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Administering Colonialism and WarThe Political Life of Sir Andrew Clow of the Indian Civil Service$
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Colin R. Alexander

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199493739

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199493739.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 March 2021

The Indian Civil Service and the Bengal Famine of 1943

The Indian Civil Service and the Bengal Famine of 1943

(p.171) 5 The Indian Civil Service and the Bengal Famine of 1943
Administering Colonialism and War

Colin R. Alexander

Oxford University Press

The Bengal Famine of 1943 was the direct result of British Government policies in the years and months preceding it. The view most widely circulated by politicians and journalists during and immediately after the hunger and disease was that the loss of Burma to invading Japanese forces in the spring of 1942 had led to the cessation of rice shipments to Bengal. However, this chapter reveals that this narrative was a convenient rationale for the British as it deflected attention away from their responsibility and helped to demonize the Japanese enemy. Clow and his ICS colleagues were complicit and even leaders in this practice. Beyond this, the chapter engages with theories of famine and positions the events in Bengal within wider debates about this tragic phenomenon.

Keywords:   Bengal, famine, 1943, Amartya Sen, rice, hoarding, denial policy, refugees, starvation

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