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The loss of population caused by these two famines must
have been considerable. In 1822 the inhabitants of the Grovern-
ment taluks of the district numbered 788,196, while at the
census taken in 1838 they were only 552,477. It is true that
these enumerations were probably very defective, but tbere is
no reason to suppose that the former was more accurate than
the latter ; the presumption, indeed, is just the opposite. The
decrease in the population must, therefore, be real ; and though
it is possible that some of it was due to emigration, the greater
part of it must be ascribed to starvation and epidemic diseases,
especially cholera. Allowing for the natural increment of popu-
lation from 1822-38, the decline was at the rate of 39*8 per cent.
Seven other districts suffered a loss during the same period.
In 1857. Though a number of the subsequent years were distinctly

unfavourable and high prices caused much suffering, the next
really bad season was in 1857. The south-west monsoon of
that year failed and the north-east gave no rain after October.
Prices continued at a high level, numbers of people were in
receipt of relief, aud 'over 40,000 persons emigrated to Ceylon.
The next year was not much better, but the failure of the crops
was due to excessive, rather than deficient, rainfall. High
prices continued and the people suffered much from both cholera
and fever.
In 1866. The famine of 1866 was more severe. The monsoons were

very late, prices rose rapidly, and in September rice was selling
at 4"2 measures a rupee, ragi was 66 per cent, dearer than in the
corresponding month of the previous year, and in some parts



RAINFALL AND SEASONS.



163



grain was not procurable at any figure. The statistics below CHAP. VIII.
indicate tlie course of events : — Famines and

Scarcities.







Number relieved.




Year


and month.












Gratuitously.


On works.


Total.




1866.








August ...
September
October ...
November
December


1867.


4,313
5,375
5,540
3,892
4,203


60
310
310


4,313
5,375
5,600
4,202
4,513


Januai'y

February

March ...

April

May

June




3,407
2,071
1,077
1,355

800


6,161
5,813

739
7H8
739
763


9,568
7,384
1,816
2,118
1,539
763



A sum of lis. 14,000 was raised by local subscription and
Rs. 24,000 were spent on gratuitous relief and Es. 19,000 on
works. Tlie taluks worst affected were Melur, Dindigul and
Tirumangalam.

But tlie most serious visitation which Madura has ever had
to face was the ' great famine ' of 1876-78, which affected dis-
astrously so many other districts in this Presidency.

The south-west and north-east monsoons of 187 U both failed.
3'he latter began propitiously enough with a fall of nearly three
inches^ but then ceased altogether. By November 15th matters
were critical and by the end of the year not only were all agri-
cultural operations at a standstill, but in many places the water
available was insufficient even for domestic purposes. Sheep
and cattle in Palni began to die, although the forest reserves
were thrown open for grazing. The ryots began to sell their
cattle and other property and to emigrate in thousands to Ceylou
and elsewhere, leaving their children and wonienkind behind
them. So great was the crowd at Pamban waiting to get away,
that the food supplies there ran out, and Government authorised
the Collector to buy grain and sell it at cost price to the emi-
grants. Cholera, small-pox and other epidemics also appeared.
Between July 187G and June 1878, it may here be noted, 120,000
persons emigrated from the district (including the Eamuad and
Sivaganga zamindaris) and 20,000 died of cholera.



The great
famine of

1876-78.



164



MADURA.



SCABCITIKS.



(iHAP. VIII. On lltli December 1876 Government placed a first instalment

[''amines and of Ks. 5,000 at the disposal of the Collector for the opening of
relief-works, and the Sub-Collector started three centres for
gratuitous relief round Dindigul on his own responsibility.

In the early part of 1877 the numbers on relief increased
so considerably that for purposes of famine administration the
district was arranged into four divisions ; Mr. C. W. W. Martin,
the Sub-Collector, taking Dindigul and Palni ; Mr. E. Turner,
Extra Assistant Collector, Tirumangalam and Periyakulam ; and
two Deputy Collectors (Messrs. P. Subbaiyar and Tillaindyakam
Pillai) being in charge of Madura and Melur respectively- The
District Engineer's staif was also strengthened by the addi-
tion of several European Assistant Engineers, and a number
of subordinates of the Survey department were transferred to
famine duty.

The figures subjoined (which have been worked out for the
district without the Hamnad and Sivaganga zamindaris) show
graphically the progress of the famine from that time forth : —



Month and year.


Number of persons on last
day of month on


Expenditure on


Works.


Gratui-
tous
relief.


