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Beastly encounters of the RajLivelihoods, livestock and veterinary health in India, 1790-1920$
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Saurabh Mishra

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089725

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089725.001.0001

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Cattle, famines, and the colonial state

Cattle, famines, and the colonial state

(p.77) Chapter Four Cattle, famines, and the colonial state
Beastly encounters of the Raj

Saurabh Mishra

Manchester University Press

This chapter illustrates the reluctance of the colonial state to make any significant investment into famine relief for cattle, even though cattle mortalities during these episodes wreaked considerable havoc on the agrarian economy. It shows that this reluctance was justified using strong ideological support from the reigning doctrines of free trade and Malthusianism–both of which led to minimal state relief and interference. Besides this, the chapter will be an important addition to the historiography of famines in India, as most studies have focussed almost exclusively on the human cost of famines. The shift of focus to cattle mortalities will allow us to highlight several new areas, including the question of contrasting colonial attitudes towards the livelihood and property of rich and poor cultivators, the question of ‘native’ coping strategies and responses to colonial measures, and the general impact of loss of cattle on the rural agrarian economy.

Keywords:   Famine, pinjrapole, mortality, relief camps, philanthropy

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