|Bombay plague 1896-97 .procaffenation.com|
|.Bombay plague 1896-97. procaffenation.com|
01. The Bombay Municipal corporation with a population of 8.2 lakhs did not pay attention to the well-being of the working classes who lived in slums and chawls. Many diseases were endemic to them and least attention was paid to the sanitation of such areas by the colonial rulers.
02. When the first case of the plague attack was reported near Bombay port in September, 1896, the British administration did not take it seriously.
|Clipper ship. opium trade British India and China. kadist.org/program|
04. What infuriated the Indian leaders was the British never ordered the closure of Bombay harbor and ban on ships from Hong Kong even after knowing the sources of plague, China. They continued the illegal opium trade via Bombay and Hong Kong and kept the ports functional.
|1896 Plague landed in Bombay from China via opium ships kadist.org|
06. Because of belated response from the health department and medical experts, the plague began to spread faster then expected in Bombay and other adjacent areas. Besides, hurriedly drafting and writing new Epidemic Disease Act of 1897, the Raj gave harsh punishment to Indians, including women and children.
07. Quite obnoxious was the way Pune Asst Commissioner W.C Rand and his officials implemented the laws. They, without scruples, subjected the Indian women to ill-treatment. They tested the dignity of native Indians by way of stripping them naked publicly, including women and ransacking their homes and burning their personal belongings, food, etc. All these were done in the name of controlling the spread of plague in Pune and examination of the body.
08. According to some reports, there were some cases of soldiers raping women under the pretext of body-searching, though such reports were denied by Rand. 09. It was in this hour of the plague pandemic, grief and pain, Bal Gangadar Tilak who underwent imprisonment for 18 months for his writings against the highhandedness of British officials in the Pune plague made a strong ststement: ''Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it''. This catchy slogan caught the attention of countless patriots across India and gave an impetus to India's freedom struggle.
10. The New York Times reported in 1897 a statement made by a Christian priest: 'the city was facing two kinds of deadly diseases and both deadly - natives dying by hunger, overseers stealing the supplies''
11. The crowded detection centers set by the Raj aggravated the grave situation in Bombay.
12. The ill treatment of Indians continued for some time and this led to unrest among the people. W.C. Rand was assassinated by the Chaphekar brothers on July 22, 1898 for his humiliating actions against the Indian women.
In 1900, the mortality rate from plague was about 22 per thousand for various reasons, late healthcare efforts taken by the British, crowded places, certain communities' refusal to cooperate with the government guide lines. were the underlying causes.
In the subsequent years protests against British atrocities and
their dishonest dealings in India gathered more momentum. Consequently, Indian national leaders began to give more pressure to the colonial rulers to hand over the freedom to the Indians soon and leave the Indian shores for good.