FAMINES AND EPIDEMICS IN INDIA FROM 1630-1947: A REVIEW OF LITERATURE
Famines and epidemics increased under colonial rule and have been studied. However, there is not much in-depth and extensive literature on causal relationships between these natural catastrophes and artificial factors, including the long-term factors. This article focuses on a detailed study of short-term and long-term factors which were responsible for increased appearance of famines and epidemics. The environmental degradation that began in the form of deforestation, and increased consumption of grasslands began since ancient times in India, and continued in the medieval era. Its continuation under colonial rule had drastic impacts. The environmental degradation resulted in poor soil, flooding, and droughts, thus, making man responsible for increased famines and epidemics. Moreover, colonial policies such as, lack of artificial irrigation, improper sanitation system, insufficient relief measures, increased taxation, railway development, and industrialization played a crucial role in determining reappearance of famines and epidemics. The article also demonstrates the consequences of the policies in the form of the outcome of famines and epidemics, and their impacts on India, and the British efforts to overcome the drastic impacts. This article traces the artificial factors responsible for increased catastrophes under British rule in India.
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