Major Diseases in British Garhwal
British Administration in Garhwal -285
History of British Rule/Administration over Kumaun and Garhwal (1815-1947) -305
History of Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon and Haridwar) -1139
Major diseases in Garhwal and Kumaon were – epidemic as plague, cholera, small pox, fever. There was spread of plague in 1823. Then after that it spread in Badhan and Chandpur region many times. A couple of times, plague spread in Malla Salan too and Danpur of Kumaon. Official recognized plague first in Kedarnath region and it was there for many years. There was plague in Nagpur and Badhan regions in 1834 and 1835. Again in 1837, it spread in Badhan and upper Pindar river region. There was plague in 1846-47 in Lobha region. There was plague in a village of Bora region of Kumaon in 1847. There was plague in a village 15 miles away from Almora in 1847. There was plague in Mrora and Dadoli villages of Choprakot ofr Garhwal in rainy season of 1849. There was plague in 1852 and 1876. Death toll was 555 in 1876
The people had perception that plague used to start from Haridwar kumbh mela. The worms of Plague remained with pots, dresses etc of pilgrims visiting Badrinath from Haridwar. People had perception that first rats die and then plague spread. It was astounding reality that wherever epidemic spread the main meal of people was Marsu, Rajdana/Chua. It was guessed that there was some relation of Marsu (Amaranthus). Government warned people that if rats start dying in a village, people should immediately vacate the village. However, many people used stay in villages even after rats sudden death and they used to get affected by plague. However, where people used to run away after sudden death of rat they used to survive.
Government deputed tow experts Francis and Dr. Pearson for getting opinion about plague in Garhwal. Dr. Pearson was Superintendent for vaccination. Dr. Pearson suggested for steps to be taken for preventing losses by plague.
Let people separate themselves from plague affected person. The dresses of effected person should immediately be burnt. Pearson found and reported that the persons got plague because they did not know anything about hygiene. The plague spread more in the villages where people live together with cattle and chickens and those keep dung near their house. The persons taking old grain food were also conducive to epidemic. The disease spread on village where people grow tendril vegetables on their country yard and creepers grow on house roofs or walls. Hemp growing habits nearby house was one of the factors too. Hemp was hurdle in air circulation. Not taking bath, not cleaning body for months was major cause of epidemic.
Dr. Pearson descried pain of epidemics as follows-
“Whenever there was plague starts in a village, villagers leave the patients and don’t see the relation. The parents leave children, wife leaves husband and so. People run away leaving standing crop and all household items as it is. Many spend time aloof in jungle and many die there due to hunger and unconducive conditions.”
Dr. Pearson suggested a few hygiene rules for villagers. Government publicized those rules in villages. The rules or suggestions stated that there should be window in each room. People started having window in new houses built by them. Government suggested that people should paint houses by white lime or Kamera and people followed the same. Government appointed Paswan for compelling people following rules about hygiene and building separate cattle house far from houses. People became aware of effects of cleanliness and disease prevention. There was decrease in epidemic and other epidemic and other diseases by cleanliness drive by the government. Government took step in aware ness about cleanliness in Pilgrim roads. Government took many steps for cleanliness all over and it was effective in reducing diseases.
The government appointed a committee under Adam about health care on pilgrim roads in 1913.
There was an epidemic in Garhwal. That epidemic spread after intervals in many prts of Garhwal. Dr. Major recognized it as plague only.
1-Shiv Prasad Dabral ‘Charan’, Uttarakhand ka Itihas, Part -8 Garhwal par British -Shasan, part -2, page- .61-103
2- Atkinson, Himalayan Districts, Vol. 3
4- Paw, Garhwal settlement reports
5- Census hand book 1951
6- Adams, Reports on pilgrims rout
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History of Garhwal – Kumaon-Haridwar (Uttarakhand, India) to be continued… Part -1139
*** History of British Rule/Administration over British Garhwal (Pauri, Rudraprayag, and Chamoli1815-1947) to be continued in next chapter
(The History of Garhwal, Kumaon, Haridwar write up is aimed for general readers)
History of British Garhwal, Education , Health, History of Devalgarh Garhwal , ; History of Badhan Garhwal; Education , Health History of Barasyun Garhwal; Education , Health History of Chandpur Garhwal; Education , Health History of Chaundkot Garhwal; Education , Health History of Gangasalan Garhwal; History of Mallasalan Garhwal; Education , Health History of Tallasalan Garhwal; Education , Health History of Dashauli Garhwal; Education , Health History of Nagpur Garhwal; Society in British Garhwal.History of British Garhwal, History of Social Structure and Religious Faith in Chamoli Garhwal, History of Social Structure and Religious Faith of Pauri Garhwal , Education , Health, Social and Culture History of Rudraprayag Garhwal