'Winston Churchill is no better than Adolf Hitler,' says Indian politician Dr Shashi Tharoor

'Churchill has as much blood on his hands as Hitler does,' says author

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The Independent Online

An Indian politician has said Winston Churchill is no better than Adolf Hitler and the two leaders have equivalent amounts of “blood” on their hands. 

Dr Shashi Tharoor, whose new book Inglorious Empire chronicles the atrocities of the British Empire, said the former British Prime Minister should be remembered alongside the most prominent dictators of the twentieth century.

Dr Tharoor, a former Under-Secretary General of the UN, said the blame for the Bengal Famine rested with Churchill. In 1943, up to four million Bengalis starved to death when Churchill diverted food to British soldiers and countries such as Greece while a deadly famine swept through Bengal. 

“This [Churchill] is the man who the British insist on hailing as some apostle of freedom and democracy," the author told UK Asian at a launch for his book. "When to my mind he is really one of the more evil rulers of the 20th century only fit to stand in company of the likes of Hitler, Mao and Stalin".

“Churchill has as much blood on his hands as Hitler does,” the Indian MP said. “Particularly the decisions that he personally signed off during the Bengal Famine when 4.3 million people died because of the decisions he took or endorsed."

"Not only did the British pursue its own policy of not helping the victims of this famine which was created by their policies. Churchill persisted in exporting grain to Europe, not to feed actual ‘Sturdy Tommies’, to use his phrase, but add to the buffer stocks that were being piled up in the event of a future invasion of Greece and Yugoslavia”.

“Ships laden with wheat were coming in from Australia docking in Calcutta and were instructed by Churchill not to disembark their cargo but sail on to Europe,” he added. “And when conscience-stricken British officials wrote to the Prime Minister in London pointing out that his policies were causing needless loss of life all he could do was write peevishly in the margin of the report, ‘Why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?'"

Talking about the Bengal famine in 1943, the Prime Minister who led Britain to victory in World War Two, said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

Dr Tharoor, a former Indian government minister, rose to further prominence after his impassioned speech at the Oxford Union in July of 2015 went viral. In the address, he discussed the economic toll British rule took on India.

He said: "India's share of the world economy when Britain arrived on it shores was 23 per cent. By the time the British left it was down to below four per cent. Why? Simply because India had been governed for the benefit of Britain. Britain's rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India."

"In fact, Britain's industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialisation of India."

Dr Tharoor recently gained headlines for suggesting Britons suffer "historical amnesia” over the atrocities and plunder committed by the empire.

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