GLOBALIZATION AND FAMINE: INDIA 1877

July 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Asia, Books, Economics, Financial, Globalization, History, India, Third World, World-system | Leave a comment

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Vidya Dehejia is Associate Director and Chief Curator at the Arthur M Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Her publications include Discourse in Early Buddhist Art, Visual Narratives of India and Slaves of the Lord: The Path of the Tamil Saints.

In her book, “Indian Art”, Phaidon paperback 1997, we see the reproduction of an albumen print depicting starving Indians in the Madras Famine of 1877.

Indian Art

Vidya Dehejia (Author)

Product Details:

· Paperback: 448 pages

· Publisher: Phaidon Press

· December 17 1997

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 0714834963

· ISBN-13: 978-0714834962

What was the global historical context of all this starvation?

Famine and Empire in India:

Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet

He was made lieutenant-governor of Bengal Presidency in 1874, and did admirable work during the famine of 1874, importing half a million tons of rice from Burma to substantially bring relief to the starving.[1] The British government, dogmatically committed to a laissez-faire economic policy, castigated Temple for interfering in the workings of the market.

He was appointed by the Viceroy as a plenipotentiary famine delegate to Madras during the famine of 1877 there. Seeing this appointment as an opportunity to “retrieve his reputation for extravagance in the last famine”[2] Temple implemented relief policies that made the starvation of millions inevitable.

Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet, GCSI, CIE, PC (8 March 1826 – 15 March 1902) was an administrator in British India and a British politician.

After being educated at Rugby and the East India Company College at Haileybury, Temple joined the Bengal Civil Service. His hard work and literary skill were soon recognised; he was private secretary for some years to John Lawrence in the Punjab, and gained useful financial experience under James Wilson. He served as Chief Commissioner for the Central Provinces until 1867, when he was appointed Resident at Hyderabad. In 1867 he was made K.C.S.I. In 1868 he became a member of the supreme government, first as foreign secretary and then as finance minister.

He was made lieutenant-governor of Bengal Presidency in 1874, and did admirable work during the famine of 1874, importing half a million tons of rice from Burma to substantially bring relief to the starving.[1] The British government, dogmatically committed to a laissez-faire economic policy, castigated Temple for interfering in the workings of the market. He was appointed by the Viceroy as a plenipotentiary famine delegate to Madras during the famine of 1877 there. Seeing this appointment as an opportunity to “retrieve his reputation for extravagance in the last famine”[2] Temple implemented relief policies that made the starvation of millions inevitable.

His services were recognized with a baronetcy in 1876. In 1877 he was made governor of Bombay Presidency, and his activity during the Afghan War of 1878-80 was untiring.

In 1880 he left India for a political career in England, but it was not till 1885 that he was returned as a Conservative MP for the Evesham division of Worcestershire. Meanwhile he produced several books on Indian subjects. In parliament he was assiduous in his attendance, and he spoke on Indian subjects with admitted authority. He was not otherwise a parliamentary success, and to the public he was best known from caricatures in Punch, which exaggerated his physical peculiarities and made him look like a lean and hungry tiger. In 1885 he became vice-chairman of the London School Board, and as chairman of its finance committee he did useful and congenial work. In 1892 he changed his constituency for the Kingston division, but in 1895 he retired from parliament, being in 1896 made a Privy Councillor.

He had kept a careful journal of his parliamentary experiences, intended for posthumous publication; and he himself published a short volume of reminiscences. He died at Hampstead on the 15th of March 1902. He was twice married, and left a daughter and three sons, all of the latter distinguishing themselves in the public service.

East India Company College

The East India College was a college in Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire, England. It was founded in February 1806 as the training establishment for the British East India Company (BEIC). At that time, the BEIC provided general and vocational education for young gentlemen of sixteen to eighteen years old, who were nominated by its directors to writerships in the overseas civil service.

History

Charles Grant, BEIC Chairman and MP, was closely involved in its foundation. The college was temporarily located in Hertford Castle, then moved in 1809 to its purpose-built site at Hertford Heath, near Hertford, now used by Haileybury. Its architect, William Wilkins, also designed the National Gallery in London.

In 1856 an open competitive examination replaced the system of appointment to the civil service by patronage. In the wake of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the British government took over the administration of India in January 1858, and the college closed. The site was reopened as Haileybury in 1862.

