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Monday 12 February 2024

Exploring History's Forgotten Tragedy: "Three Million" - A BBC Documentary Series

Prepare to delve into one of history's most overlooked tragedies with "Three Million," a groundbreaking five-part documentary series set to air on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. Hosted by award-winning creator and presenter Kavita Puri, known for her acclaimed work on BBC Radio 4's "Partition Voices" and "Three Pounds in My Pocket," this series sheds light on the devastating impact of the Bengal famine during the Second World War, where at least three million lives were lost in British India.

Drawing from extraordinary firsthand accounts and meticulously curated archival materials from across the globe, Puri reconstructs the harrowing events of the Bengal famine, which stands as one of the largest losses of civilian lives on the Allied side of the war. Through the voices of farmers, fishermen, artists, writers, civil servants, soldiers, and everyday citizens who experienced the famine firsthand, Puri unveils the human cost of this catastrophic event, offering insights that have never been broadcast before.

Set against the backdrop of Kolkata in the summer of 1943, a city divided between the bustling presence of Allied soldiers and the silent suffering of famine-stricken refugees, "Three Million" paints a vivid portrait of a tragedy that has long been relegated to the shadows of history. As Puri pieces together the puzzle of what transpired, she uncovers new revelations and examines the challenges of remembrance in the present day.

Puri reflects on the urgency of capturing these testimonies before they vanish with the diminishing generation who lived through the war, emphasizing the absence of memorials or recognition for the millions who perished during the Bengal famine. With a commitment to amplifying the voices of those whose stories have been overlooked, "Three Million" stands as a poignant tribute to the forgotten victims of history.

Dan Clarke, Commissioning Editor for Radio 4, praises Puri's immersive approach in bringing these stories to life, highlighting the series' focus on honoring the lives lost in this tragic event. Jon Zilkha, Controller of World Service English, echoes Clarke's sentiments, emphasizing the significance of sharing these untold stories with a global audience.

"Three Million" promises to be a compelling journey into a chapter of history that demands to be remembered. Available on BBC Sounds from February 23rd, BBC Radio 4 from February 25th, and BBC World Service English from March 2nd, this series is a testament to the power of storytelling in uncovering the truths of our past. Tune in and discover the untold stories of the Bengal famine, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Produced by BBC News Long Form Audio, with Ant Adeane as producer, Emma Rippon as editor, and Eloise Whitmore handling sound design and mixing, "Three Million" offers a stirring blend of historical insight and personal narrative that will leave a lasting impact on listeners worldwide.

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