U.P villagers fear blooming bamboo flowers a bad omen

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Lakheempur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh), June 17 (ANI): The sprouting of bamboo flowers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakheempur Kheri has instigated frenzy among the villagers.

Superstitious villagers believe that bamboo flowers may bring drought or cause some disease in their village.

They also believe it to be a sign of imminent danger.

Claiming it to be a bad omen, the scared villagers say that the flowering of bamboo shoots would usher in doom for everyone.

Fearing a severe outbreak of incurable diseases and severe drought, the locals are now cutting down the plantations in order to rid themselves of evil.

"Flowers do not bloom in bamboo plants without reason. They signal dangers in the times to come, like outbreak of diseases, drought and deaths. It is an evil omen. Whenever the bamboo flowers have sprouted in the past, there has been catastrophe in the region," said Mishri Lal, a villager.

Scientists say bamboo flowers, golden yellow in colour, take decades to bloom. Once the flowers sprout, the entire plantation goes dry making it a hub for rats, moles and other rodents, who are carriers of several diseases.

Citing these facts, the district officials have rubbished the claims of the villagers, by terming it a natural process.

"The sprouting bamboo flowers attract rodents, which cause diseases and also damage the crops. They are carriers of diseases like Plague, which was rampant here in the past," said K.K. Singh, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of the Lakheempur District.

"This is why people associate the bloom of bamboo flowers with deaths and epidemics, without any scientific grounds. This is due to illiteracy and superstition," he added.

To ward off evil, locals, especially women, spend their days chanting mantras and religious hymns, believing it would protect them from all dangers. By Kamna Mathur (ANI)

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