Administrators

Principals

The College had four principals; the first was Samuel Henley[1]. From 1815, until his death in 1837, the Revd. Joseph Hallett Batten, D.D., of Penzance held the position[2]. Batten was succeeded by Charles Webb Le Bas, who resigned in 1843[3]. The Revd. Henry Melvill, afterwards Canon of St. Paul’s, was the final principal 1844 – 1858[4].

Deans

The position of Dean was filled by one of the professors: William Dealtry, MA (1813) Charles Webb Le Bas, MA (1814–38) James Amiraux Jeremie (Professor of Classics) (1838–50) W E Buckley (1850–57)

Registrars

The position of Registrar was filled by one of the professors: William Dealtry (1813) Bewick Bridge (1814–16) Edward Lewton (1816–30) Henry George Keene (1831–34) James Michael (1834–37) Fred Smith (1838–57)

Professors

Languages

· Graves Chamney Haughton (1817–27) FRS previously of Fort William College, Calcutta

· Francis Johnson taught Sanskrit, Bengali and Telugu (1824–55).[5]

· Mirza Muhammed Ibrahim, a Persian, held a permanent appointment as a professor of Arabic and Persian (1826–44)

· Monier Monier-Williams – whose Sanskrit dictionary is still in print – taught Sanskrit, Bengali and Telugu (1844–58).

· Edward Backhouse Eastwick was Professor of Urdu (Hindustani), Hindi and Marathi (1845–57).[6]

Other professors at the College included[7][8]

· Henry George Keene, who served at the Battle of Seringapatam with the first Lord Harris (his uncle), and whose American wife, though she came of a New England family, was related to Lord Cornwallis. His son became a Fellow of the University of Calcutta and a prolific writer.

· Horace Hayman Wilson, Examiner in Sanskrit (1837–57), and

· Major J.W.J.Ouseley, Professor of Persian and Arabic (previously Professor of the Arabic and Persian Languages in the College of Fort-William, Calcutta[9]) (1844–57)

Assistants in the Oriental Department included Maulavi Abdal Aly (1809–12), Maulavi Mirza Khedel (1809–19), The Revd. Robert Anderson (1820–25), and David Shea (1826–36). Moonshy Ghoolam Hyder and Thomas Medland taught oriental writing.

Law

· Edward Christian (1806–18)

· James Mackintosh was Professor of Law and General Politics 1818-24.

· William Empson,[10] was Professor of Law (1824–52).

· John Farley Leith QC (1872–80), later Member of Parliament for Aberdeen

Political Economy

· Thomas Malthus taught from 1805-34. In 1809 he moved into the east side of a house (Hailey House), which he then bought in 1815 and occupied until his death, after which it was taken over by Mr Empson.

· Richard Jones was Professor of History and Political Economy (1834–55).

· The Rt Hon Sir James Stephen also taught political economy (1855–57)

Mathematics and Natural Philosophy

· William Dealtry was Professor of Mathematics 1806-13[11]. He had been Second Wrangler in 1796.

· Bewick Bridge (1767–1833) was Professor of Mathematics 1806-16.

· Charles Webb Le Bas (1813–37)

· Charles Babbage applied unsuccessfully for a job in 1816.

· Herry Walter (1816–30)

· William Sturgeon lectured on science in 1824.

· Frederick Smith (1831–50) of Peterhouse College, Cambridge

· J W L Heaviside (1838–57) previously of Trinity College, and then Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, where he graduated Second Wrangler and a Smith’s Prize winner in 1830, and tutored until he moved to Haileybury.

Classical and General Literature

· Edward Lewton (1806–30)

· Joseph Hallett Batten (1806–15)

· James Amiraux Jeremie (also Dean) (1830–50), elected in 1850 Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge.

· W.E.Buckley (1850–57) previously tutor and fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford and Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford (1844–50), and a member and subsequently vice-president of the Roxburghe Club.

Famous alumni

· John Russell Colvin

· Ashley Eden

· Henry Bartle Frere

· John Muir (indologist)

· Sir William Muir

· Richard Paternoster

· Sir Richard Temple, 1st Baronet

· Charles John Wingfield

References

1. ODNB article by G. P. Moriarty, ‘Henley, Samuel (1740–1815)’, rev. John D. Haigh, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2007 [1], accessed 21 Sept 2007.

2. Our Public Schools: Their Influence on English History By James George Cotton Minchin, S. Sonnenschein & co., ltd, 1901 [2], accessed 9 Oct 2007.

