INDIA: Flowers of Evil

In the rain-soaked Eastern Hills of India, the bamboo forests flower only about once in 50 years. And to the wiry little mountain men of the remote Mizo Hills district, the flowering is a dread omen of approaching famine. They believe that the tender shoots and the seeds encourage a vast overbreeding of jungle rats. Once this food supply is exhausted, the rats—many as big as young house cats —assemble and, like a disciplined army, march across paddies and vegetable gardens, eating everything. The broadest and swiftest rivers do not deflect them;...

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