Bengal Famine Of 1943: Reanalyzing Relations Between India and Britain in the 20th Century



  • Understand the context leading up to the Bengal Famine of 1943 and its causes
  • Understand the role of imperial policies and practices in the greater context of India’s
    history and world history
  • Strengthen analytical and investigative skills through discussion and interpretation of
    primary sources


The history of India and Britain’s relationship is very important to understand what imperialism is and how it has impacted the world. It is also critical to understand the impact that colonial decisions and policies had on Indians; this history coincides with other key events including World War II. In this lesson, we will specifically discuss the Bengal Famine of 1943, which is a tragedy that occurred when India was still under British control. This event is a culmination of many aspects, perspectives, and failures of history, so we will spend some time learning about the causes, effects, and current impacts. For more background knowledge, please consult the Teacher Introduction Resource. To prepare for the discussion, teachers may want to consult the Difficult Conversations Webinar.


  1. Why is it important to discuss the true causes of the Bengal Famine of 1943?
  2. What role did racist beliefs play in the denialism policy of the British government on the Bengal Famine?
  3. Why is the Bengal Famine is not often discussed in today’s world?