3. Our Public Schools: Their Influence on English History By James George Cotton Minchin, S. Sonnenschein & co., ltd, 1901 p121 [3]

4. ODNB article by G. C. Boase, ‘Melvill, Henry (1798–1871)’, rev. H. C. G. Matthew, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [4], accessed 18 Sept 2007

5. ODNB article by Cecil Bendall, ‘Johnson, Francis (1795/6–1876)’, rev. Parvin Loloi, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [5], accessed 21 Sept 2007.

6. ODNB article by Stanley Lane-Poole, ‘Eastwick, Edward Backhouse (1814–1883)’, rev. Parvin Loloi, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [6], accessed 20 Sept 2007.

7. Men and Events of My Time in India by Sir Richard Temple, John Murray, London, 1882 p 18 accessed 9 Oct 2007

8. F.C. Danvers, M Monier-Williams and others: Memorials of Old Haileybury College, Westminster, Archibald Constable, 1894 , quoted in A Dictionary of Public Administration by Shriram Maheshwari

9. The Mulfuzāt Timūry (Autobiographical Memoirs) of the Moghul Emperor Timūr p 16 accessed 9 Oct 2007

10. ODNB article by Joanne Shattock, ‘Empson, William (1791–1852)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [7], accessed 20 Sept 2007

11. ODNB article by M. C. Curthoys, ‘Dealtry, William (1775–1847)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [8], accessed 20 Sept 2007.

Great Famine of 1876–78

The Great Famine of 1876–78 (also the Southern India famine of 1876–78 or the Madras famine of 1877) was a famine in India that began in 1876 and affected south and southwestern India (Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Bombay) for a period of two years. In its second year famine also spread north to some regions of the Central Provinces and the United Provinces, and to a small area in the Punjab.[1] The famine ultimately covered an area of 257,000 square miles (670,000 km2) and caused distress to a population totaling 58,500,000.[1]

Preceding events

The Great Famine was preceded by an intense drought (or “crop failure”) in the Deccan Plateau.[2] Earlier, after the Bihar famine of 1873–74, in which mortality was avoided, the Government of Bengal and its Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Richard Temple, were criticized for excessive expenditure, which had included the costs of importing rice from Burma and providing generous charitable relief.[3] Sensitive to any renewed accusations of excess in 1876, Temple, who was now Famine Commissioner for the Government of India,[1] insisted not only on a policy of laissez faire with respect to the trade in grain,[4] but also on stricter standards of qualification for relief and on more meager relief rations.[1] Two kinds of relief were offered: “relief works” for able-bodied men, women, and working children, and gratuitous (or charitable) relief for small children, the elderly, and the indigent.[5]

Famine and relief

The insistence on more rigorous tests for qualification, however, led to strikes by “relief workers” in the Bombay presidency.[1] Furthermore, in January 1877, Temple suggested that in Madras and Bombay, a reduced wage (the Temple wage) be adopted in the relief works;[6] this consisted of 1 pounds (0.45 kilograms) of grain plus one anna for a man, and a slightly reduced amount for a woman or working child,[7] for a “long day of hard labour without shade or rest.”[8] The rationale behind the reduced wage, which was in keeping with a prevailing belief of the time, was that any excessive payment might create dependency (or “demoralization” in contemporaneous usage) among the famine-afflicted population.[6]

However, Temple‘s recommendation was opposed by W. R. Cornish, a physician who was the Sanitary Commissioner for the Madras Presidency.[9] Cornish had investigated prison diets in India a decade earlier and was of the view that a minimum of 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) of grain and, in addition, supplements in the form of vegetables and protein were needed for a healthy diet, especially if, in return, the individuals were performing strenuous labor in the relief works.[9] Eventually, in March 1877, the provincial government of Madras, moved by Cornish’s argument, agreed on a compromise ration of 1.25 pounds (0.57 kg) of grain and 1.5 ounces (43 g) of protein in the form of daal (pulses),[9] but not before more people had succumbed to the famine.[10] In other parts of India, such as the United Provinces, where relief was meager, the resulting mortality was high.[10] In the autumn and winter of 1878, an epidemic of malaria killed many more who were already weakened by malnutrition.[10]