Total.


Works.


Gratui-
tous
relief.


Total.


1876.
December

1877.
January
February
March ...
April ..

May

June

July

August

September
October
November
December

1878-
January
February

March

April
May
June
July ...

Total ...


6,281

3,554
5,245

8,447
11,631
12,314

7,086
22,559
24,594
14,199
12,565

9,977

2,407

4,251
250


1,015

331

230

1,179

5,458
7,553
12,622
34,537
50,990
81,470
40,910
27,930
15,249

9,818

936

265

106

24

24


7,296

3,885
5,475
9,626
17,089
19,867
19,708
57,096
75,584
95,669
53,475
37,907
17,656

14,069

1,186

265

106

24

24


BS.

6,309

11,844
12,801
20,206
21,534
26,346
39,989
43,211
62,034
87,921
63,955
24,598
17,411

7,788

3,283

946


RS.

772

372

244

992

5,725

11,012

25,9*2

47,868

87,337

1,56,987

1,34,541

63,034

49,685

20,122

8,071

1,624

393

145

97

55


RS.

7,081

12,216

13,045

21,198

27,259

37,358

65,931

91,079

1,49,371

2,44,908

1,98,496

87,632

67,096

27,910

11,354

2,570

393

145

97

55






4,60,176


6,15,018


10,65,194



RAINFALL AND SEASONS.



165



It will be seen that things quickly went from had to worse. CHAP. VIII.
Everyone, however, lived in the hope that the south-west monsoon Famines and

of 1 877 would be plentiful and put an end to the distress. When,

therefore, it again turned out a failure, the numbers both on works
and gratuitous relief increased very seriously, the latter quadru-
pling between June and August. Grain was poured into the
district by the railway, which had just been opened, but there
remained the difficulty of getting it distributed to the outlying
parts. Weavers were relieved in Dindigul and Palni by giving
them advances of raw material and paying them the market value
of the fabrics woven therefrom. Many people died of sheer
starvation and the records of the time are full of tales of horror —
children deserted by their mothers, corpses lying un buried by
the road-sides and so forth. Crime also naturally increased by
leaps and bounds. Kvery effort was made to reach the worst
cases of destitution with the money provided by the Mansion
House Fund, and when at length, in September and October 1877,
good rain fell, this same money was utilised in assisting ryots to
start the cultivation of their fields.

Thereafter the numbers both on works and gratuitous relief
rapidly declined, but in November and December the little
progress which had been made with the new crop was checked by
excessive rain ending (in Kamnad) with the most disastrous floods
which had been known for years.

On the last day of the February following, however, matters
had improved sufficiently to enable the distinction between famine
and budget works to be revived, and village relief was ordered
to be discontinued from the last day of March 1878.

During the fifteen months which bad elapsed since operations
began in December 1876, Rs. 6'15 lakhs had been spent on
gratuitous relief in the district and I" 50 lakhs on works. Besides
these amounts, large sums from the Mansion House Fund had
also been expended. The indirect cost of the famine to the
State included over 65- lakhs granted in remissions of assessment,
as under : —



Fasli.


Bemissions.


Wet.


Dry.


Total.


1286

1287

1288

Total ...


lis.
2,03,291
11,814
40,203


H8.

2,80,720
&3,381


4,84,011

1,05,195

40,203


2,55,808


3,74,101


6,29,409



166 ' MADUftA.

CHAP. VIII. Thns the total cost to tlie Q-overnment, direct and indirect, of

Famines and the famine in this district may be put at 17 lakhs.

SCAECITIES.

The loss to the people themselves was, of course, infinitely

greater. It was reported that in Palni there were practically no
cattle left alive.

At the census of 1881, taken three years after the famine
was over, the people of the district were 5 per cent, fewer than
they had been in 1871, five years before it began. Tirumanga-
1am taluk evidently suffered more severely than any other, for
the decline in the population there amounted to no less than 15
per cent. In Palni and Madura it was 7 per cent, and in Dindi-
gul 6 per cent. Since then no famine or serious scarcity has
visited Madura.
Floods. Few floods have occurred in the district. We are told that

in December 1677 an extraordinary superabundance of rain on
the Western Ghats caused a kind of deluge, which swept away
many low-lying villages with all their inhabitants. On the 18th
December 1709 a tremendous cyclone appeared. The tempest
began at 7 a.m. with a strong north-easterly gale and very violent
rain. This lasted till nearly noon, when the wind and rain
suddenly ceased and a profound calm followed which continued
until 5 P.M. The wind then got up again with great suddenness
from the opposite quarter, the south-west, and blew for most of
the night with even greater force than in the morning. The
wind and the rain breached tank after tank until at last a mighty
wave of water was surging through the district carrying every-
thing before it ; aud by morning the country was one vast sheet
of water with only the higher ground appearing above it here
and there.

