FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1741 (a): eastern Tamil Nadu|
|Documented causes: drought; Maratha invasion / looting|
|Documented effects: migration|
|Fort St. George, "Public Consultations, 1741" [aka "Consultations and Diary Book"] (1916)|
|p13 (consultation of 12 Jan 1741): [comparison of Madras sea customs statistics for 1739 and 1740 shows decreases both for goods and grain, due to circumstances elsewhere:] "The decrease on grain is from the scarcity to the southward which drew most of the grain ships and vessels to those markets."|
p80 (consultation of 28 May 1741): "The Company's merchants not having brought in any cloth lately or taken any money in advance, they were ordered to attend, and being called in and discoursed concerning the investment, alledged that it could not be thought strange they had not brought in any cl[oth] for some months past, as every body had been in continual dread and apprehensions that the Morattas would overrun this province as soon as they had taken Tritchanopoly, and though they had taken another rout and were returned towards their own country without coming again into this province, yet many of the weavers and spinners who had fled from the towns and villages in the country were not yet returned to their habitations, besides that the danger upon the roads had been a great hinderance to the bringing of any quantities of cotton and cotton yarn from the distant countries by which means those two necessary articles were become very dear, and scarce, in so much that the natives found a difficulty in getting cloth made sufficient for their own wear. …"
p163 (consultation of 21 Dec 1741): [investigation of complaints from the bag, bamboo and head cooleys of Madras, that Fort St. George pays them less than other Madras customers] "The bamboo cooleys ... desired us further to represent that as their number is considerably reduced by the famines that have happened and other accidents, that none of them may be obliged to perform other work or be taken off the service particular to this set of people."
[Council agrees increased pay rates]
|"Correspondance du Conseil Supérieur de Pondichéry et de la Compagnie ... 1739-1742" (Vol. 3, c1921)|
|p338 (31 Dec 1741, responses to Company queries dated 18 Feb 1741): "Le riz vaut actuellement 56 pagodes la garce, et le coton 37 pagodes le bar; les pluies ont manqué cette année aux environs d'icy, et quoiqu'il en ait tombé de considérables dans l'intérieur du pays, nous avons lieu d'appréhender une famine. Nous avons recours à Karikal pour nous procurer du riz, la récolte sera très abondante dans le Tanjaour."|
p393 (24 Jan 1742, report on the previous year): "Dans la crainte d'une disette de grains à cause du manque de pluies, nous prierons Mrs du Conseil de Chandernagor de nous renvoyer le plus tôt qu'ils pourront le vaisseau le Fleury, chargé de riz; comme il est grand, il doit nous en apporter une forte quantité."
|Col. G.B. Malleson "History of the French in India: from the founding of Pondichery in 1674 to the capture of that place in 1761" (2nd ed. 1909)|
|p96 (1741): "On assuming the Government of Pondichery, Dupleix found the settlement suffering from the effects of the Maratha invasion. These marauding warriors, where they had not eaten up the land, had, by the fact of their presence, prevented its being tilled, and now the misery of famine had succeeded to the desolation of war. Added to this, the Karnatik was in a condition bordering upon anarchy. Safdar Ali had only rid himself of the anticipated rivalry of Chanda Sahib to fall into the real clutches of Nizamu-l-Mulk, the Subadar of the Dakhan, who loudly called upon him for the arrears of revenue, due by him as a vassal of the Mughal."|
p103 (1741): "The Karnatik suffering from the famine caused by the invasion of the Marathas ; Chanda Sahib a prisoner at Satara; his brother-in-law, Nawwab Safdar Ali, pressed by his feudal superior, the Subadar of the Dakhan, for arrears of revenue: such was the condition of the Karnatik in the middle of 1741. It was worse for the people than for the ruler. The people had been plundered and were starving. Safdar Ali, on the contrary, had had his treasures well guarded at Pondichery. Notwithstanding his professions, he had still abundance of wealth to pay up the arrears demanded by the Subadar. But he did not choose to pay them."