FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1577 (a): Kutch|
|Documented causes: unspecified; maybe monsoon failure|
|Documented effects: official relief for upper classes|
|Lieut. Col. A.T. Etheridge, "Report on Past Famines in the Bombay Presidency" (1868) [Reports collected by local officials in all districts]|
|p25 [Kutch, by Metta Madhowjee Sheoram, "one of the Durbar's late Karbharees"]: "Sumvut 1635, A.D. 1577, was a year of great famine. Maha Rao Shree Khengarjee was then alive; but the affairs of the State were conducted by Rao Barmuljee on account of the former's old age. The measures adopted for the relief of the poorer classes are enumerated in the genealogy of the princes. The following couplets are quoted from that:-|
The meaning of these couplets is not very difficult, though I beg to explain it according to my abilities-
1. In the great famine of 1635, A.D. 1577, even very respectable men had to succumb to its influence. They were unable to support their children, and therefore Rao Bharmuljee, the son of Rao Khengarjee, extended his liberal protection to those gentlemen, and relieved them from their distress.
2. Several of the Jagheerdars possessing large Jagheers in this and in other countries came to Rao Bharmuljee in his palace. He received them kindly, and extended his liberal protection to all during the famine, which was very severe. These noblemen returned to their houses after matters had improved.
3. Beneath the place on which food was cooked for these gentlemen, there was a serpent's hole, in which a male and female serpent lived. The female serpent asked the male what had caused the great heat over their hole; the male serpent told her that the heat was caused by Rao Bharmuljee, the King of Bhooj, having ordered food to be cooked in large utensils for the people. This, however, is nothing but a figure of the poet.
... I do not know of any other famine until that of Sumvut 1803, A.D. 1746."
[It is possible that this famine was in 1579, not 1577. See 1579 entry.
|1577 (b): Punjab|
|Documented causes: drought|
|Documented effects: starvation; new city designed for water efficiency|
|Gurpreet Singh, "Soul of Sikhism" (2014)|
|p75: [one version of the beginnings of the city of Amritsar, traditionally founded in 1577; in this version, the site was part of a jagir estate given by Emperor Akbar to Bhani, daughter of the third Sikh Guru Amar Das, and wife of Jetha, who would later become the fourth Guru Ram Das] "Due to continuous drought there was no food for people, nor fodder for the animals and this problem could not be solved even by digging up a water-pond. So Guru Amar Das asked Jethaji to construct a city on a lower level so that water could be stored and harnessed. He also asked him to construct a water-pond so that the problem of potable water could be managed, and also to plant trees and grass all round the city so that food and famine problems could be solved once forever. So Jethaji left to find out a suitable venue. Ultimately, he constructed a city, with green trees and plants all around and dug up a water pond in the midst of the city in his wife's estate." …|