Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/664

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the pilgrimage were not only supplied with a proper dose of the infection, but were provided with a plot of the "endemic area" on which it could be grown. In bedding out a plant we do not put its naked roots into the new inhospitable soil, but we place in the new ground a portion of the mold in which it hitherto has grown, so that its tender rootlets may gradually get accustomed to their new surroundings. And the fairs and pilgrimages of India do much the same to plant the cholera in the new localities. The infection carried from the endemic area can not die out, even although it be but an exotic in a strange land, because the people carry with them also the habits and customs which are conducive to its growth, the willingness to use the same water for every purpose, the readiness to drink it when in its foulest state.

In a report in June, 1891, Dr. W. J. Simpson, of Calcutta, gave a picturesque and startling account of two large pilgrimages which he personally witnessed in that year—one in the endemic area of Bengal, and another in the non-endemic area, or north part of India. A pictorial presentation of one of their chief features, which I am able to give from private photographic plates that he has furnished me, will show the condition more effectively than merely verbal discussion.

The first of these was the Ardhodoya Jog, which comes round at rare intervals, happening only when the moon is in conjunction with the sun in a certain latitude of the Indian zodiac. This event, it appears, only occurs once in twenty-seven or twenty-eight years, and is then made the occasion for a great bathing festival. The purity to be obtained by bathing in the Ganges during this festival is exceptionally great, and therefore the gathering of pilgrims at the several bathing grounds was a very large one.

Kalighat, where the gathering in question took place, is the suburban area of Calcutta, on Tolly's Nullah, a small tidal creek which is held to be more sacred than the Hooghly, because it is believed to be one of the original beds of the Ganges which has gradually silted up. Sanctity, however, in these parts is no assurance of decency. Along its banks on both sides houses and huts are built, the drainage from the latrines of which finds an easy and convenient outlet into the streamlet. Soiled clothes of the sick and healthy are washed here; oxen, buffaloes, horses, goats, and other animals take their bath in the water; and as the nullah has frequently passing through it many country boats, the boatmen add to the general pollution.

Kalighat, like the other suburbs of Calcutta, also possesses a large number of tanks or ponds, round which the huts or houses of the inhabitants are built, and which are the drainage cesspools of the locality. Much has been said concerning the filthiness of