William Logan’s ‘Malabar Manual’
VED from VICTORIA INSTITUTIONS
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!
There are people in India who write about famines in British-India. They claims that these famines were caused by the English rulers. These claims could be far from the truth. Actually, it is only in very recent days that these kinds of claims are being noticed.
There was indeed a terrible social situation which was actually noticed even by visitors from Britain to the British-India and to the native-kingdoms. This was a land with enough and more natural resources. However, the majority people lived like dirt.
There were people who blamed the English rule. This was actually a nonsense. The actual degradation of the majority people had nothing to do with the English rule. The real villain was the feudal languages. People were grouped in hierarchical layers. The top layer people crushed, cheated and exploited the layers below them. And at the same time, worshipped and adored the layers above them.
So, it was a sort of willing self-destructive mentality.
Physical labour was seen as distasteful. Each layer pushed down the physical labourer part to their lower layers.
In such a terrible social mentality, whatever goodness and beneficial acts were done by the English administrators, nothing will seep down. For, each one of the social layers would see to it that the lower layers do not get any benefit which might give them leeway to come up.
This is actual truth.
Now, about the actual food eating condition of the people has to be mentioned. The slave castes literally lived on bare subsistence food.
See the series of QUOTEs I am posting from Travancore State Manual of the living condition of the peoples in the native-kingdom ruled by a native king:
“The food of these Pulayans is fish, often cooked with arrack and with the liliaceous roots of certain water plants.
Their food is chiefly rice, as they are employed in its cultivation, to which they add vegetables and fruits grown in the small plots usually allotted them by their masters. The rice is boiled and eaten with coarse curry, or only pepper and salt. It is also parched, or beaten flat, but they have no skill in baking or cookery.
Not long since, a Pulayan escaped from a cage prison in South Travancore. When again caught, he confessed that he had run off because he had been starved for four days, the peons pocketing the allowance for food.
2. The Kanikars are generally very short in stature and meagre in appearance, from their active habits and scanty food.
3. Pariahs: The flesh of cattle left dead by the roadside is their perquisite, and it is their partaking of this food that excites the abhorrence of ordinary Hindus, who venerate the cow.
The Pariahs eat the carcases of cows and other animals which have died of old age or disease, even when almost putrid. These are cut up for distribution by the females principally, and after partaking of this disgusting food, their odour is insufferable.
4. The Valans: Their food is scanty, and never includes eggs, milk, or rice cakes. Their dress is unclean and poor, the children going quite naked, and often suffering from indigestion, worms, and other diseases; while the parents are so ignorant that they do not even know the use of such a simple remedy as castor oil.
5. During the months of scarcity the Vedar women go to the jungle, and dig up various kinds of wild yams and tubers with pointed sticks of wood which they always carry, and boil and eat these roots. The Pulayars, likewise, hunt for crabs, tiny fish, and snails, in the irrigation channels, eggs of red ants, the winged white ants, or anything else to fill the stomach and satisfy the cravings of hunger.
6. Roots, vegetables and fruits form a considerable proportion of the food of the population, especially of the poorest classes, who have little besides when rice is scarce or dear. The forest and hill people dig out wild, stringy yam-roots from the jungle as food in the hot season. Every native grows something, if he can, around his own dwelling for home use.
7. The poorer class of cultivators generally go to their work at six o’clock in the morning, and return at the same hour in the evening. Only when the work is unusually difficult or pressing do they take solid refreshment at noon. They get food warm and abundant in the evening only.
8. Conversation with a slave:
“What are the wages of slaves in other districts ?”
“Half an edungaly, with a trifling present once a year at Onam.”
“In sickness, is relief given by the masters ?”
“At first a little medicine, but this is soon discontinued. No food is supplied.”
“What is your usual food ? “
“Besides rice when able to work, often only the leaves of a plant called tagara (Cassia tora) boiled; and for six months the roots of wild yams are dug from the jungle.”
“How do you get salt?”
“We exchange one-sixth of our daily wages in paddy for a day’s supply of salt”
“Not having proper food, the children are weak and unable to do hard work, therefore they are not paid any wages until they are fifteen years of age;
9. They are kept toiling in manuring, planting, or reaping through the day in the agricultural season, mostly with the blazing sun beating on the bare head, and the feet in mire or water, and return in the evening, fatigued and hungry, to their wretched huts to boil their rice and eat it with salt and pepper.
10. Sudras (Nayars – higher caste) do not eat beef, but mutton, poultry, &c.
11. Syrian Christians (land owners): Food. — There are no prejudices against any particular kind of food. Beef is ordinarily not procurable, therefore not eaten. Rice and curry is a favourite dish.
