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FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
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1585 etc.: The paradox of plenty
Documented causes: large surplus of food
Documented effects: price crash; official rent reductions

1585: Abu'l-Fazl (trans. H. Beveridge) "The Akbar Nama" (vol. 3, 1939)
p699 (events of 1585 CE): " at this time, there was a great gift from the Caliphate (Akbar's court), and many households obtained relief. Owing to the right-thinking of the world's lord, things became cheap, and on this account the government share pressed rather hardly on the cultivators. H.M. remitted in the provinces of Allahabad, Oudh and Delhi one in 5 shares of the spring crop, and one-fifth share in the hawali [Footnote: "That is the home-lands, or lands in the neighbourhood of the city"] of Allahabad. For the autumn crop he remitted one-sixth in the provinces of Allahabad and Oudh. In the khalsa lands this amounted to 7 krors, 7 lakhs, 47,062 dams. From this some estimate may be made of the condition of the fief-holders. This bounty relieved the agriculturists, and much gratitude was expressed."
[Footnote: "Apparently the meaning is that owing to Akbar's beneficial rule grain became cheap, and consequently the peasantry found it difficult to pay in money the government revenue."]
1586: Abu'l-Fazl (trans. H. Beveridge) "The Akbar Nama" (vol. 3, 1939)
p749 (events of 1586 CE): One of the occurrences was an instance of great liberality on the part of the Court. Owing to the goodness of the administration, grain became very cheap in the provinces of Allahabad, Oudh and Delhi, and it was difficult for the cultivators to pay the revenue (lit. the cost, 'pa ranj,' of protection). The just sovereign remitted one-sixth. In the Khalisa lands this amounted to four crors, five lakhs, sixty thousand and five hundred and ninety-six dams (45,60,596 [I presume these figures are inserted by the translator; I would have put 4,05,60,956]). From this, some estimate may be made of the reduction to the jagirdars. A multitude of men obtained relief, and formed assemblies for thanksgivings and rejoicings.
[Footnote: "... The Iqbalnama also refers to the subject, and says the price of grain became so low that the ryots were unable to pay their rent. An order was therefore issued to remit one-sixth on the khalisa lands, which caused a loss of 4 krors, 5 lakhs, 60,000 dams = 10 lakhs, 14,000 rupis. The fief-holders were also enjoined to make a similar reduction on their estates. Both A. F. and the author of the Iqbalnama say that from the figures for the khalisa lands, the amount of remission on the fiefs may in some measure be estimated. In the A'yin the khalisa and the fief revenues for each Sarkar are given, but if we total the revenue for the three provinces of Allahabad, Oudh and Delhi, and then deduct one-sixth, the amount of the remission comes to many more than four krors. Probably no remission was made where the revenue was payable in kind."]
1588: Abu'l-Fazl (trans. H. Beveridge) "The Akbar Nama" (vol. 3, 1939)
p812 (events of 1588 CE): "One of the occurrences was a great act of liberality on the part of the Shahinshah. Owing to civilisation and justice there was a great cheapness of articles so that it was difficult for the peasantry in some provinces to pay the revenue. Accordingly in the spring instalment for the provinces of Agra and Delhi a deduction of one-sixth was made, and for the autumn instalment a deduction was made of one in 4 and in Agra, Oudh, and Delhi of one-fourth. In the exchequer lands this came to 19 krors, 32 lakhs, 80,175 dams. From this an estimate can be made of the amount of the reduction in the fiefs."
1590: Abu'l-Fazl (trans. H. Beveridge) "The Akbar Nama" (vol. 3, 1939)
p875 (events of 1590 CE): "On the 4th [of Ardibihist: late April] a great boon was granted by H.M., and numbers of men were comforted. On account of the extent of cultivation, and the goodness of the administration, prices fell very low, and many cultivators were unable to pay the government revenue. In the provinces of Allahabad, Agra, Oudh, Delhi, and the Sarkars of Saharanpur and Budaon, one-eighth was remitted, and in Sarkars Sirhind and Hisar one-tenth. In the Khalsa (exchequer or crown-lands) this came to 7 krors, 97 lakhs, 81,800 dams."
1593: Abu-l Fazl 'Allami (trans. H. Blochmann) "A-in-i Akbari" (vol. 1, 1927)
p217: "In 1002 [AH, =1593-4 CE], special orders were given ... The following are new:- ...
'At the time of famines and distress, parents were allowed to sell their children, but they might again buy them, if they acquired means to pay their price'."
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