In November 1814 a terrific storm from the south-east swept
over the neighbourhood of Madura town and destroyed nearly
3,000 cattle and some 50 herdsmen.

In December 1843 extraordinary freshes occurred in the
Vaigai and many tanks were breached.

In the same month in 1877 the Grundar came down in a most
unexpected and dangerous flood. The Special Assistant Col-
lector then in charge of Ramnad zamindari under the Court
of Wards described in a graphic way how he was riding along
through jungle when he suddenly heard a noise of rushing water
and in a few minutes was struggling with his horse in a torrent
three feet deep. The details of the matter belong to the history of
Ramnad, and it is enough to mention here that the river swept
during the night through the famine camp which had been pitched



EAINPALL AND SEASONS. 167

in its bed at Tiruchuli and drowned about 20 people there before CHAP. viii.
they could escape ; travelled to Kainudi and washed away the Floods.
wall of the temple and a thousand yards of the big embankment
there ; and then rushed across country, breaching nearly every
tank in the south-west of the zamindari, until the whole of that
side of the district was covered with one wide sheet of water.

In 1884 an unusually high flood in the Vaigai topped the road
to the west of Madura and flowed into the Anuppanadi channel,
but no great damage was done except to the newly-opened
water-works mentioned on p. 22^.



168



MADURA.



CHAPTER IX.
PUBLIC HEALTH.



Health,



Cholera.



General Health — Cholera — Fever — Small-pcx— Madura foot — Vital Statis-
tics. Medical Institutions — American Mission hospitals and dispensaries
— The Madura hospital — The Dindignl hospital— Other institutions.

HAP. IX. The frequency of cliolera and fever in Madura is at present
General too great to warrant the inclusion of the district among- those
which are clearly healthy to native constitutions. Europeans
have the advantage of Kodaikanal as a haven of refuge from the
usual effects of a tropical climate, but othervrise do not find the
district invigorating. To both classes the high and dry land
round about Dindigul and Palni is better suited than the Vaigai
valley, and both find the atmosphere of Madura town itself debi-
litating and unwholesome. Hence the movement of the residences
of the head-quarter officials (see p. 261) to the new site on the
race-course on the opposite side of the river.

Cholera is an ancient enemy of the country. A letter from the
Jesuit missionary Robert de' Nobili, dated as far back as April
1609, speaks of the ravages of a virulent epidemic disease which
he calls mordechin, and Father Martin, writing in 1701, gives an
account of this which makes it clear that it was none other than
cholera. Tule and Burnell say that mordechin is a fanciful
French corruption of modachi, the Konkani and Marathi name for
the disease. The remedy favoured by the Jesuit fathers for the
cure of choleraic attacks was the application of a red hot sickle to
the soles of the patient's feet. If he did not move when this was
applied, they naively observe, his case was hopeless.

Severe epidemics of cholera are reported to have occurred in
1815, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1831 to 1837, 1839, 1843, 1850 to 1852,
I 853, 1858, 1859, 1861, 1864 and 1865. In 187f), 11,600 persons
died of the disease and 15,600 in 1877. Since then, the worst
years have been 1891 (6,800 deaths), 1897 (8,:i00) and 1900
(5,800), but in no single year since 1871, with the two solitary
exceptions of 1874 and 1886, has Madura been entirely free from
this scourge. The festivals at the temples at Madura, Palni, and
Rdmesvaram used to be the great centres for its propagation, but
these are now more carefully watched than formerly. Statistics
of the deaths from cholera and certain other causes in recent
years will be found in the separate Appendix to this volume.



PUBLIC HEALTH. 169

Malarial fever is endemic in most of llie country close under tlie CHAP. IX.
numerous hill-rang-cs of the district, bucIi as the tracts lying- Genehai,
among the Nattarn liills, at the head of the Kambam valley and Health.
at the foot of the Palnis. The Sirumalai hills are also themselves Fever,
exceeding-ly malarious.

