H C Singh

Defeat Of Churchill And Victory Of India

  In a recent book written by Arthur Herman ‘Churchill and Gandhi’, there are many aspects which reveal both Gandhi’s ideology and Churchill’s anti-Indian views because Gandhi wanted and worked for India’s independence while Churchill was on the other extreme to deny India independence by all means. Gandhi felt that independence was India’s birth right while Churchill worked hard in and out of Parliament to put obstacles in the way of India’s Freedom Movement. Churchill was convinced that if India won freedom “sun will set on British Empire” and this is what happened. Here are some enlightening facts.

Winston Churchill who was Prime Minister of UK during Second World War and remained so till the end of war was considered virtually by all the people of UK as savior of England as well as of British Empire. Accordingly after end of war, Churchill vehemently opposed India’s independence saying “I have not become His Majesty’s First Minister to preside over liquidation of Empire. Churchill thus considered, as his and British empires enemies all those Indians who were fighting for independence whether by Gandhi’s non violence or by taking up arms against the British like Subhash Bose of Indian National Army(INA). Accordingly when after the war PM Attlee of Labor Party tried to negotiate for independence of India, though at that time as a Dominion, Churchill started through Jinnaha, to create problems for unity of India and even went so far as to encourage Jinnaha to demand a separate state for Muslims (Pakistan) with all the Muslim majority provinces including whole of Punjab and entire Bengal.

Churchill was convinced that if India gains independence, it will herald end of British Empire all over the world. Therefore Churchill and Gandhi were irreconcilable opponents throughout, particularly after 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

It is best to know how Winston Churchill grew up. Winston’s father, Randolf and his mother ignored him even during his illness. Later Churchill said about his father, “He treated me as if I had been a fool: barked at me whenever I questioned him… He wouldn’t listen to me or consider anything I said”. This type of bringing up made Winston, like his father, Lord Randolf Churchill who was Secretary of State for India in 1885.So Winston became more self-centered and aggressive than his father. Even at the young age of twelve Winston was called by his teacher: “The naughtiest little boy in the world”.

From 1920 to 1936-37 Churchill considered Gandhi a “fakir” and “fanatic”, a threat to British rule in India. He became a threat to everything Churchill believed in and in the end Churchill would fight him with everything he had. (Arthur Herman).

As war clouds gathered in 37-38, Churchill feared Axis between Germany and Japan. He got worried about Japan’s military effort in the East just as that of Germany against England and rest of Europe except Italy. Thus Churchill to keep India on British side had couple of dinner talks with G D Birla in July 1937 to apprise him of Japan’s dangerous intentions about India. Churchill discussed with Birla for two hours. “Well a big experiment has begun” Churchill asserted meaning the new Indian constitution (1935 Act).

For the first time because of danger of imminent war by Germany, Churchill “swore” that he had not said a word against India Act since the King had signed it. Churchill even said that viceroy of India had invited me to visit India “I will go” if Mr. Gandhi also desires it. He even told Birla that he had great respect for Gandhi. The statement of Churchill was in complete contrast to what he said and meant for the last 20 years about Gandhi. Thus when in September 1938 Churchill heard PM Chamberalin going to meet Hitler at Munich to sign an agreement with Hitler,Churchill lost control and said: “This is end of British Empire” The agreement was duly signed.

Gandhi said “Peace has been preserved but at he cost of honour”. But 41 year old Subhash Bose announced “The time has come, for Indians to take advantage of it”.

But in mid March just six months after the signing of agreement, Hitler’s army invaded Czech capital. All England wanted Churchill to be at helm to lead Britain in war against Hitler. Accordingly at first Churchill was included in the Cabinet. In May 1940 he “pushed the door of Downing street” and was PM. Chamberlein and many had preferred Holifax to be PM but Holifax realized Churchill potential on the war and said “I think Winston is better choice”. There were shouts against Chamberalin and demand to resign, “Go, in gods name go”. This is how Churchill became PM.

During Second World War India decided to fight for India’s independence through mass satyagraha i.e. agitations and civil disobedience. Viceroy Linlithgo, unlike Churchill, wanted some compromise, some promise of independence after war. Gandhi met Linlithgo before launching the mass agitation and told the viceroy “He would encourage every Indian to refuse to support the war effort”.

The fall of Singapore, virtually without a fight by British officers and Indian Army heralded the end of British Empire in India and South East Asia. Fall of Singapore was first and greatest shock to Churchill as PM as Japanese had sunk both the ships ‘Prince of Wales’ and ‘Rapulse’. Next shock was for Churchill and his war cabinet during the headlong flight from Burma. “He got worried whether Indians will help Britain in their war effort. Even more frightening possibility was that Indians would rise up against British workers and join the Japanese. One man was already working to make that happen ‘Subhash Chandra Bose’ Head of INA in Singapore “worshiped Bose as God”.

Bose spoke the language of Indian manhood and heroic self confidence…..like Churchill, Bose was committed to waging war to the hilt to win that struggle (independence for India) Bose famous and inspiring words became a maxim “Give me blood and I will give you independence”.

India, wrote Leo Amery who was Secretary to State for India during Second World War, “when the conflict between Indian nationalism reached climax particularly in 1942. Churchill had “wholly uncontrollable complex” Churchill’s outburst were sometimes so intemperate that Amery wondered in his diary if ‘on the subject of India he (Churchill) is really quote sane”.

Though Churchill one of the greatest British politicians and Prime Minister, he was also a great British writer on Political History and won Noble Prize, but he was utter failure so far his hatred for Gandhi, India and Indian Independence was concerned. Despite Churchill’s all efforts like encouraging and helping Jinnaha and to an extent Mountbatten, though at cost million of lives in partition riots India won Independence on 15th August 1947. It was a day of India’s victory and Churchill’s personal defeat.

March 10, 2010 Posted by | Achievers, India, Indian History, Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, Political Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments