The Great Famine of 1876–78 (also the Southern India famine of 1876–78 or the Madras famine of 1877) was a famine in India that began in 1876 and affected south and southwestern India (Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Bombay) for a period of two years. In its second year famine also spread north to some regions of the Central Provinces and the North-Western Provinces, and to a small area in the Punjab. The famine ultimately covered an area of 257,000 square miles (670,000 km2) and caused distress to a population totaling 58,500,000. The death toll from this famine is estimated to be in the range of 5.5 million people.
Know more about this tragical event in Wikiepdia