In the early years of ilie last century, however, some sort of
fever created havoc all over the district and not only in the
country near the hills. It was especially virulent in the three
years 1809 to JSll, and is constantly referred to in the old
records. In his jamahandi report for fasli 1221 the Collector said
that 13,000 people had died of it in ton months, aud that those who
had escaped with their lives were almost all prostrated from its
effects. Cultivation and business had everywhere Iteen inter-
rupted; the ryots were unable to work in the fields; the nattam-
gars could hardly crawl to the cutcherries for their pattas ; the
gumastahs were too ill to prepare the accounts ; and he himself
was not strong enough to write the report and had been obliged
to order his Head Assistant to do it for him.

A Committee investigated the disease and reported in 1816 at
great length upon its nature and its supposed causes. It re-
appeared in that year and again, in a severe form, in 1818, 1819,
1820, lb39, 1840, 18^5, 1800, 1851, 1854 (when it was especially
malignant), 1^55, 1856, 1858, 1859, lS-61, 18()3, 1864 and 1865.
But in some of these years it was confined to limited areas.
Sometimes, it was paid, whole villages were decimated by it in a
few days. Since that time it has not visited the district. Over
one-third of all the deaths in Madura since 1883 have, it is true,
been attributed to 'fever,^ but probably (as elsewhere) many
diseases are so entered which are beyond the powers of diagnosis
possessed by the heads of villages who are responsible for the
returns.

Small-pox is not particularly common. The worst years since Small-pox.
1871 hctve been 1872 (4,491 deaths), 1877 (3,161) and 1891
(2,783). In the decade 1883-1892 the disease caused 555 deaths
out of every 10,000 and in the quinquennium 1898-1902, 343 out
of the same number. Vaccination is compulsory in all the unions
aad municipalities.

A disease worth special mention is ' Madura foot/ or Madura
mycetoma. In this Presidency it is especially common in the '*^^^-
Madura district and (in the same way that elephantiasis is often
called ' Cochin leg ') it gets its popular name from tins fact. It
consists in a marked swelling of the foot (or occasionally of the
hand) and is popularly supposed to be confined to the tracla
covered with black cotton-soil.

22



170



MADUEA.



CHAP. IX. The earliest, uotice of the disease was hj Ksempfer in 1712.^

GENERAL Jts more modern history began with Godfrey, of Madras, who

' gave a description of several undoubted examples of it in the

Lancet of June 10th, 1843. The merit of biinging the disease
prominently to notice, of distinctly describing its clinical and
anatomical features, as well as of suggesting its probable patho-
logy, belongs entirely to Vandyke Carter, who, from 1860 to 1874,
in a series of important papers, furnished the information on
which all later descriptions have been principally founded.

The disease is not confined to India, but occurs with some
degree of frequency in Senegambia and, more rarely, in Algeria,
Italy and Cochin-China. In India, it is endemic in more or less
limited areas which are scattered over a wide extent of country
and separated by tracts which are almost completely immune.
Besides Madura, it is said ^ to be prevalent in the Proddatur,
Jammalamadugu and Pulivendla taluks of the Cuddapah district
(chiefly on the cotton-soil arpas in them) and it is common in the
Punjab, Kashmir and Eajputana. It appears to be acquired only
in rural areas, the inhabitants of towns being exempt.

Mycetoma begins usually, but by no means invai-iably, on the
sole of the foot, the first indication of its presence being a small
round painless swelling perhaps half an inch in diameter. After
a month or more, this swelling will soften and rupture, discharg-
ing a peculiar viscid fluid containing in suspension minute round
particles (compared by some to fish-roe) which are either grey,
yellow or black. In time other similar swellings appear and go
through the same process, leaving sinuses which do not heal.
Gradually the foot enlarges to two or three times its normal size,
the sole becomes convex so that the toes do not touch the ground,
the tissues soften and the whole of the member is covered with
the discharging sinuses.

As the foot enlarges, the leg atrophies from disuse, so that in
advanced cases an enormously swollen foot is attached to a leg
which is little more than skin and bone. Unless treated, the
patient dies after ten or twenty vears, worn out by the continued
drain.

Three varieties of the disease have been recognised — the white,
the black and the red— of which the last is very rare. It is due
to a ray fungus which is allied to the actinomyses which in some
places causes an affection (actinomycosis) among cattle which has

^ See Mansou's Tropical Diseases (Cassel & Co., 1898), from wbioli the
following particulars are abstracted.
* Cuddapiih Diitrict Manual, 193.



