Thursday, May 31, 2018

ইওরোপিয় মিথ্যাচার এবং বাংলা স্বাবলম্বী কৃষি

উপমহাদেশিয় কৃষি বিষয়ে ইওরোপিয় মিথ্যাচার(এরিক জোনস ইওরোপিয় মিরাকলএ বাংলার খাদ্য স্বনির্ভরতার তথ্য উপেক্ষা করে বলছেন এই সব এলাকায় constant background of severe Asian famines ঘটত) এবং ছিয়াত্তরের গণহত্যা নিয়ে প্রসন্নন পার্থসারথী আলোচনা করেন বলছেন ছিয়াত্তরের মত ঘটনা ঘটলে অবিলম্বে মুঘল সাম্রাজ্য তাকাভির মত বিনা সুদের ঋণ ঢেলে দিত, তাতে ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত চাষীরা ক্ষতিপূরণ করে পরের বছর পূর্ণউদ্যমে চাষে নেমে পড়তেন। এটা কোম্পানি সরকারের আমলে ঘটল না।
Jones pays little attention to the long security and stability of Bengal’s agriculture in the several decades before the late 1760s. Rather he assumes a “constant background of severe Asian famines.” Although droughts and food shortages were not unknown in Bengal, in the words of Rajat Datta, “nothing like 1769–70 had ever occurred in the province.” The crisis of those years was severe because of the unusually long drought that hit the western part of the region. From August 1769 to January 1770 not a drop of rain fell on the area and rice fields had so hardened that they were difficult to plow. The lack of water also destroyed crops that were essential for the work of Bengal’s artisans, including cotton and mulberry. The Bengal famine of 1769–70 may be labeled the first great famine of the colonial period, however, and the English East India Company’s response to the crisis deepened nature’s impact. The Company had just consolidated its rule in the region and it stringently collected revenue. Its collections at the height of the crisis, in the fiscal years of 1769–70 and 1770–1, were higher than those in 1765–6. Writing after the event, Warren Hastings, the great eighteenth-century Company man and administrator, acknowledged that the drought of 1769–70 caused so much misery because revenue collection was “violently kept up to its former standard.” This was combined with minimal relief efforts by the Company state, in contrast to pre-British political practices as well as to those of Indian commercial and political leaders, who organized food distribution on a massive scale. In the city of Murshidabad, the Company devoted 100,000 rupees for poor relief, while four rich residents of the city contributed 47,250 rupees. In the city of Patna, one wealthy individual spent 30,000 rupees to purchase and transport rice from Benaras for the hungry and destitute, and “in this manner,” according to a British account, “an immense multitude came to be rescued from the jaws of imminent death.” Such relief efforts were feasible because supplies of rice were plentiful in the region as a whole. The drought was confined to several districts of western Bengal while the rest of the province had bumper harvests.
Another failure of the Company state in Bengal was its reluctance to distribute taccavi, or advances of capital, to cultivators for the restoration of production systems after the drought and famine. “There was an insignificant amount of financial aid or taccavi provided to help the cultivators to begin production for the next agricultural season,” Rajat Datta has written.108 Support of this sort was a key obligation of pre-colonial states across the subcontinent and it was the duty of rulers to make extensive loans, typically at no interest as we have seen, for the maintenance and expansion of the agrarian order during good times and especially for the regeneration of that order after bad times. Agriculturalists used this money to obtain tools and equipment, restore irrigation systems, replenish cattle stocks and purchase seed.
Therefore, in contrast to Europe, states in the Indian subcontinent were intimately involved with investment and improvement in agriculture. The Company state, however, failed to operate with these Indian principles, which slowed the recovery from the disaster. 
শুধু প্রাকৃতিক দুর্যোগই নয় যুদ্ধের মত নানান রাষ্ট্রবিপর্যয়েও তাকাভি ধার দেওয়া হত। 
Taccavi and other forms of state support for agriculture made possible quick recoveries not only from famines but also from warfare and other disasters. Christopher Bayly has shown that the economy of eighteenth-century North India weathered war and political change because of the “movement of resources – capital, labour and skills – across the landscape” and the “flexibility and adaptability of the contemporary political economy.” Bayly argued that “the withdrawal of resources from some areas was often matched by their reinvestment elsewhere.” Therefore, the fluid and flexible political and economic institutions of the eighteenth century made the advanced regions of the subcontinent enormously resilient. The establishment of British rule destroyed many of these institutions, creating the brittle and crisis-prone system of the nineteenth century, which was not characteristic of the subcontinent in earlier eras.

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