
No. Doing good can yield political dividends but in Bengal, the 1946 election showed that the reverse could was also true. Shurawardy, Minister of Civil Supply during the Famine, got the top job. What followed was 'Direct Action day'- i.e. ethnic cleansing.
When religious allegiance began to determine the thin line between life and death,
which only happened where Muslims were dominant- though Hindu Congressmen in Bihar showed that they had no aversion to shedding innocent blood. At least this is what both Gandhi and Nehru said. Obviously, they didn't actually suspend the Party membership of any such person. What's a little genocide between friends?
the already vitriolic communal politics in Bengal became even more toxic.
Overwhelming Muslim support for the League in the 1946 election made partition inevitable. This meant population exchange and ethnic cleansing. Why speak of 'toxicity' when not poison but daggers were killing hundreds of thousands of people? Incidentally, the carnage continued in East Pakistan and reached a peak in 1971 when no fucking Mahasabha was around.
Communalization and politicization of an indispensable prerequisite for human existence—food—
Occurred under elected Muslim premiers of Bengal. It didn't occur anywhere else.
inscribed communal hatred onto quotidian existence.
That hatred had existed since the first Islamic invasions of India. Killing kaffirs is always popular in some circles.
This in turn widened the already existing chasm in the Bengali society along the lines of religion.”
Nehru should have let Congress prop up a Fazl ul Haq Ministry. Quitting office in 1939 was a costly mistake. Still, the good news for him personally, was that Partition meant that Bengal and Punjab would have little influence on the Center.
Is it obligatory for Bengali Hindu origin academics to write anti-Hindu drivel about the Bengal Famine? Perhaps. No doubt, this is because food is withheld from them until they publish Sarkar level stupid shite.