Cattle, famines, and the colonial state
in Beastly encounters of the Raj
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In their discussion on livestock until now, authors have looked mostly at the nature of the colonial state, while touching briefly upon the reactions of various indigenous sections to government policies. This chapter looks much more closely at indigenous reactions to government policies, especially in the context of famine relief. It also looks at famine relief policies, and examines the ways in which they were shaped due to the influence of the reigning doctrines of free trade and Malthusianism. With respect to the issue of protection of livestock, at least, the state justified its relative inactivity using the threefold logic of free trade, Malthusianism, and financial prudence. The chapter also examines the practical fallouts of these arguments while looking, in particular, at certain key measures such as the construction of cattle camps, distribution of grass/fodder, and other provisions such as forest-grazing and tacavi loans.

Beastly encounters of the Raj

Livelihoods, livestock and veterinary health in North India, 1790–1920

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