Yes, bamboo species called Melocanna Baccifera blossoms copiously approximately every 48 years. Blossoming of flowers is heralded as spring and is the nature’s way to be happy and show the joys to the world. On the other hand, flowering of bamboo is the signal of an impending calamity in the North East states of India. This variety of bamboo grows densely in Mizoram, Manipur and adjoining Burma. Bamboo is a natural resource. It is used extensively in the construction activities. It helps in the conservation of soil with its strong roots and also beautifies the landscape of the area. Bamboo is one of the natural resources contributing to these states.
So, why the flowering of bamboo considered as ill omen?
When the bamboo flowers, entire jungle is filled with flowers. Copious quantities of seeds are formed. The tree dies. It takes many years for the new bamboo trees to grow. Since the area experiences heavy rains, with the soil having become nude, there is heavy erosion of fertile upper crust of soil.
The floor of jungle is now full of bamboo seeds which are packed with nutrients especially the proteins. The seeds attract hordes of rats from nearby places. They gorge on these seeds and gets very hefty and indulge in the procreation. There population increases exponentially. After cleaning out the seeds, the hordes of the rats turn their attention on the provisions stored by the people living nearby. In the matter of days, they eat up every thing creating the famine.
Due to the shortage of food, the inhabitants are forced to eat anything they find in the jungle or contaminated leftover food and fall ill. Thus along with the famine, a epidemic visits the people. In the past, due to the casual attitude of the government, people revolted against the state.
Many of us have heard the story of pied piper of Hamelin which charmed the hordes of rats which had made the life of people a hell and lured them to their death. May be such a pied piper was there also when these disasters occurred. But no cheating with him in the payment for his services as the governments generally do, otherwise it can invite his wrath and he can lure the innocent children and take them with him.