FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1576 (a): Kashmir|
|Documented causes: early snow|
|Documented effects: heavy mortality, migration, voluntary slavery, cannibalism, official relief inadequate|
|R.K. Parmu, "A History Of Muslim Rule In Kashmir 1320-1819" (1969)|
|p261: "During the last three years of Ali Shah’s reign, Kashmir suffered the effects of a devastating famine and fire. The famine was caused in 1576 by a very early, heavy snow-fall when paddy was still standing in the fields. The chroniclers give a very gruesome account of the calamity. It is stated that thousands died for want of food.. Those who survived fed themselves on the dead, many bartered away their children in return for food, and many quitted the country. The king exhausted the resources of the state to alleviate the sufferings of his subjects, but the famine lasted for three years in all horror and destructiveness. To make confusion worse confounded the northern quarter of Srinagar was completely, gutted by fire causing enormous loss of life and property."|
[Footnote:] "Suka writes: ‘Once an elephant died at the gate of the king’s palace and many hungry people hurried there in haste, to be beforehand, and cut out pieces of meat from the carcase. A manufacturer of iron utensils killed a barber’s boy for food and cooked the flesh. The people were anxious to save their lives, and they went out to other countries.’ (Suka (Dutt), pp. 394-95 …)"
|Jogesh C. Dutt (trans. & comp.), "Kings of Kashmira" (vol. 3, 1898)|
|pp394-5: [Shuka's continuation of the history of the kings; events late in the reign of Ale Khan] "The king showed kindness to the timid, and his subjects amused themselves at their ease. But suddenly the sky became red on all sides, like the fierce fire that will appear at the end of the world; it prognosticated destruction by famine. The world showed symptoms of a calamity and trembled, as if unable to bear the weight of a famine. Heaps of dead bodies lay during famine in rows in every street, like the war-drums of Yama. There was no necessity then for gold or silver, and the vessels for preparing wine became as rare as the chintamani jewel. A certain housewife, who had become gaunt, flung aside her affection for her husband, drove away her son to a distance, and used to eat in secret. Though the son remained hungry, the daughter begged for food, and the husband was dying, the woman ate alone. Once an elephant died at the gate of the king's palace, and many hungry people hurried there in haste, to be beforehand, and cut out pieces of meat from the carcase and took them away. A manufacturer of iron utensils killed a barber's boy for food, cooked the human flesh and sold it. The people were anxious to save their lives, and they went out to other countries, leaving behind their houses, their wives and sons. ...|
The king went to heaven after having enjoyed pleasures for nine years, as if to convey there the tidings of the troubles which arose from famine."