Throughout the famines that ravaged India during, and in the aftermath of, the Second World War, politicians and social reformers mobilized relief for the famine-afflicted through personal and institutional networks that cut across provincial, national and imperial borders. Contrasting strikingly with the disruption of personal, social, and economic connections caused by famines locally, these famines provided Indian social reformers and politicians an occasion to foster contacts, exchanges and collaborations across and beyond India. Zooming in on the Great Bengal famine of 1943, the paper will explore how the relief provided became entangled with the activities of various social and political movements, which employed humanitarianism and philanthropy as a means to express and to nourish solidarity with groups of people in Bengal. In the process, the definition and emphasis of the needs of specific social groups in Bengal allowed social and political movements to articulate political claims and demands. In doing so, the famine response in India’s eastern province took on a political function in Bengal, wider India and beyond. The paper begins its exploration in Bengal in 1943 and gradually extends its gaze beyond the province to explore how individuals and institutions in wider India, South East Asia, the British Empire and North America, became a part of the famine relief response in Bengal. Thereby, the paper wishes to add a case study from India to contribute to the panel’s discussion of the politics of global humanitarianism in Asia.