Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bangladesh, Famine in 1770

Famine was one of the important aspect in the history of Bangladesh. Some pictures taken from the article of Anil Chawla might help in explaining the the effect of famine in Bangladesh. According to Mr. Chawla Bengal had 30 or 40 famines, depending on one's definition. Two of them were worth mentioning, one of 1770 and the other of 1943 during 190 years of British rule i.e. 1757 to 1947.
Anil Chawla
Bengal famine of 1770 :
Popularly known as Chiattorer Monnontar for it occurred in 1176 to 1180 0f Bengali calendar.The whole lower Gangetic plain of India was affected by this famine causing the death of one in three reducing the population to 30 million in Bengal. It was estimated to have caused the death of about 15 million people.The famine was spread in Bangladesh, West Bengal,Assam,Bihar, Orissa and Jharkhand.It was originally a province of Mughal Empire, Known as Bengal from the 16th century and was ruled by a Nawab or Governie. In the 17th century Mughal Emperer Akbar had granted the town of Calcutta to British East India Company for trade.
A partial shortfall in crops, consider nothing out of the rdinary, occurred in 1768 and was followed in next 1769 by more severe conditions. By Sept. 1769there was a severe drought, and alarming reports were coming in of rural distress. These were however ignored by the company officers.
By early 1770, there was starvation, and by mid-1770 deaths from starvation were occurring in large scale. There were also reports of the living feeding on the bodies of the dead in the middle of that year. Small pox and other diseases further took their toll of the population. As a result of the famine large areas were depopulated and returned to jungle. It took about 1780 to bring the situation under control.