The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book - 'Naga Path', by Ursula Graham Bower, published John Murray 1950

caption: Chapter twenty-four. Famine
caption: dysentery outbreak in Nraitsak
medium: books
location: Nraitsak
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
text: In July came the dysentery outbreak in Nraitsak. This tragedy, like the famine, sprang directly from Zemi conservatism and isolation. Like the famine, it was preventable, but unlike it, it was discovered too late.
text: The dysentery was a new and virulent kind brought in by the refugees. Their trains infected the line as they passed down it, and thence it spread outwards into the hills alongside; all that summer and in the two succeeding years it sprang up here and there in deadly outbreaks. When it appeared in Nraitsak, which it did early, before its danger was known, the elders decided that, as medicine could not cure at one magical stroke and must be carried on over long and tiresome periods, and as a doctor would need feeding and (178) housing all that time, they would economize, keeping the outbreak a close secret and ending it by the time-honoured sacrifice of a monster pig.
text: Alas, for their mistaken piety ! When, a month later, a man we had treated once before developed symptoms and sent over for help, the whole thing came to light. Of their population of sixty, twenty were then dead.