All in all, the Government of India spent Rs. 8 1/3 crores in relieving 700 million units (1 unit = relief for 1 person for 1 day) in British India and, in addition, another Rs. 72 lakhs in relieving 72 million units in the princely states of Mysore and Hyderabad.[10] Revenue (tax) payments to the amount of Rs. 60 lakhs were either not enforced or postponed until the following year, and charitable donations from Great Britain and the colonies totaled Rs. 84 lakhs.[10] However, this cost was small per capita; for example, the expenditure incurred in the Bombay Presidency was less than one-fifth of that in the Bihar famine of 1873–74, which affected a smaller area and did not last as long.[8]

Aftermath

The mortality in the famine was exceedingly high; in the British areas alone, 5.25 to 5.5 million people died of starvation or disease.[1][11] Estimates of total famine related deaths vary. The following table gives the varying estimates of famine related deaths.[12]

Estimate (in millions) Done by Publication
10.3 William Digby “Prosperous” British India, London: Fisher Unwin, 1901
8.2 Arup Maharatna The Demography of Famines: An Indian Historical Perspective, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996
6.1 Ronald E. Seavoy Famine in Peasant Societies (Contributions in Economics and Economic History), New York: Greenwood Press, 1986

The excessive mortality of the Great Famine and the renewed questions of “relief and protection” that were asked in its wake, led directly to the constituting of the Famine Commission of 1880 and to the eventual adoption of the Provisional Famine Code in British India.[10] After the famine, a large number of agricultural laborers and handloom weavers in South India emigrated to British tropical colonies to work as indentured laborers in plantations.[13] The excessive mortality in the famine also neutralized the natural population growth in the Bombay and Madras presidencies during the decade between the first and second censuses of British India in 1871 and 1881 respectively.[14]

The Great Famine was to have a lasting political impact on events in India; among the British administrators in India who were unsettled by the official reactions to the famine and, in particular by the stifling of the official debate about the best form of famine relief, were William Wedderburn and A. O. Hume.[15] Less than a decade later, they would found the Indian National Congress and, in turn, influence a generation of nationalists such as Dadabhai Naoroji and Romesh Chunder Dutt for whom the Great Famine would become a cornerstone of the economic critique of the British Raj.[15]

Notes

1. a b c d e f Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III 1907, p. 488

2. Roy 2006, p. 361

3. Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III 1907, p. 488, Hall-Matthews 1996, pp. 217-219

4. Hall-Matthews 1996, p. 217

5. Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III 1907, pp. 477–483

6. a b Hall-Matthews 2008, p. 5

7. Washbrook 1994, p. 145, Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III 1907, p. 489

8. a b Hall-Matthews 1996, p. 219

9. a b c Arnold 1994, pp. 7-8

10. a b c d e f Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III 1907, p. 489

11. Fieldhouse 1996, p. 132 Quote: “In the later nineteenth century there was a series of disastrous crop failures in India leading not only to starvation but to epidemics. Most were regional, but the death toll could be huge. Thus, to take only some of the worst famines for which the death rate is known, some 800,000 died in the North West Provinces, Punjab, and Rajasthan in 1837–38; perhaps 2 million in the same region in 1860–61; nearly a million in different areas in 1866–67; 4.3 million in widely spread areas in 1876–78, an additional 1.2 million in the North West Provinces and Kashmir in 1877–78; and, worst of all, over 5 million in a famine that affected a large population of India in 1896–97. In 1899–1900 more than a million were thought to have died, conditions being worse because of the shortage of food following the famines only two years earlier. Thereafter the only major loss of life through famine was in 1943 under exceptional wartime conditions.(p. 132)”

12. Davis 2001, p. 7

13. Roy 2006, p. 362

14. Roy 2006, p. 363

15. a b Hall-Matthews 2008, p. 24

References

· Arnold, David (1994), “The ‘discovery’ of malnutrition and diet in colonial India“, Indian Economic and Social History Review 31 (1): 1–26

· Davis, Mike (2001), Late Victorian Holocausts, Verso Books. Pp. 400, ISBN 9781859847398, http://books.google.com/books?id=3IrKEzgkQkMC&pg=PA7

· Fieldhouse, David (1996), “For Richer, for Poorer?”, in Marshall, P. J., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 400, pp. 108–146, ISBN 0521002540, http://books.google.com/books?id=S2EXN8JTwAEC&pg=PA132&dq=famine+british+empire+india&as_brr=3#PPA132,M1

· Hall-Matthews, David (1996), “Historical Roots of Famine Relief Paradigms: Ideas on Dependency and Free Trade in India in the 1870s”, Disasters 20 (3): 216–230, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7717.1996.tb01035.x

· Hall-Matthews, David (2008), “Inaccurate Conceptions: Disputed Measures of Nutritional Needs and Famine Deaths in Colonial India”, Modern Asian Studies 42 (1): 1–24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X07002892

· Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. III (1907), The Indian Empire, Economic (Chapter X: Famine, pp. 475–502, Published under the authority of His Majesty’s Secretary of State for India in Council, Oxford at the Clarendon Press. Pp. xxx, 1 map, 552.

