Hazrat Qari Siddeeq Ahmad Baandwi (rahmatullahi ‘alaih) mentioned the following regarding the poverty that was prevalent in his childhood:
“On several occasions we did not even have money to purchase paraffin for the lamps. My grandmother used to spin yarn in the moonlight and my mother used to sew kurtas for two paisas. If we had food for one meal, we stayed hungry for the next. We would regard it as a day of great joy if we got chutney and roti to eat for two meals in a row. Such a time had also come upon us where we had to break leaves from the trees, boil them and eat them.
This was a time of poverty and constraint. My father had already passed away. My two sisters who were younger than me had also passed away in this condition of poverty and hunger. I remember clearly that people would bring cotton seeds from the fields and boil them. Everyone used to eat from it. In those days there used to be lots of berries growing in the jungles. People would pluck them and survive on this. This was not only the condition in my home, it was the condition in most of the homes. Every second day people would stay hungry. Some of the elderly folk in my family had mentioned that at times people used to grind the bark of the Seemer tree into flour and make bread out of it. The entire area suffered abject poverty.
That period however was still much better than this period. There was no fighting and quarrelling, no fitnah and corruption. Whatever people found, they ate and survived. The rest of their time they spent in making the zikr of Allah Ta‘ala. When the floodgates of wealth opened up, it brought along with it much fitnah and corruption.” (Hayaat-e-Siddeeq, pg. 39)