12. The cheapest food in Travancore, except home-grown roots and fruits, is rice. Of this adults require about a pound and a half daily, and it costs something like a penny to a penny farthing per pound. Rice is not nearly so nourishing as wheat or oatmeal, and should be supplemented, as it usually is among vegetable feeders, with pease, milk, or butter. Numerous varieties are grown, and nice distinctions made of flavour and individual taste.
13. Rice, the staple food of the people, is not commonly ground into flour, but boiled whole and eaten with curry — that is, highly spiced meat, fruit, or vegetables; other grains, as millet, &c., are ground into flour, and boiled into a kind of porridge or pudding.
14. The social circumstances and daily life of the poor low-caste or slave women, who are obliged to labour for their daily support, and sometimes have nothing to eat on any day on which they remain idle, present a direct contrast to the comfort of these just described, as might be expected from the condition of extreme and enforced degradation in which they have been so long kept, and the contempt and abhorrence with which they are universally regarded. Yet they are human as well as their superiors. They work hard, suffer much from sickness and often from want of food, and generally, like all slaves, also form evil habits of thieving, sensuality, drunkenness, and vice, which increase or produce disease and suffering.
END OF QUOTEs
This is the real condition of the food intake of the various peoples of Travancore. The higher castes and the Syrian Christians did have good food. The lower castes had food bare enough to just survive.
If that be the condition of Travancore, see what was the condition of Malabar.
QUOTE from this book, Malabar:
It is supposed that in Malabar a man has enough to eat if he has 1½ Tippalis of rice and ½ Tippali of conjee a day, or 1 Idangali of paddy of 4 Calicut Nalis There are many in a starving condition who get less, and many affluent who eat more. END OF QUOTE.
There is a lot of online claims about famine in Bengal during the English rule. It is mentioned as if the British government planned for this famine and induced it artificially. The actual fact is that the problem is connected to languages. I have seen very rich locations in Delhi in close proximity to very poor people location. The rich classes simply act as if they do not see the other class. For, it is not easy for an Aap-level person to get into a conversation with Thoo level individuals, unless some kind of enforceable hierarchy is there.
After the formation of India, the poor in the land joined the Naxalite party (revolutionary communist) and attacked the landlords and the police and killed them. Their leader Charu Majumdar was caught from his hiding place after the police could extract this information from one of his associates by torturing him in custody. Charu Majumdar was beaten to death by the police. His body was burned by the police without giving it to his relatives. This is the exact and wider truth about the Bengal famine.
Even now there is terrible starvation and poverty in Bengal. However, people of India are attuned to not notice such things. However, if it was English rule here, there will be an infinite number of things that would be noticed, including the terrible manner in which live fowls are transported for slaughter across the distances in cages which are stacked one upon another.
No one cares for another person’s sufferings. The current-day nation of India is full of sufferings of the downtrodden folks. It is not possible to converse across the layers created by the feudal languages.
Academic historians of India with low-class scholarship, sit inside cosy buildings, earning astronomical salaries, write any nonsense that comes to their insipid minds about the English rule. And these are people who puts on a pretence that they do not know that if a person is addressed as a Thoo or Nee, there is a huge hammering being done, that would travel down to the very bottom of highly-layered social structure.
However, they are aware of this, but still they would place the blame for everything on the English rule.
1. My aim
5. The first impressions about the contents
7. An acute sense of not understanding
8. Entering a terrible social system
9. The doctoring and the manipulations
10. What was missed or unmentioned, or even fallaciously defined
12. Nairs / Nayars
16. Nairs / Nayars
18. The terror that perched upon the Nayars
20. Exertions of the converted Christian Church
24. About the language Malayalam
26. Misconnecting with English
27. Feudal language
30. CASTE SYSTEM
32. The Portuguese
33. The DUTCH
34. The French
35. The ENGLISH
38. Mappilla outrages against the Nayars and the Hindus
40. What is repulsive about the Muslims?
41. Hyder Ali
42. Sultan Tippu
45. Ali Raja
48. The Zamorin and other apparitions
49. The Jews
50. SOCIAL CUSTOMS
53. Pestilence, famine etc.
54. British Malabar versus Travancore kingdom
56. Revenue and administrative changes
59. Henry Valentine Conolly
60. Miscellaneous notes
61. Culture of the land
62. The English efforts in developing the subcontinent
64. Oft-mentioned objections
65. Photos and pictures of the Colonial times
66. Payment for the Colonial deeds
67. Calculating the compensation