Drought and a searing heat wave have affected an astonishing million people across the country. But this summer also marks the th anniversary of a far more terrible and catastrophic climatic event: the Orissa famine of Hardly anyone today knows about this famine. It elicits little mention in even the densest tomes on Indian history. There will be few, if any, solemn commemorations. Yet the Orissa famine killed over a million people in eastern India.
The man who saved India from famine: Norman Borlaug
Famine in India - Wikipedia
An estimated 2. Millions were impoverished as the crisis overwhelmed large segments of the economy and catastrophically disrupted the social fabric. Eventually, families disintegrated; men sold their small farms and left home to look for work or to join the British Indian Army , and women and children became homeless migrants, often travelling to Calcutta or other large cities in search of organised relief. A minority view exists, however, that holds that the famine was the result of natural causes.
India's agricultural policies are based, in part, on a history of periodic famines, such as the famine of and chronic food shortages after independence in and into the s. The response of the Indian government was to achieve greater security in food supply, especially food grains. The set of policy instruments employed for these efforts, and the resulting expansion in Indian agricultural production, is generally known as the Green Revolution. India experienced the second Bengal famine of the first was
Both my late father then in his early twenties and my mother then a child recall vividly one thing from the war into which India was dragged by the British. It was the flood of starving refugees pouring into Calcutta which until had been capital of British India from East Bengal now Bangladesh due to the artificial famine created by the British which we now know killed 3 million people. What was different from earlier influxes of refugees was the sheer desperation of these starving people, they did not beg for rice but for fanna, the wastewater from the ricepan! This memory was etched indelibly into both of my parents' minds and I heard stories from my uncles and others about it such as the story of the father who bought a Jackfruit with his last few "pennies" to give to his children before sneaking off to abandon them to death. Amartya Sen Master of Trinity College Cambridge also remembers this episode from his childhood and says it was responsible for his decision to study economics and the cause of famines.