MANY YEARS WITHOUT RAIN
VARIOUS FAMINES IN LAHORE
Crushing dry leaves for flour
It was the year 1783. It looked like Nature had gone awry, The rain just stopped. There was no rain in Lahore for many years. Starvation was imminent. The rich were able to preserve flour hidden in their havellis. That is why you see false walls with cavities in them, where not gold, but wheat was hidden, and a hole made in it, from where wheat was taken out, a glass at a time. The Capital of the land of five rivers knew what hunger was in the real sense. And to compound things in a worst way, the plains were invaded by an insect named TITTAN, and it devoured whatever was there. To even further humble the Lahoris, the cows ate this insect and the milk and ghee were infected and not fit to eat. In mean time the Sikh bandits were creating havoc in and around the city, plundering villages and people. Thousands of people died of starvation, others fled to the hills. The wrath of Allah was on Lahore in the same way as it happened in the land of the Pharaohs.
We talk today of the flour as having become expensive, but what about the time, when it was no longer there. Extinction of animals and birds was also taking place, without recourse to water and food. Wheat and rice were not there. Somebody got the idea of using dry leaves for food. People started collecting dry leaves of trees, and would pound them in mortar and then make dough out of them, and cook chapattis out of them. Can we today even imagine that? It is said one blade of CHARI for cows was for Rs2 at that time, a fabulous sum of its time.
Famines in Lahore were not new. The famous one was in 1759 called CHOLAH FAMINE. There was one in 1813 called SATSERA FAMINE. And again in 1823. It seemed Lahore was suffering for there was no government to take care of its people. The same is happening today. Business as usual. It looks like Marie Antoinette having pastries while she could not imagine that while these were there in bakeries, why people were complaining about bread? Classical neglect which finally ,led to the French Revolution. Unfortunately it was destructive. We hope that if one occurs in Lahore, it is benign to the people, and may not be benign to others. Allah forgives us all!