Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Food and Welfare in India, c. 1900–1950

  • Sunil S. Amrith (a1)

In 2001, the People's Union for Civil Liberties submitted a writ petition to the Supreme Court of India on the “right to food.” The petitioner was a voluntary human rights organization; the initial respondents were the Government of India, the Food Corporation of India, and six state governments. The petition opens with three pointed questions posed to the court: A.

Does the right to life mean that people who are starving and who are too poor to buy food grains ought to be given food grains free of cost by the State from the surplus stock lying with the State, particularly when it is reported that a large part of it is lying unused and rotting?


Does not the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India include the right to food?


Does not the right to food, which has been upheld by the Honourable Court, imply that the state has a duty to provide food especially in situations of drought, to people who are drought affected and are not in a position to purchase food?

Hide All
James Vernon , notably, “The Ethics of Hunger and the Assembly of Society: The Techno-Politics of the School Meal in Britain,” American Historical Review, 110, 3 (2005): 693725

Ravi Ahuja , “State Formation and ‘Famine Policy’ in Early Colonial South India,” Indian Economic and Social History Review 39, 4 (2002): 351–80

U. Kalpagam , “Colonial Governmentality and the ‘Economy,’” Economy and Society 29, 3 (2000): 418–38

Sarah Hodges , “Looting the Lock Hospital in Colonial Madras during the Famine Years of the 1870s,” Social History of Medicine 18 (2005): 379–98

Arjun Appadurai , “Gastro-Politics in Hindu South Asia,” American Ethnologist 8, 3 (1981): 494511, quote p. 496

Carey Watt , Serving the Nation: Cultures of Service, Association and Citizenship (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005)

David Arnold's Discovery of Malnutrition and Diet in Colonial India,” Indian Economic and Social Review 31, 1 (1994): 126

Sunil Amrith , Decolonizing International Health: India and Southeast Asia, 1930–65 (New York: Palgrave, 2006), ch. 1

Joseph Alter , “Gandhi's Body, Gandhi's Truth: Nonviolence and the Biomoral Imperative of Public Health,” The Journal of Asian Studies 55, 2 (1996): 301–22

Nick Cullather , “Foreign Policy of the Calorie,” American Historical Review 112, 2 (2007): 337–64

Rajnarayan Chandavarkar , “Customs of Governance: Colonialism and Democracy in Twentieth Century India,” Modern Asian Studies 41, 3 (2007): 441–70

Paul Greenough , “Indian Famines and Peasant Victims: The Case of Bengal in 1943–4,” Modern Asian Studies 14, 2 (1980): 205–35

Arjun Appadurai , “How Moral is South Asia's Economy?—A Review Article,” The Journal of Asian Studies 43, 3 (1984): 481–97

C. J. Baker , “Economic Reorganization and the Slump in Southeast Asia,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 23, 3 (1981): 325–39

Sugata Bose , “Starvation amidst Plenty: The Making of Famine in Bengal, Honan and Tonkin, 1942–45,” Modern Asian Studies 24, 4 (1990): 699727

Francine Frankel , India's Political Economy: The Gradual Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977)

Subir Sinha , “Lineages of the Developmentalist State: Transnationality and Village India, 1900–1965,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50, 1 (2008): 5790

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 50 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 136 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.