Peasants and Relief Labour

  • David Hall-Matthews

Abstract

Having examined the way in which two factors of production — land and capital — as well as markets put Ahmednagar peasants at a natural disadvantage by their low quality and unavailability, it now remains to focus on labour. Social relations of labour have already been discussed in the context of markets and credit. Relatively few ryots in the district were in a position to employ wage labourers. Rather, family members and peasants themselves often sought seasonal employment of their own to supplement their meagre incomes. Bullocks could also provide some labour power. Thus, this chapter will look at the peasant population itself. While it would be useful to examine the health and well-being of male and female household labour as a factor of production throughout the period, colonial data provides little information on peasant working patterns or labour conditions. The Annual Ahmednagar Administration Reports only recorded the scarcity of local industry, prevailing market rates for labour, and crudely collected population figures, which are examined at the end of this chapter.

Keywords

Migration Depression Lactate Amid Income 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 30.
    Major-General M. K. Kennedy, Secretary, GOB, ‘Notes on the General Policy of the Government and on the Progress of the Measures Adopted to Relieve the Distress Caused by the Famine in the Deccan and Southern Maratha Country’, 18 December 1876; MSA, GOB, General Department, Famine Volume, 1878; Digby, The Famine, Vol. I, pp. 296–314, who criticised this dispute as ‘a game at cross purposes in high quarters’.Google Scholar
  2. 90.
    David Arnold, ‘Cholera Mortality in British India, 1817–1947’, in Tim Dyson (ed.), India’s Historical Demography: Studies in Famine, Disease and Society (London, 1989), pp. 261–84; Dyson, ‘On the Demography’, 14, 22; Lardinois, ‘Famine, epidemics’, 456–7; Whitcombe, ‘Famine Mortality’, 1172–5. All these authors refer to Madras Presidency, but relief conditions were likely to have been at least as insanitary in Bombay.Google Scholar
  3. 114.
    Stephen Devereux, ‘Transfers and Safety Nets’, in Stephen Devereux and Simon Maxwell (eds), Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa (London, 2001), p. 279. He distinguishes here between food-for-work and less ‘stigmatising’ cash-for-work, dominated by men in contemporary Malawi. However, low wages and the sliding scale make the distinction obsolete for Ahmednagar peasant households in 1877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 167.
    FCR (1880), ‘Information and Evidence, Bombay’ and ‘Compilation of Replies, Madras’, chapter 3, question 6.Google Scholar
  5. 168.
    FCR (1880), ‘Information and Evidence, Bombay’, chapter 3, question 6, reply by Hamilton.Google Scholar
  6. 199.
    Stanley Wolpert, Tilak and Gokhale: Revolution and Reform in the Making of Modem India (Delhi, 1989), p. 9.Google Scholar
  7. 200.
    FCR (1880), ‘Information and Evidence’, chapter 3, question 36, reply by Hewlett. The fear of famine migrants bringing disease to urban areas was very common. See David Arnold, Famine: Social Crisis and Historical Change (Oxford, 1988), p. 92 andGoogle Scholar
  8. Jim Masselos, ‘Migration and Urban Identity: Bombay’s Famine Refugees in the Nineteenth Century’, in S. Patel and A. Thorner (eds), Bombay: A Metaphor for Modem India (Bombay, 1993), pp. 36–7.Google Scholar
  9. 242.
    Klein, ‘When the Rains Failed’, 204–7; K. Suresh Singh, ‘The Famine Code: The context and Continuity’, in Jean Floud and Amrita Rangasami (eds), Famine and Society (New Delhi, 1993), pp. 142–3.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Hall-Matthews 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Hall-Matthews

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations