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Publication Detail
“Fill full the mouth of famine”’: Voluntary action in Indian famine relief 1896-1901
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Brewis G
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    887, 918
  • Journal:
    Modern Asian Studies
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Keywords:
    India, Famine, relief, history, social service, higher education, Disciplines
This paper considers non-governmental famine relief in India during 1896?1898 and 1899?1901. It details the efforts of a broad spectrum of middle-class Indians, Christian missionaries, British non-officials and off-duty civil servants who were drawn into voluntary service on semi-official committees which were responsible for distributing record sums raised through international appeals. It also explores the extension of relief work by independent agencies in the 1890s. The paper considers evolving British attitudes to indigenous relief methods and the sometimes fraught relations between government and voluntary agencies. It suggests that voluntary famine relief activities during the 1890s mark a transition from traditional religious philanthropy to organised social service. Voluntary relief at this time differed from earlier responses to famine hunger because it was marked by fundraising, co-operation with other agencies and the personal service of volunteers. In conclusion, it is shown that participation in relief in the 1890s inspired a new generation of educated Indians to channel their nationalism into practical social service after 1900.
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