|In 1770, the British rulers faced the first major famine in Bengal, one that wiped out a substantial part of the province's population. The Madras famine of 1876 was another event that claimed many lives, mainly due to a British administration that tried to rely solely on market forces to feed the starving.
A quarter of the population or more in many southern Indian provinces lost their lives in famines during the 19th century. The railways and the growth of agriculture were other factors that helped take food out of agricultural areas, often to markets abroad. The Bengal Famine of 1943 was one of the worst - and last - famines before Independence. These victims are likely from one of the early 1900 famines.