In his first book Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India (Cambridge University Press 2018), historian Benjamin Robert Siegel explores independent India’s attempts...

In his first book Hungry Nation: Food, Famine, and the Making of Modern India (Cambridge University Press 2018), historian Benjamin Robert Siegel explores independent India’s attempts to feed itself between the 1940s and 1970s. Following the devastating Bengal famine of 1943, hunger and malnutrition remained key issues for India’s politicians, planners and citizens as a new nation sought to become self-sufficient in food production. Siegel’s book follows debates on land reform, technology and native diets to understand how the food question became an entry point into larger questions of citizenship, rights and welfare, debates that continue to loom large in the battle against agrarian distress and widespread food insecurity in present-day India.


Madhuri Karak holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her dissertation titled “Insurgent Difference: An Ethnography of an Indian Resource Frontier” analyzed resource extraction and development as mutually constitutive logics of rule in the bauxite-rich mountains of southern Odisha, India. She tweets @madhurikarak and more of her work can be found here.

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