FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1760 scarcity: Kochi & Travancore area|
|Documented causes: unspecified|
|Documented effects: restrictions on grain export|
|A.J.M. Heijligers, "Press List of Ancient Dutch Records from 1657 to 1825" (1825)|
|p69: "1760. 14th Jan. Cochin [=Kochi, Kerala]. Request of the King of Travancore to send grain, which is not done on account of the reigning scarcity and impending famine."|
[This was probably a spread of the drought which had already afflicted the Coromandel Coast (see 1759)]
|1760 scarcity: Calcutta area|
|Documented causes: alleged maladministration|
|Documented effects: replacement of Nawab of Bengal|
|J. Long, "Selections from unpublished records of government ... Bengal" (vol. 1, 1869)|
|pp205-6 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 18 Feb 1760): "Agreeable to the orders of last Council, the Sea Custom Master delivers in a report of grain in the Settlement, by which it appearing that there is a prospect of a deficiency for the consumption of the inhabitants.- Ordered the Secretary to give public notice that the exportation of grain is prohibited from this day except to Madras. [Footnote: "Where there was a scarcity of grain."] "|
p215 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 26 Jun 1760): "The Sea and Land Custom Masters representing the present scarcity of grain of every kind in Calcutta and of the inhabitants being reduced thereby to great distress, they therefore propose the Company's duties be taken off on grain imported till the present scarcity is over.- Ordered that all duties whatever on the importation of grain be struck off till further orders."
p218 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 7 Aug 1760): "The surgeons representing to the Board that they are not able to diet the sick military in the Hospital at the rate of 6 rupees per month, and laying before us a statement of the same, agreed they be made an additional allowance of Rs. 2 per month for each man."
p220 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 4 Sep 1760): "The Grand Jury, in their last meeting ... having presented to the Justice of the Sessions as a grievance to the public, the collection of duties on all provisions and necessaries of life brought into Calcutta by land [it is not clear whether this means the duty on grain has been re-imposed, or whether this refers only to duties on other provisions] ... The Board to do justice to their presentment and to relieve the people;s distress, took the same into consideration; and it appearing to them that the duties levied by the Land Custom Master by raising the price of all necessaries and consequently rendering the living in Calcutta extremely expensive to the lower class of people, such as coolies, workmen, &c., is detrimental to our employer's interest by discouraging members from residing in Calcutta, who otherwise would live in it, and obliging those few who are inhabitants to demand the higher wages by which the Company are at an expense much greater than their income arising from the land duties, especially if the ages paid the number of banians, writers, buxerries, &c., (employed in collecting those duties) which consumes by far the greatest part of them, is reckoned upon. That it was impossible for the greatest prudence to prevent many oppressions being committed by them on whoever brought their goods through the several chowkeys stationed to levy the duties ... [Footnote: "The Land Custom Duties were in consequence taken off, and the chowkies which were employed in levying them were removed; the Collector's tithe was also taken off. The Grand Jury having noticed the bad repair of the roads, the Government resolved to consider the question of a house tax to be appropriated to the roads, and to serve also as a compensation for the above reductions."] "
pp222-3 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 10 Nov 1760): "A Memorial setting forth the causes of the late change in the Subahship.
The Nawab Jaffer Ali Khan was of a temper extremely tyrannical and avaricious, at the same time very indolent; and the people around him being either abject slaves or else the base instruments of his vices, there was no chance of having the affairs of the Government properly conducted but by their removal. ...
... he necessarily became a prey to people of mean extraction and abject disposition, who, knowing that a government so managed could not stand long, sought only to make themselves rich by oppressions of all sorts upon the country and inhabitants. To the heavy taxes laid by them on the markets is ascribed the present unusual scarcity and dearness of provisions at the city, the capital of a country once esteemed the most plentiful in the world. ..." [This "Memorial" (i.e. in modern parlance, a Memorandum) by Henry Vansittart, Governor of Bengal since July 1760 (parachuted into the post from Madras, to the annoyance of Bengal staff), was circulated to justify the replacement of the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Jafar, in September-October 1760. The story would continue in 1761 and beyond ...]