· Roy, Tirthankar (2006), The Economic History of India, 1857–1947, 2nd edition, New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Pp. xvi, 385, ISBN 0-19-568430-3

· Washbrook, David (1994), “The Commercialization of Agriculture in Colonial India: Production, Subsistence and Reproduction in the ‘Dry South’, c. 1870–1930”, Modern Asian Studies 28 (1): 129–164, http://www.jstor.org/stable/312924?origin=JSTOR-pdf

Further reading

· Ambirajan, S. (1976), “Malthusian Population Theory and Indian Famine Policy in the Nineteenth Century”, Population Studies 30 (1): 5–14

· Bhatia, B. M. (1991), Famines in India: A Study in Some Aspects of the Economic History of India With Special Reference to Food Problem, 1860–1990, Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division. Pp. 383, ISBN 81-220-0211-0

· Davis, Mike (2001), Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World, Verso. Pp. 464, ISBN 1859847390

· Digby, William (1878), The Famine Campaign in Southern India: Madras and Bombay Presidencies and province of Mysore, 1876-1878, Volume 1, London: Longmans, Green and Co, http://www.archive.org/details/faminecampaignin01digbuoft

· Digby, William (1878), The Famine Campaign in Southern India: Madras and Bombay Presidencies and province of Mysore, 1876-1878, Volume 2, London: Longmans, Green and Co, http://www.archive.org/details/faminecampaigni00digbgoog

· Dutt, Romesh Chunder (1900 (reprinted 2005)), Open Letters to Lord Curzon on Famines and Land Assessments in India, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd (reprinted by Adamant Media Corporation), ISBN 1-4021-5115-2

· Dyson, Tim (1991), “On the Demography of South Asian Famines: Part I”, Population Studies 45 (1): 5–25, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0032-4728%28199103%2945%3A1%3C5%3AOTDOSA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V

· Dyson, Tim (1991), “On the Demography of South Asian Famines: Part II”, Population Studies 45 (2): 279–297, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0032-4728%28199107%2945%3A2%3C279%3AOTDOSA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S

· Famine Commission (1880), Report of the Indian Famine Commission, Part I, Calcutta

· Ghose, Ajit Kumar (1982), “Food Supply and Starvation: A Study of Famines with Reference to the Indian Subcontinent”, Oxford Economic Papers, New Series 34 (2): 368–389

· Government of India (1867), Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Enquire into the Famine in Bengal and Orissa in 1866, Volumes I, II, Calcutta

· Hardiman, David (1996), “Usuary, Dearth and Famine in Western India“, Past and Present (152): 113–156

· Hill, Christopher V. (1991), “Philosophy and Reality in Riparian South Asia: British Famine Policy and Migration in Colonial North India“, Modern Asian Studies 25 (2): 263–279

· Klein, Ira (1973), “Death in India, 1871-1921″, The Journal of Asian Studies 32 (4): 639–659

· McAlpin, Michelle B. (1983), “Famines, Epidemics, and Population Growth: The Case of India“, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 14 (2): 351–366

· McAlpin, Michelle B. (1979), “Dearth, Famine, and Risk: The Changing Impact of Crop Failures in Western India, 1870–1920″, The Journal of Economic History 39 (1): 143–157

· Temple, Sir Richard (1882), Men and events of my time in India, London: John Murray. Pp. xvii, 526

He was made lieutenant-governor of Bengal Presidency in 1874, and did admirable work during the famine of 1874, importing half a million tons of rice from Burma to substantially bring relief to the starving.[1] The British government, dogmatically committed to a laissez-faire economic policy, castigated Temple for interfering in the workings of the market.

He was appointed by the Viceroy as a plenipotentiary famine delegate to Madras during the famine of 1877 there. Seeing this appointment as an opportunity to “retrieve his reputation for extravagance in the last famine”[2] Temple implemented relief policies that made the starvation of millions inevitable.

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