PUBLIC HEALTH. 171

been communicated to man. How this enters the foot is not yet CHAP. IX.
certain. It is conjectured that it may be a usual parasite on General
some plant, and that it finds its way into the tissues through H^^"-
a wound in the skin. This theory is supported by the facts that
the disease occurs almost invariably on the feet and hands, and
principally among the barefooted ryots. If the harm has not
proceeded far, free excision of the affected parts will stop it ; but
in more advanced cases amputation is the only remedy yet known.

Statistics of the recorded rates of births and deaths will be ^'^^^^
found in the Appendix. Eegistration of these events is now ^^^^•'^^^*^''-
compulsory in all the anions and municipalities in the district.
The figures are probably as reliable as elsewhere. They show
among other things, that the hot weather is much more healthy
than the rains.

The medical institutions of the district comprise 6ve municipal, Medical
three local board, and two mission, hospitals, and three municipal, ^nstitutioms.
twelve local board, and one naission, dispensaries. Statistics of
the attendance at, and expenditure on, the municipal and local
board institutions are given in the Appendix.

Tne mission hospitals are that for women and children in American
Madura town, near the site of the east gate of the old fort, which ^^*"*'o°
was opened by the American Mission in 1898 (the cases treated and '
in which numbered 15,501) in 1904) and the well-equipped Albert '^'spf^nsarieH.
Victor hospital (commonly known, from the name of the surgeon
who originated it, as the Van Allen hospital) belonging- to the same
body, wliere there is accommodation for ^8 in-patients and the
out-patients treated in which numbered 20,800 in 1904. This
latter was erected at a cost of Hs. 42,000 (nearly all subscribed by
natives of the district), was opened by Sir Arthur Havelock in
1897, and is supported by annual subscriptions from the Ndttu-
kottai Chettis, the Lessees of Sivaganga and others, aided by grants
from the municipality, the District Board and the mission. The
mission also maintains a dispensary at Pasumalai.

Of all the medical institutions the oldest is the municipal Tlie Madura
hospital at Madura. It was opened in May 1842 in the old guard- ho«pital.
room over the remains of the west gate of the Madura fort (see
p. 266) where the maternity hospital (opened in 1863) is now
located. In 1843 the rooms on the north side of the platform
over this gateway, behind the guard- room, were erected for it
In 18(32 the Collector, Mr. Vere Levinge, set on foot a public
subscription for the provision of proper accommodation for the
institution and for a maternity hospital. About Rs. 67,000 were
collected among the natives of the district and part of this was



172



MADURA.



CHAP. IX.

Medical
Inbtitutionb.



The

Dindigul
hospital.



Othe.-

institutions.



spent in putting- up new buildings and part in constructing, as an
investment for tlie liospital, the bungalow in which the European
Club at Madura is now located. The land round the site on
which this stands had, it was said, been used for Sir Thomas
Munro's camp wlien he once came to Madura as Governor, and
ever afterwards it had continued to be reserved in case another
Governor might similarly require it. Mr. Levinge levelled it
with convict labour, sold part of it by auction and reserved one
portion for the new bungalow. This last was apparently trans-
ferred to the municipal council, which now receives the rent of it,
when the two hospitals were vested in that body in 1872 The
erection of the excellent range of buildings in which the hospital
is now located was sanctioned in May 1903, the estimate amount-
ing to Es 1,03,500. The cost of two of the wards was borne
by M.R.Ry. A. L. A. R. Arnndchala Chetti of Devikottai and
M.R.Ry. P. L. R. M- Shanmuga Chetti of Moraiyur, the District
Board contributed Rs. 10,000, and the municipal council provided
the remainder. From 1875 to 1887 a medical school for training
hospital assistants existed in connection with the institution. Jn
addition to this and the maternity hospital, the municipality keeps
up a branch dispensary, opened in July 1876, and a dispensary for
women and children, originated in 1894.

After that at Madura, the next most prominent hospital in the
district is that maintained by the manicipality of Dindigul. For
many years the Rev. E. Chester, m.d., of the American Mission,
who was engaged in medical work in the town from 1860 until
his death there in 1902, managed a hospital in Dindigul which
was aided from local and municipal funds. In 1899 the munici-
pality started an institution of its own in a rented building.
Five years earlier a dispensary for women and children liad lieon
opened, also in a rented house. Roth these buildings were
repeatedly condemned as unsuitable, and the Government has
recently sanctioned Rs. 21,000 from Provincial Funds for the
erection of a new building to hold both institutions. To this a
sum of about Bs. 3,000, which lias been collected towards a
memorial to Dr. Chester, is to be add('



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