1st Edition

Churchill and India Manipulation or Betrayal?

By Kishan S Rana Copyright 2023
    214 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    214 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    214 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    Churchill and India. It is a story where much is known but much remains concealed. A brilliant orator and a powerful leader, Winston Churchill stood against the tide of history. But how does postcolonial history view him? This book studies the extraordinary connection he had with India. Beginning with the early years of his career in India when he spent 22 months between 1896 and 1899 as a subaltern with the 4th Hussars, it traces his rise as a politician, his years as the Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Second World War, his profound distrust of the Indian Independence Movement, and his machinations in preserving the British Empire’s rule over India. Churchill’s failure to understand India and decolonization, and manipulation of events on the subcontinent add a different dimension to the man. His pervasive yet hidden shadow over the Indian subcontinent and his often-veiled role in the actions that led to Partition in 1947 are at the center of this study.

    Rich in archival sources, this book provides a fresh and holistic perspective on the final phase of the British Empire. It will be an indispensable resource to students and researchers of colonial history, imperialism, modern history, international history, Partition of India, and South Asian studies. It will also appeal to general readers interested in the history of Britain’s endgame in India.

    List of figures






    1 Agent of Empire, in pursuit of glory: (1896–1901): A rising politician: (1902–20)

    2 A mixed bag: India obsession (1921–29); constitutional windmills (1929–35); preoccupation with Europe (1935–39)

    3 World War II and India: 1939–45

    4 Britain’s endgame in India: Independence and after (1945–64); Churchill: final phase

    5 If and perhaps: A conclusion

    Afterword: The Bengal Famine






    Kishan S Rana is Former Ambassador of India. He is Emeritus Professor, DiploFoundation, Geneva and Malta; Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, India; and Archives By-Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge, UK.

    "Ambassador Rana has delved deep into the archives to put a spotlight on Winston' Churchill's enduring contempt and denigration of India and its people. More than that, the multiple wounds he inflicted on this country through his years as one of Britain's most influential political figures are exposed in all their searing hurt. More importantly, the author traces the often invisible lines of history that link many of our current adversities to the racist prejudices and bigotry of this acclaimed sentinel of the British Empire. This is historical scholarship at its best."

    Ambassador Shyam Saran, former Indian Foreign Secretary


    "More has been written about Winston Churchill than almost any other modern historic figure, but comparatively little has focused on his controversial and lifelong relationship with India, and even less has come from the pens of Indian writers. Drawing on his own career in politics and diplomacy, Kishan Rana is well placed to offer a different, new and important perspective."

    Allen Packwood, Churchill Archives Centre


    "This is the first comprehensive account and assessment of Churchill's long engagement with India. Thoroughly researched, carefully presented and well-judged, the book challenges the received wisdom on offer from both the admirers and critics of Churchill."      

     Srinath Raghavan, Eminent Historian and Author


    "The partition of India on communal basis and the gruesome carnage that accompanied it still reverberate in contemporary South Asian politics and culture… Kishan Rana, has provided a new perspectiv… he has focused on the personal impact that Winston Churchill -- soldier, journalist, academic, politician, and prime minister -- had on Indian affairs. Rana's study reveals a man deeply obsessed with India, with very clear and decided views about India's place at the heart of the British imperial order, and with strong racist and communal attitudes towards the Indian leaders then leading the freedom struggle…Rana's research shows Churchill's deep animosity for Gandhi and Nehru and Hindus in general, as also a consistent pro-Muslim bias and support for Jinnah and the separatist politics of the Muslim League…(it) provides a new perspective on a relatively under-researched aspect of our modern history and explains why the national freedom struggle culminated in the paroxysm of hatred and violence that haunts us to this day."

    Talmiz Ahmad, former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, Ram Sathe Chair for International Studies, Symbiosis International University, author of West Asia at War: Repression, Resistance and Great Power Games


    "The first account of Churchill's views about India over the course of his career, Rana's book reveals the complex background informing the ideas and decisions of a British statesman who played an important role in India's modern history."

    Faisal Devji, Professor of Indian History, University of Oxford