Why was there a sudden spurt in Famines in colonial India since the mid-eighteenth century? Give reasons. (Answer in 150 words) 10M

“Famine” originates from the Latin word “Fames,” which translates to “hunger.” It is characterized as a severe state of hunger faced by a population in a region due to a shortage of consistent food supply.

  • The Bengal famine of 1769-70 occurred after two years of inconsistent rainfall and was exacerbated by a smallpox outbreak. Likewise, the famine of 1783-84 was the result of crop failure over a large region.



  • Despite the abundant rainfall in 1770, it did not alleviate the hardship experienced by people due to the previous year’s drought. Instead, it led to the flooding of rivers and destruction of crops.
  • The immediate factor responsible for famines, invariably, was a sudden surge in food costs. This, in turn, resulted in decreased actual wages, leading to malnourishment, famine, and outbreaks of diseases, mainly among agricultural laborer communities.

Rural Indebtedness

  • In India’s rural economy, indebtedness has consistently played a significant role. The British government’s imposition of exorbitant rents and unjust taxes resulted in heavy debt burdens on peasants. Additionally, severe drought-like conditions exacerbated their indebtedness, ultimately leading to famine.

British Policy

  • The primary reason behind the catastrophic famines during colonial rule was the British government’s policy of exploitation, repression, and oppression imposed on the Indian population.
  • The large-scale export of agricultural products to England by the British caused a scarcity of food supply in India, ultimately leading to severe famine.
  • The introduction of permanent settlement by Cornwallis in 1793 resulted in the dispossession of peasants from their land ownership. For the first time in India’s agricultural history, this policy made the zamindars and talukdars the actual landowners.

The famines that took place in the colonial era had a profound effect on both the economy and culture. They undeniably impeded population growth and hindered economic progress.

For Daily Current Affairs Click Here

Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE
Follow our Instagram ID HERE

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *