What, in detail, do Indian peasants do when famine looms? How do they defend themselves, who succumbs and who survives? Recently several talented economic historians have given these questions a vigorous airing. Morris D. Morris in particular set off the discussion by suggesting that South Asian peasants are well prepared for periodic drought famines. He argues (I compress him almost to parody) that long experience with the monsoon's periodic failures has taught the Indian cultivator prudence: when crops begin to fail the cultivator draws upon previously stored substances—his wife's jewelry, grain, cattle, etc.—and sells them or barters them to keep up his usual level of food consumption. Thus, while his assets are cyclically depleted and replenished, he can usually stave off the most feared effect of drought, which is starvation. N. S. Jodha, however, has partially contradicted Morris by adducing evidence from Rajasthan and elsewhere which shows the peasant cultivator to be more likely to cut back his current food intake rather than risk a loss of future production by depleting his capital assets. Like Morris, Jodha sees that farmers are rational and plan for the future, the disagreement being whether they plan for crop failures in the midst of good harvests or plan for good harvests in the midst of crop failures In fact these two views, suitably softened, are not incompatible, and one can imagine both operating at different phases of a worsening episode of drought.