On Monday, popular thirst trap and AAP MLA Raghav Chadha was in the news after his attempt to justify the humongous 70% ‘corona fee’ on liquor.
Unfortunately, he decided to quote Winston Churchill, a British politician who was an avowed racist, particularly against Indians.
Raghav Chadha wrote: “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” Churchill was not only a well-known orator, but a man who loved his drink, always being seen with a Johnny Walker Red Label and soda.
But for Chadha to quote a man who said: "I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”
But first a little background.
What is Delhi’s 70% tax?
In an order issued late on Monday night, the Finance Department imposed the fee, describing it as the 70 per cent of the maximum retail price on all categories of liquor sold through retail licensees for consumption "off" the premises.
Followed by the May 4 order from the Finance Department, the Excise Department also issued another order directing the shops to collect the Special Corona Fee on all categories of liquor sold in Delhi though the retail vends with immediate effect.
"The Delhi government has levied a Special Corona Fee -- 70 per cent of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) -- on all categories of liquor from the consumer at the Point of Sale by the retail vend licensees for consumption off the premises, which will be further reimbursed to the Government," the order signed by Deputy Commissioner (Excise) said.
It also asked the retailers to compile the data of the sale, saying the collected Special Corona Fee shall be reimbursed to the Government on a weekly basis.
"A copy of this order should be prominently displayed by the licensees at every vend before starting any liquor sale on Tuesday," the Excise Department said.
According to officials, the step will help in boosting the revenue, badly hit due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
While the liquor tax will have a host of implications including bootlegging from neighbouring states like UP and Haryana, quoting Churchill is the equivalent of an Israeli politician quoting Adolf Hitler to justify something.
Churchill – the racist and murderer
One of the perks of economically exploiting much of the world is that you seem to get away with it if you speak the English language and Churchill certainly got away with it.
This is why positive portrayals of Churchill still gets full marks, Academy awards even though his actions would rank with the most brutal dictators around.
Churchill’s policies were directly responsible for the death of 3 million Indians during the Great Bengal Famine of 1943 since he prioritised distributing military species and stopped rice imports to India. A study confirmed what critics have always said about Churchill. His actions were responsible for death and destruction in Bengal.
As MP and author Shashi Tharoor noted: “This is a man the British would have us hail as an apostle of freedom and democracy, when he has as much blood on his hands as some of the worst genocidal dictators of the 20th century. People started dying and Churchill said well it’s all their fault anyway for breeding like rabbits. He said ‘I hate the Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion’.”
In fact, when his critics pointed out his crimes to him, Churchill wrote that if people were dying of famines, ‘why hadn’t Gandhi died yet’.
He told the British cabinet: “Gandhi should not be released on the account of a mere threat of fasting. We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died."
Therefore, for an Indian politician to quote Churchill is terribly bad form. Raghav Chadha should really know better.