Book Discussion | CHURCHILL AND INDIA: Manipulation or Betrayal? | 1st February 2023 @ 3 P.M. IST | Zoom Webinar

01 Feb 2023
Amb. Kishan S. Rana
Venue: Zoom Webinar
Time: 3:00 PM

This Book Discussion would essentially be in the Q&A format between the author, Kishan Rana and the Chair, Ravi Bhoothalingam. Since the focus is on the book, the Seminar will commence with a 10-12 minute statement by the author about the book and its arguments, followed by an interaction between the author and the Chair. The seminar would then be opened up for comments and questions from the floor.


Abstract of the Book & Talk

This is the first among a couple of thousand books to examine the full panorama of Winston Churchill’s India connections, which divide into four phases that are explored in the book. It starts with the 3 years as a cavalry subaltern (1896-99), a formative phase when he planned his political career. In 1929, when his Tory Party was in the opposition, he rebelled against its position on gradual self-rule in India, starting with provincial devolution. His 6-year futile struggle against the India Act of 1935 isolated him from his own party colleagues, leaving him in the political wilderness in 1929-39. The outbreak of WWII brought him back into the Cabinet and he served as Prime Minister from Feb 1940 to August 1945. Churchill engaged in aberrant actions, including gross lies about the Indian National Movement’s intentions, plus several threats to resign over India policy. By early 1942, it was clear that the British Empire was at an end. Ostrich-like, Churchill was in denial, even while scheming with Jinnah on a Muslim homeland. Placing the entire leadership of the National Movement in prison and isolation, from August 1942 to mid-1945, he did nothing to prepare for that end phase, and the inevitable Partition. This was his supreme folly. Churchill bears responsibility for doing nothing to counter the mismanagement in British India during the Great Indian Famine of 1942-44, and his extended refusal to provides ships to bring food grains that Australia and Canada were willing to donate. Willful mismanagement, indifference to mass starvation in East India, and gross failure to plan the end of Empire, these are the serious charges that stand against Churchill. They are a major failure, a gross black spot, in what is otherwise a great life of remarkable achievement.


About the Speaker

Amb. Kishan S. Rana was associated with the Indian Foreign Service for over 35 years, i.e., from 1960 to 1995. During his tenure he has worked in the Indian Embassy, Beijing. He has served as the Ambassador and High Commissioner to Algeria, Czechoslovakia, Kenya, Mauritius, and Germany. He has also been posted as the Consul General in San Francisco. He is an Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi. He has authored multiple books like Diplomacy of the 21st Century (2011), The Contemporary Embassy (2013) and Diplomacy at the Cutting Edge (2016)


About the Chair & Discussant

Mr. Ravi Bhoothalingam, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi; Founder and Chairman, Manas Advisory, Gurgaon. He has served as an independent director on several corporate boards including those of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., Sona Koyo Steering Systems Ltd. and Kuoni India Ltd. He has also been a member of the Court of Governors of the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad and on the Advisory Boards of Genesis India Ltd and Transearch India. Further, he has written extensively about the application of science and psychology toward enhancing the level of understanding between India and China.

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