FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1641 (a) [or 1642]: Kashmir|
|Documented causes: heavy rain|
|Documented effects: migration; official relief effort bungled and restarted; Sikh charitable aid|
|R.K. Parmu, "A History Of Muslim Rule In Kashmir 1320-1819" (1969)|
|pp318-9: "In 1641, during the governorship of Tarbiyat Khan, Kashmiris suffered great hardships as a result of famine. It was caused by heavy and continuous rainfall which destroyed the shali crop. The scarcity of foodstuffs became so acute that over 30,000 people migrated to Lahore. In utter distress they presented themselves before Shahjahan and appealed for relief. Their wretched condition touched him so much that he gave them a lakh of rupees in cash and also ordered that ten kitchens should be opened to provide free cooked food for them as long as they remained in Lahore. He also sent thirty thousand rupees to Tarbiyat Khan to be distributed among the destitute in Srinagar and also ordered that five centres should be opened in the valley to provide free food for the needy. But Tarbiyat Khan failed to cope with the situation. He was replaced by Zafar Khan whom the emperor provided with an additional sum of 20,000 rupees for relief work. Zafar Khan fought the crisis satisfactorily."|
[Footnote on source] "Lahauri, Basahahnama (Bib. Ind.), Vol. II, pp. 282-83"
|'Inayat Khan "The Shah Jahan nama of 'Inayat Khan" (trans. A.R. Fuller et al., 1990)|
|pp291-2: [events of 1051 AH (1641-2 CE)- not precisely dated, but narrated after events of early 1642] "... a severe famine fell upon the territory of Kashmir, so that a vast number of the poor and indigent of that region were forced to emigrate and come with their wives and families to the capital of Lahore, where they proceeded to supplicate beneath the royal-balcony.|
On being informed of the state of affairs, His Majesty, with the innate liberality of his charitable disposition which he was ever exercising for the welfare of his people, disbursed one lakh of rupees in alms on those wretched victims of fortune- who numbered upwards of 30,000 souls, both men and women, young and old.
The Emperor directed that as long as that multitude remained at the capital, 200 rupees worth of prepared meals would be daily issued from two different places at his own expense. He also sent 30,000 rupees to Tarbiyat Khan, the governor of Kashmir, for distribution among those who from utter destitution had not the means of emigrating. An edict was moreover promulgated to the effect that 100 rupees worth of meals should be bestowed daily upon the poor and needy from five different places in Kashmir at His Majesty's private expense.
Unfortunately, the above named Tarbiyat Khan was found incapable of managing the affairs of that famished population. Accordingly, His Majesty deputed in his stead Zafar Khan, father to the writer of these pages, who had formerly held the government of that country for some years and who by his excellent administration had always caused the natives to be contented and grateful towards him."
|Parkash Singh, "The Sikh Gurus and the Temple of Bread" (1971)|
|p82: "The Guru [i.e. Hargobind, the sixth Guru] was always very happy to see his Sikhs making offering or spending them in the name of God. Once a deputation from Kashmir waited on the Guru, and requested him to send Bhai Garhia, to Kashmir as a preacher. Bhai Garhia was a liberal and humble man and was always engaged in meditating or singing hymns or serving the people. Guru Hargobind sent him to Kashmir. Whatever offerings Bhai Garhia received, while in Kashmir, he spent in the Guruís name. At the time of his departure he gave a very big feast in honor of his spiritual Master, which was shared by hundreds of Sikhs who came from far and near. Bhai Garhia had collected thousands of rupees as tithe from the devout Sikhs. But before he left for Amritsar a famine broke out in that area and hard times came upon the poor. Bhai Garhia spent all the money in distributing provisions among the poor and the needy, saving only one rupee and a quarter as a token of the collection he had made. Reaching back home, he offered the amount at the feet of the Guru and prayed: "Excuse me, O Lord! For all the amount which I had collected I have spent away on feeding the poor and the famine stricken people." The Guru smiled and said, "I am pleased on what you have done. The tithe you collected reached me direct when you were feeding the needy." The Guru then gave him back the amount he had saved as offerings and blessed him with these words: "Go back to your village and start a Langar; and I bless you. You will never be short of money."|