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Bandyopadhyay, Premansukumar (1969) British Famine and Agricultural Policies in India, With Special Reference to the Administration of Lord George Hamilton, 1895-1903. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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During the last decade of the nineteenth century India was subject to severe agricultural depression. She was hit by the two worst famines of the century, first in 1896-7 during Elgin's vice-royalty (1894-8) then in 1899-1900 during Curzon's (1899-1905). On both occasions government policy was dominated by concern for economy in relief expenditure and heavy mortality occurred. In the former famine Lord George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, proposed some liberal measures and secured financial assistance from the Imperial Treasury for famine relief. But Elgin rejected such assistance. In the latter famine Hamilton's policy was illiberal and he prevented Curzon from seeking an Imperial grant. Hamilton did this because the Imperial Treasury was then hardpressed by wars in China and South Africa. The occurrence of these famines raised the question of the application of the Famine Insurance Fund which was popularly alleged to have been largely misappropriated by the government since its creation in 1877-8. The allegation was ad-mitted by Curzon and Hamilton but their attempts to reorganise the Fund for its proper use were frustrated by the opposition of the Council of India. Loved by the chronic economic distress in India and disappointed at the Government of India's failure to redress it, a group of liberal-minded Englishmen formed an Indian Famine Union in England and urged the India Office aid the Government of India to under-take measures to improve Indian agriculture and the economic condition of the masses. But this produced no effect another group, of retired Anglo-Indian officials together with R.C. Dutt, appealed to the government to reduce the land tax in India where it was excessive. The Government of India refused to do that but passed some remedial agrarian legislation which, however, failed to provide relief to the impoverished masses.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 16:57

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