- The plight of the people.
- Flight of the cattle.
- The scarcity of water.
- Femine before and now.
- Relief work.
Agricultural country’s like India is often in the grips of famine. This happens when crop’s tail on account of flood or scarcity of rain. I China locusts eat away the standing crops. In India, at times monsoon breaks too late resulting in the scarcity of rain. Sometimes export of foodgrains in large quantities is improper distribution of food rains in different parts of the country leads to famine. When the crops fail, rich persons hoard articles of food; so that their prices rise. Those people cannot afford to buy food at a very high price and hence have to curtail their requirements.
Gradually food situation becomes worse. Famine spreads far and wide, making the land desolate and people helpless. Thousands of women and children cry, “food, food,” but there is no food to save them. At last, many of them are starved to death. Many persons eat leaves of trees. Some search the dirty refuse to get a morsel of food. People go from one place to another, where none but the famine welcomes them. In this way people pine for food and at last become the food of famine.
The plight of the cattle is still worse. Their owners cannot afford to buy grass (if at all it is available) for them; while the pasture grounds look like the desert of Sahara. Bellowing they move here and there and eat whatever refuse they find on the way. Within a short time the land is covered with the skeletons of thousands of animals.
The scarcity of water often makes the situation worse. Rivers, tanks and most of the well are dried. Human beings and animals are generally afflicted by thirst. Efforts are made to bring water from the surrounding places, but it hardly suffices. Here also the condition of animals is worse.
Famine is generally accompanied by crime and epidemics. People commit all sorts of crimes to get food. Again scarcity of food and water leads to epidemics like cholera, dysentery, etc.
Of course, at present famine does not kill so many persons as it did formerly. Thanks to the introduction of railways, steamers and airplanes that food can be speedily sent to the femine-stricken areas. However, let us not forget the year 1943, when in spite of the availability of these means of transport, lakhs of persons died a. miserable death in West Bengal (India). But recently in Gujarat and Maharashtra (India), all steps were taken to help the people.
As soon as a district is femine-stricken government rushes to its help. Articles of food are sent quickly and are distributed among the people. Common kitchen are opened at different places. Then employment is given to poor persons by starting works of public utility, such as digging of wells and tanks, construction of roads, etc. Even private agencies collect funds and send food and clothes to the helpless people. Volunteers go there to render help, and nurser, and Doctors render medical help.
Famine seems to have a special liking for India. But no one want this unwelcome guest. Let us, therefore, dig canals whenever needed and grow more food.
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