FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1761 (a): Bengal|
|Documented causes: unspecified|
|Documented effects: voluntary slavery; official relief efforts; epidemic|
|Imperial Record Department, Calcutta, "Calendar Of Persian Correspondence" (vol. 1, 1911)|
|p110 (summary of letter from Governor of Calcutta to Raja Januji of Nagpur, 2 Jul 1761): … "Intimates that a severe famine prevails in Bengal, and that food is so scarce that children are being sold in Calcutta. Hopes the people will receive favourable attention from him." ...|
p116 (summary of letter from Governor of Calcutta to Lahori Mal, Diwan of Hooghly, 26 Jul 1761): "Says that as famine prevails in the subah, it is the will of both His Majesty [the Mughal Emperor] and His Excellency [the Nawab of Bengal] that no duties should be taken on rice. Desires him to take note of it and warns him that if he continues to take duties on rice, the Company's chaukis will be placed at Katwa."
[Although the Mughal Emperor and the Nawab of Bengal were still technically in control, since 1757 the British were able to assert a great deal of influence.]
|J. Long, "Selections from unpublished records of government ... Bengal" (vol. 1, 1869)|
|p255 (proceedings of the Council at Calcutta, 20 Jul 1761): "The scarcity of grain in the place being at present such as to distress the poorer sort of people in the greatest degree, in order therefore to relieve the wants of the poor, the Board propose sending a sum of money to the markets in the country for the purchase of a quantity to be sold at an easy rate, and Baboo Huzzirimull offering to advance a quarter of whatever money we resolve to send, and to take the management of purchasing it|
Agreed we advance the Buxey 37,500 Co.'s Rs. which joined to Huzzirimull's quarter 12,500 makes up the sum of 50,000 Rs. which he is to advance Huzzirimull for that purpose. Agreed we write to the Chief of Council at Luckeypore, directing them to furnish all the grain they can procure until the beginning of October; the dearness of that article having reduced the poorer sort of people to great want." [Footnote: "The authorities also wrote to Kasimbazar and Dacca for further supplies."] "
|"Reports from Committees of the House of Commons, Volume 3" (ND, c1803)|
|p253 (the benefits of hindsight, from the "First Report on the Nature, State, and Condition of the East India Company"- 26 May 1772): [from a letter by several senior administrative and military officials of the Company in Bengal, to the Secret Committee of the Company in London, 11 Mar 1762, referring back to the November 1760 memo by Henry Vansittart, circulated to justify the replacement of the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Jafar, in September-October 1760] "He takes great Pains to blacken Mir Jaffier's Character, in order to prejudice Mens Minds against him, and lays great Stress upon the Scarcity of Grain in the City; but we apprehend Mr. Vansittart does not judge so harshly from that Circumstance, after what he has himself experienced last Year: for notwithstanding all the Care we are not to doubt he has taken, Grain was never known so scarce in Calcutta before, insomuch that Numbers daily perished."|
|"The First Protestant Missionary to Bengal" (in "The Calcutta Review" vol. 7, Jan-Jun 1847)|
|p155: [The missionary under discussion was Johann or John Kiernander, born in Sweden but working for the German/Danish Francke Foundations and the British Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, originally in southern India, then in Calcutta from 1758, at which time (with the city being rebuilt following the conquest and reconquest of 1756-7) also arrived two East India Company chaplains, the Rev. Henry Butler and the Rev. John Cape] "In 1761, Mr. Kiernander lost his two friends the Chaplains. Both died in the same year, within a short time of each other. He also lost his excellent wife, who had been the partner of all his troubles in leaving his old station; and had accompanied him to begin life as it were anew, in a strange city. She died on the 9th of May. He mourned her loss several months, but in February of the following year was again married to Mrs. Woolley, a rich widow lady of Calcutta. ...|
The next year, 1762, a heavy calamity fell upon the school [established by Kiernander in December 1758] in common with the rest of the city: a dreadful epidemic broke out in Calcutta. Amongst others, the new Chaplain, Mr. Staveley, who, like his predecessors, had shewn great interest in the mission, died from it. Mr. Kiernander himself was seized with it and recovered; then relapsed and recovered again, in all six times: but finally was restored to health. The parents were afraid to send their children to school, and only 40 were found in attendance. When the disease passed away, however, the school filled as before."
|1761 (b) [to 1762]: Mewat + part of Rajasthan|
|Documented causes: unspecified|
|Documented effects: migration|
|K.D. Erskine et al. "Provincial Gazetteers Of India: Rajputana, Jaisalmer State" (1912)|
|p104: "Mewat … takes its name from the Meos, who appear to have been originally the same as the Minas of Rajputana, but say that they have not intermarried with these since the time of Akbar. … The Hindu Meos and Minas claim to be Rajputs, but are not so regarded by other Hindus … The Muhammadan Meos call themselves Mewatis. In 1901 there were ... 51,028 Mewatis, chiefly in the Meerut (22,576), Agra (7,316) and Rohilkhand (16,129) Divisions. The large number in Rohilkhand, which was never part of Mewat, is explained by a migration owing to famine in Mewat in 1761-2."|
|Mayank Kumar, "Situating the Environment: Settlement, Irrigation and Agriculture in Pre-colonial Rajasthan" (in "Studies in History" vol. 24, 2008, pp211-233)|
|p227: "In his Arzdasht (Jeth Sudi 1, 1819 vs./AD 1762), Lal Chand Dala Ram informs about migration of peasantry due to drought and the resultant decline in revenue collection." [Source: the cited document, in the Historical Section, Jaipur Records, Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner]|