FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1696 (a) [to 1697]: Marwar to north Gujarat|
|Documented causes: drought, then pests|
|Documented effects: "disastrous"- including migration|
|"A History of Gujarat: Vol. II. The Mughal Period from 1573 to 1758" (1957)|
|p188: The last reference to a famine during the reign of Aurangzeb relates to the year 1696-7, when all North Gujarat and Marwar were in the throes of a disastrous drought, so that, as the historian says, "from Patan to Jodhpur neither water nor grass was to be found." [Mirat-i-Ahmadi, I, 325, 329, 336] ... These natural calamities, following each other in such close succession, must have gone far to diminish the reputation for plenty and prosperity that the province had enjoyed for many generations as the "garden of India".|
|B.L. Bhadani, "Economic Conditions in Marwar in the Second Half of the 17th Century" (PhD thesis, 1981)|
|p109: "It seems that a prolonged period of devastation from famine began from 1696. In Sanchor a partial failure of the rain destroyed the kharif crop while the rabi was irrigated by wells. In 1697 the people of Sanchor suffered from a great famine and large numbers died of starvation. [Sources: Muhta Nainsi, ed. Narain Singh Bhati, "Marwar-ra-Pargana-ri-Vigat" (vol. II, 1969) p368, Appendix 1(a); Jai Chand [aka Shri Jaichand], ed. Muni Kanti Sagar, "Saiki" (1963) pp52-8]|
|Jaichand (as Jati Jaichand) "Diary" (selected passages translated in B M Jawalia, S L Choudhary, and Y L Nene, "Food Security in Rajasthan with Specific Reference to the Marwar Region During the 17th and 18th Centuries" in journal "Asian Agri-History", vol. 5, 2001)|
|p279-80: "1696. Symptoms of famine were evident in the beginning and the grains became costly. The rate of pearl millet was 13 payalis per rupee. Ghee in Samiyana was available at the rate of 7 seers per rupee and raw sugar (gur) at the rate of 16 seers per rupee. Grains were brought from other provinces on the backs of camels and bullocks. Those who migrated towards Gujarat were comfortable.|
1697. There was famine in Jaisalmer, Badhmer (Barmer), Kotada (in Jalore district), and Umarkot (now in Pakistan). It spread up to Saitrave, Samiyana, Jodhpur, and Nagaur. In Bikaner region grain was available at the rate of 8 seers per rupee. It was available weighing only about 8 paise (weight) on cash payment. Elsewhere grains were not available even on cash payment; these were weighed in exchange of gold and silver.
1698. There were good rains. Seeds were sown in every inch of cultivable land and grain yields were abundant. However, locusts destroyed crops and the grains became costly."
|1696 scarcity: Circars / Andhra Pradesh|
|Documented causes: war|
|Documented effects: migration; business disruption|
|"Records of Fort St. George: Letters From Fort St. George for 1696" (1921)|
|p30 (letter from staff at Fort St. George to President & Council at Fort St. David, 14 Apr 1696): ... "Understanding by Vincatee Yo'r Dubash that Grain and wood is scarce and Dear w: you, we have ordered the bringing 100,000 Sticks of firewood and 40 or 50 Garse of Rice and paddy to be sent you for Stores by the King William ..."|
pp35-6 (letter from staff at Fort St. George to chief & council at Vizagapatam, 9 May 1696): "... we are sorry to hear Yo'r Merch'ts cannot (thro the Scarcity of Cotten and troubles of the Country) comply w'th their whole Contract in time ... there is a necessity for getting as much Cloth as posible by the latt'r end of August or begining of Septemb'r: Reject none that is fitt for Europe Marketts but take all att abatements proportionable to the Goodness."
p95 (letter from staff at Fort St. George to chief & council at Vizagapatam, 6 Oct 1696): "... ye Merch'ts small performance this year gives little reason to expect [. .]00 bales from both places, because of the so long continuance of the war between the Moors and Morattas (who only take turns to rob the Country) and the great scarcity and dearness of Cotton ..."
|1697: "Records of Fort St. George: Diary and Consultation Book of 1697" (1935)|
|p15 (consultation of 26 Feb 1697): "Considering the impediments of ye Trade in Bengall the issue whereof is uncertaine, and the scarcity and difficulty of procureing Cloth on the Coast, It is resolved that all the long Cloth and Sallampor's, brought by the Merchants either here at Fort St. David or Vizagapatam bee sorted and received makeing due abatements proportionably to the worsnesse ..."|
[This reduction in quality appears to imply a crisis among the weavers, presumably related to the 1696 war; the wording does not necessarily indicate that the crisis directly affected Bengal, merely that trade there is, in general, challenging.]