ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Tirthankar RoySubscribe to Tirthankar Roy

Famines in India

The end of the dryland famine around 1900 was of great significance in Indian history. Famine historiography, preoccupied with the Bengal famine of 1943 and shortages of food, obscures why the dryland famine ended and, therefore, misreads why they happened in the first place. This paper suggests that the dryland famines were caused primarily by a shortage of moisture, and secondarily, a shortage of food. Uncoordinated interventions targeting water supply and wider access to water, roughly occurring between 1880 and 1930, played a significant role in their end. It draws the inference that drought-induced famines in India’s past were not caused by food distribution failure, but water supply failure. As episodes of extreme dryness become more likely due to climate change, this history has relevance.

The Importance of Being a Patron

Patronage as Politics in South Asia edited by Anastasia Piliavsky, Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2014; pp xvi + 469, Rs 895, hardback.

Towards Integrated History

Modern Times: India 1880s-1950s by Sumit Sarkar, Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2014; pp xiv+464, Rs 895(hardback).

Economic Legacy of Colonial Rule Revisited

Continuing the debate on the economic legacy of colonial rule, the author responds to Banerjee et al's critique of his essay, also published in EPW.

The Economic Legacies of Colonial Rule in India

The essay reinterprets the British colonial empire in India (the Raj, for short) as a state. Based on that reinterpretation it offers fresh assessments on three issues: how its policies shaped the economy of India, what lessons the postcolonial state drew from history, and the gains and costs of the postcolonial development strategy.

Benchmark Study on Adivasi History

Adivasis and the Raj: Socio-economic Transition of the Hos, 1820-1932 (Critical Thinking in South Asian History Series) by Sanjukta Das Gupta (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan), 2011; pp xvi+367, Rs 820.

The History of Caste

Beyond Caste: Identity and Power in South Asia, Past and Present by Sumit Guha (Leiden: Brill (Brill's Indological Library)) 2013; pp xx+ 236, $127.

Humanity's Struggle for a Better Life

The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press), 2013; pp xvi + 360, £19.95 (cloth).

New Horizons in Trade History

Pelagic Passageways: The Northern Bay of Bengal before Colonialism edited by Rila Mukherjee (Delhi: Primus Books), 2011; pp xv + 502, Rs 1,395.

The Making of Modern Indian Business

The Oxford History of Contemporary Indian Business by Dwijendra Tripathi and Jyoti Jumani (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2013; pp xvi + 285; Rs 2,995.

Love in Calcutta

Sex and Sensibility: Richard Blechynden's Calcutta Diaries, 1791-1822 by Peter Robb (New Delhi: Oxford University Press), 2011; pp xvi+260, Rs 695.

A Chaotic Collection

History, Historians and Development Policy: A Necessary Dialogue edited by C A Bayly, Vijayendra Rao, Simon Szreter, Michael Woolcock (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press), 2011; pp xii + 276, price not stated.


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