Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues
2) Famines were not new to India but the apathy of colonial rulers made it worse. Critically analyse the colonial response to famines in India. (250 words)
Why this question:
The question is based on the topic of famines in the historical past of India.
Key demand of the question:
The question demands the response of colonial response to various major famines in India which made the famine situation worse than what it is.
Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.
Structure of the answer:
Start with first statement saying that famines have been recurring in India since ancient and medieval days. Cite examples of famines in Ancient age like Arthshastra mentioning famines, Famines during sultanate and mughal period etc.
Transition into body by saying how lack of response from British rule made the already grave situation worse, resulting in heavy casualties.
The answer must be addressed in two parts. Firstly, the famines under East India company’s rule and Famines under Crowns rule. Under Company’s rule, how various major famines were dealt in India must be explained including the measures taken. The apathy of company by not granting adequate relief measures and in some instances raising prices to make more profits must be highlighted. Facts and figures of the number of casualties must be provided.
Under crown’s rule, the responses such a various committees and their recommendations must be mentioned with an emphasis on the lack of implementation. The famines on twenties especially the ones during the world wars which again were due the resources being rerouted for war efforts must be highlighted among other things.
The conclusion should summarize the overall famine situation in colonial India and the responses to it being inadequate to deal with the situation. A link must be developed to post independent India where famines came to halt due to the efforts of the independent government