ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Rat-Caused Famine in Mizo.

Weekly Note from Vol XII, No 17, April 23, 1960.

Mizo, the district formerly known as the Lushai Hills in Assam, has hit the headlines with reported cases of death from starvation. Not that the reports have been admitted by the Food Ministry at New Delhi. There were heated exchanges on the floor of the Lok Sabha when the question was raised.... This is not a subject on which Government admission is to be readily expected. In Assam, however, the subject of starvation deaths in Mizo Hills district has become a matter of acute political controversy ... the Mizo Union has decided to secede from the Congress Parliamentary Party in protest against the unsatisfactory relief work in the famine-stricken district. The famine had something to do with the flowering of bamboo in this district. Now the bamboo flowers at intervals of many decades, perhaps only once in about 50 years. But when it happens, it brings along rat infestation of a magnitude which is really incredible. ....soon the bamboos were all but eaten up and then the rats attacked the crops and, like swarms of locusts, destroyed the harvest of whole villages in a night.

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