FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1766 (a): Kutch|
|Documented causes: unspecified|
|Documented effects: unspecified|
|Lieut. Col. A.T. Etheridge, "Report on Past Famines in the Bombay Presidency" (1868) [Reports collected by local officials in all districts]|
|p26 [Kutch, by Metta Madhowjee Sheoram, "one of the Durbar's late Karbharees"]: "Sumvut 1813, A.D. 1757, and Sumvut 1822, A.D. 1766, were famine years. ... reigning Prince ... in the latter year Rao Gohodjee. I do not know what measures were adopted to relieve the poorer classes from their sufferings at that time." [NB: Sumvut 1822 is 1765-6 CE]|
|1766 scarcity [+ see 1767]: Midnapur and north into Bengal|
|Documented causes: drought|
|Documented effects: migration; cultivation failures|
|Walter K. Firminger (ed.) "Bengal District Records, Midnapur. 1763-1767" (1914)|
|p53 (letter from John Graham at Agrachaw / Agrachour, to Harry Verelst, 11 Apr 1776 [mistake for 1766]): "I am now advanced into the Province of Jallesore. I am very sorry to find, as well from my own observation as from the inspection of the accounts of the Purganas, that there is vast quantities of lands lying waste in this Province which, from the scarcity of ryotts, there is very little hopes of our being able to cultivate, notwithstanding it is all arable ground. In the Purgana of Agrachaw alone they have rendered me an account of upwards of 10,000 begas on this situation, owing entirely to the deficiency of ryotts: and, unless we can by some means procure an increase of them, the lands must still remain in the same desolated state. ..."|
Extract from Mr. Graham's remarks on the Purguna of Agrachour in the Province of Jallesore.
"According to the accounts which the Chowdrey and Talookdars render, the Malguzary is paid from the rents of about 6,000 begas which is cultivated, whilst upwards of 10,000 begas of arable land is lying waste, exclusive of the jungles and hazee zemin. Last year, the Chowdrey and Talookdars executed an obligation to Mr. Watts to cultivate 2,500 begas of land, but I do not find they have exceeded 500. ..."
p56 (letter from Harry Verelst at Calcutta to John Graham, collector at Midnapore, 23 Apr 1766): ... "The country must have considerably suffered for want of rain: it is a complaint from every part and what we have it not in our power to remedy.
The revenues of this country are liable to rise and fall, to adjust which the Government should even particularly attend to the just valuation of the lands. The intent of the circuit you are now on is principally to attain to a certain knowledge of that valuation, in order that whenever an addition to the revenue is made, it shall only be where, as one an equitable enquiry, it is found to be not oppressive to the ryotts." ...
[Graham's response is not among the letters transcribed]
p62 (letter from Harry Verelst at Calcutta to John Graham, collector at Midnapore, 29 May 1766): ... "The great drought of this season has certainly given reasonable cause for the Zemindar's complaints. I have received many of the kind from Burdwan. In short the grievances have been general. The answer you have given to them is extremely proper. You will soon be able to judge how far their distress may require relief, and should you find their sufferings so great as absolutely to disable them from complying with their revenues, you will please to make an estimate from the best information you can procure of what may be thought an equitable indulgence on this occasion which shall be properly represented so that in future no blame can fall on you for such deficiencies." ...
|Fort William -India House Correspondence (1764-1766) (vol. 4, 1962)|
|p445 (letter of 28 Nov 1766): "In May last the gentlemen at Cossimbuzar informed us that the excessive droughts last season had destroyed the greatest part of the mulberry shrubs, whereby the farmers were deprived of large quantities of their worms, for want of proper nourishment, which they apprehended might prove a detriment to your silk investment; but we have the pleasure to advise you that they have already dispatched to us goods to the amount of ten lacks of rupees and we flatter ourselves we shall before the dispatch of the latter ships receive from six to seven lacks more."|
|1766: some other challenges of government in Bengal|
|East India Company, "Calendar of Persian Corresopndence" (vol. 1, 1911)|
|p456, item 2766 (summary of letter from "The Nawab Fakhru-d-daulah Saif Jang Mr Harry Verelst Bahadur" at Calcutta to Muhammad Riza Khan, 10 Dec 1766 [possibly 20 Dec]): "As the chaukidars, misunderstanding the orders that have recently been issued, detain the goods on their way from arangs, and as this is just the season for the ships vbeing dispatched, their departure will considerably be delayed. Accordingly the French and the Dutch have complained of the matter. The English will be equally affected. It would be better if those orders were suspended for some time, and put in force again after the season is over."|
pp458-9, item 2776 (summary of letter from Harry Verelst at Calcutta to Muhammad Riza Khan, 14 Dec 1766): "When the addressee was at Calcutta they had a long conversation concerning the dacoits, and the addressee promised, immediately on his arrival at Murshidabad, to take proper measures against them. As their violences have now exceeded all bounds, and as this brings the Government into contempt and gives it a bad name, the addressee is desired to apply himself to this business with all possible alacrity."