1770 Bengal Famine Facts: 11-15
11. Partial crop failure occurred in 1768. It was nothing out of the ordinary. But in 1769, the rain was dismal. Alarming reports started to float around from rural areas of Bengal Province that was now under British control.
12. The province consisted mainly of modern day West Bengal and Bangladesh and even parts of Orissa, Bihar, Assam and Jharkhand. These were the worst hit areas. Dismal rain resulted in loss of harvest.
13. Peasants in these areas were by this time in serious condition. The surplus was gone because of extra taxation. By early 1770 starvation had already set it. By middle of the year, the starvation of so severe and large scale that people who lived were reported to be eating the dead.
14. In Bengal, the worst hit areas were Murshidabad and Birbhum. Thousands of peasants and common populace decided to migrate to other places hoping to find better conditions. Things didn’t work out the way they thought. They died and those who stayed behind, died as well.
15. Farmers abandoned huge tracts of farmlands and the British did nothing to revert the conditions. The farmlands became inhabitable jungles over time.
1770 Bengal Famine Facts: 16-20
16. Unlike the Mughal rulers, the British were totally blind the effects of the famine. The Indian rulers, at times of famines, would take measures like:
- Waiving off the taxes completely.
- Using treasury to provide food the affected people.
- Implement irrigation projects to provide as much relief they could to the peasants.
17. Diametrically opposite to what the Mughals did, the British actually went on to increase the taxation to 60% in 1771 when the famine was at its peak and killing people left and right.
18. By increasing the taxes to 60%, the British wanted to make up for their losses in terms of tax collection and intended to fill up their treasury.
19. Because many peasants died, there were only a few left to cultivate. This resulted in fewer crops. Fewer crops meant less revenue for the surviving peasants and in turn, increased taxation meant more pressure on surviving peasants.
20. To make things worse, the British had, after taking over from the Mughals, ordered cultivation of cash crops like poppy, indigo and other items that had high market value.
1770 Bengal Famine Facts: 21-25
21. The farmers used to grow vegetables and paddy and this sudden change in crops led to shortage of edible crops. Absence of back up of edible crops killed more people.
22. The rice that was already produced before the onset of the famine was deliberately hoarded by the British and not released. The revenue collected from land taxation mainly flowed out of India to Britain.
23. Those filthy British made way more profits from tax collection in 1771 than they did in 1768 but at the expense of nearly 10 million lives.
24. While absence of food and widespread starvation was one of the causes of millions of deaths, diseases like smallpox and other others that came with the famine were also responsible for increasing the magnitude of the famine.
25. The British could have averted such losses but relocating resources to the peasants, installing irrigation facilities etc. but instead they chose to make only PROFITS. Lives of people meant nothing to them. No wonder, British are a race that shouldn’t exist. The world would be a better place without them.