By Janam Mukherjee
The years major as much as the independence and accompanying partition of India mark a tumultuous interval within the historical past of Bengal. Representing either a massive entrance within the Indian fight opposed to colonial rule, in addition to an important Allied outpost within the British/American battle opposed to Japan, Bengal stood on the crossroads of advanced and contentious structural forces - either family and overseas - which, taken jointly, outlined an period of political uncertainty, social turmoil and collective violence.
While for the British the overarching precedence used to be to save lots of the empire from approaching cave in at any expense, for almost all of the Indian inhabitants the Nineteen Forties have been years of acute shortage, violent dislocation and enduring calamity. specifically there are 3 significant crises that formed the social, financial 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 battle and famine so one can examine the complicated nexus of starvation, battle and civil violence in colonial Bengal on the twilight of British rule.
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Additional resources for Hungry Bengal: War, Famine and the End of Empire
P. in Calcutta and its surrounding suburbs, most importantly the docks at Kidderpore and the industrial belt spanning both sides of the River Hooghly. The Commissioner of the Presidency Division43 was appointed Chair of the coordinating committee, and District Magistrates of Howrah, Hooghly and the 24 Parganas were responsible for development in their respective jurisdictions. The municipality of Calcutta was to be managed by the Commissioner of Police—a delegation of authority that created an outcry.
What was at stake for participants? What historical variables influenced the course of events? And why was the violence so pervasive? ”17 The received wisdom on the riots, she contends, has proven insufficient: “everyone who describes these killings, runs for the shelter of communalism to explain the inexplicable, or more accurately the unacceptable, face of violence. ”18 The most commonly advanced theory to explain the Calcutta riots of 1946—which represented a scale of urban violence entirely unprecedented in India—is the acrimony between Congress and the Muslim League that followed in the wake of Britain’s failed Cabinet Mission in the summer of 1946.
The Calcutta Riots That the Calcutta riots of 1946 (often referred to as the “Great Calcutta Killings”) were a catalyst and point of departure for the catastrophic violence that accompanied the partition of India, is a fact that is widely acknowledged by many historians, but about the Calcutta riots themselves very little has been written. Not a single full length monograph has been published, and minimal scholarship exists. Very little of anything that has been written on the topic, moreover, gives any plausible explanation of the extent and ferocity of the cataclysmic violence that devastated